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.
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Pull-Apart Bagel Bread

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bbbb 19/08/2018

This pull-apart bread hits the spot. It’s buttery, salty, bagel-y, flaky, cheesy, garlicky, soft in the centre, crisp on the edges and addictive! You’ve been warned.

Unlike a traditional loaf, the dough is rolled out and a cheesy filling is spread on top. The dough is then cut into disks and slotted into a loaf tin to create textured layers of cheesy, doughy goodness.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk
  • 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 and 1/3 cups (290g) plain flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 8 ounces (224g) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1-2 teaspoons mixed herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup (70g) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Bagel Topping:

  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried onion powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried garlic flakes
  • 1 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted

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Directions:

  1. Make the dough: Place the yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave until warm to touch. Pour warm milk on top of yeast/sugar. Whisk gently to combine, then loosely cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. The mixture will be frothy after 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add the butter, egg, flour, and salt. Mix lightly for 3 minutes. Dough will be soft. Transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Using lightly floured hands, knead it for 1 minute. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add 1-3 more Tablespoons of flour but you want a very soft dough. Shape into a ball.
  3. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with cling film. Place in a slightly warm environment to rise until doubled in size, around 60-90 minutes.
  4.  As the dough rises, prepare the filling and topping in the next steps and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  5. Make the cream cheese filling: In a large bowl, beat all of the filling ingredients together until combined. Cover tightly and set aside until ready to use.
  6. Make the topping: Combine the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried minced onion, dried garlic flakes, and coarse salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  7. Assemble the bread: Punch down the dough to release the air. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and with a floured rolling pin, roll out until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick. The dough can be any shape, just as long as it’s around 1/4 inch thick. Spread cream cheese filling on top. Using a 3.5 – 4 inch circle cookie cutter, cut into circles. I get about 12 circles. Fold circles in half and line in prepared baking pan, round side up.
  8. Cover cling film and allow to rise once again in a slightly warm environment until puffy, about 45 minutes.
  9. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position then preheat oven to 170°C.
  10. Brush dough with the 2 Tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle bagel seasoning on top.
  11. Bake until golden brown, about 40-45 minutes. If you find the top of the loaf is browning too quickly, tent with aluminium foil. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and serve warm.

Cinnamon Buns

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cinn 15/10/2017

The house smells incredible as these bake and there’s not much that comes close to enjoying them warm out of the oven. The buns keep for 3-4 days and if they last that long, you can microwave them for a few seconds to warm them through and it’s as if you’ve cooked a fresh batch all over again. Win!

Makes 12

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 7g active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk warm
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups (500g) plain flour

Filling:

  • 1/3 cup soft brown or demerara sugar, packed
  • 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter

Cream cheese icing:

  • 6 tbsp margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. The yeast should start to froth up slightly.
  2. Add sugar, butter, salt, egg, baking powder and flour to a mixing bowl and mix well.
  3. Pour the milk/yeast mixture in the bowl and mix well until well incorporated.
  4. Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it is approx 16 inches long by 12 inches wide. It should be approx 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking tin with butter.
  7. To make filling, combine the butter or margarine, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
  8. Spread the mixture evenly over the surface of the dough. Alternatively you can spread the butter first on the dough and then the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  9. Working carefully, from the long edge, roll the dough down to the bottom edge. The roll should be about 18 inches in length. Cut the roll into 1 ½ inch slices.
  10. Place the cut rolls in the prepared pan. Cover them with a damp towel. Let them rise again for another 30 minutes until they double in size.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cooking time can vary greatly! If the tops brown too quickly before the dough is cooked, cover loosely with foil to prevent burning.
  12. While the rolls are baking make the icing by mixing all ingredients and beat well until fluffy.
  13. When the rolls are done, spread generously with icing.

cinna

You could leave them plain at this point as the icing is very sweet and I’m not normally a fan of overly sweet thing but this icing is amazing and melts beautifully into the warm buns giving them a sweet, sticky glaze that works perfectly with the pillowy soft dough and cinnamon.

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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Cookies & Cream Cake

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Screenshot_2016-08-08-20-25-10-1[1] 10/08/2016

The chocolate sponge in this recipe is my new go to chocolate sponge now. It is everything you want a chocolate cake to be; chocolatey, rich, cakey, moreish, amazing. The coffee intensifies the chocolate flavour and the buttermilk adds a fudginess to the overall bake. Team that with a slathering of Oreo cookie, cream cheese icing and you’re onto a winner. This recipe makes enough for a massive 4 layer cake so feel free to half the amount if you don’t want something quite so extreme. I made the full amount but made two cakes – one to keep and one to take to work – the lucky devils!

