Tag Archives: bakes

Lemon and Raspberries Layer Cake

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I made this for Mr Greedy Frog’s birthday. We gathered a few friends and relatives and had a lovely, relaxed barbecue in our garden. This cake was the perfect conclusion to the meal: it is special enough to be a Birthday cake, yet it isn’t too fussy. And it is also very easy to make, which is always a bonus when you are entertaining. I made the sponge the night before, then made the filling and assembled the cake on the day. Easy, peasy!

You will need:

For the sponge:

225 g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

200 g caster sugar

200 g butter

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp milk

Zest 1 lemon

For the filling and topping:

400 g medium-fat soft cheese

Zest and juice 1 lemon

100 g icing sugar + 1 tbsp for dusting

4 tbsp lemon curd

200 g raspberries

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas 4. Line a deep, well-greased 18cm round tin.

Put all the ingredients except the milk into a large bowl and whisk until well combined (or use a stand mixer). Add the milk and gently stir it through.

Pour the batter into the tin, and bake for 50 to 60 min or until a skewer comes out clean.  Cool in the tin for 10 min, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

When the cake has cooled down, make the filling. Beat the cream cheese, zest, juice and 100 g icing sugar until smooth. Reserve.

Cut the sponge into 3 layers of equal thickness. Spread the bottom layer with a third of the filling, top with the middle layer and more filling, then the top layer. Spread the remaining filling over the top of the cake, dollop the lemon curd all over, and finish with the raspberries. Dust with icing sugar.
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Raspberry and Rose Cheesecake Sandwich

raspberry and rose cheesecake sandwich

I created this cake for a competition I entered. I had in mind a cross between a cheesecake and a Victoria sandwich, and I must admit I am rather happy with the result!

It took a little bit of work to get the texture right for the filling, as it needs to be dense enough to support the sponge on top and keep its shape, while still being creamy and light.

I am no cake decorator, hence the simple topping of fresh fruit with a dusting of icing sugar (almost anything looks fancier with icing sugar!).

I didn’t win the competition, by the way, and I realised that I am actually quite a bad sport: never mind the taking part, I really wanted to win! 🙂

You will need:

 For decorating:

About 150 g mixed raspberries and strawberries
Icing sugar
1 pink rose
1 egg white
2 tbsp granulated sugar

 

For the sponge:

4 eggs
225 g caster sugar
225 self-raising flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
225 g butter, at room temperature, diced
50 g raspberries

 

For the raspberry coulis:

50 g raspberries
2 tbsp icing sugar
3 tbsp rose water

 

For the cheesecake filling:

150 g double cream
50 g crème fraîche
250 g cream cheese
200 g cottage cheese
100 g caster sugar
30 ml rose water
8 g gelatine (leaves)

 

Method:

 The day before:

Gently peel the petals off the rose, rinse and pat dry with kitchen paper. Lightly wisk the egg white. Dip the petals in it one by one, shaking off any excess and arrange them on a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Sprinkle with the granulated sugar, and leave to dry for 24h.

 On the day; make the sponge.

Switch the oven on to 180C/ fan 160C/ gas 4. Grease and line 2 x 20 cm Ø sandwich tins.

Whisk the eggs, butter and sugar together until just combined, then fold in the flour and baking powder, being careful not to over mix. Finally, add the raspberries.

Divide the batter between the two prepared tins and bake for about 25 min, or until golden and springy in the middle, and the edges are coming away from the tin. Cool in the tins for 5 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

 Make the coulis:

In a small pan, put the raspberries, icing sugar and rose water and bring to the boil over a low heat, lightly crushing the raspberries with a spoon. Leave to simmer for about 5 mins or until slightly reduced and syrupy. Leave to cool.

 Make the filling:

Soak the gelatine leaves in a small bowl of cold water.

Mix the double cream and crème fraîche and whisk to stiff peaks.

In another bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, cottage cheese, sugar and rose water.

Squeeze the softened gelatine to release excess water. In a small pan, boil 1 tbsp water, add the gelatine and stir to melt, then pour straight away into the cream cheese mix and stir through. Gently combine the cream cheese mix with the whipped cream.

Mix 1 tbsp of the filling into the raspberry coulis, then pour the coulis into the filling, stirring once or twice to get a marble effect.

