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.

Syrup Sponge

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Screenshot_2017-04-16-21-49-35-1[1] 18/04/2017

Fancy a hearty, warming pudding but don’t have much time? Look no further! You can whip up this mix and cook it in the microwave giving you a light fluffy sponge soaked in syrupy goodness in minutes. No need to thank me, just get some custard and enjoy!

You can try this recipe with lots of different toppings. Try different flavours of jam or marmalade. You can even try flavouring the sponge. Add lemon or orange zest, sultanas, chocoloate chips or even mashed banana.

Ingredients:

  • 4oz margarine
  • 4oz caster sugar
  • 4oz plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 3 tablespoons jam or golden syrup

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Method:

  1. Cream margarine and caster sugar together. Beat in the eggs and fold in the sieved flour and baking powder. Add the hot water.
  2. Grease a 1 ½ pint heatproof bowl with margarine and place the jam or syrup in the bottom. Heat on full power for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the sponge mixture. Cover loosely with cling film and heat on full power for 5-6 minutes. Timing will depend on the topping used. Remove from the microwave and leave to stand for a few minutes before turning out.
  4. Serve with loads of custard or ice cream – obligatory!

Raspberry & Coconut Loaf Cake

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Screenshot_2017-04-15-22-50-27-1 15/04/2017

An absolutely delicious bake with a hidden layer of jam and a beautiful coconut flavour throughout, what’s not to like?

Ingredients:

  • 150g Butter
  • 150g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Eggs
  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 100g Desiccated Coconut
  • 4 tbsp. Milk
  • 6 tbsp. Raspberry Jam

For the icing:

  • 80g Icing Sugar
  • 2 tsp Raspberry Jam
  • 2 tsp Water
  • 2 tbsp. Desiccated Coconut

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Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and line a 1kg loaf tin with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract, before adding in the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.
  3. Fold in the desiccated coconut, and then add the flour and milk a bit at a time.
  4. Spoon a third of the batter into the loaf tin, before spreading the raspberry jam in a layer on top of the batter. Cover the jam with the remaining cake batter.
  5. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, then cover with tin foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes until cooked.
  6. Leave the cake to cook on a wire rack, and meanwhile you can prepare the icing.
  7. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add water until it reaches the right consistency. Then add the raspberry jam until you get the desired shade of pink.
  8. Once the cake is cool, spread the icing over the top, and then cover with some more coconut.

Welsh Cakes

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welsh 31/03/2017

This tasty offering is a spiced fruity drop scone that is baked on a griddle pan. You can whip up a batch in no time and enjoy them hot from the pan slathered with butter and jam or sprinkled with sugar.

Makes 18-24

Ingredients:

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 100g butter, cut into small pieces plus extra for frying
  • 50g currants
  • 25g mixed peel, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • splash milk

Method:                                            

  1. Tip the flour, sugar, mixed spice and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Then, with your fingers, rub in the butter until crumbly. Mix in the currants and mixed peel. Work the egg into the mixture until you have soft dough, adding a splash of milk if it seems a little dry. It should be the same consistency as shortcrust pastry.
  2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to the thickness of your little finger. Cut out rounds using a 6cm cutter, re-rolling any trimmings. Grease a flat griddle pan or heavy frying pan with butter and place over a medium heat. Cook the Welsh cakes in batches, for about 3 mins each side, until golden brown, crisp and cooked through. Delicious served warm with butter and jam, or simply sprinkled with caster sugar. Cakes will stay fresh in a tin for 1 week.

Polish Apple cake (Szarlotka)

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a 15/01/2017

So my friends and I all had a Polish theme night this week hence the random Polish recipes. This recipe in particular, is probably my favourite of all the dishes that were on offer. It is a bit like a cross between a biscuit and a cake with a lovely layer of spiced apple running through the middle of delicately sweetened crispy, biscuity, cakey yumminess.

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • half alemon
  • 6 large Bramley or granny smithapples (depending on how sharp you like it)
  • 4 Tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

For the dough:

  • 450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tspbaking powder
  • 200g unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolk, plus 1 whole egg, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp natural yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest (from the half a lemon, above)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line a 20 x 29cm baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. For the filling, zest the lemon half and leave aside for the dough. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples, then squeeze over the juice of the lemon to stop the fruit turning brown. Put the apples in a large pan and add the sugar, 200ml water and cinnamon. Cook for 5 mins, then remove from the heat and leave to cool in the liquid (you’ll need this later).
  3. To make the dough, put the flour and baking powder in a food processor or into a large bowl and pulse or stir to combine. Add the butter and mix again until the mixture is sandy. Add the sugar, egg yolks and egg, yogurt, lemon zest and vanilla extract and mix into a dough. Tip it out onto a floured surface. Bring it together with your hands and roll it into a ball.
  4. Split the dough in half, wrap one half in cling film and freeze for 1 hr. Roll out the other dough half so that it is big enough to fill the bottom of the lined tray. With the palm of your hand, push the dough about halfway up the sides of the tray until the whole base is covered. Prick the dough with a fork and bake in the oven for about 15 mins until it is golden and lightly springy to the touch.
  5. Spoon over the apple filling, with about half the cooking liquid then set aside.
  6. Remove the dough from the freezer and coarsely grate, as you would a block of cheese. Sprinkle the grated dough over the apples and bake for 40-45 mins until it is golden and the topping has cooked through. Leave to cool completely, dust with icing sugar then cut into squares.

