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! 😀

 

 

 

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Afghan Cream Rolls

Afghan Cream Rolls

Afghan Cream Rolls

Afghan Cream Rolls with Cherry

Update: Afghan Cream Rolls with Cherry

This recipe is courtesy of Amalkitchen.com who posts the most amazing recipes via videos on YouTube. Her food always looks amazing and really inspires me to try new things. So When I saw this post for the Afghan Cream Rolls I decided to head down to the supermarket to buy the basic ingredients needed; puff pastry and double cream!

We had an Afghan guest visiting over the weekend and I wanted to make a dessert that would be easy but bring the flavours from home. This recipe is similar to ‘cream horns’, fairly straight forward, although a little fiddly!

Check out the video to see how simple this recipe is to make. The basic ingredients are; ready rolled puff pastry, icing sugar, ground cardamom, whipping cream.

Puff Pastry Rolls

Puff Pastry Rolls using make shift foil ‘cones’

The tricky bit of this recipe is using the aluminium foil ‘cones’ to shapes the pastry rolls. As you need to wrap thin pieces of pastry around the cones, and I had made the mistake of flouring the work surface to roll out the pastry a little thinner. This meant that the pastry did not stick to itself well and began to unravel! I also found it a little difficult to get the foil out of the cooked pastry without crushing the delicate cones… 😦

Pastry Rolls

Pastry Rolls

Once the rolls are cooled and the cardamom cream is piped in, the cones hold well. They should be filled just before eating to avoid soggy pastry, but they’ll still be fine after a couple of hours.

Afghan Cream Rolls

Afghan Cream Rolls

One packet of pastry makes quite a few rolls. I’d forgotten to sprinkle icing sugar on mine but I like that they weren’t very sweet! This is a simple dessert to make for when guests come around. Serve as a snack with a cup of tea..

Update

Afghan Cream Rolls with Sour Cherry

Afghan Cream Rolls with Sour Cherry

I tried this recipe again but added some sour cherry jam to the filling, yum! 🙂

Basically follow the recipe as above but use a teaspoon of sour cherry jam inside the cones before piping in the cream. With this addition in mind, there are no end of extra fillings to try! Enjoy… 😀

 

Clandestine Cake Club: Pistachio, Cardamom and Yoghurt Cake

Clandestine Cake Club
Clandestine Cake Cake Club Cake Selection

Clandestine Cake Cake Club Cake Selection

Are any of you Clandestine Cakes Club members? Have you heard of the club before? If not, and you LOVE baking cakes and anything cake related, you have to check it out! The basic premise is that as a member you bake a cake to take to an event, you share the cake with other members and then make new friends over the common interest of cake!

I heard about this secret cake society over a year ago and was super excited with the idea. There are clubs all over the UK, and increasingly all over the world! It was founded in the summer of 2010 by a lady called Lynn Hill from Leeds, Northern England. The mission statement for the CCC is: Bake, Eat and Talk about Cake, now there is nothing wrong with that!

As you all know you can make plans and then life gets in the way so you put things off and then you find that months have gone by and you still haven’t gotten round to doing those things that you really want to do. The CCC is that thing for me! I joined one of the groups but kept on missing out on their meets due to being busy at work or having other things planned. I even baked a cake once and then missed the meeting as I was stuck at work! So this time, I planned way ahead and sent an email to join the January meeting.

There are a few main things to take note of. The venue is a secret until a few days before the event. Once you have signed up to the event, the organiser will send an email to confirm the venue. There is a ‘Cake only Rule’- ‘CCC is not like any other club. You can share a cake, you cannot share a cupcake, Muffin or a Brownie. There is interaction and conversation as soon as you begin to slice a cake, that you don’t seem to get when you pick up a cupcake etc.’ You can also take a guest with you (who can choose to bake or not!).

Each event has a theme to guide your baking and give inspiration. The theme of the event I attended was ‘nouveaux’ -trying out a new recipe or using a new cook book or cake tin etc. The groups are run by volunteers who do it because they love cake and baking. So check out your local group and join one today! On the night there were 15 cakes on offer! A lot of new members so lots of people to chat to and get to know. The tea flowed and we worked our way through all the cakes with the determination to try every single one of them.

Pistachio, Yoghurt and Cardamom Cake

Pistachio, Yoghurt and Cardamom Cake

The recipe I decided to go with was a Pistachio, Cardamom and Yoghurt Cake. Not strictly a ‘new’ recipe for me but a ‘new improved version’ of the cake as I wanted to ensure that the cake would taste nice and I not turn out a total disaster! The cake was well received on the night, although it wasn’t the most attractive cake there. I got lots of comments about the flavour combination and was even asked for the recipe, which is always a good sign! The cake is fairly dense but still moist due to the yoghurt and the lime drizzle. The flavours work really well together and it’s sto easy to do if you have a food processor!

