Band of Bakers – Chocolate Theme – Brixton 26th March 2014

Band of Bakers latest event was a chocolate themed extravaganza @ The Chocolate Museum in Brixton.

Much debate was had as to whether we would see any savoury dishes, luckily there was one and it didn’t last long! This did mean that a trip to McDonalds was required by one baker, to enable them to continue consuming the vast amounts of sweet chocolate delights – good call!

Eating that much chocolate meant my sugar rush hangover the next morning was severe, I even woke with a stinker of a headache. But boy was it worth it. Have a look at some of the delights we sampled.

I couldn’t remember all the bakers, so if you would like me to add you and a link to your blog/twitter/etc then just let me know, more than happy to include you. If I don’t have a picture of your bake, and you do, happy to add you in, just send me a message via twitter (@kurbkiss) or comment below!

Can’t believe I didn’t take picture of Aimée’s Meringue kisses!

Bourbon Biscuits made by Eva (@Eva_Beaver)

Bourbon Biscuits made by Eva (@Eva_Beaver)

Chocolate Brownie Cookies baked by @gingergourmand

Chocolate Brownie Cookies baked by Naomi (@gingergourmand)

Double chocolate & salted caramel tart from Gemma (@boozyrouge)

Double chocolate & salted caramel tart from Gemma (@boozyrouge)

Double Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies baked by Giulia (@mulia)

Double Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies baked by Giulia (@mulia)

Sticky Chocolate Gingerbread Cake by Chloe (@clo_bags1)

Sticky Chocolate Gingerbread Cake by Chloe (@clo_bags1)

Brandy Snaps with white chocolate & ginger cream baked by Anne

Brandy Snaps with white chocolate & ginger cream baked by Anne

Chocolate & Salted Caramel Pots by Ben (@ben_mulock)

Chocolate & Salted Caramel Pots by Ben (@ben_mulock)

Chocolate Orange Battenburg baked by Keith

Chocolate Orange Battenburg baked by Keith

Salted Caramel Torte baked by Harley (@kurbkiss)

Salted Caramel Torte baked by Harley (@kurbkiss)

Chocolate Rugelach by @toddlersurvival

Chocolate Rugelach by @toddlersurvival

Estonian Chocolate Liqueur & Stem Ginger Truffles by Chloe (@cedges)

Estonian Chocolate Liqueur & Stem Ginger Truffles by Chloe (@cedges)

Triple Chocolate Millionaires Shortbread

Triple Chocolate Millionaires Shortbread

Salted Rolo brownies baked by Jassy (@ginandcrumpets)

Salted Rolo brownies baked by Jassy (@ginandcrumpets)

Chocolate & Coffee Mocha Cake baked by Heather (@mrsjkitchen)

Chocolate & Coffee Mocha Cake baked by Heather (@mrsjkitchen)

Chocolate Soda Bread

Chocolate Soda Bread

Beef & Chocolate Empandas

Beef & Chocolate Empandas

Chocolate fudge cake with Pedro Ximinez soaked sultanas

Chocolate fudge cake with Pedro Ximinez soaked sultanas made by Lisa (@peckhamryeeats)

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownies

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownies

Malt Chocolate Brownies baked by Harley (@kurbkiss)

Malt Chocolate Brownies baked by Harley (@kurbkiss)

 

 

 

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Band of Bakers Christmas Party 2014 – The Bakes

The 2nd annual Band of Bakers Christmas Party took place on the 27th November @ The Crooked Well in Camberwell. We had a good turnout, despite some last minute cancellations, and some fantastic bakes. This is just a little taster of some of the amazing food we had! I’ve tried to remember the bakers, if I’ve missed you out, let me know on Twitter and I’ll add you for full credit 😉

Following the prep for my decorated biscuits, here is the result, not as bad as I feared, although the decorating was fiddley and time consuming, got bored by 10pm, so only half got decorated. Definitely a day long job! Loved having a go at piping though, and will definitely be doing this again.

My Biscuits

My Biscuits

Chloe's Turkey and Camembert & Cranberry Chelsea Buns

Chloe’s Turkey and Camembert & Cranberry Chelsea Buns

Jenny's (?) Christmas Pie

Rachel’s Christmas Pie

Eva's Candy Cane Biscuits

Eva’s Candy Cane Biscuits

Hmmm I can't remember - Sorry ;)

Gingerbread Stuffing With Sweet Potato By Chloe Edges

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Lauren’s Florentines – My Fav

Christmas Pub Cakes

Christmas Pud Cakes

Gemma's Parma Ham Brioche

Gemma’s Parma Ham Brioche

Rudolph Cupcakes - Cute!

