A Craft in the Life: Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight is definitely one of all time favourite sweets! The deliciously soft, blush pink rosy squares coated in powdery icing sugar and cornflour, always reminds me of family holidays abroad and Christmases at home. I have wanted to make my own for a very long time, and after being inspired by the latest episode of Sweets Made Simple I decided to give it ago 🙂

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Turkish Delight

You will need:

Sunflower Oil for Greasing

3 oz /90g Cornflour (Plus 2 Tbsps for coating)

2 Tbsps Icing Sugar

1lb 6 oz /750g Caster Sugar

1 Tsp Cream of Tartar

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1 Tsp Rose Water

Pink Gel Food Colouring

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Let’s get started!

  • Grease a 17cm x 17cm tin with sunflower oil and line with cling film (Make sure to also lightly grease the top of the clingfilm too).
  • Mix together 2 tbsps of cornflour and icing sugar in a small bowl. Sift a few tbsps over the greased clingfilm to coat and return the excess to the bowl.

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  • Combine the caster sugar, lemon juice and half the cream of tartar in a medium sized heavy based saucepan and add 350ml water.
  • Over a medium heat, dissolve the sugar then bring to the boil. Insert a sugar thermometer into the sugar syrup, and heat gently until it reads 125ºC/257ºF.

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  • Remove from the heat and keep warm.
  • In another medium sized heavy based saucepan, combine the cornflour, remaining cream of tartar and 400ml water.
  • Whisk together until smooth then bring to the boil until the mixture thickens rapidly turning into a thick, white paste.

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  • Simmer for 15 seconds then carefully pour one quarter of the hot syrup into the pan while whisking constantly.
  • Add the remaining hot syrup in three batches, whisking continuously to prevent it sticking on the bottom of the pan and to ensure the mixture is smooth and lump free.

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  • Bring back to the boil and cook gently over a low heat for around 30 minutes, stirring continuously, until thick and glossy.
  • Take the pan off the heat, pour into a large mixing bowl before adding a dash of pink food colouring and the rose water.

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  • Beat until smooth then pour into the prepared tin, ensuring it is spread level.
  • Allow to cool completely, before covering with clingfilm and chilling overnight in the fridge.
  • Tip the saved cornflour/icing sugar mixture onto a large baking tray, then turn out the set Turkish delight and carefully remove the clingfilm off the bottom.
  • Using a lightly greased knife cut into squares, dusting each piece in cornflour/icing sugar mix as you go.
  • You are all done 🙂

I decided to only make pastel pink rose flavoured Turkish Delight, as this was my first attempt! Although it did take a while I was surprised at how relatively easy it was to make. The most difficult parts were simultaneously pouring the hot syrup and whisking, and then continuously stirring for 30 minutes. However, it is completely worth it for the soft, smooth jelly texture of the final sweet.

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As well as flavouring the Turkish Delight lemon instead of rose, you can also add pistachios/almonds for an interesting combination of smooth/sweet and crunchy/savoury. The final dusted pieces can be kept for up to 10 days between grease proof paper in an air tight container. You can leave the pieces plain or you could coat each piece partly or completely in melted chocolate. If you are as much of a lover of Turkish Delight as I am, definitely try out this recipe!

A Craft in the Life…

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A Bake in the Life: Chocolate Orange Swiss Roll

After watching the first episode in the new series of the Great British Bake Off, I was inspired to make my own version of a Swiss Roll! I decided to use a basic chocolate swiss roll recipe from Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book and adapt it with the addition of orange. Using 4 eggs gives the chocolate sponge a really light texture, and the filling can be changed depending on your favourite flavours or on what ever you have in the cupboard. I decided on using orange extract for a good flavour, mandarin oranges for sweetness and candied peel for decoration 🙂

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Chocolate Orange Swiss Roll

You will need:

4 Eggs

4 oz/100g Caster Sugar

2½ oz/65g Self Raising Flour

1½ oz/40g Cocoa Powder

2 Tbsp Orange Marmalade

10 fl oz/300ml Double Cream

1 Tsp Orange Extract

1 Tin Mandarin Orange

A few pieces of candied orange peel and icing sugar to decorate

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Let’s get started!

  • Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 7/220ºC/425ºF, grease and line a 13 x 9 in (33 x 23 cm) swiss roll tin with grease proof/baking paper.
  • Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until light and frothy.

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  • Sift the flour and cocoa into the mixture and carefully fold until fully combined.

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  • Turn the mixture out into the prepared tin, ensuring it’s level before baking for about 10 minutes until the sponge springs back when touched.

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  • While the cake is cooking, place a piece of non-stick baking paper a little bigger than the size of the tin on the work surface and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Turn the cake onto the sugared paper and peel the paper off the bottom of the cake.
  • Roll the cake firmly from one end, with the paper inside and leave to cool.

