Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia

Today is the first of June and finally it is beginning to feel like Summer. And, of course my mind immediately turns to all the lovely fresh produce that this season yields. Since we are currently celebrating British Tomato Fortnight I am creating recipes that celebrate the diversity of this tasty little fruit. So with caprese salad as my inspiration let me introduce you to my Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia.

Pinterest sized image of Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia Bread with descriptive graphics.

Focaccia is a bread with Italian origins. At its simplest it is a flat, white, airy bread, drizzled with olive oil and having a dimpled appearance. Serve it with salad, soup, pasta or as part of antipasti, the key is in the lightness of its crumb. In comparison, this cherry tomato and mozzarella topped bread with layers of basil hidden within the bread, is almost a meal in itself.

Two images of Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia showing the light, airy crumb of the bread and the gooey, stringy cheese.
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia a feast that really is fun to make and eat!

As the bread bakes the fresh basil and garlic permeate throughout creating an incredible savoury flavour. Also, the fresh, vine ripened tomato flavour intensifies in the heat of the oven. Resulting in a joyfully flavoursome bread that is perfect for sharing, Italian style, around a table full of friends, family and food.

Baked Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia fresh out of the oven
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia

If you haven’t made bread before, please do not worry. Because, as I am writing a recipe I always imagine the person reading it is standing next to me. Since I am a natural chatter-box, I describe each part of the process in easy to understand language and include photos for every step of the recipe. So you can be confident as you start your baking process.

Recipe: Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia

For The Focaccia Dough

250ml Tap Water – at room temperature

7g Dried Yeast – I use Allinson 

1tbsp Runny Honey

350g/12oz Strong White Bread Flour – I use Wright’s 

5g Salt – I use Maldon sea salt

2 Garlic Cloves – finely minced or crushed

2tbsp Olive Oil

Filling And Topping The Focaccia 

2 Generous Handfuls Of Fresh Basil Leaves (approximately 25-30) – one handful for folding into the dough and the second for topping the focaccia

12 Mini Plum Tomatoes – cut in half. Alternatively use 24 small round cherry tomatoes

150g/5oz Approximately 20 Mini Mozzarella Balls – drained

1-2 Garlic Cloves

2tbsp Olive Oil

Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:

Making The Focaccia Dough

I use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment for the first part of mixing and proving the dough. Alternatively you can make the dough by hand. Large bowl in the instructions refers to the stand mixer bowl or the bowl used for hand mixing. Also, it is important to weigh all of the ingredients accurately to ensure a successful bake.

  • First of all add the tepid water to a large bowl and add the olive oil and then the honey. Adding the olive oil first ensures that the honey releases easily from the oiled tablespoon.
  • Next add the yeast.
  • Add the flour so that it covers all of the liquid ingredients.
  • Finally add the salt and minced garlic.
  • Fit the bowl to the stand mixer and lower the dough hook.
  • Mix on a low speed until all the ingredients are combined. Increase to a medium speed for approximately 10 minutes until the dough passes the windowpane test. To carry out the test stop mixing/kneading. Remove a small piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers. To pass the test the dough should stretch without tearing until light is visible through the dough. If the dough tears continue mixing/kneading for a further 2 minutes and test again.
  • As soon as the dough passes the windowpane test stop mixing/kneading and scrape any dough from the dough hook into the bowl.
  • Form the dough into a ball, place back into the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel.
  • Place the bowl in a draught free place and leave until the dough is doubled in size.

Knocking Back The Dough And Adding The Fresh Basil Leaves

  • As soon as the dough is doubled in size, turn it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured worktop. Most importantly, ensure the top of the risen dough is in contact with the worktop and the sticky underneath is now on top.
  • Pull out part of the dough with your hand and then tuck it into the centre of the dough.
  • Turn the dough clockwise, approximately 10 minutes if it were a clock and repeat the pulling and tucking technique. Repeat this process until the dough is smooth and not sticky to touch. See bottom right photo.
Four images showing each stage of shaping bread.
Building structure within the focaccia dough.
  • Turn the dough over and press out using your fingertips until it is a roughly square shaped approximately 10”/25cm.
  • Lay one handful of fresh basil leaves on top of the dough.
  • Fold the top third of the dough down and then fold the bottom third of the dough up and over.
  • Turn the dough by a quarter and repeat the folding step.
Detailed images showing fresh basil being folded into bread dough
Folding fresh basil into the bread dough.

Pressing Out The Focaccia Dough And Adding The Toppings

  • Turn the dough over and place onto a lightly oiled baking tray.
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the dough and use your fingers to press out the focaccia dough, taking care to keep the basil leaves within the dough.
  • Press the halved mini plum tomatoes into the dough.
  • Likewise add the mini mozzarella balls in the same manner.
  • Scatter over the minced garlic and last handful of basil leaves.
  • Finally drizzle lightly with olive oil and add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
  • Leave in a draught free place to rise and preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6, 400F.
Four images showing the focaccia and adding the toppings
Shaping the focaccia bread and adding the toppings.

Baking The Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Focaccia

  • As soon as the focaccia has plumped up around the tomatoes and basil, while doubling in size, it is ready to be baked.
  • Place the focaccia into the centre of the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes.
  • The bread is baked when it is golden on top and underneath, use a palette knife to lift a corner.
  • And once baked remove from the oven.
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil freshly baked.
  • Leave the focaccia to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  • Alternatively, bake earlier in the day and reheat in a moderate oven for 10 minutes prior to serving.

To serve this focaccia I ran a pizza wheel across it at various angles to create interesting shapes and portions.

A pizza wheel is used to divide the Italian bread into portions for serving.
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia divided into portions.

This bread can be made a day in advance, including the toppings. Cover with cling film and refrigerate. To bake, remove from the fridge, allow the dough to come up to room temperature and puff up and then bake as per the recipe.

Any leftover focaccia can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for one day. Also, freezing the focaccia is not recommended due to the fresh tomatoes.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia you may also like these:

Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

Baked cheese olive ciabatta bread being pulled apart to show the gooey cheese.
Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

Tomato thyme garlic focaccia bread cut in half.
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

Garlic Cheese Bombs

Garlic cheese bombs mini bread rolls filled with mozzarella image shows one being pulled apart showing the gooey cheese.
Garlic Cheese Bombs

Because, when I bake, I use the very best ingredients I can afford, this always has an impact on the final flavour. And including locally grown, British produce give me a sense of pride at how incredible our farmers are here in the U.K. Supporting British farmers and also British businesses, such as Room Forty who provide an Afternoon Tea service, is something that I am passionate about. Our country has a wealth of talented people who produce an amazing array of produce and products. While they may be a little more expensive than mass produced imports, what they have in abundance is love and care. Resulting in far higher quality produce grown and made by people who are passionate about what they do.

Do you consider where your food comes from when grocery shopping?

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

The British Tomato Association gifted me the tomatoes produced by Eric Wall to sample and taste during British Tomato Fortnight #BTF19. I have not been paid or received any financial gain for writing this blog post. All opinions, views and content are my own. No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

 

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Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova

Spring and Summer for me are all about fresh berries. While, there is little that compares to a ripe, sun warmed, freshly picked Strawberry, their shop bought counterparts can be a disappointment. Whereas raspberries, have a more intense flavour that is rarely dulled, even when frozen. Being both tart and sweet, they add extra fruit intensity to this Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova.

FF Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova

After receiving some Raspberry Vinegar to try, my immediate thought was to include it in a Pavlova. Since white wine or balsamic vinegar are used in my other Pavlova recipes such as this Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova, it seemed ideal. And with the addition of freeze dried raspberries it adds a subtle raspberry flavour to the baked meringue. While also creating the marshmallow inner to this meringue’s crispy, outer shell.

FF Meringue With Lemon Curd And Raspberries
Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova

Since I personally do not have a very sweet tooth the tart raspberries, along with the golden lemon curd balance perfectly with the Pavlovas sweetness. And as the meringue whites are used for the Pavlova I wanted to come up with a fresh lemon curd recipe that only needed yolks. Following research online I cobbled together half a dozen different recipes and came up with my own. Resulting in a tart lemon curd that just holds it’s shape.

 

FF Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova
Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova

I have made this Pavlova four times. Because of the fresh raspberries in the vinegar it colours very quickly if baked at the usual fan oven temperature of 140C. So, you will find in the method that this Pavlova is baked at a much lower temperature than you might normally expect. Since baking at a lower temperature results in a crispy outer and marshmallow inner for this Pavlova, without it browning on the outside.

