Caramel Apple Cake

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Today is definitely a day for staying-in and pottering (if you can). The weather here in Bath is not nice – I’m feeling sorry for anyone who’s come to the Christmas market – get in a pub with a mulled cider is my advice!

I’m going to be making some edible Christmas presents today – more on that soon – but if you feel like doing some baking I have a great cake for you (particularly if you’re still trying to use up a glut of apples).

Apple cake with Caramel Icing

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I love apple cake, it’s delicious and moist because of all the fruit. You can spice it with cinnamon or ginger like the one I made last year (link here) which was really tasty, but this year I wanted to try a variation on the classic ‘toffee apple’ flavour. I had a lot of cooking apples left over so decided to make a variation on Mary Berry’s apple cake, and found a recipe for caramel icing which I thought would go well with it. The result was definitely a triumph! The cake was really moist inside, but with a good crust, and the icing was thick and caramelly (new word) and good enough to eat out of the bowl – there was also lots of it left over which was excellent.

Mary Berry suggests eating the cake warm, in which case the icing could be served on the side, but the cake was delicious cold also and still moist a couple of days later!

Recipe lightly adapted from Mary Berry and BBC food

For the cake:

225g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

225g caster sugar

2 large eggs

½ tsp vanilla extract

150g butter, melted

250g cooking apples, peeled, cored & thickly sliced

 

For the icing:

125g white caster sugar

80ml double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

160g butter, softened

200g/7oz icing sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a deep 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin. I don’t own a particularly deep loose-bottom cake tin so I gave it some extra height with a baking paper collar. 

2.  Put the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and melted butter into a bowl or stand mixer. Mix well until combined, then beat briefly.

3.  Pour half of the mixture into the cake tin. Place the apples on top of the mixture, piling most near the centre (they will spread out during cooking. Spoon the rest of the mixture over the apples, again making sure that the centre is well-covered as it will spread out in the oven.

4.  Bake in the preheated oven for 75-90 minutes until the cake is golden and coming away from the sides of the tin. Leave to cool (or eat straight away!)

5.  For the caramel icing, put the caster sugar & 4 tbsp of water in a saucepan and cook over a gentle heat for a couple of minutes. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and cook the caramel for 2-3 minutes, or until golden. Don’t stir, just be patient! Once golden, remove the pan from the heat immediately and stir in the double cream. The caramel won’t like this and will spit at you so be careful. Stir in the vanilla and then set aside to completely cool.

6.  Cream the butter and icing sugar together for at least 4- 5 minutes until light and fluffy (less if using a stand mixer), then beat in the caramel a little at a time.

Decorate the cake however you want with the icing (or serve on the side if you want to eat the cake warm!)

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Happy Sunday (whatever you’re up to!)

Three New Ways With Rhubarb (and a birthday!)

Well would you believe it – my blog is a year old today! Happy Birthday to me 🙂 🎉🎈🎁🎂

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A year ago I started this blog with a recipe for rhubarb syrup (found here), and today I am continuing the rhubarb theme with some more ideas of what to do with the beautiful pink stalks of loveliness…

I think it’s quite easy to get into a rhubarb rut, most people make a crumble with it or stew it (both of which are delicious), but I was interested to see what else could be done with it. I found a guardian online article entitled ‘The 10 best rhubarb recipes’ and took inspiration from that, and also from food blog Vanilla Garlic.

So behold recipes for Pickled rhubarb, Rhubarb & custard cake, and Fennel basted pork chops with rhubarb!

Pickled Rhubarb

recipe found & tweaked from Vanilla Garlic

Pickled rhubarb is really quick to make (apart from having to wait 2 days to eat it!) and is delicious with cheese and charcuterie – particularly goats cheese camembert which is an excellent invention that you can find in Sainsbury’s. Pickled rhubarb would also make a great foodie present for someone!

