Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Pumpkin and Banana Salted Caramel Cake.

Hello...only me. I have a cake for you, and not just any cake, THE cake. THE cake that makes people look at you when they put a forkful in their mouths like "are you being serious?". And the cake that means people sort of whisper "who made this?". The cake that demands the recipe be surrendered immediately...sort of hence my return to these fair pastures.

The only tricky thing here, is that I think it's going to be bit of a hard sell to you chaps. Firstly the whole banana and pumpkin thing...that makes people give you funny looks..."pumpkin?" but I yell at you "YES PUMPKIN, have you HEARD of CARROT CAKE". Veggie cakes, as I've professed before, are a dream texture and win at allowing yourself to pretend that you really do need that second slice. So YES to pumpkin.

Second, there's the whole brown thing. Yeah it's a nice bundt shape but it's not exactly pretty or cute, it's just a big brown cake. But pleeeeease don't let that put you off...a brownie is brown and boring looking but I bet that never stopped you.

The biggest thing though is that compared to the fireworks taste...there is NO EFFORT on your part. You don't even have to get your electric whisk out, which is why I've made it so often recently and why I can offer such a guarantee to the love you will receive on the baking of the beast. So bake this now please, and while it's in the oven you'd better give some thought to the whole taking compliments know, just the right amount a graciousness and 'what this ol' thing' to not sound ungrateful but also quite dismissive of your part in the achievement. That's the hard part you see. With Love and Cake.

Banana and Pumpkin Salted Caramel Cake.

A few notes:

  • Ok pumpkin, not one of your everyday ingredients here in the UK...what I do is get my hands on all the giant edible ones I can in the winter (thanks Grandad) and steam and freeze them in bags divided into 'cups' or 245g, because recipes that call for pumpkin are often American and therefore measured in cups. You can buy it canned in some supermarkets or on Amazon.
  • The glaze turns this from a nice hearty banana cake into the epicness I describe it is a must.
You will need

1 x large bundt tin, greased and floured

For the cake
300g pumpkin puree
300g super-ripe banana, mashed until fairly smooth
400g caster sugar
115g flavourless oil, like vegetable or sunflower
3 eggs
1 generous splosh of vanilla extract
375g plain flour
pinch salt
2 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp baking powder

For the glaze

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, banana, caster sugar and oil.
  • Whisk in the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla.
  • Gently fold in the rest of the ingredients until you have a smooth and uniform batter.
  • Pour it into your cake tin and get it in the oven.
  • Set the timer for 45 minutes, after which time, give it a check. I would expect to have to give mine another 10 minutes or so from here but ovens vary so widely that I think this is a good check point. If the top's browning too quickly, cover it with foil.
  • When it's bronzed and firm and a knife comes out clean, remove it from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for had an hour or so, after which time it should be cool enough to handle and turn out of the tin.
  • Make the sauce and leave to cool for a good couple of hours, preferably overnight, so it's thick enough to not dribble straight off the cake.
  • Pour all over the cake and spread the love.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Pecan Pie.

Is it Thanksgiving this week? I think it must be. And I've got to say I'm quite sad that we don't have it over here. In mean, obvs not the whole 'make a sparkly holiday out of pretending that us European folk didn't skip on over across the sea to wipe out a whole sophisticated population' sort of thing, that seems kind of weird and mean....but a whole holiday, just in time to kick off Christmas, all about being grateful...that seems like a good idea to me

And from my very outsider perspective it seems that it kind of takes the pressure of Christmas a bit too, because it's 'The Holidays', whole long weeks of fun...rather than getting all in a faff because everything has to be perfect on the one day that counts. And given that you, little sis, are a full on American resident these days, you are gonna need a pie...another reason we should get Thanksgiving, it's a pie festival... you can't turn up anywhere without a pie this week, I'm pretty sure it's US a law. So better get baking. With Love and Cake

Pecan Pie
Recipe from The Essential Dessert Cookbook

A few notes:
  • You could use any tart case you like really, even *faux gasp* a shop bought one.
  • If you have any spare pastry and want to prettify you could cut some pretty shapes, stars or hearts, and lay them on top of the pecan layer before you bake.
  • As usual, I've made my pasty in my food processor but, as ever, you can definitely make it by hand if that's what works for you. Just rub in the butter with your finger tips and bring the dough together by hand.

