I do not like green eggs and ham

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Finally something savoury: Beef Pull-apart sandwiches

Yes, you guessed right. I got this recipe from Pinterest too.

I really wasn’t sure where I was going to fit these. Afternoon tea was at 3pm – naturally. And these were ready a little sooner than I expected.

Plus the type of beef I had wasn’t the same as the recipe called for. I’m not sure where I’ll get a chuck roast from. So I settled for casserole beef. It was in large chunks and I hoped it would be ok.

Well lets say there was an almighty struggle with the technique of “pulling apart” the beef. I was not very compliant. But I sort of got there. Almost. I had to cut a few chunks up.

I thought we’d start out with just one of these each. After all it was barely 3 hours since afternoon tea. But Mark said he enjoyed them and would like another. And so I obliged and joined him.

They look just like the photos on the original blog post, but just because I can, I took a few photos too.

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I bet you’re not surprised to learn I’m feeling rather full.

I really don’t feel like looking at anything more to eat. But tomorrow is another day, and it’s Father’s Day. And thankfully Dad and Ruth were free and will come for afternoon tea.

No guesses for what we’re having. And if there’s left over cupcakes, which I’m positive there will be, they’ll be going next door for the 4 kids. I’m sure they’ll make short work of them, though take my word for it, they don’t need any sugar to make them hyper. That’ll be their Mum and Dad’s worry Winking smile

Enter the chocolate

Well after lots of sweet looking, and tasting baking, it was time to find something with more punch. That called for chocolate. Naturally.

With the big clean out of “treats” that had passed their best by date from the “Naughty Pantry”, I was left with several packets of Super Wine biscuits that either needed something done with them for use, or to be turfed.

Mark is rather fond of the Chocolate Fudge slice I make from one of the Every Boy’s and Every Girl’s Rallies cook books. But since my bag of Dutch-processed cocoa and 35% alcohol Vanilla Extract arrived I decided I better make this the very best type of fudge slice I could.

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I had a quick look on Pinterest (seems to be my go-to place for innovation these days) and based on the photos alone I clicked a link. And what do you know, it’s a recipe by Annabel Langbein.

Well clearly this would be a winner.

I raced for my recently purchased Annabel Langbein cook book, but the recipe wasn’t from the book I own. So I followed the recipe from the blog I found it on.

Take a look at the colour of the Dutch-processed cocoa.

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The beauty of a fudge slice is just how simple it is to make. Melt the good stuff together, then toss in the bashed up Super Wine biscuits. Now here’s the secret (well not now!), those biscuits came with a best by date of August and November 2011. I did sample a bit of one of them and they were fine.

In they went.

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The recipe however did not call for the inclusion of Sultanas, somethng I throw in the other recipe I make. After consulting with Mark, he proclaimed the Sultanas must be added. And because I aim to please the man I love, I added two small handful of sultanas.

And here we have it.

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The other recipe I use I also alter by adding dark chocolate to the icing. I didn’t do that today, I continued on with that glorious Dutch-processed cocoa.

I was a little afraid Mark would say it wasn’t up to scratch, but he said it tasted plenty like chocolate. Phew.

Pretty little cup cakes, and my icing skills

I found this recipe a couple of weeks ago and I just liked how pretty these cupcakes looked. They look good, right?

There are 111 comments on the post. And I think I might have read every single one of them.

Now I don’t mean to judge, but I have I guess, but so many people seem to be fascinated that this is what is termed a “from scratch” cupcake.

What that means, as I discovered, is the cupcake batter hasn’t come from a box.

I was a bit flabbergasted really. You mean people haven’t actually “baked”.  They just tip in the contents of a box, chuck in an egg and milk and call that baking?

I’ve thought about this for a few days now. I can’t quite get my head around the idea of “not” baking from scratch.

Yes I can accept that you might get caught out, or told at the very last minute about the need for a child to produce something baked for the next day.

But these people replying sound like they’re far from novice bakers and yet haven’t actually baked anything where they’ve had to gather and deal with all the ingredients in their natural, separate form.

