My Kitchen Rules – Channel 4 cooking Competition‏

Calling the best amateur cooks for an exciting new Channel 4 series!

My Kitchen Rules is a brand new Channel 4 series being made by production company 7 Wonder.

I’m really excited to hear about this as I have loved the Australian version of the show and can’t wait to see it in the UK.

The series will be hosted by Steve Jones is a nationwide search to find the best amateur cooking enthusiasts in the UK.

Channel 4 is now looking for applicants (teams of 2) who would be interested in representing their region, and showcasing their talents in a bid to win the £10,000 cash prize.

They are looking for people from all walks of life who would be great on TV with one thing in common; a passion for cooking and food.

Email mkr@7wonder.co.uk  with your name, age, and number NOW to apply!

MKR UK Casting Flyer

NB. Please contact the above if you have any queries. I have not been paid to promote this but think it will be of interest to my readers. Rachel :)

Marmalade Madeira Cake

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Marmalade Madeira Cake

I love marmalade at this time of year and make my own when I can. I’ve recently had a craving for a really moist marmalade cake but I’ve had to make this three times to get exactly what I wanted! It’s basically a madeira cake recipe with marmalade, orange zest and orange juice added which gives a lovely flavour. This version has chopped dried apricots added which gave me the rather moist and almost sticky cake I wanted.

Marmalade Madeira Cake

Ingredients:-

150g Softened Butter

150g Caster Sugar

3 Eggs

150g Self-Raising Flour

75g Plain Flour

Zest of 1 Orange

1 Tablespoon Orange Juice

2 Tablespoons Orange Marmalade

100g Chopped Dried Apricots

Method:-

Pre heat the oven to 160c. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin or a 7”/ 18cm round cake tin.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light in colour and soft.

Add the eggs one by one and beat in well.

Fold in the flour carefully.

Fold in all the other ingredients and pour into the prepared tin.

Bake for approximately 1 to 1 ¼ hours until light golden brown in colour, firm to the touch and inserting a clean skewer comes out clean.

Turn the cake out onto a rack to cool.

I used some more orange juice (1 tablespoon) and added 2 tablespoons of icing sugar to make a drizzle for the top of the cake when it had cooled.

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Marmalade Madeira Cake

I have to admit I couldn’t wait to eat this so started on it straight from the oven drizzled with double cream! However, it is a cake which keeps really well and the flavour improves if you can bear to wait.

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Raspberry and Rose Cake

This cake is made with two 6″ sponges infused with rose water, drizzled with rose syrup and filled with raspberry conserve and raspberry flavoured buttercream. The cake was layered and decorated for a birthday but would be equally delicious and pretty served simply as a filled sponge.

Raspberry and Rose Cake

For the two 6″ sponges:-

225g Butter (softened)

225g Caster Sugar

4 Large Eggs, beaten

225g Self Raising Flour

1 Teaspoon Rose Water

Drop(s) of pink food colouring

Pre heat the oven to 160c and line two 6″ round cake tins.

Beat the sugar and butter together well, slowly add the beaten eggs then fold in the flour. Finally, stir in the rose water and colour. Divide between the two cake tins and bake for between 20-30 minutes.

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Raspberry and Rose layered sponges

To make a rose syrup I used 1 tablespoon of rose petal sugar with 1 tablespoon of water and boiled it for a few minutes. This was then drizzled over the cakes as they were taken from the oven and still warm. The cakes were then left to cool completely before slicing each one in half horizontally. The four layers were then placed on top of each other with raspberry conserve or raspberry buttercream between each layer.

For Raspberry Buttercream:-

150g Butter, softened

250g Icing Sugar

2 Tablespoons Raspberry Conserve

Beat all the ingredients together well for a few minutes.

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I used some of the buttercream to fill the cakes then used some to cover the whole cake. The cake was put in the fridge for about twenty minutes to firm the buttercream.