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  • While the cake is cooling, warm the marmalade gently to make it easier to spread, drain the mandarins and pat dry on kitchen paper.
  • Whip the double cream until light and fluffy, then add the orange extract.

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  • Carefully unroll the cooled cake, remove the paper and spread with the warmed marmalade and whipped cream.

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  • Lay the mandarins over the whipped cream, then gently re roll in the paper and leave to set in the fridge for an hour.

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  • When ready to serve remove from the paper, sieve over some icing sugar and top with a few pieces of candied orange peel.
  • You are all done 🙂

I really like how the slightly bitter flavour of the cocoa powder and marmalade is well balanced with the sweet orange cream and juicy mandarins. I decided to top the finished swiss roll with a dusting of icing sugar and thin pieces of candied orange peel. It is easy to change this recipe to suit your own tastes, whether that’s a vanilla sponge instead of chocolate, raspberries instead of mandarins or jam over marmalade!

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Rolling the swiss roll is definitely the most difficult part, as if you let the sponge cool too much before rolling it into shape it may not hold it’s roll or it may crack. Roll slowly, while the sponge is still warm and with the grease proof paper underneath to ensure a good shape, and make sure the roll is fully cooled before adding the filling. I also found that chilling the swiss roll after filling it helps it to hold it’s shape! If you do have problems just sieve over some icing sugar to hide the cracks or cover with some buttercream icing – nobody will mind as long as it tastes delicious (Unless it’s Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood of course!) 🙂

A Bake in the Life…

A Bake in the Life: Gingerbread Traybake

This gingerbread traybake is definitely a childhood favourite of mine! My mum would bake it a lot especially around autumn and winter time, so the smell of it baking always reminds me of Christmas. Another one of my favourite gingerbread recipes is for Gingerbread Muffins, however the consistency of the batter is much thinner resulting in a lighter more syrupy muffin. In comparison, this recipe is more of a traditional gingerbread, dark brown, treacly and spotted with pieces of crystallised ginger which works well with sweet icing drizzled on top – delicious and very moreish! 🙂

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Gingerbread Traybake

You will need:

For the cake

10 oz/275g Golden Syrup

10 oz/275g Black Treacle

8 oz/225g Light Brown Sugar

8 oz/225g Butter/Margarine

1 lb/450g Self Raising Flour

2 tsp Mixed Spice

2 tsp Ground Ginger

2 oz/50g Crystallised Ginger Pieces

4 Eggs

1 tbsps Milk

For the icing

8 oz/225g Icing Sugar

2 tbsps Water

2 oz/50g Crystallised Ginger Pieces to decorate

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Let’s get started!

  • Preheat your oven to 160ºC/Gas Mark 3/325ºF. Grease and line a 12 x 9 in (30 x 23 cm) roasting tin with grease proof/ baking paper (This recipe does make quite a large traybake, so if you want to make a smaller cake I would half the recipe to start with and see how much batter it takes to fill your desired tin).
  • Measure the syrup, treacle, sugar and butter/margarine into a large saucepan and heat gently until melted together (Be sure to heat the ingredients slowly, or allow to cool once melted to prevent a lumpy batter).

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  • Sift together the flour and spices into a large mixing bowl, pour the cooled wet mixture into the bowl and add the crystallised ginger pieces.

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  • Beat together the eggs and milk in a mixing jug before combining with the batter and beating until smooth and lump free (I decided to use an electric hand mixer to ensure a very smooth batter).
  • Pour into the prepared tin and bake in your pre heated oven for 45-50 minutes until well risen and a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the traybake.

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  • Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out and continuing to cool on a wire rack.
  • Prepare the icing by shifting the icing sugar into a bowl and adding water a tbsp at a time until smooth but not so runny that it just runs off the edge of the cake.

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  • Once the traybake is cool spoon the icing over the top, sprinkle with crystallised ginger pieces to decorate and leave to set.
  • You are all done 🙂

I love this gingerbread so much I could eat the whole traybake! The combination of treacle, mixed spice and ground ginger baking in the oven always smells amazing. The final gingerbread is dark brown in colour, sticky on top and has a delicious spiced flavour that tastes good with vanilla ice cream 🙂 You can of course leave it plain, but I decided to top the traybake with plain icing sprinkled with crystallised ginger pieces which I think looks great and gives an extra sweet ginger flavour. Try not to be too put off by the rather excessive amounts of golden syrup and treacle in this recipe, it really is worth it for the amazing taste of this gingerbread – definitely try it out!

