Saturday 29 September 2012

Alphabakes roundup - P

This month we invited you all to bake something or use an ingredient beginning with the letter P and we had a great selection of entries, I think possibly our biggest challenge yet!

I wonder if it's because you were all tempted by the prize on offer this month, from the lovely people at Charbonnel et Walker. The company has been making fine English chocolates since 1875 and has kindly agreed to offer a box of their delicious truffles for one lucky participant. They agreed to post internationally which meant you were all eligible, and multiple entries meant multiple chances to win the prize. The winner was selected at random - it would have been too hard to try and choose the best entry! Scroll down to the end of this post to find out who has won!

Check out Ros's blog at on October 1st to find out what the letter is for next month.... I don't know myself yet and am dying to find out!

Once again Jacqueline was first off the mark with her entry this month, which I happen to know she already had up her sleeve and was waiting for this letter to come along! She chose what I think is a relatively unusual ingredient for baking but one that I expect gives great results – passionfruit! This is a passion fruit cake with passion fruit icing.

    She followed that with some fairy cakes, also with passion fruit icing – and what looks like sweets decorating the top.

A savoury entry already – P is of course for pies! Mich from Piece of Cake sent us this Guinness Beef and Onion Pie. She says the recipe was rather time consuming but it looks like it was worth it. Great photo too.

I also had a couple of things I’d baked already that I was saving up, and luckily the randomly-chosen letter for September allowed me to post a couple of them. That was a relief as I was on holiday for most of September and didn’t do much baking! I made these pina colada cupcakes for a summer barbecue:

I also made these pecan puffs, which are like cookies rather than cakes (or rock cakes maybe?) and would go nicely with a cup of tea.

This Raspberry Margarita Polenta cake was sent in by Becks aka LilMsSquirrel of the 366 Recipe Challenge. Polenta is a great ingredient for baking as it makes the cakes gluten free; in this case Becks added lime juice and tequila to give it a bit of a kick. I’d love to try this!

      My co-host Ros’s mum sent us this beautifully decorated chocolate peanut slice; a digestive biscuit base with a filling made with peanut butter and condensed milk, covered with chocolate sauce. I can see where Ros gets her love of peanut butter from!

<   Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe sent us her first Alphabakes entry: check out these puff pastry pasties, some of which she has filled with pumpkin, olives and artichokes, and the rest with pea and pesto- plenty of Ps there, Johanna!

Susan from A Little Bit of Heaven On A Plate lived up to her blog’s name with these peach and granola breakfast muffins, which she says is a great recipe to make now the kids are back at school. I think they’d be pretty good to grab on the way to work as well!

Leanne from Little Life of Scrap made something I’ve never tried to do myself… profiteroles! This was also her first time making them and they’ve turned out really well and I love the nutella sauce she made to go with it!

I love pavlova so was very pleased to see this raspberry and rhubarb curd palova from Dom at Belleau Kitchen. It’s also organic so you can feel particularly virtuous while eating it!

 It was More Than Occasional Baker Ros’s birthday in September (happy birthday, Ros!) and she made these “Painkiller cupcakes” with white chocolate cream cheese frosting. A painkiller cocktail is made from dark rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, sweetened coconut cream and shaved ice, topped with nutmeg. Ros says the cakes were really moist and fruity – and I imagine a bit boozy too!

Ros’s mum also made this pecan pie, which Ros can vouch for – she says it’s delicious and it certainly does look good!

Caroline from Cake, Crumbs and Cooking made a plaited loaf, inspired by the Great British Bake Off. It looks very effective!

Nigella is a big fan of the combination of salty and sweet and Charlene from Food Glorious Food used an adaptation of her recipe for these Sweet and Salty Crunch Bars, which contain peanuts as well as chocolate. They look very more-ish!

For Suelle from Mainly Baking, P is for peach – and she sent us these courgette and lime muffins with peaches. That’s not a flavour combination I would have thought of but it looks like they turned out really well!

Another first timer for Alphabakes, Janine fromCake of the Week, has sent us this scrumptious spicy peach pit pannacotta – I didn’t even know you could cook with peach pits so do have a read of this post if you didn’t either.

Here’s another pina colada cake but Claire from Under the Blue Gum Tree has made it look very sophisticated and has enhanced it with white chocolate. I wish I’d thought of that!

My co-host for Alphabakes, Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker, was on holiday in America when she sent in this entry – now that’s dedication! And she’s managed a trio of Ps with these pistachio and pomegranate pitstops, which look very nice. Check out the comments on her blog for some tips on the best way to extract pomegranate seeds!

