12/30/2012

Matchmaker cookies with White Chocolate Ganache

Christmas Baking 5

I didn't get time before Christmas to post this biscuit recipe. It's yet another variation on the basic cookie recipe I posted a while ago.
I made up a hamper for my aunt and wanted to make her some special biscuits. There was a box of Matchmaker chocolates and a bar of white chocolate hanging round, good Christmas flavours, so how could I use these? I came up with the idea of a double cookie - 2 cookies with the Matchmakers chopped up in them, sandwiched together with a white chocolate ganache. A real Christmas treat for my aunt.
I thought they'd be fiddly to make, but they weren't.

I made 15 double cookies from this recipe - 30 cookies

Basic recipe:
225g butter [soft]
240g caster sugar
1 egg yolk [beaten]
2 tspn vanilla essence280g plain flour
pinch salt
Extras:
100g Matchmakers [or any mint chocolate sticks] chopped up finely
icing sugar

Filling:
2 tbspn double cream
100g white chocolate, broken up

Preheat oven 190C/gas5
Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone sheets

Beat butter and sugar together, then add egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat in. Stir flour and salt together nd add to the mixture. Then add the chopped up Matchmakers and stir thoroughly. Divide the dough in 2 and wrap in clingfilm and put in fridge for an hour.
Take out androll out between 2 sheets of cligfilm or baking paper.
Cur out cookies using a 6cm fluted cutter. Space them out well on the baking sheet and bake for 10-15 mins till golden.
Cool on a wire rack.
Por the cream into a pan, add the chocolate and melt over a low heat, stirring from time to time till smooth.
Take off heat and let ganache cool. Chill in fridge till it has a spreadable consistency.
Spread ganache over half the cookies and top with the rest. Dust with some icing sugar.




My daughter was the tester and loved them. She said what she liked best was the contrast between the crunchie choc mint cookie and the soft white chocolate filling. I had to make a second batch for her to take home and to work, and used some After Eight type mints I'd been given instead of the sticks, and they worked fine.

I also made some Angel Cookies using just the basic recipe and cutting out angel shapes. I iced them with  thick white glace icing and sprinkled the tops of their heads with some edible silver glitter.



12/25/2012

Merry Christmas



                                   Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

12/11/2012

Caribbean cake

This is a cake I was asked to make by a friend . I'm not a coconut lover, nor do I like pineapple, so not really my kind of cake. Anyway, I learned something by making it - how not to burn deccicated coconut when toasting it! Pineapple jam was new to me, but my OH loved it. This is the recipe I was given, tweaked a little bit, as I didn't add any coconut flavouring as suggested. Enough is enough!

225g butter, softened
225g vanilla/caster sugar
4 medium eggs
225g self raising flour
splash of milk
50g desiccated coconut, toasted *
5 tbsp pineapple jam - or more if you're feeling generous
*Sprinkle the coconut on a baking tray, pop in the preheated oven for 4-6 mins until toasted to a nice brown colour, and the smell is wonderful [of coconut!]. Keep and eye on it as it burns easily - as I found out!


Malibu Buttercream
400g icing sugar
250g unsalted butter
4 tbsp Malibu, simmered in a small pan until reduced to 2 tbsp

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas4. Grease and line 3 x18cm sandwich tins with baking parchment.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one, then fold in the flour, milk, and 20g of the toasted desiccated coconut. Mix until light and fluffy, then divide equally among the tins.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden and springs back when the surface is lightly pressed with your finger. Turn out on to a wire rack to cool.

For the buttercream, beat the icing sugar and butter with a stand mixer or electric beater till light and fluffy. While the beaters are still mixing, add the hot simmered down Malibu. Mix well again.
Put a cooled sponge on a plate. Spoon some of the jam over the sponge. Use as little or as much as you like. Sprinkle over some of your remaining toasted coconut. Gently spread some of the buttercream over the jam. I made a mess doing this! Put another sponge on top, and repeat. Top with the final sponge, then spread the rest of the buttercream over the top and finish with a sprinkling of toasted coconut.



I asked my friend to tell me what she thought of it. She said the texture was lovely and soft, and she especially liked the filling and topping with the added Malibu. I was pleased with the end result as I've not made many three tiered cakes. So if you're a coconut fan, this is the cake for you!


11/22/2012

Little pecan tartlets

Most of the supermarkets seem to have nuts on offer at the moment, so I've stocked up and now need to use some of them.
I love pecan pie, but it can be very sweet and rich. These tarts are little versions, but still give you that lovely pecan fix. The recipe comes from a magazine supplement on 'Nuts', from Woman's Weekly, I think.
As it's Thanksgiving Day today, pecans seem appropriate.


Recipe makes 18 tartlets, so you need 2 x 12 bun tins.

I love this pastry as it uses ground almonds as well as flour, which gives it a soft texture.

You need:

Pastry:
150g plain flour
25g caster sugar [golden's best]
50g ground almonds
85g butter, cubed
1 medium beaten egg
2 tspns lemon juice

Filling:
70g melted butter
50g light muscovado sugar
2 medium beaten eggs
2 tbspns golden syrup
juice of 1/2 lemon
100g pecan nuts, chopped but not finely

The pastry is easy to make as you put the flour, sugar, almonds and butter into a food processor and whizz it quickly, or of course you can rub the butter in by hand. Then you add the egg and the lemon juice and a quick whizz again then bring the dough together with your hands.
Wrap in clingfilm and put in fridge for 15 mins.
Roll the pastry out thinly on a floured surface and cut out 18 circles with a 7-8 cm cutter, fluted or plain.
Put into the tins, pressing them in gently. Prick the bottom of each with a fork and chill for about 2 hours or leave overnight in the fridge.

Preheat oven 190C/gas 5

Beat together all the filling ingredients except the pecans, then add the nuts. Put some of this mixture into each pastry case and bake for 15-20 mins till golden. Leave them to cool in the tin for about 10 mins then put onto a wire rack.


I love the filling - not too sweet [for my taste anyway] and with a nice crunchy texture from the pecans. Have already said that the almonds in the pastry give it a great soft texture, a nice contrast to the nutty filling.





