This is a recipe for a cake you might have spotted in my wrap up post for Vicky’s hen party. I made some vague comment about getting round to it at some point. So here it is.
Lemon drizzle is one of my go-to bakes when I’m in a rush or don’t have the energy to figure out something new. It’s super handy because often you will have the ingredients and just need to grab a lemon. It’s always a crowd pleaser and really quick and easy to make and transport. I prefer to make it in a brownie tin as a tray bake, I’m of the opinion that it bakes quicker and serves more people this way. Plus I often find loaf cakes get a bit of a dry crust while you’re waiting for the inside to cook. No such problem here.
I present to you the lemon drizzle tray bake.
Disclaimer: I usually use ounces to weigh this one out because I was brought up on ounces and gas marks (thanks mum), I’m still getting my head round grams and celsius since flying the nest. The UK will forever be trapped between the imperial and metric systems…
You will need
For the cake:
6 oz/170g self raising flour
6 oz/170g softened butter or margarine (I use stork)
6 oz/170g caster sugar (golden if you have it)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon zest
For the drizzle:
3 oz/85g caster sugar
The juice of your zested lemon
I like to sort my lemon out first and get it out of the way.
Grate the lemon on a fine setting on your grater. Place in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and roll around on the surface to release the juices. Cut in half and use a fork or a juicing thingy to squeeze as much juice as you can out of each bit.
Set the zest and juice aside.
Beat together the margarine and sugar. I like to use an electric hand whisk for most cakes to keep them light and fluffy, but you can do this with a wooden spoon too.
Add the vanilla and eggs and beat again until combined. Don’t worry if the mix looks a bit split/curdled, the flour will bring it back together.
Add the flour and lemon zest and stir with your whisk (leaving the power off). Once the flour is about half combined you can turn your whisk back on to finish it. If you turn the whisk on to start with you will be wearing more flour than is in the bowl.
Grease and line a brownie tray. Drop the mixture into the tin and spread out gently with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula until even.
Place in a pre heated oven on gas mark 4/350F/180C for 30-35 minutes. It will go a light golden brown on top and a sharp knife poked into the middle will remove clean when it is cooked.
About 5 minutes before your cake is cooked, mix the 3oz/85g caster sugar with the lemon juice you squeezed earlier. You will probably need to give it another quick little stir before you pour it.
As soon as you take the cake out of the oven pour the drizzle evenly over the surface of the cake. Sometimes I take a spoon to the corners to collect the bits that have run down and redistribute them elsewhere.
Burning the midnight oil to bring you this week’s British favourite. The reason being is that my rather lovely friend took me along to a screen printing workshop for a little birthday treat tonight. If you want to have a cheeky stalk there’s a *few* pictures on Instagram.
Back to this week though, and the question of a another cupcake and a few bananas. Of course, it’s about time the classic banoffee pie made an appearance in this little series. There’re few things that pair better than banana and caramel in my opinion, so it took quite a lot of focus not to just make the toffee filling and skip off to the garden with a bowl of banana to suffocate in sauce. I mean, if you’re going to eat fruit, do it right.
So, without further ado, here go the banoffee pie cupcakes.
You will need
For the cakes:
140g/5 oz self raising flour
140g/5 oz caster sugar
140g/5 oz unsalted butter/margarine
2 ripe-over ripe bananas
1 tsp baking powder
For the filling:
200g/7 oz sweetened condensed milk (half a tin)
100g/3.5 oz soft brown sugar
100g/3.5 oz unsalted butter (used salted if you prefer salted caramel to a more dulce de leche/toffee flavour)
50ml/1.75 fl oz double cream
For the frosting/icing
350g/12.5 oz icing sugar
250g/9 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)
150ml/5 fl oz double cream
Using an electric whisk if you have one, a wooden spoon if not, beat together the butter/margarine and caster sugar until light and fluffy. I use Stork margarine for sponge as it’s pretty cheap and does the trick well.
