Blueberry Lemon Yoghurt Cake

There was a special offer on British blueberries at my local supermarket, so I bought several punnets.
 I love them for breakfast, in muffins and in one of my favourite cakes, blueberry lemon yoghurt cake.
Watching Monty last week, he said to pick any lemons that were ripe, so this gave me the lemon for 
my cake. It's an easy cake to make too.

 Preheat oven 180C/gas4                     Grease and line 20cm springform tin

you need:
125g softened butter,150g caster sugar, 175g sr flour, 100g Greek yoghurt, 3 eggs, grated zest of 1
 large lemon, 
130g blueberries
For the icing:
100g icing sugar, juice of the lemon
Cream the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy.
Add the flour, yoghurt and eggs and beat together.
Stir in the lemon zest.
Spoon half of the batter into the tin. Mix most of the blueberries into the rest of the batter then spoon onto
 the mixture in the tin. Sprinkle the leftover fruit onto the batter. Spoon into the tin.
Bake for about 45 mins. Check to see it isn't browning too much, and if it is, cover top with foil.
Cool on a wire rack.

Icing: mix the icing sugar with enough lemon juice to make a thick but not too stiff icing. Drizzle over the 
cake when cool.

The reason I put half the batter in the cake tin and mix the blueberries in to the top half
 is that when I mixed the fruit into the whole mix, they always went to the bottom!
It's a soft, moist cake with a nice lemon flavour. You get little bursts of blueberry, and the icing gives another
 layer. A good cake to have with an afternoon cuppa!


Muffnuts and Orange, Walnut and Rosemary Muffins

Am still doing my weekly bake for my kind neighbours, so decided to make something different this week, muffins. There’s been a lot of hype on Facebook about Muffnuts or Donkins! They’re a doughnut muffin. I just had to try them. Decided also to make one of my favourite muffins, using some rosemary from the garden and walnuts . So 2 for the price of 1 today!


It makes 6.            Preheat oven 180C/gas 4

200g sr flour, 100g caster sugar, 125ml milk, 85ml sunflower oil, 1egg and 1 tspn vanilla extract
Jam, Nutella or other filling of choice

Topping : 75g melted butter and 100g granulated sugar

Mix milk, oil, egg and vanilla together in a bowl. In another bowl mix flour and sugar.  Add the milk mixture to the flour, gently. No problem if there are some lumps. Don’t over mix!

Put 6 muffin cases into a muffin tin or grease 6 holes in the tin.
Fill half the case with batter then add a heaped teaspoon of jam or Nutella or Biscoff. Add more mixture till case or hole is nearly full.

Bake 20 mins.

Melt 75g butter in the microwave and put granulated sugar in a shallow dish.

Remove muffins from tin and whilst warm, dip top in melted butter then sugar. Cool on wire rack.

Ate one warm and it was delicious. A lovely soft texture and the contrast of the filling and then the crunchy topping. Will be making these again and maybe trying adding cocoa to the flour mix. 

Orange, walnut and rosemary muffins

It makes 12.     Preheat oven 200C/gas 6.  Grease a 12 hole muffin tin or use paper cases.

280g plain flour, 1tbspn baking powder, 1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda, 115g caster sugar, 70g roughly chopped walnuts, 2 eggs, 250ml natural yoghurt, 6 tbspn sunflower oil, finely grated zest of 2 medium oranges, 1 tbspn finely chopped rosemary leaves plus extra sprigs.

Icing: 175g icing sugar, 3-4 tspn fresh orange juice, finely grated zest of 1/2 orange

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and bicarbonate. Stir in sugar and walnuts.
In another bowl beat eggs,  then beat in yoghurt, oil, orange rind and rosemary. Make a Well in the middle and add the egg mixture. Stir together gently but don’t over mix.
Spoon into the cases or holes in tin and bake for 20 mins till golden.
Cool on a wire rack. 

Make the icing - sift icing sugar into a bowl. Add the orange juice and rind and stir till smooth and thick enough to coat back of a spoon.
Spoon icing over each muffin and top with small sprig of rosemary. Leave to set for about 30 mins.