I think I’ve “baked” two things in all my life from the contents of a box.  And by the second time Mark and I both coined it “Betty Crock of Shit” baking.

Ok, off my soap box now.

The only thing I thought would be challenging in this recipe was icing the cup cakes. Well first I needed to see how the batter would cook up.  Let me just say now that as the first 6 were baking I learnt several things:

  • Baking in a muffin pan was pulling the cases out of shape
  • The cases needed more batter
  • I’d need to turn the cupcakes part way through thanks to my oven not baking evenly
  • Buying pretty cases was pretty much a waste of time.

So the baking went like this, follow along with the picture.

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And the first 6 “test” cupcakes looked like this:

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And in the end I just put the cases straight onto a cooking tray and they turned out much better. I also increased the amount of batter so that they would at least reach the top of the paper cases.

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Given all the type about these cupcakes, would they actually look and taste any good? I ripped into the case of one of the first 6, one that I knew hadn’t cooked quite perfectly on the top, so ignore the sticky look at the very top. This gives a good idea of how it baked.

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And because I usually have no self control, Mark and I tasted this while it was still piping hot. It tasted very pleasing, but I’m not a discerning enough baker to say whether it was outstanding or just so-so.

Now I had to wait for these babies to cool so I could ice them. But could I? I’ve not piped icing before, or if I have, I sure don’t remember. And given I had to buy a piping bag set, it leads me to believe I’ve not piped icing.

Gosh, I’m really making a meal out of the lead up of this.

Ok, so the first 6 (well 5 left) were below the case and the second lot rose above, and were rounded, but I still managed to get the jolly things iced “ok”.

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See what a waste the pretty paper cases are? You can’t even see the nice pattern.

Oh well.

Word of warning, this icing is very VERY sweet. I missed breakfast and lunch. I was taking finger swipes from the bowl with left over icing (which there was quite a bit. The recipe said 24 cupcakes, I got 19, so therefore more icing than was needed) and it was sweet.  It’s a wonder I didn’t have a sugar high. Well eaten with the cupcake the sweetness was much more pronounced. This was almost too much for me. Not quite the hold onto your teeth material because you fear they will fall out, but it was pretty close. I almost couldn’t eat the fudge slice I made, but I struggled through after cutting a piece in half (see post following for that recipe).

While I think my effort was pretty decent, the photo at that top is still the winner. Now, if I’d had some sprinkles, then maybe mine would have “taken the cake”  Winking smile

The mystery Bundt Pan cake

Phew, afternoon tea has come and gone, and by all accounts (ok, mine) was a success.

So onto multiple posts with numerous photos.

All photos are taken with my Samsung Galaxy SIII. It’s just too handy to grab it and have those photos taken and automatically uploaded via Dropbox to my laptop. Which makes it a complete breeze grabbing them and adding to my posts.

Sadly though I grabbed my phone too quickly for my fingers to clasp around it and I accidentally threw the phone to the ground. Onto the kitchen floor. Straight onto tiles. Ouch.

Someone must have been watching down on me (is there a cake fairy?) because there’s not one scratch or knock of dent in the phone and it’s working the same pre-tumble.

The fact it skated across the tiles having pretty much landed flat on it’s back was the saving grace.

Thankfully my clumsiness didn’t continue on with my baking adventures.

So here’s what I baked last night. You can see the write up on the Bundt pan in my previous post.

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There’s numerous air bubbles, despite having given the pan a tap on the bench before putting it in the oven, and despite having used my new offset (angled) spatula to help smooth the top.

As for the smoothness, well I thought it was smooth, but my oven decided to hell with perfection and instead cooked the cake like this:

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It’s kind of cute, it’s sort of carried on the swirled look on the top. Whatever, I couldn’t change it. Just have to go with it. And when it’s upside down you can’t really tell.

After flicking the “icing” around it, it took on this look.

