Blood orange olive oil cake

This cake is quick, easy and super delicious! It’s made with olive oil and yoghurt – no creaming butter and sugar! Blood oranges are beautiful in this cake but normal oranges can easily be substituted.

Even though the blood orange season is just about over, I just couldn’t resist sharing this recipe with you.

I’ve always been a big fan of oranges, but blood oranges are really special. Nothing quite compares to slicing one open to reveal the beautiful crimson flesh. They provide a much needed burst of vibrant colour during those dark, drab Winter months.

This is a really useful cake recipe to have up your sleeve. It’s nice and quick to put together – no need to get your mixer out! A whisk and a rubber spatula is all you need.

If you use a gentle hand to fold in the olive oil, you’ll be rewarded with a beautifully light cake.

Blood orange olive oil cake

200g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

230g caster sugar

Grated zest of one blood orange

125ml plain yoghurt

3 large eggs

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

125ml olive oil (not extra virgin)

Preheat the oven to 180C/160Fan/350F.

Butter and line a 900g loaf tin.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside for a moment.

Place the sugar and orange zest in a medium sized bowl. Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is very aromatic. This is the best way of achieving maximum citrus flavour in your baking!

Stir the yoghurt, eggs and vanilla into the zesty sugar. Whisk until everything is well blended. Whisk in the flour mixture, then using a rubber spatula, fold in the oil. The batter should be thick, smooth and a little shiny. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden and risen. A skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cook for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

For the icing:

75g icing sugar

Juice of one half of the zested orange

Simply mix the icing sugar and juice together until smooth. Drizzle over the cake and decorate with blood orange slices.

Pin the recipe for later!

I’m sharing this recipe with:

#CookBlogShare hosted by Easy Peasy Foodie

Recipe of the week at A Mummy Too

Link up your recipe of the week

Baking Crumbs hosted by Only Crumbs Remain

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Cadbury creme egg cupcakes

I’ve updated my creme egg cupcake recipe for you all…just in time for Easter weekend! Don’t go saying I ain’t good to ya all now…😉

I first posted a creme egg cupcake recipe back in 2012 – it was actually my very first post! Have I really been blogging that long?? 😳 As good as those ones are, I actually prefer the updated recipe I’m sharing with you today. If you look back on the old post, I hope you’ll agree that my photography has improved a little! I was so tempted to delete it, but I thought I would leave it there to serve as a reminder of how much I’ve learned and will continue to learn about blogging!

So what about these cupcakes?

Well, the cupcake recipe is a rich Devil’s chocolate sponge which is complemented perfectly by a simple vanilla buttercream. Each cupcake has a surprise inside – a whole mini Creme egg!

There are quite a few changes to the new recipe – the cupcake recipe itself is different, I’ve done away with the yellow fondant which I now feel is too sickly sweet against the richness of the chocolate cake, and this time I didn’t bake the creme eggs in the cupcakes, placing them in the cakes after they were baked instead. You can absolutely choose to bake them inside the cakes if you prefer, but if you do I would recommend you freeze your creme eggs first.

And if you aren’t a coffee fan, fear not. These cupcakes will NOT taste of coffee! The coffee merely enhances the chocolate flavour. But you can leave it out if you really want too.

I love these cupcakes – they cheer me up just looking at them!

Cadbury Creme egg cupcakes

Makes 12

40g cocoa powder

1/2 tsp coffee granules

180ml boiling water

130g plain flour

3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp salt

85g butter, soft

150g soft light brown sugar

1 large egg And one large egg yolk, beaten

1tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180C/160Fan/350F. Line a 12 hole cupcake pan with liners.

Place the cocoa powder and coffee in a medium bowl. Pour over the boiling water and whisk until smooth.

Place the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a small bowl and stir together. Place the butter in a large bowl, add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is very light and fluffy. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and beat until the mixture is smooth. Add the cocoa mixture and mix until smooth. Using a metal spoon, fold in the flour. The mixture will be pretty runny so don’t be alarmed. Pour this chocolate batter evenly into the liners (I pour the batter into a large jug – it’s much easier with runny mixtures) I pour 60ml of batter into each one. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the cakes are risen and they spring back when lightly pressed. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and leave to cool.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the buttercream.

Vanilla buttercream

300g icing sugar

150g soft unsalted butter

1/2 vanilla extract

One tablespoon milk

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and icing sugar together on high speed for several minutes until very light and airy. Beat in the vanilla extract and milk and continue to beat for a few minutes until very smooth and aerated.

Divide the buttercream equally between two bowls. Place yellow or orange (for the “yolk”) food gel colouring in one half and stir well to mix. I used Wilton golden yellow. Place the buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle – one colour on either side – and start piping onto a plate until the colours have swirled together. You’re now ready to decorate your cupcakes!

Take your cooled cupcakes and using an apple corer or cupcake tool, remove a piece of cake from the middle of each cupcake. Then insert a whole mini creme egg inside. I’ll leave it entirely in your hands what you do with the cake you just removed – if you don’t want to eat it all like I did and clearly have more willpower than me, you can always keep it for making cake truffles! 😉

Decorate your cupcakes with the buttercream and top each one with a halved Creme egg, letting the yolk spill out for an “EAT ME NOW” effect!

