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Blondies have more fun

16 May

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We’ve all eaten Brownies, right? Dark, bitter, squidgy, rich and very chocolatey. Head to the new Hoxton Bakery on Hoxton street and you can buy yourself one of the finest examples of brownie-ness ever.

But what happens when you want that squidge, but without the chocolate? Blondies happen! Just like a Brownie, but minus the chocolate (unless you decide to stir in some chocolate chips, that’s totally okay). Violet do some rockin’ Butterscotch Blondies, but these here are Malted Banana goodies.

Malted Banana Blondies

Ingredients
125g butter
150g dark muscovado sugar
75g caster sugar
1 large egg
Pinch salt
125g plain flour
75g horlicks powder
1 large banana, mashed

Method
Butter and line an 8 inch square cake tin. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas mark

Melt the butter and whisk in both sugars, then beat in the egg. Fold in the salt, flour and horlicks powder and finally mix in the mashed banana.

Pour the cake batter into the lined tin and bake for 20 minutes until just done. You want the cake to still be a bit squidgy, just like a brownie…

Leave cake to cool on a wire rack until cool, then cut into squares, rectangles, whatever shape you fancy really. I went for 16 squares!

buıppnd ɹɐǝd & uoɯɐuuıɔ ‘ǝʇɐןoɔoɥɔ

7 May

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Upside down pudding, one of Granny’s favourites. It’s also one of my favourites when Granny cooks it. This was going to be the classic pineapple upside down pudding, using tinned pineapple*, seeing as how I can’t stuff enough of the totally tropical fruit down my gob these days. However, we had 3 ripe pears in the fruit bowl that desperately needed using up this weekend – so pear, chocolate & cinnamon it is. Pineapple, your time will come!

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Chocolate, Pear & Cinnamon Upside Down Pudding

Ingredients
3 ripe pears
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
150g butter
50g dark muscovado sugar
100g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
150g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder

Method
First, poach your pears. Peel, half and core them and place in a pan with the granulated sugar and the cinnamon stick. Cover with water and simmer for 30 minutes or so until soft but not falling apart.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line 20cm round cake tin.

Cream together 50g of the butter with the muscovado sugar before spreading it over the bottom of the tin. Lay the pear halves on the layer of butter and sugar in any pattern you see fit!

Cream the rest of the butter with the caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat well. Fold in the flour & cocoa powder, and then add 2-3 tbsp of the cooking liquid from the pears. You want the batter to have a dropping consistency. Spread the cake batter on top of the pears.

Bake for around 35 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean from the centre of the cake. Turn out the cake onto a plate with the pear side upwards. This is delicious as a pudding with custard or ice cream, or served cool as a cake with your coffee.

*classy

Stew You

24 Apr

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So me & Mr. Cakes have started getting our groceries delivered from the most amazing Hubbub. If you live in Shoreditch and are too lazy don’t have enough hours in the day to take the trip over the Victoria Park Ginger Pig, or Bottle Apostle, just tell Hubbub what you want and they’ll go to the shops and buy it for you. And deliver it to your door. Like I said, a-mazing. Mrs Lovell’s Greengrocer will do you an £8 fruit surprise, and if you happen to find yourself overwhelmed with the sheer volume of fruit you get for your money, why not at the end of the week stew up any older looking bits for this squidgy, cupcake-like cake.

Stewed Fruit Cake
Ingredients
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
120g butter
120g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
350g stewed and puréed fruit. I used plums & apples, use whatever you have handy.

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4, butter and line a 9 inch square cake tin.

Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs and vanilla, and then the stewed fruit.

Mix together the dry ingredients, them fold into the whisked butter, egg and fruit mix. Put the mix in the cake tin and level out. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool slightly in the tin, then transfer to a cooling rack. When completely cool you can top with icing. Cream cheese frosting would be pretty good, but I went with a scant drizzle of glacé icing, made with 2tbsp lemon juice and 50g icing sugar. I was feeling frugal!

Cake Building

19 Mar

lego cake

What a lucky little man my nephew is. Not only was it just his birthday, but big sis Cakes made him this amazeballs Lego Cake. Look at it, what a beauty! Decorated with edible lego blocks and lego men. How cool is that?

fondant lego pieces

Of course, you’d have to be pretty good at sculpture to craft all this without a *little* help. You might want to invest in one of these ice cube trays. Very clever big sis. Can’t wait til my next birthday…

lego men mould

Rhubarb & Rosemary

12 Mar

Rhubarb and Rosemary Cake

A loaf cake. Again. Oh dear, I am sorry but they are terribly good. And convenient. Mr Cakes is ramping up the tri-training, and demands plenty of calories every day to keep his strength up. So, weekend loaf cake baking it is.

