30 août 2014

Blueberry Cake

Our little blueberry bush, in its tub in the garden, has given us nearly 3kg of fruit this year. I've frozen some, but wanted to make something quick to offer my friend when she comes round for a cuppa this afternoon. I found this recipe in an old American baking magazine and it really is quick and easy.


260g plain flour
   200g caster sugar
  120g butter, cubed
1 teaspoon baking powder
250ml milk
2 eggs, separated
150g fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven 180C/gas4
grease and line a 20cm square cake tin

Put the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl then rub in the butter till you have crumbs. Put 1/4 of the mixture aside to use as a topping. Add the milk and egg yolks and beat together. Whisk the whites into soft peaks then add to the mixture gently. Spoon into the tin, sprinkle with the blueberries and top with the remaining crumbs. Bake for about 30 mins till golden.




I

Nice soft crumb from the cake and lots of juicy blueberries. Could have it as a dessert with ice cream or cream.

25 août 2014

Yoghurt and White Chocolate Cake



This was the second cake we made on the Baking Course I went on. It's an easy cake to make. I don't often use white chocolate as I have had some disasters when melting it, but this time it worked well. The addition of yoghurt makes this a nice moist cake, which is also light in texture.

Preheat oven 180C/gas4
Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin.

In a large bowl beat 125g butter with 110g caster sugar till light and fluffy using an electric hand mixer. Then add 2 beaten eggs and 1 tspn vanilla extract.
Melt 100g white chocolate, which has been roughly chopped, over simmering water - careful - and stir till it's melted.
Add the chocolate to the cake mixture with 125ml plain or vanilla yoghurt. Mix together gently then fold in 225g sr flour. Pour into tin and bake for 40 mins.
Leave cake in tin for 15mins then turn onto a wire rack.

For the topping:
Beat 125g cream cheese till creamy then add 60g melted white chocolate and 2 tbspn plain yoghurt. Beat together till smooth and fluffy. Spread over cooled cake and decorate with white chocolate curls.

I have to confess that we were given the chocolate shavings, but he gave us the method to make them. I wrote down notes, but think it's easier to see someone doing it, so I found this clip on You Tube.

http://uk.ask.com/youtube?q=How+to+make+chocolate+shavings&v=0UA0opJ_coE&qsrc=472

It's a really good flavoured cake; I used vanilla yoghurt with the vanilla extract and the flavour came through. The topping was very rich but very moreish.
A special occasion cake, but a useful recipe to have. The cake itself keeps for a month in a freezer uniced, or 3 days in an airtight tin iced.



15 août 2014

Russian Chocolate Torte

My friend and I went on a day's Baking Course this week, and this Torte was one of the things we made. In Russian it's called a Bistvitny Torte.
It's not difficult to make, but I found mixing the 2 chocolates together to make marbled chocolate quite challenging, especially making the marbling even.
 It was an interesting fun day, and we watched demonstrations of bread making and a complicated 4 layer gateau. We weren't expected to make these, but we did get to sample some of each.
We brought home the items we'd baked, and I asked if I could put the recipes on here, and was told it was ok if I wrote it in my own words. So that's what I'm doing!

What makes the torte different is that it's soaked in a brandy flavoured syrup, otherwise tbh it's a marble cake.

Preheat oven 190C/gas5
Grease a 23cm ring pan well .

Make the decorations -
Melt 25g each of dark and white chocolate.
Put a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray and put alternative spoonfuls of the chocolate on the paper, and spread together to make a thick marbled layer. Leave it to set then cut into squares then triangles.

Cake:
Beat 175g margarine or butter with 175g caster sugar till nice and fluffy. Add 1 tspn vanilla extract and mix in. Add 3 beaten eggs, a bit at a time, then fold in 225g sr flour.
Divide the mixture in 2, then melt 50g dark chocolate and add it to one of the halves. Put spoonfuls of each mixture into the tin and swirl with a skewer to marble.
Bake for 30 till golden. Let cake cool in tin for few mins, then put onto wire rack to get cold.

Syrup:
Put 125g sugar in a pan and add 6 tbspn water and heat till sugar's dissolved. Then boil for 1-2 mins.
Take it off the heat and add 3 tbspn brandy. Leave to cool a bit, then spoon over the cake so that it soaks in. Whip 150ml double cream, put into a piping bag and pipe a swirl round the top of the cake.
Decorate with the triangles you made earlier.


Even though the marbled chocolate was challenging, it's a nice idea. As chocolate and orange go together so well, you could maybe use Cointreau instead of the brandy. If you don't want alcohol in the cake, perhaps use orange juice?
The cake's nice and moist from the syrup, with a soft texture, and the cream is a good contrast with the crunchy chocolate.
Sorry it's not a very good photo [not unusual I know!!].

We also made a couple of types of biscuits, but will post these another time.



10 août 2014

Apfelkuchen

I've mentioned my lovely German dil before, and this is one of her family recipes. I bought some Bramleys in a local market, and wanted to make some kind of dessert with them. I love apple cakes and have quite a lot of recipes for them, but this is a bit different in the way you put it together.
You get a layer of cake, then a layer of apples, sultanas, cinnamon and citrus zest, then another cake layer.


