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Spiced Banana and Walnut Traybake

I buy bananas in the vain hope of being healthier but more often than not they are left in the kitchen to go bad, finally ending up in the bin.  So instead of wasting money I decided to turn them in to something we all love to eat…cake!

If like me you have bananas turing bad in a bowl in the kitchen here is the recipe for you to turn them into a delicious traybake.

Ingredients:
450g bananas
100g walnuts
75g Stork margarine
175g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
1/4 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp mixed spice
2 eggs
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

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Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a 26cm x 19cm tin with grease proof paper.
2. In a bowl mix the flour, mixed spice, salt and bicarbonate of soda.
3. Mash the bananas and chop the walnuts in to small pieces ready for adding later on.
4. In a large bowl cream the margarine and the sugar.
5. Add the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of the flour mixture and beat well until the eggs and half the flour is added.
6. Stir in the milk and vanilla extract.
7. Sift the rest of the flour mixture in to the bowl and add the bananas and walnut.  Mix well.
8. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake for 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.

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For the caramel flavoured water icing I mixed 100g of icing sugar with water and a few drops of caramel flavouring.  I used the Lakeland natural flavouring.  As you can see I just drizzled it over the Banana and Walnut Traybake.  It’s a simple recipe; give it a go and let me know how you get on.

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Viennese Biscuits

I just love the melt in your mouth, sweet taste of a Viennese biscuit. They are delicious either dipped in chocolate or filled with buttercream and jam. Today I decided to dip them in chocolate using the bar of milk chocolate I had tucked away in the kitchen cupboard.

We had already decided to go up to my mum’s house for a cup of tea this afternoon and I took a tin of these biscuits with me. As we both love baking it was like afternoon tea; my Viennese biscuits looked beautiful on a cake stand with mum’s homemade scones and ginger biscuits. My 1 year old nephew definitely enjoyed his first afternoon tea.

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Here’s the recipe I used:

Ingredients
250g unsalted butter
55g icing sugar
225g plain flour
75g corn flour
1tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate

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Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Soften the butter in the microwave for about 30 secs.
3. Mix together the other ingredients in a large bowl.
4. Add the butter and vanilla extract then mix until all the ingredients are combined in to a smooth paste.
5. Put the paste into a piping bag and pipe the biscuits on to a tray, making sure they are spaced out, as they will spread when baking.
6. Bake the biscuits for 15 minutes, until they are lightly golden brown.
7. Let the biscuits cool on a wire rack while you melt the chocolate.
8. Dip each of the biscuits in the melted chocolate and place on baking paper.
9. Put the biscuits in the fridge to let the chocolate set.

Enjoy x

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Great British Bake Off

For those of you who know me or follow me on twitter @Luciebaking, you will know I am a big fan of The Great British Bake Off.  I would love the opportunity to bake in the bake off tent.  I’m not sure how I’d cope under the steely blue eyes of Mr Hollywood and I’d hate to disappoint Mary Berry but I’d give it a good go.

The closing day for Series 5 was Friday and I’m hoping this year I might be in with a chance.  I’ve got my fingers crossed that I hear from them and at least have the chance to experience a baking audition.  (Although baking in the famous tent is my aim.)  This is the second year I have applied for the bake off so fingers crossed they call me this year!

If not I’ve had a couple of Great British Bake Off successes this year.

They followed me on twitter…hehe!!! (You can imagine my excitement at this).  They have even retweeted a couple of my tweets.

And I submitted some of my bakes to be included in the ‘Your Bakes’ gallery on their website and they posted five of them.  Here are the links to their pages in the gallery.

Christening Cake

Mincemeat Crumble Slice

Teddy Bear Cake

Chocoholics Cake

Chocolate and Ginger Halloween Cupcakes

If I’m not lucky enough to be one of the chosen few who get to bake for Paul and Mary in the tent it won’t crush my love of baking. Baking helps me to relax and it is thanks to the bake off that I am experimenting with lots of different recipes.  I will continue baking, tweeting and blogging.  (And next year I will apply for Series 6!)

Good luck to everyone who has applied and I look forward to seeing you in the bake off tent later on in 2014.

Cherry Brandy Chocolate Brownies

Here’s a twist on the chocolate brownie recipe; delicious served as a dessert, warm with cream or ice cream

Ingredients:

60g glace cherries halved
2 tbsp brandy
250 g unsalted butter
200 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken up
80 g cocoa powder, sifted
65 g plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
360 g caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line a 25cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper.
2. Soak the cherries in brandy for 1 hour.
3. In a large bowl over some simmering water, melt the butter and the chocolate and mix until smooth. Set aside to cool.
4. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence until it looks thick and creamy, like milk shake.
5. Pour in the melted chocolate mixture, whisking as you pour.
6. Sieve cocoa powder, flour and baking powder in to the chocolate mixture and fold in carefully.
7. Stir in the cherries and brandy.
8. Pour your brownie mix into the baking tray and bake in the oven for around 25 minutes.
(You don’t want to overcook them so, unlike cakes, you don’t want a skewer to come out all clean. The brownies should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle).

Allow to cool in the tray, dust with icing sugar then cut into chunky squares. Serve warm with thick double cream or ice cream.

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Christmas Holidays 2013

I feel like I have neglected my blog over the past few months; only posting the odd recipe.   I thought I’d look back at the baking and cake decorating  I have enjoyed over the three weeks of Christmas.  I will share with you some of the recipes I have used recently and publish those I amended as I went along.

I started the holidays frantically decorating cakes to give to friends and family as gifts for Christmas.  I made twenty mini Christmas cakes using the Baked Bean Tin Christmas Cake idea from ‘Butcher, Baker’.  I wanted each one to be different which was a challenge in itself.

Here are a few of them:

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They were all iced with fondant icing except one I made for a friend who loves royal icing.

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And of course there was the family Christmas cake which I iced on Christmas Eve; just in time for the big day.

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As well as cake decorating I have baked lots of different things; trying my hand at both pastry and bread.

First of all I made a Mincemeat Frangipane Tart using a jar of mincemeat but adding a beautiful almond frangipane cake as a topping instead of more pastry.  Delicious with a glass of white wine after a day of Christmas preparations.

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I also tried two of Paul Hollywood’s recipes this Christmas: Boxing day Chelsea Buns and Stollen.  Both of these recipes went down extremely well with the family.  I’ll be using the Chelsea Bun recipe as a basis for other similar bakes in 2014 and the family have already started giving me possible flavour combinations.

There’s nothing better than a little bit of chocolate over Christmas so I decided to make some Cherry Brandy Chocolate Brownies. I think Brandy makes everything taste Christmassy.  Here’s the recipe:  Cherry Brandy Chocolate Brownies.

The New Year’s Eve Lemon Meringue Pie recipe was recommended to me by a fellow baker through twitter, after I had a not so good attempt a couple of months a go.  It is my husband’s favourite so I knew I had to master it for him.  Here’s a link to the recipe:  Lemon Meringue Pie.

So here it a collage of my Christmas of Baking 2013.  Happy New Year to all my followers on here, on twitter @Luciebaking and on Facebook.  Here’s to another year of baking…Lucie xx

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Happy New Year to all my followers on here, on twitter @Luciebaking and on Facebook.

Here’s to another year of baking…Lucie xx