I really hope you love them! If you give these cupcakes a try this Easter weekend, let me know by leaving a comment!

Wishing you a very Happy Easter!

Only Crumbs Remain

Casa Costello

Giant Chocolate chunk cookie cake with Galaxy golden eggs

A giant vanilla cookie cake filled with milk chocolate chunks and Galaxy golden eggs!

I seem to be on some kind of Easter baking craze. Am I going to stop any time in the next week? Probably not!

I blame all the Easter sweets that are in every shop right now. Most of make brilliant cake decorations – I mean, how cute are malteser bunnies? They are just perfect for decorating cakes, cookies, traybakes and much more.

My new favourite Easter chocolate is the Galaxy golden eggs – not only do they look stunning, they taste amazing!

I first made a giant chocolate mini egg cookie cake two years ago. I had every intention of posting the recipe, but that kind of went on the backburner. So this recipe has been a pretty long time coming!

As much as I love the mini egg version of the giant cookie cake, I really wanted to try a Galaxy egg version and I was not disappointed!

The cookie is crispy around the edges and soft in the middle. The golden eggs melt into the cookie slightly and the chocolate goes deliciously gooey. So so good.

I had some chocolate buttercream in the freezer leftover from my son’s Birthday cake, so I used it to decorate the cookie. I thought it finished it off quite nicely!

If you try this recipe, share a picture on my Facebook or Instagram! Tag me #somethingsweetsomethingsavoury

Giant chocolate chunk cookie cake with Galaxy golden eggs

180g soft butter

200g soft light brown sugar

One egg and one egg yolk, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

250g self raising flour

2 tsp cornflour

2. tsp baking powder

100g Bar milk chocolate, chopped into chunks

One packet Galaxy golden eggs (you can use mini eggs if you prefer)

Preheat the oven to 200C/180fan/gas mark 6. Grease and base line a 22 or 23cm cake tin.

Cream the butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl until very soft and light. Beat in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla until smooth.

Combine the flour, cornflour and baking powder together and fold into the butter mixture. You should have a fairly thick cookie dough. Add the chocolate chunks.

Spoon the cookie dough into the tin, smooth the top and place the golden eggs on the top, pressing them down slightly. Place the tin on a baking tray and bake for about 25 minutes or until the edges are set and the cookie cake is a light golden brown. It will still be pretty soft in the middle, but will firm up a little on cooling.

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Casa Costello

Pink grapefruit drizzle cake

Pink grapefruit drizzle cake – the perfect balance between sharp and sweet!

https://somethingsweetsomethingsavoury.com/2018/02/11/sticky-toffee-pudding-pancakes/amp//#recipejump

The dreaded lurgy came into our lives last week.

We have all been affected in one way or another, but for some reason it has attached itself to me and will not let go. The sniffly cold I’ve had since New Year seemed to turn into a God awful flu like virus which left me unable to move from my bed for 3 days. Luckily I’m on holiday this week, so I have the option of hibernating from the outside world. I’ve not done that much apart from drinking lots of honey lemon and ginger tea, reading (by which I mean questionable hours scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest) and cuddling my little boy. He’s had a snuffly cold for weeks now, poor baby. I’m really starting to tire of Winter now. I never thought I’d say that. I usually embrace the Winter months – I’ve never really been a Summer person – but this one seems to have gone on forever.

Maybe my subconscious need for a little sunshine was the reason behind my decision to bake with citrus. I usually reach for lemons or oranges, but when I was out shopping a couple of weeks ago I spotted some pretty pink grapefruits. 50p for 4. At that bargain price, I couldn’t resist them.

I was dreaming of either a pink grapefruit curd filled, fluffy meringue topped tart or a zesty, syrup drenched drizzle cake. The drizzle won this time only because it was the easier option. But that tart is so on my bake list…

Back to the drizzle though. This cake is delicious. Light, fluffy and sticky with syrup. A little semolina lightens up the texture a little and brings a slight yellow sunshine colour. It’s a nice addition but by no means essential, so if you don’t have any semolina in your cupboard you could just add another 50g of flour.

It’s crucial that the syrup is cool when your pour it over the cake. If it’s hot, it will pour right through your cake and make it soggy. Not a huge disaster, but you won’t get that gorgeous sticky, sugary top that is so desirable.

pink grapefruit drizzle cake

You will need a 20cm round springform cake tin

200g caster sugar

Finely grated zest of 2 pink grapefruits

200g soft butter

4 medium eggs, beaten

150g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g fine semolina

For the syrup:

80g granulated sugar

Juice of one pink grapefruit

Preheat the oven to 180C/160F. Grease and line the base of your tin with parchment.

Place the sugar and grapefruit zest in a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is damp and fragrant from the zest oils. Add the butter and cream the mixture until very light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Sieve the flour, baking powder and fine semolina together and fold into the mixture. Pour into your tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the cake is golden and springs back when the top is lightly pressed.* A skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack with a plate underneath to catch any drips.

*While the cake is in the oven you need to make the syrup. The syrup should be cold when you pour it over the warm cake. Place the granulated sugar and grapefruit juice in a small pan and heat gently. Let it bubble gently for a few minutes until it reduces slightly and looks syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside for now.