Recipe: Gluten Free Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova serves 6-8

For the Pavlova Base:

4 Large Free Range Eggs – yolks separated from whites

200g/7oz Caster Sugar

1 tsp Raspberry Vinegar – I use Womersley Foods alternatively use 1 tsp White Wine Vinegar

1 tsp Cornflour (corn starch) – I use  Doves Farm it is certified gluten free

Optional – 3 tbsp Freeze Dried Raspberries – available online and from Waitrose

For the Lemon Curd:

4 – 6 Large Unwaxed Lemons – if waxed scrub with brush in hot soapy water, rinse and dry – finely zested and then squeezed to yield 200mls fresh lemon juice

200ml Tap Water

125g/4.5oz Caster Sugar

100g/4oz Unsalted Butter cut into cubes

3tbsp Cornflour dissolved in 2tbsp Tap water

4 Egg Yolks from separated eggs

Topping:

400-500g/1lb Fresh Raspberries

Optional – 2tbsp Freeze Dried Raspberries

Method: preheat oven to 140C/120C, 275F, gas mark 1

Making The Pavlova

  • First of all, make sure the mixing bowl is scrupulously clean. I always wipe around the inside with half a cut lemon.
  • Pour the egg whites into the bowl and whisk at high speed until they hold a stiff peak. See the first image below.
  • While the whisk is still running add sugar slowly, one tablespoon at a time. Continue until all the sugar is added. Stop the whisk and rub a little of the meringue mixture between your finger and thumb. It should feel smooth not gritty. Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
  • Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Draw a 20cm/8in circle on the reverse of the paper. Use small dollops of meringue to stick the parchment to the baking sheet.
  • As soon as the meringue is ready stop the whisk. Add the raspberry vinegar, cornflour and freeze dried raspberries. Fold the ingredients carefully into the meringue using a large metal spoon.
  • Scoop all of the meringue on to the baking sheet. Use a palette knife to create a disc that is slightly higher around the edge than the centre.
FF Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova
Making the Pavlova with added raspberry flavour.

Baking And Cooling The Pavlova

  • Place the Pavlova into the lower part of the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 120C/100C fan, 250F, gas mark 1/2. Continue to bake for a further 1 hour 50 minutes. Switch the oven off and leave the Pavlova to cool in the oven.
  • While the Pavlova is baking make the lemon curd.

Making The Lemon Curd

  • Place the lemon zest, juice and sugar into a heavy bottom saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Next add two cubes of butter to the pan, whisking gently until dissolved. Repeat as before until all of the butter has been used.
  • Pour the cornflour slurry into the pan and whisk to incorporate. Cook until the mixture is thickened and starts to bubble gently.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Whisking continuously add one egg yolk at a time. Heat from the pan will cook the yolks.
FF Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova
Preparing the fresh Lemon Curd.m
  • Place a sieve over a jug or bowl and pour the lemon curd through the sieve. Any lumps or remnants of egg white will be removed leaving a velvety, smooth curd.
  • Put cling film direct on top of the curd to stop a skin from forming as it cools.
  • Place the lemon curd in a cold place to cool. Refrigerate
FF Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova
Straining and cooling the Lemon Curd.

Assembling The Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova

  • As soon as the Pavlova is cooled remove from the oven.
  • Do not attempt to assemble the Pavlova until the lemon curd is cold.
  • Pour the cold lemon curd on to the centre of the Pavlova. Not all of the curd may be needed. Pour any excess into a clean jar and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
  • Place raspberries on top of the lemon curd so that it is covered generously.
FF Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova
Assembling the Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova.
  • Finally sprinkle freeze dried raspberries around the edge of the Pavlova.
FF Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova
Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova

Refrigerate the Pavlova for at least 30 minutes prior to serving. Unusually this Pavlova will sit in the fridge for a day and be perfect to serve. Making this an ideal make ahead dessert. Both Pavlova and lemon curd can be made the day before.

Slice to serve with a jug of pouring cream.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova you may also enjoy these:

Lemony Strawberry Pavlova

FF Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova
Lemony Strawberry Pavlova

Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova

FF Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova
Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova

Strawberry Topped Chocolate Heart Pavlova

FF Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova
Strawberry Topped Chocolate Heart Pavlova

I find that making and baking a Pavlova is easier than it may seem. And, as with anything, practice will improve technique and confidence. Since Pavlovas are incredibly easy to transport, they make an ideal dessert to take to friends or family. I take all the separate components, baked Pavlova, cream and fruit and then assemble on site. Because Pavlovas have an undeserved reputation for being tricky to make, sharing them with friends simply adds to the wow factor. Additionally this meringue is completely gluten free, enabling more people to enjoy this dessert.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies

Being a self confessed ‘Cookie Monster’ I am always trying to master the best cookie recipe ever. A little dramatic I know, yet one thing has always eluded me. Most particularly in a chocolate cookie. That soft chewiness that is the reward from a bakery bought cookie. Not any more! Finally, after weeks of practise and recipe adjusting I have mastered a new cookie. And I share it with you here for the very first time; Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies.

FF Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies
Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies.

Large soft and chewy chocolate cookies packed with both milk and white chocolate chips. Because if they can be bought, we want to make them at home. Right? And, since the recipe is simple and easy to follow, everyone who wants to can make and bake these. I really am super thrilled to share these cookies with you.

FF Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies

The Perfect Bakery Chocolate Cookie At Home

While sugar and chocolate are the major ingredients in the cookies, they most definitely aren’t teeth achingly sweet. Both flavour and texture are balanced, resulting in a perfect bakery style cookie. Either served warm or cold these cookies do not disappoint.

Triple Chocolate Cookies
Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies

Baking time really is key who achieving the perfect result with these cookies. As a guideline it is better to under bake, similar to Brownies, in order to get the soft texture. If, once the cookies have cooled for 5 minutes after baking, they won’t hold their shape when transferring, place back into the oven for a further 2 minutes baking.

Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies
Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies

Recipe: Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies – makes 20

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter very soft

100g/4oz Caster Sugar

200g/7oz Light Brown Muscavado Sugar

1/2 tsp Sea Salt (halve if using free flowing) – I use Maldon

2 tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

1 Whole Large Free Range Egg plus 1 Egg Yolk

175g/6oz Plain White Flour

75g/3oz Good Quality Cocoa Powder – I use Callebaut

1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

200g/7oz White Chocolate Chips

200g/7oz Milk or Dark Chocolate Chips

Method: Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, 325F, gas mark 3

Making The Chocolate Cookie Dough

  • First of all, line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment.
  • Into a large, heatproof, microwaveable bowl add the butter, salt and both sugars.
  • Heat the butter and sugar on medium, in the microwave for 30-40 seconds, until the butter just starts to melt. Remove from the microwave.
  • Whisk the butter, sugar and salt together until smooth, pale and creamy.
  • Add the whole egg and extra yolk, plus the vanilla extract.
  • Whisk the ingredients together until fully combined.
  • Place a sieve over the bowl and add the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Add all of the chocolate chips to the bowl.
FF Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies
Making triple chocolate cookie dough.
  • Stir all of the ingredients together with a spoon until they are just combined.
  • Spoon a heaped dessert spoon of cookie dough on to the baking parchment.
  • Place 3 more scoops of cookie dough, spaced well apart, on to the same baking tray.
  • Repeat with the second baking tray.

Baking The Triple Chocolate Cookies

  • Place the baking trays in the middle and lower part of the oven.
  • Bake for 14-16 minutes depending on cookie size. The cookies pictured below baked for 14 minutes.
  • During the baking process the cookies will rise slightly and then collapse. As soon as they collapse remove from the oven.
FF Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies
Portioning and baking the cookies.
  • Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray and then transfer, using a wide palette knife, to a cooling rack.
  • Flip the baking parchment over and when the baking tray has cooled spoon cookie dough portions as before.
  • Continue until all of the cookies are baked.
Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies

Serve the cookies warm or cold with fresh milk for a classic sweet treat. Also you can place cooled cookies in pretty cellphone bags and share with friends, at cookie swaps or take to the workplace for a mid week treat!

Store in an airtight container and eat within a week.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies you may also like these:

Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

FF Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies
Sour Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

FF Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies
Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Caramac Caramel Cookies

FF Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies
Caramac Caramel Cookies

There is nothing I enjoy more than biting into THE perfect cookie. Accompanied with fresh milk or a hot cup of tea, for me this is the perfect indulgent treat. While I am not suggesting you bake these cookies everyday, I do believe in balance. Rather than having dessert after a meal, one of these Bakery Style Soft Triple Chocolate Cookies satisfies my need for something sweet!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

For me, nothing quite compares to the beauty, taste and smell of homemade bread. Four ingredients, flour, yeast, water and salt, when mixed together, worked, rested, shaped and baked give such incredibly satisfying results. Bread is surely the heart of any feast and therefore, teaching  others to bake it is of upmost importance to me. Using step by step instructions and photographs, you too can learn how to make and bake this Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf.

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf.

Bread Making Is Easy To Learn And Bake At Home

Inspired by a friend on Twitter, who claimed that bread baking was beyond her, I set out to show her she could. While she is a very accomplished baker, far more so than me, bread is her baking stumbling block. Everyone can make bread. Are you wary of baking bread? With this guide and a relaxing cup of tea, read through and then get baking!

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf soft crumb with crunchy crust.

Following the techniques and tips in this recipe will guarentee that you too, can make delicious, homemade bread. Also the more that you practise, the more confident and better you will get a baking bread at home. It is important to remember that occaisionally a loaf of bread will turn out mishapen. Rarely is it inebible though!

Two balls of bread on top of each other with the bottom one larger than the top. Grooves scored around the outside.
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

Recipe: Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

320mls Water at room temperature

1/2tsp Caster Sugar

7g Dried Yeast make sure that is reasonably fresh (3 months old max) – I use Allinson in the green tub/sachets

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Bread Flour – I use Shipton Mill

25g/1oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

7g Sea Salt – I use Maldon

Method: For making by hand or using a stand mixer with dough attachment.

You will need a large, buttered baking tray.

