Category Archives: Cakes

Hummingbird Cake

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Hummingbird Cake

A Jamie Oliver recipe – this cake has been around for ages.  It’s gorgeous and very easy to make. I wish I had taken a picture when I cut the cake because it looked fabulous – I will be making this again so watch this space.

Ingredients – Cake

  • 250 ml olive oil plus extra for greasing
  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 1 level tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 350g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium very ripe bananas
  • 1 x 425g  tin of pineapple chunks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g pecans
  • pinch salt

Ingredients – Icing

  • 400g icing sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 200g cream cheese

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease and line two 23 cm cake tins.  
  • Sift the flour and cinnamon in a bowl, add sugar and large pinch of salt.  
  • Peel the bananas and mash them with a fork in another bowl.
  • Drain and finely chop the pineapple, add to bananas with oil, eggs and vanilla extract.
  • Mix until combined and fold into dry ingredients until smooth.
  • Finely chop pecans and gently fold in, and divide batter between two tins
  • Bake for 35 – 40 mins or until risen and golden brown. Run a knife around edge of tins, then leave to cool for 10 mins before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Sift icing sugar into a bowl, add butter and beat until pale and creamy. 
  • Add cream cheese, finely grate zest of 1 lime and a little squeeze of juice, then beat until just smooth.  Important that you don’t over beat this mixture.
  • To assemble the cake, place one sponge on a cake stand, and spread with half the icing.  Top with the other sponge, spread over the rest of the icing, then grate  over the zest of the remaining lime. Scatter with chopped pecans.

Note: Jame Oliver did make a pecan brittle topping which he sprinkled over the icing. I didn’t add that step because I sprinkled chopped pecans. When eventually I go down the path of making the brittle- I will add it.

 

 

Nigella’s Basic Chocolate Cake

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This is Nigella’s basic chocolate cake recipe  from her website –  simply delicious. I heated it in the microwave for 10 seconds and the chocolate icing just oozed down the cake – yummy!!

Ingredients – Cake

200 grams plain flour
200 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
40 grams best-quality cocoa powder
175 grams soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
150 ml sour cream

Ingredients – Icing 

75 grams unsalted butter
175 grams best quality dark chocolate (broken into small pieces)
300 grams icing sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
125 ml sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

Take everything out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF and line and butter two 20cm / 8 inch sandwich tins with removable bases.
Put all the cake ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream – into a food processor and process until you have a smooth, thick batter. If you want to go the long way around, just mix the flour, sugar and leavening agents in a large bowl and beat in the soft butter until you have a combined and creamy mixture. Now whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, vanilla and eggs and beat this into your bowl of mixture.
Divide this batter, using a rubber spatula to help you scrape and spread, into the prepared tins and bake until a cake tester, or a thin skewer, comes out clean, which should be about 35 minutes, but it is wise to start checking at 25. Also, it might make sense to switch the two cakes around in the oven halfway through cooking time.
Remove the cakes, in their tins, to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before turning out of their tins. Don’t worry about any cracks as they will easily be covered by the icing later.
To make this icing, melt the butter and chocolate in a good-sized bowl either in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Go slowly either way: you don’t want any burning or seizing.
While the chocolate and butter are cooling a little, sieve the icing sugar into another bowl. Or, easier still, put the icing sugar into the food processor and blitz. This is by far and away the least tedious way of removing lumps.
Add the golden syrup to the cooled chocolate mixture, followed by the sour cream and vanilla and then when all this is combined whisk in the sieved icing sugar. Or just pour this mixture down the funnel of the food processor on to the icing sugar, with the motor running.
When you’ve done, you may need to add a little boiling water – say a teaspoon or so – or indeed some more icing sugar: it depends on whether you need the icing to be runnier or thicker; or indeed it may be right as it is. It should be liquid enough to coat easily, but thick enough not to drip off.
Choose your cake stand or plate and cut out four strips of baking parchment to form a square outline on it (this stops the icing running on to the plate). Then sit one of the cakes, uppermost (ie slightly domed) side down.
Spoon about a third of the icing on to the centre of the cake half and spread with a knife or spatula until you cover the top of it evenly. Sit the other cake on top, normal way up, pressing gently to sandwich the two together.
Spoon another third of the icing on to the top of the cake and spread it in a swirly, textured way (though you can go for a smooth finish if you prefer, and have the patience). Spread the sides of the cake with the remaining icing and leave a few minutes till set, then carefully pull away the paper strips.

carrot, ginger, and walnut cupcakes

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I have baked a lot of cakes in my time but this one has become my all time favourite. Its a recipe from Leila Lindholm.

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Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 180g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar ( I use vanilla paste)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 150ml  sunflower oil
  • 450g grated carrots
  • 100g walnuts chopped
  • whole walnuts for decoration

Cream Cheese Lime Frosting

  • 65g soft butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 100g cream cheese

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 175 Dec C.

2. Beat the eggs and the sugar until pale and fluffy.

3. Mix together the dry ingredients and fold into the egg mixture.

4. Stir in the oil, carrots and coarsely chopped walnuts.

5.  Put paper cases in a muffin tin and pour in the mixture until the cases are tow-thirds full.

6. Bake in the centre  of the oven for 12-15 mins. Leave to cool.

7. Make the frosting by mixing together the ingredients until creamy.

8. Spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes and decorate each one with a  whole walnut.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

devil’s food cake

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A client was telling me that whenever she typed my name into her phone the word devil would pop up.  That might just explain why I loved this sinful indulgence.  Just one tip – make the icing first.  It took a long time to set, and after an hour it was still very runny.  I rather liked the idea of serving it like that but for those that don’t, make the icing first and let it sit. This is a recipe by Annie Bell.  In the coming weeks I will make Nigella’s version just for comparison.

