Apple sour cream cake

I love apple cakes and this is one I hadn't made before. It's good as a cake and as a dessert.

125g butter
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tspn vanilla extract
200g plain flour
11/2 tspn baking powder
1 tbspn cinnamon
2 cooking apples
3 tbspn sour creme
1 tbspn butter
2 tbspn sugar
1/2 tspn cinnamon

Preheat oven 180C/350F/gas4

Grease and line a 23cm springform tin

Cream butter and sugar together till fluffy.
Beat in eggs and stir in vanilla essence, flour and baking powder, tbspn cinnamon and the sour cream.
Peel and chop one apple into dice and finely slice the other.
Add the diced apple to the mixture and spoon in the tin.
Arrange the apple slices on top.

                Melt the tbspn butter amd mix with the sugar and cinnamon. Brush this over the apple slices.

                Bake for about 40 mins till golden and cool on a wire rack.


Easter cake

We don't like marzipan, so our Easter cake is usually a chocolate one. We're off to Suffolk to our son tomorrow, and my contribution is this chocolate cake.

This is the recipe I use most often. It has oil instead of butter.

190g sr flour
2 tbspns cocoa powder
1 tspn bicarb. of soda
1 tspn baking powder
150g caster sugar
150ml milk
150ml veg. oil [I used sunflower]
2 tbspn golden syrup
2 beaten eggs

Oven 160C/gas3
Grease and line 2 x20cm sandwich tins
Sift flour, cocoa, sugar, bicarb and baking powder into a bowl.
Beat the milk, oil, eggs and syrup together and add to the bowl.
Beat the mixture till well mixed.
Bake in the oven for 30-35 mins. [My cakes took 45 mins in my gas oven.]
Turn onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

For the icing you can use a chocolate butter cream, a ganache or this one, which I find isn't too sickly.

50g butter
4 tbspn sieved cocoa powder
3 tbspns milk
150g sieved icing sugar

Melt butter in a pan and add the cocoa. Stir and heat gently for about a minute.

Stir in the icing sugar and milk.
Take it off the heat and beat it well, then leave to cool and thicken.
There's enough icing to sandwich the cakes together and to spread some on top.
I added chocolate eggs for my Easter cake.


Hot Cross Buns

I've carried on my family's tradition of making 'Hot Cross Buns', using the recipe that my Mum and Granny used.
I still weigh the ingredients in lbs and ozs.

I've not given the recipe here as there are so many similar recipes on the web or in cookbooks or magazines.

Here's one I've also made and it's very good.

I made 24 buns, freezing 12 when cool, before I brushed on the sugar syrup.

                     I love this plate - it's 'Robin' from Emma Bridgewater's  'Birds' series. The buns are covering the robin! Here he is!


Bara brith

This is my Gran's version of the Welsh teabread. You can also make bara brith [speckled bread] with yeast.

6oz [175g] currants
6oz [175g sultanas]
8oz brown sugar
10fl oz [300ml] very strong tea
10oz [275g] sr flour

Preheat oven 180C/gas 4/350F

Grease a 2lb [900g] loaf tin

Put the fruit and brown sugar in a bowl and pour over the hot tea. Leave it to soak overnight.
Stir the flour and beaten egg into the fruit mixture and pour into the tin.
Bake for about 1hour and leave to cool in the tin.
Serve as it is or buttered.

I added some cinnamon to the flour, and think next time I'll change some of the fruit for dried cranberries.
I'll also try different flavoured teas and maybe use half white and half wholemeal flour.


Zingy lemon bars

Had a couple of lemons left in the fruit bowl so thought I'd make a cake. Didn't want to make my usual drizzle cake, so found this recipe in an old copy of a French magazine.

I did a very stupid thing and opened the oven to check that the cake hadn't overcooked - so of course it's now sunk in the middle! I still haven't got the measure of this gas cooker - several things I've cooked lately have been overcooked, hence the checking of the cake! That's my excuse anyway!

Bottom of cake
125g plain flour
pinch salt
35g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter
2 drops vanilla extract

2 medium eggs
170g caster sugar
grated zest and juice of a large lemon
1 tbspn plain flour
1/2 tspn bicarb. of soda
icing sugar to dust

Preheat oven 180C/gas4/350F
Grease a 20cm square cake tin.

Put flour, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and mix. Add the butter and vanilla extract and blitz till the mixture becomes a soft dough.
Press this evenly into the bottom of the cake tin and prick with a fork.
Bake for 12-15 mins till it's lightly golden and firmish.
Leave to cool in tin.

Whisk the eggs with a hand mixer till frothy and gradually whisk in the sugar till thick and foamy. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest then the flour and bicarb.
Pour this over the bottom and bake for 20-25 mins till golden brown.

Leave to cool in the tin and then cut into 12 pieces. Dust with icing sugar.

It has a good lemony tang and I like the crunchy base.

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