Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Chocolate Marble Loaf Cake

I do love a nice loaf cake and this chocolate and vanilla one, marbled as it is, whets my appetite immensely. 

Luckily it is easy to make and doesn't take very long, and is well worth the time and effort.

Once baked the loaf cake is perfect just as it is, but some people may wish to add a little chocolate frosting to the top, for an added treat.  So I have done that with mine, but it certainly isn't necessary.

The method of making the cake is also very simple, everything, apart from the cocoa paste, goes into one bowl, at the same time to be mixed together.  Then the mixture is divided and the chocolate paste is mixed into one half.  That gives you two colours and flavours of batter which can then be spooned into a loaf tin and swirled around to make the marble effect.  What could be simpler?

Happily mine turned out very well and tasted very good indeed.  I do hope you will give this a try.

If you have any suggestions for recipes that you would like to see I would love to hear about them.  Visiting my Youtube channel, by clicking the video below allows you to comment, so you can leave suggestions there, if you wish.

Chocolate Marble Loaf Cake

                           Chocolate Marble Loaf Cake - Video
For the loaf cake:
  • 225g softened, unsalted butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs(in the USA that would be extra large)
  • 275g self-raising flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12g cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 2 tbsp milk
For the topping - if you want
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/325F.
  2. Grease and line a 2lb(900g) loaf tin.
  3. Place all the ingredients, except the cocoa powder and hot water, into the bowl of a stand mixer(your can use a hand mixer).
  4. Whisk to combine, for about 2 minutes, until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Mix the cocoa powder with the hot water and mix to a paste.
  6. Divide the batter into two, placing one half in another bowl.
  7. Mix one half of the batter with the cocoa paster until fully combined.
  8. Spoon the two mixtures into the loaf tin, randomly, so they are mixed together.
  9. Level off the mixture and then take the handle of a spoon and making swirling motions, going quite deeply, in the mixture (try not to over-do it).
  10. Level off the mixture again and place in the oven to bake for between 50 minutes and one hour, until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cook completely.
  12. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the cocoa powder, stirring to combine.  
  13. Cook gently for one minute.
  14. Remove from the heat and add the milk and the icing sugar and mix thoroughly until fully combined.
  15. Allow to cool and thicken.
  16. Spread the chocolate frosting mixture  evenly onto the top of the loaf cake and set aside to firm up a little before slicing and serving.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Steamed Treacle Sponge

Although I have called this a treacle sponge, which it how it is known in the UK, it actually has golden syrup, rather than dark treacle in it.  

It is a nice departure from baking in the oven, to steam a lovely sponge in a bowl in a saucepan of simmering water.  

This is a favourite from my childhood, and is still very popular today.  Very easy to make and just so tasty to eat, with custard, cream or ice-cream.  

Most recipes for this are very similar.  I liked the Tesco one but did adjust it slightly adding some lemon juice and zest to the sponge, as it will give a nice complementary flavour to the sponge.  Golden syrup is actually just sugar and water boiled with a couple of slices of lemon, so adding lemon to my sponge works perfectly.

The sponge is the base of this pudding, and you can easily vary the accompaniment, lemon curd or jam, for instance will work just as well as golden syrup.  So just give it a try and you will not be disappointed.
Steamed Treacle Sponge

