Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

Spiced Apple Muffins

Spiced Apple Muffins

Having started up a new business in the catering trade I am developing a range of baked goods and desserts that I hope my customers will enjoy. This recipe was inspired by the abundance of apples coming from my mother’s apple tree. She presented me with a bag of apples and asked me to bake an apple crumble. Then a few days later came another bag of apples so I did a bit of research and found a basic apple muffin recipe which I have adapted.

These muffins come out light and fluffy with a nice contrast between the tart apples and the warmth of the spices. A good basic muffin recipe that can be adapted as the seasons change and new fruits become the star of the show!

I started off adding cardamom to the muffins as it is my ‘go to’ spice for baking.

Apple and Cardamom Muffins

Apple and Cardamom Muffins

Then I got some feedback from customers and it seems that cinnamon is much preferred! It was also suggested that I put in more apples, so with a lot of home grown apples to use up I happily obliged! 🙂

Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

To add some extra texture and additional flavour hit I added a spiced sugar on top of the muffins. As there is little sugar in the cake itself, the sugary top really helps to bring an extra dimension of flavour. On the cardamom spiced muffins I added the sugar topping at the end of baking but with the cinnamon version it was added as soon as the muffins went to the oven. The latter worked out better…

Ingredients:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 90ml milk
  • 80g baking margarine
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon, cardamom or whichever spice you choose!
  • 2 large apples – peeled, cored and chopped
  • Spiced sugar (2 tbsp brown sugar with a tsp cinnamon/cardamom mixed in)

 

Method:

  • Beat the eggs, sugar, milk and baking margarine together
  • Add the flour, baking powder and  ground spices then fold in until just combined
  • Add the apples and gently fold so you avoid over-mixing and creating a chewy texture
  • Spoon into muffin cases until 3/4 full and top with a sprinkle of the spiced sugar
  • Bake at 200 degree C for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top (check with a skewer that it is cooked all the way through

 

 

And if you have any apples left over make an apple crumble! Here’s one I made earlier…

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

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Rosemary and Cayenne Soda Bread

Rosemary and Cayenne Soda Bread

Week 3 of Great British Bake Off 2015 was ‘Bread Week’ with the contestants starting off with a Soda Bread, before moving onto the technical baguette and then the more elaborate show-stoppers!

Rosemary and Cayenne Soda Bread

Rosemary and Cayenne Soda Bread

So naturally I started off with the easiest option of soda bread. Not a bred I’ve made before so I turned to my trusty ‘bread book’ Short and Sweet by Dan Lepard for inspiration. This cook book doesn’t have a huge amount of photos but more than makes up for this with tonnes of recipes! I once saw Dan Lepard showcasing his bread making techniques at a food festival so have admired his bread making since. An Aussie version of Paul Hollywood!

The basis of this recipe is Dan Lepard’s ‘Breakfast Soda Breads‘ which recommends putting together the ‘dry’ ingredients and storing them for when you want to bake up some fresh rolls. Not a bad idea since I often struggle to eat bread before it starts to go stale. However this time I wanted to bake a whole loaf so I used the same basic recipe but added used some rosemary from my kitchen garden, then threw in some cayenne and chilli flakes for a bit of a kick! I also topped the loaf with some sunflowers seeds because they were closer than the rolled oats.

The great thing about baking this soda bread is that there is no kneading and proofing involved, so it’s really a quick bread!

For ease of reference, I’ve copied the recipe below:

For the dry mix

  • 450g wholemeal flour
  • 3 level tsp baking powder
  • ½-¾ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp muscovado sugar

For every 75g of dry mix (per bread roll)

  • 50-75ml cold whole milk (390ml in total)
  • 30ml plain yoghurt (180g in totol)
  • 15cm square of baking paper
  • Rolled oats, to finish (Or any seeds you have to hand)
  • Extra flavours- 3 sprigs Rosemary (finely chopped), 1 tsp Chilli Flakes, 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Method:

  • Sift the dry ingredients together, so the baking powder and salt are evenly mixed. Add any herbs and spices you want at this point.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan-assisted)/400F/gas mark 6.
  • Stir the required quantity of milk and yoghurt into your dry mix.
  • Position squares of baking paper over each pocket of a muffin tray, then spoon about 150g into the centre of each. Gently press the mixture and paper down into the pocket.
  • Sprinkle a few rolled oats (or seeds) over the soda breads and bake for 25 minutes, until puffed and brown. Serve warm. If baking one large loaf, then bake for 50-60 minutes or until done.

