Tag Archives: Baking

Soaked Coffee and Walnut cake

7 Sep

wpid-IMG_20130812_174323.jpgNow, I must emphasise here that this is dedicated to my aunty Lynne. I had been meaning to make my coffee and walnut cake when she visioned for a good year or more (I know, bad niece). Anyway I finally made and and I would say it was definitely worth the wait eh 😉

I used a classic all in one method by Delia Smith, then created a coffee syrup to pour over the two sandwich cakes as soon as they came out of the oven. When they’re still warm, it soaks into the sponge and is deeelishhhh. It was finished off with an indulgent coffee buttercream.

Ingredients:

220g Self raising flour
220g Butter, soft
200g Golden castor sugar
60g Walnuts, roughly chopped
1.5 tbsp Instant coffee mixed with 1 dessertspoon boiling water
4 Eggs
2tsp Baking powder

For the buttercream and syrup:
200g Icing sugar
125g Butter
35gSugar
1tbsp Instant coffee

Method:
1. Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk until the sugar starts to integrate itself into the butter and it’s looking nice and creamy. Add all the dry ingredients and eggs and whisk to combine. Add the walnuts and coffee and whisk briefly to combine.

2. Pour the mixture into two greased and lined baking tins (a lot easier than into one and having to cut the cake in half!) and bake for approx 30mins at 180C.

3. Just before the cake is ready, make the syrup by dissolving the sugar and coffee with 45ml boiling water in a heatproof jug. Pour over equally when the cake is still in the tin pretty soon after it comes out of the oven (it will soak up a lot better)

4. Once cooled, make the buttercream by combining all ingredients and spread with a large knife. Decorate with a few walnut halves and enjoy for a pudding or an indulgent afternoon (or morning) tea.

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A hankering for Hot Cross Buns (the French don’t do them)

31 Mar

Hot Cross Buns are ALWAYS present in my house (uni or at home – my mum makes some great ones, albeit with the help of the breadmaker…) over Easter time. They make a healthy breakfast or teatime treat with the low amount of fat in the dough, you can have them toasted slathered in butter and jam, or they are pretty tasty on their own, warm out of the oven.

Although not immediately out the oven… greedy me burnt my hands/lips and learned my lesson…IMG_20130331_163950

Anyway, I decided to tackle making my own this year, after sneakily downloading (IPlayer has me coming across ‘content unavailable outside the UK’ notifications whenever I see a programme that I want to watch and I ALWAYS forget in my excitement) the Great British Bake off’s Eater Masterclass, I attempted Paul Hollywoods recipe. They seemed pretty simple?! (She says, forgetting that he is a professional baker and herself a more chuck-in-a-bowl-and-stir kinda baker) But yes, they were really easy to make, a little time consuming with two 1hour rises but it’s something you have to expect. I actually like having my afternoon being taken up by baking, I always feel productive (even if I am meant to be doing that French translation but tant pis!)

I have my looooovely friends coming to visit on Easter Monday, I hope they like them 😉

Ingredients:
300ml milk
50g butter
500g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
75g caster sugar
7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
1 egg, beaten
75g sultanas
50g mixed peel
zest 1 orange
1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
70g flour/2 tbsp water (for the cross!
1tbsp apricot jam mixed with ½ tbsp water (for the glaze)

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Method:

1. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Tip the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture into a well in the centre and add the egg. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the mixed peel, spices, orange zest and sultanas.

2. Knead for 5 minutes on a well floured surface until the dough starts to come together, you may need to add more flour, but don’t add too much – kneading will help the dough lose its ‘stickyness’. Put the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour.

3. When the dough is at least doubled in size, knock out and knead again for 5 minutes until elastic. The dough should smell erm-aahh-zing right now.

4. Divide into around 15 equal sized balls and arrange on a baking sheet, with a gap either side to allow for rising. Leave to rise in a warm place for another hour. Before baking, mix the water/flour together to make the cross, the mixture should be a consistency that drops off a spoon and is easily pipeable but still holds it shape. Pop into a piping bag and get crossing!
5. Bake for about 12 minutes in an oven preheated to 200C, then glaze with a pastry brush the warmed, mixed water & jam for a really professional finish.

