Gingerbread Pound Cake

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Technically, my Gingerbread flavoured Pound Cake is not actually correct.

A ‘pound’ cake is typically a very large cake made of a pound (a whooping 450g, no less), in equal ratios of flour: butter: sugar and eggs.  Nowadays, the quantities of the ‘pound’ cake are less rigid and as a it is typically baked in a Bundt, or loaf tin and conservatively finished, I figured I could get away with calling this a ‘Pound’ Cake.

With friends visiting this weekend I had wanted to bake a large cake but needed something that was quick and substantial. This pound cake was a perfect solution.

So, I have side lined my fresh berry obsession – albeit temporarily – to make way for my new favourite ingredient, ginger. I have been busy in my kitchen all week making Christmas hamper gifts. I made some rather delicious bottled Spiced Pears (more about these another day) but as a result I had some surplus fresh ginger.

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I wanted to adapt a recipe to include the fresh ginger and as I am planning my Christmas bakes, I have all the ingredients for gingerbread cookies, so why not include these flavours and recreate in a loaf style cake? Let me be clear, this is not the rich, sticky, molasses infused, bubbly gingerbread cake that you will know. Yes, in contains the dark rich sugars, dark treacle and glorious cinnamon, ginger and clove spices but it is a denser cake, perfect with a cup of tea.

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I have topped this with a rich chocolate ganache, inspired from Martha’s ‘Baking Handbook’ and it works wonderfully. That’s not to say that other toppings wouldn’t work. A simple dusting of icing sugar, a lemon glaze/icing or perhaps an orange cream cheese frosting would be wonderfully indulgent.

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 This warming, spiced cake is super easy to make and easy to enjoy when the weather is getting chilly outside.

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Gingerbread Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 280g plain flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 300g margarine, or softened unsalted butter
  • 160g Demerara sugar
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 2 heaped tbsp. dark treacle
  • For the topping
  • 600ml double cream
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • Crystallised stem ginger for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Grease and line a large (9cm x 24cm) loaf tin with parchment. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Sift together in a bowl the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Mix and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, cream together the margarine, or butter, with both the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once well combined, add the freshly grated ginger and the dark treacle. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the flour mixture in two parts ensuring that it is thoroughly mixed after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and level with a knife.
  5. Bake for 50-55 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and allowing it to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool add the ganache topping.
  6. For the topping
  7. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over a low heat until it begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, chunk by chunk. Whisk the chocolate until it melts and combines with the cream to form a glossy ganache. Pour into a jug and allow to cool a little. Once cooler and a little firmer, pour over the cake. Sprinkle with the crystallised ginger to decorate (optional).
  8. Store in an airtight container.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/gingerbread-pound-cake/

Source: Adapted and inspired by Martha Stewart’s ‘Baking Handbook’

 

Rose and Raspberry Cake

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I have wanting to bake with rose for quite some time now.

September is a big birthday month for me. Lots of friends and family celebrate their special day so now is my opportunity to give it a go. I wanted to bake a cake that was both light, fragrant, dainty and special – in fact a ‘grown up’ birthday cake. I think this Rose and Raspberry Cake fits the bill.

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I love the whiteness of this cake. It not only tastes delicious but I think it gives a bit of added sophistication.

The frosting is a Swiss Meringue Buttercream that, rather surprisingly, I have only come across in the past year, whilst embarking on this baking journey. To be honest, it is now my frosting of choice. It is beautifully light, as the name suggest, meringue-like and can be flavoured to your choice. Unlike a regular buttercream, it is not sickly sweet and in my mind, is well worth a little more effort in the making. I flavoured my frosting here with rosewater and a little rose syrup which gives a beautiful hint of a sweet, floral flavour.

I used fresh raspberries in the cake as they work well with rose and they are the birthday girl’s favourite.

R&Rcakecollage1I have adapted the method in a few ways. Firstly, as I am no good at cutting cakes horizontally to form thin layers, I prefer to bake the layers separately. Indeed, it is a bit more work (baking in two batches if you only have two tins) but I find it preferable to uneven, jagged layers and a disappointing result. Also, I have used 8inch / 20cm pans as I wanted to achieve a taller looking cake. However, these quantities work with two 9 inch /23cm pans (or four, if you don’t want the cutting option).