I baked this loaf twice as the first time it was slightly under-baked in the middle, as I didn’t slash the loaf in the middle. The second time I baked it I added some extra rosemary and reduced the amount of salt but felt that the flavour of the first loaf was better. I think I’ll try other soda bread recipes to see how they compare!

Rosemary and Cayenne Soda Bread

Rosemary and Cayenne Soda Bread

In another ‘Short and Sweet’ recipe for ‘Ale House Rolls’ he suggests part baking the rolls before freezing them then baking them from frozen for 10-12 minutes when required. I like this idea and reckon it would work with any breads! Worth a try…

Looking forward to week 4 of Great British Bake Off 2015! 🙂

Salted Butterscotch and Almond Shortbread Biscuits

Salted Butterscotch and Almond Shortbread Biscuits

The Great British Bake Off is bake on British TV and, like thousands of others, it has reinvigorated my interest in baking! My sister and her colleagues have decided to each choose a week to bake some goodies and take them along to the office to share. The idea is that they bake something that was on the programme that episode. However I’ve made it easier on myself and just stuck to the theme. The idea is to challenge myself to bake a new recipe or come up with a new idea.

This week was biscuit week (week 2)! There was lots of shortbread being made, so this inspired my first attempt at these ‘Salted Butterscotch and Almond Shortbread Biscuits’.

You may be wondering why I’m starting with week 2, and what happened to week 1! Well I’ve started late so I’m kind of cheating and counting a previous bake (from 4 months ago!) as my week 1 contribution: Black Forest Cake.

I’m also on Twitter @wangsamsin so feel free to follow my progress!

Shortbread Ingredients: (Original recipe from Tesco website)

  • 125g butter
  • 55g Caster sguar
  • 150g Plain flour
  • 50g Ground almonds
Salted Butterscotch Sauce

Salted Butterscotch Sauce

Salted Butterscotch Ingredients:

  • 125ml double cream
  • 30g butter
  • 4 tablespoons demerara sugar
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Butterscotch Method:

  • In a small pan, bring cream to the boil and stir in butter.
  • Turn down the heat to low then the sugar, stirring until the butterscotch becomes smooth.
  • Add the sea salt and mix thoroughly
  • Allow to cool to room temperature so it becomes spreadable but not too thick (if it thickens too much then re-heat to loosen)
  • Left-overs can be stored in a sterilised jar in the fridge for up to a month. Use as a sauce for ice cream or pancakes!
Salted Butterscotch and Almond Shortbread Biscuits

Salted Butterscotch and Almond Shortbread Biscuits

Almond Shortbread Method: (I made two batches for these double layered biscuits)

  • Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth with an electric mixer.
  • Stir in the flour and almond to get a smooth paste. Turn on to a work surface and gently roll out until the paste is 1/2 cm thick. For the second batch, I cut a small hole in the centre of each biscuit to allow the butterscotch filling to show through.
  • Cut into shapes, place onto a baking tray.
  • Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Set aside to cool on a wire rack. Make sure you bake the ‘holes’ too as they make really cute mini-shortbreads!

To Assemble:

  • Think of a ‘Jammy Dodger’ and you’ll not go wrong!
  • Using the plain biscuit as the bottom layer, spread a layer of butterscotch filling on it then ‘sandwich’ it with a top layer that has a hole in it. Simple!
  • Decorate with some extra sea salt flakes to give a hint of what’s inside…
Salted Butterscotch and Almond Shortbread Biscuits

Salted Butterscotch and Almond Shortbread Biscuits

Example of what CCC Yangon could acheive

Clandestine Cake Club Yangon has arrived!

Clandestine-Cake-Club
Clandestine-Cake-Club

The much anticipated CCC Yangon has arrived!  I have just arrived in Yangon, Myanmar and would like to spread my love of cakes from the UK to my new home city. 