Alphabakers do seem to like their cocktails… here’s another pina colada cake, cupcakes this time, from Janice at Farmers Girl Kitchen. One of the things I like about running this challenge is that even when people choose the same type of cake, they are still very different and each baker puts their own twist on it! Janice’s uses a coconut yogurt and cream cheese frosting which is a great idea, and she also got the chance to try out some new baking equipment!

A while ago I was visiting a friend and wanted to bake something to take with me. She had recently become vegan and I wanted to see what recipes I could find that would taste good and ended up making these peanut butter cookies. I hadn’t gotten around to blogging about it yet so when P came up for Alphabakes I thought it was a good time to do so! These were simple to make and tasted really nice.

I love peanut butter – actually, I’m not that keen on it on toast but in baking and especially paired with chocolate it’s delicious! So I was very pleased to see Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog sent us these peanut butter chocolate brownies – a recipe I will have to bookmark! She made them for a book swap event and said they proved very popular, which I don’t doubt!

Corina from Searching for Spice made these apple pancakes, which are oven baked – a technique I’ve never come across before when pancakes are concerned, but since they look delicious I might have to try!

These pear and goat’s cheese mini muffins were chosen at random by Jean from Baking in Franglais, and she says they were scrummy -  I believe you, Jean! It’s nice to know pear goes with goat’s cheese as well as it does with blue cheese too!

These peanut butter cup cookie bites from CookieSleuth look very more-ish and use mini peanut butter cups, which I’ve just bought a whole bag of from my trip to the US – so this is going on the list of bookmarked recipes!
Mich from Piece of Cake took a mooncake making class – mooncakes are a special pastry eaten at the Chinese Mid-autumn festival – and sent us these peach and lavender snowskin mooncakes. She also made Shanghai cheese mooncakes with lotus paste and melon topping. They look quite tricky to make, and I think  Mich has done a really good job!

Here’s a simple entry from me of vegan pancakes, which I made for breakfast when a vegan friend stayed at my house a while ago. I thought it was worth blogging about as it had never occurred to me that you could make vegan pancakes, since the main ingredients are milk and eggs! They tasted really nice as well.

A nicely topical entry from Charlotte of Lottie’s Worldof Cakes and Bakes: Paralympic cupcakes. They are decorated with the Paralympic symbol and also with umbrellas, which featured heavily in the opening ceremony. What a great idea!

Mich from Piece of Cake has treated us to another entry: antipasto scrolls, which have parmesan cheese kneaded into the dough, and also contain pesto and roasted vegetables including peppers. She says they are very quick to make and taste delicious!

Profiteroles made a second appearance, this time from Sue at Fold In the Flour. I like the addition of cocoa powder to the pastry as well as the chocolate sauce!

Kimmy from Cooking Pleasure sent us this passion fruit soufflé cake, which she said is spongy, light and moist. It looks delicious and well worth the effort!

Ros aka the More Than Occasional Baker sent in this peanut butter and banana bread, which combines two of her favourite ingredients! She says it’s a quick, simple recipe and I’m sure it won’t be the last time she makes this!

Pimms is one of my favourite drinks and I kept meaning to bake with it this summer and never got around to it – so I’m pleased to see that Olivia from Liv A Little Bakery has sent in these gorgeous Pimms cupcakes!

Alastair from Alastair’s Miscellany came up with a great way to use up leftover puff pastry and sent us these raspberry puffs, which also have the advantage of being pretty quick to make:

He also sent us this sweet orange polenta cake, which didn’t turn out of the tin on the first attempt; not to be daunted, Al tried again and came up with this delicious looking dessert:

This beautiful blueberry and plum upside down cake comes courtesy of Eira from Cook Books Galore. I love how the blueberries are in the middle and the plums are around the edge.

Gill from Tales of Pigling Bland calls this creation an Imperfect Pretzel Pie but there doesn’t seem to be anything imperfect about it to me! She said there may have been too much sugar in the brownie mix but the crunchy crust that was the result is making my mouth water!

I made these for another challenge but decided to send them in to Alphabakes as they happened to begin with P… pie and mashcupcakes! They are not actually cupcakes at all, but mini beef pies with mashed potato on top, but I tried to make them look like little cupcakes!

A second entry from Olivia at Liv A Little Bakery: this delicious pistachio cake. It looks like it would be perfect on a rainy day with a cup of tea!

      Autumn is definitely kicking in so what better ingredient to bake with than pumpkin? Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes created these honey and pumpkin twists which I think would be delicious with a bowl of soup.

     Laura from Credit Munched has won me over with her peanut butter cupcakes, which she made to celebrate National Cupcake Week. They have a hidden centre of peanut butter that gives a nice surprise when you bite in!