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As this was a celebration cake, I wanted to make it special by crystallising some rose petals. Although this sounds fiddly, it really is rather straight forward. Basically, the petals, ideally grown without being sprayed with pesticide are brushed with egg white, coated with caster sugar and dried. This is much more preferable to me for decorating a cake as my sugar craft skills are none existant (have you noticed this blog is rather lacking that department?) and I think it is a chic and sophisticated finish.

I am really pleased with how this cake turned out…Happy Birthday Mum! x

 

Rose and Raspberry Cake

Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 110g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 280ml whole milk
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • For the Frosting & Filling
  • 230g granulated sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 350g butter
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater
  • 1 teaspoon rose syrup
  • 250g fresh raspberries, rinsed and quartered
  • For the Crystallised Rose Petals
  • 2 Rose heads (ideally organically grown, having not been sprayed), say, 20 petals
  • 1 egg white
  • 50g caster sugar (approximately)

Instructions

  1. Prepare the crystallised rose petals ahead of time. See instructions below.
  2. Prepare two 8 inch (20cm baking tins) by greasing and lining with paper. Cut an additional two rounds of baking parchment (unless you have four tins, in which case you can bake all four cakes together).
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, or Gas Mark 4.
  4. Sift together in a bowl the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until it becomes light and fluffy. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites, milk and vanilla paste until well combined.
  6. Add half the flour mixture to the butter and sugar and thoroughly incorporate. Whilst mixing on a slow speed, add the milk, egg white and vanilla paste mixture to the freestanding mixer bowl and mix. Once incorporated, add the remaining flour and allow the mixture to beat for a few minutes until it is light and thoroughly mixed.
  7. Divide the mixture equally among four bowls (if baking two tins as a time), or pour equal amounts directly into the four prepared tins. If baking with two tins, pour the contents of one bowl into each tin and distribute throughout the pan. Bake for approximately 15 minutes until the cake is baked. Remove from the oven. Run a knife around the pans and allow the cakes to cool on a wire rack. Wash the pans and prepare again by greasing and lining and repeat the baking process until you have four baked cakes.
  8. For the Frosting & Filling
  9. Put the sugar and egg whites into a heat proof bowl over a simmering saucepan. Constantly whisk together, over the heat, for approximately 5 minutes until a meringue-like mixture forms and it is hot to touch with the your finger.
  10. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a freestanding bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk constantly for about 5 minutes until the temperature of the mixture cools down. Switch to a paddle attachment and on a medium speed, add the softened butter, spoonful by spoonful. Continue to whisk until very light and fluffy and all the butter is completely incorporated. Add the rosewater and rose syrup and mix thoroughly. Chill for 15 minutes before frosting the cake ( I find this makes the frosting more workable).
  11. Rinse, dry and cut the fresh raspberries into quarters. Frost the bottom layer of sponge and then arrange some raspberries evenly onto the frosting. Layer the next sponge cake, spread the frosting, add the raspberries and repeat. Once the fourth sponge cake is in place, give the cake a thin 'crumb coat' of frosting to the sides and top. Chill the cake for 20 minutes and then use the remainder of the frosting to complete the cake.
  12. Decorate with the crystallised rose petals. Serve.
  13. For the Crystallised Rose Petals
  14. Dismantle the rose heads to separate the petals. Holding a petal with a pair of tweezers, brush gently with beaten egg white. Drench the dampened petal on both sides with caster sugar, ensuring good coverage and allow to dry on baking parchment for a couple of hours. If you have a warming drawer, leave here on a low setting for about an hour.

Notes

Contains raw egg (Crystallised Rose Petals)

http://thecontentedbaker.com/rose-and-raspberry-cake/

Source: Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s ‘Baking From My Home To Yours’

 

 

 

 

Plumogranate Cake

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Plumogranate?…

My thoughts exactly.

When I was browsing the fruit section in my local supermarket, these caught my eye. Described as a ‘limited edition speciality stonefruit’, I was intrigued so had to buy them.

When I got home, I searched the internet to find out more.

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A summer fruit resembling a plum, the plumogranate has a rich, red colour flesh, apparently packed with the superfood qualities of a pomegranate and an intense, sweet taste of a plum. Originally developed in Israel, where these were sourced, they are also grown in California.

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I never need much of an excuse to bake a cake and wanted to use these. ( You can use fresh plums, or fresh apricots, as a substitute). That said, these plumogranates would be wonderful in a clafoutis, a tarte tatin, or just enjoyed freshly eaten.