Pistachio, Polenta and Elderflower Cake from a previous CCC club meeting in Manchester, UK
Pistachio, Polenta and Elderflower Cake from a previous CCC club meeting in Manchester, UK

 

The Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) Yangon has now been set up and the first event will be taking place in Yangon, Myanmar on Friday 15th May 2015 7-9pm. Please spread the word among fellow cake lovers and bakers! It is free to be a member of the Clandestine Cake Club. The only costs are that of the ingredients of the cake you bake to bring with them and any refreshments you buy at the host venue. (The venue is kept secret until just before the event!)

Black Sesame and Pear Cake
Black Sesame and Pear Cake from a previous CCC club meet in Manchester, UK

This is Myanmar’s first CCC group! If you love cake, this is the event for you! Let’s bake, eat and talk about cake! For more information about how to join this social gathering,please visit the website or email me (wangsamsin@gmail.com) for more information. You must become a CCC member and email me to confirm you will be coming along before you find out the venue address! (That’s why it’s clandestine!)

Example of what CCC Yangon could acheive
Example of what CCC Yangon could expect

The CCC originated in the UK and is now a world wide craze!  They take place around once a month and are open to all people, local and visitors. 

Date: Friday 15th May 2015

Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm 

Theme: ‘A World of Cakes’

Take inspiration from Myanmar’s diversity of people! You may be from another country or have travelled further afield, take inspiration from your surroundings and the places you have been. Maybe you can use locally sourced jaggery or fresh fruits grown in Myanmar? Take inspiration the Middle Eastern use of cardamom or recreate a British classic! 

Venue: Mingala Taunyyunt Township, not far from Downtown (specific address to be revealed right before the event)

Additional venue info: Refreshments will be available to purchase at the venue. 

As with all clubs there are rules and CCC is no exception.

  • No Cupcakes, Muffins, Brownies, Pies or Tart. It’s all about Cake! 
  • You get to take cake home

This event is open to all people, bakers can bring one guest who does not have to bake a cake. However spaces are limited so if this event proves very popular, a waiting list will be put in place. 

Please feel free to pass this information onto friends. Remember, only members can attend so please visit the club page on The Clandestine Cake Club website to become a member. Once you have joined CCC, you must email me to book a place otherwise I won’t know you want to attend and the venue address will not be revealed to you…

I look forward to seeing you there! 😀

Sam

xx

Black Forest Cake: A CCC post

Black Forest Cake: Childhood Sweethearts

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

This post comes a couple of months late, but by heck have I been busy! Another post will explain all…

For my most recent Clandestine Cake Club meet up the theme was ‘Childhood Sweethearts’ which made me instantly think- “Blackforest Gateaux!”

I think I’ve said this on previous posts but basically my favourite cake is ‘Blackforest’ as it is the cake I always remember from childhood birthday parties. Back then it was the Sara-Lee frozen kind and more recently, home baked creations by my mum. It’s something about the way the sour cherries cut through the sweetness of the cake and the whipped cream balances out the bitterness of the dark chocolate… or am I over-thinking this? 😀

It’s not the first time I’ve made this recipe, in fact I made mini versions for a Christmas afternoon tea (not Christmas themed, but it took place on Boxing Day!). Despite making up the recipe as I went along at Christmas, the turned out quite well. This time, it wasn’t so! After a couple of attempts at the chocolate sponge, I ended up with something passable but not my best baking to date. What can I say? For me, baking under pressure does not result in a tasty cake!

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Ingredients:

  • 200g good quality dark chocolate
  • 200g butter
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • 85g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 75ml milk
  • grated chocolate to decorate
  • 1 can or jar of cherries (use fresh pitted cherries if in season), saving some for decorating
  • 3 tbs sour cherry jam
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 750ml double cream
  • 1 tbs icing sugar

Method:

