Lemon Drizzle Loaf

Hi! I’ve been busy baking today, because my sister is going back to uni after being home for the weekend and insisted she couldn’t leave without something yummy.

So what should I bake? A simple classic: the lemon drizzle cake. I just love it, because it has a chewier crust and a really moist inside, with a crunchy, sugar topping! What could be better?

It’s so easy, and the results are fab, give it a go, you won’t be disappointed!

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • finely grated zest 1 lemon
  • 225g self-raising flour

For the drizzle topping:

  • juice 1½ lemons
  • 85g caster sugar

METHOD:

  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.beat 225g softened unsalted butter and 225g caster sugar until pale and creamy, then add 4 eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through. (add a bit of the flour if it starts to curdle)
  2. Sift in 225g flour, then add the finely grated zest of 1 lemon and mix until well combined. Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper, then spoon in the mix.
  3. Bake for 45-50 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  4. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the juice of 1 1/2 lemons and 85g caster sugar to make the drizzle. Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, then pour over the drizzle. Leave in the tin until completely cool, then remove and serve

ENJOY

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Matches Made in Heaven

Whenever I set out to bake something, I’m always thinking about how I can personalise recipes or add extra flavours that will harmonise with the preexisting ones. I also love to add flavoured icings/frostings that are different but compliment the bake!

Here’s a few of the most delicious flavour combinations I’ve come across, so I hope you decide to try some next time you’re in the kitchen!

White Chocolate:

  • coffee
  • nuts (especially hazelnuts mmmmm)
  • wasabi (sounds strange, but don’t knock it til you try it- you only need a little bit though to pack a flavoursome punch!)
  • orange
  • lime
  • cardamom
  • salted caramel
  • maple syrup
  • cranberry

Milk/Dark Chocolate:

  • coconut
  • chilli
  • orange
  • berries
  • mint
  • coffee
  • salt
  • caramel

Ginger:

  • honey (so so so good- try a ginger cake with honey buttercream!)
  • cream
  • apple
  • lemon
  • lime
  • apricots

fresh-sliced-and-ground-ginger

Citrus Fruits:

  • most fruits- particularly apple, berries, mango, cranberries,apricots
  • ginger
  • chocolate
  • vanilla
  • cinnamon
  • almonds
  • coconut
  • mascarpone

Banana:

  • berries
  • cinnamon
  • mango
  • hazelnut
  • chocolate
  • maple syrup
  • caramel
  • oats

whole-and-sliced-bananas-on-board

Obviously this is just a few of the many, many, many combos- if you have any questions, just drop them in the comments!

Hope this helps!

Cinnamon Apple Layer Cake- with WHITE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

I don’t know about you, but personally, I love love love baking with fruits in cake. I just think it adds a moisture and texture that you don’t get from other ingredients. Not only did I make this apple cake this week, but I also made a batch of carrot cake squares earlier on for my friends (and it was lactose-free! Big win for my best friend!).

As you can see, I finally got my Kitchen Aid!! She’s named Betsy, and she’s a fabulous baking companion!

When I presented this to the grandparents, I was a bit apprehensive- my grandmother is difficult to please, and has previously told me that she needs to teach me how to make a ‘proper cake’ (like I don’t have the experience or know-how!) but to my surprise, it was given full marks! I even received the comment ‘best cake you’ve made yet’! If that doesn’t push you to give it a go I don’t know what will!

The sweetness of the white chocolate means the icing doesn’t require additional sugar, but the richness perfectly compliments the cinnamon and apple flavour. Sadly, it was so so good, that I neglected to photograph the top before it was all gone! Oops!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 150ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g dark brown soft sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 250g eating apples (roughly 3 medium- I use braeburns!)  peeled, cored and coarsely grated
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 25g rolled oats
  • 50g ground almonds

for the syrup

  • 75g dark brown soft sugar
  • juice 1 lemon

for the frosting

  • 50g butter
  • 100g white chocolate
  • 280g tub cream cheese
  • 1tsp vanilla

METHOD:

  1. Start by making the cakes. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line 2 x 18cm springform cake tins with baking parchment and brush with a little oil. Put the sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk with electric beaters until glossy and pale. Keep the beaters running as you pour in the oil.
  2. Stir in the grated apple, then fold in all the other cake ingredients. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake for 30 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  3. Stir the syrup ingredients together in a bowl. When the cakes are cooked, keep them in the tin but prick holes all over the surface with a skewer and drizzle the syrup over. Leave the cakes to cool completely in the tin.
  4. While the cakes cool, make the icing. In a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of hot water (I boil the kettle and then leave the water for a couple of minutes- you don’t want it to be too hot with white chocolate), melt the butter and white chocolate together. Once melted and glossy, pour into a large bowl. Add the cream cheese, whisk until smooth, then add the vanilla. When the mixture is cool, chill until needed.
  5. When the cake is completely cooled, place the first layer on a plate, then pipe over the white chocolate frosting in swirls. Add the top layer of cake, and dust with icing sugar.

ENJOY

 

Switching and Swapping

Hi guys! Long time no see! I’ve been really tied up since September so have just not had time to post 😦 but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been baking! In fact I’ve probably been baking more than ever. At new year, I catered for a party for a friend, which included several lasagnes, a chocolate and salted caramel mousse, a strawberry mascarpone tart, a peach melba pavlova, a white chocolate cheesecake with raspberry coulis, and a maple pecan tart! And of course I still bake almost every weekend for my grandparents, who love a sweet treat. Also, with a brand new edition to the family, a beloved red Kitchen Aid, who has been named Betsy, it means that I have a much easier time in the kitchen!

I thought I would do a post about substitutions, as usually my posts consist of recipes I’ve tried out, but I thought it would be a good idea to do a few posts on general kitchen advice etc, as when you start out baking, some things can be a bit tricky!

 SUGARS

There are so many different types of sugars. So many- at least 10 that spring to mind for baking. And they all have different colours, granule sizes, flavours. Which means they’re all better suited to different things. This doesn’t mean they can’t be switched and swapped! I love experimenting for different flavours and textures, but here’s a general idea of the ones that can be substituted for one another for similar results:

  • any dark sugars can be interchanged (muscovado, brown sugar, molasses sugar, demerara- although this has slightly larger grains, so the texture will be a little different- nice in cookies though!)
  • similar with white sugars- interchangeable
  • honey can be substituted, and adds extra flavour – use around 70g for 100g sugar
  • syrups can also be substituted- e.g. maple syrup- use 65g per 100g sugar and reduce other liquids by 2 tbsp
  • apple sauce- this isn’t as sweet, but adds a nice flavour, and you can always keep some of the sugar- use the same amount as sugar

FATS 

this is one that I have struggled with in the past. My best friend is lactose intolerant, so when a recipe calls for butter, I would always need to find an alternative, unless I wanted to make her ill (not the aim when trying to please with treats!) Here’s a few ideas:

  • oil- when I use this instead of butter, I use about 80% of the usual quantity in the recipe, and add a little extra dry ingredients or reduce other liquid quantities slightly- however, in biscuits, it provides a much crunchier texture. In cakes, it usually makes it very moist (such as carrot cake- an oil-based cake!)
  • Peanut butter- another nice one, unless you’re allergic! use the same quantity, and it adds extra flavour too!
  • Apple sauce- a great substitute for oil or butter
  • Mashed banana- this can change the texture slightly, but gives a good flavour-use the same amounts as the recipe calls for in fat
  • full fat greek yoghurt- this works well, but you may want to slightly reduce the liquid content of other ingredients (yoghurt is also a good substitute for buttermilk!)

 

GENERAL

just to cover the bases with a few more obscure ingredients:

  • as mentioned above, yoghurt and buttermilk are interchangeable
  • cream cheese- pureed cottage cheese
  • mayonnaise- sour cream and yoghurt
  • oats- rice flakes

HOPE THIS IS HELPFUL FOR YOU ALL

Checkerboard Birthday Cake

So a little while back, my mum and sister had a joint party, and I’m only just getting round to sharing with you all this fabulous birthday cake I made for them.

Honestly, I have never attempted a checkerboard cake before, so didn’t have high hopes for myself, but it actually worked really really well- and it’s so easy to make!

However, when decorating it, make sure you buy something big enough to go to the top of the cake, I was going to use kitkats or chocolate fingers, but the cake was too high, oops!