When the cake has been out of the oven for about 10 minutes, it’s time to pour the syrup over. Using a skewer or piece of spaghetti, poke holes all over the surface of the cake. Then evenly pour the syrup over the top, letting the cake absorb all that sticky sweetness.

For the glaze, I simply mixed icing sugar and pink grapefruit juice together until I had a runny icing that coats the back of a spoon. Pour over the top of the cake and using a spoon, gently coax it over the sides.

You could of course omit the glaze and serve the cake as it is. I got a little fancy here and decorated it with a dusting of icing sugar and candied grapefruit slices. Absolutely non-essential, but pretty to look at.

I shared this cake with #CookBlogShare, the weekly link party for bloggers hosted this week by everyday healthy recipes

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Recipe of the week, hosted by Emily A Mummy too

Bake of the week, hosted by Helen of Casa Costello and Jenny of Mummy mishaps

Monthly Loves

Hi! I thought I would try a new feature. I’ve been thinking it would be kind of cool to do a monthly blog post where I tell you about:

cookery book recipes I’ve made and loved

Blogs I’m loving right now

Books I’m reading

Stuff I’ve discovered online

Basically if I love it, I tell you about it!

It will also be a good way to show you what I’ve made and posted on my Instagram feed but doesn’t make it over here.

So without further ado, here we go! My first monthly loves post 🙂

I’ve discovered this brilliant online cookalong community over on Instagram called #rainydaybitescookbookclub, hosted by Deborah Balint. Every month a different book is chosen to cook from and in January the chosen cookbook was Bringing it home by Gail Simmons. I’d never heard of Gail but apparently she’s a very respected judge on a show called Top Chef in America. During late January/early February, I would scroll through my Instagram feed and all I could see was stunning photos of the most amazing looking dishes from the rainy day cookbook club. I just had to cook something from the book, despite the fact that I didn’t own it! After a quick Google search I decided on a couple of recipes. Here’s what I made…..

Spaghetti pie. Oh my God. This pie was amazing! It has three different types of cheeses. Need I say more?? It takes a little while to put it all together, but it’s actually much easier than I thought it would be. I couldn’t find Italian sausages, so I just ended up using some the Heck pork sausages and added fennel seeds, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika and oregano. This was loved by everyone in my house and I can’t wait to make it again. Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it for yourself!

I also made Gail’s upside down banana cardamom cake with salty caramel. This was gorgeous – it looked quite glam compared to the banana loaf cakes I’m used to making! You can find the recipe here if you fancy trying it. I highly recommend drowning a slice in cream!

I’m currently obsessed with these spicy cabbage peanut noodles from Cate in the kitchen. Last week I made them for my lunch for four days straight. Which is something I never do! Very addictive.

A couple of weeks ago my oven suddenly stopped working. Major panic stations! But luckily it only needed a new element. Mr T swiftly ordered a new element online, but was without a working oven for 3 days. This was when stovetop granola happened! I’ll definitely be sharing the recipe for this soon – it just needs a little tweaking first before I publish it! If you love granola as much as I do, you’ll go crazy for it. I want to experiment with a chocolate one soon so if it goes well, you’ll see it here!

By the way, the fruit compote in the granola picture above is a recipe from the Mountain cafe cookbook. I’ve been using this book a lot and it’s become one of my go to cookery books.

I met the author of the book/owner of the Mountain cafe (in Aviemore) back in December when they were doing a book signing in Waterstones. Just look at the array of goodies they brought with them!

Kirsten was very friendly and cool. It was so nice to meet her in person – she is definitely one of my food heroes.

Last weekend I discovered if you halve Nigella Lawson’s sticky toffee pudding recipe you have just enough mixture for four little puddings. I used individual pudding moulds I found in Sainsbury’s, but I’m sure you could use ramekins as well. The puddings took just under 25 minutes to bake.

So that’s my first monthly loves post – please let me know what you think and if you’d like to see it as a regular feature!

Gooey chocolate raspberry brownie cake

If you’re looking for a low effort, easy dessert for Valentine’s Day then I have just the thing.

It’s a very gooey chocolate brownie cake stuffed with fresh raspberries.

The top of the cake has a slightly crisp, cracked top and when you delve a spoon underneath you find a rich, gooey chocolate goo inside. This is not a chocolate sponge. It’s like the gooiest brownie you’ve ever had. When you crack through the shiny top with a spoon, you would be forgiven for thinking it’s raw. It’s not. Just like those gorgeous molten chocolate cakes, it’s supposed to be that way. It’s glorious.

It’s just perfect for sharing straight out of the baking tin. Don’t make extra dishes for yourself!

I thought it would only be right to bake it in my very underused heart tin , but you can use an 18cm or a 20cm cake tin if you don’t own a ridiculous amount of novelty cake tins.

Bake this and share it with the one(s) you love! ❤️

Gooey chocolate brownie raspberry cake

100g butter

200g dark chocolate , chopped into small pieces

2 medium eggs

140g Caster Sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

85g Plain flour

1/2 tsp instant espresso powder

50g fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 180C/160F.