I love rosemary. These muffins have a good soft texture from the yoghurt. They have hints of orange and then a hint of rosemary. I love this combination. The icing gives them a luxury finish, but the rosemary sprig is just a decoration - you're not expected to eat it!


Gargouillau, a French Pear Cake

Since lock down started, I have been baking every week to share with my lovely neighbour who gets some shopping for me. I decided this week I wasn't going to make just a cake, but a cake that can also be a dessert. In the fruit bowl were some ripe pears, so I made my favourite pear recipe, a French one from Creuse, Gargouillau.

You need for the cake: 150g butter, 150g caster sugar, grated zest 1/2 lemon, 2 eggs, 350g plain flour, 2 tspn baking powder and 8 tbspn milk
You also need: 600g pears, ripe but not soggy and 50g butter, extra sugar and cinnamon/icing sugar

Preheat oven 200C/gas6        Grease a 25cm springform tin and line the base with greaseproof                                                            paper,lightly greased

Cream the butter and sugar, add the lemon zest and mix in. Add the eggs gradually. Fold in the flour, baking powder and 6 tbspn of the milk. Stir in the rest of the milk.

Peel the pears, cut in half lengthwise, remove the core with a teaspoon and cut cross wise into 1cm thick slices.

Spread 1/4 of the batter over the bottom of the tin, then add a layer of 1/3 of the pear slices, pressing them lightly into the batter. Do this twice more ending up with a layer of batter. Dot the top with the extra 50g butter. 

Bake on the lower shelf for about 45 mins.

Release the cake from the tin and let cool. Sprinkle a mixture of caster sugar and cinnamon over the top then cut into portions and serve freshly baked as a dessert, or dusted with icing sugar as a cake with maybe some whipped cream.

I love the textures in this cake, the soft pear and the layers of cake. It freezes well too. My neighbour loved it!


Chocolate Chunks and Courgette Loaf

There's nothing like chocolate for cheering a day up. I was given a large bar for Easter, so wanted to stretch it out by using it in a cake. I love loaf cakes, and this is one of my favourites. It uses courgettes as well as chocolate, and I just happened to have one medium sized one that needed using up. It also uses soft brown sugar, a bonus as I've no more caster sugar!

You need: 2 eggs, 80ml honey, 120ml sunflower oil, 100g soft light brown sugar, 2 tspn vanilla exctract, 1/2 tspn baking powder and 1/2 tspn bicarb, 1 heaped tspn coffee granules, 45g cocoa powder, 210g plain flour, 2 small courgettes or 1 medium grated, and 200g dark chocolate cut into chunks and divided into  2 x100g portions

Preheat oven 170C/gas4           Grease and line a 200g loaf tin

Whisk together the eggs, honey, oil, sugar and vanilla. Sift together in another bowl the flour, bicarb, baking powder, coffee and cocoa: mix together then gently add to the egg mixture. Fold in the courgettes and half the chopped chocolate.
Pour into the tin and scatter the other half of the chocolate over the top.
Bake for about an hour [N.B.turning down the heat if necessary to stop the cake burning, as I nearly had a burnt cake!]
Cool in the tin for 15 mins then finish cooling on a wire rack.

The cake is full of chocolate flavour,and I love the pockets of molten chocolate chunks.  It's lovely soft moist crumb comes from the courgettes. A different sort of chocolate cake, but one of my favourites.


Little Pecan Tartlets

In these difficult times, we’re all using up what we have in our store cupboards. Finding some pecans, a bit of golden syrup and some ground almonds made me think of a recipe I’d kept from a supermarket magazine ages ago. I had plain flour, so that would be fine for the pastry.

Preheated oven 190C/gas5.   2 x deep bun tins

Pastry: 100g plain flour, 25g caster sugar, 50g ground almonds, 85g butter, 1 egg and 2 tspn lemon juice.

