A baking challenge of lurrrrve <3

BAKING MAD VALENTINE’S BLOGGER COMPETITION- by our @SpamellaB

CHALLENGE: As 1 of the 15 selected food bloggers, to use at least 3 of the yummy Silver Spoon Cakecraft ingredients (and also Nielsen-Massey extracts) sent to us to make something we’d want to receive on Valentine’s Day. After spotting this competition advertised by Baking Mad via Twitter and Facebook, I knew I HAD to be part of it; being a keen baker, food blogger and a romantic at heart I was pretty chuffed to be chosen!

Here’s my box of goodies that arrived a few days after finding out I was part of this exciting challenge…


BIG DECISIONS
After seeing the treats we’d been sent the next obstacle was deciding what to do – so many ideas!! Being wheat intolerant I knew I was definitely going to make something yummy I could actually eat or else there’d be no point. In the end I decided to do TWO things because: a) I wanted to use as many of the ingredients we’d been sent and test them out; b) I couldn’t decide which to do (so indecisive!); 3) I wanted to experiment doing two different types of recipes and compare to see which worked best.

CREATION #1: BICUITS OF LOVE

I love crunchy, almondy things and thought some cheeky little heart-shaped biscuits would be cute. I don’t often eat treats but I thought for an occasion like V-Day I’d want to make them pretty special! So, here’s what I came up with and how I made them:

Dark Chocolate, Almond & Lemon Hearts

Ingredients:
• 100g light margarine
• 200g Dove’s Farm plain wheat-free white flour
• 50g fruit sugar
• A few splashes of milk
½ tsp Nielsen-Massey almond extract*
1 x packet Silver Spoon Lemon Icing sugar*
1 x sachet Silver Spoon Easy Melt Dark Chocolate*
• Red sugar hearts

Get baking!
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease a baking tray. Put the flour, sugar and margarine in a bowl and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Add the almond extract and a few dashes of milk – mix until you get a nice smooth dough. Flour a clean surface and roll out to get the thickness you want (not too thick!) and cut out 6 heart shapes. Place on baking tray.
3. Now roll out the remaining dough and cut out 6 hearts again, then using a small heart cutter stamp out small ones in the middle. You want to keep the heart ‘outline’– place on baking tray. Bake for about 10 mins until golden, then cool on a wire rack.

Get decorating!
4. Make up the Lemon Icing (see packet) then use to coat the biscuits with the heart cut-out centre so covered. Quickly decorate with the mini sugar red hearts while the icing’s still runny then leave to set.
5. Melt the Easy Melt Dark Chocolate following the instructions then spread over the full heart biscuits – quickly place a lemon-iced biscuit on top and press together. Leave to set then they’re ready to enjoy!

TASTE-TEST: These tasted exactly how ‘normal’ shortbread biscuits should be – crunchy (but don’t break your teeth), delicately sweet and almondy and a nice golden colour. The dark chocolate and lemon flavours from the icing really complimented each other and the colours, with the red love hearts, made the biscuits look so cute!

PRODUCT TEST: The Lemon Icing was amazing – simply add water to the sachet in a bowl and mix well. The result was a yummy, lemony, runny icing that was perfect for decorating my biscuits. I also loved the Easy Melt Dark Chocolate - such a nifty idea: just melt in a jug/bowl of warm water then squeeze straight out the packet, which was much easier than melting in a bowl of hot water or in the microwave. It set quite quickly though so I had to work fast with it! Great taste though, as was the almond extract – it gave the biscuits a delicious ‘proper’ almond flavour without tasting too artificial.

CREATION #2: HAVE YOUR (LOVE) CAKE AND EAT IT

Cakes, for me, are a bit of novelty as it’s rare to find a yummy, moist wheat-free alternative that actually tastes decent. So I made it my mission to create a Valentine’s Day-themed chocolate one that would look stunning, have a cheeky layer of butter cream in the middle and be a bit naughty to eat. This is the result:

The Cake of Love

Ingredients:
• 3 eggs
• 150g fruit sugar
• 200g Dove’s Farm plain wheat-free white flour
• 100g ground almonds
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp Nielsen-Massey rose water extract*
1 x packet Silver Spoon Strawberry Icing sugar* (made as butter cream with 100g butter)
1 x sachet Silver Spoon Easy Melt White Chocolate*
1 x tube Silver Spoon Dark Chocolate heart sprinkles*
• 1 x Love Heart sweet (saying the message and in the colour you want!)

Get baking!
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and grease a heart-shaped cake tin well. Put the flour, ground almonds and baking powder in a bowl and sieve in the cocoa powder.
2. In a clean glass bowl put the eggs and fruit sugar in and whisk with an electric mixer for 3-5 mins so it goes thick and creamy. Then add the rose water and dry ingredients, mix well (but not too much!) and pour half the mixture into your cake tin. Bake for 15-20 mins (check every so often – to prevent it from burning you may need to cover it with foil!).
3. When the 1st cake is cooked, leave in the tin for 10 mins then turn it out onto a wire rack. Give it a quick wash out, grease it well again, pour in the rest of the mixture and go through the same process.

Get decorating!
4. Make up the Strawberry Icing as a butter cream (follow instructions on packet – dead easy!). When both cakes are cool, spread as much butter cream as you need to cover the top of one of the cakes, then top with the 2nd cake, sandwiching it together.
5. Melt the Easy Melt White Chocolate as instructed, then quickly spread it over the top cake so it covers it. Then quickly, before it sets, sprinkle over the Dark Chocolate heart sprinkles around the edge to create a border, and place the Love Heart sweet in the centre. There you have it – ready to indulge and enjoy!

TASTE TEST: I was very chuffed with the result of this cake – it really did taste as amazing as it looked! For me this was a novelty in that the cake was moist, chocolatey, spongy – how a ‘real’ cake should be! Combined with the creamy strawberry butter cream, white chocolate icing on top and the mini dark chocolate hearts – it was literally heaven. Let’s just say the cake lasted a day!

PRODUCT TEST: I’d used the Lemon Icing on my biscuits and wanted to try the ‘butter cream’ option with the Strawberry flavour to see how it fared (very well!). After making it up with hot water it was so easy to whisk with butter, transforming it into a thick, spreadable cream that tasted amazing! The rose water extract added a nice, subtle flavour to the sponge. The Easy Melt White Chocolate, as with the Dark Chocolate one, was perfect and easy to use to cover the cake, and set to create an amazing crunchy set-chocolate crust. And finally the cute little hearts were the perfect finishing touch!

A LONG-LASTING LOVE
I loved this whole challenge: from researching and planning ideas, to the actual baking process (I rarely get time to, but I spent a whole Sunday evening in the kitchen – bliss!), to obviously eating my creations, which thankfully turned out brilliantly – helped by the delicious products sent by Baking Mad! So I’d like to say thank you so much to them, Silver Spoon and Nielsen-Massey for introducing me to some great new products and giving me the chance to use them. I hope to be treated myself to some yummy Valentine’s Day goodies now and have high expectations after doing this!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

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