Welsh Cakes

Being able to make Welsh cakes (‘pice ar y maen’ in Welsh) is almost the law being married to a Welshman! My mother-in-law made wonderful, heart-shaped Welsh cakes for our wedding in 2017, and I’ve pretty much been smitten since. She even bought me a pancake pan especially so that I could make these beauties! I’ve made Welsh cakes several times and I never tire of them, as they are so delicious. The recipe I follow is one handed down to me which is known in Will’s family as ‘Mam-gu’s recipe’ (‘mam-gu’ is Welsh for ‘grandmother’). Welsh cakes often have mixed spices in them, but Will’s grandmother didn’t like spice so these are spice free. I’ve not tried one with spice, but all of Will’s family say how much they dislike them, so I’ve always stuck to this recipe. One day I might go rogue and make a batch with spice in it just to see what it tastes like hehe!

Making the Welsh Cakes

Step 1: Gather the ingredients

Here are the ingredients that I used:

  • 283 g self-raising flour
  • 85 g caster sugar
  • 113 g butter (softened)
  • 28 g Trex
  • 1 large egg
  • 72 g sultanas
Welsh Cakes Ingredients
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Banoffi Pie

Banoffi? Banoffee? How should this word be spelt? As a linguist, I naturally spent a fair while pondering this question while baking Mary Berry’s banoffi pie last weekend. This portmanteau word is formed by the combination of the words ‘banana’ and ‘toffee’, so really, if we’re being logical about it, the spelling ‘banoffee’ makes more sense. However, as ‘banoffi’ is the word Mary Berry uses (and is recognised in the Collins dictionary), I’ll just go with it 🙂 I followed the banoffi pie recipe on page 454 of Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook.

Making the Biscuit Crust

Step 1: Gather the ingredients

First, I gathered together all of the ingredients. Here’s what I used:

  • 60 g unsalted butter
  • 150 g ginger biscuits (crushed)

You will also need an 18 cm loose-bottomed fluted flan tin. This is the second flan tin I’ve purchased in the space of a few months… things are getting serious!

Banoffi pie biscuit crust ingredients
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French Madeleines

These pretty, delicate shell-shaped cakes are just gorgeous to look at, and even more wonderful to eat! I saw contestants in episode nine of the 9th series of The Great British Bake Off bake these little beauties, and I really fancied having a go myself. Do you remember Kim-Joy’s orange bunny madeleines? Just amazing! I must admit, it did seem slightly excessive purchasing a tin especially for this little cake, but it was definitely worth it. I followed Mary Berry’s French Madeleines recipe on page 151 of Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes.

Making the French Madeleines

Step 1: Gather the ingredients

First, I gathered together all of the ingredients. Here’s what I used:

  • 150 g unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 150 g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 level tsp baking powder
  • Zest of 1 lemon

To bake the cakes in their characteristic shell shape, you will need to use a madeleine tray. I bought a very good non-stick, 12-hole Lakeland madeleine tray. I really recommend this tray, as the cakes came out so easily from the tin. This recipe makes 30 cakes (athough I only got 26 out of it), so you will need to bake the cakes in batches.

French Madeleine Ingredients
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Raspberry Sorbet

Okay, so I officially dislike making sorbet. It sucks! Don’t set out to make sorbet from scratch if you think it’ll be easy (like me); save yourself the headache, and get an ice cream maker! Last weekend I decided to make the raspberry sorbet from page 490 of Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook. I really did chose it because I thought it would be simple to make, but I was very mistaken. It took me two attempts to create something that I could even justify calling sorbet 😉 Let’s just say folding egg white into a raspberry purée is not my favourite activity – here is what happened:

Unsuccessful Sorbet
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Last weekend I baked bread for the first time; I don’t know how I have gone 40 years without doing so – it is so much fun! Given my inexperience, I probably should have chosen an easy bread to start with, but no, I decided to choose a pretty one instead 🙂 I found a recipe for a lovely looking plaited loaf on page 416 of Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook. The bread is called Challah, and it is an important bread in Jewish cuisine. It is often eaten on Shabbat (Friday evening to Saturday evening), which is Judaism’s day of rest, so I guess it was appropriate that I baked it on a Saturday! During Shabbat, two Challah loaves feature as part of three special meals, and a blessing is recited over the bread during two of these meals. As I’m not Jewish, there were no blessings involved, but it was a small miracle that my loaves turned out as well as they did, and I was naturally very grateful for that!

Making the Bread

Step 1: Gather the ingredients

First I gathered together all of the ingredients for making the bread:

  • 500 g strong white flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 x 7 g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 250 ml lukewarm water
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil (plus extra for greasing)

Just a few notes on some of the ingredients for future reference; I used Allinson’s strong white bread flour, M&S table salt and Hovis fast action bread yeast. I spent quite some time researching which type of salt to use, as the recipe didn’t specify this. I learnt that when baking bread, it’s best to use non-iodised salt, such as sea salt, as iodine can give the bread an unpleasant flavour. It’s also best to use fine salt as opposed to coarse, as it’s easier to measure. Whilst fine sea salt would have been the best option, I only had coarse sea salt so I decided to use the table salt I had which didn’t list iodine as an ingredient (and hoped for the best).

Challah Ingredients
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