Category "blog"

How to make chocolate brownie cookies

2nd July 2013
by M-admin-bakehouse
1 comment
biscuits, blog, cake, chocolate, cookies, easy, Manchester, maries's bakehouse, Urmston, , , , , , , , , , ,

These little beauties are gorgeous!! They’ve come about because one of the lovely ladies who attends my classes is dairy free. I like to bake for the students at my classes, so was looking for a dairy free recipe. I found a recipe I liked, but tweaked it a bit and now I’m going to share it with you! Be prepared- the dough needs to chill for AT LEAST 4 hours, overnight is even better. So if you want to make these cookies you have to be patient!

Ingredients (makes 32-36 cookies)
85g cocoa powder
400g caster sugar
125ml vegetable oil
4 eggs         
250g plain flour            
2 teaspoons baking powder            
a pinch of salt
60g icing sugar
What to do:
1. In a bowl, mix together the cocoa, caster sugar and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until fully combined. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4. Line baking trays with parchment. Roll dough into 2.5cm balls. Coat each ball in icing sugar before placing onto prepared trays. (Easiest way to do this is put the icing sugar in a bowl and roll the dough around inside it). I used 3 baking trays with 12 per tray. I won’t lie to you- this is a sticky job. You might have to wash your hands a few times whilst doing this step. But ‘stick’ with it, they’re worth it.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Let stand on the baking tray for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.
4. Enjoy!!
At the time of writing I still have some from the first batch we made (we have made another batch since that went into school for the teachers!) and four days on they are still very yummy. 
Let me know if you make them and what you think.

How to make Skinny Chunky Monkey Cookies

18th June 2013
by M-admin-bakehouse
biscuits, blog, cookies, easy, Manchester, maries's bakehouse, Urmston, , , , , , ,

Ok, so the jury is still out on these. I have to be honest with you, I can’t make my mind up whether I like them or not. The reason I chose to make them was to do with my quest to find yummy tasting treats that don’t pile on the pounds. And this recipe boasted that these are under 50 calories each. Worth a try I thought. So I made them, and took them along to a class I was running, and my family and friends have tried them too. And I think it’s fair to say we’re split 50/50 into those that like them and those that don’t. So you might just have to try them for yourself!  The original recipe I found was here.

Ingredients you will need:
3 ripe bananas mashes
20g oats
100g peanut butter (I used lower fat)
30g cocoa powder
100g unsweetened apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
What you need to do:
1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl.
2. Mix them together until fully combined, then let it stand for 20 minutes.
3. Drop heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto ungreased baking paper on cookie trays.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 170 degrees.

And this is what they’ll look like when they’re baked. Excuse the watery picture, it was very sunny in my kitchen when I took this picture!
And there you have it. Easy peasy to make, I’ll leave the taste testing up to you and you can tell me what you think.


How to make goats cheese, strawberry and honey crostini

11th June 2013
by M-admin-bakehouse
baker, blog, cheshire, easy, edible, marie's bakehouse, recipe, Urmston, , , , , , , , , ,
After spending a week on a French Cake Break with Rhu Strand from Pimp my Cake with Mama Rhu, and being treated to the most amazing cooking, I took inspiration from one of the local delicacies that we were treated to and added a bit of a twist. The results, I can assured you, are amazeballs!
Ingredients you will need:
(this is what I used, you might choose slightly different quantities)
1 part baked French baguette
1 block of Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference, Kidderton Ash Goats’ Cheese, thinly sliced
About 7/8 strawberries, depending on their size, thinly sliced
A drizzle of Sainsbury’s runny honey
About 5 fresh basil leaves, torn
What to do:
1. Slice the baguette into around 15 slices.
2. Place them on a baking tray and bake at 180 degrees for 5 minutes.
3. Transfer to a grill, and place a thin slice of goats cheese on the toasted bread, followed by one or two slices of strawberries.
4. Place under the grill for a few minutes until the cheese starts to melt.
5. Transfer to a serving dish and while still warm, drizzle honey over the crostini.
6. Sprinkle the torn basil leaves over the top, and serve.
An easy peasy, whipped up in under ten minutes treat 🙂



How to make yummy bread rolls, using a bread machine

6th June 2013
by M-admin-bakehouse
blog, bread machine, cheshire, Manchester, marie's bakehouse, recipe, Urmston, , , , , ,

I love fresh bread, there’s little that can beat the taste and texture of it fresh from the oven. But sometimes I just don’t have time, or I’m just not organised enough, to make it all by hand. So this is where my bread machine comes into it’s own. Hands up who has a bread machine? And hands up who hasn’t used it in ages? That’s about to change…..

