Monday, 27 July 2015

My weekly bake

Baking and I have had a mixed history.  It is something that I really like to do, but haven't always done or been able to do.  I generally make a Christmas cake each year and a birthday cake for hubby, possibly with a few other birthday cakes thrown in through the year for other people as well.

Just over two years ago I inherited a Kenwood Chef mixer - like a Kitchen Aid but English - and since then I have done slightly better with my baking efforts.  It is so easy to use, I keep the mixer out on the bench and the attachments right there in the bowl so that it is to hand.  The stainless steel bowl is easy to use and to wash up by hand and the attachments go into the dishwasher - although they would be easy to wash up too.  I find that the cakes it makes are far lighter and airier than they ever were when I used my hand mixer before.

For many years I coveted a mixer, either a Kenwood or a Kitchenaid and I would stroke them in department stores!  So when I had the chance to inherit one I jumped on the opportunity - in probably a rather unseemly fashion I am sad to say.


Over the last few weeks I have decided that rather than buying cake I would make cake each week.  Now, right now the news is telling us all the time that we are eating too much sugar, shouldn't eat sweet things and so on and so on and on and on and on it goes.  Well, we don't eat dessert for the most part, if we have it once a week I would be surprised.  Although we did of course have dessert twice last week with hubby's bountiful gooseberry fool!  Then we had rhubarb crumble yesterday so perhaps I am overestimating our abstemiousness!! 

Anyway, my point is that we don't - we really don't! - usually eat dessert so the odd slice of cake isn't too bad in my books.  Plus if I am making it myself I know that it doesn't have any nasty preservatives and things in it so it is actually healthier than shop cake which, to be frank with you, we would be eating in any case.

So I have made a lemon drizzle cake - heaven! - ginger cake with real stem ginger - delicious! - coffee and walnut cup cakes - very nice, but I would make butter icing in future, not the mascarpone icing that Delia called for as we were not very keen on that - and yesterday I made some rock cakes for this week.  These were also a Delia recipe.

Here are this weeks rock cakes.  Also very tasty!!  Very easy to make too.  You can find the recipe here.  I recommend them!


I can also thoroughly recommend, if you are able, getting a stand mixer, everything turns out so much better!  I am not being paid to say this - I wish!!!!

Oh, but I have to disclaim here, I didn't use the Kenwood to make the rock cakes, but I did use my new handy dandy pastry cutter thingy, which was excellent!  I am also not being paid to say that!

Amy

54 comments:

  1. Nothing beats home made cakes, my mixer stays out its a Kenwood and use the dough hook for making bread, I find as soon as these things get put into cupboards they dont get used. We are not really cake eaters I do occasionaly make a cake when we have visitors and we are not really dessert eaters either :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. oohhh I haven't had rock cakes in years! yummy!
    I love the idea of a mixer but along with my manual hand crank one it just seems like more washing up. ha-ha :D xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. Home made cakes don't count as "naughty" cakes, so you are allowed to bake and eat as many as you like - at least that's what I think the rule should be.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lovely. I used to make cakes regularly when the children were here but we've cut down now. Enjoy your rock cakes. x

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cake definitely should be home-made, Amy. Much healthier! Lucky you, to have inherited a Kenwood - I have never owned one and still use a small electric hand beater. And I adore cake!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love my kenwood :) The rock cakes look yummy, my mum always used to make rock cakes when we were little so I should have a go. I think homemade cakes are much better than shopbought, like you say you know exactly what's in them xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. I would just love a proper mixed - probably a Kitchaid. In a colour to match my kitchen of course. I bake anyway even though I only have a hand held mixer. Last week I made a cake with mascarpone filling which I really love. I prefer it to butter cream but everyone is different in their tastes. I'm sure a lot of sugar isn't good for us but I've lived long enough now to take these food warnings with a pinch of salt (just a pinch mind for any more would be bad for me!). I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't tell us next that we actually need some sugar in our diet. Put lots of fruit in your cakes - or make a carrot cake - and that way you'll be getting at least 1 of your 5-a-day! Your baking looks delicious by the way.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love to bake, especially when the girls come home. We try out all sorts of different recipes - at the moment our favourite is 'Cranberry Magic Bars', a recipe from the Hummingbird bakery book 'Cake Days'. I make it weekly as a little treat for the builders working on the house (lots of fats and sugar - but delicious!).
    I have a small electric hand mixer that I use for cooking, I've had this for ages, it just keeps going and going…..

    ReplyDelete
  9. Good on you. I've nearly always done my own baking as with 3 children and definitely not well off, it was a must. I do have a lovely mixer now, but probably, now there are only 2 of us, I don't use it quite as much, but do still bake. Last week it was a honey/ginger loaf and an apricot slice. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Those rock cakes look yummy. I bake most weeks mainly because hubby loves cake. Although I am trying to reduce my cholesterol so don't eat much of it. It is best to make cake rather than buy from the shops as the additives are huge. Having said that most people do lead very busy lives and finding the time might be difficult.