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This cake is wonderfully moist, full of juicy, sweet fruit with a hint of orange. It could be served with coffee as a morning cake, with afternoon tea, or perhaps as a dessert with cream. I have to say, a day after baking (life doesn’t always allow me to bake, photograph, upload and post in the same day), the colour of this fruit is an even more intense burgundy red and the cake beautifully moist, so enhancing the flavour further.

The possibilities for using this fruit are endless. Too bad they were a ‘limited edition’…

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Plumogranate Cake

Ingredients

  • 165g unsalted butter, or soft margarine, room temperature
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fleur de Sel, ground or, 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 115g soft brown sugar
  • 130g granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 60ml sour cream
  • 4 plumogranates, rinsed, pitted and cut into eighths
  • Icing sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C, or Gas Mark 5.
  2. Prepare an 8 inch, or 9 inch, spring form pan by greasing and lining the base with parchment paper.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix together to incorporate ingredients fully.
  4. In the bowl of a free standing mixer, beat both the sugars and butter (or margarine) together. Add the eggs, one at time and beat until fully mixed. Add the vanilla paste and orange zest and beat further. Add half the flour mixture and then the sour cream. Mix further, combining the remaining flour mixture.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Put the cut plumogranates in a sieve (over a bowl) and sprinkle a little flour over them. Toss them, ensuring that they get a light covering of flour. (This prevents them 'sinking' in the cake). Arrange the plumogranates on the top of the batter mixture, ensuring that they are equally spaced.
  6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until the cake becomes a light golden colour. Loosely cover the cake and tin with foil and return to the oven for a further 25 to 30 minutes, checking after 25 minutes. Test to see whether the cake is fully baked.
  7. Once baked, remove from the oven, uncover and allow to cool fully in the tin. Once cooled, loosen the cake with a sharp knife.
  8. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/plumogranate-cake/

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart ‘Living’

 

Cardamom and Chocolate Angel Cake

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So I invested in a Angel Food Cake pan.

I am so pleased I did.  I think this is going to be my new favourite cake. So what is so special about Angel Cake (or Angel Food Cake, if you are Stateside)? It is a light airy, sponge cake requiring egg whites to be whipped to a meringue-like stiffness. The relative small quantity of flour and lack of fat gives the Angel Cake a very light texture, taste and tight crumb.

The Angel Cake is baked in a tall, tube pan with a hole in the middle, similar to a bundt tin. The tin I purchased has three, short legs. Once baked, the pan is inverted onto the legs to allow it to cool.

This is my third attempt at Angel Cake. The first,  mentioned in a previous post, was an attempt to use up a large quantity of surplus egg whites when I needed yolks for ice cream. Sadly it failed on the following counts; I added pureed fruit in attempt to create a beautiful ‘swirl’ when cutting my cake; I failed to add baking powder (to compensate for my fruit addition); I did not invert the pan when I took the cake from the oven, only to see it visibly sink before my eyes and finally, although it is possible to use a bundt tin, as no greasing of the pan is required, the sunken mess sadly stuck to the sides of the pan.

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Not to be defeated, I wanted to give the Angel Cake another go so I went ahead and bought the pan to see if I could get it right.

I used Martha Stewart’s Classic Angel Food Cake recipe and I was not disappointed. I followed the instructions to the dot and I was rewarded with a beautiful, golden, vanilla Angel Cake. This one I served up with blackberry cream and glaze. Totally, light, flavoursome and actually, stunning.

For this post I have opted for a chocolate and cardamom version. Cardamom, after lavender, is one of my all time favourite spices. It has a wonderful aroma and a warm, spicy flavour. It has a natural affinity to chocolate, hence my pairing here. To be honest, I have only really used cardamom pods with caramelised oranges so am keen to experiment further.

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I have been infusing some cardamom pods in sugar for a couple of months now so I have used some of this fragrant sugar in this cake. Ground cardamom is hard to find in the shops so I used pods, shelling them and grinding the seeds with a pestle and mortar. This way they are incredibly fresh and fragrant. I have drizzled the cake with a chocolate ganache.

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This cake is fairly straightforward to make. My key tips for a successful bake would be to use an angel cake pan if at all possible, invert it as soon as it comes out of the oven and allow to cool thoroughly before removing from the tin. Finally, to use a serrated knife for cutting so as not to deflate the cake too much when slicing.