Ingredients you will need:
310ml water
30g butter, chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp. sugar
600g white bread flour
1 egg
2 tsp dried yeast
You’ll need to add the ingredients according to the instructions for your machine, but for mine it’s this order- water, butter, salt and sugar, then flour, egg and yeast. 
Put it on the dough setting and let the bread machine work it’s magic. The dough cycle on my machine takes 1 hour and 20 minutes.
As soon as it’s finished, you can tip the dough out and break it into 12 pieces, and roll each one into a ball. Put them onto two greased baking trays and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes at 200 degrees, or until cooked and golden brown.
Then remove the bread rolls and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Or, leave to cool as long as is needed to enable you to hold them without burning your fingers, break apart, spread with butter and enjoy!!


Reviewing Sweet Silk Sugarpaste by Sweet Success

21st May 2013
by M-admin-bakehouse

Now if you decorate a lot of cakes like I do, you’ll be after the perfect sugarpaste to use to both cover the cakes, and model with. And, like me, you’ve probably used a lot of different types in the quest to find it. I’ve tried Tesco, Asda, Regalice, Dr Oetker, Bako, Covapaste….and possibly a couple of others too. I was quite happy with the Tesco brand for quite a while, but then they ‘improved’ the recipe, and like many other decorators I know, I found it much harder to use. So I had settled on Covapaste for a while, and it suited me. But I’ve had a couple of difficult batches of this recently, so went on the hunt again.

I was sent a free sample of Sweet Silk Sugarpaste from Sweet Success. I’m saying that to be totally honest and up front with you. It was a 1kg free sample, but I am reviewing this giving my own true, honest opinions. I am not being paid to review this product.

It just so happens that the next cake I was making was a birthday cake for my daughter, Grace. Now I gave this sample quite a work out. I gave it a good knead, I coloured it, and I rolled it very thin as the cake was a 8″ round, 4″ deep one, and I wanted to use the same paste for some of the decorations. I’ll be honest with you, it did tear a little bit, and when I tried to colour it, it took longer than the Covapaste to fully take on and evenly distribute the colour. But I felt that I’d probably not treated this in quite the same way as I would have done another batch of paste- ie I rolled it far thinner than I normally would, so I ordered some more and had another go.

And with the next cake I had more success.  In fact, I’ve tried it on this cake…..


And on this cake…..

And on this cake…..

And on this cake…..
And also on this one…..

Although on this last one I had a bit of trouble again. You see I’d forgotten the magic trick that I’d tried with the others- warm the paste in the microwave. Just for about a minute on a low heat, but that’s just enough to introduce enough warmth to it, that you don’t have to knead and knead and knead it to get it pliable, and the warmer paste takes the colour much more easily, it’s softer, it rolls better, it covers better. I forgot about this when covering this one, so ended up with some tears and elephant skin (hence the rocks covering the front- sssh don’t tell my nephew, this one was for him!)

So the secret to this, for me anyway, seems to be, if you warm it up, it’s easier to use. So for now, although I’ll still keep an eye on what other brands are doing, I’ll be using Sweet Silk Sugarpaste from Sweet Success. You can buy it direct from Sweet Success, and they make it there themselves. And if you are going to be using a lot of it, you can apply for a trade account so you’ll get it that bit cheaper too.

Or, you could enter their current competition to win 1kg of the paste to try for yourself. You can enter over on their fb page.  Good luck if you’re entering!!

Let me know if you use it too, and what you think about it, I’ll be really interest
ed to hear your thoughts.




Cake International Manchester 2013 – my experience of entering the competition!

19th March 2013
by M-admin-bakehouse
1 comment
blog, cake, cake maker, cheshire, decorating, Manchester, marie's bakehouse, Urmston, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Have you been to Cake International? It’s been running for many years, but I’ve been to the Birmingham one for the last three years.  The first one, I drove there from Manchester with my mum, spent a fortune on goodies and came home full of ideas, and totally in awe of anyone who entered the competition, thinking it wasn’t anything that I’d ever do myself.

The second and third years I went with cake friends and stayed over near the NEC. It was a really social experience, spending time in person with ‘real live’ cake friends, not just chatting to them over the internet! Each year different friends entered the competition and, with them, I lived through their anguish beforehand whilst making their competition piece, their nerves when waiting for the judges to announce who had been awarded what grades, and their joy and sometimes disappointments at how they had been scored.

But I hadn’t ever entered the competition myself. Well, I lived in Manchester, and the cake had to be delivered to Birmingham before 8.45am on a Friday morning, and I had work, or had to take the children to school, so I couldn’t possibly get it there, could I?
Good enough excuse I thought.