Greek Lemon Yoghurt Loaf Cake

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screenshot_2016-09-04-07-12-38-11 07/09/2016

Credit to my amazing friend, Jess, for this little gem. Instead of getting down about the depressing English weather, we laughed in its face, pinched a recipe from a cook book in a shop, bought lots of lemons and whipped up a tasty treat for everyone to enjoy!

Tuck in to a slice of this quick and easily mixed lemon cake. You just need a bowl and a wooden spoon and you can be enjoying delicious cake and a cuppa in a no time. The sponge has a bright yellow crumb with a moist texture from the light olive oil and tangy flavour thanks to the inclusion of thick creamy yoghurt and lemon zest. While the cake is still hot, a lemon and yoghurt glaze is added to give a shiny finish with a slight crunch.

As a general rule of thumb when adding glazes to cake it is helpful to remember this top tip: add hot glaze to cooled cakes and cold glaze to hot cakes. The glaze is absorbed better this way and permiated the sponge to add more depth of flavour.

Makes 1 x 450g loaf tin or 1 x 8″ loose-bottom round cake tin

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Ingredients:

  • 150g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • good pinch of salt
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 200g caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 medium eggs, at room temperature
  • 125ml Greek-style yoghurt
  • 125 ml mild light olive oil

For the lemon glaze:

  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1-2 Tbsp Greek-style yoghurt

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180C. Grease and line your chosen tin with greaseproof paper and margarine. Measure the flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds into a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and lemon zest then ake a well in the mix.
  2. Combine the eggs, yoghurt and oil in a measuring jug and beat well with a fork until well mixed. Pour into the well in the bowl then beat everything together with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.
  3. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading evenly amd making sure the corners are well filled (if using a loaf tin).Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes if using a round sandwhich tin or 55-60 mintes if using a loaf tin. The cake should be well risen and a deep golden brown colour. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
  4. Towards the end of the baking time make the lemon glaze so it will be ready when you need it.Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Mix in the lemon then stir in enough yoghurt to make a smooth, shiny glaze with the consistency of double cream. If your yoghurt is particularly thick, add a squeeze of lemon juice to loosen.
  5. As soon as the cake is ready, remove fro the oven and set the tin on a wire rack. Leave the cake to firm up for 5 minutes. Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the loaf/cake then carefully lift it out onto the wire rack. Place a plate underneath the rack to catch drips. Spoon the glaze over the hot cake letting the glaze slowly drip down the sides. Leave until the cake is cold and the glaze has set.
  6. Serve cut in thick slices. Store in an airtight container and eat within 4 days. The flavours and aromas will be even more pronounced a day or so after baking.

Spiced Butternut Squash Cake with Mexican Chocolate Mousse

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Screenshot_2016-08-12-18-14-12-1[1] 12/08/2016

It’s not even funny how good this cake is. I mean seriously good. The squash makes for an incredibly moist sponge brought to life by warming spices and it is sandwiched together with heavenly, creamy chocolate mousse spiked with a tiny bit of chilli heat for a tingling surprise.

This recipe came about as I had half a huge butternut squash to use up and didn’t fancy making another soup (from which the first half was used). Butternut squash is extremely versatile and when pureed it can be used in all manner of recipes too. Squash puree is also fantastic stirred into a cheesy sauce for a pasta bake amongst many other things. But before I go on a ramble about the many uses of the vegetable, let me tell you about its use here.

I have used squash in place of the popular tinned pumpkin puree which is full of additives, preservatives and sweeteners. While I am aware that this cake is not exactly a diet food, I at least know exactly what is in it and can add flavour with beautiful, natural spices.

To create squash puree, peel and deseed the butternut. Cut into small dice and place in a microwavable bowl. Cover with clingfilm and microwave on full power for 5-8 minutes or until the squash can be easily… squashed between your fingers. Drain away any water that may have collected from the steam in the bowl then mash until smooth. You can do this in a blender for very fine results but I was saving on the washing up and used a potato masher which gave slightly coarser puree that I personally really liked in the overall bake. You are now left with about 2 cups of puree, depending on the size of your squash, which is just perfect for this amazing recipe.

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Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⅓ cups golden caster sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup yogurt (I used yeo valley 0% fat)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups butternut squash puree
  • 4 eggs

For the chocolate mousse filling/topping:

  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa)
  • 1 cup cold double cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line 2 round 20cm cake tins.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate large bowl, combine sugar and oil. Stir in yogurt, vanilla, and squash. Beat eggs in one at a time, mixing very well after each addition.
  3. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared tins. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the tins straight away and place on a wire rack. Cool completely.
  4. While that’s happening, melt the chocolate chips and allow the chocolate to cool a bit. Whisk together the heavy cream, cocoa powder, cinnamon and chili powder. Whip just until the cream reaches the “stiff peaks” stage. Carefully fold about half of the chocolate into the cream. Then fold in the remaining chocolate.
  5. When the cake is completely cool, layer the cream in the middle and on top of the cake.