Making The Bread Dough Using A Stand Mixer:

  • Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer in the order that they are listed. This ensures that the yeast does not come into direct contact with the yeast.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Adding ingredients to the bowl in the correct order.
  • With dough hook attached mix on low speed until all the ingredients are combined.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Ingredients have come together to form a dough.
  • At this point if you wish to knead by hand, scrape the dough from the dough hook into the bowl. See making by hand method.
  • Continue mixing the dough on medium speed for a further 10 minutes.
  • After the kneading time has elapsed stop the machine and tear off a small piece of dough. Stretch it between your fingers until it is so thin that light can be seen through it. This is known as the windowpane test. If it tears whilst stretching, add back to the dough and continue to mix for a further 2 minutes as before. Repeat after each mixing period until the dough passes the test.
  • Scrape the dough from the dough hook into the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel.
  • Place the covered bowl in a draught free place, away from a direct heat source.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
No shaping, simply leave the dough in a bowl and cover.
  • Leave until the dough has doubled in size.

Making The Dough By Hand

  • Place the flour and butter into a large bowl.
  • Rub the butter into the flower using your fingertips.
  • Add the sugar and yeast to the bowl on one side. Place the salt on the opposite side, so that it doesn’t come into direct contact with the yeast.
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour and then add all of the water.
  • Using your hand, shaped like a claw, bring the dry ingredients into the water and mix them together.
  • Continue mixing in the bowl until the dough has formed a sticky ball.
  • Place the dough on to a clean worktop and push with the heal of your hand to tear and stretch the dough. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic.
  • Tear a small piece of the dough and perform the windowpane test as described above. If the dough tears knead for a further 2 minutes and test again.
  • Repeat the kneading and testing procedure until the dough passes the windowpane test.
  • Form the dough into a ball, place in a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size.

Shaping And Building The Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

For both methods given:

  • When the dough has doubled in size turn out on to a lightly floured surface, ensuring the top of the dough is in contact with the worktop. What was the top is now the bottom.
  • Weigh the dough and cut off one quarter.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Turning out and dividing the dough
  • Starting with the larger piece of dough, stretch and pull one side and press down into the opposite side.
  • Now stretch and pull the opposite side. Press down as before.
  • Turn the dough and repeat 4 more times, where the edge is rough and untouched, until your dough resembles the bottom right photo.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Building tension into the dough.
  • Flip the dough over and create a ball shape. Cup your hands around the dough, tucking and turning to create a tight ball shape.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Creating a ball shaped dough using your hands.
  • Place the dough ball base of the cottage loaf, on to a prepared baking tray.
  • Repeat the streching/pulling process with the smaller piece of dough, then shape into a ball.
  • Place the smaller ball centrally on top of the base.
  • With two floured fingers push down, through the centre of the top ball, tight into the base. Doing so joins the top and bottom together, creating one loaf.
  • Score the top 6 times and the bottom 12 times. Cut vertically, from top to bottom.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Assembling the Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

Proving The Cottage Loaf A Second Time

  • Cover with a tea towel, leave in a draft free place until doubled in size, 45 – 60 minutes.
  • While the loaf is undergoing its second prove, preheat your oven to it hottest setting. Usually 250C/230C, gas mark 9, 500F.
  • 15 minutes before the loaf is ready, place a pan with 5cm/1″ of water in the base of the oven. The steam created will delay the forming of a hard crust on the loaf, allowing maximum expansion, also called oven spring, to take place.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf ready for the oven.

Baking The Cottage Loaf

  • As soon as the loaf has doubled in size it is ready to bake.
  • Remove the tea towel and place in the middle/lower part of the oven. Make sure there is enough height room, allowing for oven spring, when placing your loaf in the oven.
  • Bake for 5 minutes at the hottest temperature and then reduce the oven temperature to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 450F.
  • Continue to bake for a further 35-45 minutes.
  • The loaf is baked when it is a deep golden colour, feels light (not heavy and dense) in your oven glove protected hands and most importantly sounds hollow when rapped on the top and base with a knuckle.
  • Remove from the oven and place immediately on to a cooling rack.
FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf golden and delicious.

An incredible homemade, home baked artisan style bread.

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf with deeper slashes.

Serve sliced as open sandwiches, or toasted. Alternatively serve as an accompaniment to a meal, such as Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole.

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

Best eaten within a day of making, this bread will keep for up to 4 days in a bread bin, which allows air to circulate. Do not to keep in an airtight container as it may go mouldy very quickly.

FF Cottage Loaf Breadmaking Tutorial

To freeze, thoroughly cool, then double wrap in cling film. Keep in the freezer for no longer than a month. Defrost at room temperature and refresh by placing in a moderate oven for 10 minutes.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf then you make also like these:

Farmhouse White Loaf

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Farmhouse White Loaf

Seeded Cob Loaf

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Seeded Cob Loaf

Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

Baking bread is such a rewarding experience. Whether you make the entire loaf by hand, or enlist the help of kitchen machinery, each loaf will be far superior in both flavour and quality than it’s mass produced counterpart. Even if you have a great bakery in your local vicinity, baking your own means you can make unusual, rarely seen loaves such as this Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, enjoy preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced without the written consent of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

I am entering my Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf in the #GBBOBloggers2017 linky hosted by http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk

 

FF Easy Homemade Cottage Loaf

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Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake

Someone once said “A celebration without cake is just a meeting.” How right they were. Whether it is birthdays, weddings, christenings, or any other form of celebration, cakes almost always feature. Recently Hawkshead Relish won Small Business Of The Year 2017. Having reviewed and used their delicious jams, chutneys and more recently spreads, I was absolutely thrilled for them. To celebrate their award I offered to make a cake featuring their best selling Raspberry and Vanilla Jam. Here is the Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake made in celebration of such an amazing achievement.

FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake.

Three layers of light, vanilla sponge, sandwiched together with vanilla bean buttercream and raspberry vanilla jam. Covered lightly, yet incompletely with the same buttercream. Most of all, giving a very ‘on trend’ semi-naked finish to the cake. Finished with edible garden flowers, from my garden, that reflect the geographic location of Hawkshead Relish, situated in the historic village of Hawkshead within the English Lake District.

FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake in the sunshine.

Embellish with relish

Using locally sourced ingredients Hawkshead Relish do not use any artificial additives or preservatives. Completely free from nuts, their range is also suitable for vegetarians. Holding 50 Great Taste awards, each product is made in small batches using traditional methods. Resulting in outstanding taste and quality, from a family run business.

FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake layered with buttercream and the very best jam.

Using the Hawkshead Relish motto “Embellish with Relish,” it has been my pleasure creating recipes that include their products. While creating Red Onion Sausage Plait, the Red Onion Marmalade is a vital ingredient to the finished bake. So unique are the  flavour of chutneys and sauces, they deserve more than to be spooned on to the side of a plate. Since including relish within recipes, a whole world of flavour combinations became unlocked.

Recipe: Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake serves 14-16

  • To make the 3 cake sponges:
  • 275g/10oz Unsalted Butter + 100g/4oz both at room temperature
  • 275g/10oz Caster Sugar + 100g/4oz
  • 3tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey
  • 1/4tsp + 1/8tsp Sea Salt  – I use Maldon
  • 6 Large Free Range Eggs + an additional 3
  • 275g/10oz Plain White Flour + 100g/4oz
  • 2.5tsp Baking Powder + 1tsp
  • To make the buttercream:
  • 500g/12oz Icing Sugar
  • 250g/9oz Unsalted Butter softened to room temperature
  • 2tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 2  Jars Raspberry and Vanilla Jam from – Hawkshead Relish
  • 2-3tbsp Very Hot Water from a recently boiled kettle
  • To decorate the cake:
  • A selection of organic, pesticide free edible flowers. Both mint and lavender flowers were sourced from our garden.

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3

Making the cake:

You will need 3 x 18cm/7″ approx 7cm/2.5″ deep, loose bottom sponge tins. As most people own only 2, this method is written with that taken into account. Therefore, two separate bakes are included. First of all making the batter and baking two sponges. Followed by making the batter and baking one sponge. Finally, should you own and have oven space for three sponges to be made and baked together, simply follow the steps, using the total ingredients.

  • First of all, lightly butter the baking tins. Cover the base in baking parchment.
  • Into a large bowl add the first amount of sugar, butter and salt.
  • Whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Next add 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 6 whole eggs.
  • Whisk everything together until combined.
  • Follow by sieving in the flour and baking powder.
  • Whisk the ingredients together until combined. Always take care not to over beat, or the resulting cake will be tough.
  • Divide the cake batter equally between 2 greased and lined tins. If using the entire mix divide between 3 tins.
  • Place the tins in the top and centre of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.
FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Preparing and baking the cake sponges.
  • When they have turned golden brown and spring back from a light touch the cakes are fully baked.
  • Remove from the oven, allowing each cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.
  • Wash up one cake tin and follow the steps given to make a single sponge cake.
  • Make and bake as before. Each of the 3 sponges must be fully cooled before icing.

Building your cake:

During the cake icing process, chilling of the iced cake in a fridge is required. Therefore a cake board, or flat plate is needed for transferring the cake. Also a cake decorating turntable is helpful for ensuring a smooth even finish to the buttercream. Alternatively use a cake stand large enough to accommodate the cake board/plate. A palette knife and large piping bag are also required.

