Archive for the 'Baked Goodness' Category

My Perfected Whoopie Pie Recipe (at last)

Well this has certainly been a long time coming. I feel I should apologise to all the people referred to my blog by search engines looking for a whoopie pie recipe only to leave disappointed. I didn’t think the site was THAT well optimised which just goes to show the power of keywords in your copy.

I’ve been trying to nail this recipe for over 6 months, tried and tested 14 separate recipes and made many adjustments of my own looking for a perfect recipe. The lack of a marshmallow filling in this recipe probably means I shouldn’t actually be calling this a perfect recipe as it doesn’t stick to the tradtional recipe for a whoopie pie but I’m going with what’s perfect to me. Marshmallow makes the cake a bit to sweet for my liking which is why I prefer to use a butter icing one but if you would prefer a marshmallow filling leave a comment below and I’ll email you a different recipe for the filling.

One last note about portions. A traditional tablespoon of this mixture will give you quite a large cake, a teaspoon (or melon baller) is more reasonable. Try to keep your portion sizes as similar as possible; remember that you will need two of each cake to make a finished whoopie pie so it makes things easier if they aren’t odd sizes.

Whoopie Pies

Whoopie Pies

You will need

175g self raising flour
100g of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp of bicarb of soda
1 tsp of baking powder
a pinch of salt
200g of caster sugar
125g of butter/margarine at room temp
1 large egg at room temp
230ml of buttermilk (If you’re lazy like me and prefer to use the all the 284ml in one tub of buttermilk compensate with a little more flour)
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract (not essence)

Icing
150g Soft butter/magarine
300g icing sugar sifted
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 to 2 tsp of milk (or cream if you feel flush)
A few drops of food colouring (optional)

In a bowl or a standing mixer cream your butter and sugar together until the sugar has been completely mixed in and the mixture is nice and light. In a separate bowl sieve together all the remaining dry ingredients, mix thoroughly until your dry mix looks similar to drinking chocolate. Add around a third of the dry mixture in to the bowl with the butter/sugar and mix gently adding the egg and some of the buttermilk. Alternate adding the dry mix and butter milk until all are added, then add your vanilla extract. The end mixture should be much stickier and denser than a regular cake mix.

At this point in the process most other recipes will tell you to either portion out your mix and bake it or put it in the fridge for 30 minutes, ignore that. If you want to have nicely risen little domes on your whoopie pies leave the mixture for 10 minutes to allow the bicab and baking powder to react together before portioning out and baking. Bake in a preheated oven at gas mark 4 (180c) for 10 minutes. If you are making larger pies allow a few more minutes in the oven. A good test to see if they are ready is to press down on top of one, it should be spongy but still give a little. Let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Perfected Whoopie Pie

The finished article

For the buttercream icing beat 150g of butter until it is smooth and creamy, gradually add the icing sugar until all the sugar has been absorbed add the milk, vanilla and the food colouring and mix until you have a smooth cream. You can either use a palate knife to smooth the buttercream on to your whoopie pies or you can pipe it on. Put icing on the flat side of one cake and stick this to the flat side of another similarly shaped cake.

The whoopie pies should keep for a week in an air tight container though they’re gone way before then in my house. If you try the recipe out let me know how you got on and please do post your pictures.

Enjoy

Yet another Whoopie Pie post

And still it inst the recipe I keep promising to post on here. I’ll be straight with you all, in the process of trying to play about with the whoopie pie recipes I kinda over did it a bit. In an effort to try and nail a perfect recipe I was making them so often that people got really sick of them and I was asked to stop making them for awhile. However, Good News! I was given yet another Whoopie Pie recipe book for Christmas (bringing my baking related cookbook count up to 6 now) and I plan on making chocolate whoopie pies before the end of the month.

I am going to be so unpopular making cakes in January…

Whoopie Pie Recipe can now be found here

Social media and healthy snacks? Sounds like a winner to me

As you may have gathered from the amount of baking I do my office get treated to baked goodies rather a lot. It leads to problems at this time of year as many of us have realised that Christmas (and the inevitable office party) is not actually that far away. With party dresses in mind all sweeties, cakes and biscuits have been banned from the office until further notice and we are ushering in a era of healthy snacks. (I’m already being called a fascist for hiding the biscuit barrel and rumours of a resistance smuggling in cookies has reached my ears and its only been 2 days so far.) So my friend offering me some vouchers for Graze.com really could not have been better timed.