11/03/2012

Norfolk apple cake

I love apple cakes and am always very happy to find a new recipe. It's a very country looking cake with little chunks of apple and dried fruit. Nothing refined about it, but the taste is good. I love spices and this one has cinnamon and mixed spice.
It's made using the rubbing in method, and I found it difficult to get all the ingredients together. I didn't think I'd mixed it properly, but it came out fine. There's a lot of mixture for 1 egg!

400g apple chopped into dice
125g mixed fruit
125g brown sugar
125g butter
1 large egg
1 tspn cinnamon and 1 tspn mixed spice

Preheat oven 180C/gas4

Grease and line a 20cm springform tin.

Rub together the butter and flour till it looks like breadcrumbs.
Add the egg, sugar and spices and mix together.
Then add the apple and mixed fruit.
Bake for about 35 mins till the middle feels firm when you touch it.






I didn't have any mixed fruit so used raisins. You can see that the apple stayed in little chunks; it's very moist from the apples. It's more of a dessert cake than one to have with a cuppa; we had some with creme fraiche. I like it's chunky look and spicy flavour, and it's a cake I'll make again.





10/09/2012

Plum tart

As I said in a recent post, plums are one of my favourite fruit. I love making crumbles and tarts with them, but wanted to find something different to try.
This recipe is from a Woman's Weekly magazine; it's one of the hundreds of recipes I have to sort out in my cuttings folder!
I bought a punnet of plums from the supermarket which were marked as seconds, and they were really hard. Anyway I thought I'd use them in my new recipe, and they turned out soft and juicy.



250g plain flour
170g chopped up butter
1 egg yolk

I used my processor to make the pastry, putting in the flour, butter and egg yolk and adding a tbspn of water and blitzing till the pastry started to come together. Roll out and line the flan tin and chill for 30 mins. it's a very short pastry and breaks easily, but is easily patched up.

Filling:
1 tspn cinnamon
2 tbspns soft brown sugar
750g plums, stoned and quartered

Topping:
1 egg + a yolk
125g creme fraiche
45g soft brown sugar

Preheat oven 200C/gas6
Grease a 28cm shallow flan tin

Remove flan tin from the fridge; mix the cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle over the pastry base.

Arrange the plums, cut side up and pack them together. If there's any left over, put them skin side up on top in a pattern. I just about had enough fruit to fill the tin.

Mix the ingredients of the topping together and spoon over the plums.

Bake for 25-30 mins till lightly browned.



I really like the flavour of the tart; the cinnamon and sugar come through in the background and the texture of the creme fraiche topping is creamy and not too sweet [for my taste anyway]. I'll certainly make this again, and it would work with other fruit like apples, cherries etc.

10/06/2012

Aberffraw cakes

These were mentioned recently on the GBBO, so I thought I'd find out more about them. They're made on the Isle of Anglesey and are a traditional biscuit really, not a cake. They're served sprinkled with sugar and even with cream and jam, like a scone.
The bit I liked was that a scallop shell is pressed into the top to give it a shell-like pattern. Nowadays, a lot of the Aberffraw cakes have the pattern put on with a knife. I have a bag of scallop shells, brought back from France so I used a genuine one to make my pattern.
The recipe is a 3.2.1  - quite common for biscuits. This means 3 parts flour to 2 parts fat to 1 part sugar.

175g flour
110g butter
55g caster sugar
a little milk
more caster sugar for sprinkling over

Preheat oven 190C/gas5.
Grease a baking sheet.

I used a processor to make my dough.

Put flour and sugar in a bowl and rub in the butter. Bind together with a litle milk to make a soft dough.
Roll out and cut out circles. I used a 7cm cutter and made 12 cakes.
Use a scallop shell to press the scallop pattern onto the top, or cut the pattern with the back of a knife.



Put the cakes to cool on a wire rack and sprinkle with sugar. You can eat them served with cream and jam, but they're delicious as they are.


They have a nice crunchy texture, and the butter gives them a rich flavour.

10/02/2012

Swedish orange cake

I love citrus cakes so had to try this one; the recipe was given to me by a church friend whose son is married to a Swedish girl. This is Anneke's family recipe, and she calls it a teabread and serves it as a dessert with some fruit salad. It's lovely as a cake with your afternoon cuppa.
 Another easy cake for my repertoire.

150g butter
120g caster sugar
3 eggs
greated zest of a lemon
60ml fresh orange juice
orange essence [opt]
250g plain flour with 2 tspn baking powder added
breadcrumbs to coat the tin

topping:
80g icing sugar
orange juice - 1-2 tbspn

Preheat oven 175C/gas4
Grease a 900g loaf tin and sprinkle with breadcrumbs

Beat butter and sugar together till fluffy.
Whisk the eggs in one at a time then mix in the rind, juice and flour. Blend together.
Pour into the tin and bake for about an hour.
Remove from the tin and leave to cool under the upturned tin!

Mix the icing sugar with enough juice to make it the consistency you want; make sure it's smooth, then spread over the cake.



I decided to drizzle the icing over, not easy when the cake has risen considerably. Not very pretty, but the cake is really delicious. It's nice to have an orange cake for a change.



It has a lovely fresh flavour and is light and airy. I enhanced the orange flavour with a few drops of orange essence and used an orange glace icing. I didn't put any breadcrumbs into the tin; am not sure why they're there!

9/07/2012

Apricot-banana-cranberry teabread

This addition to my teabread recipe collection comes from a book I bought in a charity shop called 'The complete book of baking'. It really is a very quick bread to make, and is very moist. Another recipe with oil instead of butter must be good!

175g plain flour
11/2 tspn baking powder
1/2tspn grated nutmeg
6-g rolled oats
250g light brown sugar
60g dried cranberries
60g dried apricots
2 eggs
120ml sunflower oil
1 tspn vanilla essence
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven 180C/gas 4
Grease a 900g loaf tin

Put flour, baking powder and nutmeg in a bowl and add the oats, sugar and dried fruit. Mix together till blended. make a well in the middle.
In another bowl beat the bananas, eggs, oil and vanilla essence together with an electric mixer.
Add this to the flour mixture and combine together.
Pour into the tin and bake for 45mins- an hour till well risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack.
Dust the top with icing sugar if you want.


I served this to friends with a compote of cranberries and apricots, which really accentuated the flavours in the teabread. Have the compote recipe if anyone wants it.
There's an awful lot of sugar in the recipe so I'm going to play around with using something else for sweetness, and also going to try just reducing the amount of sugar and see if the recipe still works. I love the combination of flavours.

