March 2014

March 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Northants Clandestine Cake Club February 2014 event

Since 1895 the Gallone family has produced ice cream in Northampton and, when it opened an ice cream parlour last year, it created an ideal venue for our local Northampton & District CCC event.

With around 40 flavours of ice cream and sorbets being made on the site, they made a perfect foil for our ice cream flavour cakes. Gallones use traditional recipes in their factory together with the finest of ingredients and, we are told, years of know-how and a great big dollop of love!

Eighteen bakers attended on the night with some splendid cakes, all suitably ice cream flavoured or themed.  We had a Raspberry Ripple, Salted Caramel, Raspberry, Vanilla and Chocolate, Rocky Road, 3 Neapolitan bakes, Mint Choc Chip, Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, an Ice cream Sundae, Raspberry, Vanilla and Chocolate, Strawberry and Blueberry, as well as everyone’s favourite Vanilla - have I missed any out?

Towards the end of our evening, some naughty children set a fire in an adjacent empty building and we had the spectacle of a fire engine arrival, together with a hunky crew of firemen. Needless to say, these gallant men from the rescue service were invited in to join our ice cream extravaganza and our ‘unexpected guests’ enjoyed the cakes so much that they have invited us to join them at their Fire Station Open Day in the summer. Watch this space!

So, thank you, Gallones and staff, the ice cream parlour is a real bonus for Northampton, and thank you members and your bakes for another lovely evening of cake and chat, and thank you fire fighters for keeping us safe in our homes and businesses. Until next time…….happy baking.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mary v. Paul - scones

Buttermilk scone ingredients
Since 1994 my baking bible has been Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book and I have always used her scone recipe. Then, last year, I started to use her newer version which, apart from the usual ingredients, also contained buttermilk. However, I am always on the look-out for a ‘best ever’ result and so I decided to put Mary up against Paul Hollywood by way of a challenge.

Mary's buttermilk scones

As you can see, with the addition of buttermilk, Mary’s light scones turned out well, with a soft, moist and crumbly texture, and they had a satisfying slightly crunchy exterior. 

Paul's scone dough
Paul’s published recipe, however, uses strong bread flour, with the usual butter, sugar, eggs and milk and the method is, of course, very similar.  They also rose very well, kept their shape, had a slightly closer texture but had a good flavour - I was pleased with the result.

As usual, my scones were at their very best when eaten still slightly warm from the oven and served with butter or cream and, in this instance, last year’s home-made wild plum jam.

And which version came top? Well, to be honest it was a difficult choice but, controversially, I think that Paul may have just pipped Mary at the post by a nose, just for good looks, but I will happily use both recipes in the future – depending on which ingredients I have in the cupboard at the time!  

Paul's recipe