Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Lemon Cake for Sara's Birthday ..

Rehearsals have started for my next play 'Rutherford and Son' with Northern Broadsides theatre company and being directed by Sir Jonathan Miller. Second week of rehearsals and it's Sara Poyzer's (who is playing Janet) birthday ... Just the excuse I needed to make a cake !!
Lemon was requested and I was thrilled... my favourite !!

250g soft butter
250g caster sugar
3 large eggs
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 1 lemon
lemon extract
250g self raising flour
2 tblsps milk

for buttercream fillling

150g soft butter
300g icing sugar
2 tblsps milk
zest 1 lemon  
juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 jar good quality lemon curd

for topping

icing sugar
enough lemon juice for dropping and spreading consistancy

Preheat oven to 180 o C

Cream together the butter and sugar until really light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs and lemon zest.
Add the lemon juice (don't worry if it curdles, just add a little of the flour)
Then fold in the remaining flour and the milk.
Divide between two greased and lined sandwich tins ...

And bake for 20 to 25 mins until the sponge springs back when touched gently.

Allow to cool completely.

For the buttercream

Beat the butter till very soft and slowly, bit by bit, mix in the icing sugar.
Then add the lemon zest and juice and the milk.

Split the two sponges and fill with butter cream and lemon curd.
Then sandwich them together with the remaining buttercream.

Make up the icing for the top and spread on.
Decorate as required ....

This was for Sara !!! never !!

And here is Sara in rehearsals with her cake ..

And sliced up ....

A lemony afternoon treat ......


Christmas Cake.. better late than never !!

Finally got round to posting pics of Christmas Cake.... Having bought Edd Kimber's new book 'Say it with Cake' and been invited to the launch ( thanks Edd) I decide to leave Delia behind this year and try his Christmas Cake recipe, which was his Nana Dawson's ( a bit spooky as I too had a Grandma Dawson, although she never did any cooking, Grandad did it all !!).

Before I show you the stages of the cake... here's the biscuits from the book launch.

Really worth a buy .. some beautiful recipes and photos... and, of course, to get the Christmas Cake recipe !!
I started the cake the last week of  October by soaking the fruit overnight..

Then lined my tin ..

Made up the cake mix and added fruit...

Placed in the tin and smoothed down ..

When baked, I placed in an airtight tin and then feed with Brandy twice a week.....

The week before Christmas I decorated, starting with a glaze of apricot jam to make the marzipan stick...

Rolled out the marzipan and carefully placed over and smoothed out and cut around the bottom ...

I left this overnight to dry out a little and then did the same process with the icing .....

The following evening I cut out icing stars to decorate and left overnight to harden ...

I piled the stars onto the cake and put a ribbon round to finish ....

I made one for home and one for the 'White Christmas' company to have between shows on Christmas Eve  .....

It went down very well and didn't last long ... even Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) had a piece !!

I'll definitely make this version again.. Sorry Delia, you've been demoted !!!

A very belated Merry Christmas !! xx


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

White Christmas 1st Night Buns !

1st Night presents and cards are always tricky to find or think of..... but I had the idea of making cakes as something slighty different from chocolate, flowers or wine !!
Then I realised that I needed to make 60 as White Christmas had a huge crew as well as over 30 in the cast !!
I found a fabulous company on line www.cakecrazy.co.uk who print onto icing your own design ... so easy and very reasonable.. and quick ( within 2 days once design agreed).
I put the White Christmas logo on and personalised it with the theatre and year too.

I used my basic cupcake mix.. ( makes about 15)
Preheat oven to 190 oC / 180 oC fan

250g soft butter
250g caster sugar
4 med eggs
2 tblsps milk
250g self raising flour
1tblsp vanilla extract

Cream together, till very pale and fluffy, the butter, sugar and vanilla extract.
Beat in the eggs a bit at a time... don't worry if it curdles slightly.. just add a little of the flour.
Fold in the flour and then mix in the milk.
Divide into cupcake papers and bake for 13 - 15 minutes... until the tops spring back.

Allow to cool and ice as required ... then I paced the discs on top according to their instructions..

They went down really well with everyone and were certainly different..

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Brownies for 'White Christmas' rehearsals ...

While rehearsing 'Our House', I also started 'White Christmas' rehearsals for The Lowry Theatre in Manchester .... a wonderful, glitzy, glamourous stage musical of the famous Hollywood movie starring Bing Crosby.
Third week into rehearsals I decided to cheer everyone up with a few batches of Brownies ( you'll find the recipe on an earlier post .. it never fails to please and is so easy and fool proof !!)

Before the oven ...

And after 25 minutes in the oven ....

Cut up and sprinkled with icing sugar ...

Made 48 in all ... it was a big cast and here's some pictures from rehearsals .. the 1st being the wonderful Louise Bowden ( @lolybowden on twitter ) enjoying one ..


Have a go at the brownies ... so easy, but don't overbake !!

'Our House' cake at The Savoy !!

Happy New Year to you all and big apologies for lack of posts .... busy, no computer access with uploading photo facilities... no more excuses !!!
A bit of catching up to do... not so much recipes but nice pics and yummy cakes !!

On November 11th I was lucky enough to be involved in the 10th Anniversary Concert of the Madness musical, 'Our House' at the Savoy Theatre in London .. www.ourhouseinconcert.com with a fabulous cast including Alistair McGowan, Tameka Empson, Chris Carswell, Miria Parvin and Suggs himself.

We rehearsed for 2 weeks and it wasn't just a concert.... a fully staged musical for ONE performance !!
I played Kath Casey to Suggs' Mr Casey and had a wonderful time ... the day of the show was very special and one I shall remember for a long time .. have loved the score and show for years and was thrilled to get to perform it at last. It was directed by the brilliant Matthew Warchus and here he is with us at the press launch ...

Here are some of the production shots ...


After the show there was a party next door in the Savoy Hotel and what an amazing cake they made ...... Loved it !!

A fabulous day, working with wonderful people ...... OUR HOUSE !