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Cover: Make your cake…and eat it

April, 2012

30Apr 12

Gumdrop Cake

Gumdrop CakeAnother Canadian recipe I learned from my great-aunt, this gumdrop cake,  is apparently a traditional Christmas cake over there.  We usually visited her in the summer, but luckily this cake freezes very well, so she always made sure to save some for us when we visited.

The cake is far from healthy, and I imagine it’s quite fattening, but what do you expect from a cake full of fruit gums?!  In any case, it’s sinfully delicious and a great treat for the little ones – and the older ones too!

My great-aunt’s recipe calls for sugar-coated gumdrops, but I can’t usually find that kind at my local shops and usually just substitute the regular kind.  I don’t think the difference is really noticeable, even though a Canadian might disagree with that assumption.

The cake is sweet enough on its own and doesn’t require any frosting, just make sure you don’t leave it in the oven too long as it’s best when the sponge is nice and moist.

Ingredients:

  • 227g butter
  • 400g granulated sugar
  • 375g flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 rounded teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 500ml gumdrops

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Butter and flour a tube cake pan.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until they’re light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and beat well.
  5. Add flour and baking powder alternately with milk – beginning and ending with flour.
  6. Add the lemon extract.
  7. Cut the gumdrops into small pieces and coat with a little flour.
  8. Fold the gumdrops into the batter.  The batter should be very stiff to avoid the gumdrops sinking to the bottom during baking.  Add a little more flour if necessary.
  9. Pour the batter into the greased and floured tube cake pan.
  10.  Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

For more seasonal ideas, try this Christmas cake recipe.

 

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  60 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty:  Medium

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25Apr 12

Banana Cake with Orange Frosting

Banana cake with orange frostingA few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me to make a cake for her daughter’s birthday party,  but it turned out that her daughter didn’t like chocolate, vanilla, or any of the other typical birthday cake flavours.  At first I was at a bit of a loss about what to make, but after a bit of thinking, inspiration struck.  This banana cake with orange frosting was the result, and her daughter absolutely loved it!

The cake is really just a traditional banana bread recipe, but doubled and baked in a round tube pan instead of its usual rectangular shape.  The frosting is cream cheese-based and flavoured with the juice and rind of a fresh orange.  If you don’t happen to have any fresh oranges at hand, you can substitute with store-bought orange juice.  It won’t be quite as tasty and tangy, but it’ll do in a pinch.

If you prefer veggies over fruits, you can try this carrot cake recipe, which tastes very similar and is absolutely delicious!

Ingredients:

For the sponge:

  • 6 very ripe bananas
  • 400g granulated sugar
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 370g flour
  • 1tsp salt
  • 2tsp baking soda
  • 8tbsp melted butter
  • 1tsp cinnamon

For the frosting:

  • 200g of cream cheese
  • 320g (2 ½ cups) of icing sugar
  • Juice from one medium orange
  • 1tsp orange zest

Instructions:

For the sponge:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC.
  2. Butter and flour a 27cm diameter round tube cake pan.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas into the sugar with a fork or potato masher.
  4. Beat in the eggs and mix well.
  5. Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
  6. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture and blend well.
  7. Pour the mixture into the buttered and floured pan.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the side comes out clean.

For the frosting:

  1. Combine all the ingredients and blend very well, either by hand or with an electric mixer.
  2. Cool the icing in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  If it is too runny, add more icing sugar.
  3. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake and serve.

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  60 minutes

Serves:  10-12

Difficulty:  Medium

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24Apr 12

Mint Chocolate Cake with Almond Frosting

Mint chocolate cake with almondsChocolate and mint, it’s a combination made in heaven!  This mint chocolate cake with almond frosting is so delicious it’s hard to resist a second or even third serving, so if you’re watching your waistline, you’ve been warned! (Also try these chocolate lava cakes.)

