Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Marmalade cupcakes

The book for this months Cupcake book club, hosted by Kelly over at American cupcake in London, was Hot cakes by Kim Newman-Wood.

I have already described my thoughts on the book and a toffee bakewell cupcake here.

I like the sound of a number of cupcakes in the book, especially the marmalade. I had marmalade residing in the fridge and so decided why not make them! I was not with the book at the time so used my memory and own recipe to create my marmalade cupcake.


makes 10

120g butter
120g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
50g marmalade
130g self raising flour
1 tablespoon of milk

1 orange
tablespoon of caster sugar

125g butter
250g icing sugar
2 tablespoons of marmalade

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C FAN and line a cupcake tray with cases. Cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy, this can take a while, be patient the cakes will be so much better for it.

Add the egg, marmalade and zest of the orange and beat for a further minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour, beat on slow until the flour is just incorporated. Add the milk and beat the mixture for a further two minutes.

Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake cases and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25minutes. When the cakes are done they will be lightly golden and springy when pressed lightly with your finger. 

While the cakes are in the oven prepare the orange syrup. Put the tablespoon of sugar and the juice of half the orange in a pan, bring to a simmer and reduce the volume until you have a sticky syrup.  

Naked cupcakes ready for bright yellow glaze
As soon as the cupcakes come out of the oven brush the syrup over the top to give a tangy glaze.
Super shiny glazed cakes

Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to completely cool.

For the frosting beat together the butter, icing sugar and a tablespoon of orange juice from the leftover orange, until very light and fluffy. Add the marmalade and beat for a further minute until incorporated. Use the frosting to top the cupcakes.

I could have piped the frosting but something about marmalade screams rustic, and so I simply swirled it on with a palette knife.

The cakes have a beautiful orange flavour, the frosting and glaze make for a really zingy fruity hit.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Apple sauce brownies

Wait wait, before you turn your nose up let me assure you these brownies are chock full of chocolate.

I read somewhere (can't remember where) that you could replace half the fat in most baking with fruit purée of some sort, such as apple.

Now maybe this would make some cakes and traybakes much healthier but I don't think it can make the humble brownie much healthier, yes the fat will be reduced but lets not forget about the 300g of chocolate in them and I am NOT replacing my chocolate with fruit.

I was interested to see the final texture and so an experiment began. I have also just realised apple sauce begins with 'A' so I am sliding it in as a last minute alpha bakes entry!

Apple sauce brownies

200g dark chocolate 
40g butter50g groundnut oil, or another 50g butter
85g apple sauce230g caster sugar130g plain flour3 eggs
100g white chocolate, I used giant milky bar buttons

Preheat the oven to 170C/150C FAN. Grease and line a brownie tin with baking parchment.

Place the butter, oil and chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water. Allow to melt, stirring from time to time. When fully melted remove the bowl from the heat and mix in the sugar until fully incorporated. Next stir in the flour until no more remains visible. Finally add the eggs one at time and stir until combined. 

Pour the brownie mix into the prepared pan and level out with a spatula, or the back of a spoon. 
Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes until flaky on top but not overcooked, you want a nice fudgey centre! Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for at least an hour this will make removal  much easier. 

The verdict? These were good, they were pretty fudgey and chewy in the centre and crisp on top. Not as fudgey as a full fat brownie with not quite that oozey goo in the very centre. Its possible I over baked them a little but I am sure its the apple sauce. You could not really taste the apple unless you got a small piece, maybe a should have sieved the apple sauce first. I would definitely try fruit purée in future bakes.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Toffee bakewell cupcakes

The book for this months Cupcake book club, hosted by Kelly over at American cupcake in London, was Hot cakes by Kim Newman-Wood.

I am not entirely sure what to think of the book, It started off well enough and I was enjoying it. By the end though, I am not sure that I entirely liked any of the characters which was rather odd!

The cupcake recipes however sounded delicious. There was one that I had to make otherwise I think Mark would have kicked me out of the house and changed the locks. So I made the toffee bakewell cupcakes but there is perhaps one more I will make before the deadline for this month is up.

These cupcakes intrigued me. I often make cupcakes, and once they are baked, remove a cone and add a filling. This recipe however added the caramel to the centre of the cake before baking. I.e. half fill the case with batter, add a teaspoon of caramel, add the remaining batter to cover the caramel then bake. I could not help wondering would it work?

