Bake Me A Cat sees Kim-Joy combining two of her great loves. “Baking and cats make sense together because they’re both so relaxing, and both are really good for your mental health.”
The pun-filled book features adorable feline fancies, such as marshmeowlow cats, miaowringues and pudgy 3D cookie cats.
Each recipe is stamped with a paw print rating, showing the difficulty from one (paw-fect pancakes, for example) to five (such as purrfect doughnuts that need deep-frying and decorating).
Here are two recipes for you to try at home
Fat cat pizzas
(Makes 3 small pizzas)
For the dough:
400g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
7g instant fast-action dried yeast
280ml water (use tepid water to speed up the rise if you’re in a rush, but this isn’t necessary)
20ml olive oil, plus extra for oiling
Semolina flour for underneath the pizza (optional, but gives extra crunch)
For the toppings:
Around 10tbsp tomato sauce for pizza (see below)
200g mozzarella (drained weight)
A couple of black olives, for the cat face
Black gel food dye, mixed with a tiny amount of water, for painting cat whiskers
Handful of fresh basil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra olive oil, for drizzling
For the tomato sauce:
2tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2tbsp concentrated tomato purée
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
Italian seasoning, to taste
Salt and pepper
1. To make the tomato sauce, place a saucepan over a medium heat, then add the olive oil and garlic. Fry for 20-30 seconds until lightly golden (but not brown). Add the tomato purée and fry for 30 seconds. Add the chopped tomatoes and a couple of pinches of Italian seasoning then simmer over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. After five to 10 minutes, the sauce should have reduced down and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
2. To make the dough, place the flour, salt and yeast together in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment (you can also use a bread machine just to knead). Make sure that the salt is not directly touching the yeast. Stir together, then pour in the water and olive oil.
Tip: If you don’t have a machine for mixing the dough, or you have the time and want improved flavour and no need to knead, then simply mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave the dough to rise overnight in the fridge until doubled in size. The second rise after shaping will take a little longer, as the dough will still be cold from the fridge, but remember that the colder and slower the rise, the better the final fat cat pizza will be!
3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise for about one hour or so (this depends on the ambient temperature – if the room is warmer, it will rise faster), or until doubled in size.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the toppings for your pizza. At least 30 minutes before the dough is ready, preheat your oven to its maximum temperature to start preheating a baking steel, stone or simply a standard flat baking sheet (ideally one without a lip, for ease). Doing so will give your pizza a crispier base.
5. When the dough has risen, set aside a little for the ears, then divide the remaining dough into three equal pieces, placing each piece onto an individual sheet of baking paper (scatter semolina on the paper first, if you like, to add extra crunch). Use the heel of your hand to press each piece into a rough circle, then stretch the dough with your hand to thin it out, making the edges thicker than the middle. Use the reserved dough to add ears, pressing them very well to make sure they stick on.
6. Add your toppings to the dough, leaving space at the top for the cat face. Add sliced black olives for the eyes and mouth.
7. Leave the pizzas to prove at room temperature for about 20 minutes, or until puffed up slightly. They shouldn’t increase much in size. If you did an overnight first rise, then just wait for the dough to come to room temperature (up to two hours) before you bake it.
8. Once risen, slide any flat tray (or even a piece of stiff cardboard) under one of the pizzas – this should be easy to do, as the pizza should be on a sheet of baking paper. Slide the pizza along with the baking paper onto the preheated stone, steel or baking sheet that’s in the oven. If you’re not using a heated tray, simply place the tray of pizza in the oven as normal.
9. Bake one pizza at a time, for around five to 12 minutes each. The hotter your oven and the hotter the baking stone or steel, the quicker they will bake!
10. Once cooked, quickly paint the whiskers using black food dye mixed with a tiny amount of water and a paintbrush, then season with pepper, scatter with fresh basil (depending on your chosen toppings) and drizzle with extra olive oil. Serve straight away.
Ginger snap cats
For the cookie dough:
150g self-raising flour (to make gluten-free, substitute with a gluten-free self-raising flour blend, plus ¾tsp xanthan gum)
1¼tsp bicarbonate of soda
2½tsp ground ginger
70g caster or granulated sugar
75g unsalted butter, melted (or vegan butter – use one that’s close to 80% fat content)
3tbsp golden syrup
For the royal icing:
1 medium egg white (or 30-40g aquafaba or pasteurised
180-240g icing sugar
Orange and black gel food dyes
Note: You only need to make half the quantity of royal icing, as it’s hard to make a much smaller quantity and divide it up to create different colours. Any leftover icing can be piped out onto baking paper in long thin strands and left to dry. Once dry, chop up – and you have made sprinkles! Store these in an airtight jar.
1. Line two large baking sheets with baking paper.
2. Add the flour (plus xanthan gum, if gluten-free), bicarbonate of soda, ginger, sugar and salt to a large bowl, and stir until combined.
3. Pour in the melted butter, add the golden syrup and stir until the mixture forms a soft dough.
4. Roll the dough into a 25-cm long log shape, then cut into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheets, spaced at least 5cm apart. Flatten each ball slightly with the back of a spoon – they will spread during baking. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or in the freezer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cracked on top and deep golden in colour. Leave on the baking sheets for 10 minutes to firm up, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
6. While the biscuits cool, make the royal icing. Whisk the egg white (or aquafaba) with 180g of the icing sugar together in a large bowl until smooth, then gradually keep adding icing sugar and whisking to combine until the consistency is thick enough to pipe. If you lift a spoon out and drizzle over the top, the trail should hold for about 15 seconds before disappearing.
7. Leave a third of the icing white, then divide the remaining icing between two bowls. Dye one portion orange and the other black using gel food dyes. Transfer the different icing colours to piping bags, cutting a small tip in each. Pipe angry ginger tom cat faces onto each cookie and vary your designs, so that each cat is quirky and unique. Store in an airtight container for one to two weeks.
Bake Me A Cat by Kim-Joy is published by Quadrille on March 16, priced £16.99. Photography by Ellis Parrinder.
Kim-Joy on her love of cats and the power of baking for your mental health
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