Grease an 18cm cake tin

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Once melted and smooth, remove from the heat and set aside for a few minutes. Whisk the eggs and sugar together well and pour into the chocolate mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract, flour and espresso powder until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Pour into the tin and scatter the raspberries on top in a random fashion. Lightly press the raspberries into the batter, taking care not to crush them. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the top and sides look set. The middle should wobble slightly. If you want it a little less gooey, I would go for the 30 minutes. Leave to cool for about 15-20 minutes before diving in!

This melting chocolate brownie cake is really, really good with ice cream – and if you happen to have any leftover, I highly recommend you pop it in the fridge for the next day. It has an amazing fudgy texture when chilled. It’s so good with double cream when cold – a really indulgent treat!

Hijacked By Twins

I’m linking this recipe to #CookBlogShare, the weekly blogging link up hosted by Hijacked by twins.

Dundee Cake

This Scottish cake is a true classic that has stood the test of time!

As the story goes, the Dundee cake was created in the late 1700s by the Dundee based company Keiller, as a sideline to their very successful marmalade making business. The original recipe contained only sultanas and naturally, lots of orange peel.

I’m not a big fan of peel but I love citrus, so my version of this timeless fruit cake has orange and lemon zest, plus a few spoonfuls of orange marmalade.

The original recipe didn’t include cherries, but I just love them in fruit cake so I include them. If you would rather stick to tradition, just omit them and add another 50g sultanas.

Dundee cake isn’t as rich as a Christmas fruit cake – think buttery, light sponge studded with juicy, whisky soaked dried fruits and topped with crunchy almonds. No wonder it’s still going strong – it’s a fabulous cake.

Dundee Cake

You will need:

Deep 20cm round cake tin, buttered and the bottom and sides lined with baking paper

For soaking the fruits: (optional)

75ml whisky or orange juice

175g sultanas

175g raisins

50g cherries, rinsed and halved

Place the dried fruit in a medium sized bowl and pour over the whisky or orange juice. Cover and leave to soak for a couple of hours.

150g soft butter

150g caster sugar

3 large eggs

250g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Zest of one lemon

Zest of one orange

3 tbsp orange marmalade

50g ground almonds

50g whole blanched almonds

Preheat the oven to 180C/150C fan.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time and beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour and baking powder and fold into the creamed mixture. Fold in the soaked dried fruits, lemon and orange zest, orange marmalade and ground almonds. Pour the mixture into your lined cake tin and decorate the top with the blanched almonds.

Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes2 hours (start checking the cake after 1 hour 30 – mine was ready after 1 hour 40) or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

Fruity bran loaf

My first recipe of 2018 is a good old fashioned fruit bran loaf. If I’m totally honest, it’s the kind of thing I would have turned my nose up at as a teenager in favour of a massive piece of chocolate cake, but now I just adore a piece of squidgy fruit loaf with my cup of tea. Maybe it’s to do with the fact that we have more discerning tastes when we get older? Who knows? Who cares?

These days I just love cake in any form.

This is one of the easiest cakes you can make – you measure out all the ingredients in a teacup. Not an American cup measurement. A normal cup is fine. You don’t need to get your scales out for this recipe. Just remember – the bigger the cup, the bigger the loaf which in turn, may affect the baking time. I actually used a small mug to measure my ingredients, but it’s swings and roundabouts really.

This fruity loaf keeps well for a good few days – I’m not sure if it keeps any longer than that because mine never lasts that long! I love to eat it generously spread with butter.

Fruity bran loaf

1 cup sugar (white or brown)

1 cup mixed dried fruit – I usually use whatever I’ve got in the cupboard – raisins, sultanas, cranberries, chopped apricots and cherries are all good here

1 cup milk

1 cup bran flakes

1 cup self raising flour

Pour the sugar, dried fruit, milk and bran flakes into a large mixing bowl and stir well. Cover the bowl and leave for one hour.

When one hour has passed, preheat the oven to 180C fan 160C/gas mark 4 and lightly butter a 900g/2lb loaf tin. Sift the flour into the fruity mixture and mix gently, taking care not to overmix. Pour the mixture into the lined loaf tin and bake for 50-60 mins or until a sharp knife or skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.

If you give this recipe a go, please let me know what you think! Leave a comment in the box below x

I shared this post with the link up recipe of the week at A Mummy too

Amaretto fruit cake

We are fast approaching the time of year when I begin to get ridiculously excited. I love Christmas!

I just can’t imagine Christmas without a fruit cake – if I’m totally honest one of my main reasons for making one is to fill the house with the amazing, festive smell while the cake is in the oven! I usually make elaborate plans to ice and decorate the cake, but in reality I’m never usually organised enough to actually do it. If you’re short of time, a fruit and nut topping is easy and looks so pretty.

This simmer and stir method means it isn’t totally necessary to make the cake weeks before Christmas and feed it – but you can if you want to.

It’s definitely worth taking the time to line your cake tin correctly to protect the cake during its long baking time.

Grease a deep, loose bottomed 23cm round cake tin and line the base and sides with non stick baking paper. Cut out a circle of baking paper, using the base of your tin as a template. To line the sides, cut a strip of baking paper a little longer than the circumference of the tin and about 3 inches higher. Fold it 1 inch along its length, then using scissors make little snips up to the fold line, making a fringe along the length. It should now fit snugly inside the cake tin. Finally, fit your circle over the top, covering the fringe.

