4/13/2017

A Duo of Muffins for Easter

As I have already decided to make the chocolate cake in my last post for Easter,  I thought I'd make some small cakes for my grandchildren. They love muffins and they came to visit yesterday so we made them together.
The first one we made was topped with buttercream and my favourite  Cadbury's mini eggs, but the second batch was a great favourite of my 2 older grandsons - Crunchy Peanut Butter muffins.
I always use oil when making muffins - don't think it is really any healthier, but it sounds better than using butter.

For the Easter Muffins:

Preheat oven 200C/gas6           Grease a 12 hole muffin tin or use 12 paper cases.

Sift together 225g plain flour, 55g cocoa powder, 1 tbspn baking powder and a pinch of salt. Stir in 115g soft brown sugar.
Lightly beat 2 eggs in a jug then beat in 250g buttermilk and 6 tbspn sunflower oil.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and carefully stir in the wet ones. Mix till just combined - be careful not to over mix or your muffins will be hard.
Spoon the batter into tin - I use an ice cream scoop.
Bake for about 20 mins till risen and firm. Cool on a wire rack.
For the topping :
Put 85g soft butter in a large bowl and beat till fluffy; then sift in 175g icing sugar and beat together, then adding 1 tbspn milk .
Put spoonfuls on top of each muffin and swirl round, or you could use a piping bag with a large star-shaped nozzle to pipe the cream on. I did the one in the photo with a nozzle, but the boys just swirled with a fork to their hearts' content!
Decorate with a few of the mini eggs.



For the Peanut Butter muffins:

Same oven temp. and tin as for the Easter muffins.

Make the topping first - finely chop 50g unsalted roasted peanuts and add them to 40g demerara sugar; mix together.

Sift together 280g plain flour, 1 tbspn baking powder and a pinch of salt. Stir in 115g soft brown sugar.
Beat 2 eggs in a large jug then beat in 175ml milk, 6 tbspn sunflower oil and 175g crunchy peanut butter.
Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients. Mix together carefully till combined, but don't over mix.
Spoon into the tin and sprinkle the topping mixture over each one. bake for about 20 mins till golden.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.



Good crumb on the chocolate ones - firm and moist. Love the contrast between the cake mixture, the soft creamy icing and the hard crispy egg.
Am a great lover of peanut butter so these were also my favourite. The cake mixture is soft and moist with a lovely peanut flavour. It contrasts so well with the crunchy peanut topping.

4/04/2017

Rich Chocolate Mousse Cake

I went to a 50th wedding anniversary party a few weeks ago, and this was the celebration cake. It was delicious, so I asked my friend who made it for the recipe.

It's more like a solid mousse than a cake, but the chocolate flavour is so good. I have to say tho' that a slice is very rich. I made it last weekend as a try out for Easter, as I had friends coming for lunch.

For the cake you need ; 330g dark chocolate, 120g cocoa, 350g melted butter, 10 egg yolks, 330g icing sugar and 330g  whipping cream

For the ganache: 200g dark chocolate and 10cl single cream

You need  a 23cm springform cake tin lined with baking parchment

Beat the egg yolks together till fluffy. [Freeze the whites in batches for meringues?] Melt the chocolate and butter over a bain marie then add to the yolks and mix gently together. Add the cocoa powder and mix well. Whisk the cream till firm, and carefully fold into the egg mixture.

For the icing - melt the chocolate and cream over a bain marie. Spoon a thin layer of this chocolate ganache into the bottom of the cake tin, then add the cake mixture, smoothing the top with a palette knife.

Take the cake out of the fridge and cover top with the ganache, using a palette knife to smooth it over.

Put back into the fridge for at least 3 hours, remove when needed and carefully remove from the tin and serve chilled.



As I said earlier, it's very rich. My daughter added the mint and a couple of bits of chocolate for the photo, but it doesn't need any additions. A smooth, creamy mousse cake, perfect for a special occasion. Decorated with some chocolate eggs, it's going to be my centrepiece at Easter!

Note - as the cake contains uncooked egg yolks, it's not suitable for young children or pregnant mums.

3/26/2017

Lemon Cupcakes

I'm not a great fan of cupcakes as I find the topping too sweet, and I prefer muffins or our British fairy cakes. I was asked to make some for a special tea, so decided to make lemon ones, to use up 2 lemons which just happened to fall off my tree! The topping is a bit different as I used mascarpone.

 You need a muffin tin with paper muffin or cupcake cases.  Preheat oven 180C/gas4

80g flour
1 tspn baking powder
pinch bicarb.
40g ground almonds
75g caster sugar
3 eggs
100g melted butter
zest of 1 lemon

Icing:
250g mascarpone
juice and zest of 1 lemon
50g icing sugar
yellow colouring

Beat eggs and caster sugar together till white and fluffy.
Add the baking powder and bicarb to the flour and add to the mixture together with the ground almonds, butter and lemon zest. Mix together till a smooth batter.
Put the paper cases in the muffin tin and fill them 3/4 full with the batter.
Bake 15 mins till golden, then take out if tin and cool on a wire rack.

Beat the sieved icing sugar and mascarpone together, then add the zest and juice of the lemon and a few drops of yellow colouring. Mix well then spoon into a piping bag with a largish rose nozzle and decorate the cooled cupcakes. Keep in the fridge till you need them.



I liked the topping mixture, as the lemon counteracted the sweetness. If anything, I think I'd add a bit more icing sugar, but they proved very popular and others didn't seem to find them a bit sharp. I used yellow paste not the colouring in a bottle, as I find paste gives a better colour. The ground almonds gave a nice hint of nut to the cake, and they had a nice crumb, contrasting well with the soft icing.



