Stacie Bakes is the new cookery book by Sunderland chef Stacie Stewart. The 31-year-old from Roker is starring as a judge on ITV’s Food Glorious Food. Here’s how you can recreate some of her dishes.
MY NORTHERN SOUL STACK
When I first started dancing and attending all-nighters I used to leave the club about 7am.
Bearing in mind I’d probably spent the last 10 hours on the dance floor, the first thing I wanted to do was refuel my body before the long journey home, but at that time of the morning in small northern cities I would be lucky if I could find a bottle of milk, let alone a substantial meal, so I started to take my own food.
One day I had some leftover bread and I made a sandwich/pie concoction from whatever my mam had in her fridge.
I remember ham, pastrami, cheese and gherkins. You can imagine, that after not eating for hours, the sight of it emerging from my bag was music to my rumbling tummy and to my fellow soulies.
Now it’s kind of a running joke – who’s going to get a slice? I’m a sharer, of course – as long as I get two slices! Elvis did something similar, scooping out loaves and filling them with bananas, chocolate and peanut butter.
Sounds delish, doesn’t it? For all you non-soulies out there, try this at your next picnic or on a journey when there’s a few of you travelling.
This dish serves 10–15. You will need:
* white bread dough.
* plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting.
Filling – your favourite cooked meats, cheeses and pickles – and loads of them!
1. Shape the knocked-back bread dough and let it rise for a second time. You can bake it in a lightly oiled 900g/2lb loaf tin or you can make a big round cob loaf, which I prefer.
2. Slash the top of the dough or snip it, dust lightly with flour and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave in a warm place for one hour to rise, until almost doubled in size.
3. Preheat the oven to its highest setting. Carefully remove the tea towel from the dough and put the risen bread in the hot oven.
For a good crust, spray water inside the oven as you put it in: the steam develops the crust of the bread. Immediately turn the oven down to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and cook for 35 minutes.
When it’s cooked, your bread will sound hollow when tapped underneath; if you’ve made it in a tin, tip it out to check.
4. Cool on a wire rack so that the bottom doesn’t get soggy. Leave until cold.
5. To make the stack, slice the top off the cold bread, scoop out most of the bread and layer the cavity with your chosen fillings, packing them in tight.
Put the top back on and wrap tightly in cling film to secure the filling. If I’ve used a lot of cheese I sometimes wrap the stack in foil and pop it in the oven to melt the cheese, which acts like a glue, binding everything together. To serve, cut into very thick slices.
RED VELVET CAKE
When making red velvet cake, it’s really important to use the right red food colouring: either Sugarflair Red Extra paste or Dr Oetker Natural Red.
Don’t get the standard red colouring, as the cake will turn brown when you bake it.
Of course, this is not just for Valentine’s Day; it’s a pretty cake for parties, and the mixture makes amazing cupcakes, too.
Makes 1 x 20cm/8in round cake. You will need:
* 175g/6oz/¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
* 450g/1lb/2¼ cups caster (superfine) sugar
l3 eggs, at room temperature
l3 tbsp cocoa powder
l38ml Bottle Dr Oetker Natural
* Red or 1 heaped tsp Sugarflair Red Extra
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 500g/1lb 2oz/4 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
* 1 tsp salt
* 340ml/12fl oz/1½ cups buttermilk
* 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
* 1½ tsp cider vinegar
Cream cheese frosting
l125g/4½oz/generous ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 175g/6oz/¾ cup full-fat * Soft cheese
* 500g/1lb 2oz/4¼ cups icing (confectioners’) sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease 2 x 20cm/8in diameter cake tins and line with baking parchment.
2. Beat the butter for a minute or so, until light and fluffy.
Add the sugar and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the cocoa, food colouring and vanilla extract.
3. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, then add to the butter mixture in three stages, alternating with the buttermilk and scraping down after each addition.
4. Put the bicarbonate of soda and cider vinegar in a small bowl and whisk until it bubbles up.
Add this to the cake batter and give it one last quick beat. The addition of the vinegar and bicarbonate will make the colour of the cake develop and stay red when cooked.
Spoon the mixture into the tins and level the top of the batter.
5. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. After 30 minutes, cover the top of the cake with foil to prevent it from browning too much. Test the cake after 45 minutes; when it is cooked, a knife or skewer inserted in the centre will come out clean.
Remove the foil and leave to cool on a wire rack for around 30 minutes. Remove from the tin and leave until completely cool before decorating.
6. To make the frosting, beat the butter until softened, then add the soft cheese and beat for a few seconds to combine.
Scrape down the bowl to make sure everything is mixed, then add the icing sugar and beat again. The longer you beat, the creamier the icing will be. Set aside at room temperature until you’re ready to use it. If it’s a warm day, put it in the fridge but take it out 10 minutes before you want to use it.
7. To decorate the cakes, you first need to level them. Use a bread knife to slice a small section off the top and make it as flat as possible. (Keep the sliced-off section to decorate the cake.)
8. Next you have to cut each cake in half horizontally; again, use a bread knife. Now you have four layers of cake.
Put the bottom layer of cake on your cake plate. Spread with the icing, making sure it’s not too thick; about 1cm/½in is perfect. Repeat with all the layers.
9. Next, cover the outside of the cake with icing; I use a palette knife or a butter knife.
Finally, crumble the reserved sliced-off sections of cake, and scatter the crumbs all over the top of it. The cake will keep in an airtight container for around 4 days, but it’s far too beautiful to hide or keep!
* Stacie Bakes, published by Pavilion, priced £18.99, is out now. Stacie will host a book signing at Waterstones in The Bridges on Saturday, March 30, from midday-12.30pm.