A Cornish girl's food adventures

Tag: cake

Squash & apricot loaf

Squash & apricot loaf

What better Autumn teatime treat could there be than a slice of sweetly spiced loaf cake baked with butternut squash and sweet dried apricots? This cake is deliciously moist (sorry, I don’t have another word for it!) and a little like a fruitier carrot cake. […]

Blackberry & apple bundt cake

Blackberry & apple bundt cake

After producing a grand total of three apples last year the tree in my garden is positively groaning with fruit this year. I’m going to be making a lot of pies and crumbles! To start with though I thought that I would take advantage of […]

Summer berry sponge

Summer berry sponge

Happy summer solstice everyone! It’s the longest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, which means more hours of daylight (and hopefully sunshine) and as far as I’m concerned that’s cause for celebration. One year (a really, really long time ago) I actually spent the summer solstice at Stonehenge, which really was quite a party!
I think this cake is a perfect celebration of summer with all those juicy seasonal berries, it actually reminds me a little bit of a Swedish Midsummer Cake. It’s essentially a gussied-up Victoria sponge but with white chocolate frosting that makes it just a little bit more special. Whether you’re celebrating the solstice or not, how could you resist a slice of this!?

Ingredients
serves 12
sponge
3 eggs
the weight of the eggs (inc shells) in butter, sugar and self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk
zest of 1 lemon
filling
150g mixed berries (whatever is in season)
1/2 tbsp cornflour
25g sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
frosting
75g sugar
15g flour
1 tbsp cornflour
100ml milk
100g white chocolate
100g butter, room temperature
extra berries to decorate

Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease two sandwich tins. Place a disc of baking parchment in the base of each just to be extra certain that nothing is going to stick.
Weigh your eggs, in their shells so that you know how much flour, butter and sugar you’ll need.
Sift together the flour and baking powder a couple of times and set it aside. This will get plenty of air into it.
Beat together the lemon zest, butter and sugar until it is pale, thick and fluffy, this should take a minute or two using a hand or stand mixer.
Lightly beat each egg and mix them into the butter and sugar one at a time. Follow each one with a spoonful of the flour and beat it well. Sift the remaining flour into the batter in two batches and carefully fold it in.
Finally stir in the milk to loosen the mixture to a nice soft dropping consistency. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two prepared tins and level off the tops. Bake them in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes. Once the time is up open the oven door and test that the sponges are cooked with a skewer. Give them another minute or two if it doesn’t come out clean. They should feel light and springy once they are cooked.


Put the cooked sponges on a wire rack and let them cool in the tins for five minutes then turn them out on the rack and carefully remove the greaseproof paper. Allow them to completely cool before you fill them.
Whilst the cakes bake and cool you can make the filling and frosting so that they have time to cool too.
Combine the berries with the sugar, cornflour and lemon juice in a small pan. Heat the fruit
until it starts to break down a little and the juices thicken to create a jammy compote. Leave to cool and thicken.


Next it’s onto the frosting. Whisk together the sugar, flour and cornflour in a small saucepan. Stir in the milk, making sure that it’s all well blended and then set the pan over a low heat. Gently heat the mixture, stirring continuously, until it starts to bubble and forms a very thick custard. Set this aside to cool completely. Melt the chocolate and let this cool too.
Put the cold custard mixture into a bowl and beat it with an electric mixer until it is slightly aerated. Beat in the melted chocolate and then follow this with the butter, adding a little at a time until it is all incorporated and you have a nice thick, fluffy frosting.
To assemble the cake place one of the sponges on a serving plate and spread it with the berry compote. Top this with half of the frosting and then sandwich on the second sponge. Use the remaining frosting to decorate the top, spreading it smoothly and just lightly grazing the sides of the cake. Finish it off by piling some pretty, fresh berries into the centre of the cake and adding a quick dusting of icing sugar.

Rhubarb & custard cake

Rhubarb & custard cake

The upside of baking your own birthday cake is that you get to have exactly the cake you want. The downside of baking your own birthday cake is baking your own birthday cake! I don’t actually mind to be honest, the kitchen is my happy […]

Bergamot & gin soak cake

Bergamot & gin soak cake

So you’ve heard of lemon drizzle cake right? Well soak cake is what happens when you make a little too much delicious drizzling syrup and don’t want to waste any of it! Seriously, this cake is literally drenched in deliciously fragrant, sweet, sticky syrup. Because […]

Sultana & pine nut cake

Sultana & pine nut cake

I’ve never been much of one for rich dark fruit cake. I love dried fruit but I always find fruit cakes to be a bit too sweet and full-on. Something like this is much more my cup of tea, more cake than fruit and a lighter cake at that. It’s no-where near as rich as a dark fruit cake but there’s still plenty of flavour.

