About MissCakeBaker

I spend the week running in heels and the weekends in my apron.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Mallorcan Almond Cake

I spent  a week in a Mallorcan mountain village in July which was completely idyllic.  There was an abundance of local produce from the sweetest oranges I've ever had to almonds harvested a few months earlier.  The village had a lovely bakery to which we made regular visits. My favourite purchase was definitely this local cake.  

A search of the internet has brought up this recipe for Mallorcan Almond Cake. I think my version used grated orange as opposed to lemon zest. This is the perfect cake to have with a cup of tea to remind me of the sunny days of summer holidays.

The Recipe

Unsalted butter and plain flour or preparing cake tin
8 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
2 cups coarsely ground almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Butter an 11-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides and then dust it with flour, shaking out any excess.

2. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar an whisk together until smooth and foamy. Add the lemon zest, cinnamon, and vanilla, if using, and mix well. Add the ground almonds a little at a time, mixing well after each addition to incorporate fully.

3. Using a whisk or a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Scoop about one-third of the whites onto the egg yolk mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold them in to lighten the mixture. Then add the remaining whites and fold them in gently but thoroughly, deflating the batter as little as possible.
4. Transfer the batter to the prepared tin Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and, holding the cake pan 6 inches above a countertop, drop the tin onto the counter. This simple dropping action shocks the cake, making it easier to remove from the pan.
5. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool in the pan until warm. Run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake sides and then invert the cacke onto the rack and lift off the pan. Place the cake upright on a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream, if desired.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Southern Chocolate Mud Pie

I don't know where time has gone. I blame the Jubilee, Olympics, holidays, weekends away and myself for losing my baking mojo a little over the last few weeks. Anyway, in an attempt to redeem my lack of posts I thought I'd make something new and indulgent. Eric Lanlard's Southern Chocolate Mud Pie from his book 'Tart it Up' fits the bill nicely and is the perfect afternoon treat for this dreary drizzly South London Sunday.

This pie is delicious - oh so dense and moreish - perfect with a dollop of creme fraiche to counteract the sweetness.  It was the first time I'd make chocolate pastry and it was relatively easy and quick to do.  Eric has kindly let me reproduce his recipe here along with his photo of the finished article. As you can see my version wasn't quite as elegant but its taste more than made up for its looks. 

The Recipe

200g (7oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
175g (6oz) unsalted butter, softened
350g (11½oz) dark muscovado sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
4 tbsp pure cocoa powder
400ml (14fl oz) double cream
2 tsp chocolate extract (optional)
1 x blind-baked chocolate
shortcrust pastry case in a 25cm (10in) diameter, 6cm (2½in)
deep tart tin or ovenproof dish
500ml (17fl oz) whipping cream
3 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp finely grated dark chocolate

1. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl.  Put to one side to cool.
2.  Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan 140°C)/325°F/gas mark 3. Cream the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy using an electric hand whisk or a freestanding mixer. Gradually beat in the eggs one at a time on a low speed. Sift the cocoa powder and stir in, along with the cooled melted chocolate. Stir in the double cream and the chocolate extract, if using.  Pour the mixture into the cooked pastry case and bake in the oven for 45–50 minutes, or until just set. Leave to cool, then chill in the refrigerator.
3.  Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Whip the whipping cream and vanilla sugar to soft peaks. Pile on the top of the pie and sprinkle with the grated chocolate.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

I think most people who baked as a child have a fond memory of licking the bowl clean after a cake had been made. This was of course in the days before Edwina Currie put paid to any raw egg antics and spoilt all the fun.

When I was recently asked if I would like to review The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook by Lindsay Landis I was rather intrigued. A whole cookbook based on raw cookie dough - how does that work? Lindsay has basically taken the concept that, like me, most people enjoy the raw cake/cookie mix as much as the finished product and encorporated said raw mix (albeit egg free and thus Edwina friendly) into a whole host of recipes from cookies and cakes to truffles and French toast. In fact she pretty much covers the whole baking spectrum, all presented in a very user friendly bound book. 

I gave the Peanut Butter & Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies a go as I've been wanting to find a good recipe for them. This recipe is basically a peanut butter cookie base with a chocolate cookie dough topping. All measurements in the book are given in US cups - fine by me as cups measurers are so quick.  The cookie base was pretty straightforward.  It called for rolling the dough in sugar before baking but I didn't do this and don't think it ruined the cookies in any way.  The cookie dough topping also included some chocolate chips but I felt that the mixture was rich enough so left them out. 

