I'm sending you a postcard from Edinburgh, a perfect weekend away, with lots of cakes to keep your tourist feet pounding the old City streets!
Let's start with some Chocolate Orange traybake, and a Beetroot Poppy Seed tray bake from the National Museum of Scotland bistro. Also pictured, some treats from the Edinburgh Castle cafe: Mint Aero Tiffin (whaaat!) and Chocolate Tarts.
A fabulous collage of cake from around the city...
Top line: Pistachio Rhubarb Tiffin (Cafe on the Mound) - my personal favourite, Ginger and Raspberry Tiffin (Cafe on the Mound), White Chocolate Cake (Edinburgh Castle tea rooms, better than the cae by far!).
Bottom Line: Mini Victoria Sponges (Edinburgh Castle tea rooms), a castle themed showstopper (tea rooms again), and some chocolate brownies.
Currently looking for a recipe for the rhubarb bake, if anyone has any bright ideas??
Finally, I am a total Mimi's Bakehouse convert, having had brunch there on Sunday. These photos are from the Leith branch, but there's also one on the Royal Mile, if you're in the city centre.
Oreo cupcakes, Raspberry Chocolate cupcakes, and Chocolate Fudge cakes pictured below... and me!
Look out for our next 'Postcard from...' blog coming soon. Who knows where our bakers will head to next?! Take a look at some previous discoveries on Twitter via the hashtag #280ontour.
We're loving 2018 Great British Bake Off, and We love a challenge!
Week One: BISCUIT WEEK
Traditionally the first week is Cake Week, but this year it went biscuity. The signature bake challenge was to bake a batch of a 'regional biscuits', so Louise baked Bristol Biscuits.
These raisin and cinnamon biscuits need cassia oil, which was ordered from Health4All if you need your own supply. Make sure you get the edible version and not the massage oil!!
Cassia oil has a lot of health benefits, apparently, including being an aid to circulation, an anti-depressant, and something which supposedly helps with diarrhoea and sickness. Essentially, it's a Chinese cinnamon oil, distilled from the steaming of the leaves and bark.
The biscuits were easy to make (recipe available here), but it was quite a wet mix, not great for shaped cookies. The biscuit fingers came out best. They are soft, not a crunchy biscuit, quite like a light shortbread. Bristol Biscuits are also called 'Easter Biscuits' so Louise made them extra Easter-like by drizzling some green icing on top.
As for the taste, they're just like a cinnamon biscuit, but without the colouration the powdered spice can bring. Louise says "I'm glad I've finally be able to bake them - living in Bristol, if felt like I really had to sometime!"
Week Three: BREAD WEEK
Always a good week, this series saw a signature bake of Chelsea Buns. Criticism from the judges on the show were things like 'over baked', 'under proved' and 'not enough filling'... Louise says she sympathises with all of these!
Her first ever attempt at Chelsea Buns wasn't bad at all, but she rolled the dough too thick so they took longer to bake, the dough didn't rise when proving, and Louise ran out of currants - but saved it with some cherries, yay!
What do you think?
Next week is DESSERT WEEK - stay tuned for an update on Louise's challenge!
The Team @ 280 Bakes
We get asked fairly often if cakes can be frozen, so we're here today to clarify!
Petals, leaves and buds are our favourite to ice, they look really effective. Real flowers are so lovely to work with and they look so pretty - we plan to incorporate more of these into our bakes. Chocolate is fun to work with (like with the waterlily petals above), but more unpredictable. We do love a challenge though!
What's your favourite flower? Have you ever seen it on a cake?
The Team @ 280 Bakes
Some Rules are Good. Always Drive on the left. No heavy petting at the pool. However, these baking rules were meant to be broken!
1. WHEN USING BUTTER AND SUGAR IN THE CAKE MIX, CREAM IT TOGETHER FIRST BEFORE YOU ADD THE OTHER INGREDIENTS
This works with a lot of recipes, and is beneficial, but I saw Mary Berry has said that there's two ways to make a Victoria Sponge: The traditional way of creaming the butter and sugar together, then add the other ingredients, or there's the way she prefers, which is to put everything into the bowl together and then mix. I would say that not creaming the butter and sugar is totally ok, then, if Mrs B says so! Do follow the recipe though - some recipes it might be especially pertinent for.
Not sure what 'creaming' means, in baking terms? It's simply mixing the sugar and butter together until they are well combined, and you can't really see the sugar anymore.
2. ONLY USE HIGH QUALITY BUTTER FOR THE FAT NEEDED IN CAKES
Well, you can throw that one right out the window! Over 60% of the orders we have are for vegan cakes, so there's no butter at all there. We use other things like bananas, avocados, oil and dairy-free margarine.
Yes, the cakes will taste different, and if you'd prefer to use high quality butter when 'real' butter is required, that's a good thing, but cakes can easily be made with no butter at all. Check out our recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cake, for example.
3. ALWAYS PRE-HEAT YOUR OVEN
If we were just talking cake baking, I'd agree. Pre-heating the oven is essential for cakes to ensure a consistent bake - and also for bread, actually, as the dough needs to be baked hot and fast. However, when baking pies or crumbles, it's totally fine to whack the dish in the over before it's up to temperature, and it makes the process more heat efficient too.
Can you think of any more rules you can break while baking, cakes, bread or otherwise?
The Team @ 280 Bakes
It's holiday season, and our Bakers are having a great time... poking around in the foreign supermarket Shelves!
This is what we've found already, and summer holiday season is still young!
Finally, eurgh, the Pillsbury man. I'll be making my own buttercream, I think!
What interesting baking ingredients have you found while on holiday? Share in the comments below, we'd love to know!
Louise & Team
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