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A Bake in the Life…

A Bake in the Life: Double Orange Cake

Whenever I am browsing through cookery books I always seem to end up choosing a recipe that feeds my love for the taste of citrus! This cake caught my eye as I was looking through a Mary Berry recipe book while back home for a week in Oxfordshire. There is nothing quite like a traditional sponge cake, but I do like to try and liven it up a bit with a fresh taste that stops it from becoming too heavy and sickly. Originally this recipe was a one layer sponge with a simple orange juice icing sugar topping, however I decided to split the batter into two tins to make a double layered cake and top it with a cream cheese frosting instead 🙂

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Double Orange Cake

You will need:

For a double layered cake

6 oz/175g Butter

6 oz/175g Caster Sugar

6 oz/175g Self Raising Flour

3 Eggs

1½ tsp Baking Powder

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange

Cream cheese icing

10½ oz/ 300g Icing Sugar

2oz/ 50g Butter

4½oz/ 125g Cream Cheese

Grated zest of 1 orange

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Let’s get started!

  • Pre heat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4, and grease/line two 6in/15cm cake tins.
  • Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

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  • Sift in the self raising flour and baking powder, stir to combine fully.
  • Beat together the eggs, then add the orange rind and juice.

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  • Add to the dry ingredients and beat well until completely blended.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins, spread flat and bake in the pre heated oven for 30-35 minutes until well risen and golden brown.
  • Turn out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
  • In a separate bowl beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.

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  • Sift in the icing sugar and beat together for around 5 minutes until the icing becomes thick and fluffy.
  • Once the cakes are cool, fill and top with the cream cheese icing then decorate with grated orange zest or a slice of orange.
  • You are all done!

I really like that the orange zest gives this sponge cake tons of citrus flavour, while the juice keeps the cake moist. You could of course substitute the orange for another citrus fruit, but I love the colour orange zest/juice gives to this cake and the icing. The cream cheese icing complimented the cake well, and I would definitely recommend trying it out! Although I decided to make a double layered sponge cake I think this recipe would work well as cupcakes, topped with cream cheese icing and one of my favourite jelly oranges/lemons 🙂

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A Bake in the Life…

A Bake in the Life: Carrot and Walnut Cake

Since buying my new Sweet Things recipe book I have been distracted from the world of baking and focused on the art of chocolate, sweet and candy making. As a result I decided that I definitely needed to get back into baking and try out a new cake recipe that I hadn’t tried before. I am a massive fan of carrot cake, however for what ever reason I have never actually made one myself. With that in mind I decided that I really had to give it a go and to go all out with a double layered carrot and walnut cake with plenty of sweet cream cheese icing 🙂

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Carrot and Walnut Cake

You will need:

9oz/250g Self Raising Flour

2 tsp Mixed Spice/Cinnamon (I chose to use mixed spice as I already had some in my cupboard, however you can use what ever spices you like best/or have available)

9oz/250g Caster Sugar

12 fl oz/350ml Vegetable Oil

4 Eggs

12oz/350g Grated Carrots

3½oz/100g Chopped Walnuts (You can leave these out if you like or use a different nut, such as pecans)

Icing

7oz/200g Cream Cheese

4½oz/125g Softened Butter

1lb/450g Icing Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Flavouring/Extract

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Let’s get started!

  • Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4.
  • Grease and line two 23cm round cake tins with grease proof paper or non stick paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, chosen spices and sugar.

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  • In a measuring jug combine the oil and eggs.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat well, before stirring in the carrot and chosen nuts if using.

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  • Divide the cake mixture evenly between the two tins.

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  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until light brown, firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean from the centre.
  • Cool cakes on a cooling rack before removing.
  • To prepare the cream cheese icing, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  • Add the icing sugar and vanilla then beat until combined.

 

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  • Once the cakes are completely cool, use the icing to fill the cake and if you like ice the top and sides.
  • I choose to sprinkle some broken pieces of walnuts on top of the cake to decorate.
  • You are all done 🙂

What a easy and simple cake! It feels as though you are using way too much carrot, however once combined and baked with everything else those worries definitely disappear. The original recipe I took inspiration from on Allrecipes used 14oz/400g of caster sugar, which seemed far too much for my taste, especially with the sweet cream cheese icing so I decided to reduce it to 9oz/250g. I also slightly adjusted the icing measurements as it produced a very large amount of icing which was far too runny – it actually may be worth only making half the amounts here to start with, then making more if you think you need it (Especially if you aren’t planning on icing the whole cake, just filling it and topping it). I really like the idea of using pecans instead of walnuts next time I make this cake, as I think it would give a really interesting change to the fairly traditional carrot and walnut combination.

I really like using oil in cakes rather than butter as it gives a more moist cake that stays that way for much longer than when using butter (Although I admit it does look slightly off putting when you are measuring it out, compared to butter! However, vegetable oil is actually healthier for you than butter, as it contains high levels of unsaturated fats which help to lower LDL/’bad’ cholesterol in the body, while butter is higher in saturated fats which reduce HDL/’good’ cholesterol). All in all a great cake that I definitely recommend trying out 🙂

A Bake in the Life…