Amaretto fruit cake

200g dried figs, chopped
300g sultanas
350g raisins
200g glace cherries, rinsed, dried and halved
50g crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)
125ml Amaretto, plus extra for soaking the cake
300g butter
250g dark brown sugar
Zest and juice of 1 large Orange
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons treacle
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
5 medium eggs
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
30g flaked almonds

FOR THE FRUIT AND NUT TOPPING: (OPTIONAL)

3-4 tablespoons apricot jam
250g mixed fruit and nuts such as apricots, glace cherries, cranberries, crystallized ginger, Brazil nuts, pecans, pistachios

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2.

Place the dried fruits in a large saucepan with the Amaretto, butter, sugar, Orange zest and juice, lemon zest, treacle, cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg. Gently bring to a simmer, stirring, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes. I’ve often done this in advance and left it overnight. When you’re ready to bake the cake, pour the soaked fruit mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, then stir in the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and flaked almonds. Stir until everything is well combined. Pour into the lined tin and bake for 2 1/2 – 3 hours or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin. When the cake is cold, poke a few holes in the cake, drizzle with a little Amaretto, then wrap in baking paper and store in an airtight container.

If you’re decorating the cake with the fruit and nut topping, warm the apricot jam in a small pan over a low heat. If there are any lumps of fruit, strain through a sieve.
Brush the top of the cake with some jam, then stick the fruit and nuts onto the cake. Carefully brush the fruit and nuts with the remaining jam to add a lovely shine.

Homemade Jaffa Cakes

I’ve not been feeling up to spending much time in the kitchen lately, but after watching the return of The Great British Bake off I was inspired to try the technical challenge – jaffa cakes. Plus the fact that there has been a serious lack of cake in the house for a while – so I needed to do something about it!

I ended up using a recipe from The boy who bakes for the sponge bases – I’ve made Mary Berry’s before and although I had no problems with them, I wanted to try a different recipe this time for comparison. Edd’s genoise sponge contains eggs and a small amount of butter, so it is somewhat richer and slightly denser than Mary’s fatless sponge but I do prefer it. But no offense to Mary, I still love her!

You’ll find Edd’s recipe for blood orange jaffa cakes right here. I’ve bookmarked it and I’ll be giving it a try in late January/early February when blood oranges come into season. 

Jaffa Cakes

Makes 12

1 135g packet orange jelly

150ml water

Place the jelly cubes in a heatproof bowl and pour in 150ml boiling water. Stir until the jelly cubes have thoroughly melted. Pour into a shallow dish measuring 30cm x 20cm and place in the fridge for an hour or two or until competely firm.

For the sponges

1 large egg

30g caster sugar

30g self raising flour

15g (1 tablespoon) butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 180C and thoroughly grease a 12 hole muffin tin (or use cake release spray)

Place the egg and sugar into a medium bowl and using an electric mixer whisk together for 5 minutes or until the mixture is pale and thick. Sieve the flour over the egg mixture and carefully fold in. Pour in the butter and carefully fold in, taking care not to beat to much air out of the mixture by overmixing. Place about 1 tbsp of batter into each muffin tin base and bake for 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. Leave in the tins for a few minutes before turning out (you may need to carefully coax a few out using a butter knife, they can stick a little). Place on a wire rack to cool completely. 

Remove the jelly from the fridge and using a 2cm round cutter (I couldn’t find a cutter small enough so I used an icing nozzle) cut out 12 little rounds of jelly and place in the middle of each sponge.  

For the topping, place 150g dark chocolate over a pan of simmering water and leave until melted. Watch the chocolate doesn’t get too hot or it will melt the jelly. Using a spoon, spread the chocolate over the top of the jelly centres, gently spreading it over to the edges of the cakes. Leave to set. 

Are you baking along with GBBO this year? I posted these jaffa cakes on Twitter for #gbbotwitterbakealong – if you fancy joining in (there are some great prizes to be won!) head on over to Twitter and search for the hashtag to find out more ☺

Malted Fruit and banana Loaf

The past couple of weeks have been a bit fraught. I ended up going to hospital not once, but four times due to a few complications (baby and I are fine thankfully  – they are just keeping a close eye on me because I lost my first baby very late in pregnancy) and I had to stay in for a couple of days last week as a precaution. I have to say though, the staff at the hospital are absolutely amazing and I can’t praise them enough. They did a fantastic job of calming my nerves and comforting me when I was taken through via an ambulance last Tuesday night. Honestly, where would we be without our NHS? I actually dread to think…

So needless to say, things have been pretty quiet on the cooking/baking front. The housework is being severely neglected. I’m sure my ironing pile contains clothes that we’d forgotten we owned we haven’t seen them in that long, and I just have piles of stuff.

Everywhere. Boys are so messy!

But I’ve been told to rest as much as I can, so I’m trying my hardest to turn a blind eye. To be fair, my eldest has been hoovering daily (one of my bug bears is dirty carpets – normally if I see a speck of dirt I’m out with the hoover) and they’ve both been taking their dirty washing/cups/plates downstairs and helping Dad wash up. They are trying!