Then Cake International moved to Manchester. And not just Manchester- to Event City, which is less than ten minutes away from where I live in Urmston. So the ‘I can’t get it there’ excuse was no longer relevant. Hmmmmmmmm.

So, when the time came to think about buying my tickets for CI, it was crunch time.  Was I going to buy a three day pass? Or enter the competition and have a three day pass because of it? So I entered the competition. I read through the rules of each class and decided on Class B: Celebration cake with all edible decoration.

I decided to stick with something I knew I could do. Some people enter CI to really challenge themselves, and hats off to them for doing it. There are some absolutely fantastic pieces there, such as this amazing piece from Rhu at Pimp My Cake By Mama Rhu. But I thought I’d make a cake which I’d make for a customer, and just have fun making a cake I enjoyed. Which is exactly what I did.

I like making cakes with lots of detail. Cakes which make you look a little bit closer. Cakes which have decoration at the back as well as at the front. So I kind of went to town with it on this cake.  I didn’t stress, I didn’t worry, I just enjoyed making a cake that I wanted to make.  So far so good I thought.

On the morning of delivery I was still fairly relaxed about the whole thing. Until the point of putting it on the table. Then I started to feel nervous. Lots of people would be looking at my cake over the next three days. The judges would be scrutinising it in a matter of hours. People might wander past it and criticise it. I might be there and hear them! Suddenly I wasn’t quite so calm! But I felt confident enough in my cake to think I might be awarded a merit, and if I was lucky enough to get a bronze, then I’d be thrilled.

After taking the children to school, and going home to bake for a order, I returned to CI at about 11am. As soon as I arrived I went to the competition area and saw a judge with my cake! Suddenly I felt very sick.  Suddenly it really mattered to me what this person thought of my cake, and I needed to know as soon as possible. 

Then I, and other cake friends, waited for the results to be announced. And waited and waited and waited. Three o’clock came round and I had to leave to collect my children from school. On returning home I was glued to my laptop, waiting for Rhu to let me know what the results were. Then Rhu posted a picture for me.

Stunned. Totally stunned. In fact I think my first response was ‘Noooooooooooooooooooo!’ But completely and utterly pleased and proud. Thrilled that one of my cakes, one I’d make in the same way for a customer, achieved a gold at Cake International!
Quick jump to Sunday afternoon, and the award ceremony, and not only did I manage to meet John Whaite (winner of GBBO) who presented my certificate, I was also awarded best in my class. Here’s me with a daft grin, and trying not to cry!
Happy caker 🙂
And just because I have one, here’s a picture of Mary Berry with my cake. Well, almost with my cake. I’d like to think she was at least looking at it!
Would I enter CI again? Yes I think I would. I might even step out of my comfort zone and enter a class I’m not so confident in. I have a few ideas forming…….
So that’s it, my journey to Cake International Manchester.
Any ideas how many eggs the Easter Bunny hid in the garden?? ;0)

How to make homemade chocolate pudding and toffee sauce

12th March 2013
by M-admin-bakehouse
1 comment
Looks lush doesn’t it? Let me tell you… is! 😉 My other half even said it was the sort of pudding you could serve in a restaurant- high praise indeed!!!
So without further ado, let me tell you how to make it for yourself…..
For the chocolate pudding (to serve four) you will need:
50g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
2 eggs
90g SR flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
What to do:
1. Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs until the mixture is light and fluffy.
2. Sieve the flour into the bowl, add the cocoa powder, and beat in until fully combined.
3. Pour the mixture into 4 buttered bowls or ramekins. 
4. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until risen.
5. Tip out of the moulds and serve with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream.
***IMPROVISATION ALERT*** I don’t have ramekins, or four suitable bowls to use for this recipe, so I used mugs.  Yes that’s right mugs that you’d normally have your cuppa in. Worked a treat. You can grease the inside with butter or, like I did, spray Fry-Lite, or Cake Release into them before adding the raw mixture. The cakes just tipped out when it was time to serve them 🙂
For the toffee sauce you will need:
170g butter
260g soft light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
180ml evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
What to do:
1. Put the butter, sugar, water and salt in a saucepan, over a medium heat and stir until melted and combined.
2. Bring to the boil for 3-5 minutes until the toffee sauce thickens to the desired consistency.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in evaporated milk and vanilla.
Easy as that!!
So now you’ve decided that it’s easy enough to make, we’ll have another picture of it to convince you to make it sooner rather than later….
Let me know if you make it and what you think of it!


How to make Anzac Biscuits

5th March 2013
by M-admin-bakehouse
1 comment
Last week my eldest daughter Grace had to do a talk at school. She had visited The Imperial War Museum North with her Dad and younger sister Alice, whilst I was poorly in bed. So she decided to talk about her visit there. We also talked about what could have been baked during a war and came up with Anzac Biscuits. I’m sure you know about these already, but if you don’t….

