Here I am with my first "baking adventure" on my new blog. I should start by saying that until August this year (2013) I had never baked before apart from a few feeble attempts in Domestic Science class at school ... and that was more years ago than I care to remember!! Nor have I ever been interested in cooking ... luckily I have a husband who's a competent cook or I think I would have starved long before now!!
So why the sudden urge to bake?? In some way I think it it psychologically wedded to the fact that my mum passed away in July ... I'm not sure what the connection is (I guess a psychologist would have a field day!!) but surely there must be one. That is one of the reasons why I will be dedicating some of my bakes to raising funds for the hospice where my mum spent her final days - another is that if my husband and I eat all I would like to bake we will be the size of a house by summer!! My charity baking will, however, be starting in a little while as I need to let everyone get over Christmas first!!
My newness to baking does mean that many of the bakes I attempt will be "firsts" for me, even if they are quite simple! So I will do my best to relate my experiences, warts and all!!
So here goes ... today we have been to visit my husband's aunt who we only see once or twice a year, so I rashly offered to bake a dessert/cake in a (misguided?) bid to impress. I had seen the following recipe whilst browsing and thought it looked totally delicious, and I had never made a roulade before .. here's what I made ...
Black Forest Roulade
Taken from"Your Christmas at Sainsbury's" magazine.
Serves: 10 (so they say ... I would say 6-8 max)
200g dark chocolate, broken up
150g caster sugar
5 medium eggs, separated
1 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting
300ml fresh double cream
125g Sainsbury's taste The Difference Morello cherries with kirsch (don't know if any other supermakets have an equivalent for these!)
Cocoa for dusting (optional)
Swiss roll tin (mine is a brand new Lakeland "My Kitchen" Swiss roll tin and seemed to do the job very well!)
1. Preheat oven to 180C, fan 160C, gas mark 4.
2. Line Swiss roll tin with baking parchment.
3. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch).
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until thick. Fold in the melted chocolate.
5. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff; beat 2tbsp unto the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the remainder.
6. Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 15-20 minutes, until risen and firm to the touch.
7. Lay out a large piece of baking parchment and sift half the icing sugar over it. Turn the warm roulade out onto the paper and cover with a warm damp teatowel - leave to cool.
8. Whip the cream to soft peaks in a bowl. Peel back the top layer of baking parchment from the cake and spread with the cream, then scatter the cherries over the top.
9. Using the bottom piece of baking parchment to lift the cake, roll up from one short end.
10. Transfer to a serving plate with seam side down, then dust with the rest of the icing sugar and cocoa if desired.
This cake involved a couple of simple new techniques for me - I had never melted chocolate over simmering water before, not had I whipped egg whites to a meringue consistency. All seemed to go pretty well though. When the cake came out of the oven it had formed a bit of a "swell" around the edges, so I tidied them up with a sharp knife when it was cool, before filling (this also gave us a few offcuts to sample ... and I was pretty thrilled with the taste and consistency of the sponge! :-) )
My main struggle was with rolling it up ... it did crack quite badly. I know that some cracking is expected, but I would appreciate any tips on how to minimize this in future.
I kept the cake refrigerated until serving and it went down really well ... looked better than the photo suggests and tasted brilliant. I'll definitely keep practising to get it looking tidier!
You will notice a distinct lack of photos of the work in progress ... this is partly down to the late hour when I was baking, and also down to my extreme concentration on the job in hand. As I start to get more into the swing you can expect to see more photos as I'm going along :-)
So that's it from me for today, and I daresay for 2013. So bring on a whole new year of baking for 2014!
About my baking challenge
I discovered the joy of baking for the first time ever in 2013, shortly after my dear mum passed away from cancer. During 2014 I tried to bring these two things together in a positive way , have fun and raise some money for Ashgate Hospice in Chesterfield where my mum passed away. Throughout the year I tried out new techniques and recipes from time to time ... and then sold some of my bakes for charity in my workplace. Since then I have continued to bake with some ups and downs .. and this blog charts my baking experiences, good and bad!