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CARROT AND CARDAMON CAKE WITH ORANGE CREAM

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This cakes works well with the end of season carrots, with the addition of fresh orange it lifts the flavour and adds moisture to this golden cake.

Serves 8-10

150g light brown soft sugar

250ml sunflower oil

3 eggs (medium) beaten

1 tsp cardamom

¼ tsp ground ginger

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

1 orange, zest and juice

¼ cup golden sultanas (optional)

300g flour

2 tsp baking powder

3 medium carrots (about 250g) grated

Icing

250g mascarpone (or cream cheese)

1 orange, zest

Pinch nutmeg

1 tsp orange juice

50g icing sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C

Lightly grease a 23cm spring form cake tin and line with baking paper.

Beat the sugar, oil and eggs together in a large bowl. Add the orange zest and juice from one orange, add the sultanas (if using) and add to the carrots.

Sift the flour and spices together and add to the carrot and orange mixture, combine gently and do not over mix.

Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45 mins – 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 10 minutes before carefully turning out on to a wire cooling rack to cool.

To make the icing, for this cake I really like the creamy taste and texture of mascarpone, if using mascarpone I don’t use a mixer I mix it by hand.  Place the mascarpone, orange zest and icing sugar together and whip well with a spatula until lump free and combined.

Generously spread over the top of the cooled carrot cake.

If not eating it will keep covered in the fridge for 2 days.

BEETROOT CAKE

 

beetroot syrup cake (427x640)

This cake is ruby red in colour and deep and rich in flavour.  It is a similar to a carrot cake in technique but more like a syrup cake in texture.

Serves 6-8

50g butter

100ml oil

200g soft brown sugar

200g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

300g grated raw beetroot

1 medium apple (75g) grated

½ tsp mixed spice

75g toasted walnuts or hazelnuts (optional)

Zest of one orange

Glaze

200ml water

150g caster sugar

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180C

Heat the butter in a small pot until it browns and smells nutty. Add the oil, mix and leave to cool.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until pale and thick. Continue whisking and gradually pour in the oil and butter mixture so that it thickens up and emulsifies.

Sift the flour, baking powder and spice together and fold through the egg mixture.

Add the grated carrot and apple and remaining ingredients and mix gently together until just combined.  Pour into a greased and lined tin. Bake for 40 minutes – 1 hour (or until a skewer comes out clean).

To make the syrup – heat the sugar and water in a small pot until the sugar dissolves.

Prick the cake all over with a skewer or fork and douse with the syrup so that the cake soaks it all up, this will add not only flavour but moisture.

Serve simply with natural yoghurt.

It will keep for at least 4 days.

 

RASPBERRY AND BUTTERMILK MUFFINS

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I am aware berries aren’t in season but Butlers frozen berries are the next best thing and sometimes in these dark colder months you want a little colour.  These little muffins can be substituted with any berries but today I am going with raspberry.

Makes 12 – 16 depending on size of tin.

1 ¼  cups / 160 g wholemeal flour
2 ¼  cups /  / 295 g plain white flour
½  cup / 100 g firmly packed brown sugar
¾  tsp salt
1/2  tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

2 medium mashed, ripe banana
240 ml buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
115 g unsalted butter, barely melted

1 cup / 125 g berries, plus more for topping
1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon for topping

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C, with a rack in the centre. Line a muffin tin with papers or grease well.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

In another bowl combine the banana, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and butter. Stir until blended.

Gently stir the berries into the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients over dry, and mix until just combined. For tender muffins, do your best to avoid over-blending.

Fill the muffin tins 2/3 full (maybe a bit more than that), sprinkle with more berries and a generous dusting of cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 25-40 minutes (larger muffins on the long side), or until golden-topped, and a tester/toothpick comes out just clean.

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APPLE CAKE

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This is an utterly scrumptious cake as it is overloaded with juicy apples, topped with a light batter and baked until golden – need I say more!

Serves 8-10

Butter or nonstick spray, for greasing pan
6-7 large, tart apples, such as Granny Smiths
3 large eggs
200 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
125 g white flour
Ground cinnamon and icing sugar, also to finish

Method

Preheat oven to 180C.

Line the bottom of a 20 cm springform pan with greaseproof paper. Butter the paper and the sides of the pan. Peel, halve and core your apples, then chop them into medium-sized chunks (about 2cm squared). Pile the cut apples directly in the prepared pan.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs with sugar until thick and ribbons form on the surface of the beaten eggs. Beat in vanilla, then stir in flour with a spoon until just combined. The batter will be very thick.