9/04/2012

German apple cake

I love apple cakes, and this is a recipe from my lovely German dil.

It's an unusual apple cake as it has 3 layers. It's not the prettiest of cakes, but the flavour's really good. It's not a huge cake, but it's nice eaten warm as a pudd., or you could eat it cold as a cake with your afternoon cuppa.

100g butter
100g caster sugar
200g sr flour
1 large egg
pinch salt
500g cooking apples
55g sultanas
1 tspn cinnamon
55g demerara sugar

Preheat oven 190C/gas 5.
Grease and line a 20cm springform tin.

Melt butter in microwave or pan. Remove and add the sugar, flour, egg and salt. Mix to a stiff dough.
Put 2/3 of the dough in the bootom of the cake tin, pressing it to cover the base.
Mix the rest of the ingredients together and then put on top of the dough.
Put the 1/3 of the dough on top in pieces, tearing it and gently pressing it down. It won't cover the apple mixture.
Bake for about 50 mins till golden, but cover with some foil for about the last 10 mins to stop the top burning.
Cool in the tin then put on a plate and serve warm or cold.


It's not burnt! I used dark demerara sugar mixed with the cinnamon and apple.



I love the apple layer with the sultanas, sugar and cinnamon. It's a nice mixture of textures - the cake bottom, the apple layer and the almost cobbler topping. Just right for this cold, miserable weather.

I'm off to my daughter next week for a break, so won't be posting. I lost my husband recently, so have
lost my inspiration for baking. My son came to visit so I felt I had to make an effort, and made this as a dessert. 

8/20/2012

Toffee shortbread biscuits

A tin of Carnation caramel was lurking in the back of the cupboard, and carrying on with my biscuit theme, thought I could use it as a filling in a double biscuit.

I have an easy shortbread recipe given to me many years ago when I was a student, by my Scottish landlady, and this would go really well with the caramel. You must use butter for these to get the lovely flavour.

Shortbread:
350g plain flour
110g cornflour
110g caster sugar
225g butter

Filling:
tin caramel

100g dessicated coconut -optional

Preheat oven 180C/gas4

Cream the butter and sugar either by hand or with electric mixer on a low speed till nice and smooth. Sift the flours together and add to the mixture. Work the flours in by hand. Knead the dough till it's smooth then wrap in clingfilm and chill for about 30 mins.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 5mm and cut out rounds with a cutter, the size depending on how big you want your biscuits!
Put the biscuits on baking sheets and bake for 10-12 mins till lightly coloured.
Cool on a wire rack.
When cold, spread one shortbread with some caramel right to the edges and top with another one. Press together very gently, as they break easily.


My duaghter was here when I made them, and as she's a coconut fan, suggested I roll the sides in some coconut, which I duly did. They are really delicious, melt in the mouth,but rather messy;  I'm not sure if I'd prefer them without the coconut - will have to make them again to decide! Should have done some with coconut and some without.

Hadn't thought about using shortbread to make double biscuits, but will now think of some other filling ideas to try.



8/10/2012

Pistachio and pear cookies

This is another variation of my basic cookie recipe.  We love pears and finding some dried ones, I had to make some cookies. You could use other nuts if you prefer, other dried fruit too - I've used dried cranberries and cherries and these are good.

Here's the basic recipe again:

:Oven 190C/375F/gas5. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchent paper or a silicone sheet.


Basic recipe:
225g soft butter
140g caster sugar
1 beaten egg yolk
2 tspn vanilla extract
280g plain flour
pinch salt
Beat butter and sugar together in a bowl with a wooden spoon, then beat in egg yolk and vanilla essence. Stir in the flour and salt. Mix together to make a ball of dough.

Additional ingredients:
55g ready to eat dried pears, chopped finely
55g pistachio nuts, chopped
some whole pistachio nuts to decorate

This time, add the nuts and pears after the flour and mix it all together into a ball of dough.
Take spoonfuls and roll into balls, put on baking sheets and space well. Flatten a bit and put a whole pistachio into the centre of each cookie.
Bake 10-15 mins till golden. leave to cool on sheet, and then put on a wire rack.



Not a very inspiring photo, but I didn't have a chance to take another one as all the cookies were whisked off to Luton Airport! The cookies have a crunch from the pistachios and I really like the flavour of the pear.


8/01/2012

Swedish rhubarb cake

The other day I found a Scandinavian cookery book in a local charity shop, and this recipe was in it.
We have one lone rhubarb plant in the garden, and there was just enough ready to pick to use in this cake.
I've adapted the recipe to the kind of cake I wanted, so I'm claiming it as mine now! It makes a small amount of rhubarb into a delicious dessert, tho' it's not a big cake if you have a family to feed.

2eggs
150g caster sugar
90g plain flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
about 250g rhubarb
50g cold butter
1 tspn cinnamon
2 tbspn pearl sugar

Preheat oven 175C/gas 3/4
Grease and line a 20cm springform tin [make sure you grease the tin well or the cake will stick like glue!]

Cut the rhubarb into about 1cm pieces.
Beat the eggs and sugar with a mixer till it's pale and nice and fluffy. Then fold in the flour and baking powder.
Pour this batter into the tin and put the rhubarb on top, pushing it into the batter.
Then cut the butter into thin slices - it needs to be very cold [straight from the freezer cold as suggested by Phil] and very quickly becomes difficult to slice. I used a potato peeler then changed to a small sharp knife. Put the butter on top of the batter and sprinkle the pearl sugar over.




Bake for about 40 mins till golden - the original recipe says 25mins, but my cake wasn't anywhere near cooked, so gave it another 15 mins. Leave in the tin to cool and then turn onto a wire rack.

The pearl sugar disappeared with the butter, and gives a lovely crunchy layer on top of the cake, and the rhubarb was moist underneath. I sprinkled a bit of icing sugar on top.





7/27/2012

Cinnamon buns

My friend and her family went to Norway on holiday recently, and she sent me a postcard, in English, with the recipe for cinnamon buns [kannelbullar]. Presume kannel means cinnamon like cannelle in French. I just had to try some.
I decided to use my bread maker to make the dough, and then just had to roll it out, fill, roll it up, cut and give it a second rise. It worked out really well, and I'm very happy with the result.
You can, of course, make the dough by hand.

