London Cheesecakes

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London Cheesecakes are a complete, nostalgic, childhood treat for me. Popular in the Seventies and Eighties in British bakeries, this was my ‘treat’ of choice whenever the opportunity arose on a visit to the baker’s. [Read more…]

Blackberry and Apple Tea Cakes

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These easy tea cakes are a great way to use up any remaining Bramley apples you may have from this summer’s harvest. Throw in some blackberries, fresh or frozen, to enhance this seasonal, fruity, light cake. [Read more…]

Passion Fruit Tea Cakes

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It has been a while, I know…

This little part of the ‘blogosphere’ has been unintentionally stuck in January. In an attempt to correct this blip, I offer you super easy, oh-so-tasty Passion Fruit Tea Cakes. [Read more…]

All White Fondant Fancies

allwhitefondantfancies-1Fondant Fancies have been on my baking ‘bucket list’ for sometime now. Perfect if you are entertaining, this ‘All White’ vanilla version makes a change from the rich, fragrant seasonal flavours that are in abundance at the moment. [Read more…]

Chai Spiced Rolls

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Do you ever get nostalgic over a particular food, or flavour? By this I mean, you remember when you first sampled a new flavour, dish, or bake and any subsequent enjoyment takes you back to the exact time and place you first enjoyed it. [Read more…]

Coconut and Lime Madeleines

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Perfect for when you want a morsel of cake and not a great ‘hunk’ of a slice, slathered in frosting. Dainty and light, these Madeleines are easy to make. [Read more…]

Lemon and Blackberry Cupcakes

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The Contented Baker turns ‘1’ today and to celebrate I thought cupcakes might be in order.

So what have I made of my first year of blogging? Well, it has been an incredible learning journey. To put it in perspective probably until 18 months ago I had no knowledge of blogs, had minimal contact with social media and my IT skills were stuck in the early ‘noughties’. Then, through my passion for home baking I stumbled across beautiful food and baking blogs. What better way to document your bakes, learn from others and share inspiration with like-minded folk? I wanted to try it! The Contented Baker came into being. [Read more…]

Welsh Cakes

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I have a soft spot for Wales.

Having spent four happy years there in my student days, I have very fond memories of my time in Wales and the great friendships I forged. We still return there as a family now annually to visit friends and it is a trip we all love.

During this time, and on our numerous return visits, I have eaten freshly home baked Welsh Cakes but have never made them myself.

With St. David’s Day (Saint David being the Patron Saint of Wales) fast approaching on 1st March, I thought I would give them a try.

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These little Welsh Cakes (or ‘Pice ar y maen’ in Welsh) are small, scone-like cakes traditionally cooked on a bake stone (I used a frying pan). They are usually served warm, coated in sugar but can be served with butter, or honey.

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So as this was my first attempt, some recipe research was in order. I looked at a number of trusted sources, Jamie Oliver, Delia Smith, ‘BBC Food’ online and a traditional Welsh Food recipe from ‘Flavours of Wales’ by Gilli Davies. It was interesting to see that the fundamental ingredients of flour, butter, sugar and egg were a constant, but other ingredients varied.

For me this was an opportunity to come up with some recipe development. (This is something I would like to experiment with in the future – so nice to come up with family, heirloom recipes, don’t you think?).

A spread sheet was therefore in order. It was interesting, for me anyway, how the quantities varied and the inclusion, or exclusion of certain ingredients.

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So for my recipe, I took the most common ingredients and applied the most common percentage ratios. I also, included ingredients that I have sampled and enjoyed in a local, home baked Welsh Cake. For me, sultanas are a must. So much more juicy and substantial than currants, or indeed no fruit at all as per one of the recipes. Mixed spice is also a definite for me here. What makes these a little bit more special to me is the butter. I used a salted butter – a course sea salt variety which adds a fabulous, random, salty crunch to the otherwise sweet little cakes. Delicious, even though I do say so myself.

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The cakes are a wonderful teatime treat and easy to make to boot. Put some daffodils in a vase, put the kettle on and heat the pan to make some lovely Welsh Cakes. Happy St. David’s Day!

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Welsh Cakes

Makes about 20 cakes

Ingredients

  • 225g self raising flour
  • 75g golden caster, or caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 110g course sea salt butter, or salted butter, cubed
  • 75g sultanas
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 'Splash' of milk
  • For the coating
  • 75g caster sugar, for coating (optional)
  • Alternatively, serve with butter or honey

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and mixed spice. Add the cubed butter and mix to form a crumb/sand-like consistency. Add the sultanas and mix further. Beat the egg and add to the mixture along with a 'splash' of milk. Combine until the dough comes together and form a ball.
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to a thickness of approximately 5-7mm thick. With a cutter, approximately 6cm in diameter, cut the rounds. Re-roll the dough and repeat until all the dough has been cut.
  3. Place a large pan over a medium/low heat. With a piece of kitchen towel, wipe the pan with a little butter. Place 4-6 rounds in the pan and cook for approximately 3 minutes each side. They will puff up a little and should be a rich, golden colour when cooked. Be careful as they 'brown' easily.
  4. Pour the sugar for the coating into a small bowl. Toss the hot cakes into the sugar, thoroughly coating. Repeat the cooking and sugar coating with the remaining cakes.
  5. Serve warm. As an alternative to the sugar coating, serve with butter and jam, or honey.
  6. Store in an airtight container. Still delicious when warmed through in the oven.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/welsh-cakes/

Source: The Contented Baker, as calculated above. Welsh name from Wikipedia.

