Monthly Archives: February 2015

Bakers to go nuts for #NationalAlmondDay

16 February, 2015

The 16th of February marks National Almond Day, and this year the BAKO team have been incredibly impressed by the ingenious ways local bakers have used almonds in their creations to celebrate the annual event.

From ground almonds to almond butter, flour, oil and milk, almonds make a great addition to bakes for their delicate but distinct flavour. Whether you’re replacing flour with ground almonds or stirring whole almonds into your dough to add a crunchy contrast to biscuits, almonds add an exciting new texture to treats.

Of  course there’s no reason to limit using almonds to just one day a year, so we’ve collected some of our favourite almond-inspired recipes so you can experiment with new ways to use these delicious little treats.

Macarons

The macaron is considered to be the jewel of French pastries in Europe. A crisp, rainbow-bright shell, that’s soft yet delicately chewy, and a silky filling which sandwiches the two halves together, quite simply, they’re delicious.

Macaron

Macarons are notorious for being difficult to get right but are definitely worth the effort. We’ve put together some of our top tips for perfect macarons here.

Classic flavours such as chocolate, vanilla and rose are often a popular choice but why not try adding a salted caramel twist to your macarons? Stirring flaky sea salt into gooey caramel and sandwiching macaron shells together with the mixture could be perfect for adding a touch of French sophistication to your menu.

For those of you with less time on your hands, BAKO stock a delicious range of macaroon pastes.

Macaron 2

Battenberg

Known for its characteristic pink and yellow checkerboard pattern and for being an afternoon tea classic; Battenberg is an ideal way to embrace almond flavours. The yellow sponge is traditionally flavoured with almond extract, ground almonds and vanilla, while a healthy shake of pink food colouring creates its rosier companion. The cakes are then coated in either apricot or raspberry jam, and finished off with a covering of smooth marzipan; making this bake one not to be missed.

Battenberg

If you’re after a richer flavour in your Battenberg, a chocolate twist could be ideal. Why not try replacing some of the flour with cocoa and omitting the pink food colouring to create a brown and yellow checkerboard? Using creamy chocolate spread instead of jam could be the perfect way to add that final chocolate twist that your customers are bound to enjoy.

Almond Brittle

A crunchy buttery confection, brittle is made from set caramelised sugar and chopped nuts. Why not try roasting whole almonds with a light sprinkling of salt and stirring into molten caramel to create your brittle?

Brittle

The addition of dried fruit would be a welcome twist and create a delicious fruity contrast to the deep flavours of caramelised sugar and savoury almonds. A box of brittle could also make a beautiful gift for customers this Mother’s Day.

Brittle 2

Vanillekipferl

Vanillekipferl are one of our all-time favourites – traditional German biscuits with a melt in the mouth texture. Easily recognisable for their distinctive crescent shape and generous coating of vanilla infused icing sugar, these classic cookies are sure to be a hit all year round.

vankip

Made from rich buttery dough similar to shortbread, these biscuits are flavoured with ground almonds and vanilla. But why not try omitting the vanilla and kneading grated orange zest into your dough? Once baked and cooled, dipping the biscuits into melted orange flavoured chocolate would make them a treat you’d be proud to display on your counter.

Almond Cake

For those with less time on their hands, an almond cake could be the perfect way to celebrate. When replacing flour with ground almonds it can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio in some recipes, but because its weight, fat content and absorption rates are so different from that of wheat and other grain based flours, it does not always reliably cross over. So it is often best to use recipes that specifically include ground almonds as an ingredient.

cake

Lemon and almond make for a beautiful flavour combination that’s certainly worth trying. Lemon drizzle cake is a British classic loved for its airy sponge, light flavour and moist texture, so why not try whipping up an almond lemon drizzle cake? Simply replace half the flour with ground almonds and after the cake’s cooked, soak it in a sweet but tangy sugar and lemon concoction, then add a generous sprinkling of flaked almonds for decoration.

cake 2

Will you be celebrating National Almond Day this year? Which almond classics do you plan on whipping up for the big day? We’d love to hear about your creations on Twitter.

BAKO’s highlights from Cake International

10 February, 2015

This weekend marked one of the most exciting baking events in the calendar year as Cake International returned to Manchester.

As well as a jam-packed three day schedule of demonstrations, the show celebrated the baking talents of our North West bakers in the tough competition categories. From three tier wedding cakes, to cupcakes and decorative exhibits, the talent this year was at an all-time high.

One of the highlights from the weekend had to be the 50 Shades of Cake installation by Rosie Dummer of Rosie Cake Diva. Each figure took over 450 hours to design and construct, with the 6ft Mr Grey himself being constructed of white chocolate ganache, sugar paste and a Genoese sponge centre.

We’re already looking forward to next year but until then here are some of our highlights from the weekend.

We would love to know what your Cake International highlights were from over the weekend, get in touch with BAKO North Western on Twitter or share your pictures with us from the event.