Great Bookish Bake off – Ginger, apple and maple syrup cake

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

Ginger, apple and maple syrup cake. Its pretty amazing.

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I was going to make this for my birthday, because my birthday fell over rosh hashanah and who doesn’t want to apples dipped in honey? Well… apart from the fact that I don’t like honey. So I used maple syrup. And then I decided to make a cake. Only I didn’t have any ingredients, so I made it over the first weekend in October, because that’s another perfect reason to eat apples and spices. This cake is sticky, warm and comforting and completely vegan. Yaaas.

You will need:
A Betty Crocker Ginger Cake Mix
2 pink lady apples
Cinnamon
Ginger
Maple Syrup
Sugar
300ml Lemonade
Butter
Icing Sugar
Two round cake tins
A frying pan
A book. I went with The Wrath and the Dawn.

Yes, I know this is a box mix, but honestly, when you give up dairy and then realise you can make a pretty spectacular cake with only two ingredients, it makes finding egg replacers a bit pointless.
Pour your cake mix into a mixing bowl and add your lemonade, give it a good mix, folding it all in together and then separate into cake tins and cook for 30 minutes. While that’s cooking you can do a bit of reading, I was working my away through the Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, which is a retelling of 1,001 Nights… I’m not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, the writing style is incredible, but I have a few problems with the story itself… Anyone else read it? What did you think?

When the cake is done, put those aside and get your apples. Cut these into squares and put into a frying pan, add spices, sugar and maple syrup and fry stirring continuously until the apples are soft and covered in the sticky, spicy concoction. Spoon the apples onto one of the cakes and then put the second on top, making sure to save some apples for decoration. I won’t tell you how to make icing cos I’m sure you already know, but if you’re abstaining from dairy like myself, you can use lactose free butter, it works in much the same way.
Spread over the top of the cake and add the remaining apples for decoration and voila, a warming, spicey autumnal cake for you to enjoy GBBO with!

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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

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Great Bookish Bake off – Cornflake Tart

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

Oh it feels like forever since I’ve done one of these posts, it feels even longer since I last ate this creation! In fact, I haven’t had it since I left school at eighteen! Actually, I’ve never seen this served anywhere else other than at school!

Cornflake tart, just like the school dinner ladies used to make!

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Did anyone else have cornflake tart at school or was it just a west country thing?
For those who didn’t get to experience this, you are in for a treat cos I’m about to tell you exactly how to make it! First though, what on Earth is it?
It is a biscuity/pastry base covered in jam and then topped in cornflakes and golden syrup.
Yes. I know. It’s an odd concept, but bare with me. I used to love this stuff during school dinners and the other day, my brother posted a photo of himself frying cornflakes on Facebook, which naturally was questioned and it turns out, he had acquired a recipe for the very thing we had at school, so I gave it a go whilst reading Unconventional, which, if you are a fan of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, I think you might enjoy.
So, let’s a go.

You will need:
A mixing bowl
A cake tin
A frying pan
100g flour
50g butter (I used dairy free, but that’s really up to you)
a shot glass of water
a healthy dollop of golden syrup
10g sugar
Some cornflakes
A knob of butter.

Firstly, put the butter and flour into a mixing bowl and with your hands rub together to form breadcrumbs – see what I mean about being a bit like pastry? Anyway, once you get breadcrumbs, pour in your water shot and with a spoon, mix until you form a ball of dough, kneed the ball of dough until you’re happy with the consistency and then pat into the cake tin, making sure it is flat.

Pop it into the oven for 20 minutes, during which time you can start reading – like I said, I had Unconventional on the go, which is a story about the daughter of a man who runs conventions, you know, like comic con and well she has a meet cute with a guy who ends up being a convention guest and well, its a cute nerd love kind of story and there frankly aren’t enough of those in my life.

Once your base is cooked, set it aside to cool and get your frying pan ready. Drop a knob of butter and let it melt. Then add in the sugar and the golden syrup, stirring until combined, pour in the cornflakes and stir until coated. Leave on the heat while you spread jam over the biscuity base making sure it is completely coated. Spoon the cornflake mixture on top and pop back into the oven for five minutes, which probably doesn’t give you much reading time, but you can at least get the washing up done.

Leave the – what should we call this? Cornflake tart? Whatever, leave the cornflake cake biscuit, pie thing to cool for a few minutes before taking out of the cake tin and then settle down with a slice and the beverage of your choice to finish off another chapter of your book.

Let me know if you had this at school or if you’re trying it, I want to know if this is a national thing or just a my school thing!

Great Bookish Bakeoff – Ginger apple cake

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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!

Saying Goodbye to London

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Saying goodbye to London – Julie Burtinshaw

DAT COVER ART THO.
This was an ARC downloaded from Netgalley and I selected it entirely on the cover art and the fact that I love London. I need to start reading the blurbs of these things more often! This was about an entirely different London, London in Canada and then London, the person. Am I explaining this properly? Give me a sec.