For those not in the know Graze is a website that promotes healthier eating by sending you nutritious nibbley snacks in the post. Perfect for your desk, they’re a cheap and healthy way to fight off the mid morning and mid afternoon snacks that so often end up being crisps and biscuits. Its vast and varied product range means that there is something for everyone and it’ll take awhile to work your way through everything. But what has really had me excited is it’s a company that feels like it was made for social media (oh come on, who get’s excited over dried fruit and nuts?)

Graze.com

Graze.com

This is something that screams word of mouth marketing and the free vouchers you get when you sign up ensures that those who you do talk to about it sign up to try for themselves. (The voucher gives you the first box free and the second half price.) A great example of this is my office. I heard about this from my friend in London who gave me one of her vouchers, I use this to get my own account and my own set of vouchers and now 4 other people in my office have signed up. Perhaps a big part of that is the fact Graze send your box to your office and nothing seems to generate excitement more than receiving a package at work. There is also an element of school lunch boxes here, with calls of “ooh what did you get? I had that last time it’s yummy”. A bewildering commentary for those in the office who haven’t signed up and therefore not experienced the “pina colada fruit mix”. Graze have also made it easy to share codes via social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook so you can encourage your virtual networks to try it too.

Graze have made themselves easy to share and easy to recommend but they are also easy to like. You’ll receive an email the day your box is delivered asking you to provide personal feedback. The foods you loved Graze will send more often and the ones you hated you’ll never see again. Graze gradually learn what you like and dislike but you get to try a whole bunch of stuff along the way.

My Graze Box

My Graze Box

I’m pretty hooked already, though I’m unsure just how long I’m supposed to make these boxes last. So far my box has only lasted three days however I was thoroughly overexcited about the whole thing and may have wanted to try everything immediately. Perhaps once the shine has worn off a bit I’ll be able to give a more accurate estimate of how long a box lasts.

I really can’t recommend this enough. It’s so much cheaper than buying “healthy desk food” from a supermarket, it’s nicer too and they take the hassle of buying it out of the way by mailing it to you. So in the spirit of recommending and sharing if you would like to try a free box you can use this code to get one http://www.graze.com/p/DGC7WKR.

Happy snacking!

The perfect whoopie pie recipe is eluding me

Whoopie Pie

Whoopie Pie

*UPDATE* Whoopie Pie Recipe can now be found here

It’s been almost a month of baking every weekend and I still haven’t nailed down a recipe I’m happy with. The photo above was from my very first batch which I was reasonably pleased with, problem is I totally adjusted the recipe I was working from as I went along and now I can’t recreate its awesomeness. It was a rookie mistake that I’m paying for now.

Similar to old fashioned alchemy, the beauty of baking is that all the ingredients mathematically balance to bring you a wonderful cake, you experiment and blend your ingredients until they magically come together in a perfect mixture. The problem I’m having with the whoopie pie is the ratio of dry to wet ingredients that I just can not get my head around, so I keep changing it. The wet and dry in a cake are supposed to cancel each other out, with the eggs binding everything together. Yet here the mixture is incredibly wet but still thick (which makes no sense to me.)

This is all before we even get to the plain flour vs self raising flour issue. Traditionally the recipe calls for plain flour, I’ve tried it with both and there seems to be no difference, they will both still come out like biscuits rather than cakes. Adding some bicarb of soda has been the only way I’ve gotten a nicely domed little cake, but this isn’t in the recipe so how did they get their cakes to rise?

I really need to play around with the recipe some more, but the office has banned me from making more cakes until further notice so there is no one to eat them. :(

Twestival was rocking all over the world!

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, Status Quo were not rocking the EdTwestival last Thursday, though it really would have been an appropriate song for the event.