The recipe said it made 12, but I made one too big so only got 11!

Dough:

2 tspns instant yeast [I used 1 sachet and it worked fine]
60g butter
50g sugar
150ml milk which has been scalded and cooled
1 egg
1/2 tspn salt
1 heaped tspn freshly ground cardamom
325g strong white flour

Filling:

60g soft butter
60g caster sugar
3 tspns ground cinnamon
pearl sugar

Beat the egg and divide in half - half for dough and half to glaze buns.

Bread machine - put all the ingredients into the bucket and run on dough cycle.

By Hand - put flour and butter in a bowl and rub in; fold in the salt, sugar, cardamom and yeast. In another bowl pour in the milk and add half the egg and mix together. Add to the dry ingredients. Mix with your hand till you get a smooth, stretchy  dough [takes about 5 mins]. Leave the dough in a warm place till doubled in size. Knock back and knead again for 2-3 mins.

For both methods:

Once the dough is ready, turn onto a floured surface and roll into a large rectangle about 1/2 cm thick.
Make the filling - beat the butter, sugar and cinnamon together till smooth.
Spread the filling over the dough and roll up like a swiss roll. Cut into 12 slices.
Put each slice, cut side up, in a muffin case on a baking sheet. Cover with a damp teatowel or clingfilm and leave for about an hour to double in size.

Heat oven to 210C/gas 6-7 . I used gas 7 and a few buns were overcooked.

Egg wash the buns with the other half of the egg, and sprinkle with pearl sugar.
Bake buns for about 6 mins till golden.



Here's my buns before the second rise.




                                                           And here's a ready-to-eat bun.

They are delicious, and would be lovely warm for breakfast. For my own tastes, as a cinnamon fanatic, I'd like a bit more filling, otherwise I wouldn't change anything. I thought it would be a really complicated recipe to make, but it's easy, tho' a bit time consuming if you're making your own dough. I brought some pearl sugar back from France, but I'm sure one of the supermarkets would have some. The cardamom just gives a hint of another flavour in the background. I'll certainly make these again.


7/23/2012

Honey and nut cookies

Now that my son is living at home, we seem to get through an awful lot of biscuits and cakes. I thought I'd start to make my own biscuits/cookies to fill the biscuit tin, so at least I know what's in them. I love most  American cookies as well as lots of great British favourites like digestives, shortbread, bourbon etc. so thought that in the next few weeks I'd bake a mixture.
With cookies, once you've found a good basic recipe, you can adapt it in many ways. When we lived in the US, my lovely neighbour gave me lots of her family recipes, including a basic one for cookies. This is it, adapted to UK measures and ingredients.


Oven 190C/375F/gas5. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchent paper or a silicone sheet.

Basic recipe

225g soft butter
140g caster sugar
1 beaten egg yolk
2 tspn vanilla extract
280g plain flour
pinch salt

Beat butter and sugar together in a bowl with a wooden spoon, then beat in egg yolk and vanilla essence. Stir in the flour and salt. Mix together to make a ball of dough.
Now you can either make the dough into a sausage shape and wrap in clingfilm and chillfor 30 mins or so, or roll out dough and cut into shapes. Bake on the baking sheet  for 12-15 mins till golden.

This is the basis for lots of other variations. I've tried and tested many over the years, and this is one of our favourites.

Honey and nut cookies

Basic ingredients as above plus:
40g cashew nuts [not salted], macadamia nuts or pine kernels, chopped
75g more butter
85g of a set [not runny] honey
85g icing sugar

2 baking sheets prepared as above.

Make the dough as above and from it take out tablspoons of the mixture and roll into small balls.
Put half of these on a prepared baking sheet and flatten a bit. Space out well.
Spread the nuts out in a shallow dish and dip one side of the rest of the balls into the nuts. Put these on another baking sheet, nut side up and space out well.
Bake at 190C/gas5 for 10-15 mins till a light golden colour. Leave to cool on sheet for about 10 mins then put on a wire rack.
Beat the 75g butter with the icing sugar and honey till nice and creamy.
Spread this over the plain cookies and put the nut one on top.
A nice treat to have with a cuppa; the honey buttercream has a lovely flavour.







7/16/2012

Peanut butter cup bars

If you like Hershey's peanut butter cups, then these are for you. They aren't the healthiest of options, but as a treat they're very moreish. Great as a packed lunch surprise for no1 son, who's working long hours during the Olympics. - hope it will give him extra energy!
.
120g unsalted butter
175g icing sugar
260g smooth peanut butter
12 digestive biscuits made into crumbs
60g unsalted butter
90g chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

You don't need an oven to make these. Line a 20cm square cake tin with foil, leaving some hanging over the sides and butter the foil.

Melt the 120g butter in a saucepan over a low heat. When melted, take off the heat and add the icing sugar. Stir till smooth. Add the peanut butter and the crumbs and again stir till smooth.
Spread this mixture into the cake tin and smooth the top.
Melt the 60g of butter in the same saucepan and add the chocolate.Stir till it's nearly melted, then take off the heat and stir till it has completely melted. Pour this over the layer in the tin and smooth.
When cool, put into a fridge for at least 30 mins to set.
Use the overhanging foil to take it out of the tin. A pizza cutter is useful for cutting into 16 bars.
Keep in an airtight box in the fridge.


I like the texture of these bars, firm and with a great peanut butter taste, then the chocolate kicks in.

7/13/2012

Great buys!

Thought I'd post my newest acquisitions from charity shops and a school fete. Have run out of shelf space, but am sure I'll find room for them somewhere.



I've wanted this book for ages as it's a classic of its time.  I know it's not the first edition, but it's a fair-sized tome and cost me £2 in a local charity shop, a bargain. Can't wait to try out some of the cakes! It's a good read for wet weather!


 This is my second find. I've been rewatching the series after SK, so to find the book for 75p in my local school fete was great. I've already marked several recipes to try. Watch this space!


My last find, again in a local charity shop [we have a lot of them in town] and it cost me £1. I recorded the series a while ago, when it was yet again repeated, on the Food Channel, I think. I love their style, especially Clarissa. They both are larger than life, as is some of their food!



