Great Bookish Bake off – Lemon Cake

The cakes I bake and the books I read while baking them.

So even though I spent most of the past year determined not to watch new bake off… Bake Off returned and I watched it. And I don’t know how I feel about it… like it feels wrong… But also… familiar and I don’t know! What does everyone one else think of it? Is it good? Is it not? I don’t know…!
Anyway, one simply doesn’t watch bake off without cake. So, I made a cake. And I cheated a bit and thought you guys might also like a cheaters recipe to cake.

You will need:
A mixing bowl
Two round cake tins
A box of cake mix (I chose Lemon cake)
Ready made icing (yes, that stuff is accidentally dairy free)
A can of Sprite.

And the book of your choice, I was reading Six of Crows which is one of my new favourite books.

This is a great cake hack if you hear the Bake Off theme and think, damn, I should have got some cake in. All you need is one of those cake mix boxes and a 320ml of lemonade, mix the two together, split the mix between the two cake tins and bake for twenty minutes. Which admitedly, doesn’t give you much time to read, especially when you’re working your way through something as exciting as Six of Crows, but there is also the cooling time, so you know.
Once they’re cooked, put them aside and let them cool and then crack into the ready made icing and assemble your cake. My packet mix came with drizzle for the top which I also stuck on because BAKE OFF.
As weird as it sounds, for some reason, adding fizzy drinks to cake mix makes a perfectly risen and moist (sorry) cake! It’s mad but true! Try it!

 

Also while we’re talking about Bake Off, Veronica Dearly posted this great image the other day and I can’t not!

Giving the #bakeoff a whirl. #gbbo

A post shared by Veronica Dearly (@veronicadearly) on

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Bean juice pancakes?!

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The cakes I bake and the books I read while baking them. 

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So I made a post about vegan pancakes last year, but this year I found a different recipe and thought I’d give it a try!

You will need:
A frying pan
Something to grease your pan with
200g flour
200ml soya milk
1 table spoon olive oil
1 table spoon sugar
1 table spoon maple syrup
40 ml aquafaba (chickpea water. Bare with)

So, let’s talk about the chickpea water.
I have seen on the internet you can use it instead of eggs, so I did. Basically, open a can of chickpeas and drain the water out, keep it though, measure out 40ml and add it to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, give it a whisk and you’re ready to go!
Now usually I would read while baking, but I was making these while the Robert/Aaron wedding was going on and ya’ll know they’re my problematic ship, so pancakes and getting emotional over soap characters. Standard.

Pour the mix into your frying pan, heating for about 2 minutes on each side and then covering with the toppings of your choice! These did have a chewier texture than I’m used to, but I was using gluten free flour which may have been why, they were certainly the easiest pancakes to flip! So, though the idea of using the water out of a chickpea tin sounds weird, it actually worked really well!

Great Bookish Bakeoff – Ginger apple cake

bookishbakeoff

The cakes I bake and the books I read while baking them.

Is anyone else devastated that we’ve now had the last ever bake off as we know it? Whatever happens with the future of baking on TV, these posts will continue because I bloody love cake.

So, here’s the story, I was perusing Facebook, as you do, and I saw a post from someone who had made a cake using a box mix and a can of sprite, so naturally, I had to give that a go too, behold my dairy free ginger apple cake!

You will need:
A mixing bowl
Two round cake tins
A sauce pan
A box of Betty Crocker ginger cake mix
Some icing sugar
Cold water
Three apples
Cinnamon
Brown sugar
A can of sprite

First, pour the box of cake mix into a mixing bowl and gradually add the sprite, stirring as you do until you get what resembles cake mix. Split this into two and put them into your cake tins (either line them with baking paper or grease them, whatever!) pop them in the oven on 180 for 25 minutes.
While that’s baking, chop and skin your apples, put them in a sauce pan with cold water, sugar and cinnamon, pop a lid on the pan and leave to boil for 20 minutes or so, which should give you enough time to read something!
I was reading an ARC sent to me called Saying Goodbye to London, honestly, I was finding excuses to not read it, I don’t know if it is the writing style or if it is how unlikable the characters are, but I was struggling. So, I figured I’d reward myself with cake if I got through a couple of chapters.