Serves 6
You will need

1 x 23cm tart tin

For the pastry
185g plain flour
125g butter
2-3 tbsp cold water

For the filling
200g pecans
3 eggs
50g butter, melted
140g soft brown sugar
170ml golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt

  • First lets make the pastry. Pulse the flour in a food processor (or sift into a bowl) then add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add 2 tbsp of cold water and pulse until a soft dough forms, adding 1 more spoonful of water if necessary.
  • Remove the dough from the processor roll the pastry out thinly onto a floured surface. 
  • Line your prepared tin with the pastry, and gently prick the base with a fork. Cut off the excess and chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°c.
  • Blind bake the pastry case; line it with a scrunched up piece of baking paper and fill with baking beads, or uncooked rice or dried beans (save them to continue to use for the same purpose, just don't cook them to eat), then place the pie tin in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the edges have started to colour.
  • Remove the beans and paper and bake for a further 15 minutes.
  • Remove the pastry from the oven, set aside to cool.
  • Make the filling by spreading the pecans over the pastry base.
  • In a measuring jug whisk together the eggs, melted butter, sugar, golden syrup, vanilla and salt and then pour over the notes.
  • Bake the pie for around 45 minutes or until firm. Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Crispy Granola.

I don't know if I've mentioned before, but breakfast is one of my favouritist meals of the know, along with lunch and's the only one where the sweet stuff can take up the whole occasion and take all the credit. You can basically eat cake and nothing but cake without anyone judging you...panCAKES, muffins, pastries.

The unfortunate thing however, is that if you want to survive past your 35th birthday you have to mix it up a bit and maybe not do the 'cake first thing in the morning' thing everyday. Sad.

My non-cake breakfast of choice is a smoothie packed full of good this one. The tricky thing is however, that making a smoothie is not a quiet affair and since I'm usually the first one up and about in my house and when I say house I mean little match box pretending to be a house, I have to seek other sources of sustenance.

Enter...homemade granola. I have been making my own granola for a while and so an always looking for new versions. The addition of cornflakes in this one makes it super crispy and delicious. Enjoy, quietly. With Love and Cake.

Crispy Granola.
Adapted from a Lynn's Kitchen Adventures recipe

A few notes:
  • Of course this recipe is wiiiide open for interpretation...maybe use maple syrup instead of honey, or a different kind of nut, or maybe you have Rice Krispies instead of Cornflakes so want to use see...
  • Use a honey that you really like the taste of...they vary so much in flavour and it really comes across here.
Makes a big storage jar-full
You will need

1 x large baking sheet, greased

75g soft brown sugar
6 tbsp flavourless oil, like sunflower or vegetable
170g honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g cornflakes
340g oats
1 tsp cinnamon
50g pecans

  • Preheat the oven to 180˚c.
  • Stir together the sugar, oil and honey in a small pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves.
  • Meanwhile mix together the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • Pour over the honey mixture and stir everything together until well combined.
  • Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Run a spoon through the mixture to turn everything over and then put back in the oven....but TURN IT OFF.
  • Leave the granola to cool completely in the oven. 
  • Break the cold granola up into clusters and store in an airtight jar.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Mini Doughnuts.

Donuts...Doughnuts...CRONUTS??? I think Americans would call these ones doughnut holes, which I thhhhiiink are the result of when the doughnut fairies make the rings and the friendly ones keep the middles for those of us that have been good (correct me if I'm wrong).

To be honest, I just made these little because I hate the idea of using vat-fulls of oil and then having to deal with it after. But lets stick with the fairies thing yeah?

I've been meaning to make doughnuts for aaages. Ever since my local farm shop started selling them fresh from the pan on weekend mornings. Theirs are big and knobbly and heavy and are meant to be rings but have got so fat that there is no longer a hole, just a little channel of crispyness and they are heaven. And so I decided that if the fancy farm shop could sell super rustic style doughnuts for actual money then I could have a crack and not be too embarrassed if they were a bit wonky.

Turns out though, I needn't have worried because, if you make them mini, doughnuts are easypeasy aaaaand have the perfect ratio of crispy outside to doughy inside. DO give them a go. With Love and Cake.

Mini Doughnuts.

