Easy Yeast Bread — Perfect for Beginners

Easy Yeast Bread — Perfect for Beginners
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This easy yeast bread recipe is perfect for beginners. It contains ingredients you probably
already have in your house and can be ready in 3 hours (that’s pretty fast in the world of bread making).

I have been making this yeast bread for a few years with flawless results! That’s right, flawless! This recipe is super easy and yields two perfect loafs every time. It is the perfect recipe if it is your first loaf or your 100th. Just follow the instructions below, and you should have two perfect loaves.

What’s nice about this recipe is you do not need any fancy equipment. Just some ingredients you probably already have, good old-fashioned elbow grease, a bowl, oven-proof bakeware, and you’re off.

What you need to know before you start

Yeast–

  1. This recipe calls for one packet of dry active yeast. Yeast is a fungus that can convert sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. What does that mean? Well, it really means that yeast is an alive culture. So when using a packet of yeast, always ensure that yeast has not expired. If the yeast is expired, you will not be able to make bread.
  2. Always place yeast and salt apart from each other prior to mixing with water. In a nutshell, these two do not get along and the salt will kill the yeast if they come in direct contact. However once mixed with other ingredients, the yeast and salt can co-mingle.
  3. Yeast is like Goldie lox and the water temperature needs to be just right to active it. Luckily, just right is in a large range. I aim for the water to be between 95 – 105. However, if you do not have a thermometer just run the water until it is warm. Warm water should active the yeast without killing it.

Flour–

  1. You can use all-purpose or bread flour for this recipe. I have used both flours with this recipe and both worked great. Use whatever flour you have.
  2. The recipe calls for 6 cups, however, that might vary depending on your climate. I would say you will want to use between 5.5 and 6 cups. Once you reach the 5 cup mark add the flour in slowly until you achieve the desired texture.
Easy Yeast Bread - Perfect for Beginners
Easy Yeast Bread – Perfect for Beginners

Let’s get to making this easy yeast bread that is perfect for beginners

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 6 cups flour
  • Cornmeal (optional)

See, super simple. I bet you already have most of that in your pantry!

Mixing the ingredients: Start by adding the sugar, salt, and yeast to the warm water. Once mixed, allow for this to stand for five minutes. During this time the yeast will become activated and it should look like this (kind of foamy).

Yeast Activated
Yeast Activated



Next, using a spatula and then your hands, add in the flour one cup at a time until you reach the fifth cup. After the fifth cup start adding in the flour a little at a time (about 1/8 of a cup). As you mix the flour, the dough will be lumpy and sticky. Continue to use your hands to mix all the ingredients picking up all the flour in the bowl. The dough should be rough and lumpy at this stage.

Kneading the dough: Once the flour is incorporated, it is time to begin kneading. Here is how your knead:

  1. Lightly flour or oil a flat surface
  2. Place the dough on that surface in a ball
  3. Using the palm of your hand, push the dough away from you
  4. Fold the dough in half and turn 90 degrees
  5. Using the ball of your hand, push the dough away from you again
  6. Fold the dough in half and turn 90 degrees
  7. Repeat this process until the dough is smooth and shiny (about 7- 8 minutes)

Rising the dough: After you have completed kneading, place the dough in a bowl, cover with a warm damp towel and let stand for 1 – 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size. Once doubled, knock the air out of the dough and briefly knead to release any air bubbles. (The keyword here is briefly. As in gently once or twice.)

Dough Doubled

Shape the dough: You can choose whichever shape you prefer. For this batch, I used more of a loaf to go with a French Onion Soup I was making. However, feel free to shape it into what works best for you. Once shaped, cover with cling wrap and let stand for an hour.

Loaves Shaped

Baking the dough into bread: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a roasting pan on the bottom rack and fill it with boiling water. This creates steam which forms the crusty outer shell of the bread. Place the bread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 -24 minutes depending on how crusty you prefer the outer shell.

Remove from the oven and cooling on cooling racks for 30 minutes. After that your bread is ready!


How To Make Easy Yeast Bread – Perfect Every Time! by lifeonwesterlycreek on Jumprope.

In the mood to bake something different? Try one of these recipes instead

Easy Yeast Bread Perfect for Beginners, crumb structure

Easy Yeast Bread — Perfect for Beginners

This easy yeast bread recipe is perfect for beginners. It contains ingredients you probably already have in your house and can be ready in 3 hours (that's pretty fast in the world of bread making).
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Rising Time 2 hrs
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups warm water (between 95 and 105)
  • 6 cups flour
  • cornmeal (just enough for a dusting)

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl, mix water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Allow standing for five minutes. During this time the yeast will activate.
  • Using a spatula, add in the first five cups of flour, one cup at a time.
  • Add the remaining flour in an 1/8 of a cup at a time using your hands and picking up as much of the flour as you work the dough.
  • On a lightly floured or oiled surface, knead the dough for 5 – 7 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel until dough doubles in size (between 1 – 1.5 hours).
  • Remove the dough and knock the air out. Cut the dough in half, then shape it, and using your knife, slash the top of the dough with 3 -4 times diagonally.
  • Place the dough on a cookie sheet, cover, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 and place an aluminum roasting pan on the bottom of the oven. Fill 1" deep with boiling water.
  • Brush the tops of the dough with cold water.
  • Bake bread for 35 – 45 minutes.

Video

Easy Yeast Bread – Perfect Every Time! by lifeonwesterlycreek on Jumprope.

Notes

Recipe Notes:
  • Brushing the loaves with cold water is optional. This step will help to create a crusty outer shell.
  • Placing a roasting pan with water in the oven is also optional. This step will help to create a crusty outer shell. If you do not have a roasting pan you can use another type of pan. I often use an oven-safe deep skillet. 
  • You will know when the bread is done when you tap underneath and it sounds hollow.
  • Allow the bread to cool for 30 minutes prior to eating.
  • The bread will be good for 1 – 2 days. Store the bread in bread bags. If you store it in plastic the bread will last longer, however, you will lose the crusty outer shell. If you try this bread, please let me know how it turns out!
Keyword Bread, Easy Beginner Bread, Easy Bread Recipe, Easy Yeast Bread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Nadiya Hussain’s Crown Bread (with a few twists)

Nadiya Hussain’s Crown Bread (with a few twists)

I am a huge fan of Nadiya Hussain’s and I am so excited to share her crown bread recipe with you, with a couple of twists (pun intented)

What is Crown Bread?

I first heard of crown bread while watching Cooking with Nadiya. In her show, she makes this bread filled with tapenade and blue cheese, two of my favorite flavors, and twists the bread into a beautiful crown shape. I was absolutely mesmerized by how delicious this bread looked and I could not wait to make it.