I made this fruit loaf just before one of my longer hospital visits. It’s packed full of goodness and is fat free. So in other words, it’s a health food! If you can overlook the golden syrup 😉

Malted fruit and banana loaf

100g malt extract

100g golden syrup

100ml milk

75g dried dates, roughly chopped

75g sultanas or raisins

225g self raising flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

1 medium egg, lightly beaten

1 ripe banana, mashed

Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the malt extract, golden syrup and milk in a saucepan. Stir over a gentle heat until the mixture is hot and all of the ingredients are well combined. Remove from the heat and add the dates and raisins/sultanas.

Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the fruit mixture, egg and mashed banana. Stir the mixture until everything is well combined and no pockets of flour remain. Spoon into a greased and lined 1 litre loaf tin (approx 20x10cm) and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, or until well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Leave to cool completely in the tin. This fruit loaf will last for about a week – if it isn’t devoured by then!

Chocolate chip banana muffins

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As luck would have it (and much to my eldest son’s disgust because he had to go to school – ha ha) I got a much needed day off work today due to the bank holiday!

I’m now 17 weeks into my pregnancy and everything seems to be going ok. I could just do with a bit more energy! Unfortunately the job I do means I’m on my feet pretty much all day and I’m starting to find it pretty draining. Which means that when I get home from work every night I have my dinner, get my pj’s on and crawl into bed. I’ve been trying to start Stephen King’s book 11 22 63 for a while now but I can’t seem to keep my eyes open long enough to read! But despite my moans, I really am counting my blessings and crossing my fingers that everything has been going well so far. I’ve even started to feel the little one wriggle about which I love 🙂

Here’s a really great recipe for using up those black bananas. I don’t know about you but as soon as they start to turn black, I have to make something with them right away or just throw them out because the overwhelming smell makes me feel ill.

These don’t take much effort at all – and once you’ve tried them you’ll be glad you didn’t chuck those yuckky overripe bananas out!

Chocolate chip banana muffins
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s chocolate banana muffins in “Kitchen”

Makes 12

225g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
125ml coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
100g soft light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g chocolate chips of your choice

Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a 12 cup muffin tin lined with papers.

Weigh out the flour and cocoa powder. Stir together and set aside. Mash the bananas in a bowl and add the eggs, coconut oil, sugar and vanilla. Gently fold in the flour and cocoa powder, taking care not to overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon the mixture into the cases. Bake for 25 minutes or until risen and springy.

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Peanut butter cup chocolate chip banana loaf

Over the years, I’ve made so many banana loaves I could probably make them in my sleep. I’ve tried dozens of different versions but I think this one is my new favourite. This moist banana loaf is studded with Reece’s mini peanut butter cups and milk chocolate chips. It’s pure heaven for lovers of the banana and peanut butter combo!

Peanut butter cup chocolate chip banana loaf

175g soft butter
175g caster sugar
2 large eggs
175g self-raising flour
2 large, very ripe bananas (about 250g total weight), mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g mini peanut butter cups, chopped in half (save a few for sprinkling over the top) and 50g milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the base and sides of a 2lb loaf tin.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Slowly add the eggs to the creamed mixture, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the mashed bananas and vanilla extract. Don’t worry if the mixture looks a little curdled at this stage. Gently fold in the flour. Finally, fold most of the peanut butter cups and Reeces pieces/chocolate chips into the cake mixture, taking care not to overmix.

Scoop the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin. Top with the reserved peanut butter cups and bake for between 1 hour and 1 hour 10 minutes, or until risen and skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes or until turning out and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

Book Review – The Everyday Baker

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The Everyday Baker
Essential Techniques and Recipes for Foolproof Baking
By Abigail Johnson Dodge

A sumptuous, comprehensive tome, The Everyday Baker is a baking reference to die for containing 200 essential, step-by-step techniques and recipes that every home cook should master. The book showcases a huge variety of sweet and savoury baked goods, from simple crumbles and muffins to pavlovas, meringues, soufflés and more, all with detailed instructions, visual clues and ingenious tips, so that each one is in easy reach of the novice cook.

Author Abigail Johnson Dodge is a veteran cookbook writer and pastry chef who explains techniques in a friendly, conversational tone, alongside 650 photos to bring her instructions to life. For each recipe, Abigail provides the extras that make her a highly regarded baking expert: make ahead tips, flavour and size variations and ‘baker’s wisdom’ gems that will help home cooks become more knowledgeable and confident. The Everyday Baker is packed with authoritative yet approachable information and will remain a staple in the kitchen long after home bakers gain the skills they need to become Great British Bake Off hopefuls!

I was recently given a copy of The Everyday Baker to review. It is indeed a tome, with over 600 pages. It is pretty heavy! It’s definitely a perfect book to curl up and read if the weather is rubbish. I’m pretty certain you would pick up a few new tips along the way – Abigail shares a wealth of handy kitchen hints and techniques. One thing I really love is the recipe measurements are in cups, grams and ounces – very helpful! There are also step by step photographs for many of the recipes.