Answer, yes it did. Saying that, although I put the caramel in the centre, it definitely sank during baking, so I would maybe add the caramel two thirds of the way up to combat this.

The cake is an almond flavoured sponge with a caramel filling. I swirled almond and caramel buttercream over the top.

Its a little hard to tell but the buttercreams are different colours. I finally drizzled caramel on the top. For the caramel, you can make it using condensed milk, or carnation handily sell tins of ready made caramel now.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Chorizo, mozzarella and rocket rolls

I have really been enjoying the repeats of The Great British Bake Off on BBC. I download them, as I am at work, then spend a good few hours on the sofa armed with plenty of cake watching the re-runs.

It was especially fun watching series one as I had missed this first time round. I thought the bread rolls that Edd made looked delicious and by a wonderful coincidence they appeared on his blog a day later!

I copied his recipe word for word, it can be found here.

They were delicious the day they were made and just as fabulous a day later refreshed for a few minutes in the oven .

I do bake bread on a regular basis but these have certainly inspired me to experiment with some filled rolls of my own.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Garlic and chilli ficelles

What is a ficelle? Erm will my French is non existent so I am going to go with a kind of soft breadstick.

Whatever it is it is extremely tasty alongside soup, salad, your evening meal or as a nibble with a glass of wine. Yes, I tried all these combinations!

The recipe is adapted from Paul Hollyood. His involved truffle, I do not have truffle oil! Not yet anyway...

Garlic and chilli ficelles

250g white bread flour
packet of fast action yeast
tsp salt
200ml tepid water
garlic clove
2 tbsps chilli oil
dried oregano 

You will need a dough hook for this recipe. Either attached to a free stading mixer or as part of a hand held whisk. Put the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl. Add ~2/3 of the water and using the dough hook mix slowly until a dough starts to come together. 

Add in the remaining water and continue to mix for at least 5 minutes, the dough should be smooth and stretchy. 

Either crush the garlic clove or finely grate it and add to the bowl along with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Mix for a further two minutes.

Oil a 2 litre rectangular container, I used a Tupperware, and transfer the dough. Leave in a warm place until doubled in size (mine took ~1 hour)

Flour a work surface well and tip the dough out. Do not knock it back, you want to keep as much of the air as possible. Gently stretch into an even rectangle.

Cut into 8 equal strips, then gently stretch each strip to ~25cm long. Be careful the dough is very soft and delicate.

Lay each ficelle onto a baking sheet, you will need two, lined with baking parchment. Use your finger to make a few indentations along the length of each one. Leave in a warm place until risen again. I left mine 1/2 hour. 

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C FAN. Brush each ficelle with the remaining chilli oil and sprinkle with a little dried oregano. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden.

These are wonderful warm from the oven. Paul says they are best eaten within 24 hours and I agree. I made them one evening and refreshed them through in the oven before having leftovers the following lunchtime.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Honey streusel coffee cake

Ruth over at Makey-Cakey has kindly organised another surprise ingredient swap, the theme this time was spring.

This swap I was paired with Dom over at Belleau kitchen, go have a nosey and be prepared to drool. He sent me some Lincolnshire honey from croft apiaries.

First off you are lucky there is a post at all, this honey is delicious. I had a taste with greek yoghurt and almonds and was perfectly content to continue eating it like that. I did resist but I liked the honey and almond combination and decided that my bake would combine the two.

I give you a simple honey streusal coffee cake. A few things to note; the top streusel immersed itself into the cake during baking. Also the honey adds a lovely colour to the cake, so much that my streusel in the middle does not really stand out as a defined layer. Perhaps it would stand out more with dark brown sugar in the steusel, who knows?

These presentation blips aside I would not change a thing. This cake is beautiful, a lovely soft texture with contrasting almond crunch, all surrounded by a fabulous taste of honey. It really is, as the name implies, the perfect thing to have with a cup of tea or coffee.

And an added bonus, I have a smidgen of honey left, which I can eat!

Honey streusal coffee cake

enough for a standard bundt tin

for the streusel

50g brown sugar
30g plain flour
tsp mixed spice
75g chopped almonds
30g butter
80g honey

for the cake

220g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
70g butter
170g honey
1 tsp vanilla paste
115g golden caster sugar
250ml sour cream
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 170C/150C FAN and grease a bundt tin. 

Put the dry ingredients for the streusel in a bowl and briefly mix. Melt the butter and honey for the steusel then stir into the dry ingredients. Set aside for now.