      After that you might need something to refresh the palate, so I recommend this plum sorbet from Maggie at Kitchen Delights. It’s taken from a Jamie Oliver recipe and only needs a few ingredients, but Maggie says it tastes sublime. Thanks for sharing it with us!

     Helen from Fuss Free Flavours used flour from Pimhill Farm to make this organic wholemeal loaf, which is fitting as the Soil Association has designated September as “organic September”.

      The colder weather has obviously made other people think of autumnal flavours too… Kimmy from Cooking Pleasure sent us this layered pumpkin bread with spicy chicken floss. Chicken floss is a Malay speciality and Kimmy used it as a filling for the bread, which looks really nice!

     Don’t forget that the letter we choose can apply to the name of the bake as well as the ingredient… Stuart, aka Cakeyboi, has cleverly come up with these Portugese custard tarts. A great reminder of holidays for many of us, I’m sure!

  It's Maria from Box of Stolen Socks’s first time participating in the Alphabakes challenge so welcome! She has made a pistachio and orange flower pavlova. It looks gorgeous and amazingly, is sugar free!

         Did I mention already that I love pretzels? Beckie from Bees Teas created a no-bake, salty and sweet recipe using pretzels, nutella and peanut butter – I love it!


      This beautiful pumpkin strudel comes from Kit at i-Lost in Austen, check out her lovely blog if you haven’t already. She uses phyllo pastry, which I had to google, and it took me a minute to work out it’s another name for filo pastry (duh – sounds the same so I should have guessed!)


      Mel from Sharky Oven Gloves made a golden kiwifruit pavolva, which is particularly apt as she lives in New Zealand, and the pavlova was invented to honour the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova when she visited Australasia in the 1920s – and Mel says not only is this the first time she has made one, but it’s the first time she’s eaten one! It looks like it turned out really well so I doubt this will be her last!

       We had two entries this month from Fiona of Sweet Thing You Make My Heart Sing (remember, the more times you enter, the more chances you have to win the giveaway!). First she sent us these peanut butter and chocolate cookies, which are a regular guest in her biscuit tin – I can see why!

        Fiona followed that with these pumpkin and poppy seed crispbreads, which look very healthy and would be a great accompaniment to soup.

       Becks and her 366 Recipe Challenge came up with a great way to use leftover pumpkin if you carve a lantern for Halloween next month – these pumpkin and ginger cupcakes.
      Ruth from Mixing Bowl Magic received some poppy seeds in a Foodie Pen Pals package and used them to make these poppy seed bagels. The seeds are incorporated in the dough as well as sprinkled on top and the bagels turned out really well, by the look of this picture!

      Laura of Laura Loves Cakes was inspired by the letter P to make these plum and almond crumble slices. They offer a contrast of textures in each bite and remind me a bit of bakewell tart – yum!

      Another entry from Mich at Piece of Cake, who says she has always wanted to make profiteroles and took the plunge for a party she had recently. These profiteroles with whipped cream and chocolate ganache took some trial and error but, as they say, third time’s the charm – these look delicious!

      Daisy from Never Too Sweet For Me treated us to a Sago (Gula Melaka) Pudding. It’s a traditional Malaysian dessert and one of her family’s favourites. Gula Melaka is dark palm sugar, made from the sap of a Palmyra palm, which gives the pudding its unique taste. It also uses Pandan leaves, something I’ve not come across before, which Daisy says you can find at most Asian grocery stores. Thanks for introducing me to something new, Daisy!

     Next we have another newcomer to Alphabakes, so please welcome Angela of The Charmed Cupcake. She sent us this pumpkin seed oil bundt cake, or a Kernoelgugelhupf to give it it’s German name. Pumpkin seed oil is a speciality of the Styria region of Austria and, Angela says, has a delicious nutty flavour. I wonder if you can buy it in England? As the Austrians would say, this cake is indeed lecker!

This Lincolnshire Poacher Pie comes courtesy of Gary at Exploits of a Food Nut. He made his own pastry, which scores him bonus points in my book, and the pie contains Lincolnshire poacher cheese – one I haven’t tried before and though personally I’m not a fan of courgettes, I’m sure it’s very tasty!

Finally as I’ve allowed a couple of late entries through this month, I decided to squeeze in another one of mine! I made this for the Random Recipes Tea Time Treats mash-up challenge but as it happened to begin with P, it works for Alphabakes as well. I give you… puppy dog cupcakes! Check out my blog for a step-by-step guide on how to make them.

      And the winner of the Charbonnel & Walker chocolates is... Corina of Searching for Spice. Well done, Corina! We'll be in touch regarding your prize.

   See you all next month!