Put the flour, sugar, almonds and butter in a processor and blitz till crumbs ( doesn’t take long)
Add egg and juice through the feeder tube and bring together using your hands.
You can also make the pastry in the traditional rubbing in way.
Wrap in film and put in the fridge for about 15 mins.
Roll out thinly then cut out 18 circles using a 7-8 cm cutter. Press carefully into the tins. Prick the bottoms then leave to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Filling: 70g melted butter, 50g light muscovado sugar, 2 beaten eggs, 2 tbsp golden syrup, juice of 1/2 lemon, 100g chopped pecans

Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, syrup and juice together then add the nuts. Fill the pastry cases with this mixture. Bake for 15-20 mins till golden.
Cool in the tins for 10 mins the cool on a wire rack.

These are really just small American pecan pies. They are very rich, but moreish. I like the contrast between the soft pastry and the sweet but crunchy filling. A nice treat with a cuppa or as a dessert with cream or ice cream.


Pecan, Apple and Cider Cake

Something to cheer us up in these miserable days. Was given a bottle of local cider, and had several apples needing using up, so found this recipe from an old Woman's weekly magazine.

You need:
 330ml cider, 150g melted butter, 4 medium apples, peeled, cored and grated, 2 large eggs, 150g soft brown sugar, 300g plain flour, 2 tspn bicarb, 1 tspn mixed spice, 1 tspn cinnamon, 1/2 tspn grated nutmeg, 200g raisins or sultanas and 100g roughly chopped pecans.

Preheat oven 180C/gas4         Grease and line a 20cm spring form cake tin.

Pour cider into a pan and bring to boil. Lower the heat to simmer and let the cider reduce. You need about 100ml. Melt the butter in another pan and pour the cider over to cool a bit until just warm.

Mix the sugar and  eggs into the apples and pour in the butter and cider. Mix together.

Sift the flour and spices together then fold into the mixture. Finally add the fruit and nuts and stir together.

Pour into the cake tin and bake for about 1 hour.

Leave cake to cool in the tin for about 15 mins, then turn out to cool.

A nice cake to have with a cuppa. It has a soft crumb and as you can see, is full of fruit and nuts. I decided to have a proper cuppa with a friend and got out Mum's teaset. I think everyone had this Old English roses pattern! It keeps well in an airtight tin. You could use other fruit and different nuts. A useful recipe, rustic but very moreish!


Chocolate Chip Courgette Bundt Cake

I'm never too sure about veg in cakes. I quite like carrot cake, but didn't like the parsnip one my friend made, and courgettes, well I haven't really used them. So I was surprised to find that they were an ingredient in a delicious cake someone brought for a social evening recently. I asked for the recipe and this is it!

For the cake: 2 large eggs, 80ml runny honey,100g soft brown sugar, 120ml veg oil, 2 tspn vanilla extract, 100g vanilla yoghurt, 1 tspn bicarb, 1 tspn baking powder, 260g plain flour, 2 small courgettes, grated, 100g milk chocolate [chopped roughly]

Ganache: 50g milk chocolate, broken into pieces and 50ml double cream

Preheat oven 160C/gas3                       
Thoroughly grease and flour a large bundt tin  - make sure you do the corners. Put the tin on a baking tray.

Whisk the eggs, honey, sugar, oil, vanilla and yoghurt together. Squeeze any excess water out of the courgettes and add to the bowl. Mix well.

Sift the flour, bicarb and baking powder together in another bowl. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
Pour in the wet ingredients and stir till combined. Pour into the bundt tin and bake for 50-60 mins .

Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack, then turn out carefully.

When cake is cool, make the topping. Put the chocolate pieces in a bowl. Heat the cream in a pan till it just bubbles then pour over the chocolate. Leave to stand for a minute then whisk it till the chocolate has melted,

Drizzle over the cake.

This is a lovely moist cake. It has a soft crumb and the chocolate pieces still have texture. The ganache topping gives it an indulgent feel. I managed to get the cake out in one piece this time, but have had disasters before when using this tin! Make sure you spray it with cake spray thoroughly or grease and flour it well. Am going to make it in a loaf tin next.

Blueberry Lemon Yoghurt Cake

                 There was a special offer on British blueberries at my local supermarket, so I bought several punnets.  I love them f...