They are made from butter, golden syrup, water, bicarbonate of soda, oats, coconut, flour and sugar. Anzac biscuits were made by the wives and girlfriends of soldiers to send them in the war, to cheer them up and keep them fighting fit. They do not contain anything which will go off quickly, so were ideal to last the journey to the battlefield.
Anzac Day is celebrated in Australia to mark the first anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the first world war.

So we decided to make a batch of them for Grace, and her class mates, the teachers and teaching assistants….and a few left over for us too- we made five batches in the end!! They are yummy, and taste like you are having something healthy with the coconut and oats!!

Here’s how to do it…..


The ingredients:
85g porridge oats
85g dessicated coconut
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
100g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160/gas 4.  Line 2-3 baking sheets.
Put the butter and golden syrup in a saucepan and melt together.

2. Whilst that is melting measure the dry ingredients and mix them together in a large bowl.
3. Put the bicarbonate of soda and 2 tbsp boiling water in a cup and mix together quickly, then tip it into the melted butter mixture and stir quickly.  You’ll get a lovely bubbly mixture with lots of air incorporated into it.
4. Tip the melted butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix everything together until fully combined (forgot to take a pic of this bit-sorry!)

5. Roll the mixture into walnut sized balls and place on a baking tray a few centimetres apart to allow room for spreading. It makes about 20 biscuits. Excuse the paper on this photograph, this was batch number five baking now! Bake in batches for about 8 minutes until golden.  Leave to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes then transfer to a wire wrack to finish cooling.

And here they are finished.  Really yummy 🙂  Crunchy round the edges, chewy in the middle. They’d also be good with some raisins, chopped dates or maybe cherries or ginger added.  I might try that next time.  Have a go and let me know what you think x




How to make Aphrodisiac cookies

20th February 2013
by M-admin-bakehouse

Ok, so they’re called Aphrodisiac cookies, mainly because they contain walnuts and dark chocolate, both of which have reported aphrodisiac qualities. I can’t promise they’ll pep up the old love life, but they’re a really yummy cookie, so it’s worth a try anyway isn’t it?!

Ingredients you’ll need:
165g softened butter or baking margarine
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g caster sugar
175g dark brown sugar
80g porridge oats
200g plain flour
1/2 tap baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
170g dark chocolate chips
115g chopped walnuts
What to do:

1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees.  Put the softened butter/baking margarine, the eggs, and the vanilla extract in a bowl. Mix together. You can use an electric whisk if you want to, if you do it’ll be far fluffier in appearance than in the next picture….

2. I used a wooden spoon, so if that’s what you use too, it’ll look something like this.

3. Add all the rest of the ingredients. I LOVE recipes where you just pile everything in at once. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the art that goes into more carefully added/folded/whisked at each stage etc recipes, but if you pile it all in at once, you have less time to wait before you get to try it, which has got to be a good thing? Yes?

4. Mix everything in together, until fully combined.

5. Using a dessert spoon, or whatever you have handy, dollop small amounts onto a lined baking tray.  You should get about 24 cookies out of this recipe.  Make sure you have quite a gap in between each one as they tend to spread……see the next photo…..

6. You see? Lots of spreading, which resulted in the top ones touching each other. Not a big problem, but remember to space them apart. Leave them on the baking tray for at least 10 minutes to cool down.  They are very fragile and soft as soon as they’re out of the oven and will break easily if you try and transfer them to a cooking rack. I know, I tried. If they’re still fragile after this time, leave them for a bit longer before you move them onto cooling racks to finish cooling fully.

7. And here they are all cooled and ready for eating. Nomnomnom!


How to make a paper piping bag

14th February 2013
by M-admin-bakehouse
1 comment

How To Make A Paper Piping Bag

For piping buttercream, I’d always choose a plastic throw away bag, but for piping chocolate, candy melts or royal icing, I like to use a paper bag.  And this is how you make one…..
1. Cut a square of baking paper or greaseproof paper, then cut it in half diagonally to make a triangle.  Put the triangle on the table, with the longest side at the top.

2. Take the top right hand corner and fold it down…..

…… the top corner meets the bottom corner.
3. Repeat with the opposite corner.
4. Then fold up the corners together, so the bag won’t unwrap itself.
5. Fill the bag about half full with your melted chocolate, candy melts or royal icing, then fold down the top of the bag so it doesn’t escape out of the top.

6. Now all you need to do is snip the end off the pointy part of the bag, and you are ready to pipe :0)