Bavarian Apple Cake

You can never have too many apple cake recipes, and I needed to make something for friends coming for a cuppa and chat. My lovely German dil, whom I've mentioned several times on here, gave me this recipe. It's easy to make, but is an unusual cake.

Preheat oven to 220C/gas8 .  Line the base of a 20cm springform tin and grease the sides.

Cream 125g butter with 75g caster sugar and 1/2 tspn vanilla extract, then fold in 150g plain flour. It will be a bit of a crumbly mixture. Press this into the base of the tin and spread with3 tbspn of seedless raspberry or apricot jam.

In another bowl beat together 225g cream cheese, 45g caster sugar, 1 egg and 1/2 tspn vanilla extract and pour this over the jam.

Peel and slice 4 medium apples; I used Coxes, then toss the slices in 75g of caster sugar and 1 tspn of cinnamon till they're well coated and spread these evenly over the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with flaked almonds.

Put the cake tin on a baking sheet in case anything leaks out! Bake for 10 mins then turn the oven down to 200C/gas6 until the top is golden and the cheesecake set - about 40 mins. Cool in tin, then turn out onto serving plate.


The jam and cheesecake are very unexpected and the latter makes the cake rich and moist. We loved the layers - the cakey layer, then the jam, the soft rich cheesecake and then crunch of the almonds.
My dil told me she'd had a disaster with this once, when the butter leaked out of the bottom of the tin into the base of her oven and sent smoke into the kitchen when she opened the door! Hence the baking sheet. But happily, I had no problem.


White Chocolate Christmas Parfait

We don't like Christmas pudding, so I try and find a new Christmas dessert recipe every year.
This is the 2015 one. It's supposed to feed 8, but I think we'll just about get a decent slice each for 5 of us and maybe a bit over for seconds. I've made it in advance and frozen it.
The recipe comes from a pullout from Woman's Weekly.

100g white chocolate broken up into pieces
250ml ready made vanilla custard
3 tbspns Baileys liqueur
142ml pot double cream
2 tbspns grated dark chocolate
a few raspberries

small loaf tin lined with cling film

Melt the chocolate and stir in the custard.
Leave to cool then stir in the Baileys.
Whip the cream then add it to the mixture.
Spoon it into the lined loaf tin and freeze overnight.
When it's solid, cover and wrap and label it.
Take it out and put it in the fridge 20 mins before you want to use it.

Put onto a plate, sprinkle the top with grated dark chocolate and decorate with a few raspberries.

Will let you know after Christmas how it tasted.

 Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year.


Christmas Holly Biscuits

This is such an easy recipe, but I like the holly decoration on the top. It's a bit fiddly to do, but I think they look Christmassy and a bit different from other Christmas biscuits. The basic biscuit recipe is one I've had for years, and I saw the holly and berries idea in a baker's shop window. I went in and bought some bread and asked about the holly biscuits and the kind lady explained how they were done. So easy, and adaptable to other designs and cutters.
The recipe makes about 12 biscuits.

75g butter
50g icing sugar
grated rind of a lemon
1 egg yolk
175g plain flour
pinch of salt

2 egg yolks
red and green food colouring

Preheat oven 190C/375F/gas5

Lightly grease 2 baking trays.

Beat the butter, sugar and zest together till fluffy; beat in the egg yolk and add the flour and salt. Mix to a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for about half and hour.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 3mm thick, then using a 6cm cutter cut out round shapes. A good tip is to flour the cutter so it doesn't stick.

Put the biscuits onto the baking trays.
Mark the tops of the biscuits lightly with a 21/2 cm holly leaf cutter for the leaves and the tip of a 5mm plain piping nozzle for the berries. Chill again for about 10 mins till the biscuits are firm.
For the decoration - using 2 egg cups, put an egg yolk in each one and mix red colouring into one cup and green into the other. Using a small paint brush, paint the colours on the leaves and berries.

Bake for 10 - 12 mins till the biscuits start to colour round the edges.

Cool for a bit on the tray and then finish off on a wire rack.

You get a nice hint of lemon and a good crunch. I made a couple of batches for a church coffee morning today.


Chocolate Caramel Cake

It was my turn to make a cake for coffee morning, so decided to make a chocolate one. It's an American recipe from a neighbour. The caramel isn't made from a tin of Carnation Caramel, which we use nowadays, but is made using golden syrup, and the cake isn't topped with the usual sickly American-style icing, but with a simple chocolate icing, and topped with some chopped walnuts.

For the cake you need:
1 large egg
120g unsalted utter, room temperature
200g  caster sugar
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn bicarb soda
250ml full fat milk, room temperature
1 tbspn golden syrup
1 tbspn cocoa
1 tspn cinnamon
pinch salt
few walnuts, finely chopped 
Icing sugar 
1 tspn butter, softened
1 tbspn cocoa
Preheat oven 180C/gas4
Grease and base line a 20cm round cake tin.
Cream butter and sugar together until mixture is pale and creamy, then beat in the egg. Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt together. Slowly add the milk and flour mix at the same time while beating constantly on low-medium speed.
Warm the golden syrup in the microwave for about 15 seconds so that it can be easily beaten into the batter. Pour 1/2 the mixture into a bowl and stir in the cinnamon and cocoa until well mixed. Pour the chocolate batter into the cake tin first, smooth the surface, then add the caramel layer. Smooth over the top with your spatula and bake for 45-55 minutes. Keep an eye on the cake in the first 10 minutes: if the edges have started to bake fast and the middle appears to sink, turn down the heat of your oven by around 10 degrees. Let the cake cool in the tin then turn onto a wire rack.
For the icing, beat all the ingredients together and spread over the top of the cake. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over. (I didn't put the amount of icing sugar, as I didn't weigh it!)

The cake has a soft crumb; I liked the 2 layers- the chocolate one at the bottom then the different flavour of the caramel layer; the walnuts added another texture and crunch.

Gratin de choux-fleur

 I was given a medium sized cauliflower and as it's not my favourite vegetable, struggled to know what to do with it. Have kept a few Fr...