Posts Tagged ‘cake recipe’

Delicious (Though I Say It Myself) Orange And Earl Grey Cake

Saturday, February 25th, 2012
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Perfecting A Carrot Cake Recipe

Thursday, October 14th, 2010
A Slice Of Carrot Cake

A Slice Of Carrot Cake

Jay kept on calling my “gingerbread” “carrot cake” over the last few weeks, so I took the hint and started trying to perfect a carrot cake recipe. 

The first few attempts did not go down with the kids as firstly they contained walnuts (“I always have hated walnuts” was the response, but in our household it is more of a case that if I can see it then I cannot/must not like it) and then I found them a bit too dry.  So walnuts removed and buttermilk added, I have come up with a carrot cake recipe that passes muster – moist and tasty.  You can always add the walnuts back in again should you so wish; I would suggest 115g / 4oz / 1 cup of chopped walnuts.

The kids got to the icing and topped it with a vast amount of sprinkles which they loved eating as much as the cake itself.  Overall, it is not a bad way to claim you have eaten one of your 5 -a-day.

For the cake:

175g / 6oz / ¾ cup unsalted butter
175g / 6oz / ¾ cup light muscovado sugar
3 egg yolks at room temperature and gently whisked
3 egg whites at room temperature
30ml / 2 tbsp sunflower oil or buttermilk 
175g / 6oz / 1½ cups organic self-raising flour
5ml /1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt, finely ground
¾ tsp organic cinnamon powder
½ tsp organic ground nutmeg
50g / 2oz / ½ cup ground almonds
225g / 8 oz / 1½ cups freshly grated carrot

For the icing:

175g / 6oz / ¾ cup mascarpone cheese, or cream cheese
40g / 1½oz / 3tbsp icing sugar
1tbsp lemon juice
Walnuts or sprinkles to decorate

Set the oven to 160C / 325F.  Line a large loaf tin with baking parchment (dimensions: 12 x 19cm; 4½ x 7½ inches).

Sieve the self-raising flour, salt, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and baking powder together into a large mixing bowl.  Separate the egg yolks and whites; mix the egg yolks together gently with a fork or a whisk and set the egg whites aside. 

Cut the butter into small pieces and put into a mixing bowl, then add in the soft brown sugar.  Cream together the butter and soft brown sugar.  Add the egg yolks and the buttermilk or oil and whisk until thoroughly mixed in.

Put Butter And Sugar In Mixing Bowl

Put Butter And Sugar In Mixing Bowl

Cream The Butter And Sugar

Cream The Butter And Sugar

Add the self-raising flour together with the other dry ingredients and the ground almonds; mix it all up with a silicone spatula or hand whisk. 

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then add this and the grated carrots to the cake batter and fold in fully.

Add The Whipped Egg Whites And Stir In

Add The Whipped Egg Whites And Stir In

Scoop the carrot cake batter into the prepared loaf tin. 

Scoop The Carrot Cake Batter Into The Loaf Tin

Scoop The Carrot Cake Batter Into The Loaf Tin

Put into the centre of the warmed oven and bake for about 70 minutes.  As the hour comes up, start checking the carrot cake by gently pressing the top in the centre to feel whether it feels springy and spongy rather than liquidy; when done a skewer should come out without any dampness on it.

Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then turn out of loaf tin, remove the baking paper and allow to cool on a wire rack. 

Baked Carrot Cake, Cooled And Ready For Icing

Baked Carrot Cake, Cooled And Ready For Icing

When cool, it is time to start preparing the mascarpone ice cream.  To make the cream cheese icing, put all the icing ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix together thoroughly.  Spread this over the top of the carrot cake and decorate with sprinkles or walnuts or other nuts for that matter.

Spread The Mascarpone Icing Over The Carrot Cake

Spread The Mascarpone Icing Over The Carrot Cake

Decorate Your Carrot Cake

Decorate Your Carrot Cake

Enjoy with tea or a coffee, or indulge yourself and enjoy as is and without the excuse of a beverage.

Recipe For Rich Apple Cake

Friday, October 8th, 2010

The idea for this cake comes from the wonderful cook book “European Peasant Cookery” by Elisabeth Luard; it is her recipe for Apple Cake or Æblekage, which comes from Denmark.  “European Peasant Cookery” is one of those great cookbooks that is packed with recipes that will inspire you and has no pretty pictures to beguile you and get in the way of the cookery.

