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Cover: Make your cake…and eat it

July, 2012

30Jul 12

Date and Raisin Biscuits

Date and Raisin BiscuitsThis delicious date and raisin biscuit recipe was given to me years ago by a neighbour who was a real baking aficionado, and they instantly became one of my favourite biscuits!  I remember her house (and mine, as I lived right next door) used to always smell of cakes and biscuits at the weekends, which always left me with my mouth watering and wondering if it would be too cheeky to go over and ask for a sample!  Luckily, I never had to, as she eventually came over and offered me some of these delicious biscuits, and many other treats over the course of the years that I lived next to her.

To keep with the date theme, you could try this curly asparagus salad with goat’s cheese and Medjool dates as a meal before these biscuits. After all, you will probably need some healthy food to offset the sugar in this recipe!

As with most biscuit recipes, it’s pretty hard to go wrong. Just make sure you mix everything well and remember that the longer you let the dough sit in the refrigerator, the better they’ll turn out.  Enjoy!

 

Date and Raisin Biscuits
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 100g seedless raisins
  • 150g chopped dates
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 200g butter
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 375g plus 3tsp flour
  • ½tsp salt
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • ½tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  3. Place the dates and raisins in a saucepan and cover them with 250ml of water.
  4. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Most of the water will boil off or be absorbed by the raisins. What little water is left should not be drained but kept as part of the raisin and date mix. This will help the consistency of the batter later.
  5. Stir in the baking soda and let cool.
  6. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar.
  7. Beat the eggs well, and then beat them into the butter and sugar mixture.
  8. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices.
  9. Blend the flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture.
  10. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  11. Add the cooled raisins and dates to the batter and mix well.
  12. Cover the batter with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  13. Drop tablespoonfuls of the batter onto the greased baking sheet, leaving about 3 to 4 cm between each biscuit.
  14. Bake for around 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges turn golden.

 

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26Jul 12

Apple Coffee Cake

Apple Coffee Cake

 

This apple coffee cake is a deliciously spicy treat that goes extremely well with your cup of morning tea or coffee. For an afternoon or evening dessert, pair it with a xanté hot apple cocktail. The combined flavours will be delicious!

The tartness of the apples provides the perfect counterpoint to the aromatic sweetness of the coffee cake. In fact, I suggest you use the tartest apples you can find, as this really makes the cake stand out from the crowd. For a truly decadent delight, try adding some pecans or walnuts (or any other nut) to the batter. If you do, be sure to coat the nuts with a bit of flour before adding them to the mix, as this will help to keep them from sinking to the bottom during baking.

Apple Coffee Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
This apple coffee cake is a deliciously spicy treat that goes extremely well with your cup of morning tea or coffee.
Ingredients
  • 110g butter
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 2tbsp buttermilk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼tsp grated nutmeg
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • ½tsp baking soda
  • 250g flour
  • 30g icing sugar for decoration
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Butter and flour a loaf pan.
  3. Melt the butter in a heavy frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Add the apples and stir well to coat them with the butter.
  5. Simmer for about 30 seconds, remove from heat and set aside for later.
  6. Beat together the eggs and the granulated sugar.
  7. Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.
  8. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder and baking soda and blend well.
  9. Add the flour a little at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.
  10. Fold in the apples and melted butter and mix well.
  11. Pour the batter into the buttered and floured loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  12. Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes and then remove from the pan to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  13. Top with icing sugar.

 

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23Jul 12

Basque Cream Cake

Basque Cream Cake

This is a French recipe originating from the Basque region, an area that borders France and Spain. That´s where I first tried this cake, after a very long morning walk around the city of Soule, France, and a quite heavy meal that included Coq Au Vin in a great restaurant where everything was fantastic. I didn´t know what to order for dessert, so the waiter recommended this delicacy, which is difficult to find even in Basque bakeries. Luckily, this rustic jewel is not hard to make, just hard to resist.

I really liked its textures and flavours, and thought it could also be an ideal afternoon tea time snack. It’s a cake with a crunchy textured top and bottom, and then a soft middle. The filling is simply pastry cream. The cake I first made consisted of a cake that was basically dripping with rum, a vanilla pastry cream and slivered almonds on top.