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ingredients

3 stalks rhubarb

Spices: 2 star anise, 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes, 1/2 a cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf, 5 cloves, 5 peppercorns

1/4 teaspoon salt

325ml white vinegar

155g caster sugar

1 large preserving jar (at least 750ml) – sterilised

Trim the rhubarb and chop into approx 2inch chunks. Put into the preserving jar with the spices.

Put the sugar, salt and vinegar into a small saucepan and boil until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour the mixture over the rhubarb and stir.

Put the lid on and leave in the fridge for 48hours before using. Use within a month.

Fennel basted pork chops with rhubarb

recipe found on guardian website here

Pork goes well with apple, apricot, raisins – loads of different fruits – so why not rhubarb? The fennel adds an extra dimension of flavour, and we served this with celeriac mash and green beans. This would make a nice addition to a spring dinner party!

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Ingredients

serves 2

2 pork chops

1tsp fennel seeds

1tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp black peppercorns

1/2 tsp sea salt

50g butter

finely grated zest & juice of 1 orange

4tbsp sweet sherry (or other dessert wine)

225g rhubarb

1 tbsp honey

1 celeriac, peeled and chopped (optional)

Using scissors, snip the rind of each chop at approx. 1 inch intervals. Put the fennel, coriander, pepper and salt in a pestle & mortar, and crush (but not to a powder). Rub this into each chop.

If serving with celeriac: Put the celeriac into a pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for around 20 minutes until soft, then mash with butter & milk. Keep warm.

Melt a third of the butter in a frying pan with some oil and hold the pork rind-side down in the pan for 2-3 minutes, until browned. Fry the pork chops for 2 minutes on each side, then add the rest of the butter and the orange zest to the pan. Baste the chops and turn them over once.

Pour in the sweet sherry and let it bubble for a few seconds, then add the orange juice and bring back to a simmer.

Add the rhubarb to the pan, fitting it in around the pork chops, and drizzle over the honey. Cook for around 4 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft but not collapsed, and the chops are cooked.

Using a slotted spoon, take the pork and rhubarb out of the pan and keep warm. Stir the sauce and let it simmer until it has thickened, but before it turns into syrup.

Serve with the celeriac and steamed green beans.

Rhubarb & custard cake

Rhubarb & custard is a classic combination, put it in a cake and you have a surefire hit! This recipe is a cross between one from the guardian rhubarb article, and one from food blog eat, little bird.  The layer of custard sank to the bottom (I don’t think I thickened it enough), and took the rhubarb with it, but it still tasted delicious and I will be making it again…

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Ingredients

Serves 6-8

175g butter

250g caster sugar

4 eggs

175g plain flour, sifted

25g custard powder

2½ tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

1½ tsp baking powder

100-150 ml ready-made custard, heated and thickened with cornflour, then cooled

2-3 tsp ground cardamom, or the seeds from 2 cardamom pods, crushed

4-5 sticks (400g) rhubarb, cut into 12cm lengths

Preheat the oven to 180C.

In a saucepan, heat 25g of butter with the cardamom, 1tsp of the vanilla extract and 50g of the sugar. When it starts bubbling, add the rhubarb and simmer for a couple of minutes until cooked but still holding its shape. Take off the heat and leave to cool.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then add all the other dry ingredients and the vanilla extract and fold together to make a batter.

Line a 23cm baking tin with greaseproof paper and pour the batter in. It is quite a thick batter so may need some help from a spatula to make it even.

Spoon the custard in a layer over the batter and add the rhubarb on top, keeping some of the syrup from the pan for drizzling.

Bake in the oven for approx 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Once cooled, drizzle with the remaining rhubarb syrup and enjoy!

Thanks for reading my blog over the past year – here’s to the next one!

Bake-Off Wednesdays: European Cakes

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I’m back in my comfort zone with this weeks challenge – no scary pastry or bread, just a nice easy cake…

NB: Last week’s tart did go down well at the dinner party in case anyone was wondering!

I originally thought of making an Italian Polenta cake as I like the grainy texture, but when I was given 3 bags of apples at the weekend I knew they had to be incorporated! So German Apple cake it was.