Pour over apples in pan, using a spoon or spatula to spread the batter so that it covers all exposed apples.

Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a tester comes out free of batter. Cool in pan for 10 minutes on rack, then flip out onto another rack, peel off the parchment paper, and flip it back onto a serving platter. Dust lightly with ground cinnamon and icing sugar.

Serve warm or cooled. It goes particularly well with freshly whipped cream.

GREEK SPONGE – COOKIES (kok)

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To us kiwi’s they may remind us of chocolate eclairs, but alas they do have a point of difference and that is that the mixture is more sponge like and i find easier to manage as i know some people out there get a little anxious on when i mention eclairs and that dreaded choux pastry!  Perhaps i need to do a recipe on that …. anyway these are light and airy with a little chocolate on top to make them just that bit more irresistible.

makes 12 cookies

1 cup self-raising flour

4 eggs, separated

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/2 cup caster sugar

icing sugar for dusting

1 cup cream (for whipping)

1 tsp icing sugar

drop of vanilla extract

90g good quality chocolate (60-70%), broken into small pieces

Method

Preheat the oven 200C

Sift the flour into a bowl.  Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer at high speed until soft peaks are formed. Gradually add the vanilla and the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, still whisking until the mixture forms into stiff peaks. Add the egg yolks one at a time.  Stop beating and sift the flour onto the egg white mix, then fold gently until it is thoroughly incorporated.  Do not over-mix!

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with 1 cm plain nozzle or alternately spoon even sized teaspoon fills onto tray.  Pipe rounds  about (5cm round) or lines about (5cm long)onto paper and allow plenty of room for spreading.  Generously dust the tops with icing sugar and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Let cool and remove them carefully from the paper.  They can be stored for up to 1 week in airtight container and for several in the freezer.

Whilst they are cooking whip the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla extract until just stiff.  Set aside.

Melt the chocolate either in a microwave on low temp until just melted or put in heatproof bowl over pot of barely simmering water and melt gently until no lumps are visible.

When the cookies are cold, count out half which will be your tops!  Hold the cookies and dip lightly into chocolate mixture so that you get a round silky chocolate dome on top.  Allow to set on wire rack (obviously chocolate side up).

When the chocolate is set simple place a litte cream on to one half and top with chocolate round.  Serve on pretty plates and best eaten within the day when creamed.

Note this mixture for the cookies is a standard recipe which is used for sponge fingers! it can be used in tiramisu, trifle etc.

 

 

 

 

 

DIMPLY PLUM CAKE

My daughters birthday cake – her decision, simple, seasonal and utterly delicious.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVY-MARIE

1 ½ cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cardamom or cinnamon
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup oil such as canola or rice bran
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
8 plums, halved and pitted

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C
Butter a 20cm square pan, dust with flour, tap out excess.
Sift the flour, baking powder, cardamom or cinnamon if using together.
Using a electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it is creamy and soft. Add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, and beat well between each egg. Still working on medium speed beat in the oil, zest and vanilla; the batter will look smooth and creamy, almost satiny. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.

Run a spatula around the bowl and under the batter, just to make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter– four rows of plum halves each – jiggling the plums a tad just so they settle comfortably into the batter.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is honey/golden brown in colour and puffed around the plums, and if inserted with a skewer it will come out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes during which time the plum juices will seep back into the cake then run a knife around the sides of the pan, invert and cool right side up.

Once cool, I dusted mine with icing sugar. (It soaks into the plums, but keeps the cake a speckly white.)
You can wrap the cake and keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days, during which time it will get softer and moister.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY MINI CAKES

The combination of fresh cherries and dark chocolate is one of those combinations which are hard to resist and these simple little cakes are a decadent treat for the festive season! Merry Christmas

 

Makes 18 medium size muffin tins

175g butter, softened
1 cup sugar or do ½ sugar and ½ rose sugar
3 eggs
Drop of rose water (optional)
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
¾ cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup sour cream or thick yoghurt
250g fresh cherries, stones removed and cut into half
Icing – 2 Tbsp cream
100g dark chocolate

 

Method

Preheat oven to 180C
Grease your muffins tins well with butter or use paper liners, set aside.

