Mary Berry’s Cherry Cake

 

Cherry Cake | pajamabaker.com

You know how every Christmas there’s that song that plays touting December as the most wonderful time of the year? As much as I love Christmas, every summer about this time that song starts creeping into my head. Not because I’m anticipating the steadily approaching holidays, but because one of my favorite TV shows returns: The Great British Bake Off.  This year, for Series 5, they’ve actually moved the show to BBC One, which means a lot more exposure, and a lot more excitement!

In the first year I started this blog, I challenged myself to try one bake from each of the episodes in order to grow my skills and try my hand at some of the challenges in hopes of auditioning for GBBO.  It worked well then, (I got as far as the audition round) so I figured I’d give it another shot. Plus, it’s more motivation to keep baking each weekend (as if planning an international wedding wasn’t enough to keep me busy! Only 61 days to go!).

The first episode of the show focused on cakes, a relatively simple category, but it really allowed us to focus on meeting the new bakers this year. There are a few that I think have amazing talent, but one of them drives me absolutely up the wall! He is the most obnoxious person I could imagine meeting. I’m hoping he gets kicked off soon! Fingers crossed! The technical challenge for the episode was to make Mary Berry’s Cherry Cake, an almond-flavoured sponge with bits of cherries distributed throughout the cake.

The trick to putting the cherries in is to chop them into smaller pieces, then rinse, dry, and coat with flour. This helps the cherries “float” in the batter so that they don’t all sink to the bottom of the tin (eventually the top of your cake). This cake was super easy to make, although it didn’t rise as much as I would have expected, so I may double the recipe next time so that it makes more of a statement on the plate!

Cherry Cake | pajamabaker.com

Now before you start wondering about the crooked-looking cake, it’s actually my new cake stand, which was given to me as a bridal shower gift by one of my bridesmaids, Kelsie. It’s absolutely beautiful and I love that it has that quirky, not exactly perfect appearance. It just adds to the handmade nature of what’s being presented on it. After getting this stand, I found out they do it in two other sizes and heights, so I’m definitely adding those to my wishlist!

Cherry Cake | pajamabaker.com

 

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 200 grams glacé cherries (or maraschino cherries if you’re in the States)
  • 225 grams self-raising flour (minus 2 Tablespoons, which you’ll use for the cherries)
  • 175 grams butter, softened
  • 175 grams sugar
  • the finely grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 50 grams ground almonds
  • 3 large eggs
For the icing:
  • 175 grams icing sugar
  • the juice from one lemon
  • 15 grams flaked almonds, toasted
  • 5 glacé cherries, cut into quarters (you can take these from the 200 grams used for the cake)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350° F (approx 175°C). Grease a bundt pan and set aside.

2. Cut all of your cherries into quarters, then rinse them under cold water so they aren’t sticky and turn them out onto some paper towels to dry. Make sure you set aside 5 of your cherries for the topping. Toss the rest of the cherries in your 2 Tablespoons of flour so that they’re evenly coated.

3. In your mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add in your eggs one at a time. Once mixed, add in your flour and ground almonds and mix in thoroughly. Remove your bowl from your mixer and fold in your flour-coated cherries and lemon zest by hand.

4. Pour your batter into you greased pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until your cake tester comes out clean and the top is a lovely golden color. Let your cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make your icing, gradually add the lemon juice to your icing sugar so that it makes a thick paste. Carefully drip the icing over the top of the cake using a spoon. You want the icing to run down the sides a bit, but not completely coat the cake, so you’ll need it to be pretty thick.

6. Finally, top your cake with the toasted flaked almonds and your cherry bits.

That’s it! Easy peasy! (And Ben says it’s delicious!)

Cherry Cake | pajamabaker.com

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Cherry Pie

CherryPie_2

So I guess I better put it out there: after all my hoping and all signs pointing in my direction, I won’t be on the Great British Bake Off this year. And now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to continue in my pajama-clad adventures!

This week I decided to make a cherry pie with a latticed top. I originally found the recipe in a cookbook my friend Leslie gave me for Christmas, but it called for cherry brandy. Having none on hand I instead substituted a bit of Coke, which I think tasted pretty awesome. I also love the addition of the allspice to the pastry – it makes for an extra tasty flaky pie crust.

I’ll admit, the lattice is a little tricky to do – the key is to make sure your dough is good and chilled so that it doesn’t want to fall apart when you go to create the top. Best served warm with a scoop of ice cream on top, this pie is sure to cheer you up when you slice into it and see that there’s not a soggy bottom in sight!

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 2 eggs, beaten, plus 1 extra beaten
For the filling:
  • 6 cups fresh cherries, pitted (about a pound of cherries)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 teaspoons Coca-cola
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted

CherryPie_1

Directions

1. First make your pastry; sift together the flour, baking powder, and allspice into a large bowl. Then stir in the salt and sugar and mix well. Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like fine bread crumbs. Make a well in the center, power in the eggs and mix into the dough until it comes together. If you need to, add a tiny bit of ice cold water to help. Once it comes together, divide your dough into two halves, wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.