I used to make this sponge with mint chocolate frosting too, but I eventually had to admit it was too rich even for my taste and decided to try almond flavour frosting instead.  I think the result speaks for itself, so get baking and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

For the sponge:

  • 220g butter
  • 600g granulated sugar
  • 3tbsp instant coffee granules
  • 2tsp coffee liqueur
  • 3 eggs
  • 285g cake flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 250g cocoa powder
  • 315ml buttermilk
  • 2tbsp fresh mint  leaves

For the frosting:

  • 375g icing sugar
  • 6tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 60ml water
  • 1tsp almond extract
  • 20g almond shavings

Instructions:

For the sponge:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Grease and flour a 23cm cake pan or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter until light and fluffy.
  4. Gradually add the sugar and beat until it turns light in colour.
  5. Add the coffee granules and liqueur and mix well.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  7. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.
  8. Add this flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  9. Stir in the mint leaves. Mix until just blended.
  10. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  11.  Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  12. Remove the cake from the oven and cool in its pan on wire cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes.
  13. Carefully remove the cake from the pan and continue to cool on the wire rack.
  14. Remove and discard the baking parchment.

For the frosting:

  1. Blend the icing sugar, almond extract, cocoa powder and water with an electric mixer until just blended.
  2. Beat on medium speed until thick and smooth.
  3. Spread on the cooled cake with a spatula.
  4. Sprinkle the almond shavings on top.
  5. Serve immediately.

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  70 minutes

Serves:  10

Difficulty:  Medium

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18Apr 12

Yellow Layer Cake with Orange Chocolate Frosting

Yellow layer cake with orange chocolate frosting

This yellow layer cake with orange chocolate frosting is a small variation on your typical yellow sponge cake.  I was getting a bit bored of plain old chocolate or vanilla frosting and decided to get a bit more adventurous.  Of course, if you prefer, you can just make the sponge and use whatever frosting you prefer, but where’s the fun in that?!

This recipe uses only two layers of sponge cake, but I sometimes use three, depending on your mood. You could also make fun shapes, like in this chocolate orange Valentine’s cake.

Ingredients:

For the sponge:

  • 4 eggs, whites separated from yolks
  • 225g butter, softened
  • 400g granulated sugar
  • 240g cake flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 250ml milk

 

For the frosting:

  • 125g cream cheese
  • 315g icing sugar
  • 125g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 3tbsp orange juice
  • Grated rind of 1 orange

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Grease and flour two 25cm round cake pans, or line them with baking parchment and set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer with a wire whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they are soft but not dry. Set aside.
  4. With the electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and gradually add the granulated sugar, beating until light in colour.
  5. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  6. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  7. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
  8. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until batter is smooth.
  9. Carefully fold the flour mixture into the egg whites.
  10.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  11.  While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting as follows:
    • Mix all the ingredients together by hand or with an electric mixer, setting aside just a pinch of the grated orange rind.
    • If the icing is too runny, add a little more icing sugar until the desired consistency is achieved.
    • Refrigerate until you’re ready to frost the cake.
  1.  Remove the pans from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2.  Carefully remove the cakes from the pans and continue to cool on the wire racks. Remove and discard parchment before decorating.
  3.  When cool, frost with the orange and chocolate frosting you prepared earlier and sprinkle over the remaining orange rind. Slice and serve.

 

Prep Time:  30 minutes

Cooking Time:  30minutes

Serves:  10

Difficulty:  Medium

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16Apr 12

Marvellous Marble Cake

Marvellous Marble CakeThis marvellous marble cake is really great for impressing your friends and family as it looks quite complicated to make, although in reality, it’s actually quite simple.  The cake is so moist and delicious that it can be served on its own, but it can also be served with chocolate or vanilla icing if you like.

For a chocolaty version of this delectable dessert, try a chocolate marble cake with chocolate icing.

 

Ingredients:

For the white part:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 110g butter, softened
  • 250g flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 125ml milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

For the brown part:

  • 110g butter, softened
  • 130g brown sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 150ml molasses
  • 250g flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 60ml milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Butter and flour an 8cm deep x 20cm wide cake pan.
  3. Make the white part of the cake:
  4. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks are formed.
  5. Add half of the sugar and keep beating until the whites are stiff.
  6. Cream the butter with the rest of the sugar in a separate bowl.
  7. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and add this mixture to the butter a little at a time, alternating with the milk.  Mix well after each addition.
  8. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  9. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
  10. Make the brown part of the cake:
  11. Cream the butter with the sugar.
  12. Beat in the egg yolks.
  13. Dissolve the baking soda into the molasses in a saucepan over low heat.
  14. Sift the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a separate bowl.
  15. Combine the flour mixture with the molasses mixture.
  16. Add the flour and molasses mixture to the butter and sugar a little at a time, alternating with the milk.  Mix well after each addition.
  17. Mix both the white and brown parts together:
  18. Alternately place heaped tablespoons of the white and brown mixture into the cake pan to produce a marbled effect.
  19. Bake in the preheated oven for at least an hour or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Prep Time:  20 minutes

