Have you got your BakeFace on?!

A few weeks ago we here at BakingSoc got wind of an awesome competition being run by Billington’s Sugar (check out the site here!)

The challenge was to create one of their delicious recipes using one of their many sugars and then capture your #BakeFace on how you felt eating it! Billington’s has one of the widest selections of sugars you can buy, meaning there are all sorts of recipes you can create with them. Their full range includes:

  • Golden Caster (my preferred choice for everything- gives so much more flavour!)
  • Light and Dark Muscavado (lovely caramelly flavours with your preferred strength)
  • Light and Dark Brown Soft (perfect for squidgy cookies and dark cakes)
  • Molasses (a thick heavy syrup which has a slightly bitter edge- amazing to offset other sweet flavours

They’ve got loads more but these are some fantastic ones to give range to your baking. I particularly like golden caster sugar as for me, even for Victoria Sponges, it gives a beautifully warming caramel flavour which intensifies the vanilla if using a proper paste or seeds themselves. We were very kindly sent a fantastic hamper to sample all of these delights and we got to work baking straight away!

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The beautiful hamper sent by Billington’s!

How good does all of that look? It also came with a great recipe which we’ll include below! We had so much fun throughout the day and even had the brilliant Chad and Justine in from LSTV to film our antics and create a super duper video that shows how we made them…

Our BakeFaces were something else! We’ve picked our favourites for you to have a look at but what would really really help us out is if you go to THIS LOVELY LINK HERE and vote for Dom and her beautiful face! We’ve got the chance of winning some lush prizes including a Kenwood Mixer which would of course be for society use as well as some cool aprons which everyone could use in our workshops and masterclasses!

So without any further ado; here is the Billington’s Cherry Brownie recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 250g Billington’s Unrefined Dark Muscovado Sugar
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 350g 70% dark chocolate, chopped into pieces
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 50g self-raising flour
  • 100g Billington’s Natural Glacé Cherries (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5, line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  3. Whisk the eggs until pale and fluffy. Add the Dark Muscovado Sugar and whisk until thick. Gently fold in the chocolate.
  4. Sift in the flour and fold in until the mixture is smooth. Mix in the glacé cherries.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes, until you see a paper-like crust on top. There should still be some movement in the centre of the tin.
  6. Remove from the oven, leave to cool, then cut into squares.

We found they actually needed a bit longer in the oven but that could’ve been because we used a siliconebrownie tin rather than your normal metal ones, which could’ve affected the mixture! As you can see they didn’t hang around for long…

We’ve loaded up all of our pictures into this fab slideshow so you can see what we got up to and how gorgeous chocolate looks when it’s all melty with butter… #foodporn alert!

Thank you so much to Billington’s who supplied us with the fab ingredients to make these delicious brownies! And don’t forget guys: GO AND VOTE HERE FOR MY BAKEFACE!

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The weird and wonderful!

Hello!

Last Tuesday’s bring a bake session saw you bring out your weird and wonderful side, with some very odd yet delightful bakes. We had an incredible array of cookies, cakes and tray bakes from raspberry and goats cheese cupcakes to avocado and almond brownies. Here are the recipes for the bakes you enjoyed the most.

Guinness stout chocolate brownies made by Abbie and Erin   

Ingredients

1/2 cup stout ( I used Guinness)
12 oz chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark or a combo of both)
1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 oz. chocolate to grate over the warm brownies (optional)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×9″ baking pan with parchment paper.

2. In a medium sauce-pan bring the stout to boil and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5-7 minutes. Let cool.

3. In a medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and the chocolate and butter. With a hand whisk, stir until melted and smooth.

4. In a mixing bow, with the paddle attachment on, beat on low speed sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.

5. Gradually pour in melted chocolate, and the reduced stout.

6. Fold in flour and salt. Pour batter into prepared pan.

7. Bake brownies in preheated oven for about 40 minutes, or until the top begins to crack.

8. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool completely at room temperature.

