Welcome to another update to my Retro Baking Challenge! I can’t believe it’s been over five months since my last one – oops 😅 In case you missed it, the last few months have NOT been kind to my health-wise, so my creating had to be put on the back burner.
BUT, since then, I have been making the most of my “good days” and have more recipes coming for you soon, as well as this update. In case you’re new around here, I set myself the goal of baking my way through the Women’s Weekly Retro Baking cookbook by the time I am 25, which will be in 2021.
I talk a little bit more about what inspired me to do this in my first post, if you’d like to give that a read. Otherwise, all you really need to know is that this cookbook is… not the best.
A fellow reader even left a comment saying that the directions in this book are a bit confusing, and are more or less a “mix and dump”, which made me feel a LOT better as I am still a beginner baker and didn’t know if it was just me messing up.
That being said, I am still determined to bake my way through the entire book and continue to learn new things from it – even if it’s just what NOT to do – and I am happy to report that this update is full of mostly wins and great tasting results. Sorry for the spoiler alert 😜 Now enough talking, let me show you what I’ve been making recently!
Recipe #19: Coffee & Walnut Cake With Toffee
First, a confession: I didn’t include walnuts in my cake, because nuts are expensive. I have plans to eventually build up a nut collection so I’m able to grab whichever ones I need to whip up a recipe, but first I wish to do so with my spice collection.
Even without the walnuts, this cake was DELICIOUS! It has both coffee and cinnamon in it – which are two of my favourite flavours when baking – so naturally I had eaten half the cake before I’d even got around to making the toffee 🙈
The toffee actually didn’t work. The sugar never dissolved or turned brown, it just went crusty instead. So, we poured some caramel sauce over the top instead 😋 It was good, but the cake was perfect all on its own. I have a feeling Daniel’s going to ask me to make this cake again really soon, we both loved it so much!
Recipe #20: Apricot Choc Chip Cake
This cake inspired my new saying: don’t judge a cake by its insides. Let’s face it: this cake is ugly as HECK. I decided to cut it up and layer it since I used a larger cake tin than advised – causing it to come out quite thin – and was quite horrified when I saw the insides, honestly 😂
However, I passed judgement far too quick because this cake was actually DELICIOUS! Apricot and chocolate are two things I would never think to put together, but they work SO well. I was also super nervous about baking with dried AND pureed apricots, since I had never done that before, but I did not need to be.
The result was SO good. I ate far too much of this cake, especially considering I had just eaten at least half of the coffee cake from above the day earlier 😅 I love that this book is inspiring me to try new things as it’s bringing so many wonderful new flavours into my life!
Recipe #21: Blueberry Cake With Vanilla Syrup
I almost didn’t bother adding the vanilla syrup as it was really thin and the thought of coating my cake in a liquid felt really weird, but boy am I SO glad that I gave it a try! It was DELICIOUS.
The cake was fine on its own – I’m a sucker for fruit in cakes, especially berries – but the syrup added so much more sweetness to it, it was so good. I’m honestly concerned every cake I make from now on is going to be too dry for my liking, as I really loved adding the syrup!
Recipe #22: Mixed Berry Muffins
I JUST LIKE FRUITS IN DESSERT, OKAY?! I do apologise for making a lot of similar recipes in this update, but when I’m feeling like something sweet, or just really want to make something in the kitchen but aren’t feeling very creative, things like this are my instant go-to.
As with a lot of the recipes in this book, these muffins weren’t quite sweet enough to really wow me, but they were perfectly fine. You can’t really go wrong with a berry muffin!
Recipe #23: White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies
Absolute faaaaaaail. Whilst I did change two things – I added raspberries and food colour – I still don’t know why they failed so awfully. When portioning them out on the tray they stayed together so well, but whilst in the oven the spread out so much that there was just a thin, burnt crust covering the tray when I took them out.
I looked up what could have caused this, and saw that people recommended chilling cookie dough before baking it – which the book did NOT say to do at all – so I think I might keep that in mind for next time!
Recipe #24: Lemon Meringue Pie
This is such an iconic pie, and I am SO glad I can finally say that I have made one! I told myself that this was the year I would try to nail pastries, which you’ll be able to tell that I have not achieved YET, but I am still pretty happy with the result considering this was only the second time I’ve made pastry (my Valentine’s Day pies were the first!).
This pie truly was delicious. Daniel and I both LOVED the lemon filling, and we had fun toasting the outsides with a blowtorch. The recipe actually says to bake the pie for two minutes, but our oven is awful and two minutes wouldn’t have browned the top at all.
After writing this, I am realising that most of the things I made recently were cakes. Whoops! I’ll try to be a bit more versatile in my next update 😂 I actually wanted to do some more baking right now, but we’re currently slow-roasting something and it’s going to take, like, 6 hours… 😅
What have YOU been making lately? Anything that you think I should try out? Whilst cakes and cookies will always be my go-to, I am up for trying anything and continuing to expand my baking knowledge! If you have any requests or recommendations, just let me know in the comments 👇
Until next time,