Sunday, 19 June 2011

Cherry Bakewell Cake

Today we are celebrating Father's Day in the UK and what better way to express our love than bake hubby his favourite cake! It's a small token to show how much we love and appreciate how lucky we are to have such a wonderful, caring and hard working father/hubby. We celebrated Father's Day yesterday when our son Jake and his family came over. We had a lovely day and of course spending time with our precious little grandson Ollie is always special.

Bakewell has always been one of hubby's favourites, infact when I first met him his diet consisted of Mr Kipling Bakewell tarts along with packets of jaffa cakes. His diet was terrible but then again he was a teenager living on his own and no one to feed him regular good meals! My hubby is my number one fan and enjoys all my bakes but this cake wins hands down for him.

Looking beyond the way the sponges came out slightly lopsided this cake turned out tasting absolutely perfect. This classic combination has this cake bursting with almond flavour, sandwiched together with the luxurious dark morello cherry conserve and topped with a blanket of silky white icing adorned with toasted flaked almonds and glace cherry halves.

Cherry Bakewell Cake

Serves 8

For The Cake
200g (8oz butter), well softened, + extra for greasing
200g (8oz) caster sugar
100g (4 oz) ground almonds
100g (4 oz) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon almond extract or essence
4 large eggs
Pinch of salt

For The Filling & Top
½ a 340g (approx 12 oz) jar of morello cherry conserve/jam
175g (6 oz) icing sugar
5-6 teaspoons water or lemon juice
1 tablespoon flaked almonds, lightly toasted

2 x 20cm (8 in) round sandwich tins, greased with butter and base lined with baking paper.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Using electric beaters, beat together all the cake ingredients until smooth. Divide the batter equally between tins and level the tops with a spatula. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown and springy to the touch or a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. *Do not open the oven door until 25 minutes of baking to check the cake*.

Place the tins onto a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before turning out to fully cool. Make sure the top of one of the cakes is facing up as you’ll want a smooth surface for the icing later on.

When cool, put one sponge on a serving plate, then spread with conserve/jam. Sandwich the second sponge on top.

Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl. Add the water or lemon juice, then stir until smooth and thick. Spread evenly over the top and let it dribble over the sides. Scatter with toasted flaked almonds on the icing and leave to set for a few minutes before cutting.


This is an easy all in one method for making a sponge cake -please make sure your butter is fully softened before you start.

If you find morello cherry conserve/jam difficult to source, substitute with raspberry conserve/jam, it will be just as delicious!

To toast flaked almonds ~ place a single layer in a dry frying pan for toasting. With the frying pan over medium-high heat, stir or shake the nuts continually for 3 to 5 minutes or until they start to turn golden. Remove them from the cooking pan as soon as they're done.

A few glacé cherries placed on top of the icing additionally with the flaked toasted almonds would also be a lovely.

Hubby with Ollie ♥

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Blueberry Crumble Loaf

My activity has been lacking on the blog front since last week, no particular reason just been busy with other things. I had planned to do some baking over the weekend but with Saturday being a dry and sunny day we made the most of it and went for a picnic to Winkworth Arboretum. I bought some lovely blueberries on Sunday that were half price in M&S and decided to incorporate them into this Blueberry Crumble Loaf. The recipe is from The Hummingbird Bakery's new book Cake Days. I find that some of the recipes from both the Hummingbird bakery books have been hit and miss for me. Whilst the loaf ended up coming out looking lovely, as you can see from the pics, it wasn't all plain sailing. I believe the root cause of the troubles started with the recommended size tin being too small for the amount of batter there was. The loaf needed longer in the oven (nearly 30 mins extra) and also caused the batter to over-flow to the edge of the tin but thankfully not resulting in spillage. In spite of everything this loaf turned out wonderful in the end and has a lovely moist sponge with fruity bursts of blueberry and a crunchy crumble topping.