7/08/2012

Our favourite chocolate cake

Chocolate cake 'fashions' have come and gone over the last 30 odd years. There was the Black Forest gateau, the Sachertorte, truffle torte, lots of poor imitations of the River Cafe's gorgeous Nemesis cake to name but a few. I've tried most of these, but the recipe I come back to when the family want a chocolate cake is this one. I've been making it for a long time, but think it was originally a Delia recipe.
I like using oil in cakes, and this one is really moist and keeps well - a joke in this house! It's a good sized cake too, and it can be dressed up for an occasion with ganache or whatever you fancy. Today's version is unadorned except for a filling of Nutella and a smattering of icing sugar on the top.

275g plain flour
3 tbspn cocoa powder
11/2 tspn baking powder
11/2 tspn bicarb. of soda
215g caster sugar
3 tbspn golden syrup
3 eggs [large]
225ml sunflower oil [I use rapeseed]
225ml milk

2x 20cm sandwich tins [about 4cm deep], greased and lined

Preheat oven 160C/gas3

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb into a bowl and mix in the sugar. Make a well in the middle and add the rest of the ingredients.
Beat together well with a wooden spoon till nice and smooth.
Pour into the tins and bake for about 35 mins [ mine took 45 mins]. till well risen.
Remove from tins and take off lining paper. Cool on a wire rack.

You can then do what you like with them. As I've already said, I apread Nutella over one of them, put the other on top and sifted over some icing sugar. They'd risen quite a lot, so I cut the dome off one of the cakes to make it level so I could put the Nutella on it. Cook's perk to eat the slice cut off!





The cake isn't very sweet, considering how much sugar and syrup are in it and it has a good chocolate taste. It doesn't crumble when you try and eat it either. A good recipe to have in your repertoire.






7/04/2012

Macaroons


I love the French macarons, buut I also like English macaroons. Think they both come from the same root - A macaroon  is a type of light, baked confection, described as either small cakes or meringue-like cookies depending on their consistency. The original macaroon was a "small sweet cake consisting largely of ground almonds"similar to Italian amaretti. [Wikipedia]


Had some almonds lurking at the back of the cupboard so this is a great recipe to use them. Haven't bothered with the rice paper you usually find on them.

Makes about 28

200g ground almonds

200g caster sugar

1/4 tsp finely ground cardamom

2 egg whites (from large eggs)

approx. 25g blanched almonds for the top of the macaroons.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC//gas 6 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment or preferably a silicone sheet.

Mix together the ground almonds, sugar, ground cardamom and egg whites, and knead with your hands or use the flat beater in a freestanding mixer until you have a  paste. This is a thick paste, so I think a mixer is best.



Form little balls, about the size of a small walnut, out of the  thick paste. As you put them on the lined baking sheet - about 3cm apart - squish them down slightly so that they are no longer balls but flattish. Put a blanched almond in the middle of each one and bake for 10-12 minutes till pale golden ; take them out of the oven and let them cool on a rack. When cooled, store in an airtight tin.

You can make them ahead, open-freeze on a tray for an hour, then fill plastic bags with them and keep them stored in the freezer. They probably don't need more than an hour to defrost at room temperature.

I brought the ground almonds back from a recent visit to Spain, and they seem much grainier than the ones I normally bake with. You can see this in the photo. A nice teatime treat - if you like almonds of course! The cardamom gives a hint in the background which I like. These are also nice if you add some cocoa to the mixture and leave out the cardamom.

6/23/2012

Honey and almond tart

Honey and almonds are 2 of my favourite flavours, so both in the same recipe makes it a 'must bake'. The 2 flavours make me think of a trip we had to Morocco and Moorish baking, which I love.

The base is shortcrust pastry and I use double Delia's recipe from her 'Complete Cookery Course' so I use  220g plain flour, 50g each of soft butter and lard, a pinch of salt and enough water to bind together. This makes 250g pastry.

You also need:

150g apricot puree [I used apricot preserve]
125g butter
50g caster sugar
75g honey
3 eggs + little beaten egg
50g ground almonds
100g sr flour

Preheat oven 180C/gas4

Grease a 35x12cm loose base tart tin [I bought one from Lakeland].

Roll pastry out on floured surface and line the tart tin.

Spread a layer of apricot puree/preserve over the pastry - it's easier if you use the back of a spoon.
Cream the butter, sugar, honey and eggs together, then add the ground almonds and flour and mix gently.
Spoon into the pastry case and smooth the top.

Bake in centre of oven for about 30 mins, then lower temperature to 160C/gas 3 and cook for another 20 mins till golden.

My friend served it with cream to which she'd added a few drops of almond essence and a little bit of honey - heavenly!





6/19/2012

Chocolate cake (Schokogugelhupf]

My lovely dil bought me a silicone kugelhopf mould and I've been looking for a good recipe to use it. This is the Hairy Biker's chocolate cake recipe from their 'Bakeation' programmes. I presume 'gugelhupf'' [Austrian] uses the same mould as a 'kugelhopf' [German]! Here's their recipe from the Beeb - it's also in their 'HB big book of Baking'.







http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/chocolate_cake_20610



I didn't put any ground almonds in the mould before putting the mixture in, and I didn't decorate the cake with almonds or sugar, but otherwise I followed their recipe. The cake has a lovely firm but moist texture, and a good chocolate flavour, slightly nutty. The icing holds its shape well as you spoon it over the cake.

5/28/2012

Orange cake with marmalade and orange flower cream


There are several very similar recipes for this cake - Nigella has one, Claudia Roden has one and I'm sure there are many more. This one comes from Diana Henry in her lovely book 'Crazy Water Pickled Lemons.'
I love Moroccan food and there are some great recipes in this book.

A good tip I've learnt from a cyber friend is that instead of boiling the orange for an hour as stipulated in the recipe, you can cook it in the microwave and speed up the whole process. You prick the skin of the orange and microwave it on high for about 8 minutes, turning the orange around after a few minutes, just as you would a potato. Saves a lot of time and energy.

cake:
1 orange
3 eggs
250g caster sugar
55g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
200g ground almonds
icing sugar for dusting

for the cream:
55g fine-shred orange marmalade
125g  mascarpone cheese
30ml (2 tbsp) Greek yoghurt
icing sugar to taste
5ml (1 tsp) orange flower water


Preheat oven to 180˚C (350˚F) Gas Mark 4
Grease a 20cm (8in) spring-form tin and line with greaseproof paper.
Put the orange in a saucepan, cover with water and simmer for an hour. Cut the orange in half, remove the pips, and purée the rest of the fruit in a food processor. Beat the eggs and sugar together until they’re pale and thick. Fold in the flour, baking powder, almonds and orange purée. Pour into the tin and bake for about an hour. Cool on a wire rack.
To make the cream, melt the marmalade in a small pan. Let it cool slightly, but don’t let it set, then mix it with the mascarpone and yoghurt. Add icing sugar to taste and the orange flower water.