 Assemble the cake:

Place one of the cakes on a serving plate, and top with big dollops of the filling; keep going until the filling is all used up. Use a palette knife to straighten the edges and flatten the top, but don’t worry about being too tidy at this stage. Refrigerate for about an hour, then top with the other sponge and use the palette knife to neaten the filling up a bit. Chill for another hour.

Just before serving, top the cake with the raspberries and strawberries, dot with the candied rose petals, and sprinkle with icing sugar.

 

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Out-Baking Minnie Mouse – Little Coconut and Cherry Cakes

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Who knew that watching The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse could provide one with the inspiration for a brand new cake recipe? Well, it came as a surprise to me as well.

It all started a couple of weeks ago, when my Little Greedy Tadpole came down with chicken pox. She obviously had to be quarantined, so I ended up spending a few days holed up in the house with my poorly offspring. She was quite feverish and mostly wanted to snuggle up with me on the couch and watch cartoons, and as a result I ended up sitting through a lot more Mickey Mouse, Peppa Pig and Thomas the Tank than I really wanted to.

One particular episode of Mickey Mouse featured a summery picnic; it looked beautiful, with a brightly coloured rug covered with all manners of appetising goodies, among which were several types of cakes. The cakes looked amazing, with their rainbow-coloured layers and icing, and cherries on top. In fact they looked so good that I immediately wanted one, and  I decided there and then that my next project would be to come up with a new cake worthy of Minnie Mouse’s recipe book.

For a little while, I had been toying with the idea of rehydrating dessicated coconut and using it in a cake batter, and this seemed like the perfect recipe for trying it. I struggled a bit at first with the ratio of coconut to milk, and working out just the right amount of cherries, but after a lot of tweaking and a few disappointing batches, I finally ended up with the version below, which received enthusiastic thumbs up from my long-suffering testers.

I know I might be blowing my own trumpet ever so slightly here, but I think these would definitely steal the show at Mickey Mouse’s next picnic.

Eat your heart out Minnie!
You will need (for 12 individual cakes):

50 g coconut
120 ml milk
80 g glacé cherries, halved, plus 12 whole ones
1 tbsp Kirsch or other spirit (optional)
180 g self-raising flour
150 g caster sugar
150 g unsalted butter, softened and diced
2 eggs

To decorate:
6 glacé cherries, halved
500 g icing sugar

Method:

In a small bowl, mix the milk and coconut and leave for at least 2 h until the coconut has absorbed most of the liquid (or leave overnight in the fridge).

Mix the halved cherries with the alcohol, if using. Reserve.

Grease and flour a 12-hole muffin tin.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/ fan 170ºC/ Gas 5.

In a large bowl, mix the flour and sugar. Add the butter and mix until almost smooth, then add the eggs one by one and mix thoroughly. Stir in the coconut and about 2 tbsp of the leftover liquid, then carefully fold the cherries in the batter.

Divide between the 12 holes in the tin. Gently push a whole cherry into the middle of each hole, then with your fingers spread a little bit of batter back over the cherries.

Bake for about 20 min or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 5 min then turn out onto a rack. Leave to cool completely before decorating.

To decorate:
Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl, and add warm water, a teaspoonfull at a time, until you get a thick, glossy icing.

Drop a tablespoonful of icing onto each cake and spread it a little, without being too neat. Top with the cherry halves.

Leave to set for a couple of hours.

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Let’s Start 2013 In Style: Chocolate Orange Tart

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If you want to impress the in-laws, or your best friend, next time they come for dinner, but you are not sure what to make, read on…

When I first produced this tart at the end of a meal, it was greeted with “ooohs” and “aaahs” and guests saying that really, I shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble, it looked fabulous, etc. In this situation, and regardless of how many hours you have been slaving away in the kitchen, social etiquette demands that your response should be along the lines of: ” oh, it was no trouble at all, it is actually very easy to make, really!”.  Which is pretty much what I said to my guests that day; but you know what? I wasn’t even lying!

This tart is really easy to make. The filling just needs mixing before baking, so no risk of curdling egg yolks while trying to make a custard-based filling. The pastry demands a little bit more care, as it is closer to a cookie dough than to traditional pastry, but as long as you keep it nice and chilled it should behave obediently enough.