Cinnamon Rolls

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These Cinnamon Rolls come highly recommended…

A family friend, on learning about my little baking blog, suggested that I just had to try this recipe. It comes from an American friend of theirs and I am delighted to be sharing this family recipe with you.

So what better time to make these now it is half term, the children are off school, and we all need a warm, sweet, cinnamon pick-me-up during the grey, February days? These are perfect for sharing and are at their best when eaten warm from the oven. Trust me, these are divine.

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To be honest, I don’t tend to make too many sweet dough bakes because they are dangerously good and I eat too many! I used to make Chelsea Buns (a variation on these but with sultanas) quite often with my bread machine, so this is my first attempt at sweet dough buns without the aid of a machine. To be honest it is incredibly easy.

Fundamentally, you need to prepare the dough, prove the dough for about an hour, cream together the filling and prepare the frosting. No fancy pans, ingredients or techniques are required and from start to finish, they are not particularly time consuming to make.

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I made a couple of small changes to the recipe, notably in the method whereby I added the yeast to the lukewarm milk, after it had been scalded, in order for it to dissolve and I melted the butter separately and then combined with the milk/yeast to reduce the risk of any curdling. I also used butter instead of the margarine, as it what I had in the fridge. I also creamed together the butter and sugar for the filling just to make spreading the filling more even and easier.

 

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So maybe you are wondering what makes these Cinnamon Rolls so good? Well, here are my thoughts.

The initial scalding of the milk allows for the baked dough to be super light. The filling quantities can be adjusted to taste if you want it to be more, or less ‘cinnamon-y’. The soft light brown sugar in the filling gives a wonderful caramel-like consistency to the cinnamon filling.

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Now, half way through the bake, you pour double cream over the buns. This adds a lovely creamy, decadent taste but also prevents them from drying out – a very, clever and delicious addition indeed.

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And finally, the frosting. Oh, this is very good! The addition of a little double cream lessens the sweetness but adds smoothness to this vanilla frosting. And the best part is you can either slather it on each bun as thick as you like, or warm slightly so it thins and drizzle over the buns. Absolutely sublime!

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Such a beautiful bake. Thank you so much Lindsay Tripp for sharing ‘Mema Tripp’s’ recipe. I learnt a lot from this bake and will be making them again for sure.

Wonderful for breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea or a post supper sweet fix, please go and try them people…

Best wishes Lindsay! x

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Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 12 rolls

Ingredients

    For the dough
  • 225ml whole milk
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 630g strong white bread flour
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 15g (or 2 sachets) of instant active yeast
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 100ml double cream (for mid bake)
  • For the filling
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon (or quantity to taste)
  • For the frosting
  • 470g icing sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste, or extract
  • 100ml double cream

Instructions

  1. Scald the milk in a small saucepan (not quite boiling but very hot to the touch). Set aside and allow to cool a little. In a separate pan, melt the butter. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar and salt and mix.
  3. Once the milk is lukewarm, add the yeast and mix until dissolved. Ensure the milk is not too hot otherwise the yeast will not activate properly. Add the melted butter to the milk/yeast mixture and combine.
  4. Make a 'well' in the dry ingredients and add the milk/yeast/butter mixture and the two beaten eggs. Thoroughly mix until the dough comes together. Don't worry if it appears a little wet. Place the dough into a lightly oiled (vegetable oil) large bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to prove somewhere warm for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Cream together in a bowl the butter, both sugars and cinnamon. Adjust the quantity of cinnamon to taste, if you choose. You should have a thick, spreadable paste.
  6. Heavily grease with butter, a 9 inch x 13inch baking pan. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, or Gas Mark 4.
  7. Once proved, tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, approximately 25cm x 45cm. Spread the filling over the entire rectangle of dough ensuring it is fully covered and evenly distributed. Take the long side and carefully roll the dough into a long, even, tight roll. With a bread knife, cut the ragged ends. Continue with the bread knife (slicing like bread) to slice the roll into 12 equal portions. Equally space the rolls, swirls side down, into the greased baking pan.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, turning the tray half way through. Then pour the double cream over the rolls and return to the oven. Bake for a further 15-17 minutes, rotating the pan as necessary for an even bake. Once the buns are golden brown, remove from the oven.
  9. Prepare the frosting by creaming together all the ingredients until smooth. Spread on the warm buns, as desired, or gently warm the icing and drizzle.
  10. Serve the cinnamon rolls warm.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/cinnamon-rolls/

Source: Lindsay Tripp’s  ‘Mema Tripp’s’ Recipe. Method and quantities (in cup/g conversion) very slightly adapted.