I could find very little information on crown bread. In America, we often call it wreath or couroone bread. What these breads have in common is that they are filled with goodies, rolled up, split down the middle, and twisted together into the distinctive crown shape.

This bread is perfect for any dinner table, especially at the holidays. However in my case, I could not wait and I enjoyed it with an old friend and a bottle of wine on a Sunday afternoon. Honestly, either occasion is perfect, as long as you savor this delicious bread.

Modifications from Nadiya’s original recipe

I made a couple of modifications to Nadiya’s original recipe based on personal preference and budget. As always, feel free to modify according to your preferences.

  1. Rosemary is a part of the original recipe. While I love rosemary, I preferred the bread without. Feel free to add rosemary back in if you feel differently.
  2. I made this bread twice. The first time I used goat blue cheese because it was on sale. A lot of the flavor baked out and this was a bad choice. The second time I used traditional blue cheese and the result was much better.
  3. Instead of an apricot jam, I made a quick apple jam. This was both to save money on jarred jam and apricots are out of season. However, this is baker-specific. Use the jam you prefer.

Let’s get started

Step 1: Put the flour, salt, yeast, and butter into a bowl, then rub the butter into the flour. The butter should be rubbed into small pieces. (If you do want to add rosemary, you can add 2tsp here.)

Step 2: Form a well in the center of the flour mix and then add the milk and beaten egg. Once mixed, take the dough out of the bowl and knead on a floured or oiled surface for 10 minutes. You are done kneading when the dough becomes stretchy and smooth.. If you prefer to use your mixer, attach the dough hook and mix at a low to medium speed for five minutes. When the dough is formed into a ball around the hook, you are done mixing.

Step 3: Place the dough in a bowl and cover with cling film or a shower cap until the dough is doubled. Between an hour and an hour and a half. While the dough is rising, line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Step 4: Once the dough has doubled, knock all the air out of the dough and place it on a lightly floured or oiled surface. Roll the dough into an 11x15in. (This is where the process is a lot like cinnamon rolls.) Evenly spread the tapenade and blue cheese across the dough. Once spread, roll the dough up like a cinnamon roll. You want this roll to be tight.

Step 5: Start about an inch from the top of the rolled-up dough and take a sharp knife and cut down the center. Because the top is intact, you should be able to make an A shape out of the dough. Then lift one side of the A and place it over the other A-side. Repeat the process, about five times. until you have formed a circle. Carefully place the dough on the tray, cover with cling wrap and allow to prove about 30 minutes.

Step 6: Once the second prove is complete, bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Let the bread cool. Warm up the jam in the microwave and brush the jam over the top of the bread.

Resources and recipe credit:

  • If you would like to see the original recipe click here.
  • If you would like to watch the video from Time to Eat click here.

Great British Baking Show Bake

Season 1, Episode 3,
Signature Olive Tapenade and Blue Cheese Crown Bread

I started watching Cooking with Nadiya at the start of the pandemic. I was on lockdown and our dog Hank was very sick. Because of these factors, I was watching more TV than ever.

Historically, I never watch cooking shows. Being a vegetarian I have never found a cooking show I enjoyed. However, in the preview, Nadiya made this egg sandwich that I wanted to know how to make it. Next thing I know I watched her entire series. I loved her sweet personality and I found her refreshing.

Flash forward two months and we said goodbye to our Hankie poo. Sad and wanting to tune out my feelings, I decided to watch Nadiya’s on The Great British Baking Show. One show turned into a season, the series, and now a blog. That’s how I came to think of Nadiya as my gateway drug into the world of baking.

For my first signature bread challenge. I am so excited to bake Nadiya’s Olive and Rosemary Crown Bread. I am happy to say that I loved this bread! It’s a rich, decadent, and show stopper for any table! (Or over a bottle of wine on a Sunday afternoon with one of my best friends. That’s how I enjoyed it). I hope you give it a try, it’s really worth the work.


Count: 8 down and 270 to go!

Crown Bread Ingredients and Equipment (with affiliate links)

Ingredients
* 250g bread flour
* 1tsp salt
* 7g instant yeast
* 50g unsalted butter
* 4.5oz warm milk
* 1 egg, beaten
* 4.5oz olive tapenade
* 5.5oz blue cheese
* 3 tbsp apricot or other fruit jam

Equipment
* “>KitchenAid Mixer (Optional)
* Baking sheet
* Pastry Mat (optional)


In the mood to bake something different? Try one of these instead.

* Perfect Biscuits
* Tres Leche Mango Cake
* Ugly Delicious Cinnamon Rolls

* Delicious Bread Bowls

Crown Bread

Nadiya Hussain’s Crown Bread (with a few twists)

Ruth Grindeland
Nadiya Hussain's delicious Crown Bread is easier to make than you might think. I will show you step by step how to make this savory and decadent bread!
4.8 from 5 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Rising Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine French
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 250 g bread flour
  • 7 g yeast
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4.5 oz warm milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4.5 oz olive tapenade
  • 5.5 oz blue cheese
  • 3 tbsp jam

Instructions
 

  • Put the flour, salt, yeast, and butter into a bowl, then rub the butter into the flour.
  • Form a well in the center of the flour mix and then add the milk and beaten egg.
  • Take the dough out of the bowl and knead on a lightly floured or oiled surface for 10 minutes. When the dough becomes stretchy and smooth you are done kneading.
    If you prefer to use a mixer, attach the dough hook and mix at a low to medium speed for five minutes. When the dough is formed into a ball around the hook, you are done.
  • Place the dough in a bowl and cover with cling film or a shower cap until the dough has doubled. Between an hour and an hour and a half.
  • While the dough is rising, line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Once the dough has doubled, knock all the air out of the dough and place it on a lightly floured or oiled surface.
  • Roll the dough into an 11x15in a rectangle.
  • Evenly spread the tapenade and blue cheese across the dough.
  • Tightly roll the dough up on the long (15in) side of the dough.
  • Start about an inch from the top of the rolled-up dough cut down the center of the dough. The dough should form an A shape with the top intact.
  • Lift one side of the A and place it over the other side of the A. Repeat the process, about five times. until you have formed a circle.
  • Carefully place the dough on the tray, cover with cling wrap and begin the second prove, about 30 minutes.
  • Once the second prove is complete, bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • Place the bread on a rack and allow it to cool.
  • Warm the jam in the microwave and brush the jam over the top of the bread.
Keyword Bread, Couronne Bread, Crown Bread, Holiday baking, recipe, Wreath Bread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Homemade Bread Bowls

Homemade Bread Bowls

This bread bowl is so easy to make your family will think you’re a master baker,
but little did they know just how easy it is to make this bread!