Zingy lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting

24 Mar

I must admit, this is the best cupcake recipe I have come across – based on an American recipe book my lovely cousins gave me for Christmas (I usually find American recipes waaaayy too sugary for my liking) these were super refreshing, light and zingy. And not too sweet! Plus the cream cheese frosting is just my fave (not only for carrot cakes!)

The batter only takes ten minutes to make so g’wan, have your cake (12 of them) and eat it (sorry…THEM.)

Ingredients:
160g self raising flour
160g sugar
115g butter
1tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
120ml whole milk
pinch of salt

For the frosting:
100g cream cheese
2tbsp icing sugar
1tsp lemon juice (you can add more if you want it more zingy – just make sure you frosting is still stiff enough to spread!)

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Beat together the sugar and butter until the colour has lightened and it has increased in volume. Add the eggs one by one, beating after each addition (make sure they are at room temp otherwise the mixture may curdle.)
2. Add the lemon juice and zest to the egg mixture.
3. In three additions, mix the milk and flour together. All these additional mixing may seem too much but trust me – it is worth the light, fluffy cupcakes you get!
4. Slowly incorporate the flour/milk mix with the egg mix. 
5. Fill cupcake liners so that the mixture is about half way up.
6. Bake for 23 mins! (specific I know…)

When the cupcakes are cooled, use a piping bag or simply spoon the combined cheese/sugar/lemon mixture over the cupcakes.
Decorate with some candid lemon peel if feeling fancy

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Boozy banoffee loaf

12 Dec

I never know if to refer to any baked good that uses bananas as a

Imagebase as a bread or a cake (maybe more of a cake due to no yeast?!) anyway, ‘loaf’ seems neutral, unbiased to all cake/breads out there! My recipe calls for a good glug of rum to give a Caribbean warmth. I also added some chopped fudge pieces to give a lovely caramel-y flavour. A few walnuts into the batter add texture and compliment the banana flavour well, although pecans would make an equally tasty addition. Eaten with a slather of butter (making it more a bread?!) make it a delicious accompaniment to a warming mug of spiced hot chocolate or even a cheeky glass of mulled wine. Perfect eaten in bed, watching a good film. Although, try not to eat it all at once, the smell that comes from the oven is delicious! Consequently, the downside of this recipe is that you have to endure the smell for an hour or so due to the cooking time.

Incredibly simple method and is a good way to use up those bananas that are going a bit brown in the fruit bowl. In fact the riper, the better! It also stays fresh for a week.

Ingredients:
80g Butter, softened
100g Caster sugar
270g Plain flour (you can use 50/50 wholemeal/plain to make it even healthier!)
2 ½ tsp baking powder
2 Eggs
4 Ripe, medium-sized bananas, mashed
35g Chopped fudge pieces
35g Walnut pieces
1.5tbsp Rum

Method:1. Heat your oven to 160C (fan.) Mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs and mashed bananas until you have a well-combined batter. Fold in the walnuts and fudge pieces, along with the rum. Spoon into a 450g lined and greased loaf tin and bake for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

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Soaked coffee and walnut cake

27 Nov

Coffee and walnut is one of my all time favourite cakes. Delia Smith’s ‘Austrian coffee and walnut cake’ has the best recipe I have tried. What makes it so tasty is that as soon as the cake is taken out of the oven, coffee syrup is poured over to soak into the cake, giving it an amazingly moist, coffee enriched flavour and texture. In theory it should be baked in two sandwich tins, with each cake having a share of the coffee, meaning that you get the syrupy loveliness in two cakes. However, as I only have a loaf tin, the bottom two thirds of the cake was comparably a lot drier to two sandwich tin cakes soaked in syrup. I used my own buttercream recipe that is simple and can be made with everyday storecuboard ingredients.
I served this as part of my Exeter-inspired afternoon tea with some friends in Nice. My parents visited and also had a few slices – a proper ‘feed a crowd’ cake!