The cookies turned out really well and are delicious. The cookie dough topping does make for an indulgent creation but I quite liked it. It is definitely a bit strange biting into the combination of cooked and uncooked dough but good nonetheless. While there are some recipes in the book which don't appeal to me personally (Cookie Dough Bread Pudding) there are plenty that do.  I plan on making the Cookie Dough Ice Cream and I think the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles would make a good alternative to the usual Christmas ones. 

The Recipe (as made by me)

For the cookies:
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (I used Whole Earth)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tspn salt

For the cookie dough:
2 tbspns smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 tspn salt
1 tbspn double cream
1 tspn vanilla extract

For topping:
Dark chocolate, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 180c.  Beat together the peanut butter, butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  Slowly add the flour and bicarb and mix until the ingredients are incorporated and the dough comes together (I found it quite crumbly but it worked fine when I made it into balls for baking).

2.  Roll dough by the tablespoon into 1 inch balls.  Arrange on parchment lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Lightly press down the cookies using the back of a teaspoon or your thumb, slightly flattening the cookies and creating a small indentation. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until set.  Let cool for 1 minute, then further define the indentation in the centre of each cookie with the back of a teaspoon. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

3.  To prepare the filling, beat together the peanut butter, butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Mix in flour, cocoa powder and salt on low speed.  Add cream and vanilla and beat until incorporated.  

4. Place 1 tspn of dough on each cooled cookie.  Drizzle with melted chocolate, if wished.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Bacon, Leek & New Potato Tart

I was trying to use up a mish mash of ingredients in the fridge and this tart was the result.  I love bacon and leeks together and I put in the anya potatoes as I didn't want them to go to waste. It was lovely warm with a watercress salad and zingy dressing.

The Recipe

1 quantity of spelt pastry
a few anya pototaes, cooked for about 5 minutes then sliced
1 leek sliced
a few rathers of bacon, sliced and fried or grilled
1 small tub of double cream
1 egg
a good handful of freshly grated parmesan
about 1/2 a log of goats cheese (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 175c.   Make up a quantity of spelt pastry and line a rectangular or circular tart tin (with removable base).

2. Place the potatoes, leek and bacon over the base of the tart.  Beat together the cream and egg and mix over the parmesan.  Pour over the other ingredients in the tart.  Crumble over the goats cheese and season with pepper.

3. Bake for around 20 minutes until the filling is firm and slightly browned.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Honey, Sultana & Cinnamon Cookies

Cookies are a bit like the no 52 bus to Victoria for me - you wait for ages for one then several come along at once. Well that's certainly what my cookie, or I should say biscuit, making is like.  They're just not something I make very often but I've made quite a few over the last few weeks. 

I saw the recipe for these super easy cookies on the back of a Doves Farm Spelt Flour packet.  I added in the sultanas as I have a half used bag in the bottom of the cupboard and I do prefer my healthier style cookies with a bit of fruit in them. The recipe can be found here - just throw a couple of handfuls of sultanas as you go.

They were lovely, soft cookies and felt reasonably healthy to boot.  This is my entry to this month's Alpha Bakes Challenge hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes, whose letter this month is 'H'.

Monday, 21 May 2012

A Triple Chocolate Cookie Challenge

When I received an email asking me if I'd like to review Domino's Triple Chocolate Cookies I'm not going to lie, I was more than a bit sceptical. It's one thing to get a takeaway pizza but takeaway cookies?  They did however suggest that I compare their cookies to my homemade version. At that point I thought why not and rather liked the challenge they'd set. I do have to admit at this point that I've never actually made triple chocolate cookies before but it was a good excuse to try out a new recipe.

I found said recipe on epicurious.com and it can be found here. I made the cookies before I ordered in the ones from Domino's. I went down the all American cookie route and made mine big and bold.  It was a pretty easy recipe and they tasted chocolately yet quite light.

Later that evening, I took the opportunity of Mr CB being away for the night to order in a rather nice pizza and cookie feast.  My verdict on the cookies? They were a lot smaller than I thought they would be but were pretty damn good.  They had a denser brownie like texture on breaking into them and had lovely gooey milk and white chocolate chips. What surprised me most was that they weren't too sweet.  I don't think I would go down the route of ordering in cookies but let's face it not everyone likes baking as much as I do.  If you are among the latter group then I would say go for it as you won't be disappointed.

