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Cover: Make your cake…and eat it

Recipes with cinnamon

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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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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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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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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11Jun 12

Sour Cream and Cinnamon Cake

Sour cream and cinnamon cakeThis sour cream and cinnamon cake recipe is so good I recommend you at least double the recipe as you’re sure to want more when it’s finished, which will be sooner than you think!  This is of course partly due to the fact that it really is delicious, but also because the whole house smells fantastic from the cinnamon while it’s baking. Your mouth starts to water and your tummy to rumble well before it comes out of the oven!

Since almonds are a principal ingredient in this recipe, you might want to try almond ice cream to go along with it!

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • 125g peeled roasted almonds, finely chopped

 

For the sponge:

  • 115g butter, softened
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 250ml sour cream
  • 1tsp almond extract
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 285g cake flour
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 1/2tsp salt

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC.
  2. Grease and flour a 25cm tube pan, or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. To make the filling, combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon and almonds in a small bowl.  Mix well and set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until light in colour.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg addition.
  6. Add the sour cream, almond and vanilla extracts and blend well.
  7. With the electric mixer set on low speed, gradually add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix just until blended.
  8. Spread half the batter on the bottom of the prepared tube pan. Sprinkle the batter with three quarters of the almond filling mixture.
  9. Spread the remaining batter on top of the filling.
  10.  Sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining almond filling.
  11.  Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  12. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Cool the cake in its pan for 10 to 15minutes.
  13. Carefully remove cake from the pan and continue cooling on the wire rack. Remove and discard the baking parchment when cool.
  14.  Slice and serve warm, or cool completely and wrap in aluminium foil. Store at room temperature. 

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  60 minutes

Serves:  10

Difficulty:  Medium

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05Jun 12

Molasses and Spice Biscuits

Molasses and spice biscuitsIn today’s world, it can be hard to find the time to bake biscuits at home,  but I am convinced that home-made is still the best!  In the end it’s almost as cheap as buying them, and  there is really nothing that compares to a freshly-baked biscuit still hot from the oven.

A perennial favourite around my house, these Molasses and Spice Biscuits are almost sinfully delicious!  The cinnamon, cloves and ginger add an exotic nuance to the recipe that always makes me think of spice caravans winding their way across some Eastern desert.  Just one bite brings images of camels and colourful piles of spices and fabrics to mind.

As with most biscuit recipes, this one is fairly quick and easy to prepare.  The trick is to leave the uncooked dough in the refrigerator as long as possible, overnight if you can.  This helps to keep them from spreading out too much while baking and merging together into one giant mess on the baking sheet.

When they’re ready, serve with a glass of milk or a cup of tea for dipping.

Ingredients:

  • 115g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
  • 300g (1 1/2 cups) granulated white sugar
  • 170g (1/2 cup) unsulphured molasses
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 510g (4 cups) white flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 32g granulated sugar for coating the cookies (1/4 cup).

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175º C.
  2. Cream the butter, vegetable oil and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Add the molasses and eggs and beat until thoroughly combined.
  4. Set aside.
  5. In another bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda, cloves, ginger and cinnamon.
  6. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the butter and sugar bowl.
  7. Keep stirring until the mixture is well blended and smooth.
  8. Chill the dough for at least an hour.
  9. Roll pieces of dough into 3 cm balls.
  10. Coat the balls with the granulated sugar by rolling them around on a plate with the sugar.
  11. Place the balls about 6 cm apart on a baking sheet.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven for 14 minutes.  The biscuits will flatten as they bake.
  13. Remove the biscuits from the oven and cool on wire racks.

Prep Time: 15 minutes + 30 minutes chilling

Cooking Time: 14 minutes

Serves: 6 (about 40 cookies)

Difficulty: Easy

Note: For a more chocolaty option, try these chocolate chunk and raspberry cookies.

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30May 12

Banana Bread

Banana BreadWe buy and eat a LOT of bananas at my home, but no matter how hard we try, we never seem to be able to eat them all before they start to turn brown and mushy.  Some people claim to like them that way, but I’m definitely not one of them!  So what better solution to the mushy banana problem than making banana bread!?

 

The loaf is a breeze to prepare and the result, frankly, is out of this world!  The outer crust seems to somehow soak up a higher sugar content and turns into a sweet and crunchy delight, while the inside stays incredibly moist and chewy and almost melts on your tongue.  Plus, it’s made out of bananas, so it can’t be too fattening! At least that’s what I like to tell myself as I wolf down my third piece…

The bananas don’t necessarily have to be brown and mushy for this recipe to work, but they do have to be fully ripe.  Green ones will definitely ruin the effect.  Your best bet is to do like me and buy lots of yellow bananas to eat alone or in blueberry and banana smoothies, but whenever the extras start to go bad, you’ve got the perfect excuse to make yourself a (relatively) healthy dessert!  The loaf freezes very well too, so go ahead and double or triple the recipe and stick the extras in the freezer for later.

Ingredients:

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 185g flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC.
  2. Butter and flour a 21cm x 10cm loaf pan.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas into the sugar with a fork or potato masher.
  4. Add the egg 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 mix well.
  7. Pour the mixture into the buttered and floured loaf pan.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes or until a fork inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 4

Difficulty: Easy

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18May 12

Apple Crumble

Apple crumbleIf you’re anything like me, you’ve probably always got lots of apples in the kitchen at the point of going bad.  As far as I’m concerned, this is a good thing, as it gives me the perfect excuse to bake them into something even yummier.  The great thing about most apple-based desserts is that they’re very easy to make and require little time and effort to prepare.  And this apple crumble recipe is probably the easiest of them all! I also recommend a sliced apple cake. You know what they say: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”

There’s a lot of debate about exactly which variety of apple is the best for cooking; some prefer Gala, while others swear by Granny Smith or Gravenstein.   Personally, I think the point is moot, as the absolute best way to make the perfect cooked apple dessert is to mix as many different kinds as possible together for a full-on taste explosion and a different nuance in every bite!  So go ahead, grab 6 different apples and start peeling!

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 6 cooking  apples (or any apples will do)
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 2tsp unsalted butter, melted

For the crumble:

  • 4tsp unsalted butter
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 65g all-purpose flour
  • 125ml rolled oats

Instructions:

For the filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC.
  2. Peel and slice apples and lay them on the bottom of a non-stick or greased baking dish.
  3. Mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples.
  4. Pour the melted butter over the apples.

For the crumble:

  1. Blend the butter into the brown sugar.
  2. Mix together the flour and rolled oats in a separate bowl.
  3. Add the flour and rolled oats to the butter and sugar and mix well.
  4. Spoon this mixture onto the apples.
  5. Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Uncover and bake for another 35 minutes or until the crust is golden and the apples are tender.
  7. Best served warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Prep Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time:  50 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty:  Easy

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