On a cold day, there is nothing better than a fresh bread bowl filled with hot creamy soup. We use to go to the store to buy bread bowls, but they always fell short. The bread was soft, too soft, and made with words I cannot pronounce. That’s always a red flag.

Once I learned how to make bread, I realized just how easy it is to make a bread bowl. All you need is a few ingredients, elbow grease for kneading, and a little time. The process takes about three hours from start to finish. However, the hands-on work takes about ten minutes. Once the bread is done you can enjoy a creamy soup in a — fresh out of the oven — bread bowl.

Bread Bowl Post Bake
Bread Bowl Post Bake

What I love about this bread bowl recipe

  • It is super easy to make
  • The entire house smells like bread
  • My husband thinks I am a rock star and master baker when I am really only spending about ten minutes making this bread.

Let’s get started making bread bowls!

Start with your ingredients. Here is what you will need.

  • 12 grams of yeast
  • 1.5 cups of water
Bread Bowl Ingredients
Bread Bowl Ingredients

Step One – Combine the Ingredients:
Start with the flour in a large bowl, then add the sugar, yeast, and salt and mix. Place the salt and yeast on the opposite side of the bowl. If they come in direct contact the salt will kill the yeast.

Step Two – Form the Dough:
Add about half of the water and mix using a wooden spoon or spatula. Once the initial mix has occurred, use your hands and continue to add water a little bit at a time until the dough has picked up all the flour in the bowl.

Step Three – First Proof:
You might use all the water, or a little more or a little less depending on your climate. The key is to use as much water as needed in order to reach a rough dough ball. Your dough should look like this

Step Four – Knead the Dough:
Lightly grease your workspace with about a teaspoon of olive oil. Place the dough on the workspace and kneed the dough for four to five minutes. You are done when the dough will be smooth and shiny. The dough will also not stick to your hands. The dough will look like the picture on the left.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a warm damp towel. Allow the dough to proof until it has doubled in size, about one hour. Once the dough has doubled it will resemble the picture on the right.

Step Five – Second Proof:
Once the dough has doubled, lightly oil your work surface and place the dough on the surface. Cut the dough into the desired size/number of bread bowls. Then work the dough into balls. This is done by using your hands to roll the dough into a ball and then turn the dough by a quarter turn and tuck, turn and tuck. Repeat several times until you have a smooth ball.

Note, that the dough balls in the picture above were cut in half and then one half cut again. The result is one large bowl and two small bowls. I did this to help you determine which size bread bowl is best for you. If you want:

  • 2 bread bowls – cut the dough in half and roll into two balls.
  • 3 bread bowls –
    • If you want 1 large and 2 small bowls, cut the dough in half and cut one half again.
    • If you want 3 medium bowls cut the dough into 3 equal sizes
  • 4 bread bowls – cut the dough in half and then in half again.

Cover the dough with a clean towel or lightly oiled saran wrap. Let the dough rest until it doubles in size. This is known as the second proof or the second rise. While the second proof is happening, preheat the oven to 425 and line the baking sheet with parchment paper. The second proof should take about an hour.

Step Six – Baking the Bread:
Pour cold water into a roasting pan just before you place the bread in the oven. This step is necessary to create the crusty outer shell of the bread bowls. Place the dough in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The bread bowls are done when the outside is golden and it sounds hollow when you tap the under neigh. Transfer to a cooling rack and enjoy in about 30 minutes.

Step Seven – Making the Bread Bowl:
To make a bread bowl, simply cut off the top and pull out the bread from the inside of the dough. Then ladle in the warm soup of your choice and enjoy!


Bread Bowl Filled with Soup
Bread Bowl Filled with Soup

Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 1, Episode 3, Technical Challenge

These bread bowls are actually made using Paul Hollywood’s Cob recipe cut into two and rounded into bowls.

I liked this challenge. It was pretty easy and I could tell I was becoming more comfortable baking bread. This time I read the recipe twice instead of twenty times:) One last thought on this challenge, I am still wondering why bread rolls are called Cobs. I did a quick search, but could not find the answer.

If you’re reading this and know the answer, please write it in the comments. I would love to know.

Count: 7 down and 271 to go!

Not in the mood for a bread bowl? Try one of these recipes instead!
* Easy bread recipe
* Perfect biscuit recipe
* Amazing Ugly Delicious Cinnamon Rolls


Small Bread Bowl Hand

Delicious Bread Bowl Recipe – Perfect for Soup!

Using Paul Hollywood's Cob Recipe, you can create 2 – 4 soup-worthy bread bowls!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Rising Time 2 hrs
Course Bread, Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people

Equipment

  • Baking sheet
  • Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g bread flour
  • 40 g butter
  • 12 g yeast (fast-acting)
  • 10 g salt
  • 1,25 cup water
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Start with the flour in a large bowl, then add the sugar, yeast, and salt and mix. Place the salt and yeast on the opposite side of the bowl. If they come in direct contact the salt will kill the yeast.
  • Add half of the water and mix well. Add the rest of the water a little at a time and combining well. During this stage, you should be mixing the dough by hand and picking up any remaining flour. The dough will be rough-looking in this stage.
  • Use a little bit of oil to grease a working area and begin to knead the dough. To knead dough form the dough into a ball. Using your palm push the dough away from you. Fold the dough in half. Turn a quarter turn and repeat for 4 -5 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap or a damp towel until the dough doubles in size. This should take about an hour.
  • Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  • Once the dough has doubled, remove the dough from the bowl. Place the dough on a lightly oiled surface and knock the air out of the dough. Divide the dough by 2, 3, or 4, depending on the number and sizes of bread bowls you would like to make. Shape the dough and cover with cling wrap until the dough has doubled in size. This will take about an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place a roasting pan full of cold water in the oven.
  • Place the bread bowls on a lined baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the bread is a nice golden color.
  • Cool for 30 minutes.
  • When you're ready for soup, scoop out the inside of the bowl and fill it with soup.

Notes

Recipe Notes:
* By placing a roasting pan of cold water in the oven, you are creating steam which helps form a crusty bread bowl.
Keyword Bread, Bread Bowl, Bread Bowl Recipe, Cob Bread, Paul Hollywood Cob Recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Chocolate Macarons — with Espresso — So Good!

Chocolate Macarons — with Espresso — So Good!

Chocolate macarons with espresso are melt in your mouth nuggets of French perfection!

Baking macarons will test your patience, but learning how to get these little nuggets right is worth the work! Macarons are great on their own, as accents to your cakes and other deserts. While I am certainly not an expert on macarons, I learned so much baking these chocolate macarons with espresso that I feel like I can help you get started.

First, choose the flavor you like. I chose chocolate macarons with espresso because it’s the prefect flavor. I felt like I needed simplicity as a beginner. However it is important to note that macarons are versatile. You can use a variety of flavors, colors and fillings to create your perfect macaron once you get the basics down.

