Tag Archives: cake

Greek Revani

The 59th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is a real ‘go-to’ cake for a truly delicious, moist treat whose modest appearance belies utter lusciousness!

Ooooh, this is lovely, especially with a double espresso mid morning! (My exact words were, “Yum, that was naughty and delicious!” Torn out of a magazine, this recipe for Greek Revani is gorgeous! Using semolina creates a denser sponge than normal and the syrup that is absorbed into it makes this delightful treat really moist and moreish. Gentle flavours and fragrances of orange and lemon permeate and, despite its delightfully squidgy density, it’s so light that it’s very easy to simply reach for a second slice. Highly recommended – absolutely delicious! Also, dead easy and really quick to make!

Serves 10

What you need…

1 x 23cm spring form cake tin, lightly buttered and lined with parchment paper

5 large, happy ggs, separated

100g caster sugar

50g plain flour

100g semolina

¼ teaspoon salt

Zest of 1 orange

50g unsalted butter, melted

50g no-peel marmalade

for the syrup

250g caster sugar

Zest and juice of 1 large lemon

½ vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out

300ml water

What to do…

Preheat oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

Chuck your egg yolks and sugar into the food processor and whizz until light and creamy. Whilst still running, tip the flour and semolina into the processor and then the salt, orange zest, melted butter and marmalade. Keep whizzing until smooth.

In a separate bowl, use an electric hand held whisk to whip up the egg whites until they form soft peaks and then gently fold into the cake batter in 3 batches.

Pour the whole lot into your cake tin and pop in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put all the ingredients, including the vanilla pod into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Allow to cool a little and then sieve the syrup into a jug. Squish some of the vanilla seeds through the sieve into the strained syrup (this isn’t necessary – it’s more for appearance than taste).

When the cake has cooled for 20 – 30 minutes, transfer it from the tin to a serving plate and then use your skewer to pierce holes all over the cake, poking it right the way through. Gently pour over the syrup, watching as it soaks into the sponge, making it lovely and moist. I didn’t tip all the syrup in all at once but gradually, coming back to the cake every few minutes and pouring a bit more over once the previous amount had been absorbed, until it was all gone.

That’s it – all done, ready to indulge in – absolutely delicious!

Serving suggestion…

On its own is fabulous but if you want to dress it up a little, spoon a dollop of Greek yogurt on the top, sprinkling with slightly crushed pistachios – delightful!

Tip…

As much as Revani is gorgeous and impossible to resist when first cooked, keep it in the fridge and it will ‘gather’ over a couple of days, tasting – dare I say it – even better!

Inspired by…

Waitrose.com

How easy…

Spectacularly and the results far outweigh the effort!

Luscious Lemon Polenta Cake with Rosemary Syrup

The 40th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this one holds a special place in my heart – I just adore it and can taste summer just thinking about it!

My absolute favourite dessert: the sponge is soaked in sweet rosemary Syrup – a perfect foil to the summer raspberries piled up in the middle and clean, crisp Greek yogurt it’s served with. Once tried, this recipe will be with you forever!

 Serves 10-12

What you need…

1 x 1.2 litre, ring cake tin, lightly oiled

175g polenta

50g plain flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons plain yogurt

5 tablespoons rapeseed oil plus extra for greasing

Grated zest of two lemons

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 happy eggs, plus 2 happy egg whites

600g caster sugar

3 heaped teaspoons dried rosemary

Fresh raspberries

Greek yogurt to serve

What to do…

Heat your oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

Sift polenta, flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

Place yogurt, oil, lemon rind and juice into a jug and stir until combined.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and egg whites with 200g of the sugar for a few minutes until creamy. Beat in the yogurt mixture until smooth and then fold in the dry ingredients until just combined – don’t over mix.

Pour the mixture into your ring tin and pop into your oven to bake for 40-45 minutes until an inserted thin skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile, place the remaining 400g of sugar in a pan with 400ml water and the rosemary. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Leave to cool completely and then strain through a sieve.

When the cake is cooked, place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then ease a blunt knife around the outside to separate the cake from the tin. Invert cake onto a serving plate.

When completely cool, prick the cake all over with a thin skewer and, using a tablespoon, drizzle over half the rosemary syrup so that it completely soaks into the cake, making it lovely and moist (tip: this part can take quite a while – I do it slowly,  sometimes whilst watching TV).