Rudolph Cupcakes – Cute!

Biscotti Christmas Tree

Biscotti Christmas Tree

Lovely Christmas Macaroons - Chocolate & Brandy Butter and Spiced Orange

Lovely Christmas Macaroons – Chocolate & Brandy Butter and Orange & Mixed Spice

Aimees Choux Buns with Chestnut Cream

Aimee’s Choux Buns with Chestnut Cream

Gina's Mango & Passion Fruit Tart

Gina’s Mango & Passion Fruit Tart

Naomi's Sundried Tomatoes & Feta Muffins

Naomi’s Sundried Tomatoes & Feta Muffins

Band of Bakers Christmas Party 2014 – Preperation

Tomorrow will be my 1st Band of Bakers Christmas Party, as last year I was too ill to attend, despite having baked all my canapes in preperation!

This year I will not get struck down by the lurgy, and so I have set myself the daunting task of doing fancy icing!

I’m going to create some Christmas themed biscuits, with some royal & fondant icing.

I have never made, or piped, icing before – wish me luck!

I made the biscuits this morning, and they came out well (Yay!), a nice simple vanilla plain biscuit. Tonight could be stressful as I attempt to have a steady hand and finish them off!

Let’s see how close I can get to this…

Will my Christmas Biscuits look this good?

Will my Christmas Biscuits look this good? (From Biscuiterie)

Band of Bakers – Paul Hollywood’s Sicilian lemon and orange sweet bread

For Band of Bakers recent 1st Birthday party I decided to bake Paul Hollywood’s Sicilian lemon and orange sweet bread. I felt is was quite apt, as this was the episode of Hollywood’s bread that the baking club starred in, and in which I had 3 appearances!

Now me and dough are not great friends, but I think we have found a mutual respect following the attempt of this recipe twice, with no major disasters, which usually come as standard with my baking.

The only thing that is a pain about this recipe is the proving time – 4 hours in total! Do not attempt to do this the night before an event, unless you want to stay up till 1am! Cough Cough!

Paul Hollywood Sweet Bread

Paul Hollywood Sweet Bread

The recipe is taken from Bread by Paul Hollywood (£20, Bloomsbury)

Serves: 8

• 400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
• 7g salt
• 40g caster sugar
• 10g fast-action dried yeast
• 120ml tepid full-fat milk
• 4 medium eggs, at room temperature, lightly whisked
• 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
• Finely grated zest of 2 lemons and 1 orange (unwaxed)
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 100g flaked almonds
• 100g mixed candied peel
• 100g dried cranberries

FOR THE TOPPING:
• 2 medium egg whites
• 25g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
• 25g ground almonds
• 50g flaked almonds

1. Put the flour in a food mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the milk, eggs and the butter, in small pieces.

2. Mix on a slow speed for 3 minutes, then on a medium speed for 4 minutes, kneading to a soft, elastic dough.

3. Tip the dough into a bowl, cover and leave to rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

4. Grease a 23cm round, deep springform cake tin. Mix the lemon and orange zest with the lemon juice, almonds, candied peel and cranberries. Add to the risen dough and use your hands to incorporate it well.

5. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a ball. Put into the prepared tin and place inside a large, roomy plastic bag. Again leave to prove in a warm place for 3 hours, until the dough has reached the top of the tin.

6. Heat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas 6. Bake the sweet bread on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, for the topping, in a bowl, stir the egg whites, sugar and ground almonds together to make a paste.

7. Take out the bread, spread the almond paste on top (some will run to the sides) and sprinkle with the flaked almonds and a little sugar.

8. Lower the oven setting to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4 and bake for a further 20 minutes, covering loosely with foil towards the end of cooking if it appears to be over-browning.

9. Leave the sweet bread to cool in the tin for ten minutes, then release the sides of the tin. Place the bread on a wire rack to cool completely.

Harley's Sweet Bread

Harley’s Sweet Bread

Eccles, Eccels, whatever! Band of Bakers March event

Hadn’t been to a Band of Bakers event since before Christmas, due to several reasons.
Travelling with work, losing my baking Mojo, but increasingly it is now quite difficult to get a place at an event.

This is testament to how great this event is and has become extremely popular, and to get one of their limited spaces you have to be fast off the draw in replying to the announcement emails.

