Posts Tagged With: jam

Autumn Bliss Cake

Autumn is here! Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness! I absolutely love this time of year: beautiful golden falling leaves, Halloween, fireworks, mulled cider, comforting soups and hot chocolate, warm spicy scents and a crisp chill in the morning air. The nights draw in and the cloying, sticky summer heat becomes a fading memory.

One of my favourite things to do at this time of year is to go scrumping in the fields near my house. As I mentioned in my previous post, I got a fantastic haul of blackberries this year which have been incorporated into endless culinary creations, but, for me, nothing says autumn quite like fallen apples fresh from the branch. I’ve used the ones I’ve collected for various bakes and desserts but this cake is by far my favourite. I think it’s a true celebration of the season, with the slightly sour apples marrying gorgeously with the sweetness of another autumnal kitchen staple, cinnamon, and topped off with some lovely golden brown walnuts and pecans.

Although there are a few steps to it, this recipe is very simple and the result is stunning. You could use bought jam in place of the spiced apple filling I made here to save time but making it yourself is so easy and really does taste like Autumn Bliss! Why not make up some extra and put it into jars to have as a tasty treat on your toast? Cinnamon granola would also work well on top of the cake if you don’t have any cinnamon biscuits.

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INGREDIENTS – makes 2 sponge layers of 8in/20cm diameter

For the cake:

  • 225g/8 oz self-raising flour
  • 115g/4 oz brown sugar
  • 90g/3 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 225g/8 oz butter/margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling/topping:

  • 4-5 (approx.) green apples, e.g. Granny Smith (or scrumped ones!)
  • 4 tbsp demerara/brown sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  •  100ml/3 fl oz apple juice (or apple cider if you want to add a boozy twist!)
  •  50ml/1.5 fl oz water
  • 5-7 (approx.) cinnamon biscuits
  • Handful of walnuts
  • Handful of pecans
  • Edible gold shimmer spray (optional but looks fab)

METHOD

For the cake:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two round baking tins with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the butter/margarine and sugars together in a large mixing bowl until pale, then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, cinnamon and vanilla extract until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins, then pop in the oven and bake for around 15-20 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponges comes out clean.
  5. When baked, transfer the cakes (still in the tins – don’t remove them until they’re cool!) onto a wire rack and get started on the jammy apple filling…

For the filling/topping:

  1. Peel and core the apples (and remove any brown, manky looking bits if you’re using scrumped ones), then chop them into small chunks no bigger than a 50p piece.
  2. Place the chunks in a large pan along with the water, apple juice, lemon juice, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and mixed spice and bring to the boil.
  3. Turn the heat down a little and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the apple pieces can be easily squished with a wooden spoon. If the mixture is too tart, add a bit more sugar to taste.
  4. Bring to the boil a second time, then turn down the heat as before and allow to simmer for a further 5-10 minutes, again stirring occasionally.
  5. Turn off the heat completely and allow to cool.
  6. Scoop out about two thirds of the mixture along with all of the visible apple chunks and spread it onto the top of one of the cooled sponges with a palette knife, then sandwich the second sponge on top. Scrape out the remaining smooth apple mixture and spread it onto the top layer.
  7. Crush the cinnamon biscuits with your hands until they resemble breadcrumbs, then sprinkle over the top of the cake. Add the nuts and finish off with a few spritzes of edible gold shimmer spray for a truly autumnal effect. Ta-dah!
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Categories: Layer Cakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tunnock’s Chocolate Teacake Cake

Originally posted 14/04/2015

Before Easter I was struck down with gastroentiritis and it was an utterly horrendous experience. Crippling stomach pains and the inability to eat anything but dry crackers and ginger nut biscuits for over a week meant I was fantasising about the day I could finally stuff my face with indulgent food again, and I swore I’d treat myself by making a big decadent cake when I was better.

Luckily, I recovered in time for the Easter weekend and decided to set myself the challenge of baking something chocolatey that didn’t involve Mini Eggs or Creme Eggs. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Mini Eggs and Creme Eggs but I thought it’d be fun to try something outside-the-box. The result was a creation inspired by one of my favourite treats, Tunnock’s chocolate teacakes, with their heavenly combination of fluffy marshmallow filling, strawberry jam, biscuit base and a crisp chocolate coating. The flavours and textures transfer really well into cake form and it was a lot of fun to make, especially the mountain of meringue frosting topped with a chocolate shell!

Freezing the marshmallow frosting for five minutes before pouring on the melted chocolate is a great tip I picked up from a recipe for hi-hat cupcakes and it really works! Make sure you don’t omit this step or you’ll end up with a runny, melty mess. As I mentioned in my Neapolitan Cake post, although beating egg white with icing sugar makes for a deliciously marshmallow-like frosting, it doesn’t last well and will begin to shrink after a couple of days. The cake will still be delicious but it won’t look as good!