A Slice Of Rich Apple Cake

A Slice Of Rich Apple Cake

I have changed it quite a lot, switching self rasing flour for plain and increasing the number of eggs used, but the underlying concept remains the same – a rich, moist apple cake.  The result came out as a rich and fulsome apple cake that can be eaten hot or cold, as a cake or a pudding with custard or cream.  It is a delicious balance between the sweetness of the cake with the tart freshness of the cooking apples; it reminds me of Zwetschgendatschi, which is one of my favourite flavour memories buried deep in my soul from holidays spent in Bavaria around the Chiemsee.

Axel’s Apple Cake

500g / 1lb cooking apples, thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 pinches of organic Fairtrade mixed spice
1tbsp Fairtrade caster sugar, or flavoured sugar like cinnamon or lemon sugar (if using cinnamon sugar, drop the mixed spice)
225g / 8oz unsalted butter, at room temperature and chopped into cubes
195g / 6¾ oz Fairtrade caster sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature and whisked gently
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
195g / 6¾ oz organic plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp sea salt
½ tsp organic Fairtrade cinnamon powder
75g / 2½ oz organic ground almonds

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F.  Take a 23cm / 9 inch cake tin and lightly oil the tin, remove any excess oil, then line the base with baking paper.

Windfall Apples From The Garden

Windfall Apples From The Garden

Go pick your apples, peel and core them, then slice thinly.  Place in a bowl and sprinkle the lemon juice over them all, then sprinkle with the caster sugar and a couple of pinches of mixed spice.  Thoroughly mix it up to make sure all slices are nicely coated with sugar and spice.  Leave until later.

Grind the ground almonds in a food processor to make them finer – I know it sounds weird but they are usually just too coarse.  Put to the side for use later in the recipe.

Cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and Steenbergs vanilla extract and whisk up fully.  Sieve together the flour, baking powder, sea salt and cinnamon powder.  Add the flour mix into the cake batter and throughly mix up, then add the ground almonds and mix into the batter.

Sugar And Butter Ready For Mixing

Sugar And Butter Ready For Mixing

Cream The Sugar And Butter

Cream The Sugar And Butter

Mix In The Eggs And Flour Mix

Mix In The Eggs And Flour Mix

Pour half the cake batter into the cake tin, then layer over half the apple slices.  Cover with rest of cake mixture and then layer rest of apple slices over the top of the cake. 

Layer The Apples On The Cake Batter

Layer The Apples On The Cake Batter

Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  At around 1 hour, sprinkle the top of the cake with 1 tablespoon of sugar and start looking and checking the cake to ensure you catch it just when it is cooked.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool in tin for about 10 minutes then turn out and cool on a wire rack.

Home Made Apple Cake

Home Made Apple Cake

Serve warm with custard or whipped cream, or cold as a cake with double cream or on its own.

Recipe For Fruit Teabread Revisited

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

For whatever reasons, I have not been quite happy with the original teabread recipe that I created and posted a few weeks back, so I have been playing around with the recipe now and baking away.  Now several teabreads and a family of very happy tasters later, I think I have cracked it.

The key is still in the tea – the better the tea, the more interesting the tea, the better and more interesting the end result.  I have now made it with breakfast tea, Assam tea, Christmas chai tea and Redbush Chai tea and they all come out with slightly different flavours, but they are all great.  The tea should always be made with loose leaf tea as you lose that fustiness from the tea bag, plus why use good ingredients then spoil their subtleties with the imperfection of the flavour from a bag.  The other addition that I have made is I have substituted buttermilk for the butter, which adds a different richness to the cake that was not completely right beforehand, however you can either substitute this for a full fat milk or omit this ingredient but then add extra tea to compensate, otherwise the teabread loses some of its moistness, which is part of the joy and vital to the texture.

The other part that I have played with is to work on variations of the steeping of the fruits.  Firstly, I think it is better to boil the fruit for 10 – 15 minutes, then to leave the fruit to cool and steep in the brewed tea ideally overnight, but certainly until the fruit has cooled to a warm to the touch temperature.  The alternative of steeping in freshly brewed tea did not seem as successful, although fine; perhaps the initial boiling softens up and gets the fruit more receptive to taking up the flavours of the tea.

Finally, I have upped the quantities, the better to fit my loaf tin.  The end result is moist, rich and moreish, tasting great with butter.

Revised Ingredients And Recipe For Axel’s Teabread

175g / 6 oz / 1 cup sultanas
125g / 4½ oz / ¾ cup raisins
50g / 2oz / ¼ cup currants
175g / 6 oz / ¾ cup light brown muscovado sugar
250ml / 8 fl oz / 1 cup strong, freshly brewed tea
1 egg free-range, at room temperature and lightly beaten
50 ml / 3½ tbsp buttermilk
230g / 8 oz / 1 cups plain white flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp Fairtrade cinnamon powder
½ tsp Fairtrade nutmeg powder

Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F.  Line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Place the dried fruit and muscovado sugar into a heavy bottomed saucepan, then add the strong tea, heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes until the fruit has plumped up.  Leave to cool in the pan, ideally overnight.

