No, I didn’t stutter. I really did bake a cake, decide that it wasn’t ‘desserty’ enough and stuffed it with a layer of cheesecake. Sometimes I do not know when to stop! I made a classic Victoria sponge for this because I had some lovely […]
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. It’s got great texture and the rich creamy maple cream cheese frosting finishes it off beautifully. The recipe is really quick to throw together so you can have one of these baking in the oven in no time.
I’ve used oil rather than butter in this because at this end of the year it’s pretty much impossible to persuade butter to become room temperature in my kitchen, so oil makes for a nice easy shortcut!
100ml vegetable oil
40g maple syrup, something with plenty of flavour
pinch of salt
150g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
150g grated butternut squash
75g dried apricots, chopped
35g pistachios, roughly chopped
120g full fat cream cheese
50g icing sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and grease and line a loaf tin. Beat together the oil, sugar, maple syrup and salt for a minute or two and then add the eggs. Beat until the mixture becomes a little foamy. Sift the flour, raising agents and spices into this mixture and then beat it again to leave you with a nice smooth batter. Briefly beat in the grated squash, chopped apricots and chopped pistachios before pouring the batter into the prepared tin. Bake the loaf for 50 minutes, covering the top with foil if it gets a little too brown.
Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the frosting by beating together the butter and cream cheese until they are well blended. Add the icing sugar and maple syrup and beat until you have a thick fluffy frosting. Spread this over the top of the cake and then pop it in the fridge to firm up a little before slicing.
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!?
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
150g mixed berries (whatever is in season)
1/2 tbsp cornflour
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp cornflour
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.
I haven’t baked cupcakes in forever. I’m not sure if it’s because they went out of style a little bit or because I’m a pretty greedy person and I’d rather bake one big cake that can be cut into generous slices!
These aren’t as sweet and sickly as some cupcakes can be, thanks to the rich and creamy mascarpone frosting and the tangy lemon curd filling.
90g butter, softened
375g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp of elderflower cordial
4 tbsp milk
filling & frosting
2-3 tbsp lemon curd
150g butter, softened
150g icing sugar
1 tbsp elderflower cordial
lemon and lime zest to decorate
Pre-heat your oven to 190°c and line a cupcake tin with 12 wrappers.
Sift together the flour and baking powder then combine this with the sugar before beating in the butter until the mixture looks like damp sand.
In a separate bowl or jug mix together the milk and eggs. Slowly mix this into the dry ingredients a third at a time until you have a smooth, fairly liquid batter. Stir in the elderflower cordial.
Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes, give or take, until the cakes have risen and are nicely browned. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Once the cakes are completely cool cut a small section out of the top of each one. If you have an apple corer this will do the job quickly and easily. Fill the resulting hole with a little lemon curd and replace the little sponge cap.
To make the frosting beat together the butter and icing sugar before adding in the mascarpone and the elderflower cordial. Pipe or spread the frosting on top of the cakes, being careful to cover the little sponge lids and then sprinkle each one with a little lemon and lime zest.
It wasn’t until I travelled to Charleston SC that I thought of praline being anything more than the chocolate seashells that Mr Colonial Cravings receives for Christmas every year. But in Charleston we tried some very tasty crunchy little clusters of caramelised pecans. I think […]