Tag Archives: baking

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.

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Hear, Land o’ Cakes, and brither Scots

5 Feb

Cardamom lemon shortbread in tin20130205-101707.jpg

Actually, not oatcakes but shortbread, because I couldn’t think of anything by the Bard that makes reference to biscuits*. For Burns night this year I made shortbread. For me, it has to be crispy, crumbly, with that wonderful melt in the mouth sandy texture. It’s also ripe to be tinkered with – so this time it’s flavoured with cardamom and lemon. Heavenly!

Cardamom lemon shortbread

Cardamom and Lemon Shortbread
Makes 12 biscuits

Ingredients
175g butter
75g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
175g plain flour, sifted
75g fine semolina
zest of 1 lemon
5 cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground to a powder

Method
Preheat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas mark 2. Beat the butter until softened and then add the sugar and beat again until thoroughly mixed. Then add the flour, semolina, lemon zest and ground cardamom. Mix together into a smooth dough.

Lightly roll out the dough on a floured worktop to 1cm thickness. Cut into 12 round biscuits (at this point you can use a cookie stamp to add a pretty picture to your biscuits), and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Set aside in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. My biscuits had spread slightly so I trimmed the edges with the cutter again. Allow to cool slightly, then sprinkle with some more caster sugar and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

*If you know of one, do let me know.

Rude awakening

9 Jul

Rude Health Morning Glory Bread

Porridge is my favourite breakfast, I could eat it every day – even in the height of summer (especially this november-esque summer we’re having right now.) At the weekend I feel obliged to have something else – a bacon sandwich perhaps, or a couple of poached eggs on toast. Tasty breakfast fodder, but just not porridge.

rude health morning glory

rude health morning glory

On most Sundays during the summer Mr Cakes and I have some kind of sporting pursuit planned – a training cycle ride, a triathlon, or the Hampton Court Swim we have planned for Sunday this week. The best thing about these weekend physical jerks? We get to eat porridge for breakfast!

Rude loaf before baking

The king of porridge is Rude Health’s Morning Glory Porridge, a blend of 5 grains and 5 seeds. It’s good for you, and deeelicious. I love it, so much so that I decided to bake it into a bread, so that even on the bacon sarnie/poached egg days I could still get my oats.

Rude loaf after baking

Rude Awakening Loaf

Ingredients
75g Rude Health morning glory porridge, plus extra for sprinkling on top
450g strong white flour
100g strong wholemeal flour
1½ tsp salt
1½ tsp brown sugar
1½ tsp instant dry yeast
50g unsalted butter, melted
Oil, for kneading
Milk, for brushing

Method
Mix the oats with 375ml boiling water. Let it sit for 15 minutes, until the mixture has cooled slightly (but still warm) and looks like porridge. Mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in another bowl, then add the porridge mix and the melted butter and mix well. Leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Then use Dan Lepard’s tried and tested 10 second kneading technique – oil your hands and work surface, knead the dough on it for 10 seconds, cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Repeat this twice at 10 minute intervals. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a tea-towel and leave for 30 minutes. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, roll up and tuck the ends underneath the loaf shaping into a bloomer. Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Cover and leave for 90 minutes until risen by half.

Preheat the oven t0 220C. Brush the top of your loaf with milk and then sprinkle on some more Rude Health morning glory porridge. Cut some slashes on top of your loaf. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 200C and bake for a further 20 minutes. The loaf will sound hollow when you tap the bottom when it’s done

Eat with bacon, eggs, or maybe some home-made gooseberry jam (recipe to follow soon). Oatally brilliant!

Rude health loaf

Rude health loaf with gooseberry jam

Good things come to those who wait

5 Jul

Single Guinness Cup Cake

Remember the chocolate guinness mud cake that came 2nd in the wedding bake off? Well, ever since that post I’d been thinking about how good it was! I had to have it again, and so decided to convert Nigella’s recipe to one for cupcakes. How perfect do they look? Like little sweet pints of Guinness. They taste the business too, even a few days after baking when they magically become even more squidgy and muddy.

Guinness Cup Cakes

iced guinness cupcakes

plain guinness cupcake

guinness cake iced

Good thing cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

Method
1. Make a batch of Nigella’s Chocolate Guinness Cake batter and icing. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C
2. Line 2x 12 hole muffin tins with muffin cases. Pour the cake batter into a measuring jug and then divide between the cases.
3. Bake the cupcakes, 1 tray at a time for 15 minutes per tray. The cakes will still feel quite squishy and soft when you press them, but as long as a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, they are cooked.
4. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, pipe the icing onto the top of the cake in a lovely swirl.
5. Batch them up in pretty tins and share with your friends!

cake boxes

Final tip – these will work best if you use a muffin pan and muffin cases. A bun tray doesn’t do these fellas justice.

Rhubarb’s the star

2 Jul

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I ♥ rhubarb. Absolutely love it, the fresh, ever so fruity smell of the stuff and that tangy suck your teeth taste. I remember, as a nipper, plucking thick stalks of rhubarb from the garden to eat raw & dipped in a cup of sugar. Delicious!

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Naturally, raw rhubarb isn’t to everyone’s taste – least of all Mr Cakes, so these days I prefer to stew said veg (yes, it’s a vegetable, not a fruit) with some sugar just to take the edge off. Its simple enough to do, just trim the tops and tails of the rhubarb stalks and give them a rinse. Chop into chunks and put in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of water and the same of sugar (more, or less to taste!) Take heed of Nigel Slater’s advice regarding the receptacle you use … “Only heatproof glass, enamelled cast iron and stainless steel are suitable materials for cooking utensils that come into contact with the oxalic acid present in this pretty vegetable. Simmer your pink stalks in an aluminium pan and you will end up with a seriously nasty metallic-tasting – if not downright poisonous – pudding.”