9. Optional you can grate 1 oz of chocolate over the brownies as soon as you take them out of the oven.

10. Once the entire brownie is cooled, cut into 20 bars.

Gluten free mashed potato lemon drizzle cake, made by Megan.

Ingredients

200g butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
175g ground almonds (to make it nut free see below)
250g mashed potatoes
zest 3 lemons
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder (Supercook does one)
For the drizzle
4 tbsp granulated sugar
juice 1 lemon

Method

1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter and line a deep, 20cm round cake tin. Beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, then gradually add the egg, beating after each addition. Fold in the almonds, cold mashed potato, lemon zest and baking powder.

2. Tip into the tin, level the top, then bake for 40-45 mins or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack after 10 mins cooling. Mix the granulated sugar and the lemon juice together, then spoon over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Let the cake cool completely before slicing.

This was perhaps one of our favorite themes, so thanks for going all out!

BakingSoc xx

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GIAG – cupcake decorating

Hey guys, remember that crazily warm Tuesday in October where we all met in a room in LUU to DECORATE…. well here are some photo updates.

Take note of crazy colour schemes and professional swirlage we have got going on here, and look at those fondant roses! You guys could have decorated the royal wedding cake seriously.

Hope you are all well and avoiding the outside just generally, only venturing out of your blankets for food (probs cake), see you again next week for our ‘Bring a Bake’ (theme to be decided!!!) and maybe this weekend for our WASTE BAKE COMPETITION colab with none other than THE REAL JUNK FOOD PROJECT

Peace and love and warm chocolatey happiness (i made a chocolate gateaux sunday),

Louise and BS xx

 

Biscuits, Cookies and Spooky Parties!!

Hello hello!

Happy Halloween!

Last Tuesday biscuits and cookies were the big thing of the evening at our bring-a-bake meeting. Everybody’s bakes were very yummy and we had everything from lavender shortbread to fortune cookies. Here are the recipes for the bakes that our members voted as the best if you want to make them for yourselves!

Theme: Fortune Cookies – Jennifer Whyton – I chose to do this recipe as I was flicking through my cookie recipe book, and saw this recipe so I thought I would give it a go, and they turned out really well! They are surprisingly easy to make with only a few ingredients, ideal!

Ingredients

2 egg whites

90g caster sugar

50g plain flour

4 tbsp butter, melted

Method

  1. Beat the egg whites in a large clean bowl until it is at the soft peak stage. Gradually beat in the sugar until the mixture becomes thick and glossy. Add the flour and melted butter to the egg white mixture and mix until just combined. Allow the mixture to rest for about 15 minutes … This gives you time to prepare your fortunes! (To do this cut a piece of plain white paper into strips 5mm wide and 4cm long. Be imaginative and write some fortunes).
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  3. Spoon teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking parchment and, using the back of a spoon, spread evenly and thinly into a circle about 8cm in diameter. Make sure the mixture is evenly spread. You will need to work in batches: only bake three to four cookies per baking sheet. Bake for 3 minutes, or until lightly golden.
  4. Remove from the oven and wait 30 seconds before loosening the cookies with a flat palette knife. Return to the oven for a further 15-20 seconds to soften the biscuits. Remove from the oven and, working quickly, turn the cookies over and place a fortune in the centre. Fold in half and half again. Sit inside a small shot glass or bowl until cool and crisp. Repeat until all of the mixture is used up.

Appearance: Salted caramel and peanut biscuits – Amy Szuman

For the caramel peanuts

50g/2oz caster sugar

1 tbsp water

2 tbsp salted peanut halves

For the biscuits

250g/8oz unsalted butter

250g/8oz caster sugar

2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter

375g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting

For the salted peanut caramel filling

300g/10½oz dulce de leche

½ tsp sea salt flakes

1 tbsp salted peanuts, chopped

Icing sugar to decorate.