Once your cake is done (take a moment to be amazed that it worked because I totally did), leave it to cool and see to your apples, what you should have is stewed apples and these are what you are going to stick the cake together with. Create your cake/apple tower and leave it to completely cool before making standard icing, gradually adding water to icing sugar until you end up with smooth icing, drizzle over the top and voila! You have a dairy free cake that tastes like cake and no need to go out finding eggs or oil! Next time you fancy cake but don’t have any of the key ingredients, don’t fret as long as you have something fizzy and a packet mix, you are good to go!

Great Bookish Bake Off – Dairy free chocolate brownies!

bookishbakeoff

The cakes I bake and the books I read while baking them

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Firstly, I can’t make this post and not mention the absolute travesty that is the bake off controversy. I haven’t been this upset since Brexit. That aside, this series has been great, Selasi is my fave, he reminds me of someone I know and its just too much!
Anyway, partly inspired by bake off, partly inspired by a recipe I saw on the internet and partly because I was approaching my day of birth and cake… Well… I decided to give these a try and then tell you about them – so here we go – dairy free brownies that can also be made peanut butter flavoured and gluten free. LETS GO. Though it became a bit of a monster as you can see. It did taste pretty good  though.

What you will need:
A mixing bowl
A wooden spoon
A baking tray (I did not have a deep enough baking tray and instead made this in a loaf tin. ROOKIE ERROR)
320g flour (I used self raising, but feel free to use gluten free stuff if you like!)
240g brown sugar
240g caster sugar
225ml cold water
225ml vegetable oil
2 tea spoon vanilla extract
80g dark chocolate
optional – 1 table spoon of peanut butter/ biscoff spread. Whichever you prefer, I put biscoff in mine because caramel.
Your other option is a book to read while baking cos this does take a while. I was reading Emmaline Pankhurst’s autobiography, My Own Story, which is so interesting. I might have to make a post all about it when I’ve finished.

Firstly, get your mixing bowl and wooden spoon ready, then add all the dry ingredients first. Mix the flour, sugars and cocoa powder together. Once that’s all mixed in add the optional spread if you want to use it, oil, vanilla, chocolate and mix it again. Once you’re happy with the constistency, pour into your baking tray. Cos you’d have been clever enough to find out if you had one of those before you started making this right? Stick it into the for 45 minutes on 170 degrees and get reading.

Like I said, I just started reading Emmaline Pankhurst’s autobiography and it is so interesting! I’m a bit history nerd anyway and I’ve been wanting to read more about women’s suffrage and gender politics, so I was pretty happy to find this in my library. Its super interesting so far and I’ve learned so much more about the movement and how it came about. Also, its made me rethink Gladstone’s place on my list of favourite prime ministers. Yes. I have a list of favourite prime ministers. Gladstone was on it. Now I’m not so sure.

Anyway, would be interested to see if any of you guys give this recipe a go and if you actually manage to cook it in a tray…

Great Bookish Bakeoff – Vegan white chocolate and honey combe cheese cake!

bookishbakeoff

The cakes I bake and the books I read while baking them

Ok, I know what you’re thinking, cheesecake doesn’t involve baking, it’s mixing and then chilling and I hear you, I do. But the chilling required me to sit around and wait. Hence the reading. Oh, you wanted to ask how white chocolate and honeycombe cheese cake can be vegan. Well, I’ll tell you and its easy af. I cheated with this one.

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So, if you follow me on twitter, you will know that I have been attempting to make vegan cheesecake for a really long time, I was almost successful with vegan key lime pie, the proper way to do this is using cashews that have been soaked over night and then blended with dairy free milk and the flavourings of your choice. It takes a bit of time to get right and cashews are gosh darn expensive, then I found vegan soft cheese at my local tesco. VEGAN SOFT CHEESE. Do you know what that means? That means that I can make cheese cake the traditional way!

Things you will need:
A circular cake tin
A mixing bowl
A wooden spoon
A small glass bowl
A saucepan
A microwave
A spatula
A pot of vegan soft cheese (I found this at my local tesco!)
100g of icing sugar
3 Choices dairy free white chocolate santas
A bag of decorative honeycombe pieces
100g biscuits
50g dairy free butter
The book of your choice!