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Raspberry and Rose Cake

Finally, I added more raspberry conserve and a drop of pink food colour to the remaining buttercream and used it to decorate the outside of the cake. I added pink sugar sprinkles and some sugar roses to finish it off…

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Raspberry and Rose Cake

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My Favourite Recipe Blog Posts of 2015

2015 Favourites
The end of the year is always a good time for review and to make plans for the new year ahead. 2015 has been an incredibly busy one for me as I set up my cake business in a new area. I’ve been amazed and inspired by the lovely people I’ve met and support I’ve received, it’s been an exciting as well as challenging year.
My year of baking has been one of using mainly tried and tested recipes and improving on these where possible to give my clients the best possible tasting cake. However, experimenting has been minimal and my blog has been a little neglected. Plans to bake my way along with The Great British Bake Off were side-lined as wedding cake orders became priority. I’ve learnt a lot more about baking but still want to try new recipes. So one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2016 is definitely more baking (yes, I am obsessive) and more blogging.
What I love about baking and blogging is the creativity and sharing. Baking something delicious and sharing it is one of the most rewarding things for me and blogging and sharing recipes is the same. The following are my favourite recipe posts from 2015 from lovely bloggers who have inspired me to bake more…..
1. Gluten Free Copycat Chocolate Hobnobs by The Culinary Jumble
I love this blog as it features a mix of English and Swedish recipes and so many scrummy bakes, some traditional, some new and many gluten free. It’s difficult to choose from all the mouth-watering pictures but these cookies just look divine and I can’t wait to eat some!
2. Healthier Brownies with Cashew Nut Butter by Tin and Thyme
Another of my favourite blogs with recipes and writing from a Cornish kitchen. There are loads of chocolate recipes but these stood out for me as they sound really healthy and yet look so scrumptious!
3. No Bake Caramel Rolo Cheesecake by Jane’s Patisserie
‘Caramel creamy cheesecake filling on top of a delicious buttery biscuit base drizzled with an extra bit of caramel and packed full of Rolo’s’ Yum. I just don’t know what else to say. No baking I know, so a bit of a cheat but the gorgeous pictures make this look totally irresistible!
4. Plum Limoncello Tart by Kat The Baking Explorer
Kat is an incredible baker who did what I failed to do – bake along with The Great British Bake Off. Her stunning bakes would wow Paul and Mary and this was one which caught my eye. The posts also include a roundup of each week’s bakes in the Bake Off tent during August / September.
5. Crostata di frutta profumata: The Venetian-Mediterranean spring dream cake by La Venessiana
Such a pretty cake, perfect for a summer tea party, and the blog is beautiful, full of gorgeous pictures of Venice and Venetian recipes.
6. Banana Cupcakes by The Botanical Kitchen
I love this blog because there are lots of bakes using seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. These cupcakes are banana with cinnamon which work so well together. The frosting sounds deliciously complementary to the bananas with lemon juice and cream cheese. Yum.
7. Best Ever Gingerbread Biscuits by Charlotte’s Kitchen Diary
Charlotte is a trained chef and food writer and I was lucky to meet her several times when she ran our local Clandestine Cake Club. Her bakes are always delicious and as I love ginger these are definitely on my ‘to bake’ list.
And finally this is one of my own favourite bakes from the year – Blueberry, Lemon and White Chocolate Cake 
Here’s to 2016 and lots more baking, blogging and sharing!

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Cranberry and Orange Cake

This is a moist sponge made with oranges, filled with cranberry and orange curd and covered with cranberry and orange curd buttercream. Its a fruity alternative to Christmas cake and packed with vitamin C!

Cranberry and Orange Curd

Ingredients:-

225g Cranberries

2 Oranges

225g Caster Sugar

50g Butter

2 Eggs, beaten

Method:-

Remove the skin and pips from the oranges and place the fruit and juice into a saucepan. Add the cranberries and cook the fruits gently until very soft. Blend or mash well so that the mixture is completely smooth. Pour the mixture into a double pan with water in the bottom pan, or a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the sugar butter and heat, stirring well until everything is well dissolved. Add the beaten eggs slowly, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Leave to cool completely before using. It will need to be stored in the fridge if not using straight away.

Spicy Orange Cake

Ingredients:-

50g Orange Juice

100g Golden Syrup

250g Caster sugar

250g Butter

4 Medium Eggs

250ml Milk

400g Plain Flour

2 Teaspoons Bicarbonate of Soda

2 Teaspoons Mixed Spice

Zest of 2 Oranges

Method:-                                           

Preheat the oven to 170c and grease and line 2 x 8” (20cm) cake tins.

