Saturday, 30 October 2010
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Sunday, 24 October 2010
Nut free zone
No nuts here....
Saturday, 23 October 2010
Thursday, 21 October 2010
Black and Blue mini cakes
120g softened butter
120g caster sugar (half golden half normal because I ran out)
150g self raising flour
90g frozen blueberries
65g mixed fruit jam (mine was hedgerow fruit containing the blackberries of the title)
For the filling and icing
100g icing sugar
50g jam (I used blackcurrant)
100g jam to fill the cakes
For the icing, mix the jam with the icing sugar.
Monday, 18 October 2010
These are for J. Two years ago, we were lucky enough to go to Las Vegas for a relative's wedding (very good by all accounts although I wasn't able to go - after travelling all that way I had the most horrendous cold and stayed in bed all day the day of the wedding - typical! and I hear that the happy couple are regrettably not so happy anymore....) and made a longer holiday of it. When we were there we decided to ignore the all you can eat for $10 breakfast buffets (neither of us is massive breakfast eaters and wouldn't have got our money's worth) in favour of a yummy carbohydrate fest in the form of muffins, scones or bagels from one of the outlets in the Caesar's Palace Forum shops. Even just writing this brings back all the lovely memories of the holiday - it was just so hot there - unseasonably hot even for Vegas I believe, but coming from somewhere where mid 20's Centigrade is considered a hot day, hitting 37C was just unbelievable!!! One of my favourite memories is walking down the Strip in the middle of the day (madness in itself) and spotting the entrance to one of the air conditioned (naturally!) casinos. With barely a glance at each other J and I both made a beeline for the entranceway just so that we could stand in the draught of the cool air being pumped out. While we were standing there a mother and her young daughter did just the same - it turned out they were from Alaska and not used to the heat either!
Gratuitous holiday pic from the bottom of the Grand Canyon
Bran/Wholemeal Spelt Muffins
300g wholemeal spelt flour
1 generous tsp baking powder
120g dark muscovado sugar
1/2tsp mixed spice
1/2tsp (scant) bicarbonate soda
150g fat free yogurt*
80ml sunflower/olive oil
*You could use 200ml buttermilk if that's more convenient.
I imagine these would be truly delicious dripping with melted butter whilst still warm from the oven, but T has just informed me that they're really excellent cold out of the tin too. I would say to freeze any not eaten on the day of making - muffins don't tend to keep very well.
So the big question is.... did J like them? Well, she tells me so, which makes me a very happy bunny (and makes her happy too I guess!). I think she must like them because I gave her the recipe and she's already recreated them once so they have the seal of approval.
Further gratuitous holiday pic - this is the Bellagio and I could seriously have spent all night watching the fountains in front of the hotel - they perform to pieces of music and it's absolutely amazing!
Sunday, 17 October 2010
The texture of the cake is lovely and close - dense, but in a really good way! As you can see, I didn't make a buttercream for the top, instead choosing a refreshing glace icing made with lemon juice. Delicious, and colleagues agreed - these were very popular!
Thursday, 14 October 2010
I'm not a big coffee drinker and don't particularly enjoy the flavour. However, I sometimes really fancy a bit of coffee, don't know why, but I do like the smell, especially on holiday! But I feel I ought to try and come round to this 'adult' flavour so occasionally when the craving hits I make something coffee flavoured. Because I don't drink it, I struggle to know how to add coffee flavour - ground coffee directly into the batter? instant coffee made up strong? In the end I chose instant espresso powder, made up fairly strong to add my flavour. I also wanted to add chocolate, and so added a little cocoa powder too, pretty much making it up as I went along!
Mocha cake with coffee buttercream
200g softened butter
200g light muscovado sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder (this was 9g)
1tsp instant espresso powder made up in a little boiling water, allowed to cool slightly
225g self raising flour
For the buttercream
100g softened butter
225g icing sugar
1 tsp instant espresso powder made up in a little boiling water, allowed to cool slightly
a little dark chocolate to decorate
- Preheat the oven to gas 4/180C. Grease and line an 8x12" (20x30cm) traybake tin with silicon parchment.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well until mixed and adding a little of the flour to prevent the mixture curdling if it threatens to do so.
- Add the cocoa powder and flour and mix to combine. Fold in the coffee.
- Spoon into the prepared tin and level out. Bake for 40-45 minutes until well risen and lightly golden brown.
- Remove to a wire rack and allow to cool.
For the buttercream, beat together the butter and icing sugar until extremely pale and fluffy, adding the coffee a little at a time as you do so.
When the cake is cool, trim the edges and cut in half lengthways so you have two long pieces of equal width. Spread half of the buttercream onto one piece of cake, place the other piece on top and spread with the remaining buttercream. I had such a good time doing this, it felt like bricklaying and it was really hard to just leave the buttercream alone once it looked done, I kept wanting to rearrange it!!! Grate a little dark chocolate over the top of the cake to decorate.
Wait for admiring responses!
I'm not quite sure exactly what it is about using coffee in cooking but I always seem to get a really, really light cake when I do a coffee cake. I can make quite reasonable plain vanilla or chocolate cakes in the same manner, but when coffee is added the resulting cake always seems to be lighter. I've spoken to J about it and she agrees that her coffee cake is always really light in texture. I wonder if anyone else has found this? Let me know in the comments below!
Anyway, what did it taste like? Fab! I'm still not sure if I'm a fan of coffee flavour in cakes and I suppose this cake is only gently coffee flavoured - if you're a coffee lover I think the flavour could definitely be ramped up to please you, but it was still quite nice. As mentioned above, the texture was really light and moist and I felt that the ratio of buttercream to cake was just right - enough to add moisture and richness and interest but not so much that it was sickly or oversweet at all. I couldn't detect any chocolate flavour at all, but wasn't really surprised about this. I guess it might have added depth of flavour to the coffee, along with the muscovado sugar but this is not a chocolate lovers cake!
Friday, 8 October 2010
Needless to say I didn't taste it!