My Triple Chocolate Cookies.....

Domino's Triple Chocolate Cookies.....

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Saffron Sultana Cake

For this month's Random Recipes, Dom at Belleau Kitchen challenged us to make a recipe from the first or last page from a randomly chosen book from our shelf. The book I pulled out was Food of the Sun by Alastair Little and Richard Whittington.  Tucked away on the last page was this recipe for a very simple Saffron Sultana Cake. 

The recipe called for saffron powder which I didn't have so I used saffron stems instead. Mine didn't come out quite as yellow as the one in the book. I also added some grated orange zest to the recipe. It's a bit of a weird cake - it really reminded me of a trifle sponge. I felt it was a little dry so made an orange syrup which I poured over the whole cake.  It would be nice served alongside something like caramelised oranges. I've actually frozen it and do intend using it in a trifle sometime in the near future.

I've included the recipe below as as far as I can see this book is now out of print.

The Recipe

55g unsalted butter, diced
125g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 tspn saffron powder or a pinch of saffron stems
55g sultanas soaked for as long as possible in brandy. Drained and tossed in flour (mine still sunk!)
4 eggs
125 caster sugar
orange zest
orange juice and caster sugar melted together to make syrup (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/gas 4 and line a swallow square tin or swiss roll tin. 
2. Place a heatproof bowl over a bowl of barely simmering water. Add the eggs and sugar to the bowl and  whisk for about 10 minutes until the mixture is thick.  Remove the bowl from the heat.
3.  Add about half or a third of the flour and butter and fold in.  Repeat until it is all mixed in and the butter is melted.  Finally fold in the sultanas and pour into the prepared tin.
4. Bake for around 15 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.  Turn out on a rack to cool. Pour over syrup if you wish (if you do make holes all over the cake before you do so).

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Chocolate Marshmallow Cake

I quite like to wander round Harvey Nichols Food Hall and look at all of their imported food stuffs and generally ponder what I would make with them. The big jars of Marshmallow Fluff with their retro US packaging always stand out but as yet I've never bought one.  

I was recently sent a copy of Marshmallow Madness by Shauna Sever to review and when I saw it contained a recipe for Homemade Marshmallow Creme I figured I would prefer to make my own, knowing what was in it, rather than a shop bought version.  This book is packed full of marshmallows of all types and flavours, which I really do think will be the next big thing in the UK. Even the cover is soft and slightly squishy like the creations in it. If you want to know how to make marshmallows then this is definitely the book for you.

I was slightly daunted at first by the idea of making the Marshmallow Creme, especially as the recipe involved a sugar thermometer. In reality though it was pretty straightforward to make. One of the key ingredients is Corn Syrup which isn't readily available in the UK. I substituted Maple Syrup for it and found it worked perfectly. Now I have mastered the marshmallow creme I think I will try progressing onto one of the more adventurous receipes such as Malibu and even Pineapples-Rosemary Marshmallows. 

The book contains a recipe for Chocolate-Marshmallow Roulade.  I basically made the roulade mixture and baked it but I made mine into a square layered cake rather than rolling it up.  The cake has a definite strong coffee taste coming through. I'm not a big fan of coffee cake but found in this instance it worked really well with the chocolate and its slight bitterness was needed against the very sweet Marshmallow Creme filling.  The cake is topped off with chocolate ganache. It's unfortunately not my finest photo ever but if you are looking for a very indulgent special occasion cake then this is it. 

The Recipe

Chocolate-Marshmallow Cake

6 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
3oz unsalted butter
1 cup plain flour
3 tblspns unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tspn baking powder
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cups strong brewed coffee (I made an espresso)

1.  Preheat the oven to 270c.  Line a 12x17x1 inch baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.  

2. Place the butter and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Melt in the microwave, with 30 second bursts of high power, stirring well after each interval.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Beat the eggs and sugar until tripled in volume, about 5 mins.  Reduce the speed to low and stir in the cooled chocolate mixture.  Stir in the dry ingredients and coffee in three alternating additions.  