INGREDIENTS – makes 2 sponge layers of 8in/20cm diameter

For the cake:

  • 225g/8 oz self-raising flour
  • 225g/8 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 225g/8 oz butter/margarine
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the frosting/filling/topping:
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp golden syrup
  • Half a tsp cream of tartar (optional but helps to stabilise the mixture)
  • 5 tbsp (approx.) strawberry jam
  • 100g/3.5 oz milk chocolate
  • 3-4 milk chocolate or plain digestive biscuits

METHOD

For the cake:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two round baking tins with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the butter/margarine and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder and vanilla extract until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins then pop in the oven and bake for around 15-20 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponges comes out clean.
  5. When baked, leave the cakes to cool on a wire rack before turning them out of the tins. At this stage the sponges can be frozen for decorating at a later date if you wish.
For the frosting, filling & topping:
  1. Spread the strawberry jam generously across the top of one of the cooled sponges.
  2. Separate the egg whites into a clean bowl and whisk with the vanilla extract, golden syrup and cream of tartar, while adding the icing sugar a few teaspoons at a time, until stiff peaks form – you should ideally do this for a minimum of 7-10 minutes.
  3. Spread about a third of the frosting on top of the jam-covered sponge using a palette knife then sandwich the other sponge on top.
  4. Spread the rest of the frosting on top of the cake to form a mountain – pile it up as high as possible – then place in the freezer for about 5 minutes until it’s fairly firm.
  5. While the cake is in the freezer, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt over a pan of hot water or in the microwave in blasts of 30 seconds until smooth.
  6. Remove the cake from the freezer and immediately pour the melted chocolate over the top of the frosting mountain so that it drizzles down the sides.
  7. Crush the digestive biscuits into chunks by hand and place on top of the chocolate covering then leave to set before serving. This cake is best stored in the fridge.
Categories: Chocolate, Layer Cakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coconut Ice Cakes

Originally posted 26/05/2014

I should probably begin this post by admitting that I’m not really the biggest fan of coconut, or sweeties in general. However, for some bizarre reason, I’m a huge fan of the colourful sugary treat known as coconut ice. I’ve been craving this by the bucketful the last few weeks and so, out of curiosity, had a Google to see whether anyone had had the stroke of genius to incorporate it into a cake recipe. Shockingly enough, turns out no one had. Naturally, I had to try and resolve this so I donned my experimental chef’s hat and hit the kitchen armed with desiccated coconut, red food colouring and crossed fingers. I’m pleased to say the result was fantastic – simply adding desiccated coconut to regular buttercream icing really does make it taste very reminiscent of the sweet itself – and it went down a storm with my colleagues 🙂 For an extra homemade touch, you could make the actual coconut ice yourself (it’s very easy – mostly just desiccated coconut and condensed milk) but, if I’m brutally honest, *whispers* I prefer the bought stuff. On that bombshell, here’s my recipe…

Aren’t they pretty??

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 12 large squares

For the cakes:

  • 340g/12 oz self-raising flour
  • 340g/12 oz butter/margarine
  • 340g/12 oz granulated/caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 55g/2 oz strawberry milkshake powder
  • 1 tsp strawberry extract
  • Few drops of red food colouring
For the coconut icing/jam filling:
  • 115g/4 oz icing sugar
  • 55g/2 oz butter (unsalted if preferred)
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Few drops of red food colouring
  • 4-5 tbsp strawberry jam
  • 12 small cubes of coconut ice (or 6 large chunks cut in half)
METHOD
For the cakes:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two identical rectangular cake tins with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the margarine/butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour until a batter of soft dropping consistency has formed then place half of the mixture into a separate bowl.
  4. Add the vanilla extract to one bowl and set aside.
  5. Add the strawberry milkshake powder and strawberry extract to the other bowl then stir in the red food colouring a drop at a time until the mixture turns a pale pink colour.
  6. Pour each bowl of cake batter into the two separate tins and bake for about 15-18 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponges comes out clean.
  7. When baked, place the cakes on a wire rack and leave to cool. At this stage they can be frozen for decorating at a later stage if you wish.