Chop up the banana. You can mash it if you want but the whisk kinda does the work for you so why bother? The riper the bananas the more intense the flavour.
Add the eggs and banana to the mix and whisk until combined.
Whisk in the flour and baking powder, stir it in a little first with the beaters to prevent a mushroom cloud of flour hitting you in the face.
Distribute the mixture evenly between 12 cupcake/muffin cases. Usually about two rounded dessert spoons in each is a nice amount.
Bake on gas mark 4/350F/180C for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch.
While the cakes are in the oven, make the filling by combining all the ingredients in a small/medium saucepan.
Gently melt the mixture on a low heat and then turn it up to medium. Boil slowly for 7-10 minutes stirring the whole time. See those flecks in my mix? Took my eyes off the prize.
Allow to cool completely before use.
Combine the icing ingredients by gently stirring the icing sugar and butter together before putting the whisk on the lowest setting. Add the cream and the vanilla once they’ve started to combine. The double cream will thicken it nicely and add a lightness to the texture.
It’s really yummy but probably not the best for piping consistency, so I wouldn’t dream up fancy decoration with this one. That’s pretty consistent with a banoffee pie anyway, when was the last time you saw a pretty one of those? Yeah. Exactly.
If you’ve been following this series so far then you know the drill by now. Cut a hole in the cupcake with a small sharp knife and discard the middle bit, keeping only the lid. Fill with the toffee sauce and replace the cake lid. Spread the icing on top and grate over a little chocolate for an authentic look.
Another week another birthday. This time round it’s my lovely housemate who is bravely entering her mid-twenties; just another excuse for me to get in the kitchen.
Earlier in the week Vicky (the birthday girl in question), Matt (the fiance) and I, had sat down to watch The Princess Bride (a hilarious farce of a film), and we cracked open some Crabbie’s. It was such a lovely little evening, and I thought I would bake the experience into a cake to commemorate the little one’s birth.
Crabbie’s, for anyone who doesn’t know (more fool you), is alcoholic ginger beer. This particular batch was raspberry flavoured, and nobody was more surprised than me to discover how nicely ginger and raspberry complement each other. Add to that a honey and vanilla icing and you’ve got a birthday cake fit for any 24 year old.
You will need
For the cake:
255g/9 oz self raising flour
255g/9 oz caster sugar
255g/9 oz margarine/butter (I use stork for cakes)
2 tsp ground ginger (add a bit more if you want a really strong ginger taste, 2 tsp is nice and subtle)
1 tsp vanilla extract/paste
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g/7 oz raspberries
For the icing/decoration:
350g/12 oz icing sugar
150g/5 oz softened butter
170g/6 oz honey
1-2 tsp vanilla extract/paste (or even a pod if you have one so you get the lovely flecks)
100g/3.5 oz raspberries
Using an electric whisk beat together the margarine and sugar until well blended and fluffy.
Add the eggs and beat again until combined. It looks a little split at this stage (see those little lumps at the sides) but you don’t need to worry, the flour never fails to sort that out.
Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger and whisk again until smooth.
I also added the vanilla at this point which is in the form great paste my friend brought me back from Vanuatu, tastes delicious and has the beans in it. If you aren’t swinging by the South Pacific any time soon and don’t fancy the investment in a pod or some paste then extract will do the trick.
Add the raspberries and stir them in with a wooden spoon. I crushed some of them with the back of the spoon against the side of the bowl to help distribute them a little better.
Spoon into a greased and lined tin, or two tins. Bake on 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
If you are just using a single tin you need about 45-55 minutes and make sure you line the sides so that the greaseproof protects the sides and top of the cake from burning. If you are using two separate tins 35-40 minutes should do the trick, and you only need to line the bottoms of the tins.
Whisk together the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and honey for the icing. Cover the bowl with a tea towel before turning on the whisk so you don’t get covered in icing sugar.
Once the cake has completely cooled assemble it. Use just under half the icing in the middle and the rest on top.
I then decorated with the remaining raspberries, but feel free to get creative!