It is known in French as Gateau Basque, where the traditional filling is cherries; there are countless variations to the cake depending on where it is made. The stuffing can be varied depending on the requirements and availability: sometimes, powdered almonds or lemon zest may also be used to make the pastry of the cake, and the yeast may be replaced with baking powder. The cream filling may be flavoured with almonds, anise, rum or Armagnac, or it could also contain cherry jam.

Basque Cream Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
This Basque cream cake is a yummy, cream-filled classic from southern France.
Ingredients
  • For the cake:
  • 250g flour
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs, one of them lightly beaten
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 150g butter, melted and cooled
  • 60ml fresh strained orange juice
  • 4 drops vanilla extract
  • 10ml dark rum
  • For the pastry cream filling:
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 40g flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 500ml milk
  • 5cm piece of vanilla bean
Instructions
  1. Prepare the pastry cream filling first:
  2. Mix the sugar and egg yolks together with a spoon, beating until the mixture is thick and cream-coloured.
  3. Gradually work in the flour and a pinch of salt.
  4. Place the milk and the vanilla bean in a saucepan and heat to the boiling point.
  5. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture in a thin stream, stirring constantly.
  6. Turn the mixture into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring vigorously, until it comes to the boiling point.
  7. Boil for two minutes.
  8. Strain the mixture and allow it to cool. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on it.
  9. Prepare the cake:
  10. Oil a spring-form cake pan and preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  11. Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl.
  12. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the three unbeaten eggs with the granulated sugar.
  13. Slowly add the butter to the eggs and sugar.
  14. Beat in the flour mixture, a third at a time.
  15. Mix in the orange juice, vanilla extract and rum.
  16. Let the batter sit for 15 minutes.
  17. Fill an icing bag fitted with a No.6 open star nozzle with the cake batter.
  18. Pipe the batter in a spiral shape into the oiled cake pan, starting at the outside edge and finishing at the centre.
  19. Spread the pastry cream over the batter, leaving a one centimetre edge uncovered. Make sure the pastry cream doesn’t touch the edge of the pan.
  20. Cover the pastry cream with a spiral of batter, making sure the edge is well covered.
  21. Brush the top with the beaten egg.
  22. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until it feels dry.
  23. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out and serve cold.

 

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19Jul 12

Hazelnut Torte

Hazelnut TorteA simple, yet satisfying, hazelnut torte recipe that is quick to prepare, and even quicker to disappear! (For those of you who like hazelnuts mixed with chocolate, you should definitely try this white birthday cake with nutella frosting as well.)

 

Hazelnut Torte
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 175g hazelnuts
  • 100g finely sliced almonds
  • 255g caster sugar
  • 4 egg whites, stiffly beaten
  • 3tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp fresh strained lemon juice
  • 250ml double cream, whipped
  • 2tbsp granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 240ºC.
  2. Butter and flour two layer-cake pans and line them with baking parchment. Set aside for later.
  3. Spread the hazelnuts along the bottom of an oven-safe pan and roast in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until the skin cracks open and the nuts are toasted. Shake the pan every few minutes to keep the nuts from burning.
  4. Remove the nuts from the oven and pour them onto a clean kitchen towel.
  5. Reduce the heat of the oven to 150ºC.
  6. Rub energetically with the towel to remove the skins.
  7. Grind the skinned nuts with a nut grinder or food processor.
  8. Sift through the ground nuts and eliminate any large pieces.
  9. Grind the larger pieces again and add back to the rest of the ground nuts, along with the almonds.
  10. Beat the caster sugar into the egg whites a little at a time.
  11. Continue beating another few minutes after all the caster sugar has been added.
  12. Add two teaspoons of the vanilla extract and all of the lemon juice to the mixture and beat for two or three more minutes to ensure that all of the sugar has been completely dissolved into the egg whites.
  13. Carefully fold a little more than three-quarters of the ground nuts into the mixture.
  14. Pour half of the mixture into each of the buttered and floured cake pans.
  15. Bake in the 150ºC oven for about 30 minutes, or until the cakes are firm but not browned.
  16. Turn the cakes out onto wire racks and remove the baking parchment.
  17. Allow the cakes to cool.
  18. While the cakes are cooling, mix the whipped double cream with the granulated sugar and the remaining vanilla extract.
  19. Fold the rest of the nuts into the whipped cream.
  20. Place one of the cooled cake layers on a serving plate and spread the whipped cream and nut mixture on top of it.
  21. Carefully lay the second layer on top of the first and serve immediately.

