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These deliciously lemony bars, from The Girl Who Loves To Eat, are something you really have to make yourself to believe that they are so ridiculously good. While I scaled down the recipe to satisfy my sweet tooth, I think you should totally go for the full recipe as you will probably be going back for seconds or thirds or till it’s all over, save for the crumbs! Other than a simple sugar glaze, these lemon “blondies” as I call them, do not require any add-ons and will easily find their way into packed lunch boxes and picnic baskets as a popular request among children and adults alike.

LEMON DRIZZLE CAKE BARS

Ingredients:

100g unsalted butter

100g white caster sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

100g all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

Zest of 1 medium lemon

Juice of 2 medium lemons

100g confectioners sugar, sifted

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Cream together butter and sugar.

  • Beat until it turns light and fluffy. Add eggs and keep beating for 1-2 minutes. Add flour and vanilla.

  • Add the baking powder, then add the zest and juice of one lemon. Fold them into the batter carefully.

  • Spread evenly onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes till a wooden toothpick comes out clean.

  • Prepare drizzle by mixing the juice of 1 lemon with 1 cup of water. Let cake cool for about 5 minutes.

  • Poke it with a wooden skewer all over and then carefully spoon the lemon drizzle all over warm cake.

  • When cake is cooled, make glaze by mixing the confectioners sugar with the remaining lemon juice.

  • Spread onto cake and cut into bars while glaze is still wet. Leave to stand till glaze sets. Makes 8 bars.

Lemon Cake Bars

Like so many people out there, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. And because it is Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary [since the release of its first book and the start of my love story with the series] I had to bake a cake to celebrate the event. A tall, heavenly chocolate cake with the magical goodness of everything that makes chocolate cake that special something it is to everyone who loves birthdays and cakes. As soon as I saw this lovely chocolate cake on Diamonds for Dessert, I had my heart set on recreating it from scratch with the delicate pink icing and lopsided birthday wish scrawled carelessly across in green. The whole thing cannot help reminding me of the scene where Hagrid comes over to announce to an 11-year old Harry that he is wizard about to join Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

“Anyway — Harry,” said the giant, turning his back on the Dursleys, “a very happy birthday to yeh. Got summat fer yeh here — I mighta sat on it at some point, but it’ll taste all right.” From an inside pocket of his black overcoat he pulled a slightly squashed box. Harry opened it with trembling fingers. Inside was a large, sticky chocolate cake with Happy Birthday Harry written on it in green icing.” – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

Harry’s birthday cake is also the first cake from the magical world we get introduced to, well before we hear of Bettie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, and many other strange sweets muggles like us can only dream about. So if you’re having a Harry Potter themed party, this is the perfect cake to have on your table though you could as well bake them into cupcake format, decorate them with the ‘Happee Birthdae’ message and give them away as party favors along with a couple of Hagrid’s rock cakes. And the magic lives on…

HARRY POTTER’S BIRTHDAY CAKE

For the Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cup granulated white sugar

1 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1 egg + 1 yolk, room temperature

3/4 cup fresh full cream milk

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup boiling water

For the Chocolate Frosting

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup fresh full cream milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Vanilla Frosting

3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

2 to 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1/6 cup fresh full cream milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Red and green food coloring

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Stir in eggs one at a time. Add milk, oil, and vanilla extract and mix. Now add the boiling water.

  • Spray two round 9-inch diameter baking pans with nonstick spray. Pour batter in the two pans.
  • Place pans in oven and bake the cakes for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

  • Remove from oven and cool in pans for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  • When the cakes are totally cooled, slice them into half so you end up with 4 circular cake layers.

  • For the chocolate frosting, mix cocoa and powdered sugar together. Cream butter till it is fluffy.
  • Mix in 1/3 of the cocoa/sugar mixture to the creamed butter. Slowly, add about 1/3 of the milk.

  • Repeat this until all the cocoa powder, sugar, and milk are combined. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  • The frosting should be spreadable at this point. If it is not, add in more milk or sugar as needed.