  • Butter a 20cm round cake tin and line the base. Preheat the oven to fan 140C/conventional 160C/ gas 3.
  • Break 200g good quality dark chocolate in pieces into a medium, heavy-based pan. Cut 200g butter into pieces and tip in with the chocolate, then mix 1 tbsp instant coffee granules into 125ml cold water and pour into the pan. Warm through over a low heat just until everything is melted – don’t overheat.
  • While the chocolate is melting, mix 85g self-raising flour, 85g plain flour, ¼ bicarbonate of soda, 200g light muscovado sugar, 200g golden caster sugar and 25g cocoa powder in a big bowl, mixing with your hands to get rid of any lumps. Beat 3 medium eggs in a bowl and stir in 75ml milk
  • Pour the melted chocolate mixture and the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring just until everything is well blended and you have a smooth, quite runny consistency. Pour this into the tin and bake for 1 hour 25- 1 hour 30 minutes – if you push a skewer in the centre it should come out clean and the top should feel firm. Leave to cool in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • While the cake is baking, warm through 3 tbs cherry jam in a saucepan and add the whole cherries. Stir in 1 tbs cornflour to help thicken the mixture, ensuring there are no lumps of flour remaining. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Whip the double cream with 1tbs icing sugar until soft peaks form.

To build the final cake:

  • When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into two or three layers depending on how much it has risen and how confident you are that it won’t fall apart!
  • Using just under a third of the whipped cream, evenly cover the bottom layer of sponge then add a third of the cherry jam filling
  • Top this layer with another layer of cake and repeat the previous step. Do this again if you have a three layer cake, ensuring you have enough cream and cherry filling for each layer.
  • Decorate the top with piped cream and grated chocolate. Decorate the cake with the saved cherries as you see fit. I took inspiration from Sara-Lee’s classic frozen Black-forest Gateau for mine!
Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

Florentines

Naked Florentines

Naked Florentines

Florentines

Florentines

For Christmas 2014 I didn’t have a lot of baking planned but wanted to try a couple of new recipes. There have been a few Florentine recipes being posted recently and I do like the look of them! So I decided to give them a try… My dad is pretty difficult to buy gifts for so this Christmas he got a hamper of goodies, mainly shop bought foods as I worried that he won’t get round to eating homemade foods with all the extra treats that are around during the Christmas holidays!

My dad has to control his intake of sugar and fat intake as diabetes and heart problems run in the family. He likes to snack in between meals but isn’t a fan of chocolate. These Florentines seemed like an ideal addition to his hamper since they are mostly made of store-cupboard ingredients, so can sit around for a little longer in a hamper. Although they are made of sugar, a little goes a long way and the use of dried fruits adds lots of natural sweetness too.

I came across this useful article where the writer did all the hard work of trying out several Florentine recipes and came up with the ideal one. Who am I to go look a gift horse in the mouth? I did change make some changes to the ingredients for the recipe to adapt to the dried fruits that I had to hand. I also decided to skip the chocolate coating, hence the ‘naked’ Florentines!

Florentines

Naked Florentines

Ingredients:

  • 45g Butter
  • 60g Demerara sugar
  • 100g Dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 50g Soft dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 60g Blanched almond slivers
  • 15g Plain flour
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 tbs Double cream

Method:

  • Heat oven to 180 degrees C and line a large baking tray with grease-proof paper
  • In a small saucepan melt the butter and sugar on a low heat, set to one side
  • In the meantime combine all the dried fruits and nuts in a bowl and toss in the flour
  • Stir the double cream and salt into the melted butter then add the fruit and nut mixture
  • Spoon 1 tsp blobs of the mixture onto the prepared baking tray and flatten as much as possible and leaving enough space around each round for spreading when baking
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, mine took 10 minutes and were already very brown on the edges! Allow to cool completely in the tin otherwise they will fall apart
  • Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days
Florentines

Florentines

 Apologies for the poor quality of the photos but you get the idea! 🙂

Coconut and Pineapple Layer Cake

Coconut and Pineapple Layer Cake

Coconut and Pineapple Layer Cake

Coconut and Pineapple Layer Cake

I’ve gone from hardly baking any cakes recently to two birthday cakes in one week! The first being a Chocolate and Caramel Cake (post to follow) and the second was this Coconut and Pineapple Cake. It is almost a year to the day that I last baked a Coconut Cake. I know this because the cake was made for my cousin’s birthday and this cake was made for her next birthday! What else do you bake a coconut addict than a Coconut Cake?

