4/27/2017

Mini Chocolate and Ginger Puddings

I recently bought a set of 4 mini pudding basins, so had to try them out. I love the combination of chocolate and ginger so decided these flavours would be in my little sponge puddings.
The only drawback to these puds is that they need to be steamed.
Maybe you could do them in the microwave? Have made a large sponge pudding in my microwave, so perhaps these little ones would work too?

Lightly grease 4 small pudding basins [ I got mine from Lakeland].

Put 100g soft margarine or butter, 100g sr flour, 100g caster sugar, 25g cocoa powder and 2 eggs in a bowl and beat together. Chop up 25g dark chocolate and 50g stem ginger and add to the batter.
Spoon between the 4 basins  up to 3/4 full. Cover the top with circles of parchment paper then a pleated piece of foil.
Steam for about 45 mins till puddings are springy and cooked.

To serve with them  - chocolate custard.

Beat 2 egg yolks with 1 tbspn caster sugar and 1 tbspn cornflour to make a nice smooth paste.
Heat 300ml of milk in a pan till boiling, then pour it over the egg mixture. Pour back into the pan and cook over a low heat till it thickens.Take pan off the heat and add 100g dark chocolate broken into small pieces. Stir till chocolate melts.

Run a knife round the inside of the tops of the basins then tip out the puddings onto plates. Spoon some of the chocolate over the top and serve what's left in a jug.



I loved the little bits of stem ginger in the soft cakey pudding - gave it a bit of a zing - and the chocolate pieces hadn't quite melted.  The sponge had a soft texture and contrasted well with the lovely chocolate custard. A nice treat!



4/24/2017

Apple Custard Cake - French Style

We all know we can't have enough apple recipes, and my lovely French friend G sent me this one to try. She loves finding new recipes, and often uses ingredients from other countries, including the UK, which she finds in her local Carrefour.
I haven't made any kind of apple custard cake before, so it was just right to make for my family coming on Saturday. I've adapted the recipe as there wasn't a mention of what size tin to use; there rarely is in French recipes, simply says 'moule à manqué', a deep cake tin! G didn't say what apples she used, but I used Bramleys, as I didn't want the cake to be too sweet. She must have got the custard powder at the supermarket [but I always take of tin of it with me when I visit her, together with tea, marmalade and Marmite!]

Preheat oven 180C/gas4               Grease a 20cm springform tin and line base with baking paper

Make the custard for the cake first - mix together 2tbspn custard powder and 55g of caster sugar in a pan then slowly add 250ml of milk, whisking it in then slowly bring to the boil. Stir it over a medium heat till it thickens. Take it off the heat and add 20g butter and 2 tspn vanilla extract. Pour into a bowl and cover with some clingfilm and leave to cool.

Mix 40g custard powder together with 185g plain flour and 2 tspn baking powder. In another bowl beat together 200g butter and 110g caster sugar till nice and fluffy. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, then add the flour mixture, 1 tspn vanilla extract and 1-2 tbspn milk.
Peel core and thinly slice 3-4 medium Bramleys.
Spoon half of the cake batter into the tin and spread the cooled custard over the top. Drop the rest of the batter over the top in spoonfuls, and smooth gently to completely cover the custard. A little spatula is useful to do this.
Put the apple slices over the top of the batter, and sprinkle some cinnamon and demerara sugar over the top.
Bake for about 50 mins.





A very different sort of apple cake. The texture of the main part is very smooth and custardy, then the slightly solid apples with a hint of cinnamon. The top has a crunch from the sugar which contrasts nicely with the other textures. Using the Bramleys it wasn't too sweet. It's a nice tea cake or a good dessert, maybe with s scoop of vanilla ice cream or a spoonful of crème fraîche.
Slice the apples thinly or they might not be completely cooked.

4/13/2017

A Duo of Muffins for Easter

As I have already decided to make the chocolate cake in my last post for Easter,  I thought I'd make some small cakes for my grandchildren. They love muffins and they came to visit yesterday so we made them together.
The first one we made was topped with buttercream and my favourite  Cadbury's mini eggs, but the second batch was a great favourite of my 2 older grandsons - Crunchy Peanut Butter muffins.
I always use oil when making muffins - don't think it is really any healthier, but it sounds better than using butter.