 

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12Jul 12

Apple sauce Ginger Roll

Apple sauce Ginger RollAs with most rolled cakes, this apple sauce ginger roll is a little bit labour intensive, so it’s not the best option if you’re short on either time or patience. However, if you’ve got the time to do it right, the end result is more than well worth the effort required!

Another example of an elaborate cake roll is this Chocolate Caterpillar Cake. The author of this recipe made it for her niece’s birthday, and I think it was really clever!

My apple sauce ginger roll recipe is one of my kids’ all-time favourites. Hopefully soon they’ll be old enough to help with the preparation! The recipe calls for apricot jam, but any other fruit jam should work just as well; let your taste buds be your guide and you can’t go wrong!

Apple sauce Ginger Roll
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 65g cake flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp allspice
  • 50ml dark molasses
  • 375ml apple sauce
  • 125ml apricot jam
  • 1tsp grated lemon peel
  • 30ml brandy
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. Butter a jelly roll pan and line with baking parchment.
  3. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl together with the sugar and salt until the mixture is very thick and retains its shape (about 5 minutes).
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and allspice.
  5. Add the flour and spice mixture to the egg mixture and fold in very gently.
  6. Fold in the molasses.
  7. Spread the batter on the buttered and lined jelly roll pan.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the sponge springs back when lightly pressed in the centre.
  9. Remove the sponge from the oven and dust the surface with the granulated sugar.
  10. Turn the cake out upside down onto two overlapping sheets of baking parchment.
  11. Peel off the parchment you baked with and roll up the cake like a jelly roll.
  12. Chill the roll for at least an hour.
  13. While the sponge is chilling, mix together the apple sauce, apricot jam, lemon peel and brandy and set aside.
  14. Unroll the chilled sponge carefully and spread the filling over the top.
  15. Roll it up again and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

 

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09Jul 12

Blueberry Cake

Blueberry CakeEvery summer when I was a little girl, we used to visit my great-aunt who lived in Canada,  and she would often take us blueberry picking.  The picking itself was pure torture, bending over for hours on end picking the berries, scraping our hands on the bushes and wilting under the hot sun, but when we finally got home she would always make tons of blueberrydesserts, which made all the effort worth it.  My favourite of those desserts was blueberry cake. (A similar version is this delicious pistachio and blueberry cake.)

This isn’t the exact recipe she used, but it’s fairly close to what I remember from those hot and humid Canadian summer afternoons so long ago.  I particularly like the way the blueberries seem to explode in your mouth with a burst of sweetness when you bite into one side of the cake.  Just make sure you let it cool well before you eat it as the blueberries retain the heat quite well and you can burn your tongue – trust me, I’m talking from experience on this one!

If you can’t get fresh blueberries, frozen ones will work perfectly well in their place. In fact you can’t really tell the difference, so if price is a problem, then go ahead and use the frozen berries which are generally a lot cheaper unless it’s the right season.  You can also try sprinkling a 50/50 mix of sugar and cinnamon on top for an extra-decadent delight.

Ingredients:

  • 125ml butter
  • 400g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 500ml blueberries, washed and dried
  • 250g all purpose flour
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC.
  2. Butter and flour a 20 cm round cake pan.
  3. Cream together the butter and the granulated sugar.
  4. Mix in the eggs and buttermilk.
  5. Add the flour, cinnamon and baking soda and stir well.
  6. Add the blueberries and mix well.
  7. Pour the mixture into the buttered and floured cake pan.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until  a knife inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

Difficulty: Easy

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06Jul 12

Traditional Pound Cake

Traditional Pound cakeThis is a recipe for traditional pound cake, just like Grandma used to make!  The reason it’s called pound cake is because of the original quantities of the main ingredients in the old imperial measuring system – a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of flour and a pound of eggs.  My now, doesn’t that sound healthy!?!

Well, be that as it may, this recipe has been a classic for ages, and it’s easy to see why.  Aside from being easy to remember and easy to make, it’s also very moist and delicious and loved by almost anyone with a sweet tooth!

I top my cake with icing sugar, but if you have a preference for chocolate, you could make this dark chocolate ganache to cover it.