 

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift dry ingredients together and fold through the mixture alternately with the sour cream or yoghurt.  Add the cherries and lightly mix to combine.  Remember to stop mixing as soon as you see no flour visible.
Spoon mixture into prepared tins so they are ¾ full and bake until risen and the center is firm to the touch about 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool in tin for five minutes before removing and cooling on rack.

 

To make icing – heat the cream in pot or microwave until it comes to the boil, remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is silky and glossy.

Ice your mini cakes however you like.  Enjoy.

 

 

GOOSEBERRY AND ELDERFLOWER CAKE

This combination is a classic natural partnership of flavours; tangy and juicy gooseberry with the moist sweet floral cake is bliss!

Serves 12-14

225g softened butter , plus extra for the tin

225g caster sugar

4 large eggs

225g self-raising flour

grated zest and juice 1 orange

225g gooseberries, topped and tailed

2 elderflower heads, flowers only (if possible)

70g sugar for sprinkling over cake and macerating gooseberries

Method

Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line round cake 20cm diameter.

Top and tail the gooseberries by simply removing the green and brown stalks from each end of the berry. Place them in a bowl along with one and half tablespoons of sugar which is reserved for sprinkling over the cake and juice of half a orange.  Add the elderflower leaves and toss to combine.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes to macerate.

Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy; add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.

Add the sifted dry ingredients and fold gently through. Spoon into prepared cake tin and sprinkle over the gooseberries along with the flowers, sugar and juice. 

Bake in preheated oven for 35- 40 minutes or until the cake has risen, and a skewer comes out clean. To finish sprinkle over remaining 50g sugar and cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin and cooling on rack.

This cake can be eaten hot or cold.

 

STRAWBERRY CAKE

This cake is to get us excited about the oncoming burst of berries; it is the perfect cake for parties, picnics and birthdays!

Maked 15 squares175g unsalted butter

70g (3 Tbsp) sour cream or crème fraiche

1 tsp vanillla paste or extract

225g plain flour

100g ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

200g caster sugar

5 large eggs, at room temperature

400g strawberries (1 ½ punnets), ½ roughly chopped, ½ finely sliced

50g raw cane sugar, to sprinkle over the cake

icing sugar , to serve
Method

Grease a deep, 20 x 30cm baking tray or roasting tin, line with greaseproof. Heat your oven to 160C/140C fan.
Melt the butter, take off the heat and stir in the sour cream or crème fraiche and the vanilla, set aside.
Put the caster sugar and eggs into a large bowl, and whisk with electric beaters until very thick and foamy, about 5 minutes.Mix the flour, almonds, baking powder and ¼ teaspoon fine salt together and set aside.
Pour in the butter mix, whisk briefly, then add the flour mix and whisk briefly again until even. Stir in the chopped strawberries, then pour the batter into the tin and level the top.

Scatter the sliced strawberries and the raw cane sugar over the cake, then bake for 45minutes -1 hour until risen, golden and a skewer comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes in the tin, then transfer the cake to a rack.

Just before serving, dust with a little icing sugar.

 

 

RHUBARB BUCKLE CAKE

Rhubarb and cake goes together so well which makes this cake the perfect example!

For the Cake


Butter or oil spray to grease cake tin


400g rhubarb, trimmed and cut ½ cm thick slices, cut on the angle


1 cup sugar, divided


1 cup white flour


1 tsp baking powder


75g butter, softened


1 tsp finely grated orange zest


2 large eggs


½ tsp vanilla extract


¼ cup sour cream

For the Crumb Topping

½ cup plain white flour


¼ cup soft brown sugar


1 tsp ground ginger


25 g butter, melted

Method
Preheat oven to 180C /160C fan assisted, with rack in one level lower than centre.
Lightly grease 18cm square cake tin with cooking spray or butter, and line with greaseproof paper, leaving an overhang on 2 sides (this acts as a handle).
Stir together rhubarb and half cup sugar; set aside to macerate.
Whisk together flour and baking powder. Beat together butter, remaining cup sugar, and the orange zest until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in 2 additions, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Make the crumb topping: Stir together flour, ginger, brown sugar, add melted butter; stir to combine.

Pour mixture into prepared tin. Top with rhubarb mixture, and sprinkle with crumb topping.

Bake until golden on top and cooked through, about 45 minutes, check the cake however as it can take a little less time or sometimes a little more. Let cool completely in tin on wire rack, then lift cake from pan using greaseproof paper. Remove greaseproof paper before serving, cut buckle into 4cm squares.