I think that this cake has the potential to be a show stopper. Its large volume and light texture are very impressive. The potential for variation is huge and I think a vanilla version served with fruit and cream would make a lovely celebration cake. I plan to experiment further with this type of cake. I know I won’t be disappointed. It is delicious…

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Cardamom and Chocolate Angel Cake

Ingredients

  • 150g plain flour
  • 160g cardamom infused sugar
  • 160g caster sugar (if not using infused sugar, use 320g of caster sugar)
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom (or, approximately 10 pods, shelled, flax removed and ground)
  • 12 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • For the ganache
  • 300ml double cream
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Sift together the flour, the infused sugar (or 160g of caster sugar), cocoa powder, baking powder and ground cardamom. Sift a further three times until all ingredients are 'light' and well combined.
  3. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, whisk the egg whites with the warm water until foamy. Add the salt and cream of tartar and mix further until soft peaks form. Add the further 160g of caster sugar, a little at a time whilst the mixer is on high speed. Continue to whisk until meringue-like peaks form.
  4. Transfer the egg white mixture to a large bowl. Sift the flour mixture over the meringue mixture in small quantities (so as not to deflate the mixture) and fold in after each addition.
  5. Once combined, transfer the mixture to an UNGREASED 10 inch tube pan. Bake the cake on the middle shelf of the oven for approximately 30-35 minutes, depending on your oven.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert the pan, onto its legs, or a wire rack. Allow the cake and pan to cool. Turn the cake pan back on itself and with a sharp knife, run it around the edge of the pan and carefully around the narrow 'hole' part of the pan. Release the cake from the pan and again with a sharp knife, release the bottom of the pan. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. The cake can be stored in a airtight container.
  8. For the ganache
  9. Pour the cream into a small saucepan over a moderate heat. Just before the cream comes to the boil, remove from the heat and add the chocolate, chunk by chunk, stirring with a whisk. Continue to whisk until you have a thick, rich, chocolate sauce. Allow to cool slightly before pouring/drizzling onto the cooled cake.
  10. Serve.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/cardamom-and-chocolate-angel-cake/

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart’s ‘Baking Handbook’

Peach Loaf Cake

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Peach Loaf Cake. Another cake, another fresh fruit…

There has been a bit of a ‘posting’ gap, I know. Trust me, I have been baking. As it is the summer holidays, I am baking most days for the children, or guests. However, not all my bakes make it to the blog on the grounds that they get eaten rather quickly, or they are variations on previous posts, or what I classify as ‘experimental’. Additionally, my two year old now realises that when the kitchen scales present themselves on the work surface, ‘something’s cooking’ so-to-speak. She now takes it upon herself to drag, rather noisily, a dining chair across the kitchen and climbs up to see what is being offered up. I am so pleased she takes an interest in my baking, and I am happy, on occasion, to let her assist me with weighing out ingredients but to be honest it tends to slow down any precision baking I may be attempting!

I have therefore taken to a spot of nocturnal baking in order to make any progress.

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Back to the Peach Loaf Cake. This is my second, more improved version of the week. The first improvement is that this cake actually includes my intended fruit – Peaches. Yes, earlier in the week on a rather rapid trip to the supermarket with three children in tow, I admired some lovely white fleshed peaches, tossing them quickly in the trolley only to discover when I got home they were in fact white fleshed nectarines. Needless to say, the cake tasted delicious. However, I wasn’t happy with the consistency. It was a bit too moist. I had used sour cream in the loaf cake to give a small, tight crumb but I think this added too much moisture, so I have omitted in this recipe. I also like the ‘white fleshed’ variety of peach but you can use any peach. Obviously the yellow fleshed variety will have a richer colour when the loaf cake is sliced.

This recipe, adapted from a Delia Smith classic is wonderfully easy. More so, if you buy some loaf tin baking liners from the supermarket. No need for lots of parchment cutting for the tin lining. It is perfect for picnics, easy to slice and still edible and great tasting a few days after baking.

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So whether you use peaches or nectarines, this is a great flavoured loaf cake for summer.