I have borrowed the recipe for the pastry from Jamie Oliver’s “Fifteen Chocolate Tart” recipe. I love this chocolate tart more than words can express, but as I am still in a bit of a post-holiday chocolate hangover, I decided to go for something a bit lighter and fresher than chocolate on chocolate. I have evolved the filling from a lemon tart recipe I copied out years ago; I obviously replaced the lemon with oranges, upped the juice content a bit and added zest for a stronger citrus flavour.

The chocolate decoration is just there to make it look a bit fancier (and it works!), I just wish I had a steadier hand when wielding a piping bag; the picture below is proof that I am no artist… 🙂  New resolution for 2013: practice my piping.

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You will need (for 6 to 8 people):

For the pastry:
325g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
Pinch salt
565g plain flour
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3 large eggs
65g cocoa powder

For the filling:
5 eggs
140g caster sugar
150 ml double cream
100 ml freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 1 1/2 oranges)
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated.

Optional: 50g dark chocolate, for decorating.

Method:

Butter a 28 cm Ø loose-bottomed tart tin.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and salt, then fold in the flour, eggs, zest, and cocoa powder (you can do this by hand or with a food processor, but this makes quite a lot of pastry so your food processor needs to be a large one).

When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, gently bring it together until you have a ball  of dough. Do not knead it too much or it will become chewy. Flour the dough lightly, then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Remove from the fridge, roll out to the desired size, and carefully line your tart tin with it (any tears can be easily repaired by patching up with offcuts, lightly brushed with water then pressed down over the cracks). Put the lined tin in the freezer for 30 min.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/ fan 180ºC/ Gas 6. Bake the pastry for around 12-15 minutes or until it is firm and almost biscuit-like, then remove it and leave to cool while you make the filling.

Turn the oven down to 160ºC/fan 140ºC/Gas 3.

To make the filling, beat all the ingredients, except for the zest, together. Sieve the mixture into a large jug, then stir in the zest.

Pull the middle shelf half-out of the oven, and place the tart tin on it. Carefully pour the filling into the pastry case, taking care that it stops a few millimetres below the edge of the pastry. Gently push the shelf back in. Bake for 30-35 min until just set.

Leave to cool to room temperature, then carefully remove the tart from the tin.

For the decoration, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of simmering water (take care that the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Immediately transfer the melted chocolate to a piping bag fitted with a nozzle with a small, plain opening, and pipe criss-crossing patterns onto the tart. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Filed under Bakes, Christmas, Desserts, Sweet Tarts

Gone in 60 Seconds: Raspberry and Almond Cake

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Disclaimer: this post has nothing to do with stealing cars. If this is what you were looking for, try here instead. What this post is actually about, is cake, and how fast it disappears from the plate (just so we are clear).

I made this cake for my friend J. and her little girl E. who came to visit at Greedy Frog Towers today. I fancied a raspberry/almond combo, but I wasn’t really in the mood for a Bakewell tart so I came up with this instead.

We had some with a cup of tea when she arrived, then a little bit more as a dessert after lunch. It sounds like there should still be about half a cake, right? Wrong! One small slice is all that is left. Bearing in mind that Mr Greedy Frog only had one slice, this means that J. and me pretty much ate a whole cake between us…

Am I feeling guilty? Not one bit. Do I wish I had made two cakes instead of one? Hell, yes!

You will need:

100 g butter, softened
150 g unrefined caster sugar
3 eggs
75g plain flour
75g ground almonds
1 large handful frozen raspberries
30 g flaked almonds

Method:

Preheat the oven to 210ºC/ fan 190ºC/ th 7. Butter a Ø26 cm cake tin.

Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, mixing thoroughly inbetween each addition. Add the flour, then the ground almonds and mix until smooth. Add the raspberries and mix gently (you don’t want to beak them up too much).

Pour the batter into the prepared tin, scatter the flaked almonds on top and bake for 20/25 min or until nice and golden on top, and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.image

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How to Make Friends and Influence People: Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Cake

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Every so often, I find myself in a situation where I badly need a favour from someone. I tend to feel very guilty asking for favours, though; I am always worried of imposing on people. So I usually come up with a way of returning said favour, and this normally involves cake.

There are also times, like now, when I want to thank someone with more than words. And this, too, normally involves cake. In this instance, I wanted to repay my long-suffering work colleagues for their kindness. I applied for a promotion recently, and had an interview which went well, but despite the good feedback I received, the position was given to someone else. I was obviously very disappointed, and I must have looked rather upset because all my lovely colleagues have done since I found out, is try and cheer me up. They even went as far as saying that they were delighted that I didn’t get the job because it meant I wouldn’t have to leave the office, and would still be working with them.