Making the buttercream:

  • Into a large bowl add the softened butter and vanilla bean paste.
  • Sieve the icing sugar into the same bowl.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of very hot water from the kettle and start whisking the ingredients on a low speed.
  • Continue whisking until the buttercream has turned very pale and has a light, creamy consistency.
  • Place the cake board on to the cake stand.
  • Next, put a small dollop of buttercream on to the centre of the board. Spread the icing so that it is slightly smaller than the diameter of a cake sponge.
  • Lay the first sponge, flat side uppermost on to the board. The buttercream anchors the cake to the board, providing a stable base.
  • Spread 4 generous tablespoons of jam on to the cake. Leave a 2cm gap between the jam and the edge of the cake.
  • Next, take a separate sponge and add a generous dollop/4tbsp of buttercream to the top.
  • Using a palette knife, spread the buttercream evenly so that it covers the sponge.
  • Carefully lift and flip the sponge, placing it on top of the jam sponge, buttercream side facing down. See the photos below for guidance.
FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Layering each sponge with jam and buttercream.
  • Repeat the last steps, with the remaining sponge. However, this time the sponge should be placed flat side down. Hence leaving the finished, stacked cake with a natural top.
FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
3 sponge cake layers stacked. Also covering the top in buttercream.

Creating a (semi) naked effect:

  • Spoon a generous amount/5tbsp of buttercream on to the top of the cake.
  • Again, using a palette knife, spread the buttercream so that it covers the top of the cake evenly.
  • Fill a large, disposable piping bag with the remaining buttercream. Snip the end of the bag to give a 1cm opening. A nozzle is not required.
FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Covering the cake sides with buttercream.
  • The purpose of piping buttercream is to fill in any gaps. Similar to plastering, buttercream is added and then smoothed on to the cake sides. During this process buttercream will be added and then taken off. Resulting in a ‘naked cake’ finish.
  • Pipe the buttercream in between each layer of the cake, including the base and the cake board. Take care not to get jam mixed with the buttercream.
  • Holding a palette knife at a slight angle to the side of the cake, slowly turn the cake stand. As the buttercream spreads across the cake it will also accumulate on the palette knife. Scrape the palette knife against the side of the butter bowl to remove any excess.
  • Continue turning the cake, piping buttercream on to any bare spots, until the sides of the cake are roughly covered. See bottom left photo above.

Creating a smooth finish:

  • The next stage is creating a smooth, even finish across the entire cake.
  • Fill a jug with very hot water. Wipe any buttercream from the palette knife and then place it in the hot water. Since the heat of the knife melts buttercream, it is very helpful in creating the smoothest finish.
  • Remove the palette knife, wipe off any water and then hold it flat against the side of the cake. Rotate the cake slowly. When you start to feel a dragging sensation, turn the knife over and repeat. Creating a completely smooth cake requires a lot of repetition of these steps. Repeat until the sides of the cake are smooth.
  • Now use the same technique for smoothing the cake top. As soon as the cake top is smooth, run a hot palette knife around the outside of the top cake layer. Creating a smooth top and sides is the aim.
  • While it is tempting to keep going, there does come a point at which the cake is satisfactorily smoothed. Part of the beauty of naked cakes, is their imperfect finish.
  • Clean off any buttercream on the cake board.
FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake before and after smoothing with a hot palette knife.
  • Chill the cake, uncovered, in the fridge for an hour. Chilling sets the buttercream prior to decorating.

Decorating the cake:

  • If using fresh flowers it is important to decorate the cake on the day it is to be served.
  • While the cake is chilling prepare the flowers for decoration. Remove lower leaves on stalks and trim flowers so that they can sit on top, or to the side of the cake.
  • Decorate using your chosen flowers. It is important to consider the cake from every angle whilst decorating.
FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Roses and herbs reflect the rural and natural products made by Hawkshead Relish.

Finally the Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake is ready to be served.

FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake.

Store any leftover cake, floral decorations removed, in an airtight container, ideally refrigerated.

FF Raspberry Vanilla Cake Decorated With Fresh Flowers

If you have enjoyed this Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake recipe, you may also like these:

Lemon Drizzle Whipped Cream Filled Giant Doughnut

FF Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake
Lemon Drizzle Whipped Cream Filled Giant Doughnut.

Strawberries And Cream Cake

FF Strawberries And Cream Cake
Strawberries And Cream Cake

Chocolate Honeycomb Sponge Cake 

FF Chocolate Honeycomb Sponge Cake
Chocolate Honeycomb Sponge Cake

Celebrating a special event, such as Hawhead Relish’s achievement, with cake, marks the occasion. Also other desserts such as cheesecakes and pavlova’s can make an impressive alternative. Especially as different dietary requirements may need catering for. I have made all the Pavlova recipes on Feasting is Fun are specifically gluten free, for that very reason. Because, including as many people as possible in a celebration is always important to me.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun creating your feast.

Sammie xx

Hawkhead Relish kindly supplied the used in this recipe. All opinions, views, content including photography are my own. No part of this post may be reproduced without the express written permission of its owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread

If you are a frequent visitor to this blog, you will know how much I enjoy making bread. While I am very happy to let kitchen appliances carry out the hard work, indeed for this loaf they are necessary, shaping the dough is always fun to do by hand. Since I first tried an eight strand plaited loaf last year, I have become hooked on intertwining lengths of dough and observing the final, baked result. This Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread is delicious and easy to make.

FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread a delicious breakfast.

Having re-tested the recipe and technique I have full confidence that you too can make this delicious bread. Even if you have never plaited before, the step by step photographs will show you how. Such a small amount of extra effort and you will be rewarded with a stunning loaf. While the smell of cinnamon dough, baking, will have you counting the minutes until your first slice!

FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread golden and bronzed with a hidden inner.

How Ingredients Affect The Final Bake

When baking, it always pays to use the very best ingredients available. However, not everyone’s budget can stretch to premium ingredients. If you can make one change here, I strongly recommend using free range, or organic eggs. Their golden yolks are what help give this loaf its amazing colour. Both in the bread itself and the egg wash, brushed on before baking. Resulting in both the golden and bronzed baked crust.

FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread beautiful inside and out.

Serving this bread, sliced for breakfast or as an afternoon treat with a hot drink, is sure to brighten anyone’s day. Since it is a large loaf, why not take it to work, pre-sliced and share with your colleagues? Since all food tastes better when it is shared, that is the only way to improve this bread. Simply by sharing it.

FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread simply delicious.

Recipe: Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread 

300mls Whole Milk

2 Large Free Range Eggs

1tsp Caster Sugar

10g Dried Yeast – I use Allinson in the green tub or sachets

600g/1lb 5oz Strong White Bread Flour – I use Shipton Mill

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter

10g Salt – I use Maldon

For the cinnamon filling:

75g/3oz Light Muscavado Sugar – I use Billington’s

4tsp Cinnamon

1 free range egg plus 1tbsp milk to brush over the loaf.

Method:

The method given for making this Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread uses a dough hook fitted to a stand mixer. The enriched dough is very, very sticky, prior to its first prove. Using a stand mixer ensures that the dough is kneaded properly. Resulting in a light textured crumb once baked.

Making The Brioche Bread Dough

  • First of all ensure that your kitchen is warm. It will really benefit the yeast, during the dough making process.
  • Measure the milk into a jug and warm in a microwave for 20 seconds. Ideally the milk should be body temperature 37C. However, do not overheat as it may kill the yeast.
  • Pour the milk into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Crack 2 eggs into the jug and add these to the milk in the bowl. I always break eggs into a separate container first. If any shell escapes it can then be removed and also, extremely occasionally, should an egg be bad, it will not spoil the whole recipe.
  • Next add the sugar and yeast. Swish the liquid about with clean fingers to break up the eggs and mix lightly.
  • On top of the liquid mix add the flour.
  • Now add the butter and salt.
  • Lower the dough hook into the bowl and mix on the slowest speed for 5 minutes. Then, gradually increase the speed to medium and mix for a further 5 minutes.
  • After the mixing time has elapsed stop the mixer.
  • Remove a small piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers. The dough is kneaded when it can be stretched so thinly that light can be seen through it. This is called the windowpane test.
  • If the dough tears before it can be fully stretched, lower the dough hook and continue mixing, checking every 3 minutes, until it passes the windowpane test.
  • Once the dough passes the windowpane test it is ready to prove. Scrape the dough from the dough hook and allow to drop into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and place somewhere warm and drought free.
  • Allow the dough to prove until doubled in size – approximately 1 hour.
  • While the dough is proving grease a large baking tray with butter. Also, into a small bowl, weigh out the sugar and add the cinnamon. Stir to mix and break up any large sugar lumps using your fingers. Set to one side.

Shaping The Dough And Adding The Cinnamon Mix

  • Once doubled in size turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Use your hand, or a dough scraper to remove all of the dough.
  • Shape the dough into a round and then weigh it. I use digital scales, placing the dough on to a piece of baking parchment. Make a note of the weight of the dough. Now divide that figure in 3.
  • Cut the dough into 3 pieces that are equal in weight.
  • Roll each piece of dough into a length and then flatten, using your hands or a rolling pin. Each flattened length of dough should measure 50cm/20″.
FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Preparing three dough strands for the cinnamon/sugar filling.
  • Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture down the middle of each piece of dough. Dividing it equally between three strands.
  • Dab a little tap water down the right side of the first strip of dough. Now bring the left side over and pinch to secure the sides together. Similar to making a sausage roll.
  • Continue until all three lengths of dough have their filling securely encased.
  • Roll each length of dough so that the join is underneath and not visible.
  • Join all three lengths of dough at the top. Place on top of each other and pinch together to secure.
FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Filling, securing and attaching the top of the plait.

