Saturday, 29 October 2016

Hazelnut & Raspberry Friands

Friands are a favourite of mine, since I discovered them last year sometime.  Usually made with ground almonds as the main base they are a delicious cake which is very popular in Australia and New Zealand in particular.  For the ones I made today I varied the recipe, using hazelnuts and almonds, to give a slightly different flavour.  I saw a recipe in The Guardian for Hazelnut and Raspberry Friands which I liked.  But I decided to use my basic friand recipe, rather than the one in that article, and just swap out some of the almonds for hazelnuts.  

As I have said before Friands are so easy to make and even if you don't have a friand tin you can make them using a muffin tin and they are just as good, just a different shape.  

The combination of hazelnut and raspberries worked very well indeed, giving me a really tasty cake that goes so well with a cup of tea or coffee.  These would certainly be a coffee shop favourite I think.

From start to finish you can make these in less than an hour and have a wonderful cake ready to serve to visitors.
Hazelnut & Raspberry Friands

Hazelnut & Raspberry Friands - Video

  • 185g melted unsalted butter
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 90g ground hazelnuts
  • 6 medium egg whites(large in USA)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g roughly chopped hazelnuts
  • 150-200g fresh raspberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C/400F.
  2. Grease a 12 hole friand tin(or a muffin tin)
  3. In a large bowl sift the icing sugar and flour and add the ground almonds and ground hazelnuts.
  4. Stir to combine.
  5. Whisk the egg whites until slightly frothy and add to the dry ingredients, with the vanilla extract.
  6. Stir in until all is combined.
  7. Add the melted butter and stir in until fully combined.
  8. Divid the batter equally into the holes of the friand tin.
  9. Drop raspberries onto the top of the batter(I used 3 in each hole).
  10. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the top.
  11. Bake in the oven for 20 to 22 minutes, until a skewer poked into the middle of the friands comes out clean.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring the friands to a wire rack too cool completely.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Seed Cake - With Caraway Seeds

The Observer/Guardian have been doing a series of 20 Best Cakes, one of which was a seed cake, made with caraway seeds.  It looked very tasty in the article I read and I decided that I would try it out. You can see the original article here: 

The recipe suggested a particular size of loaf tin, smaller than I have and I was fairly sure that the ingredients mentioned would be for two cakes, since I could easily see that my own larger tin would be very full, so one of the size mentioned would not be enough.

Anyway I had two of my 2lb tins to hand, just in case one, even of that size would not be enough.  In the event the cake batter completely filled one tin and I baked it like that.

The fruits of caraway plants, usually called seeds are very pungent, with an anise aroma.  I saw some recipes that suggested using an entire jar(about 38g) of the seeds.  But this recipe only called for 1 teaspoon of seeds, which seemed to be much better, to me, as I didn't want an over-powering flavour which you would certainly get with 38g.

The recipe itself is quite straightforward, and only has 6 ingredients.  It takes little time to prepare and less than an hour to bake.  So you can have a wonderful fresh cake in less than 90 minutes from start to finish.

The aroma released during baking is always a pleasure and you get a wonderfully sweet smell wafting around the kitchen, which whets the appetite.

The article in the Guardian suggested that the cake is ideal at 11 a.m with a glass of madeira.  Well that doesn't sit well with me at all.  11 a.m yes, but certainly no alcohol at that time.  So a cup of tea had to suffice, which I must say went very well with the cake, which tasted delicious and just enough caraway seed to give a great flavour.

Seed Cake - Caraway Seeds

Seed Cake - Caraway Seeds - Video
  • 260g butter, at room temperature
  • 260g caster sugar
  • 320 self raising flour
  • 5 large eggs(extra large in USA)
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of caraway seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160c Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
  3. In a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment fitted, cream the butter,sugar and together adding the caraway seeds part way through, until light and fluffy.
  4. Slowly add the eggs and mix to combine.
  5. Sift in the self raising flour and mixt to combine
  6. Add the milk and mix until all is combined.
  7. Spoon or pour the batter into the lined loaf tin and bake in the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until golden brown on top and a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean.
  8. Place the tin on a wire rack to allow the cake to cool, for at least 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Lazy Daisy Cake

Trawling through the internet a couple of weeks ago I came across something called Lazy Daisy Cake.  It looked rather interesting and from what I have been able to glean dates from the 1930s or 1940s. It is popular in Canada and some parts of the USA.  I had never heard of it, but I certainly liked the idea of it.  So I checked a few recipes, and most are very similar, and came up with this as my version.  

The cake is a soft, milky cake and then, once baked, is topped with a caramelly coconut icing.  

I am very pleased with how mine turned out, the cake is so soft and moist and the topping is sweet, sticky and very delicious.