3/11/2017

Lemon and Apple Tart

 I first had this tart in a little bistro-style restaurant in France. It's very different from the usual apple tart, using grated apples and including lemons in the filling. As I was in a hurry to get it made, I cheated and bought some shortcrust pastry from Waitrose, but of course you can make your own. The recipe was on a bag of sugar I bought ages ago in France!
What I loved about the ready-made pastry in France, was that is came in a round shape ready for the tart tin. Wish ours did!

You need:  a block of shortcrust pastry, 3 large eating apples, 150g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 80g melted butter and 2 lemons, washed well.

Preheat oven 200C/gas6.                          Grease a fluted tart tin.

Zest the 2 lemons and put it in a small bowl then add their juice. Grate the apples into a larger bowl then add the lemon zest and juice to stop the apples turning brown. Mix together.
Add the 2 eggs, the sugar and the melted butter and mix everything together.
Line the tin with the pastry then pour the mixture in.
Bake for about 40 mins till golden.


It's a lovely light tart and it makes a good dessert. The apples and lemons balance well - the apples taking away some of the acidity of the lemons.I like the texture - soft pastry and the contrasting texture of the grated fruit. I will certainly make this again.

ps the French bit that was on here was the recipe from the bag that I had typed and saved in Word ready to translate! Sorry I forgot to delete it.😮

2/28/2017

Bakewell Flapjacks

Flapjacks are one of my family's favourite things to eat and a Bakewell tart is another, so a combination of both is a marriage made in heaven!
I've been having a good sort out of my baking files lately - you know the ones, with cut out bits from newspapers, magazines, recipe cards you've picked up in supermarkets, handwritten recipes on scrappy bits of paper ...... and I came across a recipe for these flapjacks. I've changed it a bit to suit our tastes.

Preheat oven 180C/gas4                 Grease a medium baking tin

Put 150g oats, 75g ground almonds, 45g plain flour and 45g caster sugar in a bowl and mix together. Add 150g melted butter, 3 tbspn golden syrup and 3 tbspn milk and mix well.

Put half of the mixture into your tin and press it down; spoon over 2 tbspn raspberry jam and sprinkle over 15g flaked almonds. put the rest of the mixture on top and smooth over. Sprinkle a few more flaked almonds over the top.

Bake for 10-15 mins till goldenish. Cool in the tin then mark into pieces.

I cut it into 10 decent sized flapjacks.



Very moreish! Lovely combination of soft oatie base and jam, then the crunchy nuts, more oatie cake then more crunch. A nice change from the usual flapjack - it's soft, so not for you if you like crunchy ones!



2/20/2017

Walnut, Honey and Banana Loaf Cake

I love making loaf cakes and this is one of my favourites. It's a recipe from my Mum's old notebook, which I haven't looked at for ages. As is often the case, using up some ripe fruit was the reason for making it. It's such an easy one to make - an almost all-in-together type of cake.

Preheat oven 180C/gas4                       Grease a 900g laof tin.

For the cake you need; 3 ripe bananas, mashed, 110g butter, 8 tbspn runny honey, 110g brown sugar, 1/2 tspn vanilla essence, 2 eggs, 1/4 tspn bicarb., 1 tspn baking powder, 1/2 tspn cinnamon. pinch salt, 180g plain flour, 45g oats and 150g chopped walnuts.

In a large bowl put the bananas, butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, bicarb, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and mix together till combined thoroughly - you may have a few banana lumps, but that's ok. Add the flour and oats and mix with a wooden spoon, but don't over mix. Add about 3/4 of the walnuts and stir in gently.

Pour the batter into the tin then sprinkle the other walnuts on top.

Bake for 40-45 mins.

Cool in tin for 5 mins then serve warm with some butter and a drizzle of honey.



Have to confess that I forgot to sprinkle the rest of the walnuts over the top! It's a moist cake with a soft honey flavour. There's a a good contrast of textures and flavours with the background honey flavour, the crunchy walnuts and the soft banana pieces. A tasty teatime treat, and a good use for ripe bananas.








2/13/2017

Mocha Cake

When I go shopping I often have a coffee mocha in the local café, so decided to make a cake with those flavours - chocolate and coffee. Nothing too complicated, but hopefully, delicious.

I used dark chocolate and a little cocoa for a chocolate boost and some strong espresso coffee.

 Preheat oven 180C/gas4                                                     Grease and base line a 900g loaf tin.

In a bowl mix together 200g plain flour, 2 tspn baking powder, 1 tbspn cocoa, pinch of salt and 200g caster sugar.

Melt 125g dark chocolate over simmering water or in the microwave then add 125g of chopped up butter and 150ml of espresso coffee and mix together till smooth.

Separate 3 eggs and add the yolks one at a time to the mixture. Add the flour mixture and mix together. Whisk the egg whites till stiff then gently fold these into the batter. Pour into the tin and bake for 45-50 mins.

Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then finish on a wire rack.

For the icing - 50ml strong coffee, 300g sieved icing sugar and 50g soft butter.

Beat the 3 ingredients together to make a paste then smooth over the cooled cake. Chill for about 2 hours before serving to allow the icing to set.



I roughed my icing up a bit with a fork as it didn't look too smooth! The cake had a great mocha flavour - maybe more coffee than chocolate, but delicious. It had a good texture and the cake contrasted well with the smooth coffee icing.