Let’s get started….

First, start with egg whites. These will need at least 1 hour to come to room temperature. However if possible give the egg whites more time, some sites recommend leaving them out overnight. I was not ready to take that leap and left mine out for 2 – 3 hours.

Tip: There are lots of ways to separate egg whites. I find that if I separate the yolk from the whites between my fingers I have a cleaner separation and I am able to have more whites.

Next, assemble the ingredients and equipment. The basic items you will need for this recipe are listed in the yellow block on the right. I have found that I like to have every thing out and measured. before I start. This way when I bake it’s more relaxing, organized and leaves less room for errors.

Speaking of measurement, for this recipe I used the volume method of measurement. While I prefer the weight method, I wanted to keep this recipe easy for beginners and I was not sure everyone would have a scale. When measuring, be sure your cups, tablespoons, etc are level. Macarons are temperamental and you will want your measurements to be accurate.

The next step is to combine the flour, powdered sugar, coco powder and espresso powder. What’s important here is that everything is blended in a food processor and sifted three times. Even though the almond flour might say “super fine” it still needs to be blended and sifted. This will allow you to achieve the super smooth dome macarons are famous for.

After blending and sifting, it’s on to your egg whites. Here you want to use a mixer and blend the egg whites until they are foamy. I mean really foamy. This will help you to achieve the stiff peaks.

Once foamy, add the sugar to your egg whites one spoonful at a time. Adding sugar slowly is necessary to form stiff peaks. (Whatever you do, do not pour it in all at once. Macrons are temperamental and there are no short cuts.)

The next step is to add about 1/3 of the sifted mixture to the egg whites at a time. You will want to use a spatula and gently fold together the ingredients. This is known as macaronage.

As with all things macarons, macaronage is tricky. You will want to fold together until you see a figure 8, roughly about 25 – 35 turns. Once the batter starts to form ribbons you are close. The ultimate test is to make a figure 8 with the batter and the shape holds while you hold your spatula stop there. However, if you see a figure 8 and it quickly disappears you have over mixed. If you cannot make a figure 8 keep mixing.

Photo Credit: Reality Bakes https://realitybakes.com/macarons-with-lemon-curd-buttercream/
(I was too excited when I achieved this and forgot to grab my camera)

Great British Baking Show Bake

Season 1, Episode 2,
Show Stopper

These chocolate macarons with espresso were my greatest baking challenge to date!

Background, the third bake of S1E2 consisted of three challenges (Petit fours; Meringues, Choux Pastry and Macrons), being realistic and wanting to enjoy the journey I made only one of the challenges, macarons.

These little chocolate macarons took me three tries to get close to the ideal.

* The first attempt I over mixed the batter and the chocolate macarons were runny. The result was no feet and just blobs. But they still tasted great.

* The second attempt I under mixed the batter and the chocolate macaron batter was too thick. The domes separated and the feet spread out.

* The third attempt was better, I had domes and feet. But the overall look was good, but not macaron perfect.

All and all I am happy with how the chocolate macarons came out and I am even happier I did not give up. I felt like this was something I would get better at over time. I also wanted to get better at making macarons in general. I always see them as accents on cakes and I want to be able to do that someday (soon)

Count: 6 down and 272 to go!

Chocolate Macarons with Espresso Ingredients and Equipment

Ingredients
* Almond flour
* Powdered sugar
* Coco powder
* Espresso powder
* Egg whites
* Sugar
* Butter
* Milk
* Vanilla

Equipment
* Food processor
* Mixer
* Cookie sheet
* Parchment paper

Now your ready to pipe! You have a couple of options here. You can purchase a silicone baking sheet with the macaron template on it or even an entire macaron kit. I opted to use a template printed from the internet and traced on to the parchment paper. I then turned the parchment paper over so that the cookies would not bake with ink on them. (Yep, I actually had to learn that the hard way on my second batch. I still ate them, ink and all.)

When it comes to piping use a 1/2 tip or something close to that size. Pipe the batter out at a slight angle, pressing into it a little so you form a dollop rather than making a circle (if you try to make a circle you will see the lines and it looks like, well you know). This took me several tries before I was better at it. After you have piped the circle you will have have a tip on each cookie. Simply dip your finger in water and gently rub over the tip. This will help to give you a smooth dome.

Once you are done piping, tap the tray on a hard surface five times. Don’t be gentle here, but don’t be violent either. This step will help to release air bubbles.

Let the macarons sit at room temperature until you can gently slide your finger over the top. By following this step, you are forming the dome that allows the infamous macarons feet to grow from underneath while baking. This step can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. I live in Denver where it is dry and it took about 35 minutes.

Than bake at 300 degrees for 17 minutes and allow to cool. Once cooled pipe in the butter cream in the center of a macaron and sandwich two sides together. It’s best to wait until the next day to eat the macaron. But if your like me, you will eat a few right away. In fact we ate half the batch of chocolate macarons with espresso right then and there — and we didn’t feel bad about it!

So good and Ella (my dog) is
praying for a crumb to drop:)

In the mood to bake something different? Try one of these instead.

* Perfect Biscuits
* Tres Leche Mango Cake
* Ugly Delicious Cinnamon Rolls

Chocolate Macarons with Espresso

Chocolate Macarons with Espresso

Chocolate macarons with espresso are melt in your mouth nuggets of French perfection!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 17 mins
Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine French

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer
  • Hand Mixer

Ingredients
  

Macarons

Buttercream Filling

Instructions
 

Macarons

  • Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking sheet.
    *I used parchment paper and a template from the internet to draw out 1.5 inch circles.
  • Combine the powdered sugar, almond flour, espresso powder and cocoa powder. This is the dry mixture. Than using a food processor, pulse the mixture. The goal here is to create as fine as a dust as possible. You cannot over due this step.
  • Than using a food processor, pulse the mixture. The goal here is to create as fine as a dust as possible. You cannot over due this step.
  • Sift the dry mixture 2 – 3 times. This step is necessary to have a smooth dome.
  • Using a mixer with a whip attachment whip the egg whites until foamy. Than slowly, one spoonful at a time, add the sugar.
    * Adding sugar slowly is necessary to form stiff peaks. (Whatever you do, do not pour it in all at once. Macrons are temperamental and there are no short cuts.)
    Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks forms, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add about 1/4 of the dry ingredients to the egg whites. Use a spatula to GENTLY fold until combined. Continue to fold slowly until the batter falls into ribbons and you can make a figure 8 while holding the spatula up.
  • Transfer batter into pastry bag.
  • Place 4 dots of the batter in each corner of the baking sheet, and place a piece of parchment paper over it. This will keep the baking sheet in place.
  • Pipe the macarons into the circles on the baking sheet.
  • Once pipped, tapped the baking sheet on counter three times to release any air bubbles trapped in the batter.
  • Let macarons rest for 30 – 60 minutes until you can gently glide your finder across the top.
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Bake the macarons for 17 minutes, until the feet have risen and the macarons don’t stick to the parchment paper.
  • Transfer the macarons to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.

