Date and pecan cake

Need to finish up the bag of pecans I bought from Julian Graves, so found this recipe on an Aussie blog. I've changed it a bit. It's supposed to originate in Israel.

2 eggs
180ml honey + 2 tbspns for brushing the cake
150ml buttermilk
1 tspn vanilla essence
3 bananas - mashed
300g sr flour
1 tspn baking powder
100g light brown sugar
2 tbspns cocoa
1 tspn cinnamon
1 tspn allspice
125g butter - softened
150g dates - stoned and chopped
125g pecans - chopped

Preheat oven 180C/350F/gas 4

Grease and base line a 22cm springform cake tin.
Mix the eggs, the 180ml honey, buttermilk and vanilla essence together till smooth, then add the bananas.
Keep back 2 tbspns flour, then put the rest in a bowl with the baking powder, sugar and spices and mix well.
Add the egg mixture to the flour, and using a hand beater, mix gently, then add the butter and beat till smooth.
Mix the other 2 tbspns of flour with the dates and pecans and fold these into the mixture. Spoon into the tin and bake for about an hour.
Heat the other 2 spoons of honey and brush it over the cake while it's still warm.
The cake keeps for about 5 days in a tin.
It makes a nice dessert, warmed and served with ice cream.


Honey, raisin and carrot cake

As part of our 'trying to lose weight', I thought I'd make a healthier cake! Sounds logical to me! At the end, I decided to ice it with orange flavoured glace icing - not so healthy!
The original recipe is from an old copy of 'Woman's Weekly' magazine, but I've adapted it several times, so I think of it as my recipe now!

3 medium carrots
85g raisins
85g honey
1 tspn vanilla essence
3 eggs
125ml rapeseed oil [or any vegetable oil]
125g sr flour
125g wholemeal sr flour
1 tspn baking powder
1 heaped tspn cinnamon - if you like it, as I do!
25g soft brown sugar
2-3 tbspn milk

heat oven to 170C/325F/gas4

Grease and base line a 20cm springform cake tin.
Grate the carrots - not too finely.
Put the eggs, honey, vanilla and oil in a bowl and beat together.
Then put the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar in another bowl and mix them together.
Add the flour mixture to the egg one and mix it all together well.
Stir in the carrots and raisins and add some milk to make it a nice soft mixture.
Put into the tin and bake for 45-50 mins, middle shelf.

I just mixed the icing sugar with some orange juice to make a thickish icing.

              The cake has a nice cinnamon flavour - not too much, just there in the background.


Lemon and semolina squares

This cake is a family favourite which I rarely bake these days. Younger daughter is coming for the w/e, so thought I'd make it

55g ground almonds
170g natural yoghurt
200g caster sugar
125g melted butter
1 tspn vanilla extract
2 eggs
185g semolina
1 tspn baking powder
2 tbspn pistachios, roughly chopped

lemon syrup:
170g caster sugar
1 tspn lemon zest
1 tbspn lemon juice

Preheat oven 180C/360F/gas 4
Grease a 23cm square cake tin. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a bowl, beat the yoghurt, sugar, vanilla extract and eggs together.
Mix the baking powder and semolina together, then add to the yoghurt .

Spread the ground almonds out in a little frying pan and stir them around for about 3 mins or so on a medium heat till they've become lightly browned.

Add the almonds and pistachios to the cake mixture and mix well.
Spread it in the tin and bake for 35 mins. Test to see that the cake is cooked.

While it's baking, make the syrup by putting the the sugar, lemon zest and juice in a pan and adding 125ml water. Bring to the boil, then let it simmer for about 10 mins without stirring. Leave it to cool.

Pour the syrup over the hot cake and leave to cool in the tin.

                               Using semolina always seem to make a lighter cake.


Hazelnut sandwich

This recipe is supposed to have Romanian origins.

I've tweaked it a bit, substituting hazelnuts for the original walnuts, and making it a coffee cake, as I love the combination of hazelnuts and coffee. It's the filling that makes this different from the usual Victoria sandwich.

175g butter
175g caster sugar
175g sr flour
1 tspn vanilla essence
3 eggs
2 tbspns coffee essence [I used Camp] or you could use instant coffee dissolved in hot water


100g ground hazelnuts
1 tbspn milk
1 tbspn rum
25g sugar

icing sugar for the top

Preheat oven 180C/350F/gas 4
Grease and line 2 x 20cm sandwich tins

Cream together the butter and sugar, add the eggs and vanilla essence and fold in the flour.
Divide the mixture between the 2 tins.
Bake for 20-25 mins till golden.
Leave to cool in the tins for about 5 mins then put the cakes onto a wire rack.