Ingredients:

For the chocolate sponges:

  • 300ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 400g plain flour
  • 130g cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 560g light brown soft sugar
  • 400ml buttermilk
  • 200ml strong coffee
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs

For the icing:

  • 150g stork baking margarine
  • 400g icing sugar
  • 180g tub full-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pack Oreo biscuits (I used chocolate stuffed Oreos)

Method:

  1. 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 200g flour, 65g cocoa powder, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 280g 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.
  2. Measure 200ml buttermilk, 100ml coffee, 150ml oil and 2 tsp vanilla in a jug. Add 2 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.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2, so that you have 4 sponge cakes in total. These sponges can be made up to three days ahead and will stay moist if wrapped in cling film, or you can wrap well and freeze for up to two months.
  4. To make the icing, put the butter in a large bowl and sieve in half the icing sugar. Roughly mash together with a spatula, then beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sieve in the remaining icing sugar, mash together again, then blend once more. Put the Oreos in a food processor and whizz to fine crumbs. Add the biscuit crumbs to the icing and mix again until combined.
  5. To assemble the cake, stick one of your sponges to a cake stand or board with a little of the cream cheese icing. Use roughly half the icing to stack the remaining cakes on top, spreading a generous amount between each layer. Pile the remaining icing on top of the assembled cake, and use a palette knife to ease it over the edges, covering the entire surface of the cake. Tidy the plate with a piece of kitchen paper.
  6. If you have any leftover Oreos, break them into pieces and push these around the base of the cake.Alternatively, use mini Oreos.

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Someone’s lucky day!

Speculoos Cheesecake

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Screenshot_2016-05-26-09-28-14-1[1] 26/05/2016

My first guest blog! And it comes courtesy of this wonderful lady…

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It is a bit of a joint effort as we both had a hand in it although I must admit, my role heavily leaned towards taste testing. I don’t always go for cheesecake but I have to say, this is a fantastic and easy recipe that tastes incredible. What are you waiting for? Make it now!

Ingredients:

(Buttery) Biscuit Base:
– 300g Lotus/Biscoff Biscuits
– 150g Butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling:
– 2x280g Philadelphia Cream Cheese – Full Fat
– 1 tsp vanilla bean extract
– 100g icing sugar
– 300ml Double Cream
– 250g Speculoos/Biscoff Cookie Butter

Method:

1) Blitz both of the biscuits for the base in a food processor until they’re a fine crumb. Mix with the melted butter and press down firmly into an 8″ springform deep cake tin. Alternatively, if you’re like Lissi and you don’t own said springform tin, bung it into a shallow 8” cake tin and find that you have way too much filling and result to pouring the rest into shot glasses to chill. Dunk lotus biscuits into the remaining mix as a snack! Dare I say, I prefer the latter option. Shots of speculoos cheesecake on tap? Err, yes please! Anyway, for the amazing topping/shots/snacks, read on.

2) Mix the cream cheese, vanilla, icing sugar and cookie butter until smooth – then mix in the double cream and whisk until it’s thick and holds itself completely. You may find this easier with an electric whisk.

3) Spread the mixture evenly over the biscuit base and chill in the fridge for at least 5-6 hours, but preferably overnight.

4) Remove from the tin and decorate how you like, Lissi sprinkled hers with crushed lotus biscuits, and grated white chocolate. Good shout.

5) Store in the fridge – will last 4 days in the fridge, covered… if your will power lasts that long.

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Cheese & Marmite Scones

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IMG_20150625_192835[1] 26/06/2015

This recipe makes 8 huge scones but I can’t get enough of them at the moment so only huge will do. I love cheese scones anyway but the Marmite in them makes for an extra tasty, flavourful bake. The Marmite is not too over-powering but blends with the cheese to create a gorgeous savoury scone.

The use of cream cheese in the spread means the scone stays moist and creamy throughout. No extra butter needed here, just a big appetite and a cuppa!

I think the key with this recipe is not to overwork the dough. Mix it until it has only just come together and lightly press and roll it to shape.

Ingredients:

  • 450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 tsp Marmite
  • 1 large egg
  • about 250ml milk
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 140g mature cheddar, grated, plus optional extra for topping
  • 100g full-fat cream cheese

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan and dust a baking tray with a little flour. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Put 1 tsp Marmite in a jug, add the egg and make up to 300ml with the milk. Stir in the oil then beat really well to dissolve the Marmite.
  2. Tip 85g of the cheddar into a bowl and mix with the cream cheese and remaining Marmite to make a spread. Toss the rest of the cheese through the flour mixture, then pour in the milk mixture and stir with the blade of a knife until it comes together. (You need to work quickly once you’ve added the liquid as it activates the baking powder.) Tip onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead the mix, taking care not to overwork it, as it will make the scones heavy.
  3. Lightly roll the dough into an oblong about 20 x 25cm. Spread with the Marmite mixture and roll up from the longest side to create a tight, fat cylinder. Pat the ends of the cylinder to straighten them then slice into 8 pinwheels and put on the baking tray, patting them to make flattish rounds. Top with more cheese if desired. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and cooked.
  4. Leave for a few moments on the tray to allow the cheese centre to harden a little then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Eat warm or cold. These are best eaten on the day they are made but freeze very well and are just as good defrosted and warmed through in the oven.

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