Method

  1. For the caramel peanuts, lightly grease a non-stick baking tray and arrange the peanuts on the tray.
  2. Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar melts and the mixture is boiling and golden-brown in colour (do not stir the caramel). Pour the caramel over the peanuts and set aside to harden. Once set, roughly chop the caramel peanuts and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, for the biscuits, preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 4. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl, then beat in the peanut butter until well combined. Sift over the flour and stir until the mixture comes together as a dough. Cover the dough with cling film and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  5. Roll the biscuit dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, using a biscuit cutter, cut out 24 biscuits. Place the biscuits onto the lined baking trays and chill for a further 15 minutes.
  6. Bake the biscuits in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove the biscuits from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sea salt and chopped, salted peanuts. Set aside to cool (make sure the filling mixture doesn’t harden completely).
  8. Spread the dulce de leche on half the biscuits, then sprinkle with sea salt and chopped peanuts. Sandwich together with a plain biscuit.
  9. Drizzle with icing to decorate and sprinkle over the caramel peanuts.

Taste: Spiced Pumpkin cookies – Liv Adu

Ingredients (makes 25-30 cookies)

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoon mixed spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup of light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (unsalted) butter, softened

1 cup Puree Pumpkin

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract(optional)

Icing sugar and water

(If you can’t find a can of pureed pumpkin you can bake 1/2 a pumpkin at 200°C for 45mins then liquidize it. (Don’t add oil/water or anything to it. Just peel skin off when cooked). The pumpkin should have a rich orange colour and the skin should begin to char.)

For the glaze:

Mix 2 cups sifted icing sugar, 3 tablespoons of water and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Cover a baking tray with grease proof paper.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, mixed spice and salt in medium bowl.
  3. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended.
  4. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth.
  5. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  6. Place them on the baking tray in balls (about a tablespoon of mixture each). Make sure they are well spread out because they grow alot
  7. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.

And all this talk of pumpkin brings us nicely onto the Halloween party that Baking soc had in collaboration with SocieTEA on Wednesday. There were lots of creative spooky bakes and yummy autumnal teas. It was great fun and got us in the mood for today’s Halloweeny festivities!

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Our Baking Bad social went down a treat!

Thanks to everyone who came to our first social last Friday… we are still trying to get over how good those cocktails were! We started our Baking Bad night in Terrace, where the amazing bar staff created 3 scrumptious cocktails and mocktails just for Baking Soc. We loved meeting our members and seeing you all embracing the wonderful world of fruity… particularly our very own VP Dom who performed a floorless solo routine on the stairs for a good 5 minutes!! We can’t wait to see you all again, and everyone else who couldn’t make it this time, at our next social to bring back some more baking love onto the dance floor!

P.S. Check out the cocktail/mocktail (minus alcohol) recipes below to recreate these beauties:

Baking Bad Cocktail specs:

Cherry Bakewell:

25ml disaronno

12.5ml Chambord

50ml Cranberry

Shaken in boston glass served over ice

Chocolate Vanilla Nut Cupcake:

25ml Vodka

12.5ml Frangelico

12.5ml Vanilla

Whipped Cream

Shaken in boston glass served in martini glass

(line martini glass with chocolate syrup)

Baked Apple Mojito:

25ml Cinnamon infused Vodka

50ml Apple juice

3 limes + Fresh mint

Muddle limes and mint in bottom of glass, add vodka and top with apple juice and splash of soda if necessary

Until next time,

Issie and Baking Soc xx

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Being Mindful of How Baking Can Help Mental Illness

As World Mental Awareness Day comes to a close, I have seen all over today a level of exposure rarely seen in the mental health community. Pages and pages of facts, figures and statistics, ever displaying just how close we are to someone who is suffering. With the government this week promising minimum waiting times for seeing a mental health professional it seems that finally the country is waking up to the necessity of treating mental illness with the seriousness it warrants and deserves.