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You’re supposed to do the “icing” with the cake still on the cooling rack with baking paper underneath to catch all that dribbly icing. But you can see I just pooh pooh’d that idea and flicked that stuff around willy nilly.

And the inside:

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And lastly, how did it taste and what did they think of it.  It tasted quite different. I’ve made spice cake before but this one had different spices in it.  I quite liked it as something different. And despite the glue-y type consistency to the batter, the cake baked up nicely and had a good consistency.

So Mum doesn’t like apples, and this cake has just over a cup of apple sauce (I took the left behind Granny Smith apples from work – thanks work!) and it had cinnamon in the cake, and the “icing”. Mark doesn’t like cinnamon. So yes I took some risks. That could have earned me only 2 thumbs up. Mine being one, which probably wouldn’t count. But I got 4 thumbs up.

If you want to make this fabulous (Smile with tongue out) creation, then you can grab the recipe from here.

Lastly, would I change anything?  I think I’d choose a different “icing” next time.  Not that there’s anything wrong with this, but it’s a bit strong on flavour and I’d like more of the icing. If nothing else I’d probably double it.  I’d also serve this with either cream (without sweetening) or it would be good served with natural yoghurt. If I did either of the later, I wouldn’t ice it at all.

My first cake baked in a Bundt Pan

I got carried away and purchased a number of kitchen things from Amazon. Later I discovered some of it could be purchased at proper cake shops in NZ, and online.

Oh well. 

While I could have bought a Bundt Pan in NZ, they are really expensive here.  And since I was ordering a couple of other things, the cost of shipping across those items still made the Bundt Pan cheaper than sourcing it from NZ.

I still think I won. Plus it’s a little more thrilling to say it came all the way from America. I suppose those sold in NZ do too, but this one arrived in the country because I picked it.  Awww. It’s starting to sound like I’ve chosen a cut little puppy at the pet store.

This is the Nordic Ware Original Platinum collection Bundt Pan. Onto the cake then.

In preparation for the pans arrival, I’ve been looking at Pintrest and finding so many different websites with recipes.

I wont reveal which recipe I used until after tomorrow but it smells so nice, and I’m pleasantly surprised that the cake came away without any fuss at all.

Reading some of the recipes it’s sometimes the luck of the draw if the cake comes out nicely. And varying opinions as to whether you leave the cake in the pan until it’s completely cold, or turn it upside down (cross your fingers) sometime sooner.

Mine said to leave it for 10 minutes. I almost held my breath and I was a little apprehensive. But as soon as I started to tip the pan I felt the cake give and was encouraged that it was all out in one easy move.

So a few shots without going through the whole start to finish which I’ll do tomorrow, or a later day when I talk about the recipe I used.

I had invited Mum and my sister and her family for afternoon tea on Sunday. And no sooner had I sent the text invite I walked past the Father’s Day card and realised my blunder.

So Mum’s coming tomorrow, my sister already needs to be in two places (Nelson and Dunedin) and I’m yet to invite Dad and Ruth around for afternoon tea on Sunday. I’m hoping they don’t have a very active social calendar and will be able to drop everything and come when I call Winking smile

I used a spray called Bake Easy. I’ve not seen it in the likes of Stevens or Living and Giving. I bought it online from The Cake Shop. It sprayed really nicely. No gloopy bits. I then used a pastry brush to brush it all over the pan and then put less than a teaspoon of flour in the pan and tapped that around.

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I made this cake tonight because the recipe said the flavours come through the days following. I want all the flavours at their most intense. If nothing else it smells good.

And tomorrow I’ve got a humble fudge slice and Vanilla Cupcakes to make. I’m going to pretend I know what I’m doing and get out the icing set I bought in the UK (with piping the crosses for hot cross buns next year in mind) and fuss about with piping the icing.  Given Mum has made and decorated all sorts of cakes but many many wedding cakes, there’s a bit of nervousness to make sure that it comes up to scratch.  Not that Mum will judge, it’s just I want them to be looking as lovely as you’d find in a cupcake shop.  No pressure then Smile with tongue out


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