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Cover: Make your cake…and eat it

Recipes with granulated sugar

03Oct 12

Pecan Squares

Pecan SquaresThese deliciously satisfying pecan squares are a fantastic solution if you’re looking for an interesting dessert for a dinner party or brunch.  Use the best quality pecans you can get and keep a close eye while baking to avoid burning.

I also suggest you try my apricot and pecan cake. It makes a fantastic breakfast option!

 

Pecan Squares
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A fantastic solution if you're looking for an interesting dessert
Ingredients
  • FOR THE CRUST:
  • 225g butter at room temperature
  • 150g brown sugar
  • ½tsp salt
  • 375g flour
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 115g butter
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 6tbsp honey
  • 2tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2tbsp double cream
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 200g pecan halves
  • ½tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. FOR THE CRUST:
  2. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  3. Line a deep baking dish with parchment.
  4. Using an electric mixer or a food processor, mix the butter and brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the salt and mix to combine.
  6. Add the flour a third at a time on medium speed and continue mixing until the dough starts to form large clumps.
  7. Press the dough into the baking dish lined with parchment to form a crust about ½ centimetre thick.
  8. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork in 10 places or so.
  9. Chill until firm, about 20 minutes.
  10. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes.
  11. Transfer pan to a wire rack for cooling.
  12. FOR THE FILLING:
  13. Reduce the heat of the oven to 160ºC.
  14. Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, double cream and salt in a pot over medium heat.
  15. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture sticks to the back of a spoon, about 1 minute.
  16. Remove from heat and stir in the nuts and vanilla extract.
  17. Pour the filling into the cooled crust.
  18. Bake in the 160º oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the filling starts to bubble.
  19. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  20. When cool, carefully lift out of the pan and place on a cutting board.
  21. Cut into 5cm squares.
  22. Can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

 

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14Sep 12

Triple Chocolate Cake

 Triple Chocolate CakeChocolate, chocolate and more chocolate – what more do I need to say about this triple chocolate cake recipe?!  Get baking and enjoy. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

For another rich chocolate dessert to be eaten by the spoonful, try these intense little chocolate pots. They are sinfully tantalising!

 

Triple Chocolate Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate
Ingredients
  • CHOCOLATE SPONGE:
  • 4 eggs, yolks separated from whites, whites stiffly beaten
  • 165g plus 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 90g semisweet chocolate, melted in 1 tablespoon of water
  • 95g plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • RICH BUTTERCREAM FILLING:
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 125ml water
  • 5 egg yolks, beaten
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract
  • 125g semisweet chocolate
  • CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
  • 60g semisweet chocolate
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. FOR THE CHOCOLATE SPONGE:
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  3. Butter and flour an 8cm deep cake pan and set aside.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar to a pale foam.
  5. Gradually fold in the melted chocolate and flour, then gently fold in the egg whites.
  6. Blend thoroughly and pour into the buttered and floured cake pan.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out dry.
  8. Remove from the pan to a wire rack to cool.
  9. FOR THE RICH BUTTERCREAM FILLING:
  10. Stir the sugar and water together in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and boils.
  11. Let this syrup boil without stirring until the temperature reaches 112 to 116ºC on a candy thermometer.
  12. Remove the syrup from the heat.
  13. Whisking vigorously, pour the hot syrup into the egg yolks and keep beating until the mixture is cool, light and fluffy.
  14. Cream the butter in a separate bowl until it's very soft, then beat the butter and vanilla extract into the yolk mixture until it's shiny and firm enough to spread.
  15. Melt the chocolate in in a double saucepan over hot water, let cool and then fold into the butter cream.
  16. FOR THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
  17. Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat while stirring.
  18. Remove from heat and bind with the beaten egg yolk.
  19. TO FINISH THE CAKE:
  20. Cut the cooled cake into 3 layers.
  21. Spread thick layers of chocolate buttercream filling between the layers and reassemble the cake.
  22. Carefully pour the rich chocolate glaze evenly over the top of the cake.

 

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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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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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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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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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24Apr 12

Mint Chocolate Cake with Almond Frosting

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

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

Ingredients:

For the sponge:

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

For the frosting:

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

Instructions:

For the sponge:

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

For the frosting:

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

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  70 minutes

Serves:  10

Difficulty:  Medium

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