Sticky Toffee Date Cake

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stick 26/10/2018

A fantastically easy and delicious recipe for a sticky toffee date cake here. This can be enjoyed hot or cold and keeps incredibly well for up to 5 days if you can resist it for that long. The dates turn into fudgy little nuggets in a moist caramel sponge for ultimate comfort. Great served with caramel sauce, custard, ice cream, yoghurt or even eaten on its own with a brew.

Ingredients:

  • 200g of dried dates, roughly chopped
  • 275ml of boiling water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 175g soft light brown sugar
  • 150g baking margarine, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • A pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Pour the boiling water over three quarters of the dates
  2. Leave to soak for 30 minutes
  3. Preheat the oven to 160C fan/180C conventional
  4. Blending together the butter , sugar and the soaked dates (including the soaking water)
  5. Add the eggs and finally stir in the self-raising flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda
  6. Finally stir in the remaining unsoaked dates
  7. Pour into a 30cm square cake tin lined with greaseproof paper
  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until firm to the touch
  9. Allow to cool , cut into squares and serve
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Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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ban 21/08/2018

With this spell of hot weather, I just can’t eat my bananas quick enough before they go ripe so I have had to come up with lots of baking banana recipes to put them to good use. First world problems hey?

One of the moistest cakes I’ve ever eaten. Stick-to-the-back of your fork moist. I am normally not a huge icing fan but the cream cheese frosting, both sweet and tangy, takes this cake from good to greatness. This cake packs mega banana flavour. It is very buttery and cakey from creaming the butter and sugars.

This recipe makes loads of frosting. You don’t have to use it all but it is addictive. If you don’t use it all, I suppose you’ll just have to bake another cake and that’s no bad thing.

The banana cake is dense, but not heavy. The crumb is still very soft and this is down to buttermilk, the moist-maker. The cake wouldn’t be what it is without it. I rarely have buttermilk in my fridge, unless buying it for a specific baking recipe so I usually sour whole milk instead. For this recipe, you’ll need 1 and 1/2 cups of buttermilk. So here’s what I do instead: measure 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar then add enough whole milk until I reach 1 and 1/2 cups. Stir it around, let it sit for a minute then pour into the batter. To keep the cake extra rich, I do recommend whole milk.

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 3 large ripe bananas (about 1 and ½ cups mashed)
  • 3 cups (375g) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and ½ cups (360ml) buttermilk, at room temperature1

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups (360g) icing sugar, plus an extra ¼ cup if needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a 9×13 inch tin.
  2. Make the cake: Mash the bananas with a fork. Set mashed bananas aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Add both sugars and beat until creamed together. Add the eggs and the vanilla and a spoonful of the flour (to stop the batter separating). Beat until combined then add in the mashed bananas. Add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not overmix. The batter will be slightly thick and a few lumps are OK.
  5. Spread batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminium foil.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
  7. Make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Add 3 cups of icing sugar, vanilla and salt. Mix together slowly to start with then beat until well combined. If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/4 cup of icing sugar. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. This helps sets the frosting and makes cutting easier.
  8. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the fridge for 5 days.

Double Chocolate Fudge Cake

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choc 2 18/08/2018

This cake is taken from a Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook. It is a double chocolate fudge cake, not because it has two different types of chocolate (even though it does… technically three if you count the cocoa), but because you bake half of the mix first then add the rest at a later stage giving you a double layer of cake and gooey fudge-like deliciousness. But if you think dividing the batter is too much trouble, just bake it all at once. The cake will still be very good.

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  • 240g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 265 g dark chocolate (at least 52 % cocoa solids), cut into small pieces
  • 95 g dark chocolate (70 % cocoa solids), cut into small pieces
  • 290 g light muscovado sugar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 5 large eggs (separated)
  • a pinch of salt
  • cocoa for dusting

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170˚C. Grease a 20cm spring-form cake tin and line the base with baking parchment.
  2. Place the butter and both kinds of chocolate in a large bowl. Put the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan, stir to mix then bring to the boil over a medium heat. Pour the boiling syrup over the butter and chocolate and stir well until they have melted and you are left with a runny chocolate sauce. Stir in the egg yolks one at a time. Set aside until the mixture comes to room temperature.
  3. Put the egg whites and salt in a large bowl and whisk to a firm, but not too dry meringue. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold the meringue into the cooled chocolate mixture, a third at a time.
  4. Pour 800g (about a third) of the mixture into the prepared cake tin and level gently. Place the cake in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out almost clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  5. Flatten the top of the cake with a palate knife. Don’t worry about breaking the crust. Pour the rest of the batter on top and level the surface again. Return to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The cake should still have moist crumbs hen checked with a skewer.
  6. Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin. Dust with cocoa powder and serve.
  7. The cake will keep, covered, at room temperature for 4 days.

Chocolate Irish Cream Roulade

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roulade 01/01/2018

Happy New Year! Have I got a treat for you?

Yes.

This gorgeous chocolate roulade is made without flour so it’s light as a feather. The cake is rich and chocolatey yet light and almost mousse-like from the pillowy egg whites.