TIP: If you are using a loaf tin, it’s tempting to make more syrup to allow the bottom half of the cake to complement from it, however do not do this as it would give your cake a soggy top!

Serves 8
Ingredients:
For the cake –
1 ½ level tablespoons instant coffee mixed with 2 tablespoons boiling water
75g walnut halves
175g self raising flour
1 ½ level teaspoons baking powder
175g softened butter
175g caster sugar
3 eggs

For the syrup –
1 level tablespoon instant coffee
50g Demerara sugar (I used caster as I had nothing else and worked perfectly)

For the coffee buttercream –
125g softened butter (I prefer to use salted – I find it gives a richer taste)
200g icing sugar

1 dessert spoon instant coffee dissolved with 1 ½ tablespoons boiling water.

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 170C (fan). Reserving a few for decoration, roughly break up your walnut halves and spread them on a baking tray. Toast in the oven for around 8 minutes. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, sieve your flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Then, simply add all the other ingredients apart from the coffee and walnuts and mix together with a wooden spoon or use an electric whisk so all of the ingredients are well combined and the mixture drops off a wooden spoon when tapped against the side of the bowl.
3. Fold in the coffee mixture and walnuts. Divide the mixture between 2 greased sandwich tins with the bottoms lined with baking paper. If you do not have sandwich tins, a loaf tin will do providing it is well greased. Pop into the oven for 30minutes or so (for sandwich tins) or around 45 minutes (for a loaf tin) until a skewer comes out of the middle of the cake clean.
4. Whilst the cake is baking, make the coffee syrup by placing the coffee and sugar into a heatproof jug. Add 55ml boiling water and stir briskly until the coffee and sugar is dissolved.
5. When the cakes are cooked, leave to cool for 5 minutes then remove from tins and place on a wire rack to cool. Pour the syrup equally over each cake whilst the cakes are still warm so the syrup is absorbed better.
6. When the cakes are cooled, spread with a good slathering of buttercream and decorate with the remaining walnut halves. To make the buttercream you simply mix together the softened butter with sieved icing sugar added a little at a time. When all the icing sugar has been added, dissolve the instant coffee in the boiling water. You should have a strong, syrupy coffee. Mix this into the buttercream and you will have a delicious creamy coffee buttercream. I dare you not to lick the bowl!

Indulgent chocolate fudge cupcakes

23 Nov

The fudgyest chocolate cakes ever, in ideal cupcake size portions – so rich you do not want more than one or two! I made the mistake of eating the leftover buttercream even though I was feeling sick, bad idea. My recipe uses no cocoa powder (I didn’t have any!) but melted dark chocolate to give it an even more chocolatey flavour. I used quite cheap basic dark chocolate which is about 60% cocoa solids. I prefer this as it doesn’t give as much of a bitter taste as high percentage dark chocolate does (plus it is cheaper!)

Makes 9 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cake:
120g self raising flour
2/3rd tsp baking powder
115g caster or muscovado sugar
115g softened butter
2 eggs
35g melted dark chocolate

For the buttercream:
100g softened butter (I prefer salted to unsalted in a butter cream – I find it gives a richer taste)
100g bar dark chocolate
50g icing sugar
1tbsp plain flour

Method:
1. Heat the oven to 170C (fan).
2. Mix all the ingredients except for the chocolate together in a big bowl.
3. Break the chocolate into squares and melt in a microwave. Melt it for 10 seconds, take out and stir, then continue until it is nearly completely melted. When you stir it the rest should melt and you should have smooth silky chocolate.
4.Fold in the melted chocolate until the mixture is well combined. The mixture should fall off a spoon when tapped on the side of the bowl.
5. Fill cupcake cases 2/3rds of the way up and bake in on the middle shelf for 25minutes. The cakes are ready when a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool.
6. For the buttercream, break the chocolate up into squares and melt in the microwave. Add the softened butter and mix until well combined. Add the icing sugar and flour and mix until smooth. You will need to let it cool before it is at the right thickness to decorate your cupcakes. Pop in the fridge for a while to speed up the setting process.
7. Decorate your cakes and eat!