Francis Sloan is a shy fifteen-year-old boy. When he meets edgy sixteen-year-old Sawyer, sparks fly…and Sawyer becomes pregnant. Their relationship is still so fresh and new, they decide they will put the baby up for adoption. As the story unfolds over the nine months they wait for their baby, London, to be born, Francis and Sawyer grapple with the responsibility of becoming parents and the accelerated path to adulthood they now find themselves on. With the absence of their own fathers in their lives and the evergreen challenges of first love, will they even make it together to the point where they have to say goodbye to London?

So, this is the story of Francis, who is super shy and more into hanging out with his bud Kevin and playing computer games at home than he is anything else. Seeing as he is perhaps one of the worst people I’ve ever had the mispleasure to read about, maybe he should have stayed in his room and not inspired anyone to write about him. Anyway. Francis goes out one evening with Kevin, who is going through some stuff and deserves way better friends, despite the fact that he is super shy, he manages to talk to, impress, dance with and then make out with a cool older girl, Sawyer. Anyway, he and Sawyer despite not knowing each other all that well, living on opposite ends of the city, not having anything in common and having you know, school and friends and stuff, decide to spend all their time hanging out in Sawyer’s room having sex and then being surprised that they’ve ended up withchild, because apparently, contraception isn’t a thing that they’ve thought about all that much.

Now, I was intrigued by the initial premise of this story, the only other book I’ve read about teen pregnancy is Trouble by Non Pratt, which was a first person narrative from both the point of view of the mother to be and her friend who was pretending to be the father, so although I picked this thinking it was to do with saying goodbye to London, England, I was a bit excited to read someone else’s prospective on the teen pregnancy front. Sadly, there was something about this that I just couldn’t get into. I don’t know if it was the simplistic narration or just the fact that Francis is by far the most awful, immature person I have ever come across, but I just… I couldn’t. This is a boy who can’t even say the word condom without getting flustered. Firstly, you are fifteen, wtf is wrong with you? Secondly, all you seem to want to do with Sawyer requires the use of one. Freaking say the word! He came across so terribly, Kevin’s storyline was so interesting, he was dealing with the fact that his dad is dying and still managed to be there and support his friend and Francis literally couldn’t be even the slightest bit grateful.

The cover art for this is beautiful, the story is an interesting, its just a shame that I didn’t click with it better. If anyone else reads this, give me a shout and let me know what you thought! We could swap notes on how awful Francis is!

ARC haul, the reading passport, being a proud big sister? A book video in three parts

Yeah, I’m still doing that YouTube thing even though Dan Howell still doesn’t know I exist and I still don’t have enough subs to get into the YouTube space, but the YouTube thing is fun! And sometimes my love of books bleeds into life over on my channel, so one post spread across two social networks I guess!

Welcome to A book video in three parts:
Part one, a little round up of the arcs I’ve been sent recently, they’re probably the last ones I’ll get this year and a couple of them have appeared here before, but you know!
Part two, the reading passport, a new initiative happening at a couple of my local libraries that I thought was super cool and wanted to share, plus the books I picked up while I was there!
Part three, borrowing a book from my little brother who hated books when he was younger and now loves them and the proud big sister feels I have about that fact!

If you’ve read any of these, plan to read any of these or like the sound of any of these you should let me know so we can discuss! (also, *takes deep breath and prepares for the Philly D spiel* if you liked that video and you like what I do on that channel hit that like button and if you’ve not visited me over on YouTube before hit that subscribe button).  If any of ya’ll live near a library taking part in the reading passport, hit me up so we can discuss which books we’ve picked up and how many stamps we’ve earned!

Great Bookish Bake off – Maple Syrup Drizzle Cake

bookishbakeoff

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

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So, my grandad gifted me a bottle of maple syrup and as bake off no longer exists and I have nothing else cake related to do on a Wednesday I decided to attempt some sort of cake involving maple syrup and came up with this weird but super nice and Autumnal maple syrup drizzle cake!

What you will need:

150g self raising flour
150g brown sugar
150g butter (I used vegan butter but you can use whatever!)
1 table spoon of cinnamon
1 table spoon of Maple Syrup
2 table spoons apple sauce (this was my egg substitute, so either use eggs or whatever other kind of replacement you like)
3 table spoons of water
scales
a mixing bowl
electric whisk
a loaf tin
The book of your choice. I was reading Whispers Underground, the third Rivers of London book – if you’ve never checked out this series before, do it! They’re amazing!

So, in the mixing bowl put the flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon, syrup and sauce into a bowl and start to whisk, once it starts coming together, add the water and continue mixing until you get a nice smooth mixture. Pour into a lined loaf tin and cook on 180 for 45 minutes. Which is ample time for reading! The Rivers of London books are kind of how I imagine life is like for ex Hogwarts students, Peter Grant is after all a police officer who also happens to be a wizard and spends his time solving supernatural crimes in London. If that doesn’t sound awesome enough, the whole thing is just so well written and funny and I did almost a little bit let the cake burn… I didn’t though its all good!
Once the 45 minutes are up, check the loaf is cooked and then stab it a little and pour a bit more maple syrup over the top. Leave it for a few minutes to soak in and then eat that bad boy because dear God, if there was ever something you didn’t know you needed, this is it.