Cooking Time:  60 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty:  Medium

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11Apr 12

Caramel Cake with Butter Cream Icing

Caramel Cake with Butter Cream IcingCaramel is a wonderful flavour. I love it with fruit such as in this Caramel Peach recipe. I am also partial to this caramel cake with butter cream icing. It is a bit tricky to make and takes a bit of time, but the result is absolutely fantastic, so grab your apron and let’s get baking!

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 290g sifted flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • ½tsp salt
  • 110g butter, softened
  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 250ml water
  • 3 eggs, yolks separated from whites, whites stiffly beaten

For the caramel syrup:

  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 125ml boiling water

For the butter cream icing:

  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 565g icing sugar
  • 90ml single cream
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2tbsps caramel syrup (see above)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Gradually add the sugar to the butter, then mix with an electric mixer at high speed until it’s light and fluffy.
  5. Blend in the egg yolks at medium speed.
  6. Beat well.
  7. Alternately blend in the sifted dry ingredients and the water, about a quarter at a time, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Make sure you blend very well after each addition.
  8. To make the caramel syrup, melt the sugar in a heavy saucepan over low heat until it turns golden brown.
  9. Remove from heat and gradually add the boiling water, just a few drops at a time at first, then about a tablespoon at a time.  Stir constantly to dissolve the caramel.
  10. Add all but 2 tablespoons of this syrup to the batter and blend well.
  11. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
  12. Pour the batter into two 20cm non-stick layer-cake pans.
  13. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the centre of the cake springs back when lightly touched.
  14. Cool the layers on a wire rack.
  15. To make the icing, beat the butter until fluffy.
  16. Gradually beat the sugar into the butter, alternately with the cream, until the sugar is absorbed.
  17. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  18. Beat in the 2 tablespoons of caramel syrup you set aside earlier.
  19. The icing should be of spreading consistency. If it’s not, add more sugar to thicken or cream to thin.
  20. Frost the cooled layers with the icing and stack.
  21. Slice and serve.

Prep Time:  60 minutes

Cooking Time:  35 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty:  Difficult

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07Apr 12

Orange Cake with Strawberries and Cream

Orange cake with strawberries and creamThis light and fruity orange cake with strawberries and cream is the perfect dessert to serve on a hot summer afternoon.  The orange rind gives it a subtle citrus flavour which is counterbalanced perfectly by the strawberries and cream.

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites, beaten
  • 110g butter, softened
  • 145g cake flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 1/3tsp salt
  • 4tbsp orange juice
  • 185ml buttermilk
  • 1tbsp grated orange rind
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 500g strawberries, chopped
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 100ml double cream

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Grease and flour or line a cake pan with baking parchment. Set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer on medium speed, blend the butter and sugar until light in colour.
  4.  Add 2 tablespoons of the orange juice, the rind and the vanilla. Blend well.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Mix just until blended.
  6. Fold the batter mixture into the beaten egg whites. Pour into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack.
  8. While the cake is baking, prepare the strawberries by mixing the chopped strawberries with 150g of granulated sugar.  Stir well to make sure all the fruit is coated in sugar. Set aside for 20 minutes so that the berries release their juice.  Mix with the double cream and refrigerate until the cake is done and cool.
  9. Pour 2 tablespoons of orange juice on top of baked cake.
  10. Cool cake in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. Remove from the pan and continue lettting it sit on the wire cooling rack until it reaches room temperature.
  12. Remove and discard the baking parchment, if necessary.
  13. Drizzle a heaping tablespoon or two of the strawberries and cream over the cake in whichever decorative pattern you choose.
  14. Coat any visible strawberries with icing sugar and serve immediately.  If you don’t plan on serving immediately, leave the strawberries until you do.
Note: Sometimes, I like cutting the cake in half horizontally and adding the strawberries and cream in the middle so as to have several layers of fruit.
 
(Want more orange cake recipes? I recommend this Easter cake with orange and marzipan.)