Buttercream Filling

  • Using a mixer, beat the butter on medium to high speed until creamy. This takes about 2 minutes.
  • Reduce speed to medium and add the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down side of bowl as necessary, until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Add milk 1 – 2 tsp at a time as needed.
  • Add vanilla, and beat until smooth.

Assembly

  • Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag.
  • Add a dollop of buttercream to one macaron shell. Top it with another macaron shell to create a sandwich (like an oreo). Repeat with remaining macaron shells and buttercream.
  • Place in an air tight container for 24 hours. (if you can wait that long)
Keyword Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Espresso Macarons, Chocolate Macarons, Macarons
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Easy Bread Recipe

Easy Bread Recipe

This bread recipe is so easy that it will quickly become your go-to recipe any time you want to make crusty on the outside and soft on the inside bread.

The key to this easy bread recipe is an enameled covered cast iron pot also known as a dutch oven. The sizes of a dutch oven can span from .5 quart to as large as 15 quarts. in the picture above I used a 5-quart dutch oven. I have also made this recipe in a 7 quart. As long as your dutch oven is 2.5 quarts or larger it will work with this easy bread recipe.

Here are some tips I have learned along the way making this easy bread recipe.

  • To start making this super easy bread recipe, place all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Be sure to have the salt and the yeast on the opposite sides of the bowl. If the salt and yeast are placed together the salt will kill the yeast. If this happens your dough will not rise.
  • The next step is to add the water. The temperature should be between 95 and 105 degrees. I use a thermometer to ensure the water is at the correct temperature. This step is up to you. I have just had many bread failures so I always go the extra mile to ensure the water is at the correct temperature.
  • Once the water is added the dough will be sticky. This is a good thing.
  • Form the dough into a ball and place the dough in a bowl
  • Choose a cover (cling wrap or a shower cap) for the dough and spray the cover with cooking spray. Once sprayed cover the dough.
  • Place a warm damp towel over the cling wrap or shower cap. I like to think of this as tucking my bread in for the night. 🙂
  • I recommend placing a towel under the bowl if you have stone or tile countertops. This will help keep the bowl warm from the cold countertops.
  • When you’re ready to bake the bread, lightly flour the surface you will be working on. Take the dough out of the bowl and form it into a ball.
  • During this time your dutch oven will be warming up in the oven. I find that because the dutch oven is so hot it freaks me out a little. Because of that, I place the dough ball on parchment paper. However, the parchment paper gives it a wood-fired taste that you might not like.
  • Once your dough is in the dutch oven, place the cover on and put the dutch oven inside your oven.
  • By placing the cover on your creating a moist environment for bread to bake that is similar to professional ovens. This environment creates bread that is soft on the inside and crusty on the outside.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the cover and allow your bread to continue to bake for another 15 minutes. During the time your bread will turn a beautiful golden brown.
  • Now, this is the hard part. Once your bread is done, place it on a rack and allow it to cool for 30 minutes before you eat it. When you cut into your bread will see lots of amazing holes and great bread structure the yeast created
Bread Detail
Easy No Kneed Bread Structure

For those who are counting along with me on my quest to bake my way through the Great British Baking Show, this is the 5th bake. I leapfrogged the last bake from S1, E2. I will make macrons later this week. But for now, I have 5 down and 273 to go!


Bread Detail

Easy Bread Recipe – No Knead Dutch Oven

This bread is so easy to make. All you need is flour, water, yeast, salt, and a dutch oven and you will be able to make this great-looking bread!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Resting Time 20 hrs
Total Time 21 hrs
Course Bread
Cuisine American, French
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • Dutch Oven
  • Bowl
  • Wooden Spoon or Spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups Flour (all-purpose or bread)
  • 2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 1.5 tsp Salt (sea salt preferably)
  • 1.5 cups Water between 95 and 105 degrees

Instructions
 

  • Place dry ingredients in a bowl with the yeast on one side and the salt on the other side.
  • Add in the warm water and mix until the dough forms a ball.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a shower cap (it's reusable) and a damp towel for 20 – 24 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with the dutch oven inside.
  • While heating takes the dough out of the bowl, place it on a lightly floured surface, and form into a ball. (I like to do this on parchment paper so that it's easier to place the dough into the dutch oven).
  • Carefully remove the dutch oven from the oven (it will be hot, so be careful) and remove the lid. Either spray the dutch oven with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper, then place the dough in the dutch oven and put the cover back on.
  • Place the dough in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and allow to fully cool before eating.
Keyword Bread, Dutch Oven Bread, Easy Bread Recipe, No Knead Bread
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Perfect Biscuit Recipe

Perfect Biscuit Recipe

This simple homemade biscuit recipe makes a dozen biscuits in 30 minutes!

This morning I woke up and made great big perfect fluffy scones/biscuits! I tried the other day and they were good, but today I made them and they were great!!! I am so excited I might have to make biscuits everyday. I am thinking of all the ways I can make them… Biscuit pot pie, biscuits and gravy, biscuits and jam. I can’t wait to try them all!

Speaking of biscuits…. I am baking them as part of my attempt to bake my way through the Great British Baking Show. But in England what is known as a scone, is a biscuit here an America. From here on out, I will call them biscuits.

The other day when I tried making them I followed the BBC recipe. I liked that the recipe was small in size, perfect for our little household. The recipe also followed the metric system, which I also like for it’s precision. However, when the recipe called for a ML of milk I was lost. My scale does not measure a ML. I probably could have used Google, but in a panic I used another recipe and adjusted down the recipe. It worked. The biscuit were great.

Today I used an American recipe from the website ‘Mom on Timeout’ and it went so much better! I did make some minor changes to her recipe based on what I had in cupboard.

The biscuits were nice and fluffy! They are heaven!!! I paired them with some raspberry quick jam for breakfast and for dinner I made a mushroom pot pie with biscuit in middle. HEAVEN!!! Today I will post the recipe for the biscuit and in a few days I will post the mushroom pot pie recipe. I hope you enjoy!