                                 Steamed Treacle Sponge - Video
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 175g softened, unsalted butter,
  • 175g light brown muscovado sugar(or caster sugar)
  • 3 large eggs(xl in USA)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  1. Grease the inside of a pudding basin(about 1.2 litres).
  2. Prepare a circle of parchment paper that overlaps the top of the basin by about an inch
  3. Prepare a circle of tin foil slightly larger than the parchment paper.
  4. Place the golden syrup in the base of the pudding basin.
  5. In a bowl( I did this is a stand mixer but by hand or with a hand mixer is fine too) cream the butter and sugar.
  6. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest and juice.
  7. Add the baking powder and self raising flour.
  8. Mix until fully combined and smooth.
  9. Place the batter on top of the golden syrup and level off with a spatula.
  10. Grease one side of the parchment paper and place it butter side down on the tin foil.
  11. Grease the other side of the parchement paper and make a pleat down the centre of the parchment paper and tin foil.
  12. Place them over the top of the pudding basin and fold down over the sides.
  13. Use some string to tie the tin foil to the side of the pudding basin.
  14. Use more string to make a handle to make lifting the basin easy.
  15. Place a saucer, upturned, into a saucepan and place the pudding basin on top of it.
  16. Pour boiling water into the saucepan until it is about half way up the side of the pudding basin.
  17. Place the lid on the saucepan and simmer on the stove for two hours, or until a skewer poked into the centre of the sponge comes out clean.
  18. Carefully remove from the saucepan and allow to cool for at least ten minute.
  19. Remove the string and the foil/parchment cover from the pudding basin.
  20. Gently run a knife around the inside of the basin to ensure the sponge isn't sticking.
  21. Place a large plate on top of the basing and turn it over to allow the sponge to slip from the bowl onto the plate.
  22. Your steamed sponge is now ready to eat, serve with custard, cream, ice-cream or whatever you wish.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Apple Turnovers

For apple turnovers I made an inverted puff pastry. The amount in the recipe will actually make twice as much dough as needed for 8 turnovers, so I will freeze half of the dough to use in another recipe in a couple of weeks.

To make inverted puff pastry you need to make a thick roux with some butter and flour, and then separately make the dough. It is a bit of an involved process but it does make a very flaky pastry, and as I said earlier, half the eventual dough can be frozen for another recipe.

As for the filling I decided upon a puree, simmered until most of the liquid has evaporated. That was made with a sweet apple to be added to some chunky slightly stewed apples of a more tart variety, which had been sautéed with a little butter and sugar.

As they bake you get that lovely sweet, buttery aroma filling the kitchen and you can hardly wait to take them out of the oven and start to eat.  But patience is rewarded with a lovely flaky turnover, with a wonderful apple filling, neither sweet nor too tart.  For a confection with so little sugar these are just wonderful.