The cake mixture is more like a dough than the normal cake batter, and I found it difficult to spread the second layer over the fruit. It was quite stiff and I kept getting lumps of dough. I spread it as well as I could, but there were some sultanas poking through [unlike my dil's version, where there's not a sultana in sight - well she works in catering!]. Not a very pretty plate - I asked my OH to get a nice plate for me to put it on, and this is what he produced!



It can be a dessert or eaten as a cake for afternoon tea. We ate it warm with some ice cream.


I'm sure every German family has their own traditional apfelkuchen recipe, but we loved this one.


Preheat oven 190C/gas 5
Grease and line 20cm cake tin.


Melt 115g butter with 115g caster sugar till the sugar has melted. Then stir in 225g sr flour and a beaten egg. You'll get a soft dough, so put half of it into the bottom of the cake tin and spread it over till the bottom's covered.
Peel and core 350g Bramley apples [my dil uses Granny Smiths] and slice them finely. Put them on top of the cake mixture then top with 100g sultanas, 50g soft brown sugar, tspn cinnamon and zest of a lemon or lime.
Spread the rest of the dough on top [I found it easier to use the back of a tablespoon] and bake for about 45 mins till golden. Let the cake cool in the tin.



I used the zest of a lime, and you can really taste it. I like the texture of the cake, then the fruit and spice and then cake again. It's not a soft texture like a sponge, but half way between pastry and sponge. It has a bit of a crunch too.



Fruit and Spice Loaf

A quick post, as the recipe is online.

Another good recipe for a teabread - just fancied making one to have with a cuppa.

 I changed a few things in the recipe - I used 'Quatre Epices', a French spice mix which has cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger, and the cloves and nutmeg give the cake a lovely spicy musky  flavour. I also used dark muscovado sugar as I didn't have any of the light. There's marmalade in it and I used a thick cut, but cut the pieces of peel into small bits. The wholemeal flour makes it quite a dense cake, but the flavours are great, and we enjoyed a slice with some butter.
I think if I made it again, I would use part wholemeal and part white flour for a better texture.
At least the fruit didn't sink to the bottom this time!






 This is the recipe, on the Baking Mad site.
                                           http://www.bakingmad.com/fruit-and-spice-loaf-recipe/

7 août 2014

Peaches and Cream Fairy Cakes

I have to say that I'm not a fan of the American type cupcakes with lots of sickly icing on top, but these are upmarket fairy cakes.
 Peaches were on offer in the local supermarket, so thought I'd try using them in a small cake for a change. The recipe makes 20 cakes.


You need 2x12 hole greased  bun tins [not muffin tins- you need the ones you make jam tarts or mince pies in] or you can cook 2 batches of the cakes. You need 2 ripe peaches with stones taken out and cut into 40 thin slices - you need a good sharp knife!


Preheat oven 180C/gas4       You can use paper cases in the tins if you want.


Beat 225g soft butter with 225g caster sugar using a hand beater, till nice and creamy.
Add 4 eggs a bit at a time, then fold in 250g sr flour; add 3 tbspn sour cream or crème fraiche [and 2 tbspn peach or apricot jam if you want a more fruity flavour] and mix in. Spoon into the cases or tins and put 2 peach slices on top of each cake and bake for 15-20 mins till golden and firm.


Put cakes on a wire rack. Heat 1 tbspn peach or apricot jam with 1 tbspn lemon juice in a pan till the jam's melted, then brush this over the top of each cake while they're still warm. Let them cool on the rack.


A nice treat for my grandsons yesterday. The creme fraiche made them nice and moist, and the peach slices were soft but not too sweet. The original recipe had some jam added in with the cream, but I decided to just use some to brush over the tops.





1 août 2014

Honey and Coconut Cake

I had some dessicated coconut in the cupboard, so decided to make another cake. I also had a lovely pot of local honey bought in a recent farmer's market, so would use this too. I found a lot of recipes online for a honey cake, but they weren't exactly what I wanted.
This recipe is a mixture of bits of several recipes I've used before.

Grease and line a 200g loaf tin.
Preheat oven 180C/gas4

Beat 125g butter with 100g brown sugar till nice and creamy; then add 2 beaten eggs, 1 tspn vanilla extract and 60ml honey. Add 25g dessicated coconut and mix in. Fold in 250g sr flour, 1 tspn nutmeg, 1/2 tspn cinnamon and 1/4 tspn allspice. Stir in 125ml milk and mix gently till smooth.
Pour into the tin and bake for 30 mins. Leave in tin for 10 mins then turn onto a wire rack.

Cream cheese and honey icing:

Beat 125g cream cheese [like Philly] till creamy, then add 75g sieved icing sugar and 1 tbspn honey. Beat together till smooth and fluffy.

Spread icing over cake and sprinkle with some extra nutmeg.


You could add more coconut if you want, but I really wanted the honey flavour to shine. Lovely mix of spices, giving the cake another layer. It's got a fairly dense texture, but is still moist. The icing gives it that finishing touch - it's fairly sweet, but not cloying like some butter creams.