RECIPE:

  • BISCUIT
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup COLD butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole mil
  • JAM
  • 200 g raspberries
  • 150 g sugar
  • 1/4 tsp lemon

Biscuit Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450.
  2. Chop the butter into small squares.
    • Tip: Keep the butter COLD and not to overwork it.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
  4. Add in butter.
    • Tip: Use a pastry cutter. You can use your hands, but it’s easier to warm the butter too much and over work it.
    • Tip: You should end up with small pea size bits of butter in your dough.
  5. Add in the egg and milk just enough to incorporate. The dough will be wet and sticky
    • Tip: Remove your wedding ring prior to taking the dough out of the bowl to keep your souse happy.
  6. Spread flour out on a dry surface and kneed 10 – 15 times.
  7. Using your hands, pat the dough out to about an 1 inch thickness. Using a round cutter, cut the biscuits into shape.
    • TIP: Brush the tops with melted butter for a tan look
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the biscuits on the sheet.
  9. Cook for for 12 – 15 minutes. 17 minutes for higher altitudes.

Jam Instructions

  1. Put the raspberries in a small deep-sided saucepan and crush them with a masher.
  2. Add the sugar and bring to the boil over a low heat until the sugar has melted.
  3. Increase the heat and boil for 4 minutes.
  4. Add the lemon.
  5. Remove from the heat and carefully pour into a shallow container.
  6. Leave to cool and set.

Judge (Kurt)

The first attempt was good, but not fluffy enough. The second attempt was spot on. Soft, fluffy and the correct texture.

GBBO Count: 5 bakes down, 274 bakes to go!

Amazing Ugly Delicious Cinnamon Rolls

Amazing Ugly Delicious Cinnamon Rolls

Amazing Ugly Delicious Cinnamon Rolls that were worth the trial and errors (recipe below)

Warning graphic image of the cinnamon rolls that looked like a massacre. It was ugly, sad, and gory so I should of prepared you for it.

The beginnings….

I think of recipes as suggestions. I use what I like from the recipe, rarely measure, add and remove things depending on what I have in the kitchen. Things almost always turn out good. Sometimes even great. It’s something that is instinctual as a person who likes cooking.

Because of that I have always said I am a cook and not a baker. Than came a very sad day in July and for some reason I started watching the Great British Baking show. After bingeing seven seasons in seven weeks, I thought the next logical step was bake my way though the entire series. After all, I have baked at least five cakes in my lifetime. That totally qualified me.

Now the massacre details:

Two weeks ago I made cinnamon rolls. They were amazing! The best thing I had ever made. I was like “this baking thing is so easy I am going to figure out how to make money at this blog and makes lots of money”. That arrogance was probably my first mistake.

Than last week my husband asked me if I could make three batches of cinnamon rolls, two for our HOA meeting and one batch to freeze for ourselves. I jumped at the opportunity. After all I was an accomplished baker of one good bake.

  • First attempt, I had to throw out after adding the full amount of sugar as apposed to 1TBS
  • Second attempt, I did not melt the butter and I could not figure out why it looked so weird. I threw it out and than realized that I did not add flour (OMG, so embarrassing)
  • Third attempt, after wasting so much yeast I decided to do smaller batches. I kneaded the dough and thought something was weird. I put it in the bowl to rise and went to start the next batch, only to realize I forgot to add the butter. Yep, that one was thrown out too.

Finally, I gave up and went to Sams club and bought muffins for the HOA instead.

Today my husband asked for Cinnamon rolls again. He loved the first batch so much and was craving them. I jumped at the opportunity to prove myself. I moved everything out of the way in the kitchen so I had an open work space. I pulled out all the ingredients, measured and organized them so I would not miss anything. I kneaded the dough into a perfect ball, than rolled it into a perfect rectangle on my new rolling mat. I was so proud and excited at how much better I was doing.

Now, this is where the massacre happened — and it was ugly!

The last time the butter/sugar filling was hard to spread. Being the genius that I am, I melted the butter. It spread so nicely. Perfect and even. I honestly had no idea why I did not think of this before. Literately genius!

Next, I was also able to use my new silicone baking mat that would allow me to perfectly measure out 12 x 24. I rolled it out. The dough looked so great. So much better than the last time I even proudly took a picture.

As I started to roll the dough up I realized I made two massive errors:

  1. Melting the butter was probably the dumbest idea I could have come up with. The filling was soup and ran all over the place.
  2. I should have dusted the mat with flour because the entire thing stuck and I had to scrape it up. Leaving me with loose rolls.

To save the day I hand rolled them back into pace and poured the filling on top. They were a mess, but saveable ugly delicious cinnamon rolls.

It really did look like a cinnamon roll massacre.

There were a lot of lessons learned in this bake. Mostly, that I am a beginner and I need to go slow and be humble. I should probably read and reread everything all the way through a couple of times. I also had to remember that all things new are hard in the beginning. Every new hobby I ever under took was full of mistakes, frustrations and even embarrassments. Baking will be too. But the goal is to learn how to bake. To have something fun to do in a winter that will be defined by social distancing and isolation. To be able to share the results with friends and family along the way. That’s what really matters, sharing this adventure (and baked goods) along the way!

Oh yeah, the recipe:

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 1 cup warm milk (95 – 105 degrees)
  • ½ cup + 1 TBS granulated sugar
  • 1 TBS dry active yeast
  • 2 large eggs (room temp)
  • 6 TBS butter (melted)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 – 4.5 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2.5 TBS cinnamon
  • 6 TBS butter (soft, not melted)

Frosting

  • 8oz cream cheese
  • .25 cup of butter, soft (1 stick)
  • 1.5 cup powdered sugar
  • .5 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Instructions:

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  1. Warm the milk. Use as thermometer if necessary to ensure it is not above 105 degrees.
  2. In your mixer, combine the milk, 1 TBS of sugar and yeast together and let stand for five minutes to activate the yeast.
  3. Add the ½ cup sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla to the mixture in the bowl of your standing mixer
  4. Begin to add the flour, cinnamon, and salt in small batches using the dough hook (I normally add the ingredients about a cup at a time. However the exact amount is not as important as long as you add them slowly and remember to add them – true story.)
  5. After the dough forms a ball on the end of your hook, remove the dough and kneed by hand for 3 -5 minutes until the dough ball is smooth. If the dough is tacky, add in flour a little at time until you are able to kneed it smooth.
  6. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a warm towel for an hour. The dough should doubled in size.

Cinnamon Roll Filling

  • Using soft butter (not melted) combine the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon

Assembly

  1. Lightly flour the surface
  2. Release the dough of it’s air and shape dough in a rectangle
  3. You will want to roll the dough out to a 12×24 rectangle that is about a quarter of an inch thick.
  4. Spread the filling across the dough (you might want to grease your hands for this)
  5. Tightly roll up the dough.
  6. Cut the dough in one inch increments. (yes, measure)
  7. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and place rolls in the dish evenly spaced.
  8. Cover and let rise
    1. You can let them rise for 30 minutes and then bake
    2. You can place them in the refrigerator tightly covered over night, than remove from the refrigerator the next morning and allow the to come to room temperature and rise for an hour before baking.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350, than place the rolls inside for 18 – 20 minutes.
  10. While the rolls are baking make the topping by beating together all the ingredients.
  11. Remove the rolls from the oven. Once cooled top the rolls with the topping and enjoy!