A few notes:
  • Making doughnut is making bread really...check my post on white bread for lots of hints and tips.
  • You could definitely make these into larger doughnuts....I couldn't advise you on cooking times though because I haven't tried that yet.
  • These are perfect for just poppong straight into the mouth any which way, but if you want to make them fancier and more desserty they would be fabbo served with a chocolate sauce for dipping.
Makes 12....serves 2-4 depending on how you serve them
You will need

For the dough
2 tsp dried yeast
75ml warm water
125g strong white bread flour
pinch salt
25g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp flavourless oil

For frying and finishing
enough flavourless oil to fill a small frying pan 3/4 full, I used about 750ml rapeseed oil
50g granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

  • Stir the yeast into the water.
  • Into a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, sugar and oil.
  • Stir the yeasty water into the flour mix and get your hands in there to bring it all together to a shiny dough.
  • Knead for 5-10.
  • Set the dough back in the bowl and put somewhere cosy for an hour or 2 or until doubles in size (the time this takes can vary hugely depending on the temperature and other factors so if you think it needs another hour give it another hour).
  • Divide the dough into 12 and form each piece into nice smooth ball.
  • Set the balls on an oiled baking sheet and leave in the cosy place for another 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon on a plate ready for dipping for your doughnuts.
  • Heat the oil in a small saucepan until it reaches 150˚c or until you can pop a small piece of bread in there and it gently sizzles immediately.
  • Add the doughnuts to the oil in batches so they aren't crowded and cook for 3-4 minutes, turning over a few times. 
  • When the doughnuts are bronzed, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on some kitchen paper for a moment before transferring to the plate of cinnamon sugar, rolling them around to give them a good sugary coating.
  • EAT. EateatEAT. 

Friday, 4 October 2013

Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake.

Oo helloooo. I'm sorry it's all been a bit sporadic around here lately... I've been so good and organised with my 2 posts a week over the past couple of years and now I keep being silly and forgetting to press publish or having a little holiday and getting all the posts prepared but not actually telling you about them. What a wally.

And I'll be starting a new job next week, in a new town with a new schedule and having not started yet it's hard to see how it'll all work out...when will I bake, when will I run, when will I tell you how excited about my latest peanut butter discovery??

Plus, it's winter now, or at least it felt like it when i walked home yesterday... battling through the wind and rain, mascara more on my cheeks than my lashes... which means it's dark, which means I am SO much less productive at either end of the day.

So I hope you don't mind but I'm just going to see how I go and work it out along the way. It'll work out I'm sure. In the mean time, here's some cake, to say thanks for coming back and fingers crossed for lots more peanut butter excitement.

Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake.
Adapted from a Life Made Simple Recipe

A few notes:
  • You could change the citrus here, orange would be lovely.
  • The recipe below is for a 2lb cake tin... but I like my 1lb one better for cakes so I used about 2/3 of the mixture in that and the rest as muffins (baking for 20 minutes after the cake was done so I didn't have to open the oven door part way through the cooking time). You do as you will.
Makes a 2lb loaf cake
You will need

1 x 2lb loaf tin, greased and lined

For the cake
190g caster sugar
60g soft brown sugar
225g butter, at room temperature
Zest 3 lemons
3 tbsp lemon juice
5 tbsp sour cream
5 eggs
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp poppy seeds
Pinch salt

For the syrup
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

For the glaze
50g icing sugar
lemon juice

  • Preheat the oven to 160c.
  • Beat the 2 types of sugar and the butter together until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the zest, juice and sour cream, followed by the eggs, one at a time.
  • Gently fold in the flour, baking powder, poppy seeds and salt until everything is well combined.
  • Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes...I wouldn't expect it to be ready at this point but you want to check if the top is browning too quickly and you need to cover it with foil. 
  • Name for a further 15 minute or until firm and a skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave the cake to cool for a while in the tin while you get on with the syrup.
  • Pop the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Prick the cake all over with a skewer or cocktail stick and then spoon over the syrup so it soaks into all the holes.
  • Remove the cake from the tin to cool completely.
  • When it's cooled, make the glaze by mixing just enough lemon juice to make a smooth paste with a dropping consistency.
  • Spoon over the cake and let it dribble down the sides...mmmm.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Peanut Butter Cup Pancakes.

PEANUT BUTTER CUP PANCAKES. Mmmmmhummmm. That's right. And not Reese's Cups IN pancakes...actual peanut butter cup pancakes. Like...a layer of chocolate pancake and a layer of peanut butter pancake IN ONE PANCAKE. I'm quite excited about this discovery...can you tell?

I can't really claim it as my very own Christopher Columbus, someone had been there before me. But also like Christopher Columbus, I'm going to pretend like I've discovered the best thing ever and I should get allll the credit. 

