Friday, 31 July 2009

Raspberry Bakewell Cake

If you are a lover of the Bakewell Tart you will love this cake! I came across this recipe on the BBC Good Food website whilst on my search for something quick and easy to bake using some juicy raspberries that I had in my fridge and the recipe ticked all the boxes. My hubby and I have always loved the combo of raspberries and almond together and this golden coloured cake is bursting with sweet almond flavour, dotted with fresh raspberries within a moist and fluffy sponge!

Raspberry Bakewell Cake


140g ground almonds
140g butter, softened
140g golden caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g raspberries
2 tbsp flaked almonds
Icing sugar, to serve

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and base-line and grease a deep 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Blitz the ground almonds, butter, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla extract in a food processor until well combined.
Spread half the mix over the cake tin and smooth over the top. Scatter the raspberries over, then dollop the remaining cake mixture on top and roughly spread - you might find this easier to do with your fingers. Scatter with flaked almonds and bake for 50 mins until golden. Cool, remove from the tin and dust with icing sugar to serve.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Banana Strawberry and White Chocolate Muffins

This is my all time favourite muffin recipe, I just love how quick and easy these muffins are to make up. The recipe is very flexible and you can add all types of chocolate chips, fruit or whatever your taste buds desire. On this occasion I made use of some strawberries I had in the fridge and thought the combination of banana, strawberry and white chocolate would be utterly luscious. I definitely hit a winner with this combo! These muffins deliver a moist sweet sponge, with the delightful blend of mashed banana and studded through with bite-sized strawberry chunks and white chocolate chips. A match made in heaven!

Banana Strawberry and White Chocolate Muffins

3 very ripe bananas
125ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
250g plain flour
100g caster sugar
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
300g strawberries hulled and chopped into bite size chunks
150g white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan oven/gas mark 6 and line a 12-bun muffin tin with muffin papers.

Mash the bananas and set aside for a moment. Pour the oil into a jug and beat in the eggs.Put the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a large bowl and mix in the beaten-egg-and-oil mixture, followed by the mashed bananas. Fold in the strawberries and the white chocolate chips, then place equal quantities in the prepared muffin tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Summer Berries Fruit Tart

Over the weekend I took advantage of having a variety of summer berries in the fridge and made another bake from “In the Mood for Entertaining” by Jo Pratt. This second offering from the book is this recipe for Favourite Fruit Tart. On this occasion it became Summer Berries Fruit Tart, this recipe is very adaptable and you could use any fruit combo. I don’t often make my own pastry and normally go the ready-made route but this time I decided to venture out of my comfort zone. I knew there was a reason why I avoid making my own, as the pastry gave me some trouble but I managed to make it work and it didn’t turn out at all bad in the end. Once the pastry was done the rest was child’s play. I was dubious about the tart having no other filling than the berries with the sprinkling of icing sugar but it turned out wonderful. I am definitely going to make this tart again and try it with other fruit combos, especially using apricots! I served this gorgeous summer tart with a generous helping of double cream.

Summer Berries Fruit Tart

Serves 8

225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
150g butter
75g caster sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, beaten
750g-1kg of your chosen fruit
Icing sugar, to dust

You will need a 23cm to 24cm plain or fluted shallow tart/flan tin.

To make the pastry, place the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor and blitz briefly until it resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add the egg a little at a time until the pastry binds together. Knead very lightly on a floured surface to a smooth dough.

Roll out the pastry and line the tart tin. Trimming any excess pastry. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes (or up to 2 days) covered loosely with clingfilm.

Preheat the oven to 160oC/fan 140oC/gas 2-3. Place a baking tray in the oven to heat up.

To prepare the tart, work from the outside in, really packing the fruit into the pastry case and dust with a generous amount of icing sugar.

Place in the oven on top of the hot baking tray. Cook for 30 minutes before reducing the oven temperature to 140oC/fan 120oC/gas 1-2 and cooking for a further 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the fruits are becoming golden on top.

Cool in the tin slightly before carefully removing and dusting again with icing sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

St Clement's Drizzle Cake

This week I received Jo Pratt’s new book “In the Mood for Entertaining” from my latest Amazon late night shopping spree. I loved her previous book “In the Mood for Food”, which is totally girly and pink and very me. Her new book has page after page of delicious and inspiring recipes that I am really looking forward to making. I’m excited to present my first offering from this book, St Clement’s Drizzle Cake. Don’t you just love the name of this cake? I presume it originates from the poem about execution turned nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons! I remember playing the singing game associated with this nursery rhyme in Primary school. Only today did I realise its origins but maybe the lines “Here comes a Chopper to Chop off your Head, Chip chop chip chop - the Last Man's Dead”, should have given it away! The cake, in hubby’s words was described as... “mmm that’s really nice”, which was the correct response if he didn't want to lose his head, hahaha! This quick cake recipe produces a very light and moist sponge that is bursting with those wonderful citrusy flavours soaked through, finished with a crunchy sugary top. The perfect refreshing summertime cake!