What is a Biscuit? No really what is it? (Sub-text: Epic GBBO Fail)

Cheddar and Chive Biscuit — GBBO S1, E2, Challenge 1

I have to ask what is a biscuit? In America they are great fluffy things that we drown in gravy. It’s heaven. But in England I thought they were crackers, so I choose a cheddar and rosemary biscuit from Season 1, Episode 2. I was going to pair it with a lovely tomato soup. I was so excited.

Than I noticed, that other “biscuits” were sweet. Confused I did a a quick google search and the results returned this:

“To most of the rest of the English-speaking world, a biscuit is what Americans would
refer to as either a cookie or a cracker. … A British biscuit is an American cookie and an
American cookie is a British cookie and an American biscuit is a British scone and an
American scone is something else entirely.”

Confused? So am I! If I am reading this right a British biscuit is an American Cookie. So I am wondering why would a contestant think Cheddar and Rosemary would be a good cookie? Maybe that is just me being very American, but I think a cookie should involve lots of sugar and chocolate.

However, remembering why I am doing this I followed the recipe as planned and came up with this golden little nugget (said sarcastically):

LOL, yep, that was my result. I am not sure how someone got 12 biscuits rectangle biscuits out of this recipe (https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/cheese-rosemary-biscuits). I have gone over it a few times to see if I missed something important like Baking Soda, but nope, I did it right.

I can just see the look on Paul, Mary, and Prue’s faces — and I have to laugh. In the end, it was a good experience and I am glad I tried. I have a lot more baking to do over the next few years and I am sure I will get better. But my commitment on this journey is to share the good, the bad, the ugly and have fun along the way.

Next up, Scones. According to the description above a British Scone is like an American Biscuit? I was planning on creating my own flavor. I might have to rethink that learn the basics first.

4 down and 275 to go.

Ruth

Kit Kat Chocolate Bucket Cake with M&M’s and Strawberry Filling

Kit Kat Chocolate Bucket Cake with M&M’s and Strawberry Filling

GBBO Season 1, Episode 1, Show Stopper Challenge:

This challenge coincided perfectly with my grandson’s fourth birthday. He picked out this cake from a few pictures and I was so excited to try and bake it for him. To make this I combined a few recipes and I added in strawberry jam. My thought was this was a lot of chocolate and I wanted to break up the flavor. The strawberry jam is optional, however I highly recommend something to break up the flavor of so much chocolate.

In making this cake I learned a few important lessons that I can use in future bakes:

  • Espresso powder in chocolate cakes enhances the chocolate flavor.
  • By adding hot water to the batter it makes the cake even more moist.
  • Because the cake is so moist, it is best to line the cooling racks with parchment paper. If not it will stick (yep, this happened to me!)
  • I filled the bucket with as many M&M’s as I could. While it was a great visual, it was too much. Too much sugar and too much to handle when cutting the cake. The next time I make this cake I will use much less M&Ms.

Let’s get baking!

  • Strawberry Jam
    • 1 PD of Strawberries
    • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • Chocolate Cake
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1.5 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp espresso powder
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/2cup vegetable oil
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1cup boiling water
  • Filling
    • 3 sticks of butter
    • 1 cup cocoa powder
    • 5 cups confectioner sugar
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 2tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2tsp espresso powder
  • Decoration
    • 4 King Kit Kat’s
    • 1 Sharable M&M package

Strawberry Jam

  1. Cut the strawberry’s into a smaller size. Cook the strawberry’s over low to medium heat to soften.
  2. Add the sugar, lower the heat and and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Once the sugar has dissolved, allow the liquid to boil for about six – eight minutes.
  4. All the jam to cool.
    • I usually make this a day or two before.

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease 2 nine inch cake pans.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients: Flour, sugar, coco powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, espresso powder.
  3. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix using an electric mixer.
  4. Once mixed add the boiling water.
  5. Divide the batter between the two pans and place in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes. Press the cake with your finger and if the cake springs back you are done.
  6. Once the cakes have completely cooled you can decorate.

Filling

  1. Place cocoa powder in a mixing bowl and mix out any clumps
  2. Add butter and beat together until creamed
  3. Add sugar and milk in small amounts until fully mixed
  4. Add vanilla and espresso powder

Assembling the Cake

  1. Place the Kit Kat’s in the freezer separated by paper towels. This will keep the Kit Kat’s free of finger prints.
  2. Place the first layer on a cake board flat side up.
  3. Fill a piping bag with the filling
  4. Create a moat around the cake about 1/2 in from the edge of the boarder.
  5. Fill the moat with the strawberry jam
  6. Pipe a layer of frosting above the layer of strawberry jam
  7. Place the second cake on top of the frosting flat side up.
  8. Frost the cake
  9. Place the Kit Kat’s around the cake. Use a string or ribbon to keep the Kit Kat’s in place
  10. Fill the bucket wit M&M’s

JUDGMENT:

Finally, because this is a GBBO bake I have to add in the judges responses. The first Judge, Kurt, loved the cake! He said it was moist and decadent. He also felt like it was a show stopper. The second judge, my grandson, I did not get his exact response because he was eating it so fast. But he did look very happy 🙂

Victoria Sandwich

Victoria Sandwich

GBBO Season 1, Episode 1, Technical Challenge

In all Great British Baking show competitions the second challenge is the technical challenge. The first ever was the Victoria Sandwich. I guess this is a sweet treat Queen Victoria liked with her afternoon tea. Being American I had never heard of it prior to the show and I was eager to try it.

All and all I would say it was an easy bake. I thought I had done a great job until I posted the side by side comparison. I think my cake, or sponge, was much lighter than the picture showed. But then again it’s a comparison against Mary Berry with perfect professional lighting so I am not sure that was ever going to turn out in my favor 🙂

Following the recipe I made a couple of changes and there is one thing I would do differently…

  1. I made homemade jam. It’s just too easy and so much better than the store bought.
  2. Instead of self rising flour I made my own by adding Baking Powder and salt. However I did use slightly less Baking Powder than was recommended to adjust to living in Colorado.
  3. Following Mary Berry’s recipe I would make twice as much filling. The amount the recipe called for allowed me pipe around the edge, but I could not pipe that well inside. I tried to spread it, however it was making too much of a mess so I just did the best I could.

