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Cover: Make your cake…and eat it

Recipes with flour

04Jun 12

Chocolate Fudge Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate fudge cake with Cream Cheese FrostingIf there’s one thing I’m completely ‘over-the-top passionate’ about, it’s chocolate.  And you can’t get much more chocolaty than this!  This melt-in-your mouth chocolate fudge cake with cream cheese frosting is like a little piece of heaven on your tongue.  Other versions have a hint of Earl grey, although the cake itself is very, very rich, the tanginess of the cream cheese frosting offsets that richness in just the right way, making this the perfect dessert for any occasion. A spot of tea is a nice complement for my recipe or try this Earl Grey chocolate fudge cake.

If you want to go all the way over the top, try adding around a half-cup of cocoa powder to the icing mixture for a true chocolate lover’s delight.

Ingredients:

For the sponge:

  • 45g (½ cup) of pure cocoa powder
  • 235ml (1 cup) of boiling water
  • 8 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 250g (2 cups) of sifted all-purpose flour
  • 400g (2 cups) of granulated white sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. of baking soda
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 120ml (½ cup) of sour cream or Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 200g of cream cheese
  • 320g (2 ½ cups) of icing sugar
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract

Instructions:

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Mix the cocoa powder, the boiling water and the butter in a large bowl.  Make sure the cocoa powder is completely dissolved and the butter is completely liquiefied.
  3. Let the mixture cool.
  4. In a different bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  5. Mix the dry ingredients into the cooled cocoa mixture a little at a time.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  7. Add the sour cream (or Greek yoghurt) and the vanilla extract and stir well.
  8. Pour the batter into a buttered and floured tube pan.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted into the centre and comes out clean.
  10. Cool the cake on a wire cake rack.

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.
  3. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake and serve.

Prep Time:  20 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Serves:  10

Difficulty: Medium

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02Jun 12

Peanut Butter Biscuits

Peanut Butter BiscuitsIf you like peanut butter, you’re going to love these chewy peanut butter biscuits!  As with most biscuits, they’re very easy to make and quite difficult to go wrong with.  I like to use smooth peanut butter for mine, but if you prefer to use the crunchy variety, that’ll work just fine as well.  I even tried using almond butter one time for a friend of mine who has a very bad peanut allergy and the result, while not as good as with peanut butter,  was still quite tasty and my friend was definitely thankful he could at least try them!

 

As with almost all biscuit recipes, it’s very important to let the mixture set in the fridge for at least an hour – the longer the better.  This helps to keep the biscuits from spreading out into a thin mess and running into each other.  If you have a really sweet tooth, you can  either try coating them in brown sugar before placing them on the baking sheet or serve with a scoop of peanut butter ice cream.  Whatever you do, keep a close eye on them while they’re baking; there’s nothing worse than waiting all that time for the dough to set and then burning to a crisp due to a distraction!

Ingredients: 

  • 230g unsalted butter
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 250ml peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC.
  2. Grease a baking sheet.
  3. Cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar.
  4. Add the eggs, peanut butter and vanilla and mix well.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and blend well.
  7. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  8. Shape into 4 cm balls and arrange on the greased baking sheet, leaving 5cm between each ball.
  9. Press down on each ball with a fork until it’s about half its original thickness.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until the biscuits are lightly browned around the edges.
  11. Turn out onto a wire cooling rack.

Prep Time: 10 minutes + 1 hour setting

Cooking Time: 12 minutes

Serves: 4

Difficulty: Medium

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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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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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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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07May 12

Apple Cake

Apple CakeThis  apple cake recipe is delicious warm from the oven, but also makes for a good breakfast the next day. You can serve the cake plain or add a scoop of whipped cream, crème fraîche or ice cream for extra enjoyment, or you could even drizzle some caramel sauce or condensed milk over the top.

You can use any type of apples in season. Personally, I like to use a mixture of different varieties of apples. The recipe calls for 4, so why not use 4 different kinds? The cake will taste a little bit different every time, but that’s really the great thing about it!   The cake can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. (Also try this apple tart tatin recipe.)

Ingredients:

  • 300g plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 250g chopped walnuts
  • 6 eggs
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 apples, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced (about 1 litre)
  • 1 litre vanilla ice cream

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC.
  2. Line a 23cm circular pan with baking parchment. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. In an electric mixer set on medium speed, mix the eggs, 300g granulated sugar, the oil, lemon juice, lemon rind and vanilla.
  5. On low speed, add the flour and baking powder. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth.
  6. Pour the apples and walnuts into the batter and mix well.
  7. When all blended together, gently fold the batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Smooth it out so that it lies evenly, with no apples peeking out from the top.
  9. Next, top and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar.
  10. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
  11. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on wire cooling rack. Make sure that the cake is very cool before you remove it from the pan.
  12. Discard the baking parchment and serve, preferably with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  65 minutes

Serves:  10

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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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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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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