I suspect that this statement was partially motivated by the fact that I do often bring cake to work, especially as I am always in need of testers when I am working on a new recipe. But I also know that they meant it. So, thanks guys, I am really glad to be working with all of you.

If, like me, you rely on cake to do the talking at times, then this is a great recipe to have up your sleeve. It is quick and easy to make, the ingredients are likely to be in your kitchen already, and it can convey a message pretty well.

You will need:

200g good quality dark chocolate
4 eggs
Pinch salt
150 g caster sugar
50 g plain flour
150g butter, at room temperature, + extra for the tin
A handful raspberries (frozen are fine)

Icing sugar, to serve.

Method:

If you are using frozen raspberries, take them out of the freezer and lay them out on a sheet of kitchen paper.

Preheat your oven to 200ºC/ fan 180ºC/ gas 6. Butter a 26 cmØ cake tin, or deep tart tin (I use a fluted one, but a straight-edged one is fine too).

Break up the chocolate into even-sized chunks, place into a heatproof bowl. Find a pan on which the bowl can sit securely, with plenty of space between the bottom of the bowl and the bottom of the pan. Bring water to the boil in the pan, and place the chocolate on top, taking care that the bowl isn’t touching the water. Turn the heat down to a simmer and leave to melt for a few minutes without stirring.

Meanwhile, separate the eggs. Add a pinch of salt to the whites and whisk to stiff peaks.

Mix the butter and sugar until combined, but do not overmix (this will give the cake a fudge-like texture). Add the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly. add the egg yolks one by one, mixing all the while.

Add the flour and stir until incorporated. Add the egg whites a bit at a time, mixing delicately to avoid losing any of the air trapped inside them. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, scatter the raspberries on top (it doesn’t matter if they are still partially frozen), and press down gently on the fruit so it sinks into the batter a bit.

Bake for 20-25 min, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 min, then turn out onto a wire rack. When completely cool, sprinkle with icing sugar.

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Steak and Mushroom Pie

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that as the autumn rain and chilly winds make their appearance, one starts yearning for hearty, warming, comforting dishes.
This pie is one such dish, and it is very easy to prepare. You can make it in a large pie dish, or 6 individual ones. Unless we have guests, I usually make it in individual dishes and freeze four (unglazed) portions for another day (make sure you wrap them well before freezing, then defrost in the fridge for 24h before glazing and baking as below).

You will need (for 1 large pie, or 6 individual ones):

For the pastry:
200 g plain flour
100 g butter
Salt
1 egg, lightly beaten, for glazing

For the filling:

Handful dried mushrooms (about 30 g dry weight)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
450 g stewing steak, cubed
3 tbsp flour
250 ml hot beef stock
Salt
Pepper
200 g fresh mushrooms, quartered
2 tbsp dried thyme, or 2 sprigs fresh
2 tsp cornflour

Method:

Rehydrate the dried mushrooms in hot, freshly boiled water. Reserve.

Put the flour in a bowl, season generously. Toss the meat in the flour until well covered.

In a large pan, heat up the olive oil. Shake any excess flour off the meat, and add to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until brown on all sides.
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Add the onion, then the fresh mushrooms. Drain the rehydrated mushrooms and add to the pan.

Add the stock, thyme and some seasoning. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer, covered, for about 1h30.image

Meanwhile, make the pastry. In a large bowl, add the salt and butter to the flour. Work the flour into the butter between your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add enough cold water to bind, knead briefly then form into a ball (you can use a food processor instead if you prefer). Wrap in cling film then chill.

When the filling is ready, preheat the oven to 200 C/ fan 190 C/ gas 6.
Mix the cornflour with a few spoonfuls of cold water, and add to the filling. Stir, then leave to thicken for about a minute. Take off the heat.

Roll out the pastry to about 5 mm thickness (roughly the thickness of a beer mat). Invert your pie dish, or individual dishes, over the pastry and cut pastry lids to shape with a sharp knife. Roll any trimmings into a ball, and freeze for another time.

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Transfer the filling to the dish. With a brush, wet the rim of your pie dish(es), and carefully place the prepared pastry on top. Press down all around the edge with a fork to seal.

Bake for about 10 to 15 min for individual pies, 15 to 20 min for a large one, or until nice and golden.

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