I think it’s fantastic Gemma & Naomi have done such a brilliant job at organising the gatherings, and all the lovely community projects that are in addition to the cosy, friendly 6 weekly meets. And all on top of having regular jobs and families to look after – very inspiring.
Apparently the events are so popular that you can guarantee that over 2 thirds of the mailing list will need to reply faster to the next email, or sit in hope of a drop out and have a themed bake ready at short notice.

Does this put me and the hundred or so others off? Hell no!
If you could get to every event it wouldn’t be half the fun, plus our bank balance probably couldn’t cope.

As the band steadily grows I can see the glint in Naomi & Gemma’s eyes that they could be onto something big, but also the nervousness of how to keep the momentum and interest going. I don’t thing there’s any worry of that happening with so many bakers ready to help and be involved – 2013 is going to be epic for them and us.

Ok, enough blabbing about how great they are, onto the baking.

This event was British Classics, I contemplated Jaffa Cakes, Quiche (ok not quite British, how about flan?), but settled for Eccles cakes.
My trusty friend bbc food was on hand with a selection of recipes, I of course went for the easiest!
BBC Food – Eccles Cakes
Very easy, but again I took the whole prep and bake timings to their word and found myself rushing to assemble them 40mins before the event, knowing I had a 20min trudge over Peckham Rye.
They were tricky little buggers to assemble and very small, but ideal size for a BoB event when you have 35 other bakes to try.
Due to my timing misjudgement they were still warm and sticky (didn’t seal them very well) when I popped them in the tin, and decided that kitchen roll would be a good base to put them on – WRONG! I spent 5 mins trying to get tissue off the bases, so apologies to those who got a little more carb than they bargained for last night 🙂

They actually tasted great, shame I didn’t have auto correct when writing my description card as mine will forever be known as Eccels cakes – ops!

I bought home the other two Eccles cakes that were baked by people to compare, no doubt better than mine, but we are all our own biggest critics, so nothing new there.

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Baking? Where did that come from?

I recently found myself at a Band of Bakers event, what’s that, I hear you cry. Well before I turned up I wasn’t overly sure, or really how I ended up there in the first place.

As with many things it all started with my husband, he had seen a random re-tweet from Franklins mentioning that they were going to hold a Band of Bakers event, and sent it onto me to see if I was interested.

This was odd for three reasons, I hadn’t really baked all that much, or shown an overt passion for it, and finally H doesn’t really eat a lot of cake, so what did he have to gain from me getting a new interest? Despite all this H had a feeling it might be something I would like (he’s good like that), and by jingo, I did!

A history of my baking…it’s very small!

I had baked at school, big gap, no baking, barely good cooking, then earlier this year I baked three cakes – a Raspberry Bakewell, a Carrot Cake & Fairy Cakes.

I managed to burn the Fairy Cakes – Rubbish.

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The Carrot Cake recipe scared me due to the amount of oil you had to put in it – hello heart attack!

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As Goldilocks once said, the Raspberry Bakewell was ‘just right’, and very easy – SCORE!

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Ok, Ok I sell myself short, as I have made quiches & pasties before, oh and a Key Lime Pie, but the latter wasn’t baked, so doesn’t really count.

With the success of the Bakewell in my mind, and much deliberating as to whether I would be good enough, or whether I was social adept enough to make new friends and whether I was ready to have a new hobby (it takes commitment you know, like cake boards, a stock of ingredients on hand at any moment!), I sent an email to see if there were any spaces left.

There were! And the theme for the bake was ‘Retro Bakes’…Hmmm! Now I had a problem, as this meant research and learning something new. I decided to practice what I knew, and look at an alternative. I attempted to bake a twist on an Eccles cake (basically a sponge with fruit in it), but it appeared that I had too much mixture for my tin. The result was a molten volcano of cake erupting in my oven – tasted good though!

I decided for my first outing to just go with what I knew. The word Bakewell in the title was enough for me to think it was retro, and I think I got away with it.

There were some fantastic bakes there, including a Quiche (Damn, I knew how to make them too!), lots of Black Forest Gateaux, Battenburg, oh and Fig Rolls, amongst many great really retro bakes.

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Mine was probably the simplest cake there, and it looked like the only people who tried it where the girls I spoke with – very polite, but I had a great time. It was definitely a good starting point to get more adventurous and to see how good everyone else – VERY!

The event is very well organised by two lovely local ladies, who obviously have a great passion for baking, blogging and tweeting away about their popular passion. A passion that is somewhat infectious, leading me to realise that baking is fun, not as hard as I thought, and a very novel way to make friends.

I need to up my game for the next event, which is Winter Warmers, I have a few ideas, so watch this space…