    ReplyDelete
  11. All your bakes sound very tasty and rock cakes are one of my favourites (plus they're on the NHS 'OK list', along with scones and malt loaf!). I love my Kenwood mixer (a Patissier, a smaller model than yours) which I plug in when I'm working with larger quantities and for that spawn of the Devil, buttercream (for those cupcakes, which, apparently, I also love!).

    ReplyDelete
  12. We cut our sugar in baking down by 1/4, can't tell the difference. and we are hoping to get it down to 1/2. I read somewhere that apple sauce makes a good substitute for sugar but couldn't find out if it replaces all the sugar, whether is is made from sweetened cooking apples or unsweetened dessert ones!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I use my Kitchenaid all the time, with good results. You will enjoy the homemade cakes and biscuits so much more than bought x

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oo, some lovely bakes there - home made cakes never last long in the cupboard do they?
    Caz xx

    ReplyDelete
  15. I had to buy a new Kenwood last year as the one we were given as a wedding present in 1979 finally went to Kenwood heaven. My new one is orange and I love it - and use it - just as much as I loved the old one. I prefer home-baked goodies. As you say, we know exactly what's in them! :o)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love my Kenwood. It stays out and I made a cover for it to match the kitchen colours. It has a food processor attachment which is a 100 times easier than chopping onions by hand when making chutney.
    Well done with your delicious cake making adventures

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ooo - I can smell them from here, Amy... I've often wondered what happened to my mother's Kenwood mixer; I'm ashamed to say I don't know.

    ReplyDelete
  18. They look delicious, they reminded me of my childhood my Mum used to make them all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sounds yummy in there!!
    I agree about homemade cake and anything!! I do anything home made like cake, bread, pastas, croissant and french patisserie!
    I have a kitchenaid and I like it!! but I think if you buy a kitchenaid, buy the best of it!! the professionnal one (if you cook everytime!) the material is stronger in that!!
    I would not live without a mixer in my kitchen.
    ANd cooking cake homemade is so better for the taste! no adds like conservatives etc... but only the best!
    and the sugar is better in there than in industrial cake.
    Well, you have great time, I see in your kitchen!!!
    Miss, xx

    ReplyDelete
  20. I must be totally mad, because having been married for 50 years I am now thinking of buying a mixer! I've never been one for gadgets believing that a wooden spoon, a pair of kitchen scissors, and a sharp knife will do most jobs in the kitchen, plus a balloon whisk for sauces that might've gone a bit lumpy. But recently our two sons (middle aged chaps now, with partners) decided they'd have mixers so they could bake their own bread and now, because of arthritis in my mitts, I find actually mixing a cake a bit difficult, I might eventually get one.

    I've always made cakes with my hand. Literally. My mum showed me how to do this, using one hand to hold the bowl and the other to mix the ingredients, first creaming the margarine and sugar, then adding the eggs and then the flour. If you use your hand (I do mean your hand, not a wooden spoon) you can feel the mixture and, also, the warmth of it mixes the ingredients up very quickly. Of course, not everyone would like the feel of the mixture on their hand - it has never bothered me - but they'd not worry about rubbing fat into flour for pastry. Of course, I always make sure my hands are spotlessly clean before I start, washing them thoroughly and drying them on a clean towel. But the thought of a mixer for bread sounds a Very Good Idea to me.
    Margaret P

    ReplyDelete
  21. Rock cakes! They absolutely remind me of home economics lessons at school. I'm sure yours are far tastier than the ones I managed to rustle up :-)

    ReplyDelete
  22. You have definitely made me hungry with all your delicious sounding baking. My husband is diabetic and we get so hungry for a dessert!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have wanted a Kitchen Aid mixer forever, but don't bake enough to justify the $300 they typically cost. Your coffee and walnut cupcakes sound heavenly.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love rock cakes ( yours look very tasty) but usually use the BeRo book recipe in fact I use that book for most of my cake baking except Nigel Slater's marmalade cake which is heaven. I like to make our own cakes - this week it is oaty date slices and my husband makes our bread - it is just biscuits that are difficult - we spend ages trying to find them without barley (husband is allergic to that) or palm oil in them so have decided to have a go at making our own. as I do like a biscuit with morning coffee:)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Congrats on your Kenwood and your improved baking skills!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I love everything about this post, my friend!
    Everything.
    We are bakers here, and love our Kitchen Aide!!!
    And cake? Yes, just yes.
    My daughter just made a fresh strawberry cake that was amazing.
    Have a nice day!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Your cookies look so awesome and yummy Amy! I wanted to let you know that I featured you this week at our Cooking and Crafting with J & J! Thanks for linking with us and have a lovely day.
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  28. I love to bake but I do not bake allot of cakes-I have my grandmother's yellow angel food cake that is fabulous, and I do make allot of upside down fruit type cakes or cupcakes, but I mostly make cookies and pies. I agree a stand mixer is excellent!
    I will have to tell you a story-years and years ago hubby wanted to buy me a kitchenaid I said no I don't need that-I would rather make it handmade and using a mixer is not handmade-of course he is shaking his head. He has also purchased me cuisanart that slices and dices and all that-same response I don't need that I can do by hand just as well. when we retired in the fall of 03 he tells me I am buying you a kitchenaid now--being in my mid 60s now-what a difference it has made in my life to have a kitchenaid and other helpful tools in the kitchen-and I realize it's still homemade and handmade lol