The announcement yesterday of popular YouTube starlet, Zoe Suggs aka ‘Zoella’ as the new digital ambassador for Mind, seems to show that more and more celebrities are being open about their own experiences with mental illness and are using their status most honourably as idols, to create more accessible links for young people to get the help they need. Most famously of course is Stephen Fry, who has publically battled with bipolar disorder since his diagnosis aged 37.

Many sufferers of mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder and depression are often given creative ways of channelling their emotions, such as Suggs’ vlogs and Fry’s acting and television work. Art therapy, cooking classes and interestingly to me, baking classes are all used as tools to support patients and provide them with stimuli to focus on. The baking community itself has provided some of its own ambassadors representing mental health and its hardships throughout. Marian Keyes, a bestselling Irish novelist has recently released her book ‘Saved By Cake- 80 ways to bake yourself happy’ after her long-standing battle with depression which manifested itself in 2009. She has spoken publically about her past alcoholism and depression and how baking really gave her something to focus on and allowed her to move forward with her life and continue writing.

John Whaite, a past Great British Bake Off winner has also publically supported Mind and spoken about his experiences with depression as a young student who found it incredibly difficult to move away from home. Baking, for him, became his therapy; ‘The whole process is very positive. When you have this destructive energy – which is how depression feels to me – you can either go further into that downward spiral or you can channel that energy into something constructive.’ The very act of focussing one’s energy into something that demands such attention can be a very good way of harnessing emotions and feelings without being out of control. In his interview with Mind, John gives some tips on how he deals with his depression on a daily basis; ‘I still have the odd day when I feel low. But the thing that works for me is to have a plan for the next day. If I give in to my demons, it gets worse. But if I make a plan, which always involves baking, I feel revived.’

It is of course an interesting notion that baking can help mental illness but I truly believe it can. Baking for me has always calmed my anxiety and allowed me to take control of a situation or a period of my life where I feel overwhelmed. I am able to see a small task through to completion and not having to think about anything other than the task at hand is incredibly calming. Seeing other high profile bakers and celebrities at peace or at least controlling their own illnesses for me shows the stigmas and barriers between mental illnesses and the outside world being broken down and understood by a far greater range of people. The closeness that sharing a bake can bring is also something to be treasured and even if dissertation prep is just getting you down, or you’re feeling a bit low for any reason I really encourage you to get into the kitchen and give something a go- you never know, you might not ever look back.

For more information regarding Mind and the work they do, please visit www.mind.org.uk

Sources: http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/your-stories/john-whaite-why-im-supporting-mind/#.VDfeZSldWQs

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/apr/21/marian-keyes-depression-mercy-close-interview

Dom & Baking Soc x

Baking Soc Goes to GBBO An Extra Slice!

This summer Baking Society were invited to the ITV studios in London to be involved in the filming of Great British Bake Off’s ‘An Extra Slice’ and bring along our very own ‘European bakes’! Although we were there on the week that nobody was voted out, we definitely got to see more than enough as Diana was the guest baker and was interviewed about her time in the tent and the ‘freezer-gate’ incident that had occurred a few weeks before.

ALSO, Francis and Glen from last series popped in to share their thoughts on who they reckoned have a chance of winning the GBBO title! We had the best seats in the house as we were placed with our bakes on the front tables, where the panel could see all our lovely creations. Our very own Baking Soc president, Issy, was selected to present her cake to the panel of celebrities where it was tasted by presenter, Jo Brand, and the celebrity panel – Fay Ripley, Richard Corrigan and Romesh Ranganathan. Issy’s cake was a combination of flavours from all around Europe and was assembled together according to their location in Europe.

Her cake was vegan, therefore it chosen to be tasted by Romesh, who is vegan, and it gained high praise from all the celeb panelists… including the professional chef Richard Corrigan!! We loved every second of the day, particularly when we got to watch the episode of Bake Off that was being aired on BBC a few days later! Thanks to all our bakers who came… let’s hope we get invited back next year and make it on to TV with all your wonderful bakes!

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