Tag Archives: BakeSoc

Sourdough Update and a month of treats.

So my sourdough consumption has slowed down somewhat as dissertation and uni work has taken over my life. But the new addition to my baking cupboard, a banneton proving basket, is making my loaves look beautiful (even if I haven’t quite cracked the right crumb texture yet) I’ll keep you informed of my progress, in the meantime I will be spending my procrastination time searching bakery bits for more bread making accoutrements.



This semester ‘Cake Dates’ have been replaced with ‘Sunday Brunch Dates’, where myself and my flatmate sample the delights of Edinburgh’s finest establishments, thought I’d share a few snaps of what these places have to offer, as well as few other home-made treats and café experiences.

From left to right: Grapefruit Meringue Pie from ‘Lovecrumb’, a organic sausage sandwich and the best brown sauce I’ve ever had from ‘Earthy ‘at Causeway Side (the picture underneath is of some of the organic produce on sale at the market there), a slice of Victoria Sponge to celebrate Edinburgh Baking Society’s First Birthday, A midnight snack with my flatmates- a slice of Coffee Cake and  Gin & Tonic at ‘Bee’s Edinburgh’, home-made Olive and Spinach Pizza, French Toast and Bacon (a hell of a brunch) at ‘The Haven’ in Leith and finally some mini Victoria Sponges made by my flatmate Lizy (http://lizybakes.blogspot.co.uk)!


Viennese Whirls


I absolutely love these crumbly, buttery biscuits, but I’ve never attempted to make them before. I’m not sure why, as they’re very easy to make, they take barely any time to cook and they look amazing (even if I do say so myself) Another advantage is they use ingredients you’re bound to have lying around, and if you don’t they’re so cheap to pick up. I have to admit that I didn’t make the jam myself, despite spending my super stocking up on preserves, but I will endeavour to next time. I also want to try out some variations- lemon curd and fresh cream would be great.

Viennese Whirls (adapted from The Hairy Bikers)


For the biscuits:

  • 250g/9oz very soft butter
  • 50g/2oz icing sugar
  • 50g/2oz cornflour
  • 250g/9oz plain flour.
  • ½ tsp  vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 100g/3½oz soft butter
  • 200g/7oz icing sugar
  • ½ tsp  vanilla extract
  • 75g/3oz raspberry jam (the hairy bikers use seedless, but I couldn’t think of anything worse than seedless raspberry jam)

You will also need a piping bag and a large star nozzle. Also, to be prepared, line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper, on one side of this draw circle guidelines for your biscuits, I made mine pretty big and would make them smaller next time, probably around 3inch diameter.

Makes about 18 biscuits, but this depends on how big your circles are.


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
  2. Put the butter and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl, using an electric whisk beat until fluffy. Then beat in the plain flour, cornflour and vanilla extract. Make sure you scrape the sides of your bowl down to ensure everything is properly mixed together.
  3. Spoon the mixture into the piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe rosettes using the circles on the greaseproof paper as a guide.
  4. Bake in the centre of the oven for 13-15 minutes until pale golden-brown, they shouldn’t be golden brown as this will mean the IMG_0908biscuits won’t be as light and crumbly as you want them to be. Leave to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat until all your mixture has been used.
  5. For the filling, put the butter in a bowl and sift the icing sugar on top. Add the vanilla extract and beat until light and smooth. Spoon into a clean piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Put the jam in a bowl and beat until smooth.
  6. Spoon a little jam onto the flat side of half of the biscuits and place jam-side up on the cooling rack. Pipe the buttercream icing onto the remaining biscuits and sandwich with the jam. I just piped around the outside of the biscuits, rather than covering the entirety of the biscuits as otherwise they are very sweet.


Brown Sugar Caramel Cake.



250g unsalted butter

250g golden caster sugar.

1tsp vanilla essence

5 eggs

300g self-raising flour

75ml natural yoghurt (full fat or low fat, whatever you prefer)

2-3 tbsp milk (depending on how thick your cake batter is)

For the caramel;

50g soft brown sugar

50g unsalted butter

1 tin of condensed milk.

For the Buttercream;

120g unsalted butter

300g golden icing sugar

Pumpkin Seeds to decorate.


1) Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Butter and line a 22inch cake tin with parchment paper.

2) Cream together the caster sugar and the butter. Add the eggs one by one, adding a spoonful of flour after each addition to ensure the mixture doesn’t curdle. Beat in the yoghurt, then fold in the remainder of the flour.

3) Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Once cool enough to touch transfer to a wire rack.

4) For the caramel: Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan, stirring to make sure they combine, once they have melted add the condensed milk, bring to a rapid boil. Boil for a few minutes until the mixture has thickened enough to cover a spoon. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

5) For the Buttercream, cream together the butter and sieved icing sugar until smooth, add 3 tbsp of the caramel and mix thoroughly. If the buttercream seems too runny add more sugar.

6) Slice the now cool cake in half, spoon over half of the butter cream mixture. Pour 3-4 tbsp of the caramel on top of the buttercream. Place the second half on top, and decorate the top with the remainder of the buttercream, drizzle with caramel and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.


Chocolate Orange Chelsea Buns.