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Peach Loaf Cake

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 75g unsalted butter, room temperature, or margarine
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 225g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 large, fresh peaches
  • zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • granulated sugar for sprinkling
  • For the Drizzle
  • 50g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. milk or double cream

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C, or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Prepare a loaf tin by greasing and lining with baking parchment, both the base and the sides. Alternatively, use a loaf tin liner.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar in a freestanding mixer until light and fluffy. Add the beaten egg and continue to mix. In a separate bowl, sieve together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix until combined. It may look a little dry at this stage but once the peaches are added the batter will moisten.
  4. To prepare the peaches, rinse, stone and peel three of the four peaches. The easiest way to do this is to quarter the peach on the stone and then quarter again. Pull each section away from the stone and simply peel the skin off. Chop the fruit flesh into small portions, sufficient to be distributed throughout the cake. Fold the chopped peaches into the batter thoroughly. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf and spread evenly throughout.
  5. With the fourth peach, cut into thin slices and arrange across the top of the batter in the loaf tin. Sprinkle the top of the batter and peaches with granulated sugar to give a crispy topping.
  6. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Once cooked, allow to cool in the tin for a further 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
  7. For the Drizzle
  8. Sieve the icing sugar and add the lemon juice and milk/or cream. Mix until thoroughly combined. Drizzle over the cake once it is completely cool.
  9. Serve. Store in an airtight container.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/peach-loaf-cake/

Source: Adapted from Delia Smith’s ‘Complete Cookery Course’

Swiss Roll

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This Swiss Roll is super easy, quick and impressively delicious.

I have adapted this fat-less sponge recipe from one of Jo Wheatley’s, the lovely GBBO winner of 2011. She now has two baking books published but at the moment I only have ‘A Passion for Baking’. It truly is one of my favourites books. I cannot turn a page without thinking that I want to give each and every recipe a try.

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Basically I have adapted the filling. I was hoping to achieve a traditional Swiss Roll with a buttercream type filling, with jam. My buttercream also has double cream in it so I see no reason why this can’t be served as cake for afternoon tea, or as an after dinner dessert. The scope for adaption is huge. Add cocoa powder for a chocolate version or try a fresh fruit, cream and coulis filling to the plain vanilla sponge.

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Please don’t be put off by the technicality of rolling the sponge, it is quite straight forward and really don’t worry if it is not visually perfect, it will taste great.

I was delighted with the speed of this bake and trust me, you won’t be disappointed with the flavour.

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Swiss Roll

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 100g caster sugar, plus additional 5 tbsp. for sprinkling
  • 80g self-raising flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • For the filling
  • 80g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 40g icing sugar, sieved
  • 300ml double cream
  • Zest of 1 small orange
  • 110g good quality raspberry jam

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Prepare a tin measuring 23 x 33cm by greasing and lining with baking parchment and further greasing the top of the parchment (to ensure easy release).
  3. Whisk together, with an electric or free standing mixer, the eggs and sugar until very pale in colour and light and fluffy.
  4. In a separate bowl, sieve together the flour and cornflour. Fold the flour mixture in with the eggs and sugar, a little at a time until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 10 minutes until pale golden in colour.
  5. Whilst the sponge baking, lay a sheet of baking parchment/greaseproof paper on the work surface and sprinkle 4 tbsp. of caster sugar into it, ensuring that it will cover the full area of the inverted sponge.
  6. Once baked, turn the sponge out of the pan onto the sugared parchment. Trim the edges of the cake and from a shorter end, carefully roll the sponge away from you, with the aid of the baking parchment. Wrap the parchment wrapped roll in a damp tea towel and leave to cool completely.
  7. For the filling
  8. Put the butter into a bowl and sieve the icing sugar onto it. With a fork gently fork the sugar through the butter so it is a little combined. With an electric whisk, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the double cream and continue to beat. Fold in the orange zest.
  9. Once cooled, un-roll the sponge and spread the creamy filling all over the rectangular sponge. Spoon the jam, in diagonal lines, across the cream filling, ensuring you reach the ends and the jam is equally distributed throughout.
  10. Take a short end and carefully roll the sponge with the filling.
  11. Sprinkle with the final tablespoon of caster sugar to finish and serve immediately.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/swiss-roll/

Source: Adapted from Jo Wheatley’s ‘A Passion For Baking’

 

 

 

Strawberry Teacake with Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

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Now that Wimbledon is upon us. Strawberries are well and truly order of the day.

Instead of making a strawberry dessert which can be a bit predictable, I thought I would make something that can be enjoyed at tea time. Cake.

This weekend I took my children strawberry picking, which I hope will be the first of many trips this year, to our local ‘Pick Your Own’ farm. They completely loved it! Having given them a picking criteria (not under ripe, over ripe, bird pecked), they were off and within minutes their punnets were positively brimming with strawberries. There is nothing like freshly picked ripe fruit – so juicy and beautifully sweet. It didn’t matter that we had surplus strawberries to my baking needs, they will get eaten.

strawberryteacake-1This is a teacake that I have baked many times but never with strawberries. (In fact, I have never made a cake with strawberries.) I have adapted this recipe from one of Bill Granger’s, a blueberry version, which is completely delicious. It contains sour cream which gives the crumb some density but it is by no means heavy and puffs up at the top as it bakes.

