Sunday, 28 February 2010

☂☼ rain or shine

small cakes are always a hit in my house:
easier for a break time treat:
when I was young they were fairy cakes or as an extra
treat ~ butterfly cakes:
now we bake muffins ~ somehow a more substantial bite 
so versatile and an oh so easy recipe :
weigh out the dry stuff:
ready the wet:
then mix the two but don't be too thorough:
for me they will always be called muffins just as the cases
are named on the packet:
don't mention the 'c' word!

magic muffins

you will need:
140g caster sugar
85g butter
250g self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200ml milk
and the filling of your choice ~ today I used a small bag of choc chips:
more suggestions at the end ☟
*this will make 12 gorgeously plump muffins*

preheat your oven to 200°c/ gas 6
fill your tray with muffin cases:
*my lovely daughter Hayley bought me some silicone cases which are divine 
but are a pain to clean:  so today I used paper cases that will be thrown 
to the composter after the cake has disappeared into my tum*
in a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients:
melt the butter ~ I zap mine in the microwave for 20 seconds:
then add the milk, vanilla and beat in the eggs:
pour the wet mix into the dry mix and stir until just combined:
but don't over mix it!
a few streaks of unmixed flour will be fine trust me:
now dollop your mix into the muffin cases until they are all filled:
bake for 15~18 minutes until firm and golden and smelling delicious:
cool on a rack until you can contain yourself no longer:
best eaten warm with a cuppa:
will keep in a tin for a few days ~ but I doubt they will last that long!

other fillings could be ....
apple & walnut
switch 50g of the flour for 50g rolled oats: grate 2 apples and
add 100g walnut pieces: 
sprinkle in a teaspoon of cinnamon and top with demerara for extra crunch:

use muscovado sugar instead of caster:
chop up 3 snickers bars and mix 2 of them into the batter:
top with the remaining pieces before backing:

reduce the milk to 100ml and add two mashed ripe bananas:
then add 50g dessicated coconut:

raspberry & lemon drizz
swap the milk for 150g plain yoghurt mixed with the zest
and juice of ½ a lemon:
fold in 140g fresh raspberries then bake:
when muffins are cool drizzle with 85g icing sugar
mixed with the zest and juice of the other half of the lemon:

replace vanilla with almond extract:
decrease milk to 150ml:
add 50g toasted flaked almonds:
soak 140g chopped apricots in orange juice, drain
and add to the mix:  
top with a few more flaked almonds before baking:

Saturday, 20 February 2010

❣ happy birthday Nannie

it's my Nannie's birthday today and we went to visit her yesterday:
I know she loves apple cake so I baked this one for her:
the sharpness of the bramleys really works with the vanilla sponge:
Nannie is 87 years young and as she said 'with all marbles rolling'
apple cake for my Nannie

you will need:
250g caster sugar
250g butter
250g self raising flour
3 bramley apples ~ peeled, cored and cut into wedges
4 eggs
a vanilla pod ~ it's the seeds you need 
*or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
half teaspoon cinnamon
preheat your oven to 180°c/ gas 4/350°f
line and grease a 30cm spring form tin:
in a large bowl cream together the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy:
next add the eggs one at a time and beat well:
*and rest in between as this is hard work or you could use an electric whisk*
add the vanilla seeds or extract and mix:
then fold in the flour:
put half the mixture into the bottom of your tin:
then layer on your apple wedges:
cover with the rest of the mix and sprinkle with
demerara and cinnamon:
bake for 35-40 minutes until springy to touch:
leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then remove
and cool on a rack:
delicious on its own or with custard: 

Sunday, 14 February 2010

∭ swirly for my girlie

sundays are baking days for us:
that's if we haven't already baked one on saturday:
usually I let Libbie decide what cake to make 
and being valentines she wanted a heart ❤ cake:
so ignoring that I've gone for this ↷
*no I'm not really that mean, it's just the heart cake tin we have is too 
small for this recipe*

swirly marble cake
now this cake can be made in a food processor if you have one:
not often you get to do that!
or use electric / good old fashioned hand whisk

you will need:
250g soft butter
250g plain flour
250g caster sugar
4 eggs
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
*1 tablespoon espresso powder 
*this is optional but I find it gives the cocoa a push*
1 tablespoon milk
zest of an orange and 3 tablespoons of the juice