For the coconut icing & jam filling:

  1. Spread the strawberry jam onto the top of the pink sponge and carefully place the yellow sponge on top (you may wish to trim the tops to make them nice and flat so they sandwich together more easily).
  2. Place the butter and vanilla extract into a bowl and whisk while gradually adding the icing sugar until a thick, fluffy mixture has formed.
  3. Stir in the desiccated coconut and red food colouring until the icing turns your desired shade of pink.
  4. Spread the icing over the top of the cake in an even layer then neatly trim off the outer edges of the cake to get the full effect of the lovely coloured sponge layers (but don’t throw away the offcuts, they’re still yummy!)
  5. Cut into 12 even squares then top each one with a piece of coconut ice.
Categories: Layer Cakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Custard Creams & Strawberry Milkshake Creams

Originally posted 20/10/2013

Although I try, as a rule I’m not one for aesthetic neatness and elegance when baking. Despite numerous attempts, my piping is never up to scratch and my cookies are always sloppy and uneven (in fact, this is the primary reason I have still not yet plucked up the courage to have a go at posh French macarons despite having bought a packet of ground almonds for this purpose over a month ago). But I impressed myself with these lovely little biscuits which were a bit of a labour of love. The secret of their prettiness is that the dough barely puffs up at all during baking which means the biscuits keep their beautiful even shape.

Although it took me a while to lovingly craft each button using a round scone cutter, a tiny espresso cup and a straw, these colourful treats certainly aren’t complicated to make. And they were certainly worth the extra time as they received an abundance of compliments on both taste and appearance – in fact, Edd Kimber himself (whose recipe I used for the custard creams) saw them on Twitter and said they were fantastic! Praise indeed 🙂

The pink strawberry milkshake creams were an original invention of mine – I simply followed the same recipe as I did for the custard creams but substituted the custard powder and vanilla extract for strawberry milkshake powder and strawberry extract respectively. The result was utterly delicious and I will definitely be making them again!

If you don’t have the time or patience to make buttons, just use your favourite cookie cutters like I did for the mini stars and hearts below. To make a Bourbon cream-esque variation, you could substitute the custard/strawberry milkshake powder for chocolate milkshake powder or cocoa.

The yellow custard creams were made using Edd Kimber’s fab recipe which can be found here – http://theboywhobakes.co.uk/2011/06/custard-creams/ – so I’m just going to post the recipe for my strawberry milkshake cream version.

Strawberry Milkshake Creams

INGREDIENTS – yield depends on the size and shape of cookie cutter used but the below quantities resulted in the number of pink biscuits seen in the photo above

For the biscuits:

  • 225g/8 oz plain flour
  • 50g/2 oz icing sugar
  • 50g/2 oz strawberry milkshake powder (I used Hello Kitty brand but any will do!)
  • 180g/6 oz margarine/butter
  • 1 tsp strawberry extract
  • Splash of red food colouring+ cookies cutters of your choice or a round cutter, an espresso cup & a plastic straw if you want to make buttons like in the photo

For the filling:

  • 100g/3.5 oz icing sugar
  • 25g/1 oz butter (unsalted if preferred)
  • 1.5 tbsp strawberry milkshake powder
  • Splash of milk
  • 0.5 tsp strawberry extract
  • Drop of red food colouring

METHOD

For the biscuits:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two large rectangular baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Place the flour, icing sugar and strawberry milkshake powder into a large mixing bowl then add the margarine/butter and strawberry extract.
  3. Rub the fat into the dry ingredients so that crumbs form and then squish together into a large ball of dough. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour. If it’s too dry and crumbly, add a little milk.
  4. Add the red food colouring, a tiny splash at a time, and knead the dough in the bowl until it turns your desired shade of pink.
  5. Take the dough out of the bowl, wrap tightly in clingfilm and leave in the fridge to chill for about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle flour over your work surface to prevent sticking then roll the dough out until it’s roughly 1cm in thickness (remember you’ll be sandwiching them together two at a time so you don’t want them too thick or they won’t be pleasant to eat unless you have an extremely massive gob!)
  7. Cut out as many circles as possible using the round cookie cutter and stamp each circle with the espresso cup, firmly enough that it makes a definite indent but not so hard that it cuts through the dough. Then use the end of a plastic straw to stamp out four tiny circles in the middle of each biscuit to make a button, transferring each one onto the baking trays as you go.
  8. Squish all the off-cuts together then re-roll the dough and repeat the process. If you’re lazy like me, cut out other small simple shapes such as hearts or stars once you’ve made 20 buttons.
  9. Pop in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottoms have started to colour very slightly at the edges, then transfer onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

For the filling:

  1. Place the butter and strawberry extract into a bowl then add the icing sugar and strawberry milkshake powder gradually while stirring/whisking. Add a splash of milk and continue to stir/whisk until a smooth, spreadable mixture has formed.
  2. Add the red food colouring a tiny drop at a time and stir until the mixture turns your desired shade of pink (you’ll only need a very tiny bit).
  3. Spread a small blob of the icing onto the back of one of the pink biscuits using a palette knife then sandwich together with another biscuit of the same shape and repeat until they’ve all been paired up.