Sift icing sugar over the cake and serve with the marmalade cream.


This is the cake without the marmalade cream.  I love the texture of it - light, moist and full of orange flavour. The marmalade cream is great, but I prefer to just eat the cake just as it is - unadorned and simple.

5/24/2012

Hazelnut loaf cake


 Yet another loaf cake to add to my collection! This is basically a pound cake or Sandkuchen with the addition of ground hazelnuts.



250g unsalted butter at room temperature
250g caster sugar
4 large eggs
250g plain flour
2 tspns baking powder
100g ground hazelnuts


Preheat oven to 180°C/ gas 4
Grease a 900g loaf tin.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a stand mixer or 5 with a hand-held.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
 Gradually add the sieved flour and baking powder, a third at a time, until each third is well incorporated. Finally add the ground hazelnuts and mix them in well.
 Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for about 60 minutes until it is well risen and firm to the touch. If it starts to brown too much cover the top with foil. When it's cooked, cool on a wire rack.


You can ring the changes by adding two chopped apples instead for an apple cake, 150g chopped dried apricots for an apricot cake, or two grated carrots and cinnamon for a carrot cake ... the possibilities are endless! So a nice basic recipe to have in your keeper collection for any eventuality.





5/02/2012

Little cappuccino cakes

I love to drink cappuccino, and these little cakes are my cake version. They're a Victoria sponge mixture really, so are very easy to make using the all-in-one method.

3 tspn instant coffee
2 tspn boiling water
175g soft butter or margarine
175g muscovado sugar
175g sr flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
3 eggs

To decorate
300ml thick creme fraiche [or double cream if you want to be more decadent]
75g pieces of dark chocolate

Preheat oven 180C/gas4
Grease a 12-hole muffin tin.

Dissolve the coffee in the water.
Beat the rest of the ingredients together in a mixer till it's smooth and add the coffee.
Put the mixture into the muffin tin and smooth the tops.
Bake for about 12-14 mins till well risen.
Cool on a wire rack.

Whip the creme fraiche till it has little peaks.
Cut the cakes in half and fill with some of the creme.
Decorate the top with a little more creme and add some chocolate pieces to decorate.



I like these cakes because they're not too sweet. The tartness of the creme fraiche goes well with the coffee flavour. I found a box of chocolate pieces in a very nice local shop, and was a bit sceptical about how it would taste as it wasn't a well-known name, but it's got a great flavour. A nice treat with your afternoon cuppa. I'm not sure if a low-fat version of creme fraiche would work, as I don't know if it can be whipped. Must buy some and try. If you want a sweeter cream, you can add a little icing sugar to it.



4/28/2012

Pear and walnut muffins

 


I still had a couple of pears left in the fruit bowl after making the pear cake, so decided to make some muffins. I played around with my basic muffins recipe and came up with this one - pears and walnuts are 2 of my favourite things.
I usually make muffins in paper cases, but I've noticed that a lot of crumb gets stuck to these, so this time I decided to make them directly in the muffin tin. Although the tin is non-stick, I greased the holes and dredged over a little flour just to make doubly sure the muffins would pop out easily, which they did.




180ml milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large egg
225g wholewheat flour or white plain flour if you prefer
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
150g demerara sugar
1 large firm but ripe pear
50g coarsely chopped walnuts
1-2 tbsp demerara sugar for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas mark 6, and lightly grease and flour a 12 hole muffin tin.

Put the milk, oil and egg in a small mixing bowl and whisk to blend. Set aside.

Remove the cores from the pears, leaving the skin on, then chop the flesh into 1cm pieces. Set aside.

Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and stir to combine. Now add the chopped pear and walnuts and toss to coat and distribute evenly throughout the mixture.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the egg mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over mix. Divide the mixture between the muffin cups, sprinkle with the extra sugar, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave the muffins to cool for ten minutes in the tin before moving them to a cooling rack.


Well, they've cooled off now and I've just tasted one.... The crumb is nice and open, the walnuts give a lovely bit of crunch, and the chunks of pear lend a deliciously sweet and refreshing contrast. I'll certainly make these again. They came out of the tin easily, so I think I'll make them without paper cases in future.














4/19/2012

Apple sour cream cake

We love apple cakes, and as there were a few wrinkly apples to use up, I found this recipe in my binder; it's one I've not tried before.
Anything with cinnamon is a winner with me, and if it's easy to make, it's a double winner! The other good thing about this cake is that it freezes well [or so the recipe says].

2 large apples, peeled and cored [ I used 3 Royal Gala]
125g butter or margarine, softened
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tspn vanilla extract
200g plain flour
11/2 tspn baking powder
1 tspn cinnamon
100g sour cream or creme fraiche - I used creme fraiche
1 tbspn apricot jam

Preheat oven 180C/gas4
Grease and line a 23cm tin.

Beat the butter and sugar together till white and fluffy, then beat in the eggs.
Add the baking powder and cinnamon to the flour and fold into the mixture, then add the vanilla and sour cream or creme fraiche. Mix together gently till smooth.
Chop 1 of the apples into chunks and add to the mixture. Slice the other one.
Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth. Arrange the apple slices on top.
Bake for 35-45 mins till golden.
Cool on a wire rack.
Heat the apricot jam gently then brush onto the cooled cake.



We're having some of this as a dessert tonight, then I'm going to freeze the rest as we're away for the weekend.


4/18/2012

Bara Brith

The Welsh name means speckled or mottled bread.  My Gran used to used make it regularly, and we loved it spread with butter.
There are many versions of this recipe, some use yeast and others use baking powder. This is my Gran's recipe which I've tweaked a bit, and it's very easy to make.