Pour the remaining rosemary syrup into a pretty serving jug and pop in the fridge until ready to use.

Tip raspberries into the hole in the middle and serve with dollops of Greek yogurt and the chilled rosemary syrup. Decorate with rosemary sprigs if desired. Divine!

Inspired by…

The Top 100 Recipes from the Food & Drink Series

How easy…

Really easy – a pleasure to create and so stunning on the eye and the taste buds!

 

Merry Christmas: The Icing on the Cake!

The final finishing touches to my Christmas cake, I love rough royal icing: it’s so forgiving of any patchy marzipan application and also of my total lack of ability to cake-decorate beautifully. Anyway, here we are my attempt. Only two sleeps to go!!!!

Makes enough for a rough snow scene for a 20cm round cake

What you need…

500g icing sugar

3 egg whites from happy eggs

1 teaspoon glycerine

What to do…

Dump the icing sugar and egg whites into a large bowl and whisk together until stiff peaks form, using an electric handheld whisk.  Add the glycerine and whisk until evenly incorporated.

Apply to your cake using palette knife, spreading the icing evenly around the sides and across the top. Use the back of a teaspoon to ‘whip up’ snowy peaks!

Wodge in your chosen figurine(s) and sit back and admire your handiwork! Your Christmas cake is now complete! A glass of fizz would go down nicely now! Merry Christmas!

Tip…

For the ‘frosted’ rosemary that I opted for this year, lightly whisk an egg white until its frothy and then brush fresh rosemary sprigs with it before rolling the sprigs around in caster sugar. Set aside on baking parchment for at least three hours. I also sprinkled a little icing sugar over them. A bit different – I like them anyway!

Inspired by…

Delia Smith

How easy…

As about as simple as it gets!

 

 

Light, Spiced Christmas Bundt

Made to fill a hole in my day when data was being transferred from my old computer to my new one, this cake was thrown together – I had to swap out a load of the ingredients because I didn’t have the original recommended ones and I didn’t have the right tins (mini bundts) so used my favourite ‘spruce tree’ mould but then had to guess on the cooking time. Imagine my surprise when I tasted it and…..it’s really, really gorgeous (dare I say perhaps even nicer than my Christmas cake….jury’s out on that one!) It definitely has a nod towards Christmas cake with the spices and the fruit, but it’s light as well as moist and just very, very lovely – thrown together in minutes; demolished in seconds!

Serves 12

What you need…

1 x 2.5 litre bundt tin

1 x baking sheet

Olive oil, for greasing

100g sultanas

110g raisins

80g currants

150g dates, chopped

40g walnuts, chopped

125ml brandy

150g butter, softened

135g soft dark brown sugar

2 large, happy eggs, beaten

185g plain flour

¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 rounded teaspoon mixed spice

60ml milk

Icing sugar, for decorating

What to do…

Tip the fruit, nuts and brandy into a small saucepan over a moderate heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the brandy has been absorbed. Cool completely.

Preheat your oven to 140˚c / 280˚f / gas 1 and slide in your baking sheet.

Tip the butter and sugar into your food processor and whizz until pale and creamy (6 minutes or so). Add the eggs, a little at a time, whizzing to combine. Pour in the milk and whizz again to combine.

Use a piece of olive oil drenched kitchen roll to thoroughly grease your bundt tin.

Tip the fruit mixture, flour, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice into a large bowl and mix well, ensuring the fruit is thoroughly covered with flour. Tip the whole lot into your bundt tin and pop it into the oven on the baking tray, baking for 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Cool in the tin. Use a knife to gently prise away the edges of the cake from the sides of the tin and then invert it out onto a pretty serving plate (some banging of the mould may be required!)

Sift over icing sugar ‘snow’ and serve. Light, delicious and ever so festive.

Inspired by…

The Mail on Sunday ‘You’ magazine

How easy….

Really quick and easy – a great last minute Christmas cake!

 

 

 

Dolly Birthday Cake

Celebrating her 4th birthday, gorgeous Georgia requested another ‘Dolly Cake’ following my considerable efforts last year when I made her my first ‘Princess Birthday Cake’. Slightly quicker in the making this year and far more relaxing! She loved it and it tasted great – and that’s what counts!

