Chocolate & Pear Sponge Cake

It’s been a while but Christmas did what it does best, piling on the pounds, a couple at least, so I thought it best to stay away from baking for a bit…. I actually baked this cake a while back and simply forgot to post it! Pears compliment really well chocolate and it adds a healthy touch… My baking apron is back on!

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Ingredients:

  • 175g softened butter
  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 3 lightly beaten eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp espresso powder *optional
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp room temperature milk
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored and sliced

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a 23cm/ 9″ round loose-bottomed cake tin, greased and lined
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Gradually, add the eggs to the mixture, beating well after each addition. Don’t worry if it starts to look a little curdled.

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  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, coca powder, espresso powder if used and salt.
  • Fold the dry ingredients gently into the creamed mixture until well combined.
  • Stir in the milk and pour the mixture into your cake tin. Level the surface.

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  • Arrange the pear slices on top of the batter.

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  • Bake in the oven for about 1 hour until the cake is just firm to the touch and the sides have started to shrink from the side.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 10mn before transferring to a wire rack.

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Baseball Cake

At least, I was given enough notice: since the “football cake”, I had been told what was expected of me….

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For the base, I used my recipe of “Custard cake”, without the rhubarb

https://farandoleofcakes.com/2014/09/15/custard-cake-with-roasted-rhubarb/

Two of, sandwich together with some plain vanilla icing, also used for the top. For the sandy texture of the playing field, I just coloured some sugar

IMG_3696 and let it dried… any left over can then be used for a carrot cake! 😉

As for the ball, I used the same method as for my football

https://farandoleofcakes.com/2015/03/31/football-cake/

in order to have something “chocolatey” too…

 

Not perfect but the Birthday Boy was happy!

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Kaki (Persimmon) & Cinnamon Crumble Cake

Kaki fruits are in full season and can be of an acquired taste. They are delicious on their own, eaten as an apple, or transformed into a very tasty cake as you will soon discover!

 

 

Ingredients:

Kaki filling:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 45g dark brown sugar
  • 4 Kakis peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, fresh if you can (unlike me!)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 60ml water

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For the batter:

  • 110g soft butter
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 525g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 375ml buttermilk (if unavailable, make your own adding 3 tsp white wine vinegar to skimmed or semi milk)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon extract

For the crumbs topping:

  • 55g butter
  • 75g flour
  • 75g light brown or vanilla sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground vanilla

Preparation:

  1. Fruit filling:
  • Melt the butter in a medium size pan and add the brown sugar
  • Add the chopped fruits and lemon juice and cook, stirring for 2 to 3mn
  • In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water
  • Add to the pan and cook a further 2mn until thick
  • Leave to cool down completely

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2. Cake batter:

  • Start by making up the buttermilk if you haven’t got any
  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and grease or line a 23cm/ 9″ round or square cake tin
  • In the mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy
  • Add one egg at a time, beating well each time

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  • In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon

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  • Add the dry ingredients alternatively with the buttermilk and cinnamon extract to the egg mixture and beat until well incorporated

3. Crumble:

  • In a mixing bowl (use the flour one and save on washing!) combine the butter, flour, sugar and ground vanilla using your fingers until you get fine crumbs

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4. Assembly:

  • Spread half of the batter in the prepared cake tin
  • cover with the fruit filling
  • Drop spoonfuls of the remaining batter, as much apart as you can

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  • Sprinkle the crumble over evenly

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  • Bake in the oven for 50to 55mn, until golden brown and skewer comes out clean

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  • Leave to cool slightly and serve warm with custard or ice cream…. although cold the next day was just as nice! If it lasts that long…. 😉

 

 

No Fail Chocolate cake

This is the recipe I go back to time and time again basically because it is easy, full of flavour and very light in the mouth. When I have my hands full with those more and more complicated birthday cakes, this chocolate cake never fails me to get ahead with no worry and it keeps very well!

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Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 200g/ 7oz sugar
  • 90ml/3fl oz milk, room temperature
  • 250g/9oz soften butter
  • 250g/9oz white self raising flour
  • 60g/2oz cocoa powder
  • 1½tsp baking powder
  • 2tsp good espresso or coffee powder *optional but it brings out the chocolate flavour

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a 23cm/ 9″ round or square cake tin
  • Beat the eggs and add the sugar, mixing until light and fluffy

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  • Add the milk and make sure it is well incorporated
  • I change to my paddle attachment and chop the butter into the mixture

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  • In a bowl, sieve together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and coffee
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and beat really well till soft and larger in volume. It does take a few minutes hence the mixer!