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What you can see here is a rhubarb and star anise steamed sponge pudding. Technically this is not a bake, I hope you don’t mind! The combination of aniseedy star anise and the sweet & sour rhubarb has to be tried – the star anise almost sweetens the tangy rhubarb.

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Rhubarb and Star Anise Steamed Sponge Puddings

Makes 4 individual puddings

Ingredients
300g stewed & sweetened rhubarb
100g golden caster sugar
100g butter
2 tsp ground star anise
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
100g self-raising flour

Method
1. Grease 4 ramekins or small pudding basins and spoon the stewed rhubarb into the dishes.
2. Cream together the butter and the sugar, and when light and fluffy beat in the eggs 1 at a time, adding a half of the star anise and vanilla as you do so. Finally mix in the flour.
3. Divide the sponge mix between the dishes, don’t worry if the sponge mix sinks into the rhubarb. This makes the pudding all the better!
4. Cover the dishes with foil and secure with string, steam for 30 minutes.
5. Eat and enjoy! We had ours with custard, another classic combo!

20120624-211449.jpg

I ground my own star anise – just pop a few whole stars into a coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder. You can sieve out any larger woody bits that you don’t want in your cake. And a word about the vanilla extract, I like Taylor & Colledge Vanilla Bean Paste – almost as good as using a fresh pod.

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Golden Brown

28 Jun

Dan Lepard Wholemeal bread

First of all, if this post has you humming The Stranglers, get your lug-holes round this Stylophone Council version of Golden Brown

dry ingredients wholemeal bread

secret ingredient

wholemeal bread ingredients

Now, down to business. Adventures in bread baking continue in the Bakes household. At the moment I’m trying to perfect the overnight fridge proving. First time round I made a lovely seeded bloomer, but made the mistake of putting the dough in the fridge overnight for the 2nd proving. It didn’t work as planned and the resulting loaf, although very tasty, was very dense. Must try harder!

Before proving

after prooving

freshly baked

Cooling the bread

More succesful was this Dan Lepard recipe for Wholemeal Bread. The dough went into the fridge for the 1st proving and left overnight. The following morning out came the dough to be shaped and left to prove for a 2nd time. Have you spotted Dan’s secret ingredient? It surely wouldn’t be a Dan Lepard recipe without a secret ingredient – 1/2 a 500mg Vitamin C tablet this time. It’s scientific, so I won’t can’t explain, but apparently it stops the bread being too heavy. I’m not sure how, but it did work! A proposal for keeping your freshly baked loaf in tip-top condition – wrap and store in a *clean* tea towel (preferably linen), or you could make yourself a bread bag like this one.

sandwich bread

There you have it – a light, fluffy, crunchy crust wholemeal loaf. Perfect for a cheese and pickle sandwich if you ask me.

bacon eggs and wholemeal bread

Or toasted to have with your eggs and bacon on Sunday morning. Tick!

Wedding Bake Off, Part 3

25 Jun

And the winner is…well, it’s the CARDAMOM POND CAKE, of course!

IMG_3835

Look at it! What a cake, it’s got us on it – Mr & Mrs Cakes, swimming in a pond. It’s too perfect. And the little flower and reed details. You’ve got me, I love it. Full marks for appearance! But remember, we scored the cakes on creativity and taste too. So, okay, creativity – hmmm, yep. Not bad. It’s a cake that looks like a pond with us swimming in it, quite creative. And it tastes of cardamom. Not only that it tastes ruddy fantastic! Now, I’ve tried making a cardamom cake before. It didn’t taste much like cardamom. Thank goodness Mog (Symondsbury Bake Off 2012 champ) was willing to share her secrets with us.

Let me tell you how the conversation went –

Mrs Cakes: Can I have your Cardamom Cake recipe? I want to blog it..
Mog: Sure! It’s basic cake with c.10 (too many?) crushed cardamom stirred in while adding the eggs. A lucky variation on (as the boy terms it) “just cake” or plain sponge.
Mrs Cakes: Just cake? Love it!
Mog: Sometimes he adds an expletive in the middle, hence my search for ways to enliven it!
Mrs Cakes: Defo the right amount of cardamom. 10 pods or 10 seeds?
Mog: Pods. Seeds=too weak, packets=too strong.
Mrs Cakes: You’re so smart!

Here is my approximation of the cake

Ingredients
200g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
3 large eggs
10 cardamom pods, ground
200g self-raising flour
1-2 tbsp milk

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C, and grease and line 2x 20cm round cake tins.

2. Cream the butter and the sugar together, and when they become pale and fluffy beat in the eggs 1 at a time adding 1/4 of the ground cardamom with each egg.

3. Gently fold in the flour, you want to achieve a batter that drops off the spoon, so add milk until this is as desired.

4. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 20-25 mins until golden brown and a skewer stuck into the middle comes out clean.

5. Allow the cakes to cool for 5 mins in the tins, then remove and place on a wire rack.

6. When totally cool, sandwich the cakes together with jam (I think rhubarb would taste perfect with the cardamom, or you could try apricot)

7. If you have a bake-off to enter, cover the cake in icing that looks like a pond with people swimming in it. If not just sprinkle with icing sugar and eat! This is not “just cake” anymore.