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Ingredients

For the cake

  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 370g light muscovado sugar
  • 180ml groundnut oil (I used grape seed oil)
  • 200g self-raising flour, sifted

For the Icing

  • 250g milk chocolate, broken into pieces 
  • 40 g unsalted butter, diced
  • 60g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 2 tbsp runny honey

Method

Whisk the cocoa with 200ml boiling water, whisk in the bicarbonate of soda and leave to cook for about 20 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 160 deg fan oven/180 deg electric oven.  Butter or oil two 20 cm non-stick cake tins with removable bases, at least 5cm deep, and line with baking paper.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar and oil in a large bowl until smooth, then stir in the flour, and then the cocoa solution. Pour two-thirds of the mixture into one tin and the a third into the other tin, making sure the mixture is evenly spread.  Give each tin a sharp tap on the work surface to bring up any air bubbles and bake for 40-50 minutes respectively, or until risen and firm and a skewer inserted into the centre  comes out clean.  Run a knife around the edge of  the cakes and leave to cool.

To make the icing, gently melt the chocolate and butter into a bow set over a pan with a  little simmering water in it, stirring until smooth.  At the same time, combine the cocoa, milk and honey in a small saucepan and heat almost to boiling point, whisking until smooth.  Pass the cocoa and milk through  sieve into the bowl with the melted chocolate and whisk to a thick, glossy icing.

Remove the deeper pan cake from the base, peel off the paper and slit into two equal layers using a bread knife.  Place the lower half on a cake stand or plate and spread with a quarter of the icing.  Remove the paper from the smaller cake, lay this on top of the base and spread with another quarter of the icing.  Lay the top layer in place and smooth the remaining icing over the top of the cake, taking it up to the sides and leaving it to drip down.  Set aside for a couple of hours for the icing to set.  

red velvet cake

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I baked this on valentine’s day for my husband, it is a recipe from Annie Bells book. The first time I baked this I used 1/2 tsp but I didn’t feel I got the right dusky red color. Since then I have found that I use a tad more than 1/2 tsp of red color paste to get the rich dusky red.  My suggestion would be to start with 1/2  teaspoon and see how you go.

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 For the cake

  • 120g unsalted butter diced
  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 300g plain flour
  • 230g buttermilkOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • 1 tsp find sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20g cocoa powder, sifted
  • Approx 1/2 tsp red food colour paste
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda

For the frosting

  • 180g unsalted butter softened
  • 150g icing sugar,sifted
  • 450g full fat cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method
Preheat the oven to 170 deg C fan forced. Butter two or three (if you have them) 20cm non stick cake tins. Line the bases with baking paper.

To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar together for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the flour in three batches alternating it with buttermilk so you start and end with flour. Next mix in the salt, vanilla and cocoa. Start to add the food coloring, a knife tip at a time, until the mixture is a dramatic dusky red. Mix the vinegar and bicarbonate soda together in a small bowl, they will fizz, and add to the batter.
If using three cake tins, divide the mixture between them, weighing them to ensure you get evenly thick sponges. (If using two tins, add a third of a mixture to each one, bake these and then bake the third one). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until shrinking  from the sides and firm when pressed in the centre. Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack, remove the paper and leave to cool top upwards.

upside down peach cake

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Another easy recipe although the end product looks like a lot of effort went into baking this cake.  I served it with dollop of condensed milk ice cream. I didn’t have muscovado sugar so I used brown sugar instead.  The original recipe used apricot, and I think it would be great using pear or apples as well.
 
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For the peaches
  • 30g light muscovado sugar
  • 30g lightly salted butter, softened
  • 5-6 peaches halved and stoned
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For the cake
  • 150g light salted butter
  • 150g castor sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 125 ml milk
  • 200g plain flour sifted
  • 11/2 tsp baking powder
 
Method
Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C fan forced. To prepare the apricot base layer, cream together light muscovado sugar and butter in a bowl until light and fluffy.
Using your fingers, smear the mixture over the bottom of a 20cm non stick cake tin with a removable base.  Place the apricots cut side down on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
To make the cake, place the butter and sugar in a bowl and cream together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the lemon zest.  Incorporate the milk, flour and baking powder. Spoon the mixture on top of the apricots, smoothing the surface.  Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is golden and skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Run a knife along the collar and leave the cake to cool for about 15 minutes. Place a plate on top of the cake tin and invert it, pressing the base down until the cake touches the place. Now carefully run a knife  between the base of the tin and cake till the tin lifts off.  Accompany with cream or ice cream.

 

Blondies

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Yesterday was the first time I baked these. I had to share it because it is a light cake full of flavour.  This recipes is from Annie Bell’s Baking Bible. Again this is such an easy recipe.


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Ingredients

  • 150 g unsalted butter
  • 150 g golden syrup
  • 150 g  set honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 75g white chocolate – chopped

Method

Preheat oven to 170 deg C fan forced/160 deg C electric. Line a square 23 cm brownie tin, 4 cm deep. Gently heat butter, syrup, honey and vanilla in a small saucepan.  Once melted, take off heat and leave to cool for 15 mins. Once cooled beat in eggs one at a time.  Sift flour and baking powder, add to the ingredients, whisking until smooth.  Pour into the lined tin, scatter over the white chocolate and bake for 25-30 mins.