As ever I messed up on the video again, this time it was forgetting to turn on the sound when I first rolled out the pastry.  But I did notice and was able to show the final rolling of some of the turnovers, so you will get to see how it is all done, except rolling out into a square.
Apple Turnovers
                                          Apple Turnovers - Video
For the roux:
  • 400g softened unsalted butter
  • 175g plain flour
For the dough:
  • 150ml water
  • 5ml white vinegar
  • 15g salt
  • 113g melted butter cooled
  • 175g plain flour
  • 175g strong white bread flour
For Apple Compote:
  • 450g sweet apples
  • 5ml vanilla extract
  • 60ml water
For apple chunks:
  • 350g tart apples such as Granny Smith
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 60g granulated sugar, or brown sugar
  1. Place the 400g of butter and 175g of plain flour into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until well combined(you could do this by hand).
  2. Place the mixture between two sheets of parchment paper and form it into a large rectangle. Then refrigerate until firm.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer place the vinegar, salt, water, melted butter and both types of flour.
  4. Mix until just combined.
  5. Remove from the bowl and place into a large zip type plastic bag( or use cling flim) and form into a rectangle.
  6. Refrigerate until the dough has gone hard.
  7. Flour your work surface and remove both the butter and the dough from the refrigerator.
  8. Roll the dough out, and the roll the butter mixture(leaving it between the parchment paper) too, until both are the same size and rectangular in shape.
  9. Remove the butter from the parchment paper and place on a floured surface.
  10. Place the dough onto the butter and roll out to about 50cm in length, you will now have a rectangle.
  11. Fold one third of the rolled out shape onto the other two thirds.
  12. This will leave one third exposed, fold this onto the two thirds that have been already folded. This is called a single book turn.
  13. Wrap in cling film and chill for one hour.
  14. Flour the work surface again and remove the chilled dough from the fridge.
  15. With a short side facing you roll out the dough again, this time to about 70 cm.
  16. Now fold the dough in four, for a double turn. To do this fold you will, in effect fold half the dough over the other half. But fold12cm up onto itself, and the fold 23cm up until it joins with the 12cm.
  17. Then fold that 35cm block in half. That is the double turn achieved.
  18. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  19. Repeat the process for one single turn, chilling for an hour.
  20. Repeat the process for one double turn and chill for an hour, or overnight.
  21. For the compote of apples take the sweet apples and cut into quarters, leaving the skins on but removing the cores.
  22. Add the apples to a saucepan, with the water and vanilla extract, and microwave, covered, for ten minutes.
  23. Allow to cool some and then blend until nice and smooth.
  24. Place in a saucepan and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat to reduce the amount of liquid.
  25. Dice the sharp apples into small cubes, again leaving the skins on.
  26. Sauté in a pan with the butter and sugar, on a high heat for 10 minutes.
  27. Drain the sautéed diced apples.
  28. Allow both apples to cool, uncovered.
  29. Mix the diced apples into the apple compote.
  30. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut in half. Place one half in the freezer to use on another recipe.
  31. Roll the remaining dough into a 35cm square(about 14 inches), on a floured surface.
  32. From the dough cut 8 12cm(4.5 inch) circles and chill for 15 minutes.
  33. Take each round of pastry and place a rolling pin in the centre, rolling from 12 to 6 o’clock, but only in the centre, so that it forms an oval shape which is thicker at each end.
  34. Place a scoop of the cooled apple mixture onto the rolled part of the pastry.
  35. Lightly brush water on the exposed ends and the sides and fold one end up over the apple and press it down to attach to the other end.
  36. Use your fingers to seal all the edges.
  37. Place the turnovers onto a baking tray and apply an egg wash, twice.
  38. Score a pattern of choice, such as a leaf, on the top side of the pastry and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  39. Preheat the oven to 230C/210C fan/450F
  40. Make a hole in centre of each turnover, to allow steam to escape during baking.
  41. Bake for 5 minutes reduce heat to 180C/160C fan/350F for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Chocolate & Cherry Kladdkaka

I recently made Kladdkaka, a Swedish sticky chocolate cake, that was a big hit by all who ate it.  Several others have made it too and found it very simple and so tasty.  Today I decided to make it again, but this time with the addition of some glace cherries to add a different taste and texture.

This recipe is so simple, as it is all prepared in a saucepan and just poured into the cake tin for baking.  Then it takes very little time to bake, and you are left with a lovely moist, sticky and very chocolately cake.  It can be done in 30 minutes, from start to finish, and then cooled. You could add even more cocoa powder for an even richer chocolate flavour, if you like.
Chocolate & Cherry Kladdkaka

                              Chocolate & Cherry Kladdkaka - Video
  • 100g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 70g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder (I used 4tbsp - 30grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g glace cherries halved
  • Icing sugar, to dust
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Grease a 20cm cake tin with a removable base, grease the tin and line with parchment paper.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan. 
  4. Remove from the heat, add the sugar and eggs and mix well.
  5. Add the flour, cocoa and vanilla and mix until combined.
  6. Pour into the prepared cake tin and then sprinkle the cherries on the top(they will sink in somewhat during baking)
  7. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Having made some crinkle cookies for the first time a couple of weeks ago I thought I would try some chocolate ones today.  I checked a few recipes and they all seemed to vary to some degree, some using cocoa powder only, some using melted chocolate only and some using a combination of both.  For mine I decided that a good helping of cocoa powder would give a lovely chocolate flavour and would make things a lot simpler.

So this is just a very basic recipe, but the resultant cookies, being a cross between a brownie and a cookie,  are very good indeed.  Coated in icing sugar and with the rich chocolate flavour they are simply delicious.  Certainly it is difficult to eat just one.