The sweet marsala wine is delicious in this if you don’t want to invest in a bottle then golden rum is a good alternative or if you don’t want the booze at all then a little orange juice will do the job.
Dusting the cherries in a little flour before adding them to the mix will help to stop them from sinking to the bottom of cake as it bakes.

Ingredients
serves 10
3 tbsp marsala (see note above)
125g sultanas
50g pine nuts
100g butter, softened
10g sugar
175g plain flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
25g ground almonds
75g glace cherries, halved
2 eggs
3 tbsp milk
Demerara sugar to finish

Combine the sultanas and the marsala in a small pan and gently heat for a few minutes before setting a side for 30 minutes, this will help the fruit to plump up. Grease and line a spring-form cake tin and pre-heat your oven to 180°c.
Sift together the flour and baking powder. Put the butter, sugar, almonds and flour into a mixing bowl and beat it until it is well combined. Drain the fruit (setting the soaking liquid to one side) and mix this into the mixture along with 40g of the pine nuts.

Whisk together the soaking liquid, eggs and milk and then beat this into the dry mixture to form a soft cake batter. Fold through the cherries and then pour the batter into the prepared tin. Level off the top and sprinkle it with a little demerara sugar and the last of the pine nuts to give the finished cake a nice crunchy top.
Bake the cake for about 30 minutes and then carefully open the oven door and cover the top with foil. Bake the cake for a further 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the cake clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack.

The best darned frosting in the world!

The best darned frosting in the world!

I’m a bit funny about frosting, I find it can be a bit hit or miss. All too often it’s too sweet and sugary or it can be grainy rather than silky smooth, or worst of all it can become crusty with a hard sugar […]

Chocolate and peanut butter banana bread (vegan)

Chocolate and peanut butter banana bread (vegan)

I’m totally converted to vegan banana bread, I always get better results from it than from my more traditional recipe and I’m really not sure that I can tell the difference as far as the flavour is concerned. That’s especially true of this recipe, which […]

Pumpkin chocolate cake (vegan)

Pumpkin chocolate cake (vegan)

When we lived in America people would get very excited about the fact that on 1st November all of the Halloween candy in the shops would be super-cheap. I’m not sure that you could make candy corn cheap enough for me to eat it! We don’t do Halloween on nearly the same scale in this country so we don’t have aisles of cheap candy in our shops but we do get an abundance of cheap pumpkins. Which makes me much happier, as I’m sure you must know by now – I love me some veggies!


The moisture from the pumpkin gives this cake a deliciously rich, fudgy, brownie-like texture without it being too dense or heavy and the spices and chocolate go together wonderfully.
I have quite a small bundt tin which I bake this in but you can easily double the mixture to fill a larger bundt or adjust the cooking time to bake it in a standard tin. You can make the pumpkin puree by simply blending steamed, roasted or microwaved pumpkin flesh.

Ingredients
375g pumpkin puree
50g light soft brown sugar
65ml flavourless oil
135g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
pinch of seasalt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
big pinch of grated nutmeg
handful of dairyfree chocolate chips (optional – but they add a bit of texture)
ganache frosting
50g dairyfree chocolate
50ml coconut cream

Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and thoroughly grease your baking tin. If you’re using a bundt tin then it’s a good idea to lightly dust it with a little flour or cocoa to reduce the risk of the cake sticking.
Blend together the pumpkin, sugar, salt and oil in a mixing bowl until it is thick and smooth. Sift together all of the dry ingredients, to ensure that they are well blended and then briefly fold them into the wet mixture. Be careful not to over-mix it. Fold through the chocolate chips if you’re using them and then pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake the cake for 35 minutes, until it has risen and a cake tester comes out of it cleanly. Turn out of the tin and leave it to cool on a wire rack.


Make the frosting by chopping up the chocolate and placing it in a shallow dish. Heat the coconut cream until it is quite warm and then pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute or two and then stir until well blended. Leave to cool and thicken to a soft spreading consistency before using to coat the outside of the cake.

Raspberry and Earl Grey Madeleines

Raspberry and Earl Grey Madeleines

Oops! Somehow another madeleine recipe has made it onto this blog… These are like my perfect Anglo-French treat. The floral earl grey tea goes really well with the sharp sweet raspberries and the little sponges have a wonderful melt-in-the-mouth texture. There may have been an […]