3.  Pour the batter into the prepared tin.  Bake for 15 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Invert it on to clean tea towel covered with a sheet of clean parchment.  Peel back the parchment from the cake. Roll it if making a roulade or just leave to cool as it is if not.

Marshmallow Creme

The Syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup (I used maple syrup)
1/4 cup water
1/8 tspn salt

The Fluff
2 large egg whites, at room temp
1/4 tspn cream of tartar

The Mallowing
1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract

1.  Stir together the sugar, maple syrup, water and salt in a small saucepan over a high heat.  Boil, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 240F (you will need a sugar thermometer to check this).

2.  Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a bowl and whip them until they are in soft peaks. 

3. When the syrup reaches 240F, slowly drizzle about 2 tbspns of it into the egg whites to warm them (if you add too much at once the egg whites will scramble).  Slowly drizzle in the rest of the syrup, increasing the mixing speed.  Beat until the marshmallow creme is stiff and glossy.  Towards the end of the beating time, beat in the vanilla. The creme will keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.

4. Use the creme to fill your roulade or sandwich your cake layers together. The original recipe suggested adding in some butter to the creme to make the filling richer but I liked it as it was.

Finally top the cake with a chocolate ganache glaze (100g dark chocolate melted with a small tub of double cream).

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Marian Keyes' Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

I was very excited to find out that Marian Keyes has written a cookbook, especially when I discovered the title was 'Saved by Cake'.  I think I've read all of Marian's books and I'm sure for many people, like me, Watermelon and Sushi For Beginners were a right of passage when growing up.

'Saved by Cake' obviously isn't a novel however but her warm,witty writing means you do end up reading it from cover to cover.  I have a coupe of cookery books which I constantly turn to, one being Bill Granger's 'Everyday' for dinner ideas and I can see that Marian's is going to be my baking one. I literally want to try every recipe. Her book does have a story behind it however. It is a very honest account of how Marian recently suffered from depression and how baking helped her get through it, day by day.

Marian has kindly let me share one of the recipes from the book here.  I decided to go for the Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes as they sounded like they would completely hit the spot - and they did.  Mine came out as the very pale little sisters of Marian's rather more tanned older siblings. I'm not quite sure what happened but it seems like the chocolate in mine sunk to the bottom of the cakes. Oh well, they still tasted delicious and a liberal dusting of cocoa powder, the self tan of the cake world in this case, meant they looked a little more glowing.

As this recipe contains cheese and chocolate, it's my (rather late) entry into this month's We Should Cocoa Challenge too.

The Recipe

100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
250g mascarpone cheese
200g Philadelphia full-fat cheese
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tspn vanilla extract
100g milk chocolate chips

1. Line a 12 hole cupcake tray with paper cases (or use silicone cupcake cases as I did) and preheat the overn to 150c/gas mark 2.

2. Melt the chocolate (I did mine in the microwave).  Beat the cheeses together, then add the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract and beat again.  Add the melted chocolate and mix well (Marian advocates the use of a purple spatula - mine is red - spatulas at dawn?), then add in the chocolate chips so they are evenly distributed. 

3. Divide the mixture among the paper case, filling them generously as the mixture doesn't really rise.

4.  Put the cupcakes in a bain-marie and bake for 40 minutes.  Once they are cooked pour the water away and place the cupcake tray on a cooling rack. Leave fora about an hour before you take the cupcakes out of the tin then refrigerate them, overnight if possible (I lasted a couple of hours before trying one!). Serve with whipped cream or just on their own.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Barley & Banana Muffins

I had a bit of a cupboard Spring clean the other day and came across an unopened bag of barley flour that I'd no doubt bought for a recipe that I haven't got round to making.  A google search threw up this recipe for banana muffins which are made using barley flour on www.thekitchn.com (no that isn't a typo).  

It's the first time I've made muffins using cooked porridge before but they turned out really well. They are light and not too sweet - they are definitely a breakfast muffin. The original recipe, which can be found here, is for 'muffin tops'.  As I like to avoid a muffin top at all costs I've made regular muffins!

I'm also entering this post into the Alpha Bakes challenge which is hosted this month by Ros, from The More Than Occasional Baker blog. The aim each month is to bake something with an ingredient that starts with the random alphabet letter chosen for that month, which in April's case is 'B'.  