preheat the oven to 180°c/ gas 4/350°f
line and grease a 22cm round *or square*  baking tin: 
chose your mixer and pile the butter, sugar, flour, eggs, orange zest, 
baking powder and bicarb and blitz/whisk/mix to a smooth batter:
now drizzle in the orange juice and mix again:
scoop half the mixture into a separate bowl and stir
in the cocoa powder, milk and espresso powder *if using*
dollop *I ❤ that word!* the light coloured cake mixture into your tin
and alternate with the chocolate one, like this ☟
when you have filled your tin with all the mixture:
take a skewer or knife and swirl swirl swirl:
*Libbie loves doing this bit*
then place your tin in the oven and bake for 35 minutes:
test after 30 minutes by putting a skewer in the middle >
if it comes out clean = done!
cool on a rack for ten minutes then remove from tin,
peel off baking paper and cool a bit more if you can resist:
sweet for my sweet ❤

Sunday, 7 February 2010

⫽ choco-love cake

here's a beautifully soft and gorgeous cake to make for those you love:
it's light as a feather so you can have a big slice:
get your tins ready for a heavenly chocolate feast:
*it goes without saying that for this cake it's worth getting the best chocolate and cocoa powder you can get:
I use green & blacks organic: all other ingredients are organic where possible*

you will need:
for the cake .....
200g plain flour
4 tablespoons cocoa powder 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200ml milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 large eggs
100g butter ~ softened
175g caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
for the syrup ....
4 tablespoons of apricot jam
2 tablespoons lemon juice
for the filling ....
50g butter
100g icing sugar
100g chocolate ~ at least 60% cocoa solids

preheat your oven to 190°c/ gas 5/ 375°f
grease two 20cm round cake tins
*I cut some round greaseproof for the bottoms as this baby can be tricky to get out
 if you weren't liberal enough with the greasing: better safe than sorry*
stir the lemon juice into the milk to curdle it:
in a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy:
add the beaten eggs a little at a time:
sift the flour, cocoa, bicarb and baking powder into a bowl:
now add a little of this to your butter/sugar mix along
with some of the milk:
beat well and continue to do this until your batter is mixed:
*it might be quite thick but don't worry*
stir in the vanilla extract and divide between the prepared tins:
bake for 20 ~ 25 minutes until springy to the touch:
leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out
onto a cooling rack:
prick the bases gently all over:
now heat the apricot jam and lemon juice together and  
drizzle over your cooling cakes:

for the filling ....
melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of
simmering water *make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water*:
set aside to cool slightly:
in a bowl, cream together the butter and sifted icing sugar until smooooth:
now stir in the shiny gorgeous chocolate:
and pile onto one of your cakes:
sandwich them together and shower with icing sugar:
when you can contain yourself no longer ....
slice and eat and smile:
with ❤

Saturday, 6 February 2010

♨ sweet n savoury

this savoury is a winner of a recipe:
with the fresh tastes of Summer to waken up those sleepy tastebuds:
⋘ has walnuts to please suzie & is gluten free ⋙

maple glazed feta with walnuts *and other delicious things*

you will need: *for 4 people*
350g baby potatoes ~ washed not peeled
120g shallots or red onions ~ peeled
150g feta cheese ~ cubed
100g broad beans *I use frozen soya beans if not*
100g sugar snap peas
50g walnut pieces
grated rind of an orange
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
2-3cm piece ginger ~ peeled and finely grated
5 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons olive oil
greaseproof paper and some string

firstly, if you are using red onions ~ cut them into quarters
add them and the potatoes into a steamer:
*if you don't own one then place a colander over a saucepan of
simmering water with a lid on*
steam until just tender:
cut 4 squares of greaseproof paper about 30cms:
*if the paper is a bit thin, as some brands are, then double up!*

in a bowl ~
toss the potatoes and onions with the feta, beans, peas, walnuts, 
orange rind, parsley and ginger:
season well:
divide the mixture between the 4 greaseproof squares:
mix the maple syrup and oil together and drizzle over the veggies:
bring the paper up over the filling, twist and tie with string to seal:
place the parcels in a steamer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes:
*your potatoes and onions are already cooked remember,
so you're just heating up the rest*
put each parcel onto a plate and serve with a green salad and walnut bread:
we like ours with couscous 
tomorrow a cake recipe for the one you love ....
happy saturday