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Cover: Make your cake…and eat it

Recipes with baking powder

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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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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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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29Jun 12

Pear and Nut Bread

Pear and Nut BreadThis sweet and spicy pear and nut bread makes for a great Christmas cake and also works very well as a carry-along snack for school or a car-trip out in the country.  It also goes great with a nice warm cup of tea, especially Earl Grey or English Breakfast.  I like to use hazelnuts, but walnuts also work very well. (For a chocolaty treat, try these poached pears with a hot white chocolate liqueur sauce.)

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 pears, peeled and cored
  • 110g butter, softened
  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 240g cake flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • 250g seedless raisins
  • 250g chopped hazelnuts

 

Instructions:

  1. Cut two of the peeled and cored pears into 1.5cm slices.
  2. Place the pears in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, uncovered over high heat, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain.
  3. Purée the cooked pears in a food processor until they attain the consistency of applesauce. You should have about 250ml. Set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  5. Grease and flour a 25 x 15 x 7 centimetre loaf pan, or line with baking parchment. Set aside.
  6. In an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until light in colour.
  7. Add the pear purée and vanilla extract and mix just until blended.
  8. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  9. On low speed, gradually add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix just until blended.
  10.  Dice the two remaining pears and stir into the batter along with the raisins and nuts.
  11.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  12.  Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes.
  13.  Carefully remove the cake from the pan and continue to cool on the wire cooling rack. Remove and discard the parchment.
  14.  Serve slightly warm or wrap in foil and store at room temperature.

 

Prep Time:  25 minutes

Cooking Time:  60 minutes

Serves:  10

Difficulty:  Medium

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20Jun 12

Almond Pound Cake with Fresh Strawberries

Almond Pound Cake with Fresh StrawberriesA bit of a twist on the classic pound cake recipe, this almond pound cake with fresh strawberries is the perfect treat for a summer afternoon.  I like to use brown sugar to sweeten the strawberries as I find it gives them a more nuanced flavour, but if you don’t like the taste, you can substitute normal white granulated sugar.  In fact, if the berries are sweet enough, you can omit the sugar altogether for a slightly more healthy version. (Also try strawberries with Grana Padano and honey.)

 

Ingredients:

  • 165g butter, softened
  • 190g cake flour
  • 180ml almond paste
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 180ml milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 500g fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thinly
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 150ml double cream

 

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. Add the almond paste and continue mixing until smooth.
  4. Gradually add sugar and beat until light in colour.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Add the vanilla extract.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this mixture to the batter alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just blended.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  9. 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.
  10.  While the cake is baking, prepare the strawberries: Mix the hulled and sliced strawberries with the brown sugar, stirring well to coat all the berries with sugar.  Set aside for at least 10 minutes so that the berries release their juice.
  11.  Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes.
  12.  Carefully remove the cake from the pan and continue cooling on the wire cooling rack.
  13.  When the cake has cooled, cut into slices and top with a couple of tablespoons of the strawberry and brown sugar mixture.
  14.  Drizzle a little double cream over the top and serve.

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  55 minutes

Serves:  6-8

Difficulty:  Easy

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16Jun 12

Banana and Blueberry Cake

Banana and Blueberry CakeThis banana and blueberry cake is so full of fruity goodness that I find it hard to resist snacking on every time I go into the kitchen, although I generally prefer to eat it at breakfast along with a cup of coffee or tea.  Another fruity option in the morning is this berry messy breakfast.

If you want to make it a tad heartier and healthier, try replacing a bit of the flour with bran or rolled oats.  The bananas should be very ripe for best results, but don’t worry too much as long as they’re not still green.  The recipe calls for fresh blueberries, but the frozen ones will work just as well, and you can hardly notice the difference.

Ingredients:

  • 120g butter, softened
  • 400g plus 1tblsp granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 125g bananas, mashed (about 2 small sized bananas)
  • 375g plus 1tbsp flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • 125ml whole milk
  • 500g fresh  blueberries

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Grease and flour a 24cm fluted Bundt pan and set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter.
  4. Gradually add the sugar while continuing to mix.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add the mashed bananas and mix well.
  7. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking powder.
  8. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just blended and smooth.
  9. In a separate bowl, mix the blueberries with 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 tablespoon of sugar to coat.
  10.  Stir coated blueberries into the batter and pour into the prepared pan.
  11.  Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with just a bit of crumb on it.
  12.  Remove the cake from the oven and place on wire cooling rack.
  13.  Cool the cake in its pan for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove from the pan and continue to cool, right side up, on the cooling rack.
  14.  When the cake has completely cooled, slice and serve.