I could quite happily bake my way through the entire book. The chapters include:

Morning food
Quick to make
Cookies
Cakes
Pies and tarts
Pudding and custards
Yeast breads
Pastry
Flatbreads
Fruit desserts

Recipes I want to try include:

Cinnamon swirl crumble topped ricotta coffee cake
Baked double chocolate dougnuts
Vanilla macarons with Nutella filling
Toasted coconut meltaways
Espresso hazelnut meringue cake with espresso buttercream and milk chocolate ganache
Maple pear slab pie
Roasted butternut squash pie with pecan praline
Popcorn creme caramel
Bourbon maple pecan baklava
Double tomato basil open faced tart
Cheesy bacon focaccia rolls

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I made the creamy peanut butter filled Devil’s chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache topping. The chocolate sponge was so moist and light. They were amazing. My sister declared them the best cupcakes ever!

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The best ever maple pecan granola clusters were addictive. It was lovely with natural yoghurt but I couldn’t walk past the jar without grabbing a handful. Perfect. Another keeper recipe!

So far that’s two brilliant recipes – I’m really looking forward to trying more.

The Everyday Baker is a fantastic baking reference. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced, confident baker I highly recommend this book. It will be a constant kitchen companion for me.

I was given a copy of The Everyday Baker to review. All opinions are my own.

Terrys chocolate orange cheesecake

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December 1st!! The countdown to the big day has officially begun and I’m celebrating with a very easy and delicious no bake chocolate orange cheesecake.

I converted two supposed cheesecake haters with this one. I really hope you love it too!

Terry’s chocolate orange cheesecake

150g butter
280g chocolate orange digestives, crushed to fine crumbs
450g full fat philadelphia cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g icing sugar
Finely grated zest of one large orange
200ml double cream
1 (or 2 if you want lots of chocolate orangey goodness OR for extra pieces to snack on while you’re slaving away making this….just saying ;))Terrys chocolate orange (keep about 10 neat looking pieces for decorating the top, roughly chop the rest for the filling)

Melt the butter in a saucepan and tip in the crushed biscuits. Stir until the biscuits are completely coated in butter and resemble damp sand. Tip into a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin and press down evenly. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

For the filling, whip together the cream cheese, vanilla, icing sugar and orange zest. In a separate bowl, lightly whip the double cream to very soft peaks. Fold the cream into the cream cheese mixture. Finally, fold in chopped chocolate orange. Pour the cheesecake filling over the biscuit base. Pop back in the fridge to set for at least five hours or preferably overnight. The last time I made this I only lasted 3 hours before cutting…needless to say it wasn’t set properly! It was still delicious but a little runny. When the cheesecake is set and you are ready to serve it, decorate with the reserved chocolate orange segments/melted chocolate. If you didn’t eat them while waiting for the cheesecake to set. I didn’t do that myself by the way. Nope. Not at all………

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Gingerbread latte cake

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I am a huge fan of gingerbread. Especially gingerbread lattes. I just can’t help it, I find them irresistible. I frequent Starbucks more often in December than I do any other time of the year – I’ve got to have my gingerbread lattes! But my obsession doesn’t end with visiting coffee shops – I buy the syrup and make it at home (which is much kinder on the purse!)

It was only a matter of time before I turned my favourite festive drink into a cake. This three layer cake is full of warming winter spices and just a hint of coffee. The caramel biscuit icing is from this months Christmas BBC Good Food magazine. The only thing I changed was substitute some of the cream cheese for mascarpone because I had some that needed using up.

Gingerbread latte cake
Inspired and apapted from “Gingerbread cake with caramel biscuit icing” from BBC Good Food Magazine

225g soft butter
375g light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tbsp treacle
375g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
300ml tub sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 heaped tsp coffee granules, dissolved in 50ml boiling water (leave to cool a little before using)

Grease and base line three 20cm loose-bottomed cake tins. If your tins are shallower than 4cm, line the sides with a baking paper collar.

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C/Gas 4. Using an electric mixer/whisk, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the treacle.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices. Stir the sour cream, vanilla and cooled coffee together in a jug. Fold the spiced flour and sour cream coffee mixture into the creamed mixture, alternating until all the ingredients are incorporated and you have a smooth batter. Divide the batter between the tins and bake for 25-30 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes come out clean. Cool the cakes in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

Once the cakes are completely cool (and if you don’t need to ice them straightaway) wrap in cling film and store for up to 4 days, or they can be frozen for up to 2 months.

The recipe for the caramel biscuit icing can be found right here – I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s not cheap to make, but for a treat it’s definitely worth it!

Plum amaretti crumble cake

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One of my favourite things about Autumn is all of the seasonal fruit around this time of year – apples, figs, pears and plums are all perfect for baking homely cakes. You know the kind I mean – a cake that could be served alongside a cup of coffee on a rainy afternoon or for pudding, with lashings of custard. This recipe is that kind of cake. The sponge is really moist with the addition of Greek yoghurt and ground almonds, topped with ripe juicy plums and finished off with a layer of buttery amarreti crumble. It’s a gorgeous Autumal bake!

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Plum amaretti crumble cake

175g soft butter
175g caster sugar
3 Large eggs
225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g ground almonds
2 tsp vanilla extract
85g Greek yoghurt
6-7 ripe plums (depending on size – mine were pretty small so you might need less)

Amaretti crumble topping

50g each of butter, demerara sugar, ground almonds, plain flour and amaretti biscuits

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 22cm cake tin and baking paper. 