St Clement’s Drizzle Cake

175g caster sugar
175g softened butter
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
4 tablespoons milk
2 eggs
175g self-raising flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 180oC/fan 160oC/gas 4.

Grease and line the base of 1 large (900g) or 2 small (450g) loaf tins.

Place the caster sugar, butter and zest of the lemon and orange in a bowl and beat together until pale and creamy. Add the milk, and then beat in the eggs, one at a time, with a spoon of flour to prevent the mixture from curdling. Mix in the remaining flour. Spoon into the prepared tin/tins and level the surface flat.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes for a large cake or 30 minutes for the smaller cakes until they are golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

While the cake is cooking, place the lemon and orange juice in a saucepan, bring to the boil and allow to reduce in quantity to about 3 tablespoons. Leave to cool, and then stir in the granulated sugar so it just starts to dissolve.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick several times with a skewer, then slowly pour the lemon and orange sugar all over the top, letting it soak into the cake. Leave to cool completely in the tin before turning out and cutting into slices to serve.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

White Chocolate Buns

Today I decided to enjoy a lazy Sunday doing a touch of easy baking and bake a recipe I’ve had book-marked for a while. The selected recipe is for these White Chocolate Buns from Rachel Allen’s “Food for Living”, a must have cookbook if you love Rachel Allen. I have all her books and each and every one of them is filled with lovely recipes and this recipe is no exception. If like myself you love white chocolate then these babies are sure to satisfy that craving. The buns have a light and fluffy sponge, finished off with a swirl of melted white chocolate. Perfect to serve with afternoon tea among friends.

White Chocolate Buns

Makes 12

125g butter
75ml milk
75g white chocolate, chopped
200g caster sugar
150g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract

For the topping
75g white chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 170oC/325oF/Gas mark 3 and line a bun tray with 12 paper bun cases.

In a medium-sized saucepan on a low heat melt the butter and then add the milk, white chocolate and caster sugar and stir until the chocolate has melted and the sugar dissolved. Stir to mix and set aside to cool for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and beat the egg in a separate small bowl. Add the beaten egg and vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture, stir to mix and then pour into the dry ingredients, folding it together. Pour the mixture into the bun cases and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until pale golden and just firm on top. Remove from the oven; take the buns out of the bun tray and leave to cool on a wire rack.

For the topping, melt the 75g of chocolate in a bowl sitting over a saucepan of simmering water. Allow it to cool slightly until it’s a little thicker, then, using a table knife or the back of a teaspoon; spread the melted chocolate over each cooled bun. Alternatively, drizzle the melted chocolate from a spoon in delicate patterns over the top. Allow the chocolate to set before serving.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Vanilla Fudgies to celebrate Ollie's 1st Birthday!!

Today my gorgeous Ollie celebrated his 1st birthday, a day we didn’t think he would see! Many of my followers will know that back in February Ollie was diagnosed with FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis), with the diagnosis being bleak for him. Despite the vet not giving him much time, he has defied the odds and is doing well. He does have his bad days where it’s a struggle to eat and those days are hard for me to get through. Ollie having his 1st birthday gives me hope for his future but we take each day as a blessing, he's my little fighter!! I couldn’t go today without marking this special occasion and incorporating my other love…baking! I choose these Vanilla Fudgies as the colouring and their name remind me of Ollie and his distinctive cream colour. Fudge was one of the names in my top five list before we settled on Ollie. The muffins were super easy to make, with the chopping of the fudge being the only time-consuming task. These are light and fluffy, with a lovely vanilla flavour studded with melted nuggets of glorious golden fudge. Eat these while they’re still warm to really enjoy the squidgy, soft fudge chunks at their best but they are equally nice once cooled. Be warned these are very moreish!

Vanilla Fudgies

Makes 12

300g/10oz/2 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
115g/4oz/ ½ cup caster sugar
100g/3½oz fudge, cut into pieces (any type of fudge you like – vanilla, chocolate, raisin, clotted)
125ml/4fl oz/ ½ cup milk
100ml/3 ½ fl oz/ scant ½ cup half-fat crème fraiche
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g/2o butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 200oC/180oC fan/400oF/Gas 6. Grease or line a 12-hole muffin pan.

Combine the flour, baking powder and sugar and sift into a large bowl, then scatter the fudge on top.

In a separate bowl or jug, lightly beat the milk, crème fraiche, egg and vanilla until smooth, then stir in the butter. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix together until just combined, then spoon big dollops of the mixture into the prepared muffin pan.

Bake for about 20 minutes until risen and golden. Leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

This muffin recipe comes courtesy from my latest new book, Muffin Magic!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Chocolate Orange Drizzle Loaf Cake~Sweet and Simple Bake!