Since last year’s cake was a bit complicated, and this year I didn’t have as much time so I tried a simplified version with the additional flavour of pineapple to give it a twist! After lots of searching for Pineapple and Coconut cakes, I ended up using a mish-mash of recipes to tailor the cake to the ingredients I actually had to hand (I couldn’t be bothered to head to the shops!) 🙂

I am going to be the first to admit that this cake didn’t turn out too pretty, however for what it lack in the eye candy department it more than makes up for in flavour! I have a knack of trying to fit too many things in at the same time, so I was finishing the decorating of this cake whilst last minute packing for a trip to Myanmar (Burma) the next day. I’d like to think that if I had more time I would have spent more time on the presentation, for example getting some dried pineapple slices and making them into pretty flowers to top the cake. However my attempts to get some at the local supermarket were fruitless (excuse the pun!) and I couldn’t think of anything else to do, so a bit of quick chocolate writing was what I settled for… any suggestions for future cake decorating in the comments box below please! 😀

Although this cake has a few steps, it is actually quite simple to make as the pineapple filling and the coconut custard for the frosting can be easily made whilst the sponge is baking in the oven! The ingredients are mostly store cupboard basics so should be fairly easy to get together. Feel free to use fresh pineapple if you can get it (and have the time to cut it up and prep it!)

Cake: 

  • 175 g Self Raising Flour
  • 1.5 tsp Baking powder
  • 130 g Caster sugar
  • 3 Medium eggs
  • 130 g Butter, melted
  • 2 tbs Coconut cream
  • 60 g Desiccated coconut
Pineapple Filling

Pineapple Filling

Pineapple filling:

  • 540 g Can of pineapple (340 g drained weight)
  • 2 tbs Cornflour
Coconut Custard

Coconut Custard

Coconut Cream Frosting:

  • 370 ml Coconut milk
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 20 g Caster sugar
  • 2 tbs Cornflour
  • 300 ml Double cream

To Decorate:

  •  20 g Desiccated coconut, toasted
Coconut Cream and Pineapple Cake

Coconut Cream and Pineapple Cake

Method:

For the Cake:

  • Using an electric whisk, beat the eggs and sugar until you see ribbons trails when stirred, lightly beat in the coconut cream
  • Slowly stir in the melted butter, try to avoid knocking too much air out of the mixture
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder along with the desiccated coconut, lightly combine so it is just mixed together
  • Bake the batter in a lined round 23 cm spring form cake tin for 25 minutes, 180 degrees C (fan oven)
  • Remove cake from the tin and allow to cool completely

For the Pineapple filling:

  • Pour the pineapple juice/syrup from the can into a jug and combine with the cornflour until smooth
  • Chop up the pineapple into small chunks and put into a saucepan
  • Warm up the pineapples in the pan and add the cornflour and juice mixture, keep on a low heat and the mixture will slowly thicken to look similar to apple sauce
  • Leave to one side to cool completely

For the Coconut cream frosting:

  • Make a coconut custard by combining the egg yolks with the cornflour into a smooth paste, warm in a saucepan and slowly add the coconut milk into the thicken egg mixture so you have a smooth custard
  • Keeping the pan on a low heat, add the sugar and continuously whisk until the mixture forms a very thick custard, don’t allow the custard to stick to the bottom of the pan
  • Set the custard to one side until completely cold. This can be made ahead and refrigerated, but ensure you cover the custard with cling film to prevent it from forming a skin
  • Whip up the double cream until peaks form, add the coconut custard and lightly whisk to combine

To assemble and decorate:

  • Cut the cake through the middle to create two layers, using the top as the bottom layer
  • Cover the bottom layer with a layer of the coconut cream frosting, then add the pineapple filling on top. I only used half the pineapple filling in the end as I was worried it would be too much!
  • Add the second layer of sponge then completely cover the whole cake with the left over frosting
  • Decorate with the toasted desiccated coconut
Coconut Cream Layer Cake

Coconut Cream and Pineapple Layer Cake

As you can see from the, slightly dodgy, photo of the inside of the cake it is packed with filling and cream. The contrast in textures and flavours worked well, the cake sponge was a little on the dry side but the cream helped to balance this out. All in all, a tasty version of the coconut cake in less than half the time of the original! 🙂

 

Banana Loaf: 3 varieties in one week!

