Sunday, 2 September 2012

Great Birthday Bake-Off

It was Sarah's birthday last month, and we had a few friends around for afternoon tea (actually more like evening time, so it was pretty much cake for dinner!)

My birthday present to Sarah was to make a plurality of cake for her party, and since some people asked for the recipes, here they are ...

Blueberry and lime cheesecake gateau

1.  Blueberry and Lime Cheesecake Gateau

- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 200g caster sugar
- 200g butter (room temp or softened)
- 4 large eggs
- 2tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp milk

For the frosting and decoration:
- 400g medium-fat ricotta
- 100g icing sugar
- 200g blueberries
- grated zest of 2 limes and juice of 1

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C.
2. Beat together flour, baking powder, sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla.
3. Whisk hard while adding ilk.
4. Bake in two deep 18cm round cake tins for 40 mins.
5. Cool, then split one or both sponges in two.
6. Beat the ricotta until soft, then beat in the lime zest and juice, and the icing sugar.
7. Sandwich the sponge layers together, spread remaining frosting on the top, and decorate with blueberries.

2.  Raspberry Scones

- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 heaped tsp caster sugar
- 50g butter, diced
- 200 ml buttermilk
- 100g raspberries
- clotted cream, to serve

1. Heat oven to 220C.
2. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl, and stir in the sugar.
3. Rub in the butter to resemble breadcrumbs.
4. Make a well, add buttermilk gradually until it forms a soft but not too sticky dough.
5. Push raspberries through the dough with your hands.  They'll break up, but that's OK.
6. Tear the dough into six clumps and shape roughly.
7. Bake on a floured tray for 12-14 mins.
8. Cool on a wire rack.

From left to right:  millionnaire's shortbread, chocolate toffee brownies,
cheesecake buns, raspberry scones, and almond lemon shortbread

3.  Almond Lemon Shortbread

- 250g butter, softened
- 140g golden caster sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- zest of 2 lemons
- 300g plain flour
- 100g ground almonds
- a little milk to brush and seal
- 3 tbsp lemon curd
- flaked almonds

1. Heat oven to 190C.
2. Beat together butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, zest and a pinch of salt.
3. Fold in flour and ground almonds.
4. Roll out on a flat surface to the thickness of a £1 coin(on a warm day, chill in the fridge first). 
5. Cut out rounds with a 7cm cutter, and brush with milk.
6. Spoon blobs of lemon curd on half; the remaining disks are the tops.  Gently press to seal.
7. Sprinkle with caster sugar and flaked almonds.
8. Bake for 15 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

4.  Millionnaire's Shortbread


For the biscuit base
- 140g butter, cold and diced
- 175g plain flour
- 25g cornflour
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 85g blanched almonds, toasted and chopped
- seeds from 1 vanilla pod

For the caramel
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 140 ml single cream
- 50g btter, diced

For the topping
- 200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- 85g butter

1. Heat oven to 160C and butter a shallow 20 x 23 cm baking tin.
2. Sift flours into a bowl, and add sugar, almonds, and a pinch of salt.
3. Run in butter and vanilla seeds.
4. Press firmly into the tin.  Freeze for 5 mins, then bake for 35 mins.
5. For the caramel, put sugar and 100ml water in a heavy based pan.
6. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, then turn up the heat and boil until it goes dark amber.
7. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring all the while.  Take care, it will hiss and fizz!
8. Add the butter and half a tsp salt.
9. Pour over biscuit base and let cool.
10. For the topping, melt chocolate and butter together and smooth with the back of a spoon.
11. Cool and cut into slices.

5.  Chocolate Toffee Brownies

- 350g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
- 250g butter
- 3 large eggs
- 250g dark muscovado sugar
- 85g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder

1. Heat the oven to 160C.
2. Butter a shallow 23cm tin.
3. Melt chocolate and butter. Allow to cool slightly.
4. Whisk eggs until pale, combine sugar.
5. Fold chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar mixture.
6. Sift in flour and baking powder, and combine.
7. Bake for 30 minutes.  Mixture will be gooey but will solid up when cool.
8. Cool in the tin on a wire rack for at least one hour.

6.  Individual Cheesecake Buns

- 100g butter, room temperature (or softened)
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 140g elf-raising flour
- 50g blueberries

For the topping
- 250ml soured cream
- 30g icin sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Butter a 12-hole muffin tin.
2. Cross 1.5cm strips of baking parchment in each hole.  Make sure ends stick up, so you can lift the cakes out after baking.
3. Heat the oven to 180C.
4. Beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. 
5. Gradually beat in the eggs, then lemon zest and juice.
6. Fold in the flour.
7. Divide among muffin holes, smoothing over the tops.  Sprinkle 3 blueberries on each.
8. Bake for 12 mins.
9. Meanwhile, whisk topping ingredients together.
10. Remove muffin tray from the oven, and press down the risen sponge with the back of a spoon.
11. Spoon topping on each sponge base and scatter with remaining blueberries.
12. Bake for a further 5-7 mins.

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