What to do…

For the full recipe, type in ‘Princess Birthday Cake’ into the search box in the top right hand corner of my home page.

Tip…

I would recommend making the sponges in advance of the celebratory day and then freezing them – very relaxing this way.

 

 

 

Rhubarb and Orange Polenta Cake

OK, so not much of a looker this one but OMG, so totally scrumptious! Sweet rhubarb and orange flavours work lusciously with the moistness of the sponge, a thing of gorgeousness as a result of the ground almonds and the fresh juice being drizzled over at the end. Honestly, cut yourself a fat wedge when it’s still warm from the oven and I promise you’ll be wanting a second! Oh, and another thing, it’s easy and effortless!

Serves 8 – 10 (or just 2!)

What you need…

1 x 20cm loose-bottomed, deep-sided cake tin, buttered and lined

150g butter, room temperature

200g caster sugar

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange

3 large, happy eggs, lightly beaten

150g polenta

1½ teaspoons baking powder

75g ground almonds

400g rhubarb, trimmed and chunked

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180˚c /350˚f / gas 4.

Into your food processor, tip the butter, sugar and orange zest and whizz until pale and fluffy.

Whilst still whizzing, gradually add the beaten egg. Tip in the polenta, baking powder and ground almonds and beat until evenly incorporated.

Dollop half the mixture into your cake tin and then arrange the rhubarb evenly over the top. Dollop in the remaining mixture – don’t worry about smoothing it over – no need.

Pop into your oven and bake for 1 – 1¼ hours until well risen and golden and when an inserted skewer comes out clean and dry.

Use your skewer to poke holes all over the surface of the cake, drizzle over the orange juice and then sprinkle over the sugar.

Leave to cool a little in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack. Personally, I’d go for a big fat slab now….whatever’s left can cool – just luscious!

Serving suggestion…

Large, moist slices, still warm from the oven are best but there’s nothing wrong with the cooled version either. On it’s glorious lonesome or with crème fraîche or either vanilla or cinnamon ice cream – delicious!

Inspired by…

Waitrose Weekend

How easy…

Effortless!

Connagh’s Weight-Training Birthday Cake!

Serves 16+

I’m not sure how many of you would want to create a birthday cake designed to look like gym weights (or even if you think I have pulled it off!) but just in case, this is the recipe for my son’s 18th birthday cake. Despite it’s appearance, the cake is absolutely decadently delicious, moist, sweet and very far removed from anything related to fitness!!!!! Happy 18th Birthday Connagh! xx

What you need…

1 x 23cm cake tin, 1 x 20cm cake tin and 1 x 15cm cake tin, all spring form ideally and liberally buttered and lined with parchment paper.

1 x 35.5cm cake board

1 small deep cookie cutter (to cut the hole in the top ‘weight’)

340g unsalted butter, room temperature

340g caster sugar

6 eggs

1 dessertspoon vanilla extract

140g milk

225g self-raising flour

85g cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

for the chocolate butter cream

100g dark chocolate (ideally 70% cocoa) broken into pieces

200g unsalted butter, room temperature

400g icing sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

for the decoration

750g Renshaw ready-to-roll black fondant icing

Icing sugar for dusting

Royal icing sugar and water for letter-writing

Disposable icing bag with No. 2 writing tube

A couple of tablespoons of vodka in a water spray bottle (see tip!)

1 x weight-training rubber duck! (optional!)

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 180°c / 350° / gas 4.

Using a food processor, beat together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Whilst it’s still beating, add in the eggs, one at a time, ensuring that each is thoroughly mixed in before adding the next. Add the vanilla extract and milk and mix in.

In a large mixing bowl, sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Then, add in the ingredients from the food processor and, using a balloon whisk, fold together all the ingredients until they are thoroughly blended. Divide the chocolate sponge mixture between the three cake tins.

Bake the sponges in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes until the cake is firm and an inserted skewer comes out dry.Allow to cool for 30 minutes in the tins and then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the butter cream, made especially gorgeous by the use of the melted chocolate.

Put your chocolate into a heatproof bowl and then into a steamer over a saucepan of simmering water. Gently melt the chocolate and then set aside until it is cool enough to touch.