So here it is: (You’ll need a food processor and a small sauce pan)

Pistachio, Cardamom and Yoghurt Cake  (Adapted from ‘Sweet Food’ publised by Murdoch Books)

Ingredients

  • 150g Pistachio nuts
  • 1 tsp Ground Cardamom (about 15 pods)
  • 150g Butter
  • 185g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 180g Caster Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 125g Plain Yoghurt
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 2 tbs Honey

Method

  • Grease and line cake tin (either 20cm round tin or 2lb loaf tin)
  • Place pistachios and ground cardamom in the processor and pulse until just chopped
  • Add butter and flour and caster sugar then pulse for 20 seconds or until crunbly
  • Combine yoghurt and eggs then add to the cake batter before pulsing again for 10 secons or until just combined
  • Bake in oven at 180 degrees C for 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean
  • In a small pan warm up the lime of the juice and the honey until combined and becomes a sticky syrup
  • Once the cake has cooled a little, pierce it all over with the skewer and slowly pour over the lime and honey mixture as a ‘drizzle’
  • Allow cake to fully cool in the tin

The original recipe contains a lot more sugar and a little less cardamom but I found it way to sweet, so I use honey to make the syrup, and found the cardamom could be stronger, so I have changed the recipe to my taste. The original recipe can be found on this site.

Pistachio, Yoghurt and Cardamom Cake

Pistachio, Yoghurt and Cardamom Cake

I really enjoyed my first event as a Clandestine Cake Club member and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves cake! 🙂

Christmas shortbread: Pistachio with Cardamom and Stem Ginger

 

Pistachio and Stem Ginger Shortbread

Pistachio and Stem Ginger Shortbread

My family and I don’t really celebrate Christmas to the extent that most families do in the UK. We get together with extended family for a couple of days over Christmas Day and Boxing Day to eat lots of lovely food, usually having a fairly traditional roast Christmas dinner. Unsurprisingly the best part of Christmas for me is the giving and receiving of food. For the past few years I’ve been making little Christmas food gifts for friends and family rather than just relying on shop bought festive treats. Partly because it helps to reduce the cost of Christmas shopping, but also because I think putting a little effort into making a gift for someone is always appreciated! And since I’m not blessed with any artist crafty ability or patience to learn a new skill, then I fall back onto the art of baking…

This year I’ve started off with some tried and tested shortbread recipes. This weekend I made some Stem Ginger Shortbread for a friend of mine who is actually celebrating her birthday, so technically this was ‘Birthday Shortbread’. She’s also expecting her second baby, so I figured that ginger is great for any pregnant woman with it’s anti nausea properties (beside being really delicious!).

The second lot of shortbread was flavoured with cardamom and toasted pistachio nuts, a classic combination! These were taken to some friends of mine who I have just started working with as a trustee of the Bumba Foundation. This charity raises money to build schools in Uganda for children who are otherwise unable to get an education. It’s an honour to be part of this work and I look forward to getting stuck into the fundraising events in 2014! Please check out the website for more information about the Bumba Foundation. Today was my first trustees meeting, so I took a these shortbread cookies to make a good first impression.

 

Pistachio and Stem Ginger Shortbread

Pistachio and Stem Ginger Shortbread

The shortbread recipe I used was based on this BBC recipe that I have successfully used in the past but after researching a few other recipes I decided to substitute some of the wheat flour with a couple tablespoons of cornflour to ensure extra crispness, I think it worked! Using this basic recipe as the base, I added the additional flavourings by adding some of the stem ginger syrup to the dough and pressing chopped up stem ginger to the tops of the cookies. For the second batch the ground seeds of about 8 cardamom pods were kneaded into the dough and crushed pistachios pressed into the top.

 

Christmas Gift Box

Christmas Gift Box

I wrapped the shortbread in some gift bags and sealed to keep them fresher for longer then put them in these little Wilton Christmas gift boxes that I found when Christmas shopping. Very cute don’t you think?!

More posts on my Christmas food goodies to come…

Gluten Free: Pear, Caramel, and Cardamom Upside Down Cake

Pear, caramel and cardamom cake

Pear, Caramel and Cardamom Upside Down Cake

Pear, Caramel and Cardamom cake

It’s coming to the end of the pear season in England. I love pears but only when they are firm and crunchy. Looking over at the fruit bowl brimming with over ripening Conference pears I was trying to think of something simple to do with them. I found this recipe for a French Pear, Almond and Cardamom Cake that sounded delicious! I like the use of cardamom in desserts as it adds a nice background note to often very sweet South Asian and Middle Eastern desserts. I also like the use of almond flour in this recipe as I am trying to cut down on eating refined wheat flour but without cutting down on the amount of cake I can eat! 🙂

I have used a recipe for coconut caramel in a Coconut Caramel Slice recipe and have used this caramel recipe for several recipes since. The left overs from the last batch of caramel slices was in the freezer ready for another use so I decided to use it in this pear cake too.

I also found that the cake batter from the original recipe was not enough as I was using a round loose bottom cake tin rather than a small loaf pan so I have increased some of the ingredients to compensate. This is the recipe I’ve used:

Ingredients

  • 200g of ground almonds
  • 2 ripe pears
  • 100g of butter
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • about 10 pods of cardamom (ground)
  • 3 medium free range eggs

Instructions:

  • slice up pears and layer onto the bottom of cake tin
  • pour over the caramel sauce
  • cream butter and sugar, add ground cardamom and eggs then mix before adding ground almonds and mix well
  • pour cake batter on top of pears and caramel and spread evenly
  • Bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes
  • Allow to cool slightly in the tin then upturn onto a dish so it is the right way up
  • Serve with cream/ice cream/custard

I’m fairly happy with the results. The cake was very moist and rich and the individual flavours really held their own! I think next time I’ll put the pears on top of the caramel so they look more caramelised. The cardamom flavour was a lovely addition, if anything I would add more cardamom and reduce the sugar in the cake batter to compensate for the sweet caramel sauce! Yum!

Pear, Caramel and Cardamom cake

Pear, Caramel and Cardamom cake