A couple of weeks ago one of my favourite colleagues had a special birthday, so for a special birthday we needed a special cake.
I had only attempted one two tier cake before and had never made the chocolate collar you’ll see below. Sure this cake was a bit more effort than your average victoria sponge, but if you’ve got a few hours and a bit of patience and determination this is very much possible.
I present to you a full step-by-step recipe for a two tiered chocolate fudge cake with salted caramel buttercream, decorated with a dark chocolate collar and chocolate dipped berries. I just wanted to say that out loud. Look away if you don’t like chocolate. This won’t please you.
Happy birthday Jane!
You will need
For the cake:
380g/13.5 oz caster sugar
380g/13.5 oz unsalted butter or margarine (I use stork)
325g/11.5 oz self raising flour
55g/2 oz cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the salted caramel buttercream:
400g/14 oz icing sugar
250g/9 oz butter
80g/3 oz soft brown sugar
100ml/3.5 fl oz double cream
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tsp salt
For the chocolate fudge icing:
225g/8 oz unsalted butter
200g/7 oz plain chocolate
100g/3.5 oz milk chocolate
2 tbsp golden syrup
200ml/6.5 fl oz double cream
For the decorations:
1 packet strawberries (sorry I didn’t look at weight)
2 packets of raspberries (about 500g)
200g/7 oz plain chocolate
200g/7 oz milk chocolate
100g/3.5 oz white chocolate
(for the chocolate amounts are the best approximates I can make, I bought a LOT of chocolate. I strongly recommend Sainbury’s Belgian cooking chocolate if you are in the UK, definitely do not buy that scot block stuff)
Cake tin bottom tier – 1 x 7 inch (3.5 inches deep)
Cake tin top tier – 2 x 5 inch (1.5 inches deep)
Cake boards – 1 x 8 inch, 1 x 5 inch
Sticks/straws for support. I used cake pop sticks, but wooden dowling or special cake making supports would be fine. Make sure they are at least 4 inches so you can cut them to size.
Sugar thermometer (not 100% essential but I recommend tempering the chocolate)
Grease and line the tins.
Note how I created a bit of a collar on the larger tin from greaseproof. This is to help stop the sides of the cake catching while the inside bakes as it’s essentially double the thickness.
Whisk together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk, or a wooden spoon and some elbow grease, until smooth.
I used a block of stork for this, but I prefer the softer version you can get in a tub, you don’t have to wait for it to come to room temperature first that way. Margarine works just fine for cakes, I think it makes them fluffier.
You might want to use a tea towel over the bowl to avoid everything getting covered in sugar and butter.
Add all the eggs and whisk until combined.
In go the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder.
Stir gently to start mixing the dry ingredients in first before turning the whisk on, you don’t want to choke on flour, that’s not a good way to go. It also means you will never get to eat this cake.
Divide into the tins.
Bake in the oven on 180C/350F/gas mark 4. This is where it’s a little tricky as the little cakes need a lot less time but you don’t want to open the oven much or your big cake will sink.
I say give the big cake about 30 minutes on its own, and then opening the door as little as possible add the smaller ones for the next 20 minutes. You will then need to test the cakes by sticking a sharp knife, or a cake tester if you have one. If this comes out clean (or with the odd crumb) you’re all good. If not give them another 5-10 minutes.
While the cakes are in the oven make the icing as both, but particularly the chocolate, need time to cool.
Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Add the butter (real butter this time), chocolate and golden syrup. Melt until smooth.
Remove from heat and stir in the cream quickly. Take the bowl off the pan and place somewhere cool and dry.
I don’t really suggest the fridge because you might forget it (like I did) and then you have to wait for it to warm up enough to spread. But that being said, the fridge is a viable option, just keep an eye on it.
For the salted caramel buttercream melt together 100g of the butter, the brown sugar, golden syrup and salt. Do this slowly and then bring the heat up to a simmer.
Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir regularly so that it doesn’t catch and burn. Leave to cool down for about half an hour or so.