Plaiting The Cinnamon Brioche Bread

  • Starting from left to right, number the strands 1, 2 and 3. Number 1 strand will always be to the left, 2 in the middle and 3 on the right.
  • Pass strand 1 over strand 2.
  • Now pass strand 3 over strand 2. Ensure the strands are not pulled tight and there should be no gaps.
  • Repeat the past two steps until the plait is finished. (Strand 1 over 2, then strand 3 over strand 2 and repeat.)
  • Pinch the bottom 3 strands together so that they are secure and look tidy.
  • Lift the plait using both hands at either end and place diagonally on to the greased baking tray.
  • Cover with a clean tea towel and leave, as before, in a draught free place.
  • While the plaited dough is proving preheat the oven to 240C/220C gas mark 9, 475F. Break an egg into a bowl, add the tablespoon of milk and whisk with a fork to mix.
  • Once the plaited dough has doubled in size use a soft pastry brush and carefully brush the egg wash over.
FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Plaiting and placing the brioche on to a baking tray before the egg wash.

Baking The Cinnamon Plait

  • Place the egg washed Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F. Continue to bake for a further 15-20 minutes.
  • The bread is baked when a deep, golden crust has formed and the base sounds hollow, when rapped with a knuckle.
  • Once baked remove the bread from the oven.
FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Beautifully baked Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread.
  • Slide a pallet knife under the baked bread, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack.
FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread cooled and sliced, revealing the hidden centre of each strand.

Allow the loaf to cool to body temperature before slicing. Attempting to slice while the bread is still hot will compact the bread. Also eating freshly baked, hot bread, is not good for our digestion!

Serve sliced with a smile and a complimenting drink.

FF Cinnamon Plaited Braided Brioche Bread

Placed in a bread bin, or wrapped loosely in foil, once fully cooled, this loaf will last up to three days. It can be toasted, although I’d advise not to use a toaster due to the sugar present. Under a grill, or even better, in front of a log fire, this bread makes excellent toast!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread you may also like these:

Large White Bloomer

FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Large White Bloomer

Knotted Poppyseed Rolls

FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Knotted Poppyseed Rolls

Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

FF Cinnamon Plaited Brioche Bread
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

Homemade bread is the most luxurious food, for me, to bake. Enticing smells as it is baking, make our house feel like a home. Appreciative comments when a fresh loaf is on the table, to be served with dinner, or for breakfast, make me smile. Not for the accolade, or indeed achievement, from others, of having made my own loaf. Simply the fact that I am giving my family, delicious, additive free, tasty bread, is enough to keep me baking.

What do you really enjoy cooking and baking? Who do you like to share it with?

Sammie xx

 

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Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake

Birthday season is upon us in the Feasting family. Cakes, bakes, canapés and celebration continue from now, right through to the New Year. Therefore, making this Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake with family in mind, resulted in a beautifully decorated, delicious cake, perfect for guys and girls of all ages.

FF Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake
Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake delicious citrus flavours all the way through.

So the cake itself is made using Wright’s Baking Orange Cake Mix, to which lemon zest is added. Baked as a single cake, it is then sliced into three layers which are sandwiched back together using tart lemon curd. The result, a balanced citrus flavoured cake, that wakes up your tastebuds ready to party!

FF Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake
Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake full of hidden fruit.

In addition, the decision to decorate the cake with piped buttercream roses, shows an increase in confidence with regard to piping. Creating an ombré effect, from pale lemon swirls to deeper tangerine lends a modern finish to this cake.

FF Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake
Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake a stunning centrepiece perfect for celebrating.

Since piping this Heart Engagement Bundt Cake, crumb coating, covering the whole cake in a thin layer of buttercream, was not an option, it was a must. Resulting in a cake that looks much cleaner, more professional, as well as any gaps between the roses are already covered.

FF Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake
Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake my entry for #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong

While not absolutely necessary, the added edible violas give the finished cake an elegant, yet natural touch. Their presence hints at the floral, citrus flavoured cake hidden by the piped roses.

Recipe: Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake serves 12-14

2 Packets Orange Cake Mix available from Wright’s Baking online shop you will need 1 1/2 packets of mix for this recipe

90ml Vegetable Oil – I use sunflower oil plus a little extra for greasing the cake tin

300ml Water

1 Large Free Range Egg

1tsp Lemon Zest – the zest of one regular lemon

Approx 1/2 jar Lemon Curd

For the ombre buttercream:

700g White Icing Sugar

350g Unsalted Butter – softened to room temperature

2tbsp Very Hot Water

Gel Food Colouring – Red and Yellow, or Orange – I use Wilton

1tsp Lemon Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

Optional – pesticide free viola flowers

Method: Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan, gas mark 3.5

You will need a 20cm/8″ diameter 8.5cm/3.5″ deep tin to bake this cake.

  • Starting with the cake tin, grease the entire tin and also line the base with parchment paper.
  • Into a large bowl add the water, egg, oil and one packet of the orange cake mix. Weigh the other packet of cake mix and divide in half. Add half of the packet contents to the bowl – it was approximately 260g. Please check the weight for yourself.
  • Whisk the ingredients together according to the instructions on the packet.
  • Finally add the finely grated zest of 1 lemon, approximately 1tsp, to the bowl. Whisk to distribute and combine.
  • Pour the citrus cake batter into the prepared tin.
FF Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake
Cake batter in the tin and ready for the oven.
  • Place the cake tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Test the cake at 1 hour 20 minutes with a skewer. The cake is baked when an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remov from the oven, place on a rack and allow the cake to cool completely in the tin.

FF Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake

    Breath in the rich, citrus, homebaked aroma.
  • When the cake has cooled turn it out of the tin. Also if necessary, run around the outer rim of the cake with a palette knife. Doing this will loosen any slight sticking, that said Wright’s cake mixes are excellent and always turn out of the tin easily.

Preparing the cake for decoration:

  • During baking the cake rose slightly more in the centre. The cause may have been the addition of an  egg to the cake mixture, or, baking at a slightly higher temperature.
  • First cut off any dome on the top of the cake. Having a small rise in the centre is an advantage with the finished cake.
  • Slice the cake evenly into 3 layers. A serrated knife cuts cleanly through the cake, minimising crumbs.
  • Place the bottom layer, cut side up, on a board or cake stand.
  • Spread the bottom layer with an even, thin layer of lemon curd, so that it almost reaches the edges.
  • Next, place the middle layer on top of the bottom layer, matching up the sides.
  • Again, spread a thin, even layer of lemon curd on to the cake, keeping just inside the edges.
  • Finally place the top of the cake on to the middle layer.
FF Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake
Shaping, slicing and then reassembling the cake.

Preparing the cake:

  • Place the softened butter into a large bowl.
  • Sift the icing sugar into the same bowl.
  • Next add the very hot water and lemon extract.
  • Finally whisk the ingredients together, starting on a slow speed and increasing the speed, until you have a pale, fluffy, lump free, buttercream.
  • Remove 3 heaped tablespoons of the buttercream and set aside to crumb coat the cake. First place the buttercream on the top of the cake. Use an offset spatula to spread the icing across the top of the cake, gently pushing it over the sides. Rotating the stand, or board, gradually cover the sides of the cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Finish by dipping a palette knife into hot water, drying and running the hot knife over the cake, this will produce a smooth finish. Place the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set slightly.

Colouring the buttercream:

  • Divide the remaining buttercream equally, between 3 bowls.
  • Use cocktail sticks, gel food colouring and a teaspoon to stir, start colouring the icing. It is easier to achieve the lightest colour, which is piped on to the top of the cake, first. Doing so sets the shade and tint of the icing.
  • Following on, add more colouring to the next bowl, until the shade is correct. Finishing with the last bowl and deepest colour, add extra red and yellow gel until the desired deeper colour is obtained.
  • To pipe the buutercream, fit 3 large, disposable piping bags with large star piping nozzles – Wilton #1M. Fill each bag with a separate shade of buttercream. Label the piping bags light, medium, dark, so they are distinguishable.
FF Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake
Natural lemon flavoured buttercream and the 3 shades created for the ombré effect.

Decorating the Cake:

  • Starting right in the centre, on top of the cake, using the lightest shade, pipe the first rose. Begin in the centre of the rose, keeping pressure steady on the bag pipe a star, continuing into an e shape, then continuing round to form a rose swirl.
  • Continue working evenly around the centrally piped rose, piping more rose swirls. Carry on until the top of the cake is covered, or almost covered, in evenly piped rose swirls.
  • Following on, use the next shade darker, pipe rose swirls around and inbetween the lighter shade, then pipe evenly around the side of the cake.
FF Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake
The image on the right shows the colour difference.
  • Complete the cake by piping the darkest shade around the base of the cake. The full ombré effect is then complete.
FF Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake
Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake very effective.
  • For the very best results place the piped cake into the fridge, or somewhere cold, for 30 minutes.
  • Just prior to serving add the edible violas.
FF Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake
Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake perfect with a Buck’s Fizz!

Beautifully baked, evenly distributed fruit, decorated with rose swirls, this Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake demonstrates how easy it is to create a sensational cake using a mix.