It is so so delicious, and so impressive, you’ll have all your guests with mouths wide, wandering how you did it, but little do they know it’s actually really easy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 450g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 150g plain flour, sifted
  • 590g caster sugar
  • 300g butter, melted
  • 440mL milk
  • 6 eggs, beaten lightly
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 50g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 600g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 250ml double cream

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line four 18cm round cake pans with baking paper.
  2. Combine flours, sugar, butter, milk and eggs in large mixing bowl. Using an electric beater; beat on low speed until just combined. Increase speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick and pale.
  3. Evenly divide cake mixture into two bowls(I weighed mine to make sure each cake was exactly even); add vanilla bean paste to one bowl and mix well. Add cocoa powder to remaining bowl, mix well. Divide vanilla mixture among two prepared pans, and divide chocolate mixture among remaining two prepared pans; bake 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Using a serrated knife, level cake tops.
  4. Meanwhile, to make chocolate ganache, put dark chocolate and cream in heatproof bowl; microwave, uncovered, on medium for 1 minute; stir; repeat in 30 second intervals until melted. Set aside until cool and thick, stirring occasionally.
  5. To assemble, print and cut out the template that you can download  here 
  6. Coat the cut inner sides of a chocolate outer ring with a thin layer chocolate ganache and place a vanilla middle ring inside. Coat the cut inner sides of the vanilla ring with ganache and fill circle with a chocolate center. Repeat this sequence again.
  7. Coat the cut inner sides of a vanilla outer ring with chocolate ganache and place a chocolate middle ring inside. Coat the cut inner sides of the chocolate ring with ganache and fill circle with a vanilla center. Repeat this sequence again. You should now have four cakes each alternating in chocolate and vanilla rings.
  8. Sandwich the cake layers together with a little chocolate ganache, alternating layers. Spread remaining chocolate ganache over top and sides of cake.
  9. Decorate how you wish!

ENJOY AND IMPRESS

DELICIOUS Gluten free, Lactose free brownies

Tomorrow it starts. My exams start. AHHHH. But hey ho, in a month it will all be over, and I cannot wait for that moment!

I decided to whip these up to enjoy after our first exam (ethics- probably my worst subject ever) and my very best friend is lactose intolerant, and another of my friends is a coeliac, so I thought i’d cater to the masses, and honestly they are actually delicious.

I use coconut oil instead of butter, and it adds a little tropical hint in the background, and gluten free flour, and also you need to check that the chocolate chips and cocoa powder are gluten and lactose free too.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 85g dutch process cocoa powder (check it’s lactose free and gluten free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 195g coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g dark chocolate chips (again, check it’s gluten and lactose free)

METHOD:

  1. preheat oven to 175C and line a 20 x 20 baking tray (or use a silicon one like I do)
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the melted coconut oil, sugar, and vanilla extract. Once combined, add eggs one at a time, and stir just until combined.
  4. Add dry mixture to wet and stir just until almost no streaks of flour remain. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes (they may be a bit gooey in the middle- this is good!)
  6. Leave to cool completely before cutting- they will firm up a little during this time.

ENJOY

Bakewell Tart

I love bakewell tart! It just reminds me of childhood. The buttery pastry compliments the sweet jam and that almond flavour that I just can’t quite describe but is so amazing!

My grandma is out of hospital, and she seems to feel much better, but it can’t hurt to bring her a sweet treat to make her feel even better. When I was half way through making this, I realised that my grandpa doesn’t like almonds that much, but when I gave it to them, he seemed to thoroughly enjoy it! It seems we have a convert!

I went to work today, expecting to be able to say goodbye to Jasper, my favourite puppy, a dachshund, who’s owners were supposed to be picking him up tomorrow, only to find out they came home early from their holiday, so he was already gone! *sigh* no matter, hopefully he’ll come back to the kennels soon!

INGREDIENTS:

For the shortcrust pastry

  • 175g plain flour
  • 75gchilled butter
  • 2-3 tbsp cold water

For the filling

  • 3-4 tbsp raspberry jam
  • 125g butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 50g flaked almonds

For the icing

  • 80g icing sugar
  • 2½ tsp cold water

METHOD:

  1. To make the pastry, put flour into bowl and rub in butter with fingertips until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add water, mixing to form a soft dough. (you could also do this in a food processor)

  2. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface and put into a tart tin. Leave in fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan.