I am not usually a huge fan of cream but the Baileys filling is light and subtle. I cannot describe what a joy this cake is to make and to eat so you’re just going to have to try it yourself.

I have included some tips for the assembly but don’t worry if the cake cracks as this is part of its charm.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • butter, for greasing
  • 175g (6oz) plain dark chocolate (about 70 per cent cocoa solids)
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 300ml (10fl oz) double cream
  • 4 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream liqueur
  • icing sugar, sifted, for dusting

You will need a Swiss roll tin, 30cm x 23cm (12in x 9in) and 2cm (¾ in) deep.

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan/350°F/gas 4). Lightly grease the Swiss roll tin with butter and line with baking parchment. It helps to make a small diagonal snip at each corner of the baking parchment, about 3cm (1¼ in) long, so the paper fits snugly into the corners of the tin.
  2. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. The base of the bowl must not touch the water. Leave until just melted, then remove from the heat, stir and leave the chocolate to cool slightly. (See below, Make a light cake, step 1.)
  3. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk using an electric hand whisk on high speed until fluffy and stiff, but not dry.
  4. Tip the caster sugar and egg yolks into another large bowl and whisk on high speed until light, thick and creamy, for about 1½ minutes. Pour in the cooled chocolate and stir until blended. Add two large spoonfuls of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and mix gently, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Sift the cocoa and fold it into the mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. (See below, Make a light cake, step 2.)
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake is well risen and firm on top. Remove the cake from the oven and set aside, leaving it in its tin until cold (expect it to dip and crack a little).
  6. Place the cream in a bowl with the Baileys Irish Cream liqueur and whip until thick enough to just hold its shape. If insufficiently whipped it will be too runny to spread; if over-whipped it will become too thick to spread evenly.
  7. Lightly dust a large piece of baking parchment with icing sugar. Turn the cake out on to the parchment and carefully peel off the lining paper. Spread the surface of the cake with the whipped cream, leaving a bare rim of about 2cm (¾ in) all the way around the edges. With one of the short ends near you, make a score mark 2cm (¾ in) in from this edge, being careful not to cut right through. Starting at this point, tightly roll up the roulade. Transfer the roulade to a serving platter or board. (See below, Roll a neat roulade.)

 

Keys to perfection:

Make a light cake:

  • As soon as the chocolate has melted, take the pan off the heat so the chocolate doesn’t overheat or it will become too stiff; it needs to be a pourable consistency. Stir, lift the bowl off the pan and leave the chocolate to cool until it feels tepid. If the chocolate is too hot when stirred into the egg yolks it will start to cook them.
  • Pour the cake mixture into the buttered and lined Swiss roll tin. The mixture should be light and airy now that the egg whites have been added. Ease it into the corners and smooth the surface level using a spatula. Do this very gently, so that you don’t squash out the air that you have just whisked in.

Roll a neat roulade:

  • Leave the roulade cake to cool completely before you tip it out of the tin. Run a small palette knife around the inside of the baking parchment in the tin to loosen the cake, so you can turn it out easily without it breaking.
  • Gently turn the cake out on to a large sheet of baking parchment that has been lightly dusted with icing sugar. Carefully loosen the parchment that surrounds the cake and peel it off, making sure you don’t take the cake with it.
  • Using a palette knife, spread the cream evenly over the roulade, so you will get a uniform spiral of cream in each slice. Rather than spread the cream right up to the edges, leave a gap of about 2cm (¾ in) all round, or the cream will start to ooze out as you start rolling.
  • Use a sharp knife to make a score mark 2cm (¾ in) in from a short edge, and cut about halfway through the cake on the score line. This will be a useful starting point when you start rolling and will give you a tighter, neater roulade.
  • Roll the cut edge over tightly to start with, using the baking parchment to help keep it all tight by gently pulling it up and over the roll. Don’t worry if the cake cracks – that is quite normal and will be part of the roulade’s charm.
  • Keep rolling, again using the parchment to help by pulling it up and over as you roll. After rolling, ensure the join is underneath, as this will keep the roll secure, then transfer the roulade to a platter using a large, wide spatula or two fish slices.

Chocolate Fudge Custard Cake

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caa 29/06/2017

I would love to provide a picture of the cake as a whole with its silky, chocolate custard covering but once I removed it from the fridge to serve, it didn’t last two seconds before everyone crowded round for a slice! I made this for my little brother’s birthday. He is a massive chocolate fan and this cake certainly delivers in that respect.

