Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Cake and Bake Show Competition!



With four shows in four new venues, the Cake and Bake Show, in association with NEFF, is bigger than ever this year, and includes a BAKING COMPETITION on the theme of ‘Children’s Stories’ taking place at each of the venues: Harrogate, London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

The Cake and Bake Show is calling on all cake makers to create a fabulous cake that is an interpretation of a children’s story. Each cake creation can be inspired from any children’s story or film, (there’s lots of inspiration in the cinemas this summer with new releases Minion, Peter Pan and Jurassic Park); or it can be a combination of your favourite characters or stories from over the years!

Entries are invited in these categories: 
  • Professional: Someone who has been professionally trained or runs a cake business. 
  • Semi-Professional : Someone who makes cakes on a semi-professional basis e.g for friends or family 
  • Amateur: Must not have been employed or engaged in any way with a bakery or cupcake business e.g for home bakers and those looking to develop their baking hobby. 
  • Junior (3) – There are three categories within this group for young bakers of these ages: Under 6, 7-12 and 13-18.

There will be Celebrity Judges presiding over the competitions at each venue, including: Master Patissier Eric Lanlard, TV chef Rosemary Shrager and Great British Bake Off champion, John Whaite. 
There are no height restrictions on the cakes. 
Awards will be given for display and taste, or display only. 
Cakes may be covered in any suitable edible material and sugar sprays may include wires, tape, ribbon and stamen. 

Entry is simple: ideas and a sketch or photograph should be uploaded to 
the Cake and Bake Show website 
The deadlines for this are as follows: 

LONDON, Excel Centre: 2-4 OCTOBER 
Calling All London Bakers! 
Online entry submissions deadline is 18th August. 

Shortlisted entries will be announced on 1st September. 

Good luck!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Recipe for Chocolate Brownie Key Lime Cheesecake for Aldi's Best Budget Bake

Chocolate Brownie Key Lime Cheesecake
Aldi's Best Budget Bake

I was recently sent this lovely hamper full of baking goodies from Aldi and invited to join their Best Budget Bake blogger challenge. 

Amongst the items were a square baking tin (£1.99), a set of slimline electronic scales (£6.99), a measuring jug with built in scales (£6.99), a silicone castle cake mould (£3.49 - other fun shapes available), a cake carrier (£4.99), bamboo spoon (£1.99) and a pretty heart apron (£2.99).

These, and many more items from the Aldi Specialbuys Home Baking Range will be available in store from Sunday 15th March.

As a frequent baker of cupcakes I was happy to receive a baking tin so straight away thought of brownies... I love brownies and do make them quite often but this time I wanted to play around with flavours a little and create something different. A recipe I have baked on a few occasions is a cheesecake brownie. This has a cheesecake mix swirled into the brownie mix before baking. But what if I separated the two, deconstructed if you like, and instead of a biscuit base used a brownie base for the cheesecake. I'm happy to report that the result is 'EPIC' (as quoted by my 9 year old). The combination of chocolate and lime (remember the pale green hard candies with the soft centre) already works really well.

The cheesecake element uses sweetened condensed milk with the soft cheese, as is used in the American Key Lime Pie. When I make a baked cheesecake (as with the New York kind) I'd normally use soured cream. You can see I use full fat soft cheese in the recipe, I have tried the lighter versions but find that the water content is too high and therefore makes your mixture quite wet and harder to set.

So, onto the baking... the only ingredient that wasn't available in Aldi was the condensed milk so had to pop over the road to another store to purchase this. This will be available as of Sunday 15th March as part of the Aldi SpecialBuys! Everything else you see below was bought from Aldi.

I used Aldi's slim line scales for measuring my ingredients, These are lovely and simple to use, one  press of the mode button switches between measuring dry ingredients in grams, liquid in ml. You can also switch the unit to ounces which is handy for me, as I use a lot of American recipes.
Super Slim Scales, features;
• LCD display
• Liquid measurement function
• Hole for easy hanging
• 5kg weight capacity
• Stainless steel

The bamboo corner spoon is a good design too - one side is curved and the other has a square edge, good for scraping in to the corners of square dishes and getting every last bit. it also has a silicone handle for good grip.


