Whole cherry brownies

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We’re developing quite a love of our local greengrocers in the Little Birdie household. I’ve read before that having a local greengrocers can help raise the price of your house if you’re selling it and this would appear to be true as a house round the corner is currently on the market and our local independent greengrocers is mentioned in the sales details! At this time of year berries are plentiful and cheap. Last weekend they had 2kg boxes of cherries for £3. We bought one but knew we would struggle to eat them all so I decided to put some of them to use in some baking. I knew I’d seen this John Whaite recipe last year so I decided to give it a go.
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Chocolate lime pie

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This post should have been Mary Berry’s lime and blueberry drizzle cake but as you will see from the photo and title it’s definitely not a cake! Limes are part of Aldi’s current super 6 fruit and vegetables offer so I duly stocked up on them thinking that during half term I would have lots of time to bake. Sadly tidying the house and all the other jobs I don’t seem to have the time to do during term time got in the way of baking. Hopefully now the house is tidy this situation will be rectified!
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Blackberry jam crumble shortbreads

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I received John Whaite’s ‘John Whaite Bakes At Home’ for my birthday in August and until recently had not had the chance to try out any of the recipes. One of the recipes that had caught my eye was this blackberry jam crumble shortbread recipe. I love blackberry recipes and have been disappointed that I’ve been so busy that I’ve not been able to try anymore recipes other than this recipe and the autumn traybake I made back in August.
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Caramel Shard Cookies

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I requested John Whaite’s ‘John Whaite Bakes’ as one of my Christmas presents and was lucky enough to receive it. Yesterday was a day to bake cookies and after trawling through some recipe books I remembered spotting this one and decided to give it a go. I will be honest and say I wasn’t 100% happy with how they turned out. I’m not sure what quite went wrong (although I suspect it’s either baking them for too long or making them too small in size) but they still taste ok. They are crunchy rather than chewy in texture. The recipe is supposed to make 20 however I only managed to make 17.
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White chocolate and raspberry melting cake

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This cake was meant to be an entry for a John Whaite Book Club competition (and also dessert for a gathering with some of my teacher friends) but as you will discover if you read on, it ended up in no fit state to be photographed…

There were many lessons I learnt when making this cake…
1) Always use the correct size cake tins – if it says 20cm it means 20cm! Sadly I don’t own any 20cm tins. I own 18.5cm tins and 23cm tins. I opted for the 23cm tins thinking this would be better but sadly not! I ended up with large almost flat sponges.
2) Check your self-raising flour is in date Mine was best before June which I think may have contributed towards my flat sponges.
3) If it says the ganache filling will take a long time to thicken it means it will take a long time to thicken.
4) If your judgement is telling you not to try to assemble the cake don’t do it! I thought about taking the sponges and ganache separately and assembling it when needed but stupidly thought it would be ok. It wasn’t – the ganache wasn’t thick enough and spilled out everywhere. The cake started to slip and slide around in my car and due to some unexpected breaking ended up in pieces. It was essentially a cake jigsaw puzzle that I had to arrange into something resembling a cake when I arrived at my friends house. Luckily I have some lovely friends who said it still looked delicious :-)

I wasn’t going to post this but actually it was a big hit and when it was sliced into pieces it didn’t actually look too bad (if you looked at it in a creative way!) and a blog post was requested by my friends. Sadly I only had my phone with me so the pictures of the end result aren’t great. If you are brave enough to attempt this (and not as silly as me and don’t make the same mistakes I did) you can find the recipe here on John Whaite’s Facebook page.
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