Originally uploaded by wjharrison77.
It appears I cannot bake.
On Wednesday night my school is holding a Highland Games. If the weather is good (you never can tell in Scotland) we expect around 5,000 people to turn up. Exciting stuff! Miss McDonald is hosting a tea-room tent and has asked for lots of baking donations from the school’s staff. Being the keen cook that I am, I happily announced that I would be delighted to make a large amount of goodies.
It is now clear to me that I didn’t really think this offer through… I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, therefore, do not bake at home. Ever. I wasn’t terribly concerned about this. Yes, I’d heard that baking is a science but, arrogantly, I didn’t believe it! I can cook, thought I, therefore I can bake.
The brownies I made, Nigella Lawson recipe, are inedibly rich.
Though my carrot cake mixture came together nicely I ruined it with the genius idea of baking them in a muffin tin. Individual carrot cakes – cute, right? On placing the filled tin in the oven the mixture expanded and overflowed all over the tray creating a bubbling sticky layer all over the tin which dribbled over the sides hissing as it hit my new CLEAN oven’s base.
My fairy cake mixture melted in the heat as I was trying to rescue the carrot cake(s) and was reduced to a greasy juice. Didn’t even try to bake that.
And finally, I attempted to make vegetarian marshmallows using agar agar rather than gelatin. Fishy marshmallow anyone? No? Thought not.
So after four hours work I’m left with some Brownies that I’m pretty sure people won’t like and a very dirty oven
And I burnt my tongue on my dinner. >:-(
I have one night left to make cakes. Any suggestion for fool proof (and I do mean FOOL proof) cakes? If you don’t, I am seriously considering cheating! Tescos’ fairy cakes, home-made icing… It’s starting to sound like a plan to me!
My only consolation after this frustrating night is that I made a fresh batch of marshmallows last week and they turned out perfectly! Wee sugary clouds of heaven. Will bag them up and offer them to the tea stall.
460g granulated sugar
1 tblspn liquid glucose
9 sheets of gelatin
3 medium egg whites
1 tblspn vanilla extract
- Soak the gelatin in 140 ml of cold water.
- In a heavy based pan bring 200 ml water, the sugar and glucose to the boil. Keep the mixture boiling until it reaches 127oC (no idea why it has to be this specific).
- Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until stiff.
- Once the sugar mixture has reached 127oC carefully add the gelatin and stir. Take the mixture off the heat.
- Add a little of the mixture to the egg whites and beat briefly. Continue to add the mixture bit by bit, beating after every addition, until the entire sugar mixture is combined with the egg whites.
- Add the vanilla extract and beat for 10 mins (thanking the heavens for the invention of electric whisks as you do so).
- Leave mixture to stand for 5 mins then beat again until the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape on the whisk.
- Lightly oil a baking tray and dust with icing sugar and corn flour.
- Pour mixture into tray and leave for two hours.
- Dust a work surface generously with icing sugar and corn flour.
- Use a spatula to remove the marshmallow slab from the baking tray. Cut into squares and roll in the icing sugar/corn flour mixture.
- Leave for an hour.
- Store in a tightly sealed container.
The first time I made these was to serve with strawberries and a chocolate fondue for a Christmas dessert. My nieces went crazy over them and so did everyone else.