Chocolate Brownie base
200g dark chocolate, chopped (69 for 150g)
175g unsalted butter (89p for 250g)
325g caster sugar (89p for 1kg)
130g plain flour (45p for 1.5kg)
3 large free range eggs (95p for 6)

Cheesecake mixture
800g full fat cream cheese (49p for 200g)
397g can condensed milk
3 large free range eggs (95p for 6)
Zest and juice of 3 limes

Handful of chocolate curls and fresh lime zest to decorate


  • Line a deep 33 x 23cm baking tray with greaseproof paper
  • Preheat the oven to 170 (fan)
  • Melt the chocolate and butter together, either in the microwave for a few seconds at a time or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water
  • Remove from the heat and add sugar, mixing well, Add the flour and stir until few lumps remain. Then add the eggs and mix until smooth.
  • Spoon the mixture in to the prepared baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine all ingredients together for the cheesecake mixture and whisk until smooth.
  • Pour into the prepared pan on top of the brownie. Reduce the temperature to 160 and bake for 40-50 minutes until set. (don't be concerned about the baking time for the brownie, as you can see from the picture it still remains really gooey and delicious)
  • Sprinkle with chocolate curls and more grated lime zest to serve.
  • Chill thoroughly, keep refrigerated.

I decorated with a twist of lime and served with a dollop of creme fraiche.

Enjoy xx

I was sent the above hamper free of charge to trial the products and review. The opinions are unbiased and my own, I am not paid to write a good review. I regularly do my weekly shopping in our local Aldi.

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Cake & Bake Show ticket offer - £3 off!!

The Cake & Bake Show is an experiential live event for baking and cake fanatics. The event is set to turn up the heat with 4 new exciting shows in Harrogate, London, Manchester and Edinburgh. 

These events have capitalised on the popularity of all things baking and host the perfect mix of live demonstrations, expert classes, market stands, live competitions and so much more to develop your home baking hobby! 

Book yours before 30th March and save £3 on tickets!

PLUS! See and meet renowned baking stars, patisserie experts and the industry's best cake decorators. 

From demonstrations on the Super Cake & Bake Theatre in association with NEFF, to do-along classroom sessions and book signings - there will be lots of opportunities for you to learn from the best! 

Tickets are now on sale! 

Just quote CAKE34 when purchasing to receive £3 off tickets!

Ticket offer terms an conditions - 
*Offer valid on Adult full price advance tickets only. Offer ends 30.03.15. Ticket terms and conditions apply. Information correct at time of print.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Fluffy cinnamon French toast for breakfast?

My children requested cinnamon French toast for breakfast today... 
Who am i to refuse!?

Today though i thought I'd tweak my usual recipe a little, add a couple of extra ingredients, see what happens. The result was a lovely fluffy delicately spiced toast that was devoured in seconds.

I caramelised some bananas and fresh pineapple chunks in the pan at the same time, added fresh strawberries and blueberries, a drizzle of Agave syrup and a dusting of icing sugar. Delicious.

Adding the icing sugar is, of course, optional. These would also go lovely with a dollop of crème fraiche, if preferred.

Recipe (serves 2)
4 slices of thick white bread
2 large eggs
100ml milk1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract (not essence) 

2 tsp butter
2 tsp groundnut oil

1 banana, sliced to about 0.5cm thick
Quarter of a pineapple, sliced and cut into chunks about 0.5cm thick
Handful of strawberries, quartered
Handful of blueberries
To serve (optional) a dusting of icing sugar, a drizzle of agave (or maple syrup), creme fraiche or Greek yogurt.

  • Whisk eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in a bowl (rectangle if you have one) until well combined.
  • Heat 1tsp of butter and 1tsp groundnut oil in a large frying or saute pan over a medium high heat.
  • Dunk 2 slices of bread in the egg mixture, making sure you coat both sides well.
  • Place in the pan and cook on both sides until puffed up and golden.
  • At the same time add half the sliced banana and pineapple and cook until slightly caramelised. They should take about the same time to cook.
  • Serve hot with the fresh strawberries and blueberries, a drizzle of agave and a dusting of icing sugar.
  • Repeat above with the remaining bread and fruit.

Enjoy xx