Banana and Chocolate Loaf

Banana and Chocolate Loaf

Banana and Walnut Loaf

Banana and Walnut Loaf

Banana Loaf with Chocolate Drizzle

Banana Loaf with Chocolate Drizzle

 

 

 

 

It’s been a busy week of banana loaf baking! As with most households, the delicious banana loaf starts off with a couple of overripe banana… I didn’t have that many to make three cakes, so ended up buying bananas specifically!

Banana and Chocolate Loaf

Banana and Chocolate Loaf

To start off with there is the Chocolate and Banana Loaf finished off with a sprinkle of flaked almonds. The recipe originates from the BBC Chocolate and Banana Cake but I didn’t have all the ingredients and simplified the method a little to make it quicker and easier to bake on a week night.

Ingredients:

  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • half tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 50ml milk
  • Extra chocolate chips/chunks (I used blobs of left over chocolate ganache)

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees C, line and prepare a 2 lb loaf tin
  • Dry ingredients: mix the sugar, flour, bicarb, and cocoa in a large bowl
  • Wet ingredients: mash the bananas and whisk the eggs, then add the oil and milk and mix it all up
  • Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined then add the extra chocolate
  • Pour into prepared loaf tin, level off the top and sprinkle over the flaked almonds
  • Bake for up to 1 hour, checking after 45 minutes. (the original recipe says up to 1 hour and 15 minutes so you need to judge for yourself, and it depends on your own oven!)

 

Banana and Walnut Loaf

Banana and Walnut Loaf

A few days later came the banana and walnut cake, taken to a meeting for the Bumba Foundation of which I am a trustee. The Bumba Foundation is a UK based charity set up to build schools for children in Uganda, aiming to inspire and develop young people and communities to take positive action. The trustees have been working hard recently to raise funds to furnish new classroom blocks before the new academic year starts. What else could I do but bring along a snack to help keep the creative juices flowing? 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 100g softened butter
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 85g chopped walnuts
  • 50ml milk

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees C, line and prepare a 2 lb loaf tin.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together, add the milk and eggs then mix until well combined.
  • Mash the bananas and add to the butter mixture.
  • Fold the flour and baking powder into the wet ingredients then sprinkle over the walnuts.
  • Pour into prepared loaf tin, level off the top and top with a few whole walnuts for decoration.
  • Bake for up to 1 hour, checking after 45 minutes.
Banana Loaf with Chocolate Drizzle

Banana Loaf with Chocolate Drizzle

And finally, there is the plain banana loaf baked for a charity bake sale. The British Red Cross have an incredible Fire and Emergency Support Service that desperately needs a new vehicle to respond to emergencies such as house fires. We held a bake sale in the office and I baked this banana cake and some chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes (recipe to follow!) to help with eh fundraising.

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 190g self raising flour
  • 50ml milk
  • melted chocolate and icing sugar (for decoration)

Method:

  • Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Melt butter and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  • Remove from heat and add the mashed bananas, mix well.
  • Add the egg, mix well.
  • Stir in the flour and the milk.
  • Pour into the prepared tin and bake at 160 degrees C for 45 minutes
  • Once cooled, drizzle melted chocolate and dust with icing sugar

As you can see, all three banana loaves used slightly different methods. All had slightly different flavors and turned out pretty good! Banana cakes are loved by all and can be adapted for more of a decadent flavour. Whether for a charity bake sale, a treat for a meeting or to cheer up a friend, it  is a firm favourite for everyone… 😀

 

 

 

Pear and Almond Cake with Struesel Topping

Pear and Almond Cake with a Struesel Topping

Pear and Almond Cake with Struesel Topping

Pear and Almond Cake with Struesel Topping

After staring at a bowl of ripening pears and wondering what to do with them (I like them crunchy!) I decided the only thing was to make a cake! I’ve been on a bit of a baking frenzy recently after a couple of months of resting the oven. I blame the gradual change in weather… as the British summer time comes to an end more weekends are spend indoors making comfort food until it’s time to come out of hibernation again…