Stir in the 100ml cream and leave to cool further.
Whisk the icing sugar and 150g of butter together with the salt. Definitely cover the bowl with the tea towel this time. I find if my butter is not quite soft enough it helps to rub it in a bit with clean hands first. There is NOwhere icing sugar won’t go when you use an electric whisk.
Add the caramel and whisk again until smooth. Don’t worry if the caramel is still a little warm, just leave your buttercream to cool in the fridge for a bit. But again, don’t forget about it or it won’t be spreadable.
When your cakes have completely cooled prepare them for icing. You need to lop the top off the large one until it’s as flat as possible on top. So much of this cake is covered in decoration that you can get away with a little bit of wonky though so don’t panic if it’s not prefect. Having said that the flatter the better so the top tier sits straight. NO PRESSURE.
Cut the cake in the middle. Try to do this evenly by scoring it the whole way round first. Just keep going round in circles, getting further in each time until you’re all the way through.
Level out the tops of the small cakes. I would be lying if I said I didn’t spread some icing on the offcuts and eat them.
Using a palette knife ice the cakes.
First place a bit of buttercream on the cake base to stick the cake to it. Start with the caramel buttercream and ice the middle and the top. Don’t worry if bits splurge out the sides.
Smooth these out around the sides with the palette knife, gradually adding buttercream here and there to create the sharpest sides you can. Some parts will have a thicker coating than others, this layer is made to contain all the crumbs (hence the name crumb layer) and to even out the shape a bit. It’s not going to be pretty.
Place in the fridge for about an hour before starting the chocolate.
Ice the chocolate on in the same way, neatening as you go. For the most part it will be covered up, so it really doesn’t need to be too smooth.
Cover the small cake in the same way.
Place both in the fridge while you prepare the decorations.
Using the tins as a guide cut a strip of the cellophane for both the top and bottom layer. You want these to be quite close to the size of the chocolate collar, so tall enough that you will have about 5cm/two inches taller than the cake, and wide enough to match the circumference. You can quickly check this against the cake to ensure it will fit.
Don’t forget to cut one for the top tier and one for the bottom, bearing in mind your top tier cake is twice as tall as the tin.
Temper 200g dark chocolate. Don’t look at me like that…you are really going to want to do this so you have shiny chocolate on the collar.
First melt 125g of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Let it get to 55C/131F before removing from the heat.
Chop the remaining chocolate and stir into the melted mix to aid the cool down process. Stir continually until it cools to 28C/82F. I found a good way to speed this up a bit. Put cold water in a large saucepan and the bowl on top. You’re welcome.
Place the bowl back on the heat and bring it to 31C/88F. Your chocolate is tempered.
Be warned – if you’re doing a different type of chocolate the temperatures are different:
Milk – 45C/113F original melt, 27C/81F cool down, 29C/84F
White – 45C/113F original melt, 26C/79F cool down, 28C/82F
Place chocolate in a piping bag and using circular motions cover the cellophane with swirls. Go over the bottom edge onto the work surface but ensure the top stays on the cellophane so it’s ‘whirly’.
When it has started to dry pull the cellophane away so the bottom is clear of the extra overlap bits.
Melt (preferably temper) the milk chocolate. Dip the strawberries in half way and leave to set on some more cellophane.
Melt the white chocolate (no real need to temper this) and place in a piping bag. swing the bag back and forth to drizzle the white chocolate over the top.
Step twenty one
Drizzle the raspberries with white and milk chocolate. You can dip them if you want to, but, really? I know this is taking a while, but do you have that kind of time??
Step twenty two
Get the cakes out of the fridge to assemble.
Cut the sticks to size and push through the bottom layer where the top tier will sit.
Place it on top.
I then secured this a bit further with the remaining dark chocolate I had. It will be covered up so no big deal if it’s messy.
Step twenty three
When the collars become touch dry, (meaning if you gently touch the surface you shouldn’t get chocolate on your finger, but what’s underneath is still not set) wrap them around the cake.