First things first, get your circular cake tin, set it to one side, then fill a sandwich bag with your biscuits and take out any frustration you may have on those biscuits by bashing them to crumbs with a rolling pin, while you’re beating those biscuits like they’re the heads of your enemies, you could put your butter (which could be dairy free if you like, or just your regular old stuff if you want) in the microwave for a minute to melt, give that a stir when its done, just to make sure, then tip your now crumbly biscuits into the butter and give it a stir. Spread that over the bottom of your cake tin and put it in the fridge to harden up while you create cheese cake!
Next, scoop all the soft cheese (vegan or otherwise) into a mixing bowl, add the icing sugar – pro tip, if you are making vegan cheese cake, do check the ingredients, not all varieties of icing sugar are vegan!- and give it a stir until its creamy. Leave that aside and set yourself up a ban marie (if you’ve never watched bake off and have no idea what that is, you fill a saucepan with boiling water and then place that on a hob on a low setting, place a glass bowl in the saucepan and drop your white chocolate into it – it makes it melt better!).

If you use fake white chocolate like I did, you might notice that it melts very slowly. Once it is liquidy, pour it into the sugary, cheesy mixture – it won’t curdle, don’t worry! Just keep stirring! Once that’s all mixed in, pour in your honeycombe pieces. I got mine from Sainsbury, they did have palm oil in, but were complete vegan, I added half the bag to my mix and then spread it over my now chilled biscuit base. A handful of the remaining honeycombe pieces were chucked over the top for decoration with some shavings of left over white chocolate. The whole thing then goes in the fridge for two hours, during which you can either do something productive while you wait until cheesecake time, or you could read, which is what I did. I was reading Look Who’s Back, which is a book about Hitler waking up in a car park in 2011 and accidentally embarking on a career in comedy. Yeah, I was pretty intrigued by the idea too.

Anyway, once the two hours is up, you end up with amazing cheesecake which tastes like actual normal cheesecake, cashews may have gotten the better of me, but vegan soft cheese is the future!

Great Bookish Bakeoff – Vegan Carrot Cake

 

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The cakes I bake and the books I read while baking them. 

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How many Carrot Cake recipes does this blog need? Well, at least one more I suppose! As you’ll know, I decided to go vegan during the month of July. VEDIJ is over now and I think I’m going to be mostly vegan from now on and when I finally am in a position to be completely animal and dairy free, I will be. For now though, here is a vegan carrot cake recipe for you. I ate mine with some vegan ice cream whilst watching bake off. Now that’s back I imagine this feature will make many a appearance on this blog. Just so you know.

Things you will need:
A mixing bowl
A mixer
200g self raising flour
200g sugar
2 tea spoons baking powder
2 tea spoons vinegar
10 table spoons of vegetable oil
3 grated carrots
a sprinkle of cinnamon
a sprinkle of ginger
some raisins.
And the book of your choice, I was reading More than this by Patrick Ness and listening to She’s Kinda Hot by 5sos on repeat. Because I may be a little bit in love with 5sos now. Help.

I used the all in method with this, I stuck everything in my mixing bowl and got to work with my electric mixers. If you stick in a liberal amount of dry ingredients with your spices, then add a little bit of water to smooth out the batter. Once you have something that resembles cake mix, pour it into a lined cake tin (you don’t need to grease the tin, but I used baking parchment) and pop it in the oven for 180 degrees for half an hour. While its in there, you can make a dent in your book. As all my worldly possessions have to live in one room, I can no longer buy physical books, instead I have to have e books, which is fine, but recently I have been really craving some physical page turning, a trip to the library was in need and whilst there I go ALL THE PATRICK NESS.  Honestly, I stormed through part one of More Than This, but I found the subsequent parts to be a bit more difficult. The whole thing was marvellous, as all Patrick Ness books are, but I felt like the first portion of the book far outweighed the rest. Anyway, none of that really mattered when  I had delicious cake and bake off to watch.