Place the orange juice, golden syrup, sugar and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir well till everything is melted and dissolved. Leave to cool.

Whisk the eggs and milk together.

Stir the flour, bicarbonate of soda, orange zest and mixed spice together, then add to the eggs and milk and beat well. Add the orange, juice, syrup, sugar and butter mixture and combine everything but don’t overbeat.

Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for about 25 minutes until cooked.

I made orange syrup to drizzle over the cakes as they came out of the oven by heating 50g orange juice and 50g caster sugar in a small pan. Stir well and bring to the boil until it becomes thick and syrupy.

Cranberry and Orange Curd Buttercream

I made buttercream by beating 250g softened butter and 250 icing sugar together well for a few minutes. Add about 4 tablespoons of the cranberry and orange buttercream curd. More can be added if needed.

Fill the cake centre with a layer of the cranberry and orange curd and a layer of the buttercream. Then thinly spread some of the buttercream around the top and sides of the cake, leaving some of the cake showing through giving a ‘naked’ effect.

I decorated the top of the cake with some fresh cranberries which had been covered for several hours in a layer of caster sugar to sweeten them a little.

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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

 

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Chocolate Orange Cupcake

 

There’s still time for some last minute Christmas baking! Along with the last of the mince pies I baked today, I’ve made some chocolate orange cupcakes. Chocolate is always popular at Christmas and these have a rich chocolate, almost truffle flavour. These can be frozen, fully decorated so are perfect to pop in the freezer for any unexpected guests over the festive season.

Ingredients for Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

100g Butter (softened)
110g Caster Sugar
3 Medium eggs
2 Tablespoons Milk
120g Self Raising Flour
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
Zest of 1 large Orange
25g Dark Chocolate (chopped into small pieces)

Ingredients for Rich Chocolate Orange Frosting

150g Dark Chocolate
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
250g Icing Sugar
200g Butter (softened)
50g Vegetable Shortening (Trex)
1 Tablespoon Orange Juice
Plus 25g Dark Chocolate zested and sprinkled over the top of the completed cupcakes.

To make the cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 160c and place cupcake cases in a 12 hole cupcake or muffin pan.
Beat the softened butter and caster sugar together well.
Whisk the eggs together lightly with the milk.
Whisk the flour, cocoa and baking powder together.
Mix all these ingredients together with the orange zest and beat for one minute, making sure everything is combined.
Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake cases and add a tiny piece of chopped chocolate to each one.
Bake for about 20 minutes until ready. Leave to cool.

To make the frosting

Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of boiling water. Leave to cool a little.
Beat the other ingredients together well; then add the cooled, melted chocolate. If the frosting is a little thick, more orange juice can be added.
Pipe or spread the frosting onto the top of the cupcakes.
Finish by sprinkling zested dark chocolate over the top.

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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

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Christmas Apple, Orange and Cinnamon Jelly

This is one of my favourite Christmas recipes. It has a light but warming flavour – perfect for the festive season!

To Make Apple, Orange and Cinnamon Jelly:

1 kg cooking apples

4 oranges

1kg caster sugar

1   1/2 litres water

4 cinnamon sticks

Chop the fruit roughly without peeling and add the cinnamon sticks and water. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Strain through a muslin bag. Add the sugar to the remaining liquid and take back to the heat. Heat gently until the sugar is melted, stirring all the time. Then bring to the boil and boil rapidly without touching until it reaches setting point. The jelly can be sieved again to remove any scum and poured into sterilised jars. This amount filled 6 small jars.

Apple, Orange, Cinnamon Jelly.png

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How to make a perfect sponge

How to

A sponge is one of the most basic cakes you can make, with few ingredients and yet it’s something which can be incredibly difficult to get right! I’ve tried and tested many recipes and tips and here are my favourite tips for a perfect bake…

  • Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature, preferably slightly warm.
  • Weigh your ingredients accurately, baking is a science and slight changes can affect the result.
  • Heat your oven in advance and check that the temperature is correct with an oven thermometer. Many ovens are not accurate and too hot or too cool an oven can affect the end result dramatically. Sponges are usually baked at 160c.
  • Use the freshest, free range eggs for a light sponge and good quality butter will give a great flavour.
  • Line the tin/s with non-stick baking paper.