Baked in a rectangular tin, it also has the feeling of a tray bake –  minimum greasing, lining, cake construction and frosting.

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I have also adapted the cream cheese frosting to include fresh pureed strawberries. Absolutely delicious! The quantity given in the recipe is enough to frost the whole cake but as you can see I have frosted half the cake and drizzled the other half with icing sugar. Go with what you fancy. Maybe the strawberry frosting is strawberry overload for you? One tip with the frosting, be sure to use full fat cream cheese, the light version just goes runny. It is also best eaten within two days of making.

This cake is very easy and goes along way. It makes 18 portions. Store in an air tight container and the cake will see you through to the Wimbledon finals…

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Strawberry Teacake with Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 18 slices

Ingredients

  • 300g fresh strawberries
  • 200ml soured cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 180g butter, softened
  • 330g caster sugar, plus 1.5 tablespoons (for steeping strawberries)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 375g plain flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • For the frosting
  • 150g strawberries, pureed
  • 250g full fat cream cheese
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted

Instructions

  1. Prepare the strawberries by washing and cutting/chopping each strawberry into about 6 pieces. Place chopped strawberries into a bowl and sprinkle with 1.5 tablespoons of caster sugar. Allow strawberries to steep a little.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, or Gas Mark 4.
  3. Prepare the tin (my tin measured 23cm x 30cm) by greasing and lining with parchment. In a bowl, mix together the sour cream and bicarbonate of soda. Allow 5 minutes for the acidity in the sour cream to activate the soda.
  4. In the bowl of a freestanding mixture, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time and then add the sour cream mixture. Thoroughly combine.
  5. Sift the flour and baking powder together into the bowl. Gently fold in the flour until combined. Gently fold in half of the steeped strawberries.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Distribute the remaining strawberries over the top of the cake.
  7. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool in the baking tray for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
  8. For the Frosting
  9. Wash and chop the strawberries and then puree in a blender.
  10. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, put the butter and the sifted icing sugar. With a fork, work through the butter and sugar until roughly combined before beating until light and fluffy. Add the salt and lemon zest and continue to combine.
  11. Add the cream cheese and continue to mix until light and fluffy but do not overbeat. Fold in the strawberry puree until evenly distributed.
  12. Spoon or spread over the cake as desired.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/strawberry-teacake-with-fresh-strawberry-cream-cheese-frosting/

Source: Adapted from Bill Granger’s ‘Feed Me Now’

Banana and Pineapple Cake

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This is one of my all time favourite cakes (to date) to make and to eat!

It is quite a large cake, so perfect to bake when you know you have visitors, guests, or a group to feed. Indeed, if you happen to be a ‘cricket widow’ this time of year, I dare say it would go down a treat if you have to come up with a cake for afternoon tea.

It is quite possible that you may have all the ingredients, to hand, in the house. Perhaps not the tin of crushed pineapple, or maybe the cream cheese (it is always handy to have a spare tub in the fridge as cream cheese tends to have a long ‘best before’ date), but everything else.

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This cake is really easy and quick to put together. For me, the only bug bear is mashing the banana! It is also versatile in terms of presentation. I have used a Bundt tin but you could use a 9 inch spring form pan and just frost the top as I have done, or use 3 8 inch tins, frost between each layer, on the top and around the sides. You will need to double the quantity of frosting in order to do this.

Just a tip for the cream cheese frosting; make sure you use a full fat version, not a ‘light’ version of cream cheese. The frosting will go ‘runny’ instead of ‘fluffy’.