450g/1lb dried mixed fruit
250g/9oz brown sugar
300ml/½ pint warm black tea [I used a Breakfast tea]
2 tsp mixed spice
450g/1lb self-raising flour
1 egg beaten.


 In a large bowl soak the fruit and sugar in strained tea and leave overnight.

Next day preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3.
Line a 900g/2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
Mix the remaining ingredients into the fruit mixture and beat well. The mixture will be soft and runny. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Serve sliced and buttered.





4/07/2012

Easter baking

I've been doing some Easter baking with my grandson and thought I'd post the things we've made.
First were some chocolate nest cakes, you know the ones - cornflakes in melted chocolate. Quick, easy and fun. I'd made some chocolate butter icing for another cake, so I piped a bit under the eggs so they wouldn't fall off!


We also made some rabbit biscuits.

 Tom's favourite is the 3rd one from the left in the top row - he pulled the ear straight before we baked them!
We used some silver balls for their eyes and some bits of glace cherries for their noses and mouths. We made 12 biscuits, and after Grandad and I had eaten one each, the rest went home for his brothers and parents. They were greatly appreciated, as were the chocolate nest cakes.

Here's the recipe, which is from an Easter magazine supplement in 1985!

225g plain flour
175g butter or margarine
115g caster sugar
55g currants
1 medium egg yolk

Preheat oven 180C/gas 4
Grease a baking tray.

Put flour in a bowl, add the fat and rub in.
Stir in the sugar and egg yolk and make into a dough.
Roll the dough out and cut out with a rabbit cutter,
Make eyes out of silver balls and a nose and mouth out of pieces of glace cherries.
Put onto the baking tray and bake for about 20 mins till golden.
Cool on a wire rack.

I also made some Hot Cross Buns, making the dough in my breadmaker.



And I must show you a corner of my lovely Easter tablecloth, bought in Germany.








4/06/2012

Apricot Kolaches

I've been watching the Hairy Bikers "Bakeation' and have enjoyed seeing the interesting breads and pastries which are made in Europe. I decided that I wanted to try one out, and found this recipe for 'Kolaches' in a cookery book about world cooking. They're Czech pastries and are often eaten at festivals such as Easter, so it's an appropriate time to make them.
In the book there's a choice of 2 fillings for the buns - apricot or cheese. I decided on apricot, as I'd just bought some last weekend.
The recipe uses a breadmaker, but they could, of course, be made by hand. I used my breadmaker the other day to make the dough for Hot Cross Buns, and this recipe has some of the same ingredients.

It makes 16 pastries.

1 egg
120ml milk
60g butter
60g sugar
1/2 tspn salt
250g strong white flour
packet quick yeast
icing sugar to dust

Beat the egg and milk together and pour into the breadmaker pan. Add the sugar, butter and salt and then the flour. Make a well in the flour and add the yeast. Set the dough programme on the breadmaker.

Grease 2 baking trays.
When the dough is ready, take out of the pan and knock down. Cut into 16 equal pieces, roll each piece into a ball and flatten a bit. Put the dough balls about 21/2 cms apart on a baking tray, cover with cling film and leave to rise for about 45 mins.

Filling:
60g dried apricots
90g sugar
2 tbspn apricot or orange liqueur or orange juice

Put the apricots in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer till the water disappears, then add the sugar and liqueur or orange juice and heat till the sugar is dissolved [about a minute]. Cool then blitz in a food processor.
Preheat oven to 190C/gas 5.
Gently use a finger to make a dent in the top of each dough ball - don't deflate it! Then gently widen the hole with your finger and add a tbspn of the apricot puree.
Bake for 15-20 mins till golden. Sprinkle with icing sugar while warm.


The dough has a soft texture. I think this is a very versatile recipe as you could use many different fruits or nuts or chocolate as the filling - the list is endless. I'm going to make the cheese ones next.


3/25/2012

Fudge crumbles

I've been doing some more baking with my grandson, and we made these treats. He loves fudge! They looked so moreish we had to try them. I know they're calorific, but as a treat...! The recipe comes from a magazine supplement on biscuits.

50g flaked almonds and a few for the top
75g fudge, chopped
200g plain flour
1/2 tspn bicarb. of soda
125g butter
125g light muscovado sugar
1 egg
1 tspn vanilla essence

Preheat oven 180c/gas 4
Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Pur flour and bicarb. in a bowl and rub in butter till breadcrumbs. Stir in the almonds, fudge and sugar and mix together.
Whisk egg and vanilla and add to the fudge mixture and mix till blended.
Put large tbspns of mixture on sheet, leaving spaces between them. Put a flaked almond on top.
Bake for 12-15 mins.
Leave on tray for 10 mins then put onto a wire rack.


They really are moreish, but very sweet. You could taste the fudge, but I thought it would have some texture - maybe I chopped it too small.
There are lots of different types of fudge you could use; if I make them again, I'll try a honey fudge. They're quick to make and bake - a good biscuit to make with children.

3/08/2012

Spelt and honey cakes

I've started making bread again and trying different flours. I bought some spelt last week and made a lovely loaf with it. I had some left, so made some of these little cakes for my friend, who came to have a cuppa with me yesterday. The recipe was on my bag of flour.

175g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
150g spelt flour
pinch of salt
1 tspn baking powder
25g cornflour
3 tbspn milk
10tbspn honey, warmed
25g hazelnuts or pistachios, chopped

Preheat oven 180C/gas4
Grease 10 - 12 small rectangular tins, a 12 hole 'financier' tin [I bought mine in France] or a 12 hole muffin tin.

Beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the eggs slowly, beating between each addition.
Fold in the spelt flour, the salt and the cornflour. Add the milk and mix till smooth.
Divide into the tins and bake for 20 mins, till golden and firm.
When cool, drizzle each cake with a tbspn of warm honey and sprinkle with the nuts.



You can make a loaf cake in a 900g tin instead of small cakes. The spelt give the cakes a slight nutty taste which goes well with the nuts in the topping. There are so many types of honey to choose from; I used a heather honey from my local farm shop. I'll certainly make this recipe again, but as a large cake. Another quick and easy cake to make.

3/02/2012

Welshcakes

I couldn't let St David's Day pass without making some of my Granny's welshcakes. I have her bakestone too [or llechfaen as she called it], rather black but still usable. Her recipe was in ozs and lbs so I've changed it to metric.