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This cake is light and moist, with a tasty crumble topping, of which there is also a layer inside the cake. I liked the fact that toasted flaked almonds are used in the crumble – they add another nice texture and flavour. The original recipe uses sour cream, but I had a pot of crème fraiche that needed using, so subbed that in instead. If you’d rather use sour cream, just swap it back.

This has had good reviews from my work colleagues, husband, and a fairly prolific apple cake maker – so it’s safe to say it’s a good one! It will probably be made again, when I run out of other things to use the rest of the apples in…

Can be served warm or cold, and with crème fraiche or sour cream on the side too, if you fancy it.

Original recipe found here

German Apple  Cake

175g/6oz unsalted butter
175g/6oz caster sugar
675g/1½ lb Bramley apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3 large eggs, beaten
200g/7oz plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
150g crème fraiche – loosened with a little milk

Topping:
50g/2oz unsalted butter
50g/2oz soft brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
75g/3oz plain flour
50g/2oz toasted flaked almonds

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1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/ 350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line a 20cm (22cm in my case) spring form tin with baking parchment. Melt 25g of the butter and sugar together in a large frying pan. Add the Bramley apple slices and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until the apples are tender. Leave to cool.

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2. Make the crumble topping by melting the butter and stirring in the remaining ingredients.

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3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then gradually add the eggs beating well between additions. Sift over the flour and baking powder then gently fold into the mixture with the creme fraiche.

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4. Spoon two thirds of the cake mixture over the base of the tin, scatter over a third of the crumble mixture and top with the remaining cake mixture.

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Finally, scatter over the Bramley apples and remaining crumble mixture. Bake in the oven for approximately 75 minutes. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a plate/rack.

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Enjoy!

P.S. Next weeks Bake-Off post won’t be on time as i’ll be coming back from a min-holiday in Spain. I will endeavour to make it/post it soon after though…

Bake Off Wednesdays: Cake

Mel & Sue, Queen Bezza, scary Paul, custard disasters, style over substance, ovens not heating up, ridiculously tasty looking cakes, biscuits, bread, tray bakes, tarts, pies…

…It’s back! I am a little over-excited about the new series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ starting tonight (8pm BBC1).

To commemorate this I thought I would aim to do a post every Wednesday of recipes that fit in with the episodes theme – tonight’s is cakes!

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Lime, Yoghurt and Olive Oil Cake

I made this cake at the start of the summer – it feels like a really summery cake because the yoghurt and olive oil gives it a light texture, and the limes and sugar make me think of mojitos! It also goes well with a gin & tonic by the way…
I hadn’t made a cake using olive oil and yoghurt instead of butter before, but was really pleased with the outcome. It’s pretty simple to make – no fancy kitchen paraphernalia required – only a wooden spoon, a cake tin, and an oven… This cake will be made again!
It looks really pretty with the extra lime and sugar sprinkled on the top too.
Recipe nabbed from Souvlaki for the Soul – i just changed the measurements from US to UK
 
Ingredients

285g whole full fat Greek yoghurt

79ml of olive oil

225g caster sugar

zest of one lime

4 tablespoons lime juice

2 eggs

220g of sifted plain flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Extra lime zest and golden granulated sugar for topping

 

 

Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C

Grease a 22cm springform baking tin

Mix the yoghurt, olive oil, sugar, lime juice, zest, and eggs in a  bowl until well combined.

In a separate large bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Pour the wet ingredients mixture into the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix until just combined. Don’t overwork the batter.

Pour into the baking tin and cook for approx 45-50 mins. The cake is ready when it has browned on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Leave it to cool in the cake tin for five minutes and then invert it onto a cake cooler.

Once cooled, combine one tablespoon of lime zest with two tbsps of the granulated sugar and sprinkle liberally on top.

 

Sit down with a cup of tea (or a mojito) and enjoy the fruits of your labour – it’s worth it.