Because of my health limitations, creating this cake from scratch would be too much for me. Of most importance, my aim, to show how the ombré piping effect is achievable, at home, with a little practice. Secure in the knowledge that the cake underneath is reliably good. A couple of badly piped roses were removed, using a butter knife and re-piped. Practice and making mistakes is how we learn to improve our skills.

If you have enjoyed the recipe for this Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake you may also like these:

Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

FF Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake
Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake also uses Wright’s cake mixes.

Fluted Chocolate Lemon Marble Cak

FF Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake
Fluted Chocolate Lemon Marble Cake.

Strawberry Sweetheart Cake

FF Orange Lemon Ombre Piped Rose Cake
Strawberry Sweetheart Cake

Beautiful cakes do not have to be difficult to create. Since I am most definitely not an accomplished cake decorator, I have learned a few decorating techniques that enable me to finish a cake to a good standard.

Most of all I hope you have been inspired to try out a new technique? Also homemade cakes taste infinitely better than their supermarket counterparts. While they are convenient, no amount of love, has, at any stage been added to the cake. Whereas baking at home creates a unique, delicious cake that will prompt huge smiles from the recipient and those who share in the celebration and cake!

Sammie xx

 

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Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

Hello, I have an exciting recipe to share today. Since I first admiring the variety of Drip Cakes on Pinterest I have wanted to make one. This past weekend with the help of 2 Wright’s Baking cake mix kits, I did it (full recipe instructions for making this cake from scratch are included).  Finally, I have now made this Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake
Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

Had it not been for the cake mixes from Wright’s I honestly would not have had the energy to make this cake. Yet, I proved that with a little bit of patience and guidance anyone can make a drip cake using great packet mixes, plus some extra chocolate and strawberries.

The Chocolate and Victoria sponge mixes create cakes that are as light as clouds. I baked the cakes on Saturday and then assembled and decorated this gorgeous Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake on the Sunday.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake
Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

You Too Can Make This Drip Cake :

If you have ever wanted to make a drip cake, yet been too scared or overwhelmed to try? Use the following step by step photographs and instructions to show you how. You need not be a proficient baker or cake decorator, yet you CAN make this Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake.

Taking you through every stage, you will learn how to achieve a stunning drip cake. Once you have learnt the basics you can create all different kinds of drip cakes. I wanted to keep my cake simple, yet elegant. The chocolate dipped strawberries add height and a pop of colour.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake
Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

Above all, I never dreamt that my Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake would turn out so well.

Pushing Out Of My Cake Decorating Comfort Zone:

Because cake decorating isn’t my strongest skill, learning new techniques can be challenging. Also sometimes my hands can be really shaky, resulting fewer cake recipes making it on to the blog.

What I’m trying to say is, I’m just like you. Yes I’ve learnt to pipe roses with buttercream, but that really is the extent of my cake decorating knowledge. So my hope is to teach you how to create a show stopping cake and that, with a little patience you too can create one!

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake
Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

There’s No Shame In Using Great Quality Cake Mixes:

Starting with a good quality boxed cake mix from Wright’s meant that all my concentration could be used decorating the cake. I will be creating recipes with different flavours, colours and toppings in the future, but for my first drip cake, all I wanted to concentrate on was creating that iconic ‘drip’!

Chocolate and vanilla were chosen simply because the inside of the cake would then reflect the beautiful outside. The cake mixes are so easy to whip up and bake, plus the buttercream mixture is included in the box. All I needed to add was butter.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake
Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

Note: in order to decorate this cake successfully you will need a large palette knife (not a small offset one – that I mention in some of my recipes). Also if making the cake using my recipes you will have ire than you need. Perhaps you could bake an extra layer?

Recipe: Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake serves 10-12

1 Chocolate Sponge Baking Kit – from Wright’s Baking

1 Victoria Sponge Baking Kit – also from Wright’s Baking

Alternatively use the  cake batter recipe for my Apricot White Chocolate Triple Sponge Cake

( Make the cake batter as instructed in the recipe. Use half of the vanilla batter to bake 2 plain sponges. Add 75g Cocoa powder and 2tbsp milk to the remaining batter, stir gently until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Bake the chocolate sponges as instructed.)

2tbsp Butter for greasing the sandwich cake tins

240g Unsalted Butter- softened to room temperature

200g White Chocolate – I use Waitrose Belgian white chocolate

100g Dark Chocolate minimum 70% Cocoa Solids

15 Good Quality Fresh Strawberries medium/large in size – if only very large strawberries are available you may want to use fewer.

Note: if making your own buttercream you will need 250g unsalted butter, 100g good quality cocoa powder (sifted) and 400g icing sugar (sifted), prepare as for the buttercream including the 2tbsp very hot water.

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4, 350F

Making And Baking The Sponge Cakes:

  • Grease 2 x 7″ (17.5cm) sandwich cake tins and line the base with baking parchment.
  • Make up one packet – I used the Victoria sponge mix first – according to the instructions on the box.
  • Divide the cake batter equally between the 2 tins.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

  • Place the sponge tins in the centre of the oven and bake for 15- 20 minutes. The sponges are baked when they are a golden colour and spring back from a light touch. Mine took just under 20 minutes to bake. Also, baking times may vary slightly if making from scratch*.
  • As soon as the cakes are baked remove from the oven.
  • Allow the sponges to cool for 5 minutes, then run a palette knife around the outside rim of the cake.
  • Turn the cake out gently and place right side up on a cooling rack.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

  • Wash up the sponge tins in warm soapy water, dry, grease and line the bases as before.
  • Make up the chocolate sponge mix according to the packet instructions.
  • Divide the cake batter equally between the 2 tins and bake in the middle of the oven, as before for 15 – 20 minutes. Mine were baked at 15 minutes.
  • As soon as the chocolate sponges are baked remove from the oven. See note * above.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

  • After 5 minutes cooling run a palette knife around the outside of the cake, turn out gently and allow to cool on a rack.
  • Once cool your cake is ready to assemble and decorate.

Making The Frosting And Assembling The Cake:

  • Gently peel the parchment paper away from the base of each sponge.
  • Whisk/beat 240g of softened butter in a large bowl.
  • Add both packets of buttercream mix – chocolate and vanilla.
  • Slowly whisk until they are incorporated into the butter.
  • OPTIONAL – I always add 1-2 tablespoons of very hot water to any buttercream that I make. I added 2 tablespoons to the buttercream mixture. I would not advise adding water if you are using stork or other margarines.
  • Continue whisking until you have a smooth, glossy, chocolate buttercream.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

  • I recommend using either a cake board or a flat plate placed on a cake stand, or cake decorating turntable. I used a cake board on top of my cake stand. This is so that once covered in buttercream, the cake, will fit into the fridge to chill.
  • First of all add a generous tablespoon of buttercream to the cake board, this helps anchor the cake whilst it is being assembled and decorated.
  • Place the first sponge flat side up on the centre of the board.
  • Using a palette knife thinly coat the upper, flat side of the sponge in buttercream.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

  • Next add the second chocolate sponge, again flat side up and cover with a thin layer of buttercream.
  • Continue in the same manner with the vanilla sponges, leaving the last sponge without a covering of buttercream.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

Covering The Cake With Buttercream Frosting:

  • Ensure that you have plenty of space to work around the cake. I moved mine to the dining room table where I was able to sit (better for my back) and cover the cake.
  • Add enough buttercream to cover the top of the cake evenly – approximately 0.5-1cm deep. Run the palette knife across the top to roughly smooth it.
  • Next add buttercream to the side of the cake near the top. Spread it with the palette knife so that it fills in the gaps between the sponges. I started at the top and rotated the cake stand, working my way down to the bottom of the cake as each sponge layer was covered. Always aim to keep the buttercream as even and smooth as possible, using a palette knife.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

  • The whole cake is now covered in buttercream with a roughly smoothed top and sides.
  • Fill a large jug with very hot water and have some pieces of kitchen paper to hand.
  • Clean the palette knife and let it sit, immersed in the hot water for a minute.
  • Remove the palette knife and wipe dry with the kitchen paper.
  • Hold the flat side of the palette knife to the side of the cake and smooth the buttercream. Repeat by dipping the palette knife back into the hot water, drying and smoothing, rotating the cake stand as you do so. This may take a little practice but you’ll soon get the hang of it.
  • The buttercream becomes very glossy and smooth. Continue until the sides are as smooth as you can get them.
  • Next smooth the top of the cake in exactly the same way.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

  • Use kitchen paper to gently go around the base of the cake and remove excess buttercream from the board. I remove any big lumps and then hold the kitchen paper to the board as I rotate the cake, gradually getting closer and closer to the cake.
  • Place the covered cake into the fridge to chill and set for 30 minutes.
  • When it is touch dry you may start to decorate it.

Decorating The Strawberries With Chocolate:

  • Break up the white chocolate into a heatproof microwaveable bowl.
  • Zap in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each heating session. When the chocolate has half melted remove the bowl from the microwave and continue stirring until all of the chocolate is melted.
  • Set to one side to cool.
  • Meanwhile break up the dark chocolate and melt in exactly the same way as for the white chocolate.
  • Dip half of the strawberries into the dark chocolate, ensuring they are completely covered with only the green showing, use a teaspoon to pour the chocolate near the top of the strawberry. Set the strawberries on to a silicone mat or some baking parchment.
  • Remove 2 tablespoons of the melted white chocolate and place in a small, disposable piping bag. Snip the very end off leaving a small hole.
  • Pipe lines across the uncovered strawberries and over the chocolate covered strawberries. You can also experiment with piping little dots on to the strawberries. Leave the strawberries to set.

