Tag Archives: family

Nectar of the Gods

24 Aug

Nectarine Cupcakes

Nectarines! Another seasonal fruit I just can’t get enough of. After having the genius idea to bake these juicy beauties into a cake, I thought I’d check out Niki Segnit’s Flavour Thesaurus for a prunus persica match made in heaven. But when I got to the peach section (essentially the same as a nectarine, only before shaving), most of the pairings were other fruits. Why would I want to put other fruits with nectarine, I cried? They taste so flippin’ good, all on their own. Let’s make *just* nectarine cakes, then.

nectarine cupcake batter

unbaked nectarine cupcakes

fresh nectarine cupcakes

Nectarine cupcakes

Nectarine Cupcakes
makes 12

Ingredients
For the cakes:
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
200ml sunflower oil
250g nectarines (approx. 2 large fruit), peeled and stoned
200g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the icing:
100g soft cream cheese
50g unsalted butter, softened
75g icing sugar
1 nectarine, stoned and sliced into 12 pieces.

1x 12 cup muffin pan, lined with muffin cases.

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4

Cut the nectarines in half, puree 3 of the halves and finely chop the last half. Beat the sugar, eggs, oil, and pureed fruit together until combined (I used a magimix, you can do this by hand though.) Then fold in the flour and salt until just combined. Finally stir in the vanilla extract and the finely chopped nectarine flesh.

Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cases, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool for ten minutes in the tins before removing to a cooling rack.

Beat the cream cheese, butter, and icing sugar until smooth. When the cakes are completely cooled, top with the icing and a slice of nectarine

little boy cakie

These cakes are perfect for little hands to decorate, and then scoff quickly with a triumphant shout of “Cakie!” And I’m pretty sure they contain one of your five a day.

Child’s play

17 Mar

candy meltscake pop sprinkles
wilton candy meltsmelts and sprinkles

Cake Pops are so easy to make, even children can do it. Which is a very good thing, as the cake pops I had planned to make for some chums and their kids weren’t quite done when they turned up for dinner. “Hi gang, good to see you! Now, I’ve got a job for you to do….”

We ate dinner, let it go down (for about 5 seconds, can we make them noooooooooowwwww?) – and then got busy with the cake pops. The day before I had already prepared the cake (an orange sponge that didn’t taste very orangey, must try orange essence next time), mixed the cake crumbs with icing and rolled into balls in the usual fashion. All that was left to do was decorate the little fellas.

It was good family fun, as long as you don’t mind your star sprinkles getting mixed up with your confetti sprinkles, and your confetti sprinkles getting mixed up with your star sprinkles, and your hundreds and thousands getting mixed up, well, everywhere! But our little cake pop designer had some pretty interesting ideas – like “lets use all the colours at once” which is how we ended up with the swirly 2 tone cake pop below.
ottos cake pops

This time, I discovered that your cake pops should come straight from the fridge before you coat them in chocolate. If they’re room temperature they won’t be hard enough to take the chocolate coating, and they’ll fall of their sticks (and right into your little cake pop-skateer’s mouth!)

That is all.

Roobarb and Strawbs

6 Feb

rhubarb and strawberry jam

She’s been at it again, that sister o’mine. Preserving I mean – this time Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam, c/o Jam, Jelly & Relish by Ghillie James.  I can tell it’s going to be a fantastic combination, strawberry-rhubarb pie is all the rage over the pond so why not here?  One day soon I’m going to force myself to try this one by baking goddess Smitten Kitchen. And did you know, if you add a couple of tablespoons of strawberry jam to your rhubarb tart, it’ll taste like pineapple? (according to the Flavour Thesaurus)  You could just make a pineapple tart, but where is the fun in that?

How do you do this rhubarb and strawberry jam then?

Strawberries for jam

Chop up your strawbs

Rhubarb for jam

and your rhubarb, and guess what next?

strawberry rhubarb mascerate

MASCERATE!!!!! (we learnt this word last week in the marmalade session)

strawberry rhubarb jam boiling

boil boil boil….

test for jam setting point

Chill a plate, put some jam on it, test for setting point by seeing if it will wrinkle when you squish it. And look at the zebra! Nice plate sis. Then put into you sterilised jars, or straight on your freshly baked scones like Louise did. Nom nom nom. Can’t wait to try some myself.

Lady Marmalade

1 Feb

Oranges and Lemons

I’m not the only one in the Cakes dynasty with a gift for the sweet stuff. My big sis, Louise Cakes is a dab hand in the kitchen too. Believe me, you should taste her Pavlova – to die for! So, imagine my delight when she was totally and utterly up for making a me 1, or 2, or 80 jars of preserves.

Yesterday, the marmalade making began. It all started with a text…

“Just about to start macerating the oranges to make Seville marmalade 2moro, never done it before so wish me luck!” Errrr mascer-what-ing now? Goodness me. “Good luck!” I replied, after asking what on earth mascerating means.  If you really must know, it means softening or breaking into pieces using a liquid. So now you know!

So yesterday, the mascerating began, and looked like this…

mascerating

This is step one – squeeze out all the juice from your oranges, then chop up the peel. Use a food processor if you’re clever like big sis! Soak the peel & juice together with some water overnight.

mascerated

The following morning you should wake up to a bowl full of mascerated goodness! Boil this lot up for a couple of hours til the peel is tender, then add loads and loads and loads of sugar, and a wee bit of lemon juice

sugar and lemon

Stir until your sugar dissolves and then boil rapidly until your marmalade reaches the holy grail – setting point.

boiling marmalade

To check put some marmalade on a chilled plate and squish it with your finger. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. Beware though…molten hot sugar and fingies don’t alway like one another….

setting point

When it’s ready, pour into sterilised jars….

marmalade jars

And put a lid on quick sharpish!

finished marmalade

Et voila! Perfect Seville orange marmalade. It’s been given the seal of approval by Big Bro in Law, and fellow blogger Dave of Dave Johnson’s Photography, so it must be good.

By now you must have noticed that I have a bit of a soft spot for Hugh Fearnley-Whttingstall (actually I prefer his 3 hungry boys at the moment, but that’s between me and you…) Here’s his version of Seville orange marmalade. It’s Seville orange season, so get out there and get some and get making some marmalade. Yum! Thanks sis.