This one is adapted from Nigella’s recipe for a Rosemary Remembrance Cake. Nigella’s is a simple madeira cake, subtly flavoured with aromatic rosemary and stewed apple. I prefer the tang of rhubarb though, especially at this time of year. Whatever you do, don’t use a 450g/1lb loaf tin to bake the cake as Nigella suggests. It doesn’t work…

Rhubarb & Rosemary Cake

Ingredients
200g rhubarb
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tsp caster sugar
½ lemon, juiced and zested
1 tsp butter
225 grams butter
150 grams caster sugar
3 medium eggs
300 grams plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

Method
Chop the rhubarb and put into a saucepan with a sprig of rosemary, teaspoon of sugar, lemon zest and juice, and a teaspoon of butter. Cover and cook on a low heat until the rhubarb has broken down to a mush. Allow to cool and remove the rosemary sprig.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3. Line a 2lb loaf tin greaseproof paper, or a loaf liner if you have one (much handier)

Put the rhubarb, butter, 150g sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder into a food processor and whizz to a smooth batter. Spoon and scrape into the loaf tin and smooth the top. Sprinkle the surface with the a little more sugar and then lay other sprig of rosemary along the centre of the cake.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean, allow to cool for a few minutes. Then remove the cake from the tin and leave to fully cool on a wire rack.

More Jam?

5 Mar

Apricot Almond Jam Cake

What to do with that apricot jam sitting in the cupboard, forgotten and overlooked since Christmas? Purchased to help stick the marzipan to your Christmas cake, and neglected while the sexier raspberry and tangy-er marmalade make their way to the breakfast table instead. Well, how about a jam cake? I can think of no finer a destiny for such a helpful jam.

Apricot Jam Cake

Ingredients
175g butter
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
125g apricot jam
175g wholemeal self-raising flour
25g almond flakes

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°fan/gas mark 4. Line a 2lb loaf tin with butter and greaseproof paper, or a handy liner if you have one.

Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fully mixed. Then beat in the eggs, followed by the jam. Fold in the flour gently, and when completely combined spoon into the lined cake tin and level the top. Sprinkle the almond flakes over the cake.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, to check the cake is done insert a skewer into the cake. It will come out clean when the cake is done. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monkey Bees Knees

12 Feb

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There must be about a million recipes for banana bread on the internet, probably because it’s so flippin tasty! This is one of Nigella’s, with a couple of amendments. The basic recipe can be found on Nigella’s website. Instead of raisins and walnuts, my version is studded with crunchy honeycomb chips. Just substitute the walnuts with 100g honeycomb chips, leave out the raisins, and reduce the amount of rum to 45ml. The honeycomb melts into the batter as the cake bakes, leaving an almost burnt caramel swirl throughout the sponge. Yum!

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Ottolovely

11 Jan

Ottolenghi Clementine Cake

A whole year has gone by, and I still haven’t told you how much I love Ottolenghi, or his recipes I should say. Of course, I love his restaurant in Islington too. Toasters on every table for breakfast, hot! (so, how about a Shoreditch branch…?)

Slice of Ottolenghi Clementine Cake

It’s rare for a week to go by in the Cakes household without an Ottolenghi dinner to feature. How about a Tomato and almond tart? Puff pastry smothered with a savory take on frangipane and ripe tomatoes. It’s like a pizza that has eaten in a few Michelin starred restaurants and has decided to smarten up. Or how about Seafood with fennel and lime? Lime tangy and bursting with herby goodness.

Ottolenghi Tamimi Jerusalem Book

But for the recipe for this moist, syrup soaked, Clementine & Almond syrup cake you’ll have to get yourself a copy Jerusalem, the new book by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Get it, it’s amazing. You won’t regret it, and while you’re in the bookshop get the Ottolenghi back catalogue. You won’t want to eat anything else ever again.

Candy Cane Cupcakes

21 Dec

chocolate peppermint cupcake

Not everyone likes a mince-pie, or a slice of brandy rich, fruity Christmas cake. I mean, there must be something wrong with them, right? But let’s not discriminate. Here’s a festive morsel for those raisin haters out there.

candy cane cupcake

Chocolate & Peppermint cupcakes
makes 16 cupcakes

Ingredients
For the cupcakes
50g cocoa powder
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
165g butter
250g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
125ml sour cream

For the icing
400g icing sugar
125g butter
40ml milk
1tsp peppermint essence
16 mini candy canes

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180/160 fan/Gas 4, and line 2 muffin tins with 16 cupcake cases.

2. Mix the cocoa powder, flour, bicarb of soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.

3. Melt the butter and allow to cool, then beat in the sugar and then the eggs and vanilla. Mix in half the flour mixture followed by half the sour cream. Then mix in the other half of the flour followed by the other half of the sour cream.

4. Divide the mixture between the cupcake cakes and bake for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make the icing beat the butter and icing sugar together until well combined and creamy. Beat in the peppermint essence (you can add more or less to taste). Spread the icing on the cooled cupcakes and top each one with a mini candy cane.

Snow White & Rose Red

18 Dec

red snowflake christmas cake

The cake is ready! A few weeks of feeding with brandy and slowly maturing and it’s time to ice. I was dreaming of a bright red reindeer, like this one, what a beauty!

half christmas cake

But Big Sis Cakes had bought me a set of snowflake icing cutters for my birthday. Snowflakes it is then. Doesn’t it look good? Tastes alright too. You can find the recipe in my recent post, Feed Me!

sliced red snowflake christmas cake