Edit: I also used Edd’s custard cream recipe to make these cute jammy heart biscuits – just make imprints in the dough with your thumb then fill with raspberry or strawberry jam 🙂

And I also used the button cutting technique on pink fondant icing to make cupcake toppers for my friend’s baby shower!

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Categories: Biscuits/Cookies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Plimmsberry Cupcakes

Originally posted 28/07/2013

I’ve been on a bit of a baking hiatus recently due to the horrendously sweltering weather and so I’ve been indulging my cravings for homemade goodies by whipping up simple no-cook rocky road and cheesecake, but I realised I forgot to post the recipe for these lovely summery and quintessentially British cupcakes I made back when Wimbledon fever was abound here in the UK and I could still switch on the oven without melting.

The Pimms jam filling was an impulse invention of mine that turned out deliciously, but I don’t think I’ll be trying this technique for meringue icing again a hurry. Although it was light and tasty and significantly lower in fat than standard buttercream frosting, it was a bit of a fiddly faff-fest to make, and after being piped onto the cakes it shrunk within a few hours. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you don’t frost the cakes until just before you serve them! I also ended up with an obscene amount left over; the recipe I originally used said it was just enough for 12 cupcakes but I’ve reduced the quantities below to a (hopefully) a more accurate estimate, although obviously it depends how much of the icing you want to top each cake with. I think if I made these cupcakes again I’d perhaps top them with freshly whipped cream instead as it’d be less of a hassle but would go very nicely with the jammy centres.

I have to confess that the redcurrants out of the garden were far too sharp to be edible and were for decorative purposes only but I thought they made a rather spiffy finishing touch skewered on the wee cocktail sticks. Cheers!

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 10-12

For the cakes:

  • 115g/4 oz self-raising flour
  • 115g/4 oz caster/granulated sugar
  • 115g/4 oz margarine/butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

For the jammy ‘Plimmsberry’ filling:

  • 6 tsp (approx.) strawberry jam
  • 6 tsp (approx.) plum jam
  • 20 ml (approx.) Pimms

For the icing:

  • 1 or 2 egg whites (depending on how much icing you want to cover the cakes in)
  • 2 or 4 oz/55g or 115g caster/granulated sugar
  • 1/2 or 1 tsp vanilla extract

+ 12 cocktail sticks + 24 redcurrants (optional)

METHOD

For the cakes:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a baking tray with 12 paper cases.
  2. Whisk the margarine/butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale then whisk in the eggs.
  3. Fold in the flour, baking powder and vanilla extract until a batter of a soft dropping consistency has formed.
  4. Drop the mixture into the cake cases using a teaspoon until they’re each about three quarters full.
  5. Pop in the oven and bake at 180 degrees C for about 12-15 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
  6. When baked, place on a wire rack and leave to cool. At this stage the cakes can be frozen for decorating at a later date if you wish.

For the filling & icing:

  1. Roughly mix the two types of jam and the Pimms together in a small bowl.
  2. Using a teaspoon or small sharp knife, carefully cut a small hole (about 2cm deep by 2cm wide) in the top of each cupcake. Don’t discard the bits you’ve cut out!
  3. Drop about a teaspoon of the ‘Plimmsberry’ jam into each hole and then gently push the sponge part that was cut out back into each one.
  4. To create the meringue icing just before serving, separate the whites of 1 or 2 eggs into a heatproof bowl which can sit over the top of a saucepan of hot water without touching the water, and put the yolks to one side (these can be used to make choc mousse or eggy bread or something later!)
  5. Boil the kettle and fill the saucepan with a small volume of water and leave to cool slightly on the hob (don’t turn it on yet!) while beginning to whisk the egg whites on a high speed until they begin to stiffen and form peaks – this should be done for a minimum of 3 minutes.
  6. Switch the hob onto a LOW heat and place the bowl of egg whites onto the saucepan, ensuring that the hot water does not touch the bottom and that the water does not boil, then begin whisking on high speed again while gradually adding the sugar and vanilla extract.
  7. Continue to whisk thoroughly until all the sugar has dissolved – this will take at least 5 minutes or so. If, like me, you don’t own a fancy sugar thermometer, you can test to see if the sugar’s dissolved by pinching a small amount of the mixture between your fingers – if it feels gritty it needs further whisking. At this point the mixture may turn flat and runny but don’t panic, just keep on whisking and it will thicken again.
  8. Once all the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites have formed stiff, glossy peaks, switch the hob off and transfer the meringue into a piping bag with the nozzle of your choice (I used a star attachment) then pipe swirls onto each cake.
  9. Spear two of the redcurrants onto each cocktail stick then insert into the cakes if you wish.

Remember, the icing doesn’t keep well so make sure you scoff right away 🙂

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