There is nothing more I love than to spend a day in the Bitesize Bakehouse kitchen experimenting with different flavours. So, I thought I had struck my very own pot of gold when I made the decision to pull together a series of signature bakes for the blog (dreaming of GBBO. Ha).

Recipe testing is my absolute fave!

[SPOILER ALERT: I am trying to gather the confidence to one day make this little bitesize kitchen into a place where I can sell cakes, so…]

At the moment, that means lots of research, baking and planning. Currently, I’m playing with some branding ideas for this little space on the internet of mine and working out, logistically, how it will all work with a full time job. (Anyone got any advice?? I am all ears!) Running along side that, I am also starting some R&D with “house favourite” cake flavours.

I know you guys can’t taste test for me (Rob’s work are getting that pleasure currently), but I would love your feedback on what you think looks and sounds great: What flavours sound like they would work? Which get you scrolling to see more? Whether you would recommend any changes to them if you were to order one? All help – developmental or positive – would be thoroughly appreciated!

So, watch this space for my Bitesize Bakehouse Signature Cake Series that will be peppered in between my normal posts!

(P.s. Photos creds go to Pexels today. Not my own fair hands i’m afraid!)

I made Vanilla and Nutella Panna Cotta for our dinner party dessert recently.

The inspo came straight off Pinterest. I searched, I copied, we ate. Simple. ♥

Vanilla and Nutella Panna Cotta

It was super quick to put together and, because you can prepare ahead of time, all I had to do was take it out of the fridge and serve it.

Vanilla and Nutella Panna Cotta

I used this recipe from Pretty Little Crumbs blog.

Vanilla and Nutella Panna Cotta

I had one veggie for dinner so swapped out the regular gelatine for a vegetarian friendly version for her portion. Having not used veggie friendly gelatine before, I hadn’t really had a chance to play with the amounts needed. At a guess, I used the same ratio as the normal gelatine. This did set the Panna Cotta, but not enough so that I could recreate the same effect. Instead I had to layer the two flavours one on top of the other. Noted for next time!

Vanilla and Nutella Panna Cotta

A super quick, and light dessert option after a big meal.

(P.S. Sorry about the photo quality! I have been trying hard of late to up my game on this front…but… I was just about to serve them in the midst of a dinner party and had about 1 minute to snap a couple of shots before they were gobbled up… Will try harder next time. Promise!)

I baked miniature croissants with the 2nd half of that laminated dough from my earlier Pain Au Raisin.

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How cute are they?!

After leaving the pre-made dough in the fridge to defrost slowly overnight, it was left out to come to room temp for a few hours in the morning.

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I then rolled out the dough and sliced it up into long thin triangles. Starting at the bottom (its widest point) I rolled the individual sections up tightly into mini croissant shapes. Then, they just needed a small tug on each end to pull them in a bit to form a semi-circle.

mini croissant mini croissant

One more prove before I egg-washed and baked them until they were golden brown (200 degrees for about 10 minutes in my oven).

mini croissant

A super easy (if you already have the laminated dough to hand!) brunch idea for a that lazy Sunday.

mini croissant

Want one?

I did it. I made our wedding cake!

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It is THE BIGGEST cake I have ever baked.

EVER.

I mean, the stacked wedding cake very nearly didn’t fit in the fridge.

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That right there is:

2x 12 inch layers of chocolate sponge with lashing of Nutella sandwiched between it
and
2x 10 inch layers, 2x 8 inch layers and 2x 6 inch layers of lemon sponge with generous amounts of lemon curd in between

All layered together will so many batches of vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream it would make your eyes water!

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We decided on a swirling finish for all layers. Our wedding was a fairly relaxed affair so we didn’t need the grandeur of a fully polished cake – we are a bit rough around the edges anyway so it matched us perfectly!

Having made two others this summer already (here and here), I decided to fully stack the wedding cake at home and box it all up to transport it to the venue down the road the night before our big day. That way, all we had to do the next day was get it out of the fridge and dress it.

I collared each layer with a roll of white ribbon to hide the bits of cake board poking out of the bottom and off we went to the venue.

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As the cake was going to be that much bigger, I also opted for just two flavours (rather than a different flavour on each layer).

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I had been practicing a few sugar flowers and butterflies over the last few months after the course I attended (here and here) in the hope that I could use them on my cake.

I dried out some white sugar roses and a butterfly in the weeks leading up to our wedding and gilded the roses to fit with our theme (blue and gold).

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My very talented friend Amy agreed to dress this monster on the day for me (one less thing to worry about whilst I was upstairs preening myself) and she did such a good job! I gave her the box of sugar roses and some fresh ones and she set to work.