For the Easter Muffins:

Preheat oven 200C/gas6           Grease a 12 hole muffin tin or use 12 paper cases.

Sift together 225g plain flour, 55g cocoa powder, 1 tbspn baking powder and a pinch of salt. Stir in 115g soft brown sugar.
Lightly beat 2 eggs in a jug then beat in 250g buttermilk and 6 tbspn sunflower oil.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and carefully stir in the wet ones. Mix till just combined - be careful not to over mix or your muffins will be hard.
Spoon the batter into tin - I use an ice cream scoop.
Bake for about 20 mins till risen and firm. Cool on a wire rack.
For the topping :
Put 85g soft butter in a large bowl and beat till fluffy; then sift in 175g icing sugar and beat together, then adding 1 tbspn milk .
Put spoonfuls on top of each muffin and swirl round, or you could use a piping bag with a large star-shaped nozzle to pipe the cream on. I did the one in the photo with a nozzle, but the boys just swirled with a fork to their hearts' content!
Decorate with a few of the mini eggs.



For the Peanut Butter muffins:

Same oven temp. and tin as for the Easter muffins.

Make the topping first - finely chop 50g unsalted roasted peanuts and add them to 40g demerara sugar; mix together.

Sift together 280g plain flour, 1 tbspn baking powder and a pinch of salt. Stir in 115g soft brown sugar.
Beat 2 eggs in a large jug then beat in 175ml milk, 6 tbspn sunflower oil and 175g crunchy peanut butter.
Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients. Mix together carefully till combined, but don't over mix.
Spoon into the tin and sprinkle the topping mixture over each one. bake for about 20 mins till golden.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.



Good crumb on the chocolate ones - firm and moist. Love the contrast between the cake mixture, the soft creamy icing and the hard crispy egg.
Am a great lover of peanut butter so these were also my favourite. The cake mixture is soft and moist with a lovely peanut flavour. It contrasts so well with the crunchy peanut topping.

4/04/2017

Rich Chocolate Mousse Cake

I went to a 50th wedding anniversary party a few weeks ago, and this was the celebration cake. It was delicious, so I asked my friend who made it for the recipe.

It's more like a solid mousse than a cake, but the chocolate flavour is so good. I have to say tho' that a slice is very rich. I made it last weekend as a try out for Easter, as I had friends coming for lunch.

For the cake you need ; 330g dark chocolate, 120g cocoa, 350g melted butter, 10 egg yolks, 330g icing sugar and 330g  whipping cream

For the ganache: 200g dark chocolate and 10cl single cream

You need  a 23cm springform cake tin lined with baking parchment

Beat the egg yolks together till fluffy. [Freeze the whites in batches for meringues?] Melt the chocolate and butter over a bain marie then add to the yolks and mix gently together. Add the cocoa powder and mix well. Whisk the cream till firm, and carefully fold into the egg mixture.

For the icing - melt the chocolate and cream over a bain marie. Spoon a thin layer of this chocolate ganache into the bottom of the cake tin, then add the cake mixture, smoothing the top with a palette knife.

Take the cake out of the fridge and cover top with the ganache, using a palette knife to smooth it over.

Put back into the fridge for at least 3 hours, remove when needed and carefully remove from the tin and serve chilled.



As I said earlier, it's very rich. My daughter added the mint and a couple of bits of chocolate for the photo, but it doesn't need any additions. A smooth, creamy mousse cake, perfect for a special occasion. Decorated with some chocolate eggs, it's going to be my centrepiece at Easter!

Note - as the cake contains uncooked egg yolks, it's not suitable for young children or pregnant mums.

3/26/2017

Lemon Cupcakes

I'm not a great fan of cupcakes as I find the topping too sweet, and I prefer muffins or our British fairy cakes. I was asked to make some for a special tea, so decided to make lemon ones, to use up 2 lemons which just happened to fall off my tree! The topping is a bit different as I used mascarpone.