Creating The Drip Effect:

  • Finally, while the white chocolate is still pourable but cooled you can start creating your drips.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

  • Using a spoon pour the cooled, melted chocolate around the edge of the cake encouraging drips to form by adding a little more chocolate in places. Aim for a variety of drip lengths around the outside of the cake.
  • Next spoon the remaining white chocolate on to the centre of the top of the cake. Use the spoon to spread it to meet the rim formed by the drips and then swirl with your spoon to give an attractive finish.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

Adding Chocolate Strawberries For A Spectacular Finish:

  • Gently add some strawberries to the back of the cake, building height by laying them on top of each other. Also add a few strawberries around the base to create a stunning, professional finish.
FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake
Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

Place the cake back into the fridge, especially during warmer weather, until it has set.

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake
Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake

Now take lots of photographs as it is great to have a visual reminder that you have accomplished something so stunning.

Importantly, keeping some of the strawberries red, with just a little piped white chocolate really makes the whole cake pop. Having a burst of colour stops the cake from being all brown and cream, which is definitely not as fun as a spot of red here and there!

If you have enjoyed the recipe and tutorial for making this Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake here are others you may also like:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Drip Cake

Black Forest Giant Doughnut

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake
Black Forest Giant Doughnut a stunning effect with little effort.

Fluted Chocolate Lemon Marble Cake

FF Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake
Fluted Chocolate Lemon Marble Cake a great cheat at making an amazing looking cake.

Finally, while not being the world’s best cake decorator means I can learn. Baking and decorating cakes should be fun. And it can be with instructions and photos to guide you through the process. Above all, cakes are made for sharing with friends, family and even the Post Lady!

Have I inspired you to try a new cake decorating technique?

Have fun decorating, making and baking your feasts.

Sammie xx

Wright’s Baking provided me with the cake mix kits to try. All content, opinions, views and photographs are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy. I am not a professional baker or cake decorator, any advice given is purely for guidance.

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Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry

Are you daunted by the prospect of making your own pastry? So many people are. Therefore, today I am going to show you how to make foolproof, Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry, that works for both sweet such as this Lemon Lime Merigue Pie and savoury bakes like this Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche

FF Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry

Having been taught to make pastry from an early age, I wonder if the fear that surrounds making it is simply that the skill is not being passed down, through the generations like it used to be. Another reason could be that Home Economics and cooking are not taught as widely as they once were. Likewise, commercially made pastry is readily available in most grocery shops. Yet nothing compares to the crisp, buttery flavour of homemade pastry.

FF Lemon Lime Meringue Pie
Lemon Lime Meringue Pie

Watching cookery programmes, where they may portray the ‘art’ of pastry making as a complicated process can be off putting. So it is understandable that some people are terrified to make pastry and therefore never attempt it. Today, in this tutorial, you will learn how simple it is to make Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry, that turn’s out beautifully every single time.

FF Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry
Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry great for quiches.

Keeping Things Simple

First of all, to reassure you, no kitchen machinery is used. Not even a food processor. Because, if I’m being completely honest, setting the food processor up in my kitchen takes longer than actually making the pastry by hand. So I really can’t be bothered with the hassle. Rather, the only two pieces of equipment I use are a dinner knife and pastry cutter.

If you haven’t seen or heard of a pastry cutter, they look like this.

FF Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry
Pastry Cutter

They can be purchased inexpensively from Amazon or kitchenware shops. And a quick glance on the internet has assured me that the cost is £5 or under.

Keeping It Chilled

Most importantly, the simple key to making good pastry, is to work quickly andyet not rush, while keeping everything as cold as possible. Please, please do not become neurotic about it, as I have seen with some people.

Since my personal experience is that whenever I am stressed, rushed or uptight about something, if I bake, it inevetiably goes wrong. Or at least isn’t my best baking. Therefore, making pastry while relaxed and using a reliable recipe should guarentee good results.

FF Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry
Fabulous pastry for all your tarts and quiches.

Choosing The Best Ingredients

So that’s mindset and equipment sorted, next are ingredients. I use unsalted butter in all of my baking as it tends to be better quality than salted and also allows me to control the amount of salt in the recipe. Organic, stoneground flour and organic or free range eggs will always produce the tastiest pastry. Finally, adding salt is more important than you may think as it enhances the pastry’s flavour.  And in comparison, very little is added to commercially available, ready made pastry.

Also, the quantity of cold water added, is a guide, as different batches of flour, butter and the weather, can all affect how much water is needed to bring the dough together.  Don’t panic I will walk you through every step.

Recipe: Make 900g/2lb Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry

Enough to make 2 x 25cm/10in tart cases.

400g/14oz Plain White Flour

200g/7oz Unsalted Butter – cold from the fridge and cut into cubes

1/4tsp Sea Salt Flakes – I use Maldon

2 Large Free Range Egg Yolks – I use Waitrose

own brand

Approx 180-200ml Cold Tap Water

Making The Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry Dough

  • First of all, into a large bowl add the flour, salt and cold cubed butter.

Ready to start 'cutting in' the butter.

  • Using the pastry cutter, push and twist it into the flour, rotating the bowl occasionally. Scrape any butter that has become stuck on the pastry cutter off using a regular dinner knife.
  • Keep cutting the butter into the flour until it is about the size of peas.

You can clearly see pieces of butter throughout the flour.

  • Note: the flour does not look like breadcrumbs. Traditionally this is how pastry making has been taught, to rub, or cut into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. If you do this your pastry will be ok. Yet, if you leave pea sized pieces of butter in the flour you will end up with Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry.
  • Next add the 2 egg yolks into the centre of the mix.

Look how beautifully golden the free range egg yolks are?

  • Add 150ml of cold tap water and stir the mixture using a dinner knife.
  • Continue adding water, in small amounts, 10mls, at a time, stirring with the knife until the pastry starts to come together.
  • Now switch to using your hands. Create a claw-like figure with your fingers. Gently bring the dough together, adding a little more water as necessary, until it just holds together in a rough ball shape.

The perfect All Butter Shortcrust Pastry ball.

  • Wipe the worktop surface with a clean, damp cloth, then lay over a large piece of cling film – the wet surface helps the cling film to stick and not move about.
  • Tip out the ball of pastry onto the cling film.
  • Wrap and shape into a large disc.

Your All Butter Shortcrust Pastry is now ready for some relaxation time!

Resting The Pastry

  • Place the wrapped pastry into the fridge and chill for at least one hour.
  • And now put the kettle on and congratulate yourself on making Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry.

This recipe makes enough pastry to bake a 2 x 25cm/10in quiches.

  • While the Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry is resting in the fridge, it is an ideal time to prepare the filling.

Rolling Out The Shortcrust Pastry

  • Remove the pastry from the fridge. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly.
  • Weigh the pastry where a recipe calls for a specific amount. Alternatively cut in half when making a quiche.
  • Shape one piece of the pastry into a ball.
  • Roll out gently from the centre of the pastry to the edge. Ensure the pastry keeps moving by dusting underneath lightly with flower.
  • Ideally the pastry should be about the thickness of a £1 coin – approx 1/4 inch.

FF Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry

Lining A Tin With Pastry

  • Loop the pastry around the rolling pin – this makes moving it easier and stops it stretching.
  • Gently allow the pastry to loosely fill your tin, remove the rolling pin.
  • Ease the pastry into the tin, if it is fluted be sure to press the pastry into each of the flutes avoiding stretching it.

FF Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry

  • Roll your rolling pin over the top of the tin and it will cut the edge of the pastry perfectly. See the first picture at the top of this blog.
  • Dock (press with a fork) the pastry base, as this helps steam escape and creates a flat base.
Docked un-cooked Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry tart.
  • Place the tart tin back in the fridge for 30 minutes, this really helps the pastry keep it’s shape when being baked.
  • Cut some baking parchment larger than the width of your tin.
  • Scrunch up and then lay on top of the pastry in the tin. Fill the baking parchment with ceramic baking balls.
FF Perfect ButterShortcrust Pastry
The ceramic baking balls keep the pastry’s shape as it bakes in the oven.

Blind Baking The Pastry

  • Place the pastry lined tins onto a baking tray and put in a preheated oven at 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • As soon as the baking time has finished remove the tin from the oven.
  • Using the baking parchment, lift the baking balls free from the pastry lined tin.
  • Place the baking balls in a heatproof bowl to cool.
  • Put the tart tins back in the oven and bake for another 5 minutes if using for a filled tart or quiche. If baking the tart shell until cooked, depending on size, bake for a further 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through.
FF Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry.
Beautifull be golden tart shell.

Look at the gorgeous Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry crust. Deliciously light and buttery.

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

As you can see from the photos this recipe really does produce Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry. Also the pastry has such a delicious flavour of it’s own, becoming part of the dish, not just a carrier of other flavours.

Unused Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry can be kept wrapped in cling film, in the fridge for up to 2 days, or it can be frozen, wrapped in cling film and popped into a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

Top Tip: Freeze any leftover pastry and after a while you’ll have enough for a recipe!