  • For the vanilla frosting, cream butter. Mix in 1/2 of the powdered sugar and add 1/2 of the milk.
  • Repeat with other 1/2 of sugar and milk. Add vanilla extract. The frosting should be spreadable.

  • Now scoop out a portion of the frosting into a separate bowl, just enough for the frosting letters.
  • Add few drops of red food coloring to the remainder of the frosting and mix to get pink frosting.

  • In the other bowl, add green food coloring to get green frosting. Keep covered until ready to use.
  • To assemble, spread frosting on the first cake and smooth it out. Place another cake layer on top.

  • Dollop frosting and smooth. Repeat process with third layer of cake and top with final cake layer.
  • Press down to make sure it firmly sandwiched. Apply a crumb coat with the pink vanilla frosting.

  • Continue the crumb coat on the sides of the cake. Chill, then apply a second layer of pink frosting.
  • Place the green frosting in a piping bag and scrawl “Happee Birthdae Harry” on top of the cake.

Happy Birthday Harry!

Welcome to our July Bakealong Challenge. Each month, we’ll announce a new recipe for you to try, along with helpful tips and step-by-step instructions here on our blog. We invite you to bake this month’s recipe, Blueberry Hand Pies, then share a photo of your creation, tagging it #bakealong. Have you ever baked a pie? I hope so! There’s nothing quite so brag-worthy (and delicious, of course) as a beautiful home-baked pie. But once you cut into it and start serving, with the perfect amount of thickening in the filling, and a bit of luck, you can cut Instagram-worth slices. But one wrong move, and you have disaster on a plate.

So what’s a hand pie? Think of it as a turnover with four sides. Rather than the traditional rectangle of classic pie crust pastry topped with filling and folded into a triangle, a hand pie has the filling tucked inside a square packet of pastry. It’s easy to pack and tote to a picnic or potluck, and looks pretty on a plate. Blueberry Hand Pies feature a rich, easy-to-make crust, tender and flavorful thanks to both butter and sour cream. The filling is simplicity itself: blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice, with a bit of thickener. With fresh blueberries flooding the market right now, hand pies are the sweetest little single-serve dessert you could ever put together.

BLEUBERRY HAND PIES

Ingredients:

For the Pastry

241g all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

227g cold unsalted butter

113g sour cream

For the Blueberry Filling

2 cups blueberries

14g cornstarch

67g white caster sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

14g lemon juice

For the Topping

1 large egg, beaten

25g white sparkling sugar

Method:

  • Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add butter, working it in to make a crumbly mixture.

  • Leave butter in large, pea-sized pieces. Add sour cream and stir until mixture starts to come together.

  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and bring it together with a few quick kneads.

  • Pat into a rough log, and roll into 8-inch x 10-inch rectangle. Dust both sides of the dough with flour.

  • Starting with a shorter end, fold it into three like a business letter. Flip dough over, give it a 90° turn.

  • Roll it again into 8-inch x 10-inch rectangle. Fold it in three again. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes.

  • To make the filling, place fresh or frozen berries into a saucepan. Whisk the cornstarch with the sugar.

  • Pour it over berries. Add salt and lemon juice, stirring to combine. Place saucepan over medium heat.

  • Cook blueberries, stirring, until the small amount of liquid in the bottom of pan comes to a simmer.

  • Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until mixture starts to thicken.

  • Transfer the cooked berries to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

  • To assemble the hand pies, roll the dough into 14-inch x 14-inch square on a lightly floured surface.

  • With a straight edge and a pastry wheel, or a 3 1/2-inch square cutter, cut out sixteen 3 1/2″ squares.

  • Divide the blueberry filling among eight of the squares, using about a heaping tablespoon for each.

  • Brush egg along the edges of each filled square. Cut a vent into each of the remaining eight squares.

  • Top each filled square with a vented square, and press along the edges with the tines of a fork to seal.

  • Brush each pie with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sparkling sugar. Transfer to prepared baking pan.

  • Bake pies for 18 to 20 minutes until they are light golden brown. Cool for 20 minutes before serving.

KAF July 2017 Challenge

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