This week has been national chocolate week- because the health conscious British Nation definitely need an excuse to let loose and indulge in a sugary snack. In spirit of the celebration I revamped the classic British recipe- Chelsea Buns, with the help of a serious amount of Nutella.


For the sweet dough;

500g/1lb strong white flour

1tsp salt

7g (1 and a half teaspoon) dried, fast action yeast

300ml/10fl oz warm milk

40g/1½oz unsalted butter, at room temp

1 egg

For the filling:

Zest of one orange

8 tbsp Nutella or Chocolate Spread

150g chocolate chips.


1) Sift the flour into a big bowl, add salt and yeast and mix together. Rub the butter into the flour mixture, slowly add the warm milk and the beaten egg to form a soft dough.

2) Place on a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is elastic.

3) Place in an oiled bowl and cover with cling film, leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.

4) Remove from the bowl and knead for a further 5 minutes. Roll the dough out, using a rolling pin, into a rectangle shape of around 30cmx40cm, or until about the thickness of a pound coin.

5) Spread the Nutella across the top of the rectangle leaving a 2 cm gap along one side. Sprinkle on top the orange zest and chocolate chips.

6) Using a pastry brush, brush the open side with milk, roll the dough up into a tight cylinder. Cut up into 3cm slices and place upwards in a baking tray allowing a small gap in between for the dough to expand. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for one hour.

7) Preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Remove the cling film and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

8) Remove from the oven and before cool cover with glaze made of a little bit of warm milk and caster sugar. Leave to cool on a wire rack or eat warm.

British Cheese Week- Cheese Straws

I am a dairy fiend. Any word of a cheese and wine night (a combination of my favourite things in life) and I will be there quicker than you can spell Edam. So the prospect of there being a whole week dedicated to cheese is a dairy dream. So when thursday came along, which is the day Edinburgh Uni’s Bake Soc meets, I dedicated an afternoon to prepare a cheesy feast to present to my fellow bakers. I went for a simple 70’s classic- cheese straws. Puff Pastry is normally my enemy, but with some patience and plenty of time, I managed to conquer my nemesis and I think the end result would be a 70’s hippy’s perfect pre-dinner party nibble.

You can, of course, cheat and buy pre-made puff pastry. After all, if it’s good enough for Mary Berry, it’s good enough for the rest of us. But I made my own.

Cheese Straws.



I made three varieties of cheese straw, a tradition parmesan, a parmesan and garlic pepper straw and a sun-dried tomato and parmesan straw.

For the Puff Pastry;

16 oz or 450g of Plain Flour

2 oz or 60g Lard or Vegetarian equivalent.

10 oz or 300g Unsalted Butter at room temperature.

10 fl oz or 300ml Lukewarm water.

Pinch of Salt.

For the flavourings;

10 oz or 300g Pre-grated Parmesan cheese.

1 oz or 30g sundried tomatoes

Garlic Pepper

1 beaten egg


Puff pastry is not so much laborious, just time consuming, so dedicate an afternoon to it and you should get a good result.

1) Mix together the flour and lard together to form a breadcrumb like consistency. I divided the ingredients into two, as it makes it easier to roll and fold.

2) Add enough water to form a soft,but not sticky, dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 20-30 mins.

3) Meanwhile, place the butter between two sheets of greaseproof paper. Start by using your hands to squash the block of butter (its is essential the butter is room temperature and has not come straight from the fridge. Then, using a rolling pin, roll the butter out to form a large rectangle.

4) Remove the dough from the fridge, roll this out to form a rectangle that is larger than the butter rectangle.

5) Remove the butter from the paper and place on top of the pastry dough, then fold this into an envelope shape (one third into the middle, the final third on top of the two other thirds) Using a rolling pin, roll this envelope to form a flat rectangle, then refold into an envelope shape and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

6) Repeat this folding and chilling method 4 more times, this will form the layers of your puff pastry.

7) One the dough has its final roll and chill session, place it on a well floured surface and roll the envelop into a large rectangle for the last time.

8) Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

9) Fill a baking sheet covered in greaseproof paper with the strips, allowing gaps in between each strips. Egg wash the strips and sprinkle parmesan over the top. 8) Cut the dough into strips of around 3cm/1.2 inches thick and 10cm/4 inches long. This amount of pastry will allow for a lot of strips, which will need to be cooked in batches.

10) To twist the straws, grab one end of the pastry strip and hold the other down on to the baking sheet, slowly spin the pastry in a spiral to form around 3 twists and place the other end of the pastry back down on the baking sheet.

11) Egg wash the now exposed sides of the pastry and sprinkle the parmesan all over. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

12) For the Garlic Pepper straws simple sprinkle over some of the pepper whenever you add parmesan.

For the sun-dried tomato:

– Remove as much as the oil from the tomatoes and possible and finely dice.

– When the pastry is flat put the tomato in a line down the centre, once twisted some will have inevitably fallen out of the straw, just push the tomato pieces back into the gaps of the twist, egg-wash and sprinkle with parmesan again as is done with the other varieties.

13) Once all the batches are cooked, leave to cool on a wire rack and serve in tall glasses, so they can stand up!