I’m late posting my entry for Sweet and Simple Bakes; however I am so glad I managed to find time to bake this cake! This month Rosie presented us with one of her all time favourite cakes, Chocolate Orange Drizzle Loaf Cake! The cake is absolutely amazing and has now entered the top 10 favourite cakes in my home. The sponge is fluffy, light and very moist, with the chocolate and orange blending together perfectly! If you find the orange/chocolate combo irresistible, then this is a “must” bake!! Please pop over to Sweet and Simple Bakes to view more cake entries!

Chocolate Orange Drizzle Loaf Cake
For The cake
175g (6 oz) softened butter
175g (6 oz) caster (super fine) sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
175g (6 oz) self-raising flour, sifted
2 tbsp milk

For The Orange Syrup
Juice of 1 orange
100g (4 oz) granulated sugar

For The Topping
50g (2 oz) dark chocolate or milk chocolate – your choice
Sprinkles of choice (optional)

You will need a 900g (2 lb) loaf tin – greased with a little butter and lined with greaseproof paper or non-stick baking paper.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

In a mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar and beat together until light and fluffy in appearance. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well until fully incorporated. Add the orange zest, flour and milk and fold in gently with a spatula or large metal spoon. Turn into the prepared tin, smooth the top of the mixture and bake in the oven on middle shelf 35 -45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. When cool make little holes in the cake with a skewer, (this is important for pouring the syrup onto the cake to ensure the syrup soaks in fully.)

For The Orange Syrup
Put the orange juice and granulated sugar into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil for a couple of minutes. Pour over the top of the cake. When all the juice has soaked in, carefully remove the cake from the tin.

For The Topping
Melt the chocolate by placing a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, pour over the top of the cake. Either smooth the top over with a spatula or make a little pattern with the prongs of a fork. Add sprinkles if desired, leave chocolate to set before cutting into the cake.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Coffee and Walnut Cake

This Coffee and Walnut Cake is a British teatime classic and one I have never made before. I’ve eaten other versions of this cake in the past and thought it about time I made one myself. This coffee and walnut cake has a very light sponge studded with walnut pieces and an unashamedly rich and luscious coffee infused mascarpone frosting. Will one slice be enough? Probably not!

Coffee and Walnut Cake

Serves 8-10

180g butter, at room temperature
180g caster sugar
3 eggs
180g self-raising flour
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water (I used espresso)
60g walnut pieces

For the frosting
250g mascarpone cheese
85g icing sugar, sifted
1½ teaspoons instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1½ teaspoons hot water (I used espresso)
Walnut halves, to decorate

2 x 20cm diameter sandwich tins, greased and base-lined

Preheat the oven to 180oC/160oC fan/350oF/Gas 4.
Put the butter and sugar in a large bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Sift the flour into the butter mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the walnuts and coffee. Divide the cake mixture between the two prepared tins and level out the surface of each.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and the sponge springs back when gently pressed or a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes before removing cakes from the tin. Once cooled carefully peel off the paper.

To make the frosting, beat together the mascarpone, icing sugar and coffee until smooth and creamy. Spread slightly less than half of the frosting over one of the cooled cakes, then place the second cake on top. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and decorate with walnut halves to finish.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Oatmeal Chocolate-Chip Muffins

It has been a while since I last blogged. Hope my readers are keeping well. Over the summer months I generally have a lot of commitments and when it is too hot I don’t tend to enjoy baking. The last place I want to be is stuck in the kitchen, especially in this heat we have been experiencing in the UK recently.

This summer for me seems to be a time for reunion with old friends thanks to Facebook. It has been really nice being back in contact and re-kindling our past friendships, vowing not to loose touch once more and to stay in regular contact.

Last month I had a friend from my childhood come over to visit with her two daughters, seeing my friend after so long was lovely and we have seen each other twice more since. I baked these muffins to serve with tea when she came over and they went down a treat, with my friend hardly able to believe what a domestic goddess I’ve become since the last time we saw each other. Bearing in mind the last time we saw each other, we only lived for the weekends and partying!! Since then I have only baked a few desserts for my sons’ birthday BBQ party, which did not last long enough to get a picture of them. Today I took advantage of the cooler weather and baked a cake, I hope to get time to blog it this weekend.

Oatmeal Chocolate-Chip Muffins

Makes 12 (I ended up with 13)

60g rolled oats
260ml milk
225g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
85g plain chocolate chips, extra for sprinkling (or chocolate chunks, which I used)
1 medium egg, beaten with a fork
140g light brown soft sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
90ml vegetable oil

Prepare the muffin tins. Preheat oven to 190oC/170oC fan oven/375oF/Gas mark 5. In a medium-sized bowl, combine oats and milk. Set aside to soak while you prepare the dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in chocolate chips.

Now to the milk and oat mixture, add beaten egg, sugar, vanilla and oil. Stir well.

Pour all of the wet mixture into the dry. Stir just until combined and no dry flour is visible. Batter should have a good dropping consistency - not too thick, not too thin.

Fill muffin cases three-quarters full and sprinkle chocolate chips. Bake for about 20 minutes, until tops are lightly browned and feel quite firm to touch.