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

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Weekend Baking Conquests

This is just a quick post to show off my latest baking conquests. As you’ll know from my previous post I’ve latched onto the lovely ladies @bandofbakers and the next meet is Winter Warmers. I needed to broaden my repertoire, so I had a crack at a different Carrot Cake recipe & a Pecan Pie. Yum Yum!

Pecan Pie

Ok, as I am too honest for my own good, I did not make the shortcrust pastry base, opting for the easier Just-Rol variety, but hey you still have to blind bake it…am I let off the hook? No? Oh well.

Pecan Pies are easy, but the ingredients are so scary my teeth almost fell out in anticipation of all that sugary badness. But it did have 2 eggs, so surely that balanced the nutrition out?!

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Being my own worst critic I would say it probably needed a little longer, as the filling wasn’t quite set enough, but it tasted jolly good! I’ve tried it out on my work colleagues and so far (@12pm) there is only half left!

Carrot Cake

I also thought I would have another go at a carrot cake, and going as far as to frost it. After grating my weight in carrots I then realised that the recipe was for two loaves. Oh well, one for me & one for Phill! Now, for some reason the amount of oil that goes into a carrot cake scares me, and even though I’ve done it twice I still can’t believe quite how much. My stomach goes tight every time I think about it! Halfway through making this one I realised that my Joseph Joseph scales were set to ml and not g, I’m hoping that didn’t matter 😉

The baking time seemed to take double what the recipe said, as every time I stuck my knife in it came out very gooey. Luckily I was patient and it finally cooked perfectly, according to hubby, who for some reason doesn’t eat a lot of cake but really likes carrot cake! As I mentioned, for this cake I decided to attempt to add frosting. At this point I had already packed away my mixer, so going against the instructions, I thought I would just manage to mix by hand. My arm literally fell off! Why did I think I could mix a whole brick of butter with Icing sugar, cream cheese & vanilla extract? Hmm, the frosting now benefits from a slightly lumpy consistency of butter chunks – ops. Oh and don’t try to frost a cake that is still warm – it just does not work!

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Taste tester husband was very impressed, commenting on the moistness, colleagues look like they are preferring the pecan pie so far, but afternoon tea could be this cakes reckoning.

Although some cheater did bring in some gorgeous shop bought french (from Paris!) Macaroons, which I fear have overshadowed my conquests, although if I scoff down all the macaroons they’ll be nothing to compare to.

Right, Operation Macaroon is underway – wish me luck!

All recipe links are supplied – thanks Channel 4 Recipes!!

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…