LEAVE THE CELLOPHANE ON. Sorry for shouting. But please. Walk away and don’t touch it for a while. Maybe leave a window open if it’s a cool day to help the process along.
Step twenty four
When you’re feeling brave slowly peel off the cellophane to reveal your beautiful shiny chocolate collar. I was pretty excited at this point I must confess.
Step twenty five
Fill with the fruit and make someone’s occasion that bit happier.
Hullo again, with Easter well and truly around the corner, here’s another cute bunny-themed bake for you.
I found an adorable mould for tiny carrots online when browsing for chocolate moulds, as you do on payday…right? I couldn’t resist pairing them with the gorgeous little flowerpot shaped cupcake cases my lovely pal Taylor bought me for my birthday a couple of years back.
Anyhoo, there was an obvious flavour choice for these and I pried myself away from my usual chocolate bakes to bring you carrot muffins/cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
This makes 6 cupcakes, so you will want to double it for more or for a single cake.
You will need
100g/3.5 oz self-raising flour
100g/3.5 oz carrot
80g/2.5 oz soft light brown sugar
75ml/2.5 fl oz sunflower/vegetable oil
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Zest of an orange
For the icing:
75g/2.5 oz soft cream cheese (full fat)
25g/1 oz unsalted butter
100g/3.5 oz icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Green food colouring
Candy coating chips in orange (or yellow and red like me) and green
Grate the carrot on the largest setting and the skin of the orange on the smallest setting on your grater.
Using a fork combine the oil and the egg in a small dish.
Combine the flour, sugar, spices and bicarb in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and stir in the egg and oil mix. Do this in small circles to avoid lumps.
Add the carrot and orange zest (some raisins wouldn’t go amiss if you have some).
Let’s be honest. Not the most appetising looking mixture.
Distribute the mixture evenly between the pots.
Bake on gas mark 4/180C/350F for 20-25 minutes.
While the cakes are in the oven melt your candy chips in the microwave and fill the moulds using a piping bag. Make sure to look underneath your mould to check there’s no bubbles.
If mixing the orange from red and yellow like me I advise you to start with yellow and gradually add red to get the colour you want rather than the other way round.
Make the icing by combining the cream cheese, icing sugar, butter and food colouring. Now, I won’t lie, you may need to add a little more icing sugar to the recipe, I’ve adjusted the quantities based on a slightly runny mix that I had, but they might not be totally perfect. My apologies chaps.
Add food colouring until you have a colour you like, I didn’t want to overdo it and overshadow the carrots.
When the cakes are completely cool ice them just using a spoon. You can get more fancy if you want but personally I didn’t see the need to faff about.
Summer for many a gardener means plucking berries from their carefully loved and tended to allotments. Now, in recent years Ma has joined the grow-your-own trend with considerable zeal. To be quite honest this surprised us all immensely, as besides the single hardiest house plant you have ever known (surviving some very aggressive re-potting exercises), everything green that has entered the house since I can remember has wilted before our eyes. It’s a curse. There are no green fingers under this roof.
Fortunately, along with Mother’s rather optimistic plan to convert a section of the garden into a fruit and veg patch, came Ed; one of her colleagues complete with an allotment and a willingness to provide some plants he had given the best possible start in life.
Against all the odds (and I honestly cannot overstate said odds), fruit and vegetables began to grow! This year I decided to combine my love of baking and Mum’s little crop to give you a delicious rhubarb and honey cake recipe.
Don’t turn your nose up until you’ve tried it; I’m a chocolate girl through and through but even I have been back to the kitchen for a second slice of this chap.
First though, I think it’s only fair to offer a little round of applause to the grower for these beauties. Well done Mum, I wish I could say I always believed in you, A*.
You will need
For the cake
250g/9 oz Caster sugar
250g/9oz Self raising flour
50g/2 oz Butter
2 Large eggs
1tsp Baking powder
350g/12 oz Rhubarb
For the icing
350g/12 oz Icing sugar
150g/5 oz Softened butter
150g/5 oz Honey
1-2tsp Vanilla Extract
Combine the buttermilk, eggs and butter.