I think these would make really great dessert pancakes with ice cream and chocolate sauce...otherwise make sure you've got a realllllly busy day of running around ahead of you so as to feel justified in sprinkling chopped up actual Reese's Cups on the pancakes.....

Or maybe you had a really busy day yesterday and you need a reward today, or perhaps you've got a hardcore day tomorrow and you need sustenance in preparation, or maybe it's your birthday, or your friends birthday....whatever, just make sure you make these, chuck chocolate at them and have a bloomin' good time. With Love and Cake.

Peanut Butter Pancakes
A few notes:
  • This is just my recipe for peanut butter pancakes split in half and cocoa added to one half. You could add cocoa to the whole thing and just have chocolate peanut butter pancakes without the layering and save a bowl.
  • I served mine with butter and the chopped Reese's Cups but I can imagine they would be scrumptious with Nutella or even chocolate sauce and ice cream.

Makes about 10, depending on how big you want them
You will need

A non-stick frying pan

250g self-raising Flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 heaped tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp cocoa

  • Get your pan on a medium heat.
  • Pop the flour, sugar and baking powder into a bowl and give everything a stir.
  • Now whisk in the milk and egg, followed by the p. butter. You'll have quite a thick, stiff batter.
  • Now add half the batter to another bowl and stir the cocoa into one of the halves...adding a little milk if it gets too stiff to manage.
  • If you want a little help with non-stickness, grease your pan with a bit of butter.
  • Now spoon heaped tablespoons of the chocolate batter into the pan and on top of each add about the same amount of peanut butter batter.
  • Cook for a few minutes and when bubbles start to show on the up-facing surface, give the pancake a flip and cook for another few mins.
  • Keep in a warm oven while you get on with the rest.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I'm having one of those annoying days today where I feel tired and grumpy for absolutely no reason whatsoever...I slept good and I just did a clever internet thing where I downloaded an update for my digital radio which I've been meaning to do for see, life is good, but all I really want to do is sit in a ball and watch Gilmore Girls all day long with a hot water bottle on my knee (though I won't lie I am doing the hot water bottle thing right now anyway).

It's probs because of the poopey weather we've had this week which has got in the way of my total denial that summer is over. HOWEVER, I've just realised that I've already waffled on about the weather for multiple posts already and it's still only September so I really should just shut up and accept that I live in Scotland or move to somewhere in the Indian Ocean.....I'll decide later.

In the mean time I think the answer is cookies. Chocolate chip cookies of course because what else is more cheering? And please don't get me wrong with the whole coconut oil thing...I am nooooooot putting it in biscuits because I've decided it's time to join a commune and grow my own hemp...I'm using it because I bought a big jar of it a while ago to play with and I've mostly been slathering it on my poorly feet when they're angry at me for making them run too far....turns out that doesn't actually use a huge amount, so I thought I'd give it a go in the kitchen. Using it as a butter substitute, as in spreading on toast, doesn't seem right because I LOVE BUTTER and why would you want to meddle with the alchemy of melty butter on toast, but I did fancy having a go at adding the subtle coconutty scent to a spot of baking.

Turns out it's not so subtle and those who are lucky enough to get offered one of these delights will know your ploy before they've even tasted it...but I like it...and if it helps you to go down the hemp route you can definitely convince yourself that you're saving our health by eating the cookies. So if you've got the blues, weather induced or not, make these...or move to Mauritius. With Love and Cake.

Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies.
adapted from lots o' different recipes for the internets

A few notes:
  • If you don't have any coconut oil and don't fancy purchasing then just replace it with butter or hop over to this recipe which are the best chocolate chip recipes evs.
  • You could also twiddle and fiddle with the chocolate here...I use chopped chocolate rather than chocolate chips because it's better chocolate but you use what ever you fancy...white chocolate would be fabby I'm sure.
Makes about 15
You will need

2 x baking sheets, greased

150g coconut oil
190g soft brown sugar
90g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
295g plain flour
pinch salt
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 180˚c.
  • Beat the coconut oil and two types of sugar until fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla.
  • Fold in the flour, salt and chocolate so you have a stiff dough.
  • Dollop tablespoonfuls of dough onto your baking sheet, leaving a good couple of centimetres between each one for the cookies to expand.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until bronze around the edges but still soft in the centre; don't worry about them being underdone, it'll mean they're nice and soft.
  • Leave the cookies to firm up on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.