In a separate bowl, sieve in the icing sugar and then, using a handheld electric whisk, beat together with the butter. Add the vanilla essence and then tip in the warm chocolate. Use your whisk again to mix together, ensuring that the ingredients are evenly and thoroughly blended. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the cake.

Halve each sponge horizontally, slather one half with butter cream and then return the other halves back on top. Set aside.

Take 250g of the fondant icing and roll it out thinly on an icing sugar-dusted surface so that it is big enough to cover the top and sides of the largest sponge. Use a small spatula to cover the top and sides of the largest sponge in butter cream, smoothing as best you can. Drape the rolled out fondant over the cake, smoothing it across the top and sides and then trim the sides to the bottom of the cake, tucking the edges of the fondant in neatly around the bottom.

Place the fondant-covered cake onto a cake board.

Take another 250g of the fondant icing and repeat the butter cream and fondant draping process for the middle-sized cake – you don’t have to roll it out quite to thinly this time though. Place this second sponge on top of the first.

Take your cookie cutter and cut a hole in the centre of the smallest sponge. Then take the final 250g fondant and repeat the butter cream and fondant draping process for the last time. This time however, poke a small hole into the centre of the rolled out fondant before draping over the smallest sponge. Then, when the fondant is smoothed over, carefully make four cuts away from the small hole (to create and ‘X’) and then fold the ‘flaps’ down the sides of the hole. Place this final sponge on top of the other two.

To ‘write’ on your cake, mix together sifted royal icing sugar with a tiny amount of cold water to create a gloopy texture – not quite stiff. Spoon into your piping back and go for it, praying for a steady hand – this process is NOT part of my skill set but I do persist in trying!!!!

Leave the cake overnight/for 24 hours for the icing to dry and set – this inside sponge will still be moist and lovely so don’t worry.

When you’re ready to celebrate, pop on candles, sing Happy Birthday and dive in – a delightful, moist, rich decadent sponge – yummy!

Tip…

If your black fondant is streaked with icing sugar, spray a little vodka over the cake and then dab with kitchen paper – the streaks will magically disappear!

Inspired by…

My son, Connagh, who threw down the design challenge. The sponge is based on the 365 Celebration Cake, already blogged.

How easy…

The sponges and butter cream are dead easy. The draping of the fondant and icing-writing fill me with dread but…they’re not that bad as long as we’re not trying to look professional!!!

 

 

 

Limoncello Drizzle Cake

One of my favourite cakes to quickly whizz up is lemon drizzle cake so when I saw this recipe I did wonder if it was perhaps mucking about with something that was already perfect but…I was wrong: the inclusion of the limoncello syrup makes this cake even more luscious, moist and generally gorgeous. Also, the inclusion of alcohol precludes sharing with all but the most grown up of kids!!!! Try it – so simple, so delicious!

Serves 8 – 10 or just John and I!

What you need…

1 x 2 litre loaf tin, buttered and lined with baking parchment

200g unsalted butter, softened

200g caster sugar

4 large, happy eggs, beaten

150g ground almonds

50g plain flour

4 tablespoons limoncello liqueur

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon baking powder

for the syrup

Juice of 2 lemons (those used for the zest in sponge above)

50g granulated sugar

60ml limoncello liqueur

for the crunchy topping

Juice of 1 lemon

60g granulated sugar

What to do…

Heat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚f / gas 4.

Tip the butter and caster sugar into your food processor and whizz until pale and creamy. Whilst still whizzing, gradually add the eggs, ensuring that each addition is thoroughly incorporated before adding any more.

Remove the mixing blade from your food processor and then tip in the almonds, flour, limoncello, lemon zest and baking powder, using a balloon whisk to gently fold in to the egg mixture.

Pour the mixture into your loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the syrup ingredients gently in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Use your skewer again to poke holes all over the surface of the cake and then slowly pour over the syrup, watching is soak in and knowing how lovely this cake is going to be!.

For the crunchy topping, mix together the remaining lemon juice and sugar and spoon evenly over the top. Leave the cake to cool in the tin (well, you’re supposed to but I couldn’t wait that long and had the first piece warm – delightful!) Turn out and cut into nice fat slices. Devour. Have another slice. Repeat.