  4. Prick and line pastry case with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes, then remove beans and paper and cook for a further five minutes to dry out the base.

  5. For the filling, spread the base of the flan generously with raspberry jam.

  6. Melt butter in a pan, take off heat and then stir in sugar. Add ground almonds, egg and almond extract. Pour into tart tin and sprinkle over flaked almonds.

  7. Bake for 30 minutes, covering if the top browns too fast.Remove from oven and allow to cool.

  8. Meanwhile, sift icing sugar into bowl. Stir in cold water and transfer to a piping bag.

  9. When tart is cool, pipe icing over in a zig zag pattern.

ENJOY

Home made Jammy Dodgers

I feel like jammy dodgers were the biscuits of my childhood. I think I even asked for them for my birthday once. But they’re just so delicious! So I figured, why not try and make them myself? Needless to say, I was not disappointed with the result.

My grandma got a high temperature last week, so they took her into hospital, and I know that nothing makes her feel better than some good baking, and I was right! She loved them! As did the rest of my family! They’re buttery, crumbly, sweet and just down-right delicious. Oh and most importantly, they were super super simple! Get baking!

I did some with strawberry jam, some with apricot jam, and a few with lemon curd, but you could use whatever flavours you want; peanut butter, chocolate spread- whatever you fancy!!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • enough jam/ filling to fill the biscuits

METHOD:

  1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C. Rub flour, sugar and butter together until mixture resembles breadcrumbsor use a food processor. Add vanilla essence egg to bring the mixture together to form stiff dough.
  2. Flour surface and roll out dough to about 2cm thickness. Cut out using a cutter (I used a heart-shaped one) and place on a large baking sheet. Space them out as the mixture will spread when baking.
  3. Make a small indentation in the middle of each biscuit with the end of a wooden spoonor your fingers, and drop a tsp of jam in the centre. Bake for 13 mins until slightly risen and just golden. Cool on a wire rack.

ENJOY

 

Banana and cinnamon swirl buns

MMMMMM. Banana, cinnamon, apricot. YUM.

Just baking again, as per usual, and i’m sure you’d expect no less! My grandparents aren’t feeling well at the moment, so i’m hoping to lift their spirits a bit with these beauties.

I can’t wait for the end of june! All of my exams will be over, and there will be no more work to do, and i’m going on holiday to Spain with my mum and my sisters! YAY.

Sadly, my dad can’t come because he wants to stay here in England to watch over the building work for our new house! Yet another exciting thing that’s happening. Have I told you? Well, i’ll tell you again- we’re building our own house! And i get the biggest bedroom 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 300g strong white flour
  • 150g malted granary bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 7g sachet easy-blend yeast
  • 150ml warm milk
  • 1 egg
  • , beaten
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100-150ml warm water
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 medium banana
  • 200g dried apricot, chopped
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 4 tbsp runny honey

METHOD:

  1. Mix flours and salt together in a large bowl, then stir in caster sugar and yeast. Make well in centre of flour and pour in warm milk, beaten egg, olive oil and enough of the water to form soft, wet dough.
  2. On lightly floured surface, knead dough for 10-15 mins until smooth. Put dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film, then leave to rise in warm place until doubled in size.
  3. Lightly grease baking tin. On floured surface, roll half the dough into rectangle approximately 30cm x 25cm and brush with melted butter. Repeat with the other half.
  4. Thinly slice bananas into bowl and mix in apricots, muscovado sugar, cinnamon. Spoon mix over the two rectangles of dough, leaving a finger-width border.
  5. For each, roll the dough towards you from the long side of the rectangle, tucking in any banana that falls out. Press ends together to seal. With a sharp knife, cut into 9 pieces and place, cut side up, in the tin, just touching each other. Cover loosely with oiled cling film and set aside in a warm place to rise for 30 mins.
  6. Heat oven to 200C/fan180C. Warm the honey in a pan or in the microwave on High for 5 secs, then brush half over the buns. Bake for 20-25 mins until golden. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 mins before removing to a cooling rack. Brush with the remaining honey then pull apart to serve.

ENJOY

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