 

Weekend Bakes: Coconut and Raspberry Cakes

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If you’re at a loose end this weekend and want something to munch on with a cup of tea – why not bake these beauties? The OH had a bake-off at work this week, and these did the job nicely! (NB. He did most of the work, i just helped – and took photo’s.)

Adapted from Miss Friday’s Feasts –  they are more-ish and very moist. As well as the addition of malibu and desiccated coconut, we also made a cream cheese frosting (instead of butter icing), which stopped the cakes from tasting too sweet. The decoration was all His idea – the theme being ‘Green Week’ – a Raspberry and Coconut flower would be a pretty great thing…

Makes 12 Cupcakes

120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
40g unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp baking powder
25g desiccated coconut
A pinch of salt
40ml malibu (or other coconut liqueur)
80ml milk
1 egg
200g of raspberries (you’ll need at least 24, depending on size)

To Decorate

150g cream cheese
50g icing sugar
2 teaspoons lemon/lime juice
approx 25g flaked coconut
Leftover raspberries
Freeze-dried raspberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare cupcake tin with paper cases.

Mix all dry ingredients and butter with an electric mixer (or by hand if you’re old school) until light and fluffy.

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Add malibu and milk, beat well and then add the beaten egg. Make sure the mixture is well combined.

Put raspberries into your paper cases – we had pretty large raspberries so just put one in each, but if you have small ones put two in. (If i do this recipe again i might try chopping up the raspberry first so it doesn’t sink to the bottom of the cake – let me know if anyone try’s this).

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Spoon the cupcake mixture over the top until the raspberries are covered , then put in pre-heated oven for 25 mins or until golden, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

When cakes are cooked, put them onto a wire rack to cool.

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Whilst the cakes are cooling you can make the topping 🙂

Put the cream cheese, icing sugar and citrus juice into a bowl and beat well. Dry fry the coconut flakes until slightly coloured.

Wait until the cakes are fully cool to decorate, otherwise the topping will melt.

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Spread cream cheese frosting onto each cake, then place a raspberry in the centre.

Working from the inside-out, place flakes of coconut around the raspberry to create the look of petals – saving the larger flakes for the outer circle.

Sprinkle freeze-dried raspberries on top (if you have them – ours was from waitrose).

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This would be easier with masterchef-style culinary tweezers and a production line 😉

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But don’t they look pretty?

I shall be checking out Royal Crescent StrEAT this weekend – a street food festival on the Crescent in Bath, if you’re in Bath come along!

Easy to follow recipe below…

Makes 12 Cupcakes

120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
40g unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp baking powder
25g desiccated coconut
A pinch of salt
40ml malibu (or other coconut liqueur)
80ml milk
1 egg
200g of raspberries (you’ll need at least 24, depending on size)

To Decorate

150g cream cheese
50g icing sugar
2 teaspoons lemon/lime juice
approx 25g flaked coconut
Leftover raspberries
Freeze-dried raspberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare cupcake tin with paper cases.

Mix all dry ingredients and butter with an electric mixer (or by hand if you’re old school) until light and fluffy.

Add malibu and milk, beat well and then add the beaten egg.Make sure the mixture is well combined.

Put raspberries into your paper cases – we had pretty large raspberries so just put one in each, but if you have small ones put two in.

Spoon the cupcake mixture over the top until the raspberries are covered , then put in pre-heated oven for 25 mins or until golden, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

When cakes are cooked, put them onto a wire rack to cool.

Whilst the cakes are cooling you can make the topping 🙂

Put the cream cheese, icing sugar and citrus juice into a bowl and beat well. Dry fry the coconut flakes until slightly coloured.

Wait until the cakes are fully cool to decorate, otherwise the topping will melt.

Spread cream cheese frosting onto each cake, then place a raspberry in the centre.  Working from the inside-out, place flakes of coconut around the raspberry to create the look of petals – saving the larger flakes for the outer circle.  Sprinkle freeze-dried raspberries on top.