For the cake put the flour, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and mix. Gently warm the butter and honey until the butter is just melted. Once melted stir in the vanilla, sugar, sour cream and finally the eggs.

Tip the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until thoroughly combined.

Take about 1/3 of the streusel mix and sprinkle it evenly over the base of the bundt tin. Spread about half the cake batter evenly over top. Now take the remaining streusel and sprinkle it evenly over the cake batter.

 Finally smooth the remaining cake batter over the top. 

Bake in the preheated oven for ~45 minutes until golden and cooked through.

Allow to cool in the tin for 1/2 an hour before turning the cake out onto a wire rack and allow the cake to come to room temperature. 

This moist cake will keep very well in an airtight tin, just how long it lasts though remains to be seen!  

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Apricot frangipane tart

This is the second of two desserts that I created for Easter weekend. Coincidently the letter for this months alpha bakes was announced a day later, it is 'A'. So I going to enter my tart with 'A' being for apricot and almond.

I knew I would like this tart, but I was not aware just how much! I am looking forward to trying different combinations of fruit and frangipane as different fruit comes into season.

Short buttery pastry, soft frangipane and juicy fruit. What's not to love?

Apricot and frangipane tart

for the pastry

85g cold butter, cubed.
175g plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 egg yolks

For the frangipane

140g butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
140g ground almonds
50g plain flour

tin of apricot halves

First make the pastry. Rub the butter and flour together until they ressemble breadcrumbs then stir through the sugar. Add the egg yolks and two tablespoons of ice cold water and use a knife to cut through the mixture until it starts to come together. Use your hands to bring al the dough together as one. You may need to add a little more water depending on the size of your egg yolks.

Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Alternatively refrigerate overnight and remove from the fridge and hour before you wish to use it.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C FAN. Dust a work surface with flour and roll out the pastry and line a 23cm tart tin. I used my long one from lakeland (36cm in length) which worked very well. Trim the excess pastry, prick the base with a fork, line with baking paper and fill with baking beans, or rice. Bake for 10 minutes then remove the baking beans and paper. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes until golden and biscuity.

To make the filling cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy then beat in the eggs. Finally fold in the ground almonds and flour.

Spoon the frangipane filling into the pastry case and level the top. Place the apricot halves on top, in whatever pattern you desire.

Bake the tart for 30-35 minutes until cooked and golden. 

Leave to cool in the tin for ~20 minutes and when the tin is cool enough to handle remove the tart and allow to cool.
Two mugs assist in removing the sides of my loose bottomed tin!
This tart can be served slightly warm or at room temperature. I served it with a vanilla chantilly cream which complemented the tart perfectly.

It was also lovely the second day slightly warmed through in the oven. All in all a resounding success.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Salted caramel banoffee pie

Hello, I hope everyone had a lovely Easter  I myself had a fantastic, much needed break in Ireland but as such was away from the internet for a week so have a lot of catch up posts to do.

First up is a salted caramel banoffee pie, one of the two (yes two) desserts I made for Easter Sunday.

Its very easy and I made it the day before so to ease the Sunday work load.

If you like leave the salt out and make a more traditional banoffee pie, I do find the salted caramel adds a sophisticated edge and cuts through the richness ever so slightly.

Salted caramel banoffee pie

100g butter
250g chocolate digestives

100g butter
100g brown sugar (light or dark)
tin of condensed milk
sea salt

2 large bananas
standard pot of double cream

First of all grease a springform tin with butter, line the base with baking paper and grease the paper too.

Bash the biscuits in a bag or bowl, with a rolling pin, until they are fine crumbs. Alternatively use a food processor. Gently melt 100g butter and pour over the biscuit crumbs and stir to combine. Tip the mix into the prepared tin and level the top. Pop in the fridge to set for ~ 30 minutes.

To make the caramel melt the butter gently in a pan over a low heat. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the condensed milk and gently increase the heat, stirring all the time. Bring the mix to the boil and allow to boil for at least a minute. This is important to make sure the caramel sets nice and thick and squidgy! Add sea salt, 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until salted to your liking.

Allow the caramel to cool slightly for 5 minutes then pour over the biscuit base. Pop the pie back in the fridge for another 30 minutes or so.

Slice the bananas and arrange over the top of the caramel.

 Finally whip the cream and use it to top the pie. Pop the finished pie back in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.
I kept this pie in the fridge and it was just as good on Easter Monday.