Thursday, 13 November 2008

Baked Bean Chrstmas Cakes??!!

Christmas will soon be upon us, with about 5 weeks to go. I think its 5 weeks, to be honest i'm trying not to think about it too hard. Like many people its not my most favourite time of year. But despite saying (like every year) that we aren't going to "do" Christmas, we still will give little presents etc. I guess we just don't do the big family gathering, huge meal and loads of decorations type Christmas. Of course we'll send cards and i've started making those up, i quite like this years designs. But for my grandparents (and i have no worries about posting this because i can guarentee 100% that they will not read my blog) we'll be doing the normal hamper thing for a gift.

Anyway onto the point of this post. No, its not cakes containing baked beans, although that would be an interesting concept......i might just do a google search to see if i can find such a recipe, after all there are recipes for cakes containing tomato soup! The reason i bookmarked this blog post about Frugal Christmas gifts was because i gave the idea and quantities for making 5 small individual cakes, reusing baked bean tins to cook them in. The idea works in theory but there are certainly a few adjustments i'd make.

I had only 3 baked bean tins - we really don't eat things from cans very often, which in my books is a positive thing because it means we don't eat that much processed food, certainly no more than once a week at most. Making the cake mix was no issue, neither was lining the tins, although it was a tad fiddley but thats one good thing about having small hands!

The first issue came when trying to turn the cakes out of the tins....... Our can opener is one that takes the top out of the tin rather than one that slices the whole of the top off so there was still a rim left on the tin which of course made removing the cake slightly difficult and i had to squash it a bit to get it out.

Once it was out and after a little reshaping it looked fine, well, shape wise at least. The colour of the cake was a bit light for a Christmas cake i thought but then the recipe only called for light muscavado sugar so thats not suprising really. I think if i were to use tin cans again i would use the ones you get pineapple or tuna in - slightly flatter and slightly larger diameter. I just felt for "individual cakes" they looked a bit tall but if they are going to be covered in marzipan and icing at least the squashed surface would be covered.
I used up the rest of the cake mix to make 3 other individual cakes but baked them in a silicone muffin tray that i bought in Lidls - they were in the newsletter priced at £1.99 per item, however when we got to Lidls the label said 29p!! Mum and i were unsure that i could be so cheap, even for Lidls, but when we reached the tills sure enough it was 29p per item. I wish i'd got more than 2 6 hole muffin trays and a loaf "tin" now - not that i really have need for any more than that!
Being so expensive (not!) i wasn't sure how these would work, although the recipe wanted a long slow (2 hour) bake on a very low heat (100 degrees C) and the packet for the bakeware said they can take up to a temperature of 260 degrees C, so i wasn't too concerned about the silicolne melting.
As they were cooking and rising though, I could almost see them popping out of the tray. It was clear just from looking at them that they certainly weren't sticking. In fact they came clean away and not a crumb was left behind.

The only down side to the silicone was that they were muffin shaped rather than having perfectly vertical sides, however again if they are being covered with marzipan and icing then if i trimmed the sides to make a perfectly round cylinder then my knife skills wouldn't show.
One thing is for certain - i shall be using that cake mix recipe! I think i'll use a more traditional fruit cake recipe. It was an interesting experiment though.


Anonymous said...

Oh my God, Jenny you are so talented!! I've been nosying through most of you work now, and I am completely gobsmacked. It's just so imaginative. I love from your old site the sushi cakes, they are just brilliant.

Lola x

Jenny said...

Thanks Lola. My creative outlets vary depending on my mood but your writing is certainly as talented. Thanks for dropping by my neglected blog!