This recipe will make about 24 cookies, using a level tablespoon of dough for each one.  Some of mine were slightly larger so  I only got 22.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

                               Chocolate Crinkle Cookies - Video
  • 130g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 57g softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 65g icing sugar( for rolling the dough balls)
  • 2 medium eggs(large in USA)
  1. In a stand mixer cream the butter and caster sugar and the add the eggs and vanilla extract.  
  2. Beat until fully combined.
  3. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder together and add to the butter mixture.
  4. Mix until just combined into a sticky dough.
  5. Refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours to allow it to firm up.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C/350F.
  7. Line a couple of baking trays with parchment paper.
  8. Place the icing sugar into a bowl.
  9. Roll the dough into balls, using one level tablespoon of the mixture, and roll in the icing sugar until fully coated. Try to work quickly as the dough will warm up and become more sticky.
  10. Place each ball on the baking tray, leaving a gap of at least one inch between each ball.
  11. Bake in the oven of 10-12 minutes, the dough will spread slightly but will still be domed.
  12. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before serving.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Rum-soaked Sultana Muffins

I had some sultanas that I wanted to use up.  They are those nice, juicy dried fruits, known in the USA as golden raisins I think.  I love to make them nice and plump before use, so soak them in something to do that. So I cam up with the idea of rum-soaked sultana muffins.  

As ever these muffins are very easy to make and are very rewarding, in that they always turn out so well.  I soaked, as I said, my sultanas in rum and then discarded the excess liquid, but you could always add that into the muffin mix, and reduce the milk by the same amount.  I didn't do that I as didn't want to flavour the muffins too much. 

I also sprinkled some preserving sugar on top of mine before baking.  That is the sugar with the largest granules that I can find.  It just helps to give a nice crunchy top to the muffin.

The mixture will make 12 muffins, if using normal sized muffin cases, where you fill to two thirds full.  I used larger cases and filled much fuller, so I got nine large muffins.

I am very pleased with the results of the bake, a lovely light and tasty muffin the the juicy sultanas.  What could be nicer.
Rum-soaked Sultana Muffins
                               Rum Soaked Sultana Muffins - Video
  • 240g plain flour
  • 120g sultanas
  • 60 ml rum
  • 113g unsalted butter,
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120ml milk
  • preserving sugar to sprinkle over the top(optional)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour to toss the sultanas
  1. Soak the sultanas in the rum, for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/375F
  3. Line a muffin tin with paper cases, or grease the tin.
  4. Cream the butter and granulated sugar together.
  5. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and milk and beat to combine.
  6. In a separate bowl mix the flour and baking powder together.
  7. Add the flour mixture into the wet mixture and stir gently until just combined.
  8. Drain the rum from the sultanas.
  9. Toss the sultanas in the extra flour until just coated.
  10. Stir the sultanas into the muffin batter.
  11. Divide the batter equally between your muffin cases, (2/3 full to get 12).
  12. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before eating.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Key Lime Pie

It is a gloriouis spring day, with the temperature soaring to a balmy 20C(68F), and with the sun shining.  So what better to make than a Key Lime Pie, ready for more sunshine and warm weather over the weekend.  

Of course, in the UK we are unlikely to be able to source Key Limes, those delightfully small limes that give this pie its' name.  So I had to make do with ordinary limes, and 4 good sized ones were enough to give me the zest and juice I needed.

I have never actually tasted Key Lime Pie before, so this was an adventure for me, but I was certain that I would enjoy it, so there was no great risk attached.

It is actually very simple to make, using digestive biscuits and melted butter for the pie crust(graham crackers would be acceptable too), and egg yolks, condensed milk and the zest and juice of the limes for the filling.

What could be simpler?  