Make the crumble topping first – place the sugar, ground almonds and plain flour in a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Crush the amaretti biscuits in random sized pieces and stir them through the crumble mixture.

For the cake, place the butter, sugar eggs, flour, baking powder, vanilla, ground almonds and Greek yoghurt in a large bowl. Beat the ingredients together until the batter is smooth. Tip the batter into the tin and level the top. Arrange the plums cut side up over the batter, then scatter over the crumble. Bake for 1 hour or until well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack. Lovely with either cream or custard (or both, if you’re that way inclined!)

Nutty banana cake with browned butter maple icing and salted caramel

If you’re looking for a healthier kind of banana cake, better stop reading now.

This banana cake is all dressed up and ready to party.

In brown butter maple icing and salted caramel. It’s not for the faint hearted! It’s very sweet so I like to add a little more salt to the salted caramel to balance it out a little.

You can of course leave the nuts out if you wish.

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Nutty banana cake with browned butter icing and salted caramel glaze
Inspired/adapted from the banana and hazelnut cake from The Meringue Girls “Everything sweet”

500g very ripe bananas, mashed
125ml vegetable oil
125g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
150g mixed nuts, chopped (I used pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts)
225g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
A large pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line the base of two 20cm cake tins.

Sift the self raising flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Beat the oil and sugar together and beat in the eggs one at a time, beating until  well mixed. Add the vanilla extract and mashed banana. Fold in the flour and mixed nuts. Pour the batter into the cake tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the sponges are risen and springy.
Carefully turn out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

Browned butter maple icing

150g butter
500g icing sugar
2-3 tbsp maple syrup

For the browned butter, start by melting the butter in a small pan. Once it’s melted, leave on a medium heat until the butter has browned and has an almost nutty smell. Measure your icing sugar out and place in a mixer with a whisk attachment fitted. With the beaters going, carefully pour the still warm butter into the icing sugar. Keep whisking – it might look a bit strange at this stage but keep going. Add one tbsp of the maple syrup and keep whisking until the icing is very light and fluffy. If it’s a little too thick, add another tbsp maple syrup.

I used this recipe for the salted caramel. Leave to cool completely (obviously!) before pouring over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.

Lemon and lime madeira cake

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Here’s my second bake inspired by the first episode of bake off….madeira cake.

I have to confess that madeira cake always sounded a little boring and plain to me…but after one taste I was sold! It’s light, buttery and moist – anything but boring! It really is a lovely, lovely cake. Sometimes the classics are the best!

Lemon and lime madeira cake

Grease and line an 18cm round cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180c.

175g soft butter
Zest of one lemon and one small lime
175g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
3 eggs

Measure out the sugar in a large bowl and using your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is damp and fragrant.  Add the butter, flour, ground almonds and eggs and beat for one minute until the mixture is smooth. Pour into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 60 minutes or until well risen and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing:

125g icing sugar
Juice of half a lemon or lime

Mix the icing sugar with the juice until you have a fairly thick icing that will still run off the back of a spoon. Pour over the cooled cake.

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Black forest cake

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Bake off is back!!

Yay!!! 😀

As soon as I heard the bakers were making a black forest gateau for the first showstopping challenge, I had to make one. I wasn’t going to go to a huge amount of effort because no-one else in my house would be eating it – which is extremely dangerous for my hips. Luckily though, I have plenty other family and friends who were more than willing to help me eat it!

Black forest takes me right back to my childhood (I’ve spoken about this before – but please, humour me) but the kind I enjoyed as a little one was not home made but from a box found in the freezer aisle of the supermarket.
The Sara Lee gateau was the height of sophistication in the 80’s and we usually seemed to have one whenever there was a special occasion to celebrate. A jug of pouring cream was always on offer to trickle over your slice. It all felt very grown up and posh to my eight year old self.

I’ve kept things fairly simple for my version – chocolate sponge sandwiched together with whipped cream, cherry compote and topped off with a rich chocolate ganache.

Black forest cake

For the cake

200g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g cocoa powder
225g soft butter
200g caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
4 large eggs
150g Greek yoghurt

Grease and line two 20cm round cake tins and preheat the oven to 180c.

Sieve all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and beat together until the mixture is smooth.) I sieved the dry ingredients into the bowl of my KitchenAid, then added everything else and used my paddle beater to mix).

Pour the smooth batter into the cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until well risen and springy. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before removing and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I used this recipe for the cherry compote and halved it. And then halved it again since I only had a smallish punnet of cherries! It was just a shame I didn’t have any kirsch or cherry brandy leftover from Christmas – it would have been really lovely in the compote.

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Fill the cooled sponges with softly whipped double cream and the cherry compote.

For the ganache, place 100ml double cream in a small pan over a medium heat. When it almost reaches a boil, take off the heat and immediately add 100g finely chopped dark chocolate. Leave for a few minutes before stirring to make sure all the chocolate has melted. Leave to thicken and cool a little before pouring over the top of the cake. Decorate with fresh cherries.

Mummy Mishaps

I’m linking this recipe up over at Mummy Mishaps for the great bloggers bake off, a blogging event which is so much fun and a brilliant excuse to bake along with The Great British bake off!