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I didn’t actually get to see our wedding cake until well after we got married and we came downstairs to cut it. I loved it though – and was very happy the groomsmen hadn’t dropped it in the transition from fridge to cake stand!

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What do you think? Do you like it?

I absolutely love making these big cakes. It is so much fun! After I had gotten over the nerves having not made something this big before, it was great being able to just build this monster of a wedding cake and be able to say I baked my own.

(N.B. Some of the photos from the venue are, fairly obviously, not mine – didn’t think a camera around my neck would suit the overall look :-)! They are from our photographer.)

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I have a renewed love of the Bundt tin this week (read: I found a new tin for a steal at Aldi whilst picking up my weekly shop).

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It just makes your bakes look so good, doesn’t it? Right from the off. You can just leave the cake as it is. No fancy frostings required.

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PS. Before I carry on… I am aware I am missing a slice in the photos… Someone (ROB!) got to the cake before I had a chance to snap it! So, just pretend like it’s not there, OK?
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This bake is based on Une Gamine Dans La Cuisine‘s original recipe, but has a softer coffee kick and a slightly different recipe route!

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I swapped the chocolate content for Nutella, replaced the milk for vanilla yoghurt and swapped in a hazelnut coffee because I’m a caffeine wimp. This Hazelnut and Vanilla Mocha bundt also uses the same coffee flavouring inside the cake as it does for a drizzle sauce I topped it with.

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This adaptation used the following:

255g salted butter
175g Nutella
1.5 tsp roasted hazlenut instant coffee
100ml hot water
300g caster sugar
4 large eggs
375g plain flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla paste
200ml vanilla yoghurt
8 Fererro Rocher

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Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a Bundt tin so you are ready to go when the cake batter is sorted.

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Melt 80g of the butter, all the nutella, instant coffee granules and the hot water over a bain marie until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Cream the remaining butter (175g) and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one by one, until the mix is silky and much looser. In another separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. Pour one half of the flour mix into the creamed butter and sugar, along with half of the yoghurt and all of the vanilla paste. Mix together until well combined. Pour in the remaining flour mix and yoghurt. Mix again until smooth.

Split the cake batter equally into two bowls. Into one of these bowls, pour half the cooled chocolatey coffee sauce and fold together until combined. You should now have two bowls of cake mix; one flavoured with nutella and hazelnut coffee, one just vanilla.

Pour one half of the chocolatey batter into the bundt tin to form a roughly level base, followed by all of the vanilla batter. Pop in the 8 Fererro Rocher at regular intervals and push them down into the batter. Top with the remaining chocolatey batter and using a cocktail stick, slim knife or similar swirl the mixture together.

Pop into the oven for approximately 1 hr.

Once cooled and turned out of the pan, use the remaining coffee/Nutella sauce to drizzle over the top of the cake.

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A snappy little bake.
It requires minimum finishing, needs a medium skill level and gives a maximum wow.
Just how I like it. I hope you do too!

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How cute is this??

We received this beautiful gift from my aunt and uncle for our wedding day! Something personalised to cut into our cake and to keep afterwards to help remember the day.

♥♥♥♥♥

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OK, so, recently I made a roasted garlic and rosemary loaf whereby I was drawn in by imagery on Instagram, immediately copied it and then spent the rest of the day being thoroughly conscious of my breath!

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Well, today’s post is about what I did with the other half of that dough.

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I had a little rummage in my cupboards/fridge and thought about other flavour combos that would make my mouth water like the first one, but might allow me to be somewhat more socially acceptable for the rest of that day after eating it!

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What I settled on, was a Chorizo and Pesto loaf with a parmesan crumb.

What do you think?

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Because I had already made the dough, and decided on the filling choice after, I will make some changes next time I bake this. Most obviously, I will omit the salt from the initial ingredient list because it just isn’t needed with the chorizo filling.

chorizo_pesto_bread

chorizo_pesto_bread

I followed the same process as before but smeared the dough with pesto and then layered on the chorizo before rolling it up for its last prove.

pesto_chorizo_bread

Here’s a basic how to for this loaf:
(more details on the bread making process can be found in my original post, here)

800g strong white bread flour
7g sachet of dried fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
450g warm water
2 tbsp pesto
thin chorizo slices
parmesan
black pepper

Weigh out the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food mixer and make a well. Pour in the water and mix together with the dough hook attachment until it is smooth and pliable. Lift out the dough and shape it into a ball, put it back in the bowl and then inside a plastic bag and leave it on the side to rise to double it’s size.