2. While your dough is chilling, make your cherry filling. Put half of the cherries into a saucepan over medium heat. Add in all of the sugar, then bring to a simmer. Once simmering, stir in the almond extract, Coke, and allspice.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water until it makes a paste. Stir the paste into your saucepan with the cherries and boil until the mixture thickens. Stir in the remaining cherries and remove from the heat.

4. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Roll out your dough balls on a lightly floured surface until they’re large enough to cover your pie plate. Use one of them to line the pie plate.

4. Pour your cherry filling over the lined pie plate, then dot with the melted butter. Cut the remaining dough into strips that are about 1/2-inch wide, then lay them over the top of the pie filling, creating a lattice. Trim and seal the edges with a bit of water and crimp around the outside edge. Brush the top of the pastry with the last beaten egg – this will help give it a golden shine on the top.

5. Cover the pie with aluminum foil, then bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, then bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the top is golden. Allow the pie to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting into it.

 

Cherry Bakewell Tart

Ben’s been asking me to make a Bakewell Tart for ages, so I finally decided to give in and do a bit of research.  Originally, I was going to make individual tarts a la Mr. Kipling, but the pastry recipe I used was just terrible. It kept ripping and tearing and just wouldn’t cooperate. In fact, the recipe was so awful that the first tart I made completely fell apart!

So for this week’s recipe, I won’t be posting the pastry recipe. It would just be cruel. Luckily, the second tart turned out beautifully and tasted AMAZING.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams shortcrust pastry
  • 100 grams butter
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 50 grams ground almonds
  • 50 grams flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • strawberry jam
  • 175 grams icing sugar
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons milk
  • glacé cherries

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400° F (approx 200°C). Lightly grease your pie tin, then roll out the pastry until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Gently lay the pastry over the tin and press into place. Lightly poke the pastry with a fork, being careful not to go all the way through the pastry. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes to set, then remove from the oven and set aside while you make the filling.

2. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add in the eggs followed by the ground almonds.

3. Next, add the flour, baking powder, and almond extra. Mix to combine.

4. Spread the bottom of the baked pastry with a generous layer of strawberry jam, then fill with the almond batter. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

5. Remove the baked pie from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack. Once it is completely cool, it’s ready to ice.

6. Make the icing by combining the icing sugar and milk, adding the milk slowly and only adding enough to make a thick but still runny icing. Pour over the cooled pie, being sure not to let it run over the sides, then dot the top with the glacé cherries.

Coca Cola Cupcakes

Ben had purchased a bottle of Coke for the weekend, as we thought a friend as joining us for dinner. Turns out he had to cancel, and since I’ve been trying to be really good about not drinking soda I had to find a way to use up a good bit of it. Then I remembered when I made these cupcakes a few years ago and I set out on making them again, only better.

For the frosting on these, I swirled a mix of cherry and vanilla buttercream so that I ended up with two separate colors. One day I’ll do a tutorial on it, but for now I’d suggest Google. But these will taste just as good with only one flavor of frosting!

Big thanks to A Cozy Kitchen for the cake recipe. These tasted amazing, especially with the Coke glaze and frosting on top.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups Coca-Cola
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2  eggs
For the glaze:
These measurements are approximate, because I just do these by feel/consistency.
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Coca-Cola
For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened (you want it just a tiny bit firm still so that the icing will be stiffer for piping)
  • 4 cups icing sugar (sifted)
  • Maraschino cherries
  • red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325° F (approx 160°C). Place cupcake liners into the pan.

2. Stir the butter, cocoa powder, and Coca-Cola in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the butter melts, then whisk in the sugars until smooth. Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside to cool.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In a small bowl, beat the two eggs, then whisk them into the cooled chocolate mixture.

4. Pour the chocolate mixture to the large bowl with your flour mixture, then gently fold it in. The batter should still have a few lumps in it – but that’s okay as long as everything is mixed together.

5. Pour about 1/3 cup of batter into each of your prepared cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. To make the glaze, mix the icing sugar with the Coca-Cola to get a thick, but runny icing (similar to the consistency I used for my cinnamon buns). Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the tops of the cupcakes. Don’t worry about covering the entire surface, just let it run off where it wants to. Oh, and this is best done while they’re still on the wire rack with a baking sheet underneath to catch the extra drizzle.

7. Now it’s time for the frosting. In a large bowl, use a mixer to cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Then gradually mix in the icing sugar. To make the cherry flavor, add in some of the syrup from the jar of Maraschino cherries as well as the red food coloring to give it a pink hue. To make the vanilla flavor, just add in the vanilla and leave the frosting white. If you’d like to make both flavors and try swirling the frosting, be sure to divide the frosting into two separate bowls before adding any flavorings. Continue to mix on a high speed for approximately 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

8. Pipe your frosting onto the cupcakes in a swirl. Then top each one with a Maraschino cherry. If you’d like to do both flavors, mix the frosting in your piping bag by filling the left half of the bag with one flavor and the right half with the other. I find this is a lot easier if you put the piping bag into a glass and place a spatula or large spreading knife down the center to keep the frostings on their respective sides. Once both flavors are in there, remove the spatula and pipe as normal!