This was deliciously moist (sorry for those of you that hate that word), fruity and spicy, just how I like it.
Now I’m getting the hang of vegan deserts, I think that veganism will be much easier for me!

If you give this a go, please let me know what you think! Both my parents had a good go on this cake and didn’t even notice that it wasn’t a traditionally made one! My mum was surprised that it tasted the same when I told her! So yes, good. Points for vegan goodness!

Great Bookish Bakeoff – Vegan chocolate cake?!

bookishbakeoff

 

The cakes I bake and the books I read while baking them.

Why hello there dear reader, it is the month of July, which means, if you read this post back at the beginning of the month that I am currently doing a thing where I am vegan. while I am still learning and I’m not entirely sure that I can sustain this lifestyle right now, it has been great learning to make and eating lots of different foods.

On my first day of VEDIJ, my good friend George, who does in fact have a vegan blog, made me a chocolate cake, explaining how egg substitutes work and that most Betty Crocker things happen to be vegan. I for one do love a good bit of cake, but being lactose intolerant tend to stay as far away from chocolate as I possibly can. I also am someone who enjoys baking, so while knowing a packet mix is in fact suitable for vegans is great, it doesn’t exactly excite me as a baker. Egg substitutes I have found can be a bit expensive and other substitutes, such as bananas (gross), apple sauce and golden syrup, don’t always have the desired effect when you’re using them. So, with this in mind, I took to the internet and found a recipe for chocolate cake that doesn’t involve egg or egg substitute. Right? My mind was blown a little too, how does one make cake with no eggs? Let’s find out! My first attempt at this went horribly wrong, it literally stayed liquid, smelt burnt and well… Failure. The second attempt, that was a definite success.

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Firstly, take a look at that picture, yes, it looks like cake! It tasted like cake too, if a little on the floury side, so how did I manage this almost impossible task?

Things you will need:
A mixing bowl
A Wooden Spoon
A cake tin
150g of self raising flour
150g sugar
50g cocoa powder (being vegan this month, I used dairy free cocoa powder, which I found in my local Sainsbury!)
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
400 ml vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of vinegar
A pot of Betty Crocker chocolate icing (which is accidentally vegan!)
The book of your choice, I was reading Lair of Dreams, by Libba Bray!

Firstly, weigh out the dry ingredients and add them to your mixing bowl. Give it a bit of a stir around with a wooden spoon and then pour in the wet ones. Give the whole thing I good stir until the lumps are smoothed out and poor into a non greased cake tin (I know, I thought that was risky too, but trust me!) Put that in the oven for 30 minutes while you enjoy your book.

I was, as I said, reading Lair of Dreams, the sequel to the Diviners, which I positutely loved, Lair of Dreams was similarly wonderful, but I felt like it was lacking the special something that made the first one so amazing. Which was the feeling I was also getting about this cake, part of me was like, it smells lovely, but is it lacking the special something, the eggs for instance, that helps make cake cake? I didn’t have all that long to wonder about it though, as before I knew it my alarm was ringing to tell me that it was ready to come out of the oven. The sense of trepidation was high, especially as the day before I had given this a go and ended up with something that was still liquid (too much oil), so imagine my amazement at opening the oven door and being greeted with a cake?! The knife tests told me that it was cooked throughout, so I got it out, left it on the side to cool and continued reading about the Sweetheart Seerer and friends for a little while longer. Then came the second moment of doubt, whether it would in fact come out of the cake tin seeing as there was nothing lubricating it, once again surprise, as it tipped out onto a plate completely in tact on my first go.

After decorating it and the arrival of my niece and also lactose intolerant nephew (it is a family trait I’m sure neither of us particularly want) we cut it up and dished it out and while it is a little crumbly and has a slight floury after taste, it does in fact feel and taste like your average chocolate cake! It is in fact possible to make chocolate cake without using any dairy! Up until this moment, I was starting to have doubts about being properly vegan, while I don’t think I can embrace being completely free of anything that has caused distress on an animal – I live in the middle of nowhere, our super markets are not stocked with a wide range of options, I think now I know that cake is still an option, I might stick with this whole dairy free, meat free thing! We shall see!

If you too have lactose/egg allergies, maybe give this a go and let me know what you think!