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  • Spoon into the prepared tin (I sprinkled chocolate chips because I didn’t want to ice it later) and bake for 55 to 60mn, until dark, slightly firm and the sides shrink from the tin

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  • Leave in the tin to cool completely then dust with icing sugar or top with a simple chocolate buttercream

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Apple Meringue Cake

083When apples are in season, this is one way of spreading the joy….

Ingredients

Apple filling:

  • 3-4 medium apples, peeled and sliced
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp flour

Cake batter:

  • 190g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 190g butter at room temperature
  • 90g sugar
  • 3 egg yolks (see below)
  • 45g sour cream (or crème fraiche)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon extract

Meringue:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 120g sugar

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a 23cm/ 9″ round cake tin, springform if available
  • Prepare the apples by combining all the ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside until required
  • Cake batter: in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in the yolks, cream and cinnamon extract

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  • Stir in the dry ingredients until well combined

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  • Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and arrange the apple slices on top. Bake as is for 30mn

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  • Prepare the meringue topping by whipping the egg whites until foamy, ideally with a mixer. Gradually add the sugar, whipping the whole time (hence the mixer!) until it holds very stiff peaks
  • Remove the pan from the oven and top it with the meringue

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  • Return to the oven for another 20mn until golden brown (expect it to rise a little)

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  • Run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan and let it cool slightly at room temperature before serving

Pizza Express with a liquid dough

014Simply put: when you have no time to waste in making a proper dough…. but be warned, it makes for a deep pan pizza!

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 350g pizza flour, as in all prepared in a packet
  • 1 pack of easy-blend dried yeast
  • 300ml lukewarm water

Preparation:

  • Mix all the ingredients together and expect a very wet dough

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  • Pour into a pie or tart tin, lined with grease-proof paper

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  • Add your favourite toppings

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  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 210°C/ 190°fan/ Gas 6 for about 25mn

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Savoury Baguette

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Basically, it’s my own version of the “sacred BLT” (without the L and I fear spinach wouldn’t do….), perfect for lunch when I have time to prepare a dough and bake it! With or without cheese, it always goes in one sitting!

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No cheese and wholewheat

Baguette dough, medium size:

I did mine in my bread machine, dough setting, mine is liquid in first:

  • 315ml water
  • Sprinkle over 450g bread flour, covering all the liquid (white or wholewheat as preferred)
  • Add in separate corners: 1½tsp salt and 1½ tsp easy-blend dried yeast

Once cycle over, I knocked it back gently onto a floured surface, shaped it into a ball and rolled it out into a rectangular baking tray directly because once filled, it is very difficult to move!

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Filling:

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During the dough cycle, get your ingredients ready, chopped, and part cook the bacon

Staring at the bottom, lengthways, sprinkle your first ingredient and roll

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and so on, rolling up after each addition

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Different bread, white, with cherry tomatoes from the garden and grated mozzarella

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whichever way you prefer, but if using cheese, make it last to seal the dough

Seal and cover with lightly greased cling film, and leave for 30 to 45mn in a warm place

Bake

  • Preheat oven to 230°C/ 210°fan/ Gas 8
  • Slash the top of your bread several times with a knife
  • Place at the top of the oven , spray the inside of the oven with water and bake for 20 to 25mn, or until golden
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool for a good 10 to 15mn before slicing

American Cherry Pie

It is Cherry season! We love them in our house so when a friend asked me to come round to help picking, I didn’t wait to be asked twice! The eating is well worth the effort…. I knew the moment my older son saw them, he would ask for an “American style” cherry pie: I have only ever made them out of a “packet”, I had to figure out my own version….

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Cherry filling: I made it the day before as we return from picking….