I was very pleased with the result and just loved how the pie tasted.  Cold, and straight from the fridge, it is so refreshing on warm(or for me a hot) day.  Often it is topped with whipped cream, or that can be served on the side.  Personally I enjoyed mine without any cream.  I should also say that if you bake the pie in a pie dish you probably wont be able to turn it out, but have to cut and serve straight from the dish.  If you use a spring-form pan, maybe with no pie crust on the side, you will be able to transfer it to a serving plate.
Key Lime Pie

                                           Key Lime Pie - Video
  • 220g digestive biscuits, processed into fine crumbs.
  • 85-100g melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 397g tin of condensed milk
  • 5g of lime zest
  • 120ml of lime juice(I needed 4 limes total weight 300g before zesting)
  • 4 medium egg yolks
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F
  2. In a bowl mix the butter and vanilla extract into the biscuit crumbs until combined and moist (I used 85g but you need to ensure the crumbs are all coated).
  3. Line the biscuit crumb mixture into a 9 inch pie dish, with some crumb pushed up the sides as well.
  4. Press the crumbs down to make firm.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes to firm up.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little.
  7. Reduce the heat of the oven to 160C/140C Fan/325F
  8. In a bowl whisk the eggs yolks with the lime zest and the condensed milk, until combined.
  9. Add the lime juice and stir in until combined.
  10. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake in the oven for 10-14 minutes, until the centre is just a little wobbly.  
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Then place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Crumble Topped Shortbread With Blueberry Curd

I decided to make a variant on shortbread today.  A shortbread with a layer of blueberry curd and topped with more shortbread to form a crumble topping.

Of course any curd would do, and it isn't necessary to make your own, shop bought curd, particularly lemon or orange would do very nicely.  But since I had blueberries waiting to be used I thought I would try to make a curd with them.

Since blueberries don't have a particularly strong flavour sometimes I also added a drop of lemon juice to add just a little extra tang to the curd.  I also cut down on the amount of sugar usually used when making curd, since the blueberries would not be at tart on the tongue as something like lemons.

Once the curd was made and cooling in the fridge it was simple to make the shortbread mix and bake the lower layer in the oven ready to be topped with the curd.

Once the shortbread is baked and then cooled for a few minutes it is covered with the curd and the remaining shortbread mixture is put over the top and pressed down very slightly.  Then it is baked in the oven again to finish it all off.

The result is a lovely shortbread, with the familiar texture and with a delicous hit of the curd as well.

This really has worked well, so I am pleased with the result and am sure to try it with orange of lemon in the future.

I recommend this recipe, but remember you can make it easier, and much quicker, if you use a shop bought curd of your preferred flavour.
Crumble Topped Shortbread with Blueberry Curd

             Crumble Topped Shortbread with Blueberry Curd - Video
For the blueberry curd:
  • 200g blueberries(will give you about 130g of blueberry puree)
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg(extra large in USA), lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp lemon juice(optional)
For the shortbread:
  • 350g plain flour
  • 50g cornflour
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 290g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  1. Place the blueberries in a saucepan with a couple of teaspoon of water.
  2. Heat until the water starts to boil then simmer gently until the blueberries soften and release juice.
  3. Strain the blueberries into a bowl, using a spoon to push the juice and pulp through a sieve.
  4. Be sure to scrape the pulp from the underside of the sieve.
  5. Place the blueberry puree into a boil over a pan of simmering water, ensuring that the water doesn't touch the bowl.
  6. Add the lemon juice, sugar and butter and stir until all has dissolved.
  7. Add the beaten egg and stir continuously until the mixture thickens up.
  8. Remove from the heat and pass through a sieve to remove any bits.
  9. Set aside to cool, covering with plastic wrap, that is touching the surface to avoid skin forming,
  10. Refrigerate to cook completely while you make the shortbread.
  11. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F
  12. In a bowl mix the flour, cornflour and sugar together.
  13. Add the cold butter and rub between your fingers until the mixture is like breadcrumbs.
  14. Place two thirds of the mixture into a greased 8 inch square cake tin, level off and press down lightly.
  15. Prick all over the surface with a fork.
  16. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until it looks almost done but is not browning.
  17. Remove from the oven and cool for a couple of minutes.
  18. Srpead about 6 tablespoons of the blueberry curd over the surface of the shortbread.
  19. Sprinkle the remaining shortbread mixture over the top of the curd and press down very lightly.
  20. Bake in the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until the top is cooked and beginning to brown slightly.
  21. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the cake tine and cuttuing into equal sized pieces.