25th March 2010 was christened International Twestival Day in cities all over the world as philanthropic tweeters united to tweet, drink and eat cake all in the name of the charity Concern. I’d somehow managed to be on holiday for both of the previous Twestivals in 2009 but this year the stars aligned and I managed to get myself a ticket for my first Edtwestival.

The Edtwestival hashtag erupted in a frenzy of excitement and activity early Thursday morning as its attendees quite literally buzzed in anticipation of the main event that night. I myself snuck off to the venue, Ghillie Dhu, at lunchtime to deliver a some cakes (I invented the Hashtag Cupcake you know) and got a sneak peak at the preparations.

Though there were a few pre Twestival drinks arranged I gave them a miss, mainly owing to the fact that I wasn’t sure what all the people I’d been speaking to online looked like. (Obviously a major drawback of developing relationships online.) So I trotted off to Starbucks for a needed caffeine boost and much to my amusement discovered a group of people abusing the free wifi playing World of Warcraft on their laptops. I snickered quietly in to my tea listening to them “Tbag an ally noob” and was heartily impressed that the free internet connection was good enough to allowing ganking.

Actually rocking up to the Twestival was a bit intimidating thankfully the first person I met was @Cronvek (or Liz) who I knew from her tweets is a big video games fan and just like that we’re chatting away like we’ve known each other for ages. I was worried about not knowing anyone and being by myself but I really should have known better. Everyone was super friendly and I’m pretty mad and forward anyway so I was soon plotting a master plan to get people flashing rudey bits on the webcam with, until recently, complete strangers (@krayatweet vetoed that idea damn fast and I’m pretty sure the host of the night, @CraigMcgill now thinks I have a fetish for tits, but hey its all for a good cause right?) and listening to @mikecoulter hold court at the bar with a bunch of his digital ninjas. (Now newly christened Social Media Bravehearts.)

Apologies for not mentioning everyone I met, just know that I love you and I’m stalking following you all on Twitter.

By the end of the night £3.6k had been raised, @CraigMcgill had one of his breasts waxed, many cakes were bought and consumed, (by the way did I mention I invented the hashtag cupcake?) I made a LOT of new friends and performed an EPIC knee slide across the dancefloor with the social penguin himself Mr @mike_mcgrail. (All this whilst sober…no doubt you’re all wondering the damage I’d do with a drink in me?) The Edtwestival organisers deserve a massive round of applause for all their efforts and I hope they got a chance to toast their success on the night. I’ll be there with bells on for the next one guys!


A small post script to the evening was the drive home to Fife in what can only be described as a scene from John Carpenters The Fog. I was absolutely bricking myself driving in fog so thick I couldn’t see the side of the road or the traffics lights! In fact it was so bad I was sensing my way home in much the same way that Luke uses the Force and just “feeling” which junction I was at. I did get home safely in the end so perhaps there is a future for me as a Jedi Knight? (I can see this going on the upcoming census now!)

Will add pictures when I can.

Anyone for cake?

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Happy Mothers day Mum x

Recipe adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson

You will need
250ml Guinness (Sweetheart Stout also works very well)
250g butter
75g cocoa
400g caster sugar
130ml of Buttermilk (or sour cream if you cant find it)
2 eggs
1 tbl vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

1 tub of soft white cheese, like Philadelphia
175g icing sugar
125ml double cream
A few drops of lemon juice (optional)

Heat the Guinness and butter until it all melts together, take it off the heat, add the sugar and cocoa and whisk well. (Be careful though as the butter and beer will be hot.) In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla then add this to your hot mixture and mix in again. Gradually add the flour and bicarb to this mixture stirring as you go until you have a thickened cake batter. (Don’t worry if it’s still a little damp, its supposed to be a really moist cake.)

Pour it in to a lined cake tin and place in the middle of a preheated oven at gas mark 4 (180C) for around 45 minutes. It will probably need longer for you to get a clean skewer in the middle so be prepared to give it a little longer. When its baked leave the cake to cool in it its tin as it will fall apart if you tip it out on to a rack.

To make the icing cream the cheese, icing sugar and cream together, you make need to add a little more icing sugar if its still very runny, and then liberally spread all over the cake with a palate knife.

Enjoy.


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