  • About 2 cups of pitted cherries, 500g
  • 100 sugar ( I used my vanilla infused)
  • 8tsp cornstarch
  • 1tsp vanilla extract + 1tbsp lemon juice
  1. Place the cherries, sugar and cornstarch in a pan and allow to stand for 10mn until the sugar draws out the juice from the fruit                                   021
  2. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, then lower the heat, simmering for 1mn
  3. Remove from the pan and stir in the vanilla extract and lemon juice (as sour as you prefer)
  4. Allow to cool to lukewarm if used on the day. I covered mine and left it at room temperature

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Ingredients:

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry:

  • 250g flour
  • 160g cold butter, diced
  • 50ml milk, at room temperature
  • 3g salt
  • 15g vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg yolk

Biscuit topping:

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 50g butter, diced
  • 60g sugar
  • 1tsp ground vanilla
  • 70ml milk + extra for glazing

Preparation:

Basically, I was having a food processor day, so much easier!

Pastry:

  • At a low speed, mix the flour, butter, sugar and salt until it resembles breadcrumbs
  • Add the milk and yolk and mix a few seconds until it has an even consistency
  • Rest in the fridge for at least an hour
  • Grease or line a 26cm/10″ pie tin (mine is loose bottom) and preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4
  • Roll the pastry out and transfer to tin ( I had too much so froze 1/3)
  • Bake blind for 20 to 30mn

Biscuit:

  • Once the pastry is out of the oven, turn it up to 200/180
  • At low speed, mix the flour, ground vanilla and butter together until it makes fine breadcrumbs
  • Add sugar and the milk and mix to form a soft dough

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  • Roll it out roughly
  • Spread the cherry mixture into the pastry case

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  • Top with the biscuit dough, make some cuts for venting and glaze with milk

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  • Bake in the oven for 45mn but do check after 30mn as you might need to cove your biscuit with foil once it’s golden

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  • Leave to cool for 5mn before turning out onto a wire rack. Eat warm or cold!

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Le Gâteau Magique à la Vanille de Madagascar

The Magic Cake…. I saw the word magic and of course couldn’t contain myself! Within 24hrs I was savouring the magic and it is a perfect summer’s cake: best served straight from the fridge. How did it get its name? when you slice it, it presents 3 distinct layers: flan at the bottom, custard like in the middle and a sponge at the top. all that from one batter.016

There are a few golden rules to follow for a perfect result which will wow friends and family!

  1. Pan size: ideally no bigger than 22cm {my batter quantity matches that size} too big, the layers will be too thin and too small, you might lose out on the egg whites addition and the sponge will be too thin
  2. Folding in the egg whites: the mix at that stage is very liquid, use a whisk and by hand, incorporate them slowly, breaking them slightly but you must be left with some lumps floating
  3. Baking time: it is what it is but ovens vary. At the end of the baking, the cake must still be slightly wobbly and golden. And yes, it can be done in a fan oven!
  4. Once out, LEAVE IT! to cool down. It will deflate. Once cool enough, again leave it in the pan, refrigerate for a minimum of 2hrs. After that time, it can be turned out
  5. Some flavours might require more time in the fridge…. so it can’t be done last minute!

Ingredients:

  • 500ml milk
  • 1 vanilla pod ( straight from Madagascar, thanks to my good friend Caroline)
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 100g caster sugar (mine has vanilla pods infusing it)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 115g plain flour
  • 1 pinch of salt

Preparation:

  • Scrape the seeds from the pod and add it to the milk with the pod
  • Heat up the milk, without boiling it, then remove from heat and set aside for an hour for the vanilla to infuse it completely

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  • Preheat oven at 150º/ fan 140º
  • Ideally, use a standing mixer. Cream the yolks and sugar together with the water until light and fluffy
  • Add the melted butter and flour and beat for a good 3mn

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  • Take the pod out of the milk and pour it slowly, beating at low speed

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  • Leave aside at room temperature
  • Whisk the egg whites up with a pinch of salt until they are stiff
  • Incorporate to the liquid batter, slowly. you must be left with a lumpy mixture

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  • Grease a pan and dust with flour. It can’t be springform or loose bottom: best is actually the dreaded silicon
  • Bake for 50 to 55mn: test for a slight wobble
  • Leave on a wire rack to cool then refrigerate for at least 2hrs for the magic to happen

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♥♥♥ How about coffee flavoured? Already tried and tasted!

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  • Same ingredients but instead of the vanilla pod, infuse the milk with 20g of good espresso powder