 A little about limoncello…

A lovely, sweet Italian lemon liqueur that I really took to last year when we stayed on the Amalfi Coast and it regularly appeared at the end of our meals as a little ‘thank you’ for our custom. To serve in small chilled glasses straight from the freezer is quite heavenly…and one glass is never enough!

 Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

 How easy…

A bit of whizzing and a little stirring: very easy and the returns are many times greater than the effort!

 

Almond, Strawberry and Rhubarb Cake

A deliciously moist little summer cake perfect for a lazy afternoon in the garden. The strawberries and rhubarb in combination with the hint of ground almonds create a wonderful little tryst of flavours. Served with crème fraiche or sweetened yogurt completes this summery treat and it would surely go well with a cold glass of fizz or pudding wine. Pull up a deck chair and relax!!!!

Serves 10 – 12

What you need…

1 x 20cm round spring form tin, liberally buttered and lined with baking parchment

175g unsalted butter, softened

175g golden caster sugar

2 large happy eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

175g self-raising flour

A pinch of salt

50g ground almonds

4 tablespoons natural yogurt

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

100g rhubarb, chunkily sliced

150g strawberries, hulled and halved

2 tablespoons raspberry jam

1 tablespoon boiling water from the kettle

A sprinkling of flaked almonds

A sifting of icing sugar

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚f / gas 4.

Tip the butter and sugar into your food processor and whizz until pale and creamy. Whilst still whizzing, gradually pour in the eggs and vanilla extract. Tip in the flour, salt and ground almonds and briefly whizz to fully incorporate.

Remove the mixing blade from the processor and pour in the yogurt, lemon zest and juice, using a balloon whisk to gently but thoroughly fold in until smooth. Spoon into the tin and level the surface with a spatula. Arrange the fruit on top, cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Then, remove the foil and pop back into the oven to bake for a further 15 minutes until cooked through and golden.

Cool for 15 minutes in the tin and then gently remove the tin sides and bottom as well as the baking parchment (I left the bottom piece on for fear of breaking the cake, just taking off the side bits) and cool on a wire rack.

Once cool, use a little balloon whisk to mix together the jam and hot water before drizzling it over the cake. Then sprinkle over the toasted almonds and sift over the icing sugar. This lovely, moist little summer cake is ready to be indulged in!

Serving suggestion…

Crème fraiche if you have it. I didn’t but mixed a little pre-made sugar syrup (a staple in our house, mainly for Maddie’s cocktails) with left over natural yogurt – bloody lovely!

Inspired by…

Woman and Home magazine

How easy…

Really quite effortless

Rather Yummy Carrot and Walnut Cake

Delicious, moist cake with the lovely, creamy filling and topping acting as the perfect foil for the dark, gently spiced sponge. Luscious (especially given that we doubled the amount of filling and topping!) Also, one of John’s favourites, hence this year it was his birthday cake! Happy days!

Serves 10 – 12

What you need…

2 x 20cm round sandwich tins, liberally buttered and lined with baking parchment

250ml sunflower oil

4 happy eggs

225g dark muscovado sugar

200g carrots, grated

300g self-raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon ground ginger

75g walnuts, chopped, plus 8 halves to decorate

for the filling and topping

100g butter, softened

50g icing sugar

500g full-fat cream cheese

A few drops of vanilla extract

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚f / gas 4.

Tip the oil, eggs and sugar into a large mixing bowl and use a handheld electric whisk to beat until the mixture is well combined, lighter and noticeably thickened. Rinse off your whisks – you’ll need them again in a little while. Use a balloon whisk to gently fold in the carrot; then stir in the flour, baking powder, mixed spice, ginger and chopped walnuts until evenly blended.

Spoon the mixture evenly between the sandwich tins and pop the cakes into the oven to bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown, risen, and shrinking away from the sides of the tins. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, put the butter, icing sugar, cream cheese and vanilla extract into a bowl and use your electric whisk again to beat together until smooth and thoroughly blended.

Spread half the icing on one cake, sit the other cake on top and spread the remaining icing on top, making a swirly pattern for appearances’ sake. Decorate the top of the cake with the halved walnuts. That’s it! Dead easy and rather lovely for an afternoon tea or indeed any other time!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

Very, very easy. A great one to quickly knock up!

 

 

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