Packed with flavour, you won’t be disappointed you gave this one a try…

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Banana and Pineapple Cake

Serving Size: Serves 12-15

Ingredients

  • 300g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 300ml sunflower oil
  • 3 large, or 4 small bananas, ripened
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for decorating (optional)
  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 small tin of crushed pineapple drained (approximately 180g pineapple)
  • For the Frosting
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 125g full fat cream cheese, chilled

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
  2. Prepare the tin, or tins, by greasing and lining with parchment if using a flat tin. Alternatively, dusting with flour if using a Bundt tin.
  3. Mash the bananas. Put the sugar, oil, eggs, mashed banana and cinnamon in the bowl of a freestanding mixer and beat until the ingredients are well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl slowly and combine. Add the vanilla paste, or extract, and mix again.
  5. Drain the crushed pineapple and fold into the mixture until well distributed.
  6. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes. This baking time applies to a Bundt and a single 9 inch spring form pan. If you are using 3 x 8 inch pans, bake for approximately 25 minutes.
  7. Leave the cake to cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
  8. For the Frosting
  9. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
  10. Sieve the icing sugar into the bowl of a free standing mixer. Add the butter and fork slowly through the icing until roughly combined. (This prevents an icing sugar 'explosion'!). Use the mixer to then beat the icing sugar and butter until creamy.
  11. Add the cream cheese and beat further until light and fluffy.
  12. Frost the cake and sieve ground cinnamon over the frosting, if you choose.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/banana-and-pineapple-cake/

Source: Adapted from ‘The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook’ by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers

Lemon Sponge Cake

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I was in a dilemma with this cake.

To post, or not to post?

To be honest I was a little disappointed with it’s appearance. I have made it a couple of times before with much visual success. But considering this was my second attempt of the day, as I was experimenting with quantities and cake tin sizes, we would have been swimming in lemon cake at home had I gone for a third attempt!

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Instead, I reminded myself of the purpose of this blog, indeed it is a ‘baking journey’ and also my words in my ‘About’ page…’This Blog is not about picture perfect bakes that look far too good to eat. It’s about a range of fare that anyone can bake at home, to share and enjoy.’

So where do you think you went wrong? I hear you say, (apart from ‘catching’ the bake slightly on the bottom layer). Well, I think this cake should have been a three layer, instead of a two layer cake. Some cakes need to be served in two layers and cut into large wedges, like a Victoria Sponge Sandwich (you would never see that appear as three layers). But I think this Lemon Sponge Cake would work well in three layers, served with a pastry fork.

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Appearances and preferences aside, this cake is incredibly light, moist, sweet and tart. I like to use just egg whites to give the sponge added whiteness. In terms of finish as well, it is very much open to personal choice. I have put lemon frosting and lemon curd in the sandwich and topped with frosting and candied lemon peel. You could use a raspberry, or blueberry jam for the filling and top with fresh berries. Alternatively you could just top with freshly grated lemon zest.

However many layers, or however you finish this cake, you won’t be disappointed, especially with the flavour.

Lemon Sponge Cake

Ingredients

  • 240g plain flour
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp. baking powder
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • Zest of 3 small, unwaxed lemons
  • 4 egg whites
  • 240ml milk
  • For The Frosting
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 160g butter
  • Zest of 2 small, unwaxed lemons
  • 50ml milk
  • 6 tbsp. lemon curd
  • For Candied Lemon
  • Zest of 2 small unwaxed lemons
  • 100g sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 100ml water
  • Equipment
  • 3 x 20cm (8inch) round baking tins

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
  2. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, put the flour, sugar, butter, baking powder and lemon zest and mix until everything is combined and you get a sand-like consistency. Slowly add the milk and beat until incorporated.
  3. Add the egg whites, one at a time and mix until all combined and you have a smooth mixture.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the three prepared (greased and lined) baking tins.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Leave to cool slightly and then turn out of the tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. For the Frosting
  7. Sieve the icing sugar into the bowl of a freestanding mixer. Add the butter and gently fork through the icing sugar until it is roughly combined. Add the lemon zest and mix with mixer until the frosting comes together.
  8. Slowly add the milk and once all combined, mix the frosting on a high speed until it becomes very light and fluffy.
  9. Spoon the lemon frosting onto one cake and spread evenly. Drizzle 3 tbsp. of lemon curd over the frosting. Add a second layer of sponge and repeat with the frosting and lemon curd. Add the final sponge layer and finish with the remaining frosting.
  10. Decorate with either candied lemon, fresh berries or lemon zest.
  11. For the Candied Lemon
  12. Put 100g of sugar and 100ml water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, add long lengths of grated lemon zest. Allow to simmer for a further 5-10 minutes until the sugar/water mixture becomes syrupy.
  13. Turn off the heat and drain the lemon zest on a piece of kitchen towel. Toss the peel in sugar (either caster or granulated) and allow to cool.
http://thecontentedbaker.com/lemon-sponge-cake/

Source: Adapted from ‘The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook’ by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers