5.22.2015

Coconut Roll Biscuits or Kókusztekercs három színben


Since 1956 Eurovision has been a source of entertainment to all of Europe and apparently Australia? As an American ExPat I never really got into Eurovision, in fact if it hadn't been the theme for Treat Petite (blogger challenge) this month it probably would have passed me by again this year.

I thought it was a great theme for the challenge and it had me researching a couple of the countries I find interesting. The research now has me following an amazing Icelandic food blog, which is completely unrelated to the rest of this post! In the end I went with the best sort source one could find, I asked someone.

More specifically I asked my neighbor and friend Niki who happens to be Hungarian. Last Friday she came over and helped me make these super fun no bake Coconut Rolls. The base is made from digestive biscuits, sugar, cocoa powder, butter, almond extract, and apricot jam.


This combination is also used to make a truffle like treat. Instead of rolling out the dough, like you do in the instructions, they are rolled into balls before being coated in coconut. Also rum is used in place of the extract. Sometimes it’s even wrapped around a cherry to make it even more special.

However these rolls are the most popular with children and I can see why. The fun colors of the buttercream filling are very eye catching! You can use whatever colors you want really. These are pretty versatile treat!

Niki has made these so many times she was just pouring things in and adding a little more of this or that. I did take notes so here is how we made these delicious coconut rolls. Trust me when I say you won’t be able to resist them.


Coconut Rolls:

900g digestive biscuits
250g golden caster sugar
60g cocoa powder
1 bag desiccated coconut
250g unsalted butter, very soft
1-2 teaspoons almond extract to taste
½ jar of apricot jam
milk, as needed
buttercream (recipe follows)

Blitz all of the digestive biscuits in a food processor until they are tiny crumbs. Mix in the sugar, cocoa powder, and about ½ of the bag of coconut. Add the butter, extract, and jam – mix using your hands until you get a soft sticky like dough. Add either more jam or milk if it’s too dry. It is easier to add more jam or milk if the mixture is dry then to add more biscuit crumbs if the mixture is too wet, so be careful.

Once the mixture is completely combined it will be a bit sticky, but you should be able to handle. Divide it into 3 portions as evenly as possible. Take 1/3 of the dough and place it on a big sheet of cling film – enough to fold over the mixture and gently roll it out to a rectangle shape approximately 20x31cm or 8 ½ x12 inches. Spread one color/portion of the buttercream over the dough leaving a small boarder around the edges.

On one of the shorter ends gently start to the dough up by tucking the edge in. Keep it as tight as possible using the cling film to help it along. Once rolled leave to the side and repeat two more times with the remaining dough and other colors of buttercream. Then sprinkle the rest of the coconut out on the work surface and very gently roll each roll in the coconut. You may have to help it stick in places by gently pressing down.

Leave in the fridge for at least an hour before slicing. I was told I cut mine a little too thick, but not sure it matters much, as they won’t last long.

butter cream:

250g unsalted butter, soft
250g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract 
3 different food color pastes

Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla together until combined and soft. Divide as evenly as possible into 3 separate bowls making each one a different color. Follow instructions above.

Thank you Niki for spending the afternoon with me and sharing this treat from your home country! And good luck to Hungary in the Eurovision finals! 




notes: this is my entry for the Treat Petite Blogger Challenge hosted by Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer there is still time to get your entry in! 


5.18.2015

Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte aka Black Forest Cake


This past Saturday I celebrated surviving another year. The last thing you want to be responsible for on your birthday is providing your own cake. However, if you don’t then you might end up with some horrible store bought cake with icky fondant, to me that would be worse then no cake at all.

I didn't get a chance to make a cake on Saturday because we were out for a day in Bath. Did a bit of exploring and stuff. Then back for a BBQ with close friends of the family, all in all a good day! There was a grand plan to make myself a cake on the Friday, but like most things I plan it didn't go accordingly. As I had all the ingredients I went a head and made it yesterday.


There was a little bit of trouble with it. The cake is super soft and delicious, but because it’s so soft when I was layering the cake up, the cake I choose for the middle layer split on me. It was definitely an eek moment. It just meant the next layer made it really squish out the side. After a bit of time in the fridge it’s all right, but it would also work as a trifle. Just layer it up in a bowl!

To be honest I don’t think I have ever had a Black Forest Cake. It’s a classic or retro cake that has stood the test of time. It even appears in more then one of Ursula Todd’s re-lives in Life After Life. This is the second cake I was talking about in the previous post where I shared the Sherry Cake.

The Sherry Cake represents Ursula's life at home and time of peace. Where this cake represents war and the somewhat darker sides of her life. Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte/Black Forest Cake is not only a favorite of our heroine but noted as a favorite of the Fuhrer himself. It is a well known fact that Hitler had a big sweet tooth

Life After Life questions if you had the opportunity to change things, would you? If you could have a second chance? If I could go back and make this cake again I would know to be more careful with the layers. However, I believe that no matter what choices we make some things cannot be changed - some things stay the same.



Black Forest Cake

185g unsalted butter
150g dark chocolate
125ml milk
175g self-rising flour
225g golden caster sugar
150g light brown sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
3 eggs
75ml buttermilk
6-8 tablespoons morello cherry conserve
ganache (recipe follows)
whipped cream (recipe follows)
fresh cherries to decorate

Heat the oven to 150C and grease/line three 7in/18cm cake tins.
Melt the butter, chocolate, and milk over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool, while you mix the flour, both sugars, and cocoa powder together. Add the eggs to the dry mixture one at a time. Then when the chocolate mixture has cooled stir in the buttermilk before adding to the flour/egg mixture. Gently stir until combined. Pour into the prepared tin(s) dividing between the tins as evenly as possible. Bake for 45-50 minutes using the skewer test to make sure they are cooked through. When the cakes are out of the oven and cooling make the ganache and whipped cream.

Lay the first layer of the cake on a plate/board/stand and spread 3-4 tablespoons of the cherry conserve over the top, then pour ½ of the cooled ganache over it. Pipe 1/3 of the whipped cream in circles on top, leaving a little room around the edge. Repeat with the next layer. Finish the top with the whipped cream and fresh cherries.

ganache

200ml double cream
25ml kirsch
1 tbsp honey
100g dark chocolate, broken up

Simmer the cream, kirsch, and honey together before adding in the dark chocolate. Whisk until shiny.

whipped cream frosting

500ml double cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
25g golden caster sugar

Whip the cream, vanilla, and sugar together until it holds a soft peak.



notes: Recipe loosely adapted from Jaime’s Comfort Food - Sherry Cake & more on Life After Life by Kate Atkinson - Other retro cake: Pineapple upside down cake. Recommendations for World War 1 & 2 fictional novels. Follow Teddy Todd's (Ursula's brother) story in Kate Atkinson's new novel A God in Ruins. All opinions are my own and I purchased Life After Life for my Kindle App.

5.15.2015

Bookies into Foodies Week

Missie over on A Flurry of Ponderings has turned all her bookie friends into foodies for one week. For me it was a bit of the opposite! Although my love of books has never been a secret on here!

It started on Monday so go check out these amazing posts!

Monday/May 11- Historical Treats with Jess from Curiouser and Curiouser

Wednesday/May 13- Dinner from Nowhere But Home with Lisa from Reading, Writing, and Random Musings

Thursday/May 14 - Butterbeer with AJ from Covert/Extrovert

Friday/May 15th - is my day! Check out my review of The Curse Workers Series by Holly Black and a recipe for some amazing Cherry Crumble Cheesecake Bars!




Don't forget to check out tomorrow's post from Jess at Writing Pearls (Saturday/May 16th) and of course Missie's at A Flurry of Ponderings on Sunday/May 17th!

Update:
Jess at Writing PeralsAsparagus Tart
Missie at A Flurry of Ponderings - Rock Cakes and Treacle Fudge

5.13.2015

Sherry Cake: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Life After Life had been on my reading list for ages. I downloaded it on to my kindle app last summer when it was on sale for only 99p, but have only recently gotten around to reading it.

It’s a bit of a mind fuck. Excuse my language, but it is. Everyone says you should never play the “what if” game. The “what if’s” can range from big to little choices we make every day.

For example: You walk the same way to work every day, but one day you choose to walk a different way. You later find out that there was a huge smash up on the road you cross at the time you should have been crossing it. Was it luck? Or did you already subconsciously know something?

Ursula Todd is our main character and we see her story played out as a lot of “what if’s.” There are several scenarios that we return over and over again and each time something is different sometimes it’s a little change and other times it’s life saving.

There is a lot of cake and other teatime treats mentioned in this book. There are two specific cakes that really stood out to me and this is the first and more simple of the two, but just as tasty. It’s a Sherry Cake, it’s served as a tea time treat by Mrs. Glover to Sylvia, Ursula’s mother, and her friends who visit from London to see the newest baby. Ursula and the dog are waiting in the garden in hopes to catch some crumbs.

The cake and the general drinking of sherry throughout the story really helped make you feel like you were in the past. It is these simple or minor things that take a story from being good to great.

It turns out Sherry Cake is pretty easy to make. It’s great when you find such an easy cake that gives such a big reward! It has a rich sherry flavor and it's super soft. It's just amazing! For a bit of nostalgia try it out yourself! 


Sherry Cake

125g butter, room temperature
125g golden caster sugar
225g self-rising flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200ml sweet sherry
icing sugar to dust

Heat the oven to 180C and line and grease a square or round 8 inch pan. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Then add half of the flour and mix until combined. Then add the bicarb, extract, sherry, and the rest of the flour until just combined. Pour into tin and bake for 35-45 minutes. Leave to cool completely before dusting with the icings sugar. Enjoy!




notes: Don't forget that this week is Bookies to Foodies over on A Flurry of Ponderings! Go have a look for more food stuff that has been inspired by other bloggers favorite books! A God in Ruins is a follow up to Life After Life that was recently published. It follows Ursula’s younger brother Teddy. Definitely will be reading that one! The recipe for the Sherry Cake was adjusted from this online source.

5.11.2015

Treacle Tart & The Parasol Protectorate/Soulless


Over on A Flurry Of Ponderings my friend Missie is hosting a week-long event of Bookies into Foodies; which is a week of book bloggers making food things from their favorite books! I am guest posting over on her blog later this week, but I thought I would join in here on United Cakedom. Plus it fits right in with my Story Book Bakes posts. So, today I am sharing a British classic the Treacle Tart.

It’s not very often I re-read books, with so many different ones to read why go back to something you already know how it ends? However there are several books that have cracked spines and smudged pages due to the amount of times I have read them. Soulless, the first in The Parasol Protectorate series is one of those. As the first of the series it is the most loved. It’s what drew me in and made me want more.

Alexia Tarabotti, the leading lady, resides in England during the Victorian times. However, it’s not exactly like we remember it. Werewolves and Vampires are acknowledged as law-abiding members of society. They hold down respectable jobs in the military and police force as well as host the best balls and start fashion trends.

It is also acceptable to want to become one of the super natural. All you have to do is pay your dues by either being a claviger to the werewolves or a drone to the vampires. Then hope that you have excess soul to survive the transformation. Even if Alexia wanted to go down that route, she couldn't. See she was born with out a soul and that is where the fun begins!

In the first chapter of Soulless, on the second page Alexia sneaks away from a boring ball to take tea and it includes a plate of treacle tart. Only a rude vampire that doesn't know the first thing about proper etiquette squashes it.

It’s the first, but not the last time that this sticky classic treat is mentioned throughout the series’. The whole series offers a lot of fun and shenanigans, mystery and mayhem, and a lot of tea breaks.

Before you sit down to read the series (if you haven’t already) make this treacle tart, a cup of tea, and get stuck in!


Treacle Tart

8oz (226g) flour
4oz (113g) butter
1-3 tablespoons milk
4oz (113g) breadcrumbs
16oz (452g or 1 can) golden syrup
4 teaspoons lemon or Satsuma juice

Heat the oven to 200C/Gas 6 and grease a 8 or 9 inch tart tin with butter and lightly dust with flour. Combine the flour and butter by rubbing together with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add a tablespoon of milk at a time until you can bring the dough together in a ball. Leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough and line the tart tin, using a fork prick holes in the bottom of the pastry. Mix the breadcrumbs, golden syrup, and juice together (I only had a satsuma in my fridge so used that!) and pour into the pastry lined tart tin. Bake in the heated oven for 30 minutes. Slice and enjoy with or without clotted cream.


notes: Check out A Flurry of Ponderings for a week of Bookies to Foodies fun! Thank you Jen for sending me your noted and tried recipe for Treacle Tart! 


Books by Gail Carriger: (I have read all of these)
The Parasol Protectorate -
Soulless
Changeless
Blameless
Heartless
Timeless

The Custard Protocol -
Prudence
Imprudence (not yet published)

Finishing School -
Etiquette & Espionage
Curtsies & Conspiracies
Waistcoats & Weaponary
Manners & Mutiny (published November 2015)


4.30.2015

April's Pastry Challenge Round-Up! {chocolate}

As April comes to an end so does my first month of hosting The Pastry Challenge! It was fun seeing the entries that came in. I was impressed by the skill and creativity of the entries for this month's theme chocolate.

Chocolate is one of the most common ingredients used in baking. As it pairs so well with other flavors it makes it a great addition to any bake! Enough of me rambling let's have a look at the delicious creations that this month's Pastry Challenge has brought us!  


As Easter was at the beginning of the month our first entry really celebrated the holiday with these amazing Chocolate Egg Basket Tartelettes. I am so impressed with the skill involved. Go check out Margot Dolewska Dyer’s site Coffee and Vanilla for more of her amazing creations!


Then we had a very colorful and fun entry with Nazima Pathan’s Homemade Berry and Chocolate Pop Tarts! She blogs over on FranglaisKitchen where there are plenty more recipes like these to inspire you! I know they have inspired me!


My co-host Jen at Jen’s Food had a go with choux pastry and made these impressive Chocolate Religieuses! She says she’s frozen some so planning to head over one day soon to have a taste!


Then entering just at the end was Xi from Where Baking andScience Come Together with her Choux a la crème or as we more commonly know them, profiteroles. They look delicious with that dark chocolate glaze!


And last but not least check out my Double ChocolateStrawberry Mini Tarts!


I hope you can all join us as we continue our pastry journey’s! 

4.24.2015

Five WWII Books {Five on Friday}


Yesterday was World Book Night and as a giver for the fourth year I had a great time giving out books! I gave the majority to moms and dads on the school ground. They are the worst culprits for saying they have no time to read. Everyone I talked to say they would try there best to start reading despite their “busy” schedules.

I say “busy” because we are all busy. It’s all about our priorities and where I appreciate that reading a book isn't everyone’s first priority I do believe it is a past time that everyone should attempt whenever they can.

In my last post I am running a giveaway for a copy of my World Book Night book Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts by Mary Gibson. So, head over there and enter all you have to do is follow the instructions in the rafflecopter gadget.

I have read all of these books! I laughed and cried and lived in another time in different ways with each of these books. I couldn't recommend them more! 

Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts is about life and love in England during WWI. If you’re looking for something to read after such a great book then here are my five WWII recommendations. If you haven’t read Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts but are interested in fictional and non-fictional books on WWII these are worth a look!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

synopsis: (from the front flap) ***HERE IS A SMALL FACT*** You are going to die 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier. Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall. . .


The Story Teller by Jodi Picoult

synopsis: For seventy years, Josef Weber has been hiding in plain sight. He is a pillar of his local community. He is also a murderer. When Josef decides to confess, it is to Sage Singer, a young woman who trusts him as her friend. What she hears shatters everything she thought she knew and believed.
As Sage uncovers the truth from the darkest horrors of war, she must follow a twisting trail between terror and mercy, betrayal and forgiveness, love - and revenge.

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

synopsis: What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right? During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.
What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to? Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again.

Clara Vine series:

synopsis - Black Roses: 1933. War is in the air. And in Berlin one woman is torn between love, loyalty and duty… Clara Vine is young and ambitious, and determined to succeed as an actress. A chance meeting in London leads her to Berlin, to the famous Ufa studios and, unwittingly, into an uneasy circle of Nazi wives, among them Magda Goebbels.

synopsis - The Winter Garden: Berlin. 1937. The city radiates glamour and ambition. But danger lurks in every shadow… Anna Hansen, a bride-to-be, is a pupil at ne of Hitler’s notorious Nazi Bride Schools, where young women are schooled on the art of being an SS officer’s wife. Then, one night, she is brutally murdered and left in the gardens of the school.

synopsisA War of Flowers: August, 1938. Paris is a city living on its nerves and the threat of war hangs heavy as a distant thunderstorm on a summer’s day…With war becoming increasingly likely, Clara is approached by an undercover British operative, Guy Hamilton, who askes her to perform a task for her country: to befriend Eva Braun, Hitler’s girlfriend, and to pass on any information she can gather.

The Endless Steppe (non-fiction) by Esther Hautzig

synopsis: Esther Rudomin was ten years old when, in 1941, she and her family were arrested by the Russians and transported to Siberia. This is the true story of the next five years spent in exile, of how the Rudomins kept their courage high, though they went barefoot and hungry.




I had a great World Book Night! I love talking about books with readers and non-readers alike and I love sharing the gift of books. However I am always looking for new book recommendations! If you have any book reviews on your blog please link up here! They can be old or new and they can be fiction or non-fiction. It can be a cookbook or children’s book. Any book review can be linked up! 

The only rules are: Please only link up to 5 different posts and please visit and comment on the link before yours! If you want to visit and comment on more then that please do! And if you have a minute please share this linky on any of your social media sites! It is optional not a must! If you tag me (@unitedcakedom) on twitter or instagram I will try my best to like/retweet/comment!




notes: images were used from amazon and synopsis' were taken from the back and front flaps of the books. If you didn't see my previous post on World Book Night check it out here! I bought all of these books except A War of Flowers which was given to me in a giveaway. All opinions are my own! 

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