WHETHER you are a sweet or savoury kind of person, you’re never going to come away empty-handed from a trip to the bakery.
The smell of freshly baked bread wafting from the ovens, the sight of a Victoria sponge oozing with fresh cream, or the anticipation of that first bite of a piping-hot bridie is enough to break even the strongest of wills.
And now there’s an even bigger excuse to pay a visit to your local bakery as Craft Bakers’ Week, which starts on Monday, celebrates the skill that goes into making sure we have a plentiful supply of our favourite cakes, breads and savouries.
The UK-wide campaign – backed by TV baking stars Tom and Henry Herbert, below – is designed to showcase the work of bakers and encourage people to support their local bakeries.
“Recent TV shows have given customers an insight into the science of baking and this has really helped customers to understand the amount of skills and passion that goes into making high-quality bakery products,” explains Alan Clarke, chief executive of Scottish Bakers.
“Scotland has many iconic bakery products including morning rolls, shortbread, oatcakes, Dundee cake, potato scones and a fantastic range of savouries including bridies and Scotch pies.
“Many of these fantastic products are still made on the high street with bakers working through the night to make sure that customers are able to buy freshly-made products early each morning.
“Craft Bakers’ Week aims to celebrate this and encourage customers to visit their local baker and taste new products and engage with their local baker.”
Three popular Edinburgh bakeries have shared some of their favourite recipes to celebrate Craft Bakers’ Week.
Banana butterscotch slice
100g softened butter
150g caster sugar
4 large ripe bananas
350g self-raising flour
3 tsp baking powder
Cream together butter and sugar, then add bananas and eggs, add all dry ingredients and beat together well.
Spoon mixture into a 9in x 9in square baking tin lined with baking parchment, bake at 160C for 40 minutes.
Once out of the oven, prick all over with a skewer or knife, pushing halfway down the sponge. DO NOT PIERCE ALL THE WAY DOWN.
125g golden syrup
125g double cream
When the banana cake has ten minutes to go, start making your butterscotch sauce.
Add all ingredients to a pot and continuously stir on a medium heat until it starts to thicken slightly, which should take roughly 15 minutes, Take off the hob and pour slowly on to your banana cake, using a spoon to make sure the sauce runs into the holes and is covering the whole cake.
Leave to cool overnight, cut into squares and decorate with banana chips.
Strawberries and cream (makes 12 cupcakes)
165g unsalted butter (soft)
165g caster sugar
3 large eggs
180g plain flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
100g strawberries (washed and cut into 0.5cm pieces)
Around 8 large strawberries
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g Unsalted Butter (soft)
250g Icing Sugar
3 tbsp Strawberry jam (strained)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Cream the butter and sugar until soft and pale in a food mixer, or with a hand-held mixer, for around one minute.
Next, sift the flour and baking powder on top of the mixture. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract and beat, again at medium speed, for one minute. Next, add the chopped strawberries and gently stir them in with a metal spoon or at a low speed on your mixer.
Divide the batter between 12 cupcake cases in a muffin tin and bake at 170C (fan oven) for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the cupcakes on a cooling rack to cool down.
For the buttercream
Cream the butter, at a medium speed, preferably with a hand mixer or food mixer, until soft and pale – around two to three minutes.
Sift the icing sugar on top of the creamed butter and blend on a medium speed on your mixer for two minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the vanilla extract and strained strawberry jam and continue to blend for one more minute.
To decorate use a palette knife or piping bag, frost each cake with the strawberry buttercream.
Decorate the cupcakes with chopped strawberries, some meringue pieces and a drizzle of strained strawberry jam.
Sunflower and honey loaf
550g wholemeal flour
Pinch of salt
35g sunflower seeds plus few extra for topping
25g sunflower oil
1 tbsp fresh yeast
0.5 tbsp clear honey
320ml warm water
Mix all dry ingredients, then water, which is added in steps, until a dough is formed. Knead for approximately 20 minutes and place in a warm area to rise for around one hour.
After the hour, knead for a further 20 minutes and transfer to two loaf tins or form into the desired shape. Sprinkle the top with sunflower seeds and leave in a warm place for approximately one further hour until twice the size.
Bake at 250C (hot oven) for around 25 minutes.