Once doubled, take the dough out of the bag and knock it back.
*This dough mix makes enough for two loaves so half it and set one lot aside

Roll out the remaining dough to a rough rectangle and smear across the pesto, followed by a generous smattering of roughly torn chorizo slices. Once covered, roll up the dough from one end to the other to create a spiral effect.

Brush the sides and bottom of a loaf tin with a little oil and pop the dough in for its final rise. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees and pop an additional tray at the bottom of the oven. Once the loaf has finished plumping, grate the parmesan over the top of the dough.

When you put your loaf in, let it bake at this temp for 15 mins, and pour a little water into the bottom tray to create a burst of steam. Then drop the temperature down to 200 degrees for around another 20 minutes or until golden.

chorizo_pesto_bread

We had ours as they came. Sliced and then swiftly eaten! I think it would taste great toasted though with a bit of butter.

chorizo_pesto_bread

It’s slightly more fun than baking a regular loaf, don’t you think?

chorizo_pesto_bread

NB: You can probably see that the dough comes away in the spiral a bit. This is because of the pesto layer that stopped the bread from forming together. It didn’t affect the rise and bake though (which I was a little worried about having added in the wet pesto). The loaf was still light and fluffy when it came out –phew– so we didn’t experience any under baked loaves. Just a few gaps here and there.

Two of our closest friends got married at the end of August and they gave me the honour of making their wedding cake. I was so excited I even did them a makeshift cake tasting!

Making this cake meant so much to me – It had to be just right for their perfect day. I was A LOT more nervous making this one compared to the first!

buttercream_wedding_cake

Each layer was a different flavour again:

  • The bottom layer was lemon sponge filled with lemon curd (2x 12 inch rounds)
  • The middle layer was chocolate sponge filled with Nutella (2x 10 inch rounds)
  • The top layer was vanilla sponge filled with apple compote and a drizzle of salted caramel (2x  8 inch rounds)

All of these layers were then sandwiched together with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream to tie it all together.

buttercream_wedding_cake

After having made a wedding cake already this summer for another couple we know (here) and learning a few things on the way,  I made a couple of changes to how I would go about creating this next one.

buttercream_wedding_cake

First things first, I didn’t go to bootcamp the night before I dressed the cake so my arms didn’t feel like jelly whilst trying to coat all those layers.

Second, I pre-made all the swiss meriginue buttercream I would need a week beforehand, freezing it until the time came, so there was one less thing to worry about when I came to putting it all together.

buttercream_wedding_cake

Lastly, I transported the cake to the venue in one piece. I.e. I stacked all three layers together before travelling. It made the journey a lot less tense and the centre dowel held everything together with no movement.

buttercream_wedding_cake

I finished this cake with a rough swirl design on the 1st and 3rd layers which sandwiched the smooth finish on the 2nd. It was a step up from the last cake, with it being (to date) the biggest cake I had ever made. I had hoped the swirls would keep to their rustic-chic theme but that the sharp finish would also inject a little glamour that was befitting a wedding day.

My beautifully talented friend Amy dressed the cake at the venue with fresh roses.
Don’t they look so elegant? She really took the cake to the next level.

buttercream_wedding_cake

I was so happy that the newly weds liked their cake. It was a real pleasure to be able to make them this gift as their wedding present and you have NO IDEA how pleased I was to have not cocked it up.

What do you think? An improvement on the first?

 

Instagram is a killer for unnecessary hunger pangs.

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I can be scrolling away, not one little bit hungry at all and then I see a very very tasty image of a pastry, or a cake, or a doughnut, or… well, anything that is carb related and beautifully shot it seems, and just like that – i’m hungry.

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Hungry for whatever it was that my eyes have just landed on.

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This bake was a product of exactly that occurrence.

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I was scrolling away and suddenly hit a post by Peony Lim who had just baked a Roast Garlic Bread. That was it. I needed to bake it. I was thinking about it all week, so, as the weekend rolled around, I made sure I topped up my Strong White Bread flour in the weekly shop and looked up her blog post (here) to find the recipe.

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Her post doesn’t actually come with a bread recipe, it’s more about the flavour combo’s, so whilst the whole garlic bulb baked in the oven, I headed to my trusty GBBO baking bible and dug out a white loaf recipe a la Paul Hollywood.

