Archive | November, 2012

Seasonal greetings

26 Nov

Pumpkin & Ginger Cake, Lime Drizzle

Tis the season to, well, eat lots of lovely seasonal fruit and vegetables. It’s beginning to feel a lot like winter. I’m talking brussels sprouts, pumpkin, apples, clementines, cranberries, pears, quince, and don’t forget the parsnips – just the ticket for a wholesome wintry warmer of a cake.

You’ve heard of carrot cake, right? So, why not try parsnip cake? Hell yeah! Combined with tangy lime, fiery ginger and sweet & nutty spelt flour, parsnip makes a pretty blazing cake. Go on, try it!

Parsnip, Lime & Ginger Cake

2 eggs
100g caster sugar
150ml groundnut oil
2 medium parsnips, grated
1 tsp ground ginger
15g grated ginger
180g spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 limes, zested & juiced
50g icing sugar

Butter an 8 inch round cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 180C, 160C fan, 350F, gas 4.

Whisk together the eggs and sugar, and when combined whisk in the oil. Follow this with the ground ginger, and a quick whisk. Then mix in the grated ginger & parsnips, all the lime zest and half the lime juice.

Next fold in the flour, baking powder and bicarb of soda. Put the cake mix in your prepared cake tin and bake for 35 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, mix the icing sugar and the rest of the lime juice in a saucepan. Gently heat until the sugar has dissolved and you have a syrup. When the cake comes out the oven prick all over with a toothpick and pour the syrup over. Leave the cake to totally cool before removing from the tin.

Time to eat & enjoy!

Bun fight

22 Nov


It’s another Dan Lepard post! This time, his Soft honey seed bread, cunningly fashioned into rolls.

It’s simple, after the first rise divide the dough into 100g balls. Pat down lightly onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Cover with a tea towel and leave for the second proving.

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan, and bake the rolls for 20-25 mins until nicely browned. If you place the rolls fairly close together before baking you’ll get a lovely set of batch rolls.

Great Scot

20 Nov


Last weekend Mr Cakes & I hot footed it up to Glasgow for a weekend of fun with chums. Naturally we wanted to take a small offering to our hosts for the weekend. Remember The Bones, who got this marvellous Chocolate Salted Caramel Extravaganza when they moved north of the border? Well, they used to practically live on whoopies and macaroons from the gorgeous Violet Cakes in London. So what better than these Violet Coconut Macaroons as a little gift. They feature in the Leon Baking & Puddings book. Get it!


Among other things, we went to watch round 2 of the UCI track world cup at the brand spanking new Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow. I’m not sure riding in kilts without bikes is going to take off tho, ladies…


Thanks again to the Bones for a great weekend! See you soon.

Feed me!

12 Nov

Lammermuir Christmas Cake

In the words of Slade, I wish it could be Christmas everyday. But not for all the reasons they list. I can do without the snowman bringing the snow, and the kids singing with the band. But Christmas cake baking, that’s quite another thing. Although a very traditional fruit cake, there are still many variations on the fruit, nuts, booze, decoration, size, icing and so-on. Only being given the indulgence to bake one a year can give one a lot to think about.

One recipe I come back to time and time again is Nigel Slater’s offering, with each bite imparting a crunch of dried figs and hazelnuts. I’ve already decided next year will be dedicated baking demigod Dan Lepard’s caramel Christmas Cake, although there will have to be some booze involved. And you can’t beat Delia for a bevvy of Chrimbo cake options.

This year it’s the turn of Mother Cakes and her recipe for Lammermuir House Christmas Cake. Why, when I’ll be getting some of mother’s cake anyway? Just because, okay? It’s less fruited than most Christmas cake recipes are these days, and it’ll be interesting to see how mine turns out in comparison (especially as mother gave me a list of ingredients, but not the method. Thanks ma!)

fruit, nuts, christmas cake

Lammermuir Christmas Cake

1oz/25g self-raising flour
7oz/200g plain flour
6oz/175g soft brown sugar
6oz/175g butter
4 large eggs
8oz/225g sultanas
8oz/225g currants
4oz/110g glace cherries, halved
2oz/55g mixed peel
2oz/55g walnuts, chopped into chunks
2oz/55g almonds, halved
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp treacle
60ml brandy (plus more to feed the cake)

Begin by soaking the currants, sultanas and mixed peel in the brandy for a week before you wish to make the cake

Preheat the oven to 140C/120C fan/Gas mark 1 and grease and line an 8 inch (20 cm) round cake tin or a 7 inch (18 cm) square tin with a double layer of baking parchment, making sure the paper comes nice and high above the cake tin. You should use a deep cake tin for this too, at least 2 inches deep.

Cream the butter and sugar together and then beat in the eggs one at a time. Sieve together the flours and spice and fold this into the butter, sugar and egg mixture. Then fold in the soaked fruit, glace cherries, walnuts, almonds and treacle.

Put the cake mix into the tin and bake for about 3 hours. It’ll be ready when a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. When cooked, leave in the tin to cool for about 30 minutes and then prick the surface of the cake with a toothpick or skewer and drizzle on another couple of tablespoons of brandy.

Once the cake has properly cooled wrap up in foil and store in a cake tin. Feed the cake once a week with another tablespoon of brandy, until you’re ready to ice the cake. I’ll be doing this a week before Chrimbo. Come back then…

Bah humbug!

6 Nov Xmas Cake 2011

Xmas Cake 2011

Okay, it’s November. Halloween and Bonfire night have been and gone, so I suppose we can start talking about the C word. Christmas! A bit later than usual, I got my Chrismas cake on the go at the weekend. This year it’s Mother Cakes recipe – watch this space.

These two pics are of last years offering. Get your reindeer cake toppers here.

Cake Xmas 2011

If you fancy making this Christmas cake, get yourself 550g of dried fruit and mixed peel and soak for a week in 60ml of brandy. This year I went for sultanas, currants, raisins and apricots for the dried fruit. Figs are really special in a Christmas Cake too. If you do use mixed peel, this should make up about 60g of the 550g of fruit.

Come back next week for what to do next…

Rock On

2 Nov


These rock cakes are so quick & easy to make, you can have them in your mouth within an hour of thinking, “I’d really like to eat a rock cake right now.” Deliciously crumbly and light, and not too sweet.

The recipe is by Dan Lepard and can be found here in the Guardian. I went for the simple rock cake, with a double whammy of lemon; zest in the cake mix, and an easy lemon icing on top. The recipe made 9 cakes, for the icing mix 40g icing sugar with 1 tbsp of lemon juice & drizzle on your cooled cakes. Yum!