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Easter Cup Cakes

We had a bake sale in aid of The Heart Yard on Friday at work. The Heart Yard is part of Kids Company which was set up by the wonderful Camila Batmanghelidjh.  As a team from the office, we're going to be doing some gardening at The Heart Yard as part of a bigger campaign (more of which I'll write about at a later date) and we were raising money though this sale to buy the seeds and other bits for the kitchen garden. Any herbs and veg grown will then be used by the kids there during their cooking lessons and eaten by them.

These Easter Cup Cakes were my contribution to the event. I have to say I love any excuse for getting out the mini eggs and fluffy chicks so I needed no persuading to get baking! I made half chocolate and half vanilla cupcakes topped with a vanilla buttercream frosting and of course Cadbury's Mini Eggs.  I find that other miniature eggs just don't cut it for me. I recently got given a 'cupcake corer' so I used this for the plain cupcakes to take out a section of the middle and fill it with strawberry jam.  It's quite a nifty little gadget and definitely makes creating a hole in them a lot quicker and cleaner.

We ended up raising just over £200 which should go a long way to getting the kitchen garden looking good.  

This is also my entry to April's Tea Time Treats whose theme is, of course, Easter, hosted by Kate from What Kate Baked and Karen from Lavender and Lovage. Happy Easter!

The Recipe

280g caster sugar
280g butter
5 eggs
280g self raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

For the frosting:

200g butter
400g icing sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract
dash of milk
red food colouring
strawberry jam if filling the centre of the cakes

1. Preheat oven to 180c.  Line a cupcake tin with cases (this recipe makes around 26 regular cupcakes). 
2. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Then add the adds and beat again. Finally mix in the flour.  
3. Spoon half the mixture into the cupcake cases.  Mix the cocoa powder in the remaining half of the mixture and then place the remaining mixture in the cases.
4. Bake for around 20 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
5. To make the frosting beat together the butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk until smooth.  I used half the buttercream to decorate the chocolate cupcakes and then added a tiny bit of red food colouring to create pink icing. I then used this on the plain cupcakes. 
6. Decorate with mini eggs, chicks etc. 

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Squidgy Lemon-Ginger Cake

My brother and sister-in-law got us a subscription to BBC Good Food for Christmas - great present - please repeat this year! In the April issue there is a fantastic Brilliant Bakes supplement and I found the recipe for this cake in there.  This cake is just divine - the fresh ginger really cuts through the sticky sweetness of the sugar and dates.  I made it as a cake but I think I would also try making it in individual loaves and serving it as a pudding, warm with ice-cream or creme fraiche.  The recipe can be found here on the BBC Good Food website. 

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Apple & Walnut Scones

Scones are just something I don't really make but absolutely love eating, preferably with copious amounts of clotted cream and raspberry jam.  I'm not sure why I don't really make them but they just don't spring to mind ever. I was therefore pleased to see that for this month's Tea Time Treats Challenge, Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Kate from What Kate Baked set us the task of making scones of any variety.

The ultimate scones I've ever eaten are the apple ones served at Claridge's.  If you are ever in London and have the desire for a decadent afternoon tea then hot foot it to this Mayfair establishment and you won't be disappointed.  Their apple scones are small, light and fluffy. So inspired by gluttonous memories I looked for some apple scone recipes and came across this one on Baking Mad (this post isn't sponsored by them btw).  They turned out quite nicely and I liked the flavour and texture of the walnuts - I made them quite small but they definitely are nowhere near as fluffy as the ones at Claridge's.  I served them with a blackberry compote.   I think I do need a proper scone making lesson as the two times I've made them they have been slightly heavy.  I'm luckily going home to my parents in a couple of weeks time so will put the request in for a tutorial from my Mum.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Chocolate & Pistachio Biscotti

This month Chele from Chocolate Teapot has chosen something 'green' for the We Should Cocoa Challenge.  I'm not a big fan of making food a deliberate colour, especially a shade as bright as green, so that ruled that option out.  I considered making something chocolately while wearing my birkenstocks but closer inspection of the rules showed that we weren't talking eco credentials for this challenge.  So after a little deliberation I decided to make something containing pistachio nuts - the greenest ingredient that came to mind.  After some Google research I came across this recipe for Chocolate and Pistachio Biscotti from the Martha Stewart website.  