 You need a muffin tin with paper muffin or cupcake cases.  Preheat oven 180C/gas4

80g flour
1 tspn baking powder
pinch bicarb.
40g ground almonds
75g caster sugar
3 eggs
100g melted butter
zest of 1 lemon

Icing:
250g mascarpone
juice and zest of 1 lemon
50g icing sugar
yellow colouring

Beat eggs and caster sugar together till white and fluffy.
Add the baking powder and bicarb to the flour and add to the mixture together with the ground almonds, butter and lemon zest. Mix together till a smooth batter.
Put the paper cases in the muffin tin and fill them 3/4 full with the batter.
Bake 15 mins till golden, then take out if tin and cool on a wire rack.

Beat the sieved icing sugar and mascarpone together, then add the zest and juice of the lemon and a few drops of yellow colouring. Mix well then spoon into a piping bag with a largish rose nozzle and decorate the cooled cupcakes. Keep in the fridge till you need them.



I liked the topping mixture, as the lemon counteracted the sweetness. If anything, I think I'd add a bit more icing sugar, but they proved very popular and others didn't seem to find them a bit sharp. I used yellow paste not the colouring in a bottle, as I find paste gives a better colour. The ground almonds gave a nice hint of nut to the cake, and they had a nice crumb, contrasting well with the soft icing.



3/11/2017

Lemon and Apple Tart

 I first had this tart in a little bistro-style restaurant in France. It's very different from the usual apple tart, using grated apples and including lemons in the filling. As I was in a hurry to get it made, I cheated and bought some shortcrust pastry from Waitrose, but of course you can make your own. The recipe was on a bag of sugar I bought ages ago in France!
What I loved about the ready-made pastry in France, was that is came in a round shape ready for the tart tin. Wish ours did!

You need:  a block of shortcrust pastry, 3 large eating apples, 150g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 80g melted butter and 2 lemons, washed well.

Preheat oven 200C/gas6.                          Grease a fluted tart tin.

Zest the 2 lemons and put it in a small bowl then add their juice. Grate the apples into a larger bowl then add the lemon zest and juice to stop the apples turning brown. Mix together.
Add the 2 eggs, the sugar and the melted butter and mix everything together.
Line the tin with the pastry then pour the mixture in.
Bake for about 40 mins till golden.


It's a lovely light tart and it makes a good dessert. The apples and lemons balance well - the apples taking away some of the acidity of the lemons.I like the texture - soft pastry and the contrasting texture of the grated fruit. I will certainly make this again.

ps the French bit that was on here was the recipe from the bag that I had typed and saved in Word ready to translate! Sorry I forgot to delete it.😮

2/28/2017

Bakewell Flapjacks

Flapjacks are one of my family's favourite things to eat and a Bakewell tart is another, so a combination of both is a marriage made in heaven!
I've been having a good sort out of my baking files lately - you know the ones, with cut out bits from newspapers, magazines, recipe cards you've picked up in supermarkets, handwritten recipes on scrappy bits of paper ...... and I came across a recipe for these flapjacks. I've changed it a bit to suit our tastes.

Preheat oven 180C/gas4                 Grease a medium baking tin

Put 150g oats, 75g ground almonds, 45g plain flour and 45g caster sugar in a bowl and mix together. Add 150g melted butter, 3 tbspn golden syrup and 3 tbspn milk and mix well.

Put half of the mixture into your tin and press it down; spoon over 2 tbspn raspberry jam and sprinkle over 15g flaked almonds. put the rest of the mixture on top and smooth over. Sprinkle a few more flaked almonds over the top.

Bake for 10-15 mins till goldenish. Cool in the tin then mark into pieces.

I cut it into 10 decent sized flapjacks.



Very moreish! Lovely combination of soft oatie base and jam, then the crunchy nuts, more oatie cake then more crunch. A nice change from the usual flapjack - it's soft, so not for you if you like crunchy ones!