It is a very easy recipe, and doesn't take much time at all, so this is one to try.  
Lazy Daisy Cake

Lazy Daisy Cake - Video
for the cake:
  • 120ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g caster sugar(granulated is fine)
  • 2 medium eggs(large in USA)
  • 130g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 14g unsalted butter
for the coconut topping:
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • 125g soft light brown sugar
  • 60ml double cream(any cream or even milk would be ok)
  • 80g dessicated coconut(shredded would be better if you can get it)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.
  2. Grease and flour a 9x9inch baking pan (8x8 would be ok but slightly adjust cooking time)
  3. Heat the milk in a saucepan until just about simmering.
  4. Remove from the heat and put the 14g of butter in the milk and stir until melted.  Set aside.
  5. In a stand mixer(by hand is fine too) beat the eggs, vanilla extract and sugar together until thick and creamy.
  6. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together and put into the egg mixture.
  7. Beat until combined.
  8. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the batter and beat until all is combined.
  9. Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake in the oven for 23-25 minutes, until it is springy on top and the sides are beginning to come away from the pan.
  10. While the cake is baking make the topping by placing the butter, light brown sugar and cream into a saucepan and bring to he boil.
  11. As soon as it starts to boil remove from the heat and stir in the coconut.  Set aside.
  12. When the cake is baked remove it from the oven and pour the topping onto it, spreading it all over.
  13. Place the cake under the grill(broiler) and grill for 3 to 5 minutes, until the entire top is bubbling.
  14. Remove from the grill and allow to cool completey in the pan.
  15. This cake is designed to be served from the pan, when cool cut into squares to serve.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Strawberry & Cream Muffins

I have found a wonderful recipe for my first bake in a new flat.  This recipe is Strawberry & Cream Muffins, which saw on BBC Good Food. I was immediately taken with the concept and it doesn't use any oil or butter, simply double cream and eggs, with a hint of vanilla as the liquids.  

As with all, or at least most, muffins this is a very easy recipe and the results are most rewarding.  Very quickly, in less than an hour in fact you can have these delicious muffins, hot from the oven, on a plate and ready to serve.

They are light and very tasty indeed, with the wonderful strawberry flavour and somehow there is a hint of cream mixing with the vanilla flavour too.  

I wanted to try an easy recipe for my first bake in the new kitchen since I have very little space in which to place the camera to film the process.  Over the new few bakes I will refine that process, but there will be more close-up shots of the actual mixing, rolling etc and less of the rather glum face.  So these things bring added bonuses, don't they. 

I do urge you, if you like muffins, to give this recipe a try, it only has 7 ingredients and takes no time to make. I am sure you will not be disappointed.
Strawberry & Cream Muffins

Strawberry & Cream Muffins - Video

  • 280 ml double cream
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 400g plain flour
  • 200g fresh strawberries, diced or quartered depending on size.
  • 2 medium eggs (large in USA)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp baking powder.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F
  2. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper liners, or grease the tin lightly.
  3. In a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment fitted( I am sure you could do all this by hand) add the sugar, eggs, cream and vanilla extract and beat on low speed until it is all combined and the sugar has dissolved (about 7 minutes).
  4. In a separate bowl mix the baking powder into the flour.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat until just combined.
  6. Add the strawberries and gently fold them into the batter, trying not to smash them up too much.
  7. Divide the batter into the twelve muffin cases, which will fill them about 3/4 full.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until they are starting to brown slightly and a skewer in the centre comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and after a couple of minutes transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Mandarin Friands

Having enjoyed Friands when I have made them previously I thought I would attempt a variation today and see how they turned out.  For the variation I thought of Mandarin oranges, or Satsumas as they may be known in some places.  I love mandarins, the sweet, and sometimes slightly tart, very juicy citrus fruit.  They are very popular here at Christmas, but are available all year round these days.  

Friands are becoming popular in some places, but are best known in Australia and New Zealand and are related, or they should be, to Financiers from France.  Made with ground almonds and egg whites, with melted butter they are very moist and delicious.  They are also ideal for trying in different flavour combinations.

So my idea of putting Mandarin zest and juice in the friands and adding a segment of the mandarin on the top was not an entirely wild idea.

Happily they turned out very well indeed, so moist and flavoursome, with the added juicy segment and a nice iced top to them too.  They are great with tea or coffee, and are very easy to make, taking almost no time at all.

For mine I used the juice from 4 mandarins which was just about 100ml, and one additional mandarin for the 12 segments I needed. 
Mandarin Friands
Mandarin Friands - Video
  • 175g ground almonds
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 185g melted butter
  • 6 egg medium egg whites(would be large in USA
  • Zest of 3 mandarins, finely grated
  • 100ml mandarin juice (from 3 or four mandarins)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 12 segments from one mandarin orange
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F
  2. Grease a friand pan, or a muffin pan.
  3. In a large bowl place the ground almonds and sift in the icing sugar and plain flour.
  4. Stir the bowl to mix all the dry ingredients.
  5. Add the mandarin zest and mix to spread evenly in the dry ingredients.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy, but not soft peaks.
  7. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons of mandarin juice and the egg whites.
  8. Stir in until combined into a thick batter.
  9. Add the cooled, melted butter and stir in until fully combined.
  10. The batter will now be of a runny consistency.
  11. Divide into the friand/muffin pan evenly.
  12. Gently place one segment of mandarin into the batter in each hole of the tin.
  13. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.
  14. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan to cool completely.
  15. Take the caster sugar and the remaining mandarin juice and place it is a saucepan and bring to the boil, dissolving the sugar.
  16. Simmer gently until the syrup begins to thicken slightly then remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
  17. Brush some of the thickened syrup onto each of the cooled friands and leave to set before serving(you could use a spoon to just trickle it on).