    ReplyDelete
  29. I love baking. I got a Kenwood mixer 41 years ago, as a wedding present. It's still going strong and is used most weeks. I use Mary Berry's recipes. Just joined the WI, so think my mixer will be used even more!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I love making rock buns - thankfully yours look like mine - we call them 'limestone buns' rather than rock cakes in this house as they are much more crumbly. Making homemade is definitely better for you - far fewer preservatives and you know what's going in. I am lucky enough to have a yellow Kitchenaid and I love it - we use it lots and lots and I've had it for about ten years and it's been going very well. My mum had a Kenwood so I have fond memories of them. All the best, Judy.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Home baking is always better than anything you can get in the store, and a sweet treat once in awhile is a life requirement! I have a stand up mixer, too, and love using it. We're not really a cake family, but we do love cookies.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oooh Yum Amy! Those rock cakes look DELICIOUS!!! I love to bake and I have a faithful old KitchenAid mixer that has served me well over the years. And I don't care what the experts say about sugar -- I'm not giving it up!!! ;-D

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love your raisin cookies.. my favorite kind. I have a Kitchenaid mixer which I love. I've not been doing too much baking either.. but we're on the road. We head towards home tomorrow but it will take almost a week of long days of driving to get there! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    ReplyDelete
  34. I have an even older version of that mixer with a plastic bowl. My mum gave it to me when I got married as she said that she wasn't using it as much any more. I love it. It makes everything so very easy as you said. Now I wouldn't be without it.
    Rosie

    ReplyDelete
  35. Boy, they look delicious and your photos of them are so good! Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  36. It doesn't tell me if it is being moderated or not.....argh. If this is the second comment, just delete it! xx

    ReplyDelete
  37. My Mum used to make rock cakes - but we called them rock buns. I have a similar mixer, and wish I had room to leave it out on the worktop, as it is heavy to lift in and out of the cupboard.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Very yummy post my friend. And a wee bit of cake never hurt anyone.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
  39. Those pastry cutter thingys are wonderful! Make the job so much easier... I have had my Kitchen Aid Pro for quite a few years now and still love her. I used to make wedding cakes for a living and so I have most certainly had my share of cake baking. These days I don't bake very often but am thinking about it a lot. I sold off all of my cake pans. Silly ole' me didn't remember to keep back one set of cake pans for those once in a while cakes hubby asks for so I am now looking to buy new pans for cakes and the odd cookie and scone! :D When I did my apprenticeship in a bakery it was the absolute best job I have ever had... I still miss it and that was back in 2004!!! Anyway, quality equipment, having the right tool for the job does indeed improve on the results! Your goodies look pretty tasty to me! :D
    Hugs my friend,
    Beth

    ReplyDelete
  40. Those cookies look YUMMY!

    I have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and just LOVE it.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Wonderful idea to bake a cake every week! I had a nice Kitchen-Aid mixer, but my daughter borrowed it and I'm guessing I won't get it back any time soon! :) The cookies look wonderful. xo K

    ReplyDelete
  42. Well done, Amy! Your rock cakes look scrummy!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I love my Kenwood too - especially the dough hook for bread making.

    ReplyDelete
  44. My daughter has asked for one for Christmas, in blue, just so she can take it with her when she moves out. She's only 13 at the moment, so I think I should be able to borrow it for a while.
    Love the rock cakes!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I see nothing wrong in having a bit of cake in the house. To be honest, I usually cut mine in half and put half in the freezer for an emergency. I've not made rock cakes since I was a teenager, so easy and so tasty too. Enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Well you know how I feel about home baking and can't remember the the last time I actually bought a cake... Although there is always cake in the house! I'm a great believer in a little of what you fancy is far better for you than abstinence. And I love my stand mixer!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Yummy :-) I used to make all our cakes but got out of the habit last year when we moved house. The new oven doesn't seem to heat right and things end up either raw or dried out and over cooked. I should probably get a thermometer and work out what's going on...

    ReplyDelete
  48. Home baked is the best, and a lovely way to pass time. xx

    ReplyDelete
  49. I love to bake!
    The cookies look so good.
    Woolie Blessings to you Friend

    ReplyDelete
  50. I go in spurts with loving baking and not loving it. If I bake then sweets are in the house....that is the challenge. Love your cookies they look delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Having a good mixer makes a big difference. I got a kitchen aid a few years back and I love it. I want to know more about the pastry cutter thingy!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Good for you! I love my mixer...and I just want to say life is too short not to eat cake! ;)
    xo

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so very much for stopping by to visit and for leaving a comment, I love hearing what you have to say and I read all of your messages.

All comments are moderated, so it might take a little while for your comment to appear, but it will once I have read it!

Thank you again for visiting!

Amy xx