If you have enjoyed this Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry here are some other recipes you may like to try:

Quiche Lorraine

FF Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry
Smoked ham and cheese create a classic Quiche Lorraine.

Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche 

FF Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche
Cheddar Tomato Basil Quiche

Iced Bakewell Tart

FF Iced Bakewell Tart
Iced Bakewell Tart

Lemon Curd Sponge Tart

FF Lemon Curd Sponge Tart
Lemon Curd Sponge Tart

As with anything new, practising will improve your technique and consequently the pastry that you make. Since homemade pastry requires so few ingredients it is handy to know how to make your own. Whether it is for sweet or savoury bakes this pastry recipe works beautifully. Also, it is much cheaper to make your own from scratch compared to buying ready made. And you know exactly what has gone into making it.

So whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Lighter Wholemeal Loaf

Bread is an everyday staple for a lot of people. Yet finding a loaf that is light, tasty, with added fibre can be hard. Look no further my friends, as I present my Lighter Wholemeal Loaf.

FF Lighter Wholemeal Loaf

I must admit I am a bit of a ‘bread head’ – does that make me sound cool? By that, I mean that I adore most breads, providing they are well made, do not contain additives and have a flavour of their own that contributes to the final dish.

I do not live near an Artisan Bakery, where freshly baked bread, in all its array of shapes and flavours can be purchased. So instead I make our bread at home.

Lighter Wholemeal Bread full of flavour.
Lighter Wholemeal Bread full of flavour.

Extra Flavour And Extra Goodness From Your Loaf

This Lighter Wholemeal Loaf is one of our family’s favourite breads. The loaf slices beautifully and so is perfect for packed lunches, or toasted for breakfast and then slathered in homemade jam.

I have 100% wholemeal bread recipes such as my Wholemeal Cob Loaf and Wholemeal Loaf, yet if I’m honest, as delicious as they are, having the same bread every single day can get a bit boring. So I like to switch things up a bit, keeping our taste buds interested and in reality, ensuring our teenagers eat a decent portion of their lunch.

They say variety is the spice of life 😉

Lighter Wholemeal Loaf just add butter for a delicious feast.
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf just add butter for a delicious feast.

When I eat bread I want it to contribute to the flavour of the whole dish. What I mean is, it shouldn’t, mustn’t, just be a limp carrier for other flavours. The mature cheddar cheese and butter, as seen in the photo above, became my lunch yesterday – the perks of being a food blogger!

Yet this sandwich, with the addition of some Red Onion Marmalade, truly is one of my favourite lunches. While each component adds flavour and different textures, so that as a whole, the resulting sandwich was incredibly appetising and filling.

Lighter Wholemeal Loaf a heart, flavour packed lunch.
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf a hearty, flavour packed lunch.

Start The Bread Making Journey Using Good Quality Flour

I used a mixture of stone ground, organic strong flour from Shipton Mill to make this Lighter Wholemeal Loaf. The wheat, traditionally milled, using the flow of river water for energy needed to drive the grinding stones, is consistently excellent, while it’s production is sympathetic to and works in harmony with the environment.

So that I can guarentee you consistent, excellent results when making this Lighter Wholemeal Loaf, this recipe has been thoroughly tested, with the resulting loaf being approximately one third wholemeal flour. A 2:1 combination of Strong White to Strong Wholemeal flour gives a great, nutty, wholesome flavour, whilst keeping the bread light enough for everday use. And it is a great way of adding extra fibre into your own and your familiy’s diet, especially if their preference is for white bread.

Recipe: Makes one Lighter Wholemeal Loaf

150g/5oz Strong Wholemeal Flour – preferably organic plus a little extra for dusting the work top.

350g/12oz Strong Unbleached White Flour – preferably organic

360ml Tepid Tap Water

7g/1 Sachet Dried Yeast

1tsp Honey

7g/1tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon Sea Salt Flakes

25g/1oz Unsalted Butter

Method:

The ‘bowl’ is either a large bowl, with which to mix the bread by hand, or the stand mixer/bread maker bowl.

Making And Proving the Dough Using Three Different Methods

For all methods:

  • First of all, pour the water into the bowl. Add the honey and yeast. Swish about with clean fingers to activate the yeast.
  • Now add the flour on top of the liquid.
  • Add the salt and the butter.

When using a bread maker, set to dough cycle and start the program. As soon as the cycle is completed re-start for 1 minute. This ‘knocks back’ the dough.

If using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and mix on medium speed until the ingredients are combined. Continue to mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Stop mixing. Scrape the dough from the dough hook and combine with the dough in the bowl. Form into a ball, place back into the bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size (approx. 1hour). Gently punch the dough to knock it back.

Alternatively when hand mixing, bring all the ingredients together with your hand until they form a doughy mess! Place this dough onto a very lightly floured worktop. Knead for a good 10 minutes. If the dough gets sticky, keep kneading and working it – if you add extra flour the finished bread will be dry. After a good 10 minutes kneading, the dough should have a smooth elasticity. Place the kneaded dough into a oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size, 1-2 hours. Knock back as for stand mixer.

Shaping The Dough

To shape the dough: Tip the knocked back the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently flatten the dough into an oval/rectangle shape.

Flatten out the dough into a rough oval.
Flatten out the dough into a rough oval.
  • Fold the top third of the flattened dough over.

Fold the top third of the dough over.

  • Next fold the bottom third of the dough up and slightly over the previous fold.
Bring the bottom third of the dough up.
Bring the bottom third of the dough up.
  • Rotate the dough by a quarter, gently flatten out and repeat the folding process.
  • Repeat the turning and folding twice more, ensuring the last turn and fold is quite tight. This folding technique does not take long and unlike pastry, this bread dough can withstand being moved and worked. Most importantly the purpose of turning and folding is to build a good structure within the dough.
  • Once the folding and turning is complete turn the dough over so that it is seam side down.
  • Place into a greased 3lb loaf tin. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm, draught free place until doubled in size.
  • I also sprinkled some wholemeal flour over the top of the dough, this gives a nice, rustic finish to the baked bread.
Neat, tightly folded dough ready for its second prove.
Neat, tightly folded dough ready for its second prove.

The dough can take between 45 minutes and a couple of hours to double in size, depending on the ambient temperature and humidity.

Baking The Lighter Wholemeal Bread

  • While the dough has it’s final prove, preheat your oven to it’s hottest setting.
  • 5 minutes before your loaf is due to be baked, fill a tray with ice cubes and place on the lowest shelf in the oven. The hot, steamy environment will help the dough to rise even further before the crust sets and helps bake a crusty loaf.
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf beautifully risen and ready for the oven.
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf beautifully risen and ready for the oven.
  • Place the loaf into the centre of a preheated oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7. Bake the Lighter Wholemeal Loaf for 30 minutes.
  • The bread is baked when it is a golden brown colour and sounds hollow when rapped on the base of the loaf with your knuckle.
  • As soon as the bread is baked remove from the oven and immediately tip out onto a cooling rack. Note: If the loaf is baked but prefer a darker crust, place the loaf, without the tin, directly on to the oven shelf and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the crust is the colour you desire.
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf such a delicious and versatile bread.
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf such a delicious and versatile bread.

Avantages Of Home Made Bread

The smell of freshly baked bread is so unbelievably good. Our postman really likes delivering to us in the morning, as that tends to be when the bread is either baking or cooling!

Do not be surprised if your neighbours pop in, just for a chat, as they catch a whiff of freshly baked bread escaping from your house 😉

This Lighter Wholemeal Loaf will keep in a bread bin for up to 3 days. To freeze, ensure the bread is completely cold and wrap tightly in cling film. Fresh bread can be frozen for up to 3 months. To defrost, remove all the cling film and allow the loaf to stand on a large trivet or a cooling rack at room temperature, until fully defrosted.

I like to refresh frozen bread – this simply involves preheating the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7. Once the bread has fully defrosted, spritz with tap water and place directly onto the middle oven shelf for 10-15 minutes. After removing from the oven allow the loaf to cool and it will taste like it has been freshly baked that day! I won’t tell 😉

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Lighter Wholemeal Loaf, then I have some others you may like too:

Farmhouse White Loaf

FF Lighter Wholemeal Loaf
Farmhouse White Loaf

Oat Bran White Bread

FF Lighter Wholemeal Loaf
Oat Bran White Bread

Knotted Poppyseed Rolls

FF Lighter Wholemeal Loaf
Knotted Poppyseed Rolls perfect for picnics.

Using a bread maker or stand mixer to carry out the kneading part of making bread dough isn’t cheating. I hand kneaded some incredibly sticky Brioche dough for 20 minutes at the weekend and honestly, it has really taken it’s toll on my body this week. So if using kitchen appliances enables us to eat better quality, homemade bread, that is also much cheaper than it’s shop bought counterpart, why not?

I hope that the detailed, yet easy steps in this recipe have encouraged you to bake your own bread – you may find that once you start it is impossible to go back to mass produced, plastic wrapped loaves!!

I am always willing to answer any questions you may have with this, or any of my other recipes. Simply leave a comment, or for a quicker reply Tweet me a message.

Have fun making and baking in your kitchens, maybe invite a friend or neighbour round and bake together. It may take longer but I can guarentee there will be lots of laughing.

Sammie xx

This is not a sponsored post. I have been buying Shipton Mill flour for almost as long as I have been baking my own bread.

 

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