I've never made biscotti before but was surprised firstly how quick they were to make and secondly how nicely they turned out.  Mr CB maintains that they had a strange aftertaste but I really wasn't getting it. I then made a friend try one and she said they just tasted of chocolate and pistachio. They are still quite soft in the middle for biscotti but this is apparently how this version should be - not as dry as the true traditional Italian ones. I didn't have quite as many pistachios as the recipe stated hence why they could be slightly greener.  The original recipe can be found here.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Mediterranean Style Tart

This tart is based on one I saw in a copy of Jamie magazine last summer. The flavour combinations are delicious - the thick tomatoey sauce against the salty feta and anchovies.  I know a lot of people have a marmite reaction to anchovies - I'm definitely in the love category to the point that I ask for extra ones on my pizza. If you don't share the anchovy love then you could easily not include them and substitute for something else.  I think the original recipe used a shortcrust pastry but I used my usual spelt pizza dough pastry whose recipe can be found here.  I love this pastry as it doesn't contain any butter and you don't need to blind bake it.  The tart is lovely served warm with a nice green salad. 

The Recipe

olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tin plum tomatoes
a sprinkle of thyme (preferably fresh but I had to use dried)
1 tbspn tomato puree
around half a block of feta
around 100g kalamata olives, stoned
tin of anchovy fillets

1.  Preheat the oven to 200c.  Make the spelt pastry and line a round or rectangular loose bottomed flan tin with it.  
2.  Fry the onion and garlic in some olive oil until softened.  Add the tomatoes, thyme and puree and season with pepper.  Don't add salt unless you really want to as the anchovies and feta are very salty.  Simmer for around 20-30 mins until the sauce has reduced down. Leave to cool slightly.
3. Place the tomato sauce over the base of the pastry. Crumble the feta over the tomatoes and then scatter over the olives. Finally place the anchovies over them.  Finally drizzle with olive oil before baking for around 30 minutes.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Orange Drizzle Cake

I tend to send anything I bake at the weekend off to Mr CB's workplace on a Monday morning.  I would like to say this is because I'm a generous soul but it's mainly to stop me scoffing lots of cake come Monday night. They are also a great bunch at giving honest feedback and now it seems requests!  While having a drink with them all on Friday night it was requested that I make an orange, as opposed to lemon, drizzle cake.  That is fine with me as I quite like being given ideas for things to make.  I have used a recipe I found in BBC Good Food magazine for a 'Lighter lemon drizzle cake' but substituted orange for its more bitter sister.  This cake came under the healthy recipes section as it uses rapeseed oil instead of butter.  It is a lovely light cake and the orange flavour has come through nicely.

The Recipe

75ml rapeseed oil
175g self raising flour
1 1/2 tspn baking powder
50g ground almonds
50g polenta
zest of 2 oranges
140g caster sugar
2 eggs
225g natural yoghurt

For the orange syrup
85g caster sugar
juice of 2 oranges

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4. Grease a 20cm springform tin and line the base.
2. Put the flour, baking powder, almonds, polenta, zest and sugar in a large bowl. Mix together and make a well in the centre.
3. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and natural yoghurt and add to the well in the dry ingredients. Add the rapeseed oil and mix together lightly until just combined.  
4. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for around 40 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven and after the cake has cooled a little allow to cool on a wire rack. 
5. While the cake is baking make the syrup by putting the sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan with a little water. Heat  until the sugar is dissolved and then bring to the boil to thicken up the syrup.
6. Before the cake fully cools make several holes in it with a skewer and pour over the orange syrup.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Chocolate Pudding Cake with Raspberries

For the one year anniversary of Belleau Kitchen's brilliant Random Recipes Challenge, Dom asked us to think back and return to the first book from which we chose a random recipe.  The first time I entered this challenge I made scones from Eat Drink Live by Fran Warde. On going back to it I had to 'randomly' hunt around a little for a baking recipe amongst the salads and other savoury options and finally came to this one for Chocolate Pudding Cake with Raspberries.  It's one of those recipes that's tucked away a little in the bottom left hand corner of the page near the crease, with no photograph - the poor relation to the other recipes on the page with their artfully styled pictures.  But I randomly made this one and what can I say but thank you Dom! Without this challenge this little beauty would probably have never seen the light of day and that would have been such a shame as it is absolutely bloody delicious.