Ingredients:

  • 115g butter, softened
  • 190g cake flour
  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • Icing sugar for dusting

                                          

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC.
  2. Grease and flour a 25cm x 15cm x 7cm loaf pan, or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter on medium speed in an electric mixer. Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat until light in colour.
  4. Add the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl in order to make sure mixture is well-blended.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend in the flour, baking powder and salt just until blended.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with just a bit of crumb on it.
  8. Remove the pound cake from the oven and place it on a wire cooling rack. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  9. Carefully remove the cake from the pan and continue to cool on the wire rack until it’s completely cool. Remove and discard the baking parchment.
  10.  Dust the top with the icing sugar and serve in slices.
  11.  Any unused cake can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature, or it may also be frozen for later use.

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  55 minutes

Serves:  6-8

Difficulty:  Easy

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05Jul 12

Spicy Pound Cake

Spicy Pound CakeA bit of an exotic twist on your traditional pound cake recipe, this spicy pound cake is a breeze to make and a real delight to eat. My favourite way to eat it is dipping a big chunk into my Chai tea latte, though I realise that this may be a bit too rich and spicy for some palettes!

Tangerines are really better than oranges in this recipe, so if you can get them, use them! If not, it still tastes perfectly good with regular  oranges. Another option is to use half and half orange/tangerine and lemon or lime. If you’re feeling extra-adventurous, try scooping a dollop of pistachio ice-cream (Malai Kulfi) on top of the cake while it’s still warm (or reheat it in the microwave first).

For a chocolaty orange recipe, you can try my yellow layer cake with orange chocolate frosting or this dark chocolate and orange mousse recipe.

Spicy Pound Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Desserts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 450g butter, softened
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 12 eggs, yolks separated from whites, yolks well beaten, whites stiffly beaten
  • 500g flour
  • ½tsp finely grated orange or tangerine peel
  • ½tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½tsp ground nutmeg
  • 150g finely ground sponge fingers
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Butter a cake pan and dust with the sponge finger crumbs.
  3. Stir the butter to form a cream.
  4. Beat in the sugar until it turns fluffy.
  5. Beat in the egg yolks and mix well.
  6. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and grated orange peel.
  7. Beat the flour mixture into the batter, a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
  8. Fold the egg whites into the batter and mix well.
  9. Pour the batter into the buttered loaf pan that you previously dusted with the sponge finger crumbs.
  10. Lay a sheet of buttered baking parchment over the top of the pan and bake in the preheated oven for one and a half to two hours, or until the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  11. Let the cake cool in the pan, then turn it out onto a serving platter, slice and serve.

 

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03Jul 12

Nutty Meringue Cake

Nutty Meringue CakeThis nutty meringue cake is a light and nutty delight that makes for a perfect treat on a hot summer’s day. Although the end result is quite impressive and looks like it was difficult to make, the process itself is actually rather simple.  Just be careful to not leave the meringues in the oven too long so that they don’t burn!

For a fruity meringue flavour, try this iced fruit mountains and hot chocolate snow recipe.

Nutty Meringue Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 1.5tbsp cornflour
  • 55g peanuts, shelled
  • 55g almonds
  • 6 stiffly beaten egg whites
  • 125g cream cheese
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Butter and flour a baking sheet and two standard sized flan rings (about 23cm wide by 2-3cm deep).
  3. Place the rings on top of the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Mix together the granulated sugar and cornflour.
  5. Fold the egg whites into the mixture.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared rings and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and let the meringue cool in the rings.
  8. While the meringues are cooling, grind the peanuts and almonds together in a blender or food processor. Put them in a bowl and mix them with the cream cheese, vanilla extract and all but 1 tablespoon of the icing sugar. This is the icing mixture.
  9. Mix well and ensure that the icing is well blended.
  10. Remove the rings from the two meringues.
  11. The side that was touching the baking sheet will be very flat. Place one of the meringues on a serving plate with this side down.
  12. Spread about 75% of the icing evenly on top of the bottom meringue layer.
  13. Place the other layer of meringue on top of the icing and bottom layer.
  14. Use a spatula to spread the rest of the icing over the sides of the cake, partly covering the top meringue layer.
  15. Put the icing sugar and cocoa powder in a sieve and sprinkle over top of the meringue to create a light chocolate blanket.
  16. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  17. Serve cold, cut into small wedges.

 

 

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