Cookie Or Cakey

Friday, 4 March 2016

The Birthday Dinner

Whenever I make meals for others I never seem to do things by halves. Just like I still haven't learned how to pack lightly, I have yet to master the art of doing simple yet fancy meals. Although this time I may have gotten close.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Welsh Bara Brith

So over the past month or so I've started baking much more regularly due mostly in part to my work colleagues making weekly orders for some cake, and with that I've also been getting a bit more adventurous in my baking and straying away from my usual cupcakes to even try my hand at chocolate eclairs. These were definitely not photogenic but they apparently tasted very good.

Little bit of background about me just to explain why I didn't try the eclairs because I know some of you are thinking that it's really weird I don't try my own bakes...

So my trained profession is a midwife. I just graduated in October 2015 so I'm all new and shiny and full of constant self doubt haha! Still looking for a permanent job at present but luckily I get some bank work covering when areas are short staffed which, for a newly qualified midwife, can be pretty stressful to say the least but is also a great learning experience being thrown in at the deep end. 

I am also a competitive bikini fitness competitor. It's a form of bodybuilding which is the most "attainable" look for women and is all about looking strong and athletic with that touch of glamour and sass! I'm currently prepping for my next competition in may, hence why I'm not trying any of my bakes at present but come May 17th I'll be face down in all manner of sugary carbs haha!

I've been baking since an early age and have been taught a lot about making cakes by my mum but a lot of what I do is self taught from cookery books, television programmes and the wonder that is YouTube. I'd say I'm pretty proficient at cake baking and I'm currently working building my repertoire of savoury bakes, pastries and breads along with some unusual bakes. 

Which leads me to Bara Brith. 

I'd never even heard of Bara Brith until a few weeks ago but when one of my work colleagues asked me to make a malt loaf I jumped at the chance to change his mind to the Bara Brith instead. It is a dense, rich, fruity loaf cake not entirely dissimilar to the traditional fruit cake we have at Christmas, only this one misses out on butter and booze and is replaced with tea soaked fruit instead. 

It has a lovely soft spiced flavour that is followed up with the tang from the orange zest and juice and despite being a rich cake, it's surprisingly light inside. 

I used the recipe from the Visit Wales website as I wanted to make sure I made a 'proper' traditional Bara Brith. The recipe recommends spreading your slice with salted butter. Delicious!

Bara Brith

450g self raising flour
1tsp mixed spice
175g Muscavado sugar
1 medium free-range egg
1tbsp orange zest
2tbsp orange juice
1tbps honey
300ml cold tea
450g mixed dried fruit
extra honey for glazing

Put the mixed fruit into a bowl, pour over the tea and leave to soak overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 160C/Gas 3/325F, mix together the sugar, egg, orange juice, zest, and honey and add to the bowl of fruit and mix well.
Sift in the flour and spice and mix well.
Pour into a buttered 2lb loaf tin and bake for about 1 3/4 hours. The loaf should be golden in colour and firm to touch in the middle.
Brush the top with honey whilst still warm.

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