Don’t worry if it’s a bit ‘curdy’ at this stage, if the butter isn’t super soft that will happen, but it’s not an issue, honest!
Mix together the sugar, baking powder and flour in a separate bowl. Form a well in the middle.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until smooth. This cake mix is a little more batter-like than your average because of the buttermilk, so if you’re used to something a bit less sloppy, don’t worry.
Chop up the rhubarb into slices approx 1cm thick. Get rid of any leaves and the weird husk type bits on the bottom if it’s home grown; I also got rid of a few stringy bits, but you don’t need to peel it.
Whether or not your rhubarb is forced (grown out of season) or main crop like Ma’s you don’t need to boil it or add any extra sugar when baking it into a cake like this. The sweetness of the honey and the rest of the sugar in the sponge off-sets the sharper rhubarb taste really well.
Grease and line two cake tins. Stir rhubarb into the batter and divide between the tins.
Bake on gas mark 4/ 180 C/ 350 F for 30-40 minutes until golden on top and it springs back when you touch the top.
Beat together the honey, softened butter, icing sugar, buttermilk and vanilla extract to make the buttercream icing.
It’s worth popping this in the fridge for about 30 mins before using.
Once the cake has cooled completely, use a palette knife or the back of a spoon to spread half the icing onto the bottom cake. Don’t go right to the edge of the sponge, as the weight of the top cake will push it out a bit further and you don’t want it dribbling down the sides.
Cover the top in icing too.
I’ll be honest, I had a little left over, but I kind of made the recipe up as I went along so I’m not sure how to adjust so you have the perfect amount of icing, so you’ll just have to use the rest on some ice-cream or something.
If your country doesn’t stock Mars bars then I am truly sorry…for these are delicious, and you will probably never experience the joy of tasting one. If you live in the UK then get down to your local newsagent, there’s no time to be wasting.
A little disclaimer before I begin: the combination of the fact that a) I was making these for a charity bake sale and b) I couldn’t find a regular 4 pack of Mars bars means that the recipe below is rather substantial. Divide in half or into thirds if you are baking these for home and don’t fancy obesity as a life choice (you won’t be able to stop eating them).
You will need
6 Mars bars
3 tbsp Golden syrup
250g Unsalted butter
9 cups of Rice crispies
(this is basically a whole box – I used the cheap Tesco knock off kind, no need to break the bank)
400g Milk chocolate
An appointment with your GP to test your blood sugar levels.
Makes 24 (at least)
Chop up the Mars bar.
Oh go on then, there’s at least one piece going spare…
Put Mars, butter, and golden syrup in a pan on a medium heat to melt.
Those fluffy bits in the middle of the Mars bars take what feels like forever to melt, but they do get there, just keep stirring, and maybe stick a bit of Dragon’s Den on or something.
Put most of the rice puffs in a big bowl. I always hold a few cups back to add later, as this isn’t an exact Science so you won’t always need them all.
Pour the melted mixture over the puffs. You probably deserve another little taste at this point.
Stir together until rice crispies are evenly covered. It’s up to you whether to add the rest that you kept to one side or not, I added the whole lot to mine.
Line a couple of tray bake tins with foil and distribute your mixture accordingly. Again, it’s up to you how deep/shallow you want your crispy cakes to be, so choose your tins with that in mind.
Squash the mixture down with the back of a spoon until it fills the various crevices (or with your hands when you get tired of doing it the PC way – wash them first though, there are some standards to be upheld).
Make sure the mixture is squashed down firmly or it will all fall apart later. Literally.
Melt the milk chocolate and cover the top of the crispy cakes evenly. Again this will sort of depend on what tin you use and what consistency you want as to how much you need, as you want enough to cover it all. If you chose a shallower tin then you’ll need a bit more chocolate and so on.
Cut the crispy cakes into slices now before it all sets up, it’s just all a bit easier that way.