Baking Challenge

Cake 16 – Barmbrack (Ireland)

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Two Irish cakes in a row!  Admittedly, I also made this cake because it’s quick (I’m studying but I need a baking break!).  And who can go wrong with fruit loaf, where the fruit has been soaked overnight in tea?  Yum yum!

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The tea in this really helps to avoid ending up with a dry loaf.  I don’t normally eat fruit loaf (there’s usually other, prettier cakes to choose from), but this is really nice – especially with butter and a nice cup of tea!!  (The more tea, the better!)

Cake Number 15: Guinness and Chocolate Cupcakes (Ireland)

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I know it’s nowhere near St Patrick’s Day but I can never resist a Guinness cake – and I’ve just bought a new dual-icing piping kit and wanted to try it out.  And it works!

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I decided to only make two cupcakes, as my Dad (who’s my main cake tester) is offshore, so I just made one for me and one for my Mum.  Plus, I’ve applied for Air Traffic Controller training, and I didn’t want to spend the entire day in the kitchen, as I need to study for my aptitude tests next week (wish me luck!)

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The cupcake I’ve tried is delicious.  Moist (and I hate using that word!), chocolately, and lovely.  Fingers crossed the other one tastes just as good for my Mum!

Cake Number 13: Rogel Toffee Cake (Argentina)

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Today is the day that I found out that my dad owns a blowtorch.  So, of course, I had to bake something involving meringues so I could use said blowtorch.  That wasn’t the only reason I made these, though.

The other reason is because I love dulce de leche – but, unless you’re buying it in a cake, it’s almost impossible to find in Scotland (although, I’m sure Edinburgh and Glasgow would probably sell it).  I was gonna make my own, as I have a can of condensed milk in my cupboard, but I made the mistake of looking up horror stories where the can has exploded…so I cheated and bought some Carnation’s caramel sauce (I’ve used it before when making banoffee pie, so I knew it tasted good!).  I might work up the courage to make my own dulce de leche one day…if I’ve got absolutely no other alternative (I’d rather not have to clean it off the ceiling!).

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This cake is lovely!  And it was so fiddly having to roll it out so thin to cut (0.5mm.  And I actually mean mm and not cm!).  I was so careful to keep it from ripping – my tongue was sticking out in concentration and everything!

I think I overcooked the meringue — I wasn’t supposed to let the bowl touch the simmering water when whisking the eggs, but I didn’t realise until the water starting spewing out of the pan (I’d only used a tiny amount of water as well!).

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I love this cake – it’s basically a bunch of biscuits (can’t go wrong with biscuits!) stacked together with dulce de leche – or, in this case, caramel – and topped with meringue (which I then went to town on with the blowtorch).

I got all excited after I made this cake because it actually looks good (for once!), and then my dad, who was cutting the grass outside, managed to send a stone through the window and broke it – so that got more attention.  Whoops!

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Cake Number 12: Marmalade Cake (Scotland)

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I don’t know why I’ve never made this cake before, as it’s full of oranges and marmalade and I love marmalade.  If it wasn’t so full of sugar, I’d probably have marmalade on toast for breakfast every day.  (And, in case it wasn’t obvious, I kinda burned the top.  But you can’t really taste it and it gives it a nice crunch!)

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This cake is apparently Scottish and, like the other two Scottish cakes in 80 cakes from around the world (treacle scones and Dundee cake), I’ve never tried it before (I’ve still to make the Dundee cake, but my excuse for never having had it before is that it’s from Dundee and, apart from passing through it on the train on the way to Edinburgh or Glasgow, I’ve never properly been to Dundee before.  I need to rectify that!)

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Before making this cake, I (somewhat naively) thought that my caramel-making skills were pretty good.  Not this cake!  I think I burned the sugar and had to start over about 3 times before finally getting it right.  And I managed to mangle every slice of orange that I caramelised, except for one (which is why it’s the only one that you can see the whole of.  I’ve cleverly – in my opinion – managed to hide the mangled mess of the other oranges…Not…).

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Learning from my mistake with the Tourva coconut cake, I didn’t use all of my syrup on this cake – and I was rewarded when it wasn’t swimming in a puddle of orange goo!  Get in!!  And the taste of this cake – wow!  So orangey!  I love it!  It’s not too overpoweringly sweet, either, which just adds to its charm.  I think I’ll have to make it again – and hopefully have better lucky with making the caramel and not mangling the oranges!

Cake Number 10: Pavlova (New Zealand)

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If there’s one thing I can make well, it’s a meringue.  And what better way to eat meringue than covered in homemade raspberry sauce and whipped cream and surrounded by berries (the meringue, not the person.  Although, if that’s how you enjoy your meringue then don’t let me stop you!)

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For all the meringues I’ve made, I’ve never made a pavlova before, or even a big meringue.  They’re usually smaller (about the size of the small ones in the pictures) and are full of chocolate chunks (so good!).  So, I was quite pleased with how these big ones turned out (but I’ll need to figure out how to stop them from cracking).

As all good meringue should be, these are crunchy on the outside, and chewy on the inside.  And I love my raspberry sauce!  I’m definitely making that again!  It can go with so many things!  Oh, the possibilities!

And (because I’m cool), I felt stupidly happy at how my piping of my homemade whipped cream turned out (even though it’s under the meringue, so you can’t see it).  I’ve never actually piped whipped cream before.  There’s a first time for everything!

I think I’m gonna need to make more of these, cos I can see them getting snapped up!

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