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Below is my Bitesize Bakehouse combination of the two recipes:

1 garlic bulb
1 healthy “glug” of olive oil
800g* strong white bread flour
7g sachet of dried fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
450g warm water
A sprig of rosemary
Sea salt

*This is 100g more than the GBBO recipe but I find my dough comes out too sticky without this addition

Pop the garlic bulb in a loaf tin with that healthy glug of oil and roast it at 200 degrees for around 15 mins. Take it out and let it cool on the side for a little while. Keep that tin and all its garlicky oily goodness for later.

Weigh out the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food mixer and make a well. Pour in the water and mix together with the dough hook attachment until it is smooth and pliable. It shouldn’t be sticky, and it should have picked up all of the flour around the edge so there are no crumbly pieces. Mine took around 8 minutes on a medium-low speed. Lift out the dough and shape it into a ball, put it back in the bowl and then inside a plastic bag and leave it on the side to rise to double it’s size (in my warm kitchen it took around 45mins).

Whilst waiting for it to do it’s thing, peel away the skin (as best you can with a soft squidgy thing) of the baked garlic cloves, trying your level best not to eat them there and then.

Once doubled, take the dough out of the bag and punch the air out of it- just once- (way more fun than I think it should be) before lifting it out onto a lightly floured surface. This dough mix actually makes two loaves so I halved it at this point and set one lot aside (another flavoured loaf post is around the corner…).

Roll out the dough to a rough rectangle and smear across that roasted garlic (Peony had much better, intact, garlic cloves than me and therefore placed the cloves evenly across the dough. Mine looked like I’d had a fight with them on the way out of their skins – they were very mushy.  So I spread mine across the whole top side of the bread, leaving lumps in some areas but mostly evenly spread across the dough). Roll up the dough from one short end to the other so it looks like a swiss roll.

Using the tin from earlier, brush the oil up the sides to stop any sticking and pop the dough into it for its final rise. I left mine around 15 mins. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees and pop an additional tray at the bottom of the oven.

Once the loaf has finished plumping, stick the rosemary spring in the top and sprinkle generously with salt.

When you put your loaf in, pour a little water into that bottom tray to create a bit of steam.  Let it bake like this for 15 minutes. Then drop the temperature down to 200 degrees for around another 20 minutes or until the loaf looks golden.

Make sure it sounds hollow on the bottom when it comes out, and you are good to go!

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I wish you guys could smell these images. The roasted garlic that oozed out of every slice just made you want to eat the whole thing!

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For fear of my waist line, and an imminent carb-related-overdose, I sliced up the loaf and froze the majority of it. It wont stay fresh for long and I didn’t want to waste it. This way, we can just grab a slice when we feel like it, rather than forcing down a whole loaf between 2 in a couple of days.

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Thank you Peony Lim for the inspiration! It was exactly how I had expected it to taste when I first saw the image online. 🙂

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I have been fully swept along with the GBBO magic this year and watching pastry week this Wednesday had us desperate for some freshly baked pain au raisins as soon as it had finished.

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So, this weekend, I made laminated dough for the first time in aaaaaages.

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It’s a faff, and it takes a while, but OMG it was worth it.

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I used Paul Hollywood’s laminated dough recipe (here), and having started a tad later than I had planned (8pm), I actually ended up squidging a few steps together.

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Step 5 calls for 3 envelope folds, chilling the dough for an hour each time so the butter doesn’t melt and seep through the dough. In an effort to not stay up ’til 1 am (yes, i’m old an boring now) I completed 2 envelope folds back to back, trying to be as quick as I could. Don’t tell Paul! I hoped for the best, popped it back in the fridge to chill overnight and went to bed.

pain-au-raisin

In the morning, I made a creme patisserie using Eric Lanlard’s fool proof recipe (here). I just swapped in a teaspoon of vanilla extract rather than steeping the milk with a vanilla pod for a stronger flavour.

Whilst the creme patisserie was cooling, I squeezed half a lemon over two big handfuls of raisins and let them settle.

I have frozen half of the dough for another time. The other half though, I rolled out into a rectangle and smothered it with the creme patisserie and sprinkled on the raisins. This then got rolled up and sliced into rounds.

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Turns out, in my infinite ability to be well prepared, I had run out of baking paper. I buttered and floured a flat tray and hoped for the best (for the second time this bake…). The rounds were plopped onto the tray for their last prove.

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When we couldn’t wait any longer, and the pastries looked like they had puffed up a bit, I popped them in the oven for 20 mins at 200 degrees. I think these are actually a tad over baked, I should have taken them out a couple of minutes earlier – they only take a second to turn – so I will make sure I keep a closer eye on the next batch.

pain-au-raisin

Our craving was sated and we can continue normally again now 🙂
Until next Wednesday that is…