Sunday, 19 February 2012

Weekly Bake off: Apple & Almond Dessert Cake

Last week's Weekly Bake-Off was Marry Berry's Apple & Almond Dessert Cake (page 160) from 100 Cakes and Bakes .

It was a really easy cake to make and tasted lovely. We had it for dessert after a lovely meal with friends, served with cream. I made it earlier on in the day and we had it cold, however, the following day I popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds and it was really delicious warm. 

The only thing I changed from the recipe is replacing Almond Extract with Vanilla as hubby isn't a big fan. I can't comment on the difference it made but I'm not sure it would have made a massive difference. It still tasted good...

This week's bake off was the Austrian Curd Cheesecake, which I didn't really fancy. So decided to have a bit of a break from the bake off. I did make some WeightWatchers brownies though..... but I think these require a post of their own.

To take part in the Weekly Bake Off you can buy My Kitchen Table: 100 Cakes and Bakes from Amazon. Check out the Weekly Bake-Off blog and follow @WeeklyBakeOff on Twitter.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Weekly Bake Off: Farmhouse Orange Victoria Sandwich

Yesterday I did some baking 'just because' for the first time in a while, and I have to say I am actually looking forward to a cup of tea & slice of cake. A normal cake, one that isn't covered in icing, or baked in a small paper case.

On Twitter I was pointed in the direction of @weeklybakeoff who is working their way through Mary Berry's 100 Cakes & Bakes book. Every week a recipe is selected and a number of bakers produce their version of the recipe and post photos. A judge is selected and must then choose the winner. It's lovely to see how differently the same recipe is interpreted and the little twists everyone adds to make it their own, or work-arounds because they didn't have exactly the right equipment or ingredients.

I was hoping to join in last week, but time just kind of passed me by. I had finished all of my cake on Friday and we had a nice quiet Saturday planned - a perfect opportuity for a spot of baking.

This week's challenge was the Farmhouse Orange Victoria Sandwich (page 28). I was quite unprepared, to be honest. I don't own any 7" round cake tins, so had to use my one 7" heart shaped tin twice. I didn't read the recipe properly and went on auto-pilot adding butter & caster sugar instead of muscavado, so had to start again, this time using soft light brown sugar as I didn't have any muscavado. Then when I peeled the greaseproof paper off I managed to bring with it some large chunks of cake. I also didn't have any mamalade. I tried making an orange syrup to use instead, but it didn't taste very orangey, so ended up borrowing from my mother-in-law. Luckily we had bought her some fancy mamalade when we went to Padstow from Rick Stein's shop, so I used a lovely grapefuit, orange and lemon mamalade.

All in all, it didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped, but it smells lovely and tastes good too. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Six Nations Competition

It's time for our first ever competition! To be in with a chance of winning a box of 6 Six Nation themed cupcakes simply guess how many points will be scored in total by all teams this weekend (4th & 5th of February).

Leave your answer in the comments below with either an email address or twitter name so I can let you know if you win, or email your guess to rhian [at], or tweet to @minirhi.

I'll list all guesses on this blog, and you have until 12pm on Saturday 4th February to submit your entry. The closest guess wins!

Terms & Conditions - this competition is only open to those able to collect cupcakes (I do apologise for this and hope to be able to open up future competitions.) Your entry must be received by me before 12pm on Saturday 4th February 2012 or it won't be counted. The winner will be the person who submits the guess closest to the actual number of points counted in the 3 games played on the weekend of 4th - 5th February. The winner will be contacted by Monday 6th February to arrange collection.

Good luck!!

Guesses so far....

David J - 95 points
Julie R - 98 points
Daryl M - 101 points
Sian G - 109 points
Amanda W - 110 points
Charlotte G - 112 points
Jayne S - 113 points
Matthew D - 115 points
Hannah L - 125 points
Matthew G - 133 points

Welcome Back!

Hello! It's been a while. How have you been?

The big news here at Minirhi Bakes HQ is that there is now a mini-Minirhi. She's a bit small to be much help in the kitchen so far, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

She's five months old, and the time has just flown by! But I am back with a vengence with so many ideas and plans and, luckily, quite a few orders in the pipeline, plus a website in development. In the meantime I will be updating this blog. And I think I will celebrate my return with a little competition.....check back later to find out how you can win a box of 6 Nations Cupcakes.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

BDT Round Up - Issue 8

This week on Brew Drinking Thinkings:


Strawberry & Black Pepper Tarts
I love strawberries but am not a big fan of pepper, so I'd been a bit wary of trying the two together. However, I was pleasantly suprised and devised this recipe as something a bit different to just strawberries with a sprinkling of black pepper.

Retro Sweet Macarons
I still am yet to crack the macaron but BDT's resident chef has done it again with these gorgeous recipes for Walnut Whip or Rhubard & Custard macarons. Just wish I'd been there for the testing!

Cashew Carrot Bites
Our vegan witer, Aine, gives us a recipe for these no-cook, sweet bites which will definitely be going on my 'to try' list.


Every week Jack gives us two ingredients that are in season, along with recipe ideas to try out. This week the ingredients are Goosberries & Elderflower. And find out who's Top of the Teas with Carol Oldman, a look at the winners of the 26th annual awards by the Tea Guild.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

So far on Brew Drinking Thinkings...

March saw the launch of a brand new online magazine for women - And I was lucky enough to get a job as one of the food writers, covering home cooking & baking. Each week I submit a baking recipe of some description and will let you know what I post here.

There are a whole host of amazing writers producing posts in all sorts of themes, including Tea & Coffee, Craft, things to do with your children, Weddings & so much more. So I will dig out the best cake, baking & other relevant articles and post them here for you.

You can also check out my recipes page where I'll add links to all the cake & baking recipes I've submited to BDT as a handy reference guide.

This week on BDT (Issue 7)


Vanilla Custard Slices
I searched everywhere for a recipe for custard slices, one that didn't involve custard powder, without much luck. So I spent some time in the kitchen & came up with this recipe.

Goosnargh Cakes
A shortbread recipe, by BDT's resident Chef, Jack Bradley, that includes instructions on churning your own butter.

Pineapple, Coconut & Strawberry Bread, with whipped coconut cream & rose infused strawberries
Aine Carlin is BDT's vegan food writer. You should go & read her posts for the photos alone. This is her first appearance in BDT and if this recipe is anything to go by, we're in for a treat!


Let them eat cake!
A look at the Royal Wedding Cakes by Bridal Occasions Writer, Kat Freeman.

Alternative Wedding Cakes
Kat also explores some of the other options available if you don't fancy a 3 tier fruit cake. Pork Pie anyone?

A Feast fit for a Queen
Find out what the guests were treated to at the wedding of the year.

A New Afternoon Tea Trend - Vegetable Cake
Carol Oldman, BDT's Tea & Vintage Lifestyle Writer, looks at the new trend in baking cakes with vegetables.

Tea & Coffee Culture
Kathryn Pentland looks at the culture & etiquette surrounding tea & coffee around the world.
Part 1 Part 2  > Part 3

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Making gumpaste pansies

Here are some photos of my first attempt at making pansies.

First Pansy

Second attempt

Finished pansies

I did have a set of pansy petal cutters (although in a set of 3 there was one I didn't use) and copied some photos of real pansies, plus this photo tutorial from

I didn't have a calyx cutter, but used an 8-point flower plunger cutter & blob of paste to keep the flower on the wire. I am quite happy with the results and think that with some stronger colours they could look really good.