Sieve together the plain flour, baking powder, Fairtrade cinnamon and nutmeg powders.  Make a well in the centre of the flour, then add in the egg and stir thoroughly with a spatula.  Add the buttermilk and stir until you have a soft dough.  Add the fruits and throughly beat together with the silicone spatula.

Stirring Up The Fruit Bread Mix

Stirring Up The Fruit Bread Mix

Pour the fruit teabread mixture into the prepared loaf tin.  Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, remove from the oven then leave to stand in the tin for about 10 minutes, before turning out and leaving to cool on wire rack.  Start checking the consistency of the teabread towards the end – when it is springy to a light touch on the surface of the teabread, it is done.

Yorkshire Teabread

Yorkshire Teabread

You do not need to leave this to cool down completely as it is lovely eaten warm.

Recipe For Traditional Gingerbread

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
A Slice Of Homemade Gingerbread

A Slice Of Homemade Gingerbread

I seem to be on a journey that includes loads of different traditional British cakes, which noone at home is complaining about at all.  Perhaps, it is the nostalgic air of early autumn creeping into the air.

What is great about these sorts of cakes are that they get better with a bit of ageing, so there is none of this lightness that morphs into dryness overnight.  There’s also an old fashioned solidity to them that makes them a meal in their own right rather than a light, frolicky piece of fancy that seems to be just a burst of sweetness without any substance.

They all make an interesting use of spice flavours and work well with different types of liquid.  In this gingerbread recipe that I have been playing with, I use buttermilk which imparts a richness to the gingerbread that milk does not quite match.  And while there is definitely some ginger taste in this cake, it is not overpowering and is balanced by the sweetness of the cinnamon powder (note: cinnamon not cassia or baker’s cinnamon), while the molasses flavours from the black treacle and muscovado are kept down through using relatively little treacle and a light muscovado rather than a dark one.  You can tweak these quantities and ingredients to suit your household’s tastes – these match our own as Jay really loves this cake.

I, also, recommend wrapping up the cake and leaving it for a day as the cake becomes moister, which is much tastier and the texture is more correct than eating it fresh from the oven.

How To Make Traditional Gingerbread

280g / 10 oz / 2½ cups organic plain flour (I am using Gilchester’s white flour at the moment)
2tsp organic ginger powder
1½tsp baking powder
¾tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾tsp organic cinnamon powder
125g / 4½ oz / generous ½ cup light muscovado sugar
115g / 4 oz / ½ cup butter (lightly salted is fine)
125g / 4½ oz / scant ½ cup golden syrup (corn syrup)
50g / 2 oz / 3tbsp black treacle
200ml / 7fl oz / 7/8 cup buttermilk (or full fat milk)
1 large sized egg, at room temperature and lightly beaten

Set the oven to 160C / 325F.  Line a large loaf tin with baking parchment (dimensions: 12 x 19cm; 4½ x 7½ inches).

Sieve the plain flour, ginger, cinnamon powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together into a large mixing bowl.

Sieve Together The Flour And Spices

Sieve Together The Flour And Spices

Cut the butter into small pieces and put into a pan, then add the golden syrup, muscovado sugar and black treacle to this and warm over a gentle heat until the sugar has melted.

Butter, Sugars And Sweet Things

Butter, Sugars And Sweet Things

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the sugars.  Mix it all up with a silicone spatula or hand whisk.  Add the buttermilk and egg and mix up thoroughly. 

Mix Together The Wet And Dry Ingredients

Mix Together The Wet And Dry Ingredients

Stir In The Buttermilk

Stir In The Buttermilk

Pour Ginger Batter Into Loaf Tin

Pour Ginger Batter Into Loaf Tin

Pour the ginger batter into the prepared loaf tin.  Put into the centre of the warmed oven and bake for about an hour.  As the hour comes up, start checking the gingerbread by gently pressing the top in the centre to feel whether it feels springy and spongy rather than liquidy; when done a skewer should come out without any dampness on it.

Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then turn out of loaf tin, remove the baking paper and allow to cool on a wire rack.  When cool, wrap in clingfilm and leave for a day before eating; you can start eating it straight away but this is really a cake that tastes better the day afterwards. 

Homemade Gingerbread Cooling Down

Homemade Gingerbread Cooling Down

Enjoy on its own or spread with a generous coating of good butter.  Delicious and so, so easy.