Judge (Kurt)

It was a good bake. Cake pans were not even resulting in the bottom pan being a little dry. Jam as fantastic. A solid 8.5

RECIPE (from the BBC)

  • For the sponge
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 225g (8oz) caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 225g (8oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • For the jam
  • 200g (7oz) raspberries
  • 250g (9oz) jam sugar
  • For the buttercream
  • 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g/7oz icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line two 8in sandwich tins: use a piece of baking or silicone paper to rub a little baking spread or butter around the inside of the tins until the sides and base are lightly coated. Line the bottom of the tins with a circle of baking paper.
  2. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, flour, baking powder and soft butter. Mix everything together until well combined. Be careful not to over-mix – as soon as everything is blended you should stop. The finished mixture should be of a soft ‘dropping’ consistency.
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins. Use a spatula to remove all of the mixture from the bowl and gently smooth the surface of the cakes.
  4. Place the tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Don’t be tempted to open the door while they’re cooking, but after 20 minutes do look through the door to check them.
  5. While the cakes are cooking, make the jam. Put the raspberries in a small deep-sided saucepan and crush them with a masher. Add the sugar and bring to the boil over a low heat until the sugar has melted. Increase the heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully pour into a shallow container. Leave to cool and set.
  6. The cakes are done when they’re golden-brown and coming away from the edge of the tins. Press them gently to check – they should be springy to the touch. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Then run a palette or rounded butter knife around the inside edge of the tin and carefully turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.
  7. To take your cakes out of the tins without leaving a wire rack mark on the top, put the clean tea towel over the tin, put your hand onto the tea towel and turn the tin upside-down. The cake should come out onto your hand and the tea towel – then you can turn it from your hand onto the wire rack. Set aside to cool completely.
  8. For the buttercream, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar and one tablespoon of the milk and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Add the remaining tablespoon of milk if the buttercream is too thick. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
  9. To assemble, choose the sponge with the best top, then put the other cake top-down on to a serving plate. Spread with the jam then pipe the buttercream on top of the jam. Place the other sponge on top (top uppermost) and sprinkle with caster sugar to serve.

Tips/Techniques

For this recipe you will need two 8in sandwich tins, an electric mixer and piping bag fitted with plain nozzle. Note: This recipe contains U.K. measurements and may require conversions to U.S. measurements. It has also not been professionally tested.

Tres Leches Mango Cake

Tres Leches Mango Cake

GBBO Season 1, Episode 1, Challenge 1

I started my foray into the Great British Bake Off, or show as it is known in the US) with a simple cake.  Actually I was so excited to make this cake I could hardly wait.  I made a Tres Leche cake with mango Creme following a Spicy Perspective’s recipe for my friend Foua.

The cake was actually pretty easy to make and was perfect for a hot summer day.  I did make a few modifications to the cake. 

  1. The first was to reduce the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon to adjust for living in a high altitude
  2. I soaked the sponges overnight.  When I went to assemble the cake I thought I might have made a mistake by soaking them so long.  They just seemed heavy and really over the top.  However once I ate the cake it was perfect.  The entire thing cake together really well. 
  3. I diced up the mango for the top.  I wish I could have cut them in a flower design the way Spicy Perspective had, but I just could not get it right.  Props to Sommer Collier for her skill in cutting the mango!

I do have a lot of work to do on decoration and having it look cleaner.  However for my first cake I was really nervous.  I was afraid it would taste awful and I am happy at how it tasted.

Next up, Victoria Sandwich.   I will probably make mini ones in a week or so.

Recipe from A Spicy Perspective

For the Mango Cream:

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 ripe mangoes
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8- to 9-inch cake pans and set aside.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Then add the vanilla.
  • Crack the eggs into a measuring pitcher. Then with the mixer running, alternate adding the eggs and flour mixture until just combined. Scrape the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 20 minutes, until golden on top. Remove the cakes from pans and cool for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the evaporated milk, condensed milk and cream together. Set aside.
  • Once the cakes are cool, place one on a cake platter and the other on a sheet of foil with the edges turned up to form a shallow bowl. Poke both cakes with a fork thoroughly, to help the milks absorb. Slowly pour half the tres leches mixture over each cake and allow them to sit and soak it all up while you make the Mango Cream.

For the Mango Cream:

  • Peel both mangoes. Slice one into thin strips and set aside as the garnish. Cut the second off the pit and place in the blender with 2/3 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. Puree until smooth.
  • Pour the puree into a small sauce pan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer. Stir and simmer for 3-5 minutes until thick. Then place in the fridge to cool.

To Assemble:

  • Using a clean bowl and electric mixer, whip the heavy cream until firm peaks form. Then gently fold in the chilled mango puree.
  • Scoop about half the Mango Cream on the cake that’s on the platter. Spread the Mango Cream evenly, then carefully flip the second cake layer on top and remove the foil. Spread the remaining mango cream on the top and decorate with fresh mango slices.

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 596kcal, Carbohydrates: 62g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Cholesterol: 184mg, Sodium: 218mg, Potassium: 383mg, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 52g, Vitamin A: 1615IU, Vitamin C: 11.7mg, Calcium: 243mg, Iron: 1mg

Great British Baking Show – Super Fan

Great British Baking Show – Super Fan

In early July we said goodbye to our sweet beagle Hankie Poo.  I was crushed.  I remember sitting on the couch and surfing the channels, but all the shows sounded so heavy and I wanted something lighter.  Than I decided to tune into The Great British Baking Show.  I had seen the title for years on Netflix, but I had zero interest in a baking show.   However given my other options I thought I would give it a try.   

Fast forward two months  I have now watched all the seasons and realize that in America we have very little exposure to a variety of deserts.  We normally like cake, cookies, brownies,  the occasional custard and a couple of different pies.  That about sums up the American pallet.  Wanting to expand my skills, I have decided to bake my way through the Great British Baking Show.  I figure it will take me a few years, but I am in no hurry, I want to enjoy the journey and hopefully be able to share it with friends and family along the way.  However before I get started I wanted to layout a couple of ground rules:

  • No fruit cake, EVER.  Call it by a fancy name, but it’s still fruit cake and I won’t do it:)
  • All recipes will be vegetarian.  If it requires an animal product I will try to find a substitute.  If I can’t find a substitute than i will not bake it.     
  • Meringue, maybe.  I will try it.  But I can’t promise I will make all of them.
  • If there is a massive challenge where multiple things are baked, I will probably only bake one or two.
  • Phyllo dough challenge, again maybe.  That might be too much rolling:)
  • No cooking time constraints.  Remember, this is for fun.
  • I will bake when I have time.  But I imagine it will be about 1 – 2 a month.  I am not in a hurry.
  • My husband will be the main judge (he is dying to judge pasty like Paul Hollywood) and when I share it with others they will also judge. 

​That’s it for now.  I need to get baking.  Season 1, Episode 1, Challenge 1 is a cake.  I am working on a Tres Leche Cake with Mango Cream.  I will post soon.