450g flour
1 tspn baking powder
110g margarine
110g lard
175g currants
1 tspn mixed spice
1 egg
2 tbspn milk

Sift the flour and baking powder in a bowl then rub in the fat. Add the fruit and spice and mix in.
Beat the egg and add to mixture to make a firm dough. if needed add siome of the milk. Don't make the dough wet!
Roll onto a floured board to about 1/4 " and cut into rounds.
Cook on a greased bakestone or heavy bottomed frying pan for about 3 mins each side till golden.
Cool and sprinkle with sugar.


I don't use lard or margarine, I use butter. Granny used to make about 30 Welsh cakes out of this amount; I seem to make much less - about 16! They're best eaten warm on the day they're made, as they tend to go hard - but they're still good to eat!

2/29/2012

Honey cake

Honey cakes are supposed to be some of the oldest cakes in history. It's not something I've ever made, so wanted to try this recipe, from an old cookery book called 'The complete book of baking' inherited from Mum. The recipe says that it's best made a week before you need it! It also uses rye flour, which I couldn't find in my local supermarket, but did find in Waitrose. No fat or sugar in the cake so it must be good for you!!

175ml honey - acacia if possible
3 eggs, beaten
300g rye flour
1 tspn cinnamon
120g ground almonds or hazelnuts
2 tbspn dark run [opt]
1/2 tspn bicarb. of soda
1 tbspn milk
almond halves to decorate

Preheat oven 175C/gas 4
Grease a deep 30x20 tin [12x8"]

Warm the honey in the jar in a pan of hot water then pour into a bowl and whisk till frothy and thick.
Beat in the eggs and gradually add the flour.
Mix the spices and nuts together and stir in the rum [if using] and add to the honey and egg mixture.
Dissolve the bicarb. into the milk and beat into the mixture.
Leave bowl covered overnight - it makes a lighter cake [?].
Spoon into the tin and arrange the almonds on the top.
Bake for 30 - 35 mins - cover top if it's getting too brown as it will taste bitter.
Cool in the tin and cut into pieces. Store for a week in an airtight tin before eating!



I made this cake last week, and we tried a piece with our cuppa as soon as it cooled. Lovely honey flavour but not really any taste of the rum. Tried a piece again yesterday, a week later as the recipe suggested, and the flavour has really changed and the rum flavour is pleasant but not strong. Perhaps you could use juice instead of the rum - will try it out. The cake has a nice texture, moist, and the nuts add another dimension to the flavour. A good cake and one I'll make again, with some slight changes.

2/25/2012

Blueberry streusel cake

There seem to be a lot of blueberries on offer in the supermarkets, so decided to buy some to try out a recipe given to me by my friend. She says it's a cross between a blueberry muffin and an old fashioned cheesecake with a cream cheese filling. Sounds interesting. I think the original recipe must be American, as it's called a coffeecake.

Topping:
120g butter, softened
150g sugar
30g brown sugar
60g chopped nuts
11/2 tspn cinnamon
1/2tspn nutmeg

Cream cheese filling:
375g cream cheese
90g sugar
1 egg
grated rind of a lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tspn almond essence

Cake:
500g plain flour
4 tspn baking powder
1 tspn salt
120g butter, softened
300g sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tspn almond essence
300ml milk
750g fresh blueberries

Preheat oven 375F/190C/gas 5

Generously butter a 32x22cm [13x9"] glass baking dish

Topping - rub all the ingredients together till large crumbs.
Filling- soften cheese and beat with the sugar using an electric mixer till creamy. Beat in the egg, lemon rind and juice and almond essence till smooth.
Cake - Put flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl put the butter and sugar and beat with an electric mixer till light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs and then the almond essence.
Beat in rhe flour mixture gently, alternating with some milk, till it's well mixed; if it's too stiff, add a little more milk, then fold in the blueberries.
Spread about half of the mixture on the bottom of the dish, smoothing the top and making sure it's right in the corners. Spread the cheese filling over and sprinkle with about a quarter of the topping. Drop the remaining cake mixture on top by spoonfuls, but try not to mix up the layers! Sprinkle the rest of the topping evenly over the surface.
Bake till the topping is crisp and golden - about 50 mins to 1 hour.
When cool, cut into squares.


The recipe sounds complicated but it isn't. It's a bit of a faff making the topping, but I added the spices to the flour, then rubbed in the butter and sugar and finally the nuts.
I love the cheese filling and the streusel topping which give the cake different textures.
 The reason a glass dish is suggested for cooking is because the blueberries 'could react with metal'. Not sure I agree with this, as I've cooked blueberry cakes many times in a springform tin with no problems. Anyway, I used my glass shepherd's pie dish, which was about the right size.
It's not an every day cake, well not for us anyway, too many calories, but it's a nice cake to make to share with friends, or as a dessert maybe, with some creme fraiche.

2/17/2012

Cranberry and apple cake

Another recipe to use up some fruit. The original recipe used blueberries with the apples, but I love cranberries and wanted to try this combination.
The method used to make the cake is a bit unusual, whizzing the flour and butter first. The dough is quite firm; more like a cookie dough. You can bake it, as I did, in a 20cm cake tin, or as a loaf in a 900g loaf tin.

125g butter
225g sr flour
175g caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 large eating apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
125g cranberries [or blueberries]
2 tsbpn apricot jam

Preheat oven 190C/gas 5
Grease and line a 20cm cake tin or a 900g loaf tin.

Sieve flour into a food processor and add the butter. Whizz till it becomes like breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar and eggs and whizz again to make a smooth mixture.
Spoon half of the mixture into the tin, then scatter over half the apple and cranberries. Spoon over the rest of the mixture then scatter the rest of the fruit on top.
Bake for about 45 mins till risen and firm.
Put the jam in a small bowl and microwave on high for 20 seconds so that the jam is melted.
Brush the cake with the jam as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Cool in the tin for 10 mins then finish cooking on a wire rack.



So .......I didn't put any fruit on top as I only had 2 small apples and not the required amount of cranberries! You can't see it, but there is apple in the middle of the cake! It's quite a firm texture, and I think it's better as a dessert with some creme fraiche, than as a stand alone cake. I think I've chosen the piece with all the cranberries in it!