The Recipe

250g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
200g butter
1 tspn instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tbspn hot water
5 eggs
100g caster sugar
75g plain flour
150g raspberries (I used less than this)

1. Grease and line a 20cm springform tin. Preheat oven to 170c/gas mark 3.
2. Put the chocolate, butter and instant coffee in a small saucepan and heat gently until melted, smooth and glossy.  Set aside.
3. Beat the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Then add the flour and chocolate mixture and combine lightly.
4. Pour the batter into the tin. Stud the top with the raspberries and bake for around 40 mins or until the cake feels firm and is starting to shrink from the sides.

Lovely eaten warm or cold!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Rob Ryan Inspired but Amended Valentine's Cake

This is my rather belated Valentine's Cake for Mr CB.  I love my silicon heart shaped cake mould but I hardly ever use it so this was a good excuse. I made a chocolate cake using my Mum's tried and tested recipe with a simple vanilla buttercream frosting. The icing was meant to be inspired by the whimsical Rob Ryan.  I just LOVE his designs and am saving up for one of his screen prints.  I think each of his pictures is like looking at a modern day fairytale - the sentiments are just so beautiful.  So I did a sketch in the spirit of his artwork but I soon realised that Silver Spoon's Designer Red Icing Tube was just not going to cut the mustard. The tube comes with 3 different nozzles and they just weren't fine enough. A bad workman can't always blame his tools either -  my icing skills are not very good by any means.  So the icing was amended and it hopefully doesn't look too bad.   I'm going to invest in some good icing equipment and practice, practice practice.  I will then do a cake one day which is a homage to Rob Ryan!

This is also my entry for this month's Tea Time Treats Challenge hosted as ever by the lovely Kate from What Kate Baked and Karen from Lavender and Lovage. The theme this month is of course 'Romance'. 

The Recipe

Apologies but this is in ounces which is how I always do my basic sponge mix.

6oz butter
6oz sugar
3 eggs
5oz self raising flour
1oz cocoa powder

For the frosting see here.

1. Preheat the oven to 180c.  Grease your cake tin.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs then add the flour and cocoa.
3. Bake for around 20 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Apple Muffins

My sister-in-law recently bought me, for my birthday, a tin of 'Grandma's Recipe Cards'.  The Grandma in question must be a great cook as there is everything there from roasted leg of lamb to tray bake recipes.  These apple muffins are the first recipe I've tried making myself.  The only change I made to the recipe was to substitute spelt flour for the plain on the original and using cinnamon instead of mixed spice.  They are very tasty and I like the fact the apple is still in chunks. The topping is quite sweet so if I made them again I would probably leave it off and finish with mixed seeds only making them perfect for breakfast.

The Recipe

30g butter
30g demerara sugar
30g ground almonds
60g  sunflower seeds
225g spelt flour
2 tspn baking powder
75g brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice 
2 apples, cored and cubed
1 egg
150ml soured cream
50g butter melted

1.  Preheat the oven to 190c/gas mark 5.  Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.  
2. Rub the butter into the flour, sugar and almonds until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Stir in the sunflower seeds. Leave to one side as this is for the topping.
3.  Sift the flour and baking powder together in a large bowl.  Stir in the sugar, mixed spice and apple.
4.  In another bowl mix together the wet ingredients then mix them into the bowl containing the flour. Stir together - the mixture will be quite thick and lumpy.
5.  Divide between the paper cases. Sprinkle the topping over each muffin. Bake for around 20 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Honey-roast Parsnip, Carrot & Shallot Tart

This tart is just perfect for a cold winter's day like the one most of the country is currently experiencing. I'm spending the best part of the day tucked up on the sofa watching The Killing 2 and eating comfort food. I really like the fact this tart, from one of my favourite books, the Popina Book of Baking, is wholesome and pretty healthy.  The case is made with spelt flour and I used 0% Total Greek Yoghurt in the filling but it still completely hits the spot. If you haven't got this book I really recommend you do - every recipe is a winner.

The recipe for the spelt flour can be found here

I basically made the tart filling by roasting some carrots, parsnips and shallots with a little honey and olive oil.  Once they were roasted I stirred in a good handful of grated strong cheddar.  I lined a tart tin with the spelt pastry dough and mixed in another handful of grated cheddar to a small pot of greek yoghurt. I spread this mixture over the base before topping with the roasted vegetables. It was then baked for about 30 minutes at 200c. Quick, easy and delicious!