Filling - you can grind whole hazelnuts finely in a coffee grinder or, as I did, buy them ready ground.
 Mix all the filling ingredients together and use it to sandwich the 2 cakes together. Sift some icing sugar over the top.


Honey and caramel slices

Another chance to use my Wilton traybake tin!

My dil asked me to make something for her friends to have with a cuppa. I fancied making something decadent, ok then, calorific, and adapted this recipe from an Aussie woman's magazine. Had also bought a jar of local honey from a lovely local garden centre, which has a shop selling all kinds of goodies. 
Makes about 20 slices, depending on how big you cut them!

200g butter, diced
310g plain flour
115g caster sugar
2 egg yolks

2 x 400g tins condensed milk
100g butter, diced
115g honey

preheat oven 180C/350F/gas4
Lightly grease a baking tin 28x18 cm and line with baking parchment.

For the base:
Put everything into a food processor except for the egg yolks and blitz till like breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and about 2 tbspns cold water and blitz again to make a pastry ball.
Cut the pastry in half and roll out one half to fit in the base of the tin. Bake it for 12-15 mins till golden and firm when you touch it.
Wrap the other half of the pastry in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to get cold.

For the filling:
Mix the condensed milk and butter in a solid-based pan and melt the butter over a gentle heat.
Then on a medium heat let the mixture thicken for 5-8 mins, stirring all the time.
Take off the heat and add the honey. Mix together well and leave to cool.
Spread it out onto the pastry base.
Grate the rest of the pastry over the top of the caramel mixture then bake for 20-30 mins till the cake is golden coloured.
Let it cool in the tin before cutting it into slices.


Fudgy biscuits

My Mum used to make these for my children when they were little. Found the recipe the other day, so thought I'd make some for the biscuit tin. She used to make 15 biscuits out of the mixture, I only made 12!

125g sr flour
125g butter [softened]
125g caster sugar
1 tbspn cocoa
90g oats
2 tbspns coffee essence [like Camp]

Preheat oven 180C/350F/gas 4

Put the flour, cocoa and sugar in a bowl, then rub in the butter.
Add the oats and the coffee essence and mix it all together into a ball.
Make small balls of the dough and put them on a greased baking tray. I use a silicone sheet.
Flatten the balls a bit then bake them for 15 mins.
Sometimes Mum used to roll them in extra oats, but I prefer them like this.


White chocolate torte with cranberries and almonds

I first made this when we lived in France. It's a meringue mixture with an unusual combination of ingredients.

8 egg whites
200g caster sugar
250g white chocolate, chopped up
190g chopped almonds [skinned]
200g dried cranberries
40g sr flour
a little flour and fat for the cake tin

Preheat the oven 180C/350F/gas4

Lightly grease a 24cm cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment. Flour this and shake out excess.
Beat the egg whites into stiff peaks and gradually add the sugar. Keep beating till it's firm and shiny. Put the chocolate, almonds and cranberries in a bowl and mix in the flour.
Add the egg whites to the chocolate mixture in two lots.
Spoon into the tin and bake in the oven for an hour. Half way through, if the top is getting too brown, cover it with some foil.
Turn the oven off, but leave the torte inside until it's completely cold.


Crunchy topped banana cake

Baking blogs should come with a health warning  - 'Blogging is bad for your weight'!!

To use up 3 bananas that were over-ripe [they seem to ripen so quickly nowadays] I thought I'd make a cake, not a loaf this time. Then I fancied a crunchy top, so I adapted several recipes into this one.

3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
175g light brown sugar [the original recipe I used as a base had 350g sugar, which I thought was far too much]
120ml oil [I used rapeseed]
1 tspn vanilla extract
50g chopped nuts - whatever you have; I used walnuts
225g plain flour
2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
1 tspn salt

2 tbspns of sugar, flour and nuts, then rub in 1 tbspn butter.
Don't rub into fine crumbs, leave chunky.
This doesn't make a lot of topping, so next time I'll make double this amount.

Preheat oven 180C/350F/gas4

Grease a 23 cm springform tin, and line the bottom with baking paper.

Beat together the bananas, eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla.
Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix together.
Spoon into the tin and sprinkle the topping on.
Bake for about 45 mins and leave to cool in the tin.

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