Blueberry Crumble Loaf

Serves 8-10

For the Sponge
190g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
190g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
190g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
25ml whole milk
100g fresh or frozen (and defrosted) blueberries
50g pecans, chopped (I omitted these)

For the Crumble Topping
25g plain flour
10g unsalted butter
15g soft light brown sugar
20g pecans, chopped
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

One 8.5 x 17.5cm (3 1/2 x 7in) loaf tin with 7.5cm (3in) sides

Preheat the oven to 170C/fan 150C/325F/gas mark 3, then grease the loaf tin with butter and dust with flour.

First make the crumble topping. In a bowl, rub the flour and butter together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the remaining ingredients, and then set aside.

Next make the sponge. Using a hand-held electric whisk or a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Break the eggs in one at a time, mixing well, on a medium speed, after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure every bit of the mixture is incorporated.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon, then add in three stages to the creamed butter and eggs, pouring in the milk after the second batch has been added. Mix well on a medium speed after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl once again to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated.

Increase the speed to medium-to-high and continue mixing until the batter is smooth and even, then add the blueberries and chopped pecans, stirring them into the batter by hand and making sure they are evenly distributed. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top.

Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes or until the sponge feels firm and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, with no cake batter sticking to it. Allow the loaf to cool a little before turning it out of the tin on to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into slices to serve.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Butterscotch Cookies

I can't believe we are in June already, the weeks seem to be flying by and no sign of the heat wave predicted. However Saturday was a gorgeous hot day when we drove down to the New Forest to celebrate my niece's 3rd birthday. I was up early making the Eton Mess Cake to bring along as my contribution to the BBQ and it was loved by all. Sunday was the complete opposite with it being a cold, dull and wet day. We were looking forward to going out for a nice walk but it rained non stop. On rainy days I like to make the most of my time in the kitchen, as I find it more pleasant than during the hotter summer days. So I got busy in my kitchen and made Lemon Curd for the first time. The consistency was not as thick as it could have been but hubby is enjoying it on his toast. I then got the urge to bake some cookies seeing as the Lemon Biscuits didn't last long! This cookie recipe is one of my favourites which I use as a base to add different flavoured chips each time. I needed to use a bag of Butterscotch chips and what better way than to incorporate them into these cookies. Although the butterscotch does make them quite sweet they are gorgeous all the same.

Butterscotch Cookies

Makes over 30

150g soft unsalted butter
125g soft light brown sugar
100g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, fridge cold
1 large egg yolk, fridge cold
300g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 x 326g packet of Butterscotch chips

1 x large baking sheet

Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas mark 3. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

Melt the butter and let it cool a bit. Put the brown and white sugars into a bowl, pour the slightly cooled, melted butter over them and beat together.

Beat in the vanilla, the cold egg and cold egg yolk until your mixture is light and creamy.

Slowly mix in the flour and bicarbonate of soda until just blended, then fold in the butterscotch chips.

Roll into balls. Use your fingers to flatten onto the prepared baking sheet 8cm apart. You will need to make these in 2 batches, keeping the bowl of the cookie dough in the fridge between batches.

Bake for 15-17 minutes in the prepared oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

The cookies can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container. Will keep for a total of 5 days.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Lemon Biscuits

I was planning on making some Lemon Curd this past weekend which I unfortunately didn't get round to. I'm hoping to make this in the coming days so watch this space. The good thing is the lemon curd driven purchase provided me with an abundance of lemons. So yesterday while hubby was in Frankfurt for the day on business I baked these Lemon Biscuits to pass the time. This recipe with its all in one method made it quick to assemble and the dough was a delight to work with, which is always more enjoyable. These zesty and buttery biscuits are simply irresistible and very moreish, you can't stop at one! A must bake for any lemon lover.

Lemon Biscuits

Makes 30-35

325g plain flour
200g butter, chilled and chopped
125g golden caster sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 egg yolks
200g icing sugar

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Whizz the flour and butter to breadcrumbs in a food processor, add the sugar, lemon zest and egg yolks and process to a dough. Roll out the dough to 5mm thick and cut out biscuits. Put on a buttered baking sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes. Cool.

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix with enough lemon juice to make a runny icing. Drizzle the lemon icing over the biscuits.