 

 

Prep Time:  20 minutes

Cooking Time:  65 minutes

Serves:  10-12

Difficulty:  Medium

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08Jun 12

Apricot Squares

Apricot SquaresI love making cakes; they’re my favourite food bar-none, but sometimes for a party it just seems like too much bother to have to serve it on plates with a fork and knife, as well as all the extra washing-up this means later on.  So for my latest party, I decided to make squares instead, as they can be served on a napkin and eaten with your fingers if need be.  They’re not any more difficult to make than a regular cake, but just as tasty!

As an optional “extra,” you can also concoct an orange icing to top it off. Depending on your sweet tooth (or that of your guests), you can give it a try. With the icing, the mix of apricots, almonds and orange in these apricot squares is truly astounding, as I’m sure my guests would attest to!

For those who like to combine fruit with chocolate, I recommend this chocolate and apricot wrap cake.

Ingredients:

For the squares:

  • 160ml dried apricots
  • 114g butter
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 165g sifted flour
  • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  • 125ml chopped almonds
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 2 beaten eggs

For the icing:

  • 75g butter, softened
  • 190g icing sugar
  • 40ml orange juice
  • 1/2tsp fine orange zest

Instructions:

For the squares:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC.
  2. Butter and flour a 20cm square baking pan.
  3. Rinse the apricots, cover with water in a small pot and boil for ten minutes.
  4. Drain off the water, let cool and then chop up the apricots.
  5. Mix the butter, sugar and 125g of sifted flour until a crumbly mixture is formed.
  6. Pack this mixture into the bottom of the square pan and bake for 25 minutes or until the top turns light brown.
  7. Sift the remaining 40g of flour together with the salt and baking powder.
  8. In a separate bowl, beat the brown sugar into the eggs and then add the flour mixture a third at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  9. Add the apricots, almonds and vanilla and mix well.
  10. Spread this mixture over the already baked layer.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  12. Let cool.

For the icing:

  1. Mix all the ingredients well, either by hand or with an electric mixer.
  2. If the icing is too runny, add more icing sugar.  If it’s too thick, add more orange juice.
  3. Spread the icing over the cooled apricot square.
  4. Cut into squares and serve.

Prep Time:  20 minutes

Cooking Time:  65 minutes

Serves:  8-10

Difficulty:  Medium

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22May 12

Upside-Down Maple Cake

Upside-down Maple cakeIf you thought that maple syrup was only good for drizzling over your pancakes, then get ready for this one!  This upside-down maple cake is chock-full of scrumptious maple syrup and rich double cream, and while it may not be the best thing for your waistline, it’ll definitely get your taste buds tingling and your stomach rumbling as you wait for it to bake!

The hardest part of making an upside-down cake is turning it over.  Make sure you separate the cake well from the edges before flipping and shake the pan a little to help loosen it from the bottom.  If you want to play it extra safe, you can try greasing the pan before adding the ingredients.  This shouldn’t be necessary, however, as the maple syrup forms a natural barrier between the cake and the pan.

When you get a little practice with the flip, try this apple tarte tatin.

If you want to make the presentation even fancier, try sprinkling some pecan halves or chopped walnuts on top before serving.  Good luck and good baking!

Ingredients:                                        

  • 250ml pure maple syrup
  • 2tbsps butter, softened
  • 3tbsps granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, well beaten
  • 125g sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2tsps baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 125ml whole milk
  • 250ml double cream
  • 20g icing sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. Heat the syrup to boiling and pour it into a 15cm by 25cm, 5cm deep glass baking dish.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy.
  4. Beat the egg into the creamed butter.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
  6. Sift into the butter mixture a third at a time, alternating with additions of milk.
  7. Pour the batter onto the hot maple syrup.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes.
  10. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake and then flip it out onto a hot platter.
  11. Sprinkle the icing sugar over the cake.
  12. Cut into portions and serve with the double cream, lightly whipped if you prefer.

Prep Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time:  25-30 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:  Medium

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