 

Prep Time:  20 minutes

Cooking Time:  50 minutes

Serves:  6-8

Difficulty:  Medium

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04Apr 12

Poached Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple upside down cakeLately I’ve been trying to get away from standard chocolate and white cake varieties and getting more into fruit-based cakes, like this almond cake with orchard fruits.  I guess I’m trying to fool myself into thinking they’re a bit healthier, which they are, albeit only slightly!  This poached pineapple upside-down cake is one of the more difficult ones I’ve tried and I have to admit that my first attempt didn’t turn out very well.  However, I gave it another try and it came out beautifully!  The poached pineapple offsets the brown sugar and pecans perfectly and its appearance is quite impressive too.

So arm yourself with patience and give this one a try. You won’t be disappointed with the result!

Ingredients:

For the poached pineapple:

  • 5 fresh pineapple slices, poached and drained.
  • 400g granulated sugar
  • 200ml water
  • 50ml strained orange juice

For the sponge:

  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 6tbsp hot milk
  • 2 eggs, yolks separated from whites, whites stiffly beaten
  • 125g flour, sifted
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 8tbsp butter
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 65ml pecans, chopped into small pieces
  • 5 maraschino cherries

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. To poach the pineapple, stir the sugar and water together in a deep, heavy saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  Use a dampened pastry brush to wipe down any stray sugar crystals that stick to the sides of the pan.  When the sugar has dissolved, bring the syrup to the boil.  Add the pineapple slices and simmer for 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Gradually add half of the granulated sugar and all the milk to the egg yolks, beating steadily.
  4. Thoroughly mix in the rest of the granulated sugar, the flour and the vanilla extract.
  5. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
  6. Melt the butter in a large frying pan (about 23cm in diameter) over medium heat.
  7. Add the brown sugar and blend well.
  8. Remove the frying pan from the heat and arrange the pineapple slices and pecans symmetrically on top of the butter and sugar mixture. Place one cherry in the middle of each pineapple slice.
  9. Cover these ingredients with the batter and place the pan in the preheated oven.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  11. Flip the cake out immediately onto a serving dish.
  12. Let the cake cool before serving.

Prep Time:  25 minutes

Cooking Time:  30 minutes

Serves:  8-10

Difficulty:  Difficult

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02Apr 12

Grandma’s Apple Pie

Grandma's Apple PieAlthough there are many versions of this traditional apple pastry, this is my grandmother’s original apple pie recipe. Rather than using traditional red baking apples, this recipe calls for tart Granny Smiths, which in my mind provide the perfect balance to the high sugar and cinnamon content in the filling.

 

I’ve provided instructions for making the pastry from scratch, but if you prefer, you can go ahead and use ready-made chilled or frozen crusts. I won’t tell anybody, I promise!

Another popular fruit dessert is an apple and walnut crumble. I suggest serving the both the pie and the crumble with vanilla ice cream on top.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 312g (2 1/2 cups) sifted white flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 226g (1 cup) butter, chilled and diced
  • 120ml (1/2 cup) ice water

For the filling:

  • 113g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) water
  • 100g (1/2 cup) granulated white sugar
  • 110g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

Instructions:

To make the crust:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Cut into the butter using a pastry knife and add to the bowl. Do NOT use your hands.
  3. Stir in the ice water using a spoon, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms into a ball.
  4. Divide the dough into 2 balls.
  5. Wrap the balls separately in plastic and chill for 4 hours.
  6. Roll out the balls into two flat crusts about 30 cm in diameter.
  7. Press one of the crusts firmly into the bottom and sides of a 26 cm pie dish.
  8. Cut the other crust into 1 cm wide strips (for making a latticework on the top of the pie).

To make the filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 220ºC.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  3. Stir in the flour to make a paste.
  4. Add the water, white granulated sugar and brown sugar, and bring to the boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and let simmer on minimum heat.
  6. Fill the pie crust with the sliced apples, mounded slightly in the centre.
  7. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the apples.
  8. Cover with a latticework of crust from the strips you made earlier.
  9. Pour the sugar and butter mixture over the top of the latticework crust.  Pour slowly and take care that it doesn’t run over the sides.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven.
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 175º C and continue baking for 40-45 minutes until the apples are soft.
  12. Serve with cream or ice cream and enjoy!

Prep Time:  30 minutes, plus 4 hours chilling the pastry.

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty: Medium

 

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