Ingredients:

For the chocolate sponges:

  • 150ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g plain flour
  • 70g cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g light brown soft sugar
  • 200ml buttermilk
  • 100ml strong coffee
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

For the chocolate custard:

  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 500ml full-fat milk
  • 140g chocolate, 85% cocoa solids, broken into cubes
  • 50g cornflour
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Make the custard first as it needs to chill. Put all the ingredients, except the vanilla, in a large pan and bring gently to the boil, whisking all the time, until the chocolate has melted and you have a silky, thick custard. It will take 5-7 minutes from cold. Stir in the vanilla and a generous pinch of salt then scrape the custard into a wide, shallow bowl. Cover the surface with cling film, cool then chill for at least 3 hrs or until cold and set.
  2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment – if your cake tins are quite shallow, line the sides to a depth of at least 5cm. Put flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, light brown soft sugar and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and mix well. If there are any lumps in the sugar, squeeze these through your fingers to break them up.
  3. Measure the buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a jug. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until well combined. Pour the cake mixture evenly into the two tins, and bake for 25-30 mins until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool.
  4. To assemble, cover one of the cake layers with a generous helping of the custard. Add the second layer to the top of this and spoon the remaining custard on top of the cake then spread it around the top and down the sides until smooth. Chill for 15 minutes to firm up the custard again.

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Chill for 2 hours, or longer if possible, before serving, and eat it cold. This cake can be made up to 2 days ahead. The cake gets fudgier and more enticing the longer you leave it. The coffee in the recipe cannot be tasted but really brings out the intense cocoa flavours in the custard and the sponge and the addition of a small pinch of salt in the custard really intensifies the chocolate even further.

Carrot Cake Cheesecake… Cake

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cx 11/06/2017

My friends and I have wanted to make this cake for ages. It is really several cakes piled into one glorious creation. The cheesecake centre is smooth and creamy against the spiced, nut studded carrot cake that is topped with a luxurious icing and even more nuts for beautiful texture and flavour. A real celebration cake!

The frosting makes enough to cover the entire cake generously however, I only covered the top of the cake and this was more than enough as the frosting is very sweet. I used the remaining frosting for a coffee and banana pecan cake which was really nice or you could just half the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE CARROT CAKE LAYERS:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup muscovado sugar
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • ½-1 cup chopped pecans

FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER:

  • 16oz full fat cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz full fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER:

  1. Prepare the cheesecake layer first. This can be done early in the day, or the night before. If freezing the cheesecake, can be stored 1-2 weeks in the freezer.
  2. Preheat oven to 160C. Using a large roasting pan, add 1 inch of hot water to the pan. Place it on the lower shelf of the oven. Allow it to preheat in the oven.
  3. Prepare an 8-inch spring-form pan by wrapping the bottom of the pan (outside) with a double layer of foil. Line the bottom (inside) with a circle of parchment paper.
  4. Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Add in salt and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Beat in sour cream and whipping cream, until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Pour into prepared 8-inch spring-form pan. Place pan in centre of preheated roasting pan in the oven, making sure to be careful not to spill water.
  6. Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes. There should still be a slight wobble in the centre. Turn oven off and let cheesecake sit in oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely on counter.
  7. When cooled, remove outside portion of the spring-form pan and place into the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight. If using within 24 hours, feel free to just refrigerate cheesecake (this is what I did).

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FOR THE CARROT CAKE LAYERS:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease two 8-inch cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs until blended. Add in flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Beat for about 2 minutes. Stir in the grated carrots and pecans. Pour into prepared cake pans.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for ten minutes then remove from pans and cool completely.

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FOR THE FROSTING:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Beat with whisk attachment for 3 minutes. Add in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and heavy cream. Beat for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Fold in chopped pecans.
  2. To assemble the cake, layer one layer of carrot cake. Add the cheesecake then top with second layer of carrot cake. Spread on the frosting on top and on the sides if you feel particularly decadent.
  3. Store in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days. ENJOY!

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Raspberry Kuchen

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RaspberryKuchenGoOne-1 21/04/2017

A kuchen is a cake-like dessert, very similar to a cheesecake, that has a soft dough crust and a topping of custard or cheese that contains berries or other fruits. I love this recipe for many reasons. There are no stray egg whites or yolks left to deal with when the cake is finished. What’s not used in the crust is used in the custard and that appeals to my “green” instincts. The cake, which can be made without a mixer, is very easy to do and has the added advantage of being low in fat and only moderately sweet. Best of all, it can be made with fresh or frozen berries of any type. Frozen berries will produce a creamier cake because of the liquid they exude as the cake bakes.

Ingredients:
Base:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen berries

Filling:

  • 1-1/2 cups plain low-fat or non-fat yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 slightly beaten egg yolks
  • 1 slightly beaten whole egg
  • 1+1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring-form tin. If using frozen raspberries, thaw at room temperature for 15 minutes then drain.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl stir together 1 cup flour, the first 1/2 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Add melted butter, 2 egg whites and first teaspoon of vanilla. Stir by hand until mixed.
  3. Spread onto the bottom of the cake tin; sprinkle with berries. Set aside.
  4. For the filling, place yoghurt in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flour. Add remaining sugar, yolks, whole egg, zest and remaining vanilla. Mix until smooth then pour over berries.
  5. Bake for about 55 minutes or until the centre appears set when shaken gently. Cool for 15 minutes then remove sides of pan. Cover and chill until serving time, up to 24 hours. If you are feeling brave, you can remove the pan bottom. I wasn’t feeling brave. Transfer to a serving plate.