Pear and Almond Cake with Struesel Topping

Pear and Almond Cake with Struesel Topping

I have a lovely memory of when I had a slice of plum crumble cake in a little tea shop remember exactly how tasty it was. Since then, I’ve really wanted to try a cake with a crumbly topping but haven’t really gotten round to it so when I saw this Delia Smith recipe, I knew I had to give it a try! I’ve never really been one to try Delia Smith recipes so why not start with this one?! 🙂

The recipe is taken directly from the website but I had some missing ingredients and substituted some, so here is what I used…

Ingredients

(For the cake)

  • 110g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbs milk
  • 3 ripe pears; peeled, cored and quartered

(For the topping)

  • 50g melted butter
  • 75g self raising flour
  • 30g dark brown sugar
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 40g flaked almonds
  • icing sugar (for dusting)

Method

Method

  • Mix the flour and  baking powder into a bowl, then add all the other ingredients (except the pears). Whisk together until evenly combined. Spoon the mixture into a prepared tin (I used a 18cm round tin, though the recipe advises for a 20cm tin.
  • Arrange the pears in a circle on top of the cake batter.
  • To make the topping, mix the flour and sugar in a bowl then add the melted butter and lightly crumble it with a fork.  After stir in the nuts, sprinkle the mixture all over the pears and bake near the centre of the oven for 35- 45 minutes at 180 degrees C.
  • Leave it to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before attempting to take the cake out of the tin
  • Just before serving, dust the surface with icing sugar.
Pear and Almond Cake

Pear and Almond Cake

This cake is fairly easy to put together but it looks like you spent a lot more time on it!

There isn’t a lot of cake batter so I would check the cake after 30 minutes of baking to ensure it doesn’t overcook. The cake itself is quite dense but the moisture of the pears helps to lighten it up. The crumbly almond topping gives a nice contrast too.

Overall I liked the final result but adding a flavouring to the sponge next time would make it even tastier?! A little cardamom or cocoa powder perhaps…

Pear and Almond Cake with Struesel Topping

Pear and Almond Cake with Struesel Topping

Serve this pear and almond cake warm with a little ice cream or if you’re living in a colder climate some thick custard would make this cake an extra special treat! 😀

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachio

Cardamom Cupcake with Fresh Cream, Strawberries and Pistachios

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachio

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachio

We’ve had a busy few weeks at home! There have been lots of visitors staying with us so I’ve had an excuse to bake some tasty treats… Does there always need to be an excuse to make cakes? If so, I’m sure I could think of one at the drop of a hat! 🙂

Strawberry Plant

Strawberry Plant

During the British summer there is an abundance of strawberries, the season is relatively short but they are oh so delicious! I tried to grow a couple of strawberry plants in pots this year but there wasn’t much of a harvest…though what we did get was delicious! Strawberries and cream… the quintessential British summer treat!

Home Grown Strawberries

Home Grown Strawberries

These Cardamom Cupcakes with Fresh Cream, Strawberries and Pistachios were a real pleasure to eat! I decided at the last minute to add the cardamom as an afterthought, I have a tendency to  add cardamom to any cake recipe I get away with!

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachios

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachios

Ingredients:

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 200g butter
  • 180g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs milk (add as required)
  • 1 tsp cardamom (seeds from about 7-8 pods ground up)
  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 tbs icing sugar
  • Strawberries (for decorating)
  • Pistachio nuts (toasted and crushed for decorating)

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, line a 12 hole cupcake tin with paper cases
  • Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs one at a time
  • Fold in the flour and cardamom, adding milk if the batter is too thick
  • Half fill the paper cases and bake for 10-15 minutes
  • Allow cupcakes to cool on a wire rack, in the meantime beat the cream with the icing sugar until it is thick enough to pipe
  • Once the cupcakes are completely cool, decorate with the fresh cream, strawberries and pistachio nuts
Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachio

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachio

These cupcakes are very quick to make and the contrasting colours mean they look very pretty! The cardamom adds an interesting background flavour, the strawberry adds some freshness, the pistachio gives a little added texture and the fresh cream brings all the flavours together…

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachio

Cardamom Cupcakes with Strawberry and Pistachio

I very rarely use fresh cream on cupcakes but after baking these little beauties, I am left wondering why! 😀