BS Edge

When following a recipe use the ingredients weight as a guide. Start by weighing the eggs in the recipe (weigh in their shells) and match the other ingredients to this. The eggs, sugar, butter and flour should all weigh equivalent amounts.

For a 20cm (8”) sponge you will need 5 eggs (weighing 50g each) , 250g Butter, 250g Caster Sugar, 250g Self-Raising Flour. Therefore, when you weigh the eggs, you will match the amounts to this. The amount of 250g has been given as a guide for the amount of mixture you will need. If the eggs weigh 265g the flour, butter and sugar should be 265g too and the cake will be very slightly larger. If the eggs weigh slightly less, for example 235g, you could add milk if you want to make up the amount to 250g.

Beat the sugar and butter together well until they are pale and creamy;

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl;

Whisk the flour with a hand whisk to loosen and add air. I never sieve my flour as I feel it compacts when it falls;

I never add baking powder as I’ve found it can make the cake dry;

There are two methods for mixing all the ingredients together and I’ve found that both work well –

  1. Add the beaten eggs very slowly to the beaten sugar and butter mix. Mix well, a little at a time. If the eggs are slightly warm they won’t curdle and a tip to help this is to put the eggs, in their shells in a bowl of warm water before starting the recipe. Then carefully fold in the flour.
  2. Add the beaten eggs and the flour to the beaten sugar and butter and beat everything together well for only one minute.
  • Be careful not to overbeat with either method.

BS Edge

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin/s. The sponge can be baked in one tin or divided between two tins. One 20cm (8”) sponge should take approximately 50 minutes to bake, if the mixture is divided the cakes will take about twenty minutes.

  • Never open the oven until at least ¾ of the way through baking a sponge. Opening the door too early can cause the cake to collapse. The sponge will be baked when it is golden brown and starting to shrink away from the sides of the tin. A clean skewer stuck into the cake will come out clean – no sticky mixture attached. Keep an eye on the cake near to the end of the baking time and take it out of the oven immediately it is ready.

Leave the cake for two to three minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.  If you want to slice the cake in half horizontally to fill, you will need to leave it for at least two hours for the crumb to set otherwise it will just crumble.

Some more tips for sponges

Sponge 2

Beetroot and Orange Chutney

This recipe is an adaptation from a Beetroot and Orange Relish recipe by Thane Prince in her book ‘Jams & Chutneys’. I’ve called it Chutney as it is much thicker and chunkier than her original recipe which calls for the beetroot to be grated. It makes a delicious accompaniment to any cold dish, particularly over Christmas – a change from the usual pickled beetroot.The orange brings a lovely fruity flavour to the mix to enhance the beetroot and the spices add a slight kick, although you could omit these if you prefer.

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Beetroot and Orange Chutney

 

Ingredients:-

1 kg Beetroot

4 Large Oranges

2 Large Onions

500g Granulated Sugar

250ml Red Wine Vinegar

1 teaspoon Ground Ginger

1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Ground Chilli

Method:-

Peel beetroot and chop into small pieces,

Grate the orange zest (use the grater – not zester as you need larger pieces). Cut away all the white pith and cut the oranges into small chunks, discarding any pips.

Chop the onions finely.

Add everything to a large, heavy bottomed pan. Bring gradually to a boil, stirring well to dissolve all the sugar. Boil for a few minutes then reduce to a low simmer. The mixture will take about 1 ½ hours to thicken and it will need occasional stirring to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Depending on the amount of juice that was in the oranges, the mixture may need a little more liquid added and some more red wine vinegar or orange juice can be added if it looks too thick as its cooking.

The beetroot should be well cooked and softened but still remain in chunks and the whole mixture should be nice and thick (or to your own taste). Pour into sterilised jars, seal and label.

Another of my favourite things to make at Christmas is Cranberry Relish and oranges work really well with cranberries too. Here is a recipe for Cranberry, Orange and Port Relish.

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