Monday, 24 June 2013

Lighter Lemon Drizzle Cake

Every time I make this all who sample it can't believe it's a lower calorie version, it really does just just as good as it's high fat contemporary, it's so easy to make too and doesn't cost the earth either.  It's moist, sticky, lemony and just 247 cals per slice.  This is one of my husband's favourites, he's a sucker for anything lemony, he can eat several, large slices in one sitting!
It's a BBC Good Food recipe again, so no typing for me, you'll find it here.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Strawberry Milkshake Cupcakes

These really do taste like strawberry milkshake, as they're made with milkshake powder, and they got a massive thumbs up from my young son, who declared the icing "spectacular"!
The original idea for these came from a Hummingbird Bakery book, but I've simplified the recipe.

 Makes 16

Equipment -
2 12 hole or, 1 12 hole and 1 6 hole muffin tin, lined with 16 paper cases
Electric whisk

Ingredients -
sponges -
70g butter, softened
210 plain flour
250g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
210 ml whole milk
2 large, free range eggs
40g strawberry milkshake powder (I used Nesquik)

Icing -
500g icing sugar, sifted
160g butter, softened,
50 ml whole milk
100g strawberry milkshake powder

Method -

Sponges -
1. Preheat oven to 170C, 320F, gas 3.
2. Mix together all the sponge ingredients in a large bowl, using the electric whisk until just combined and there are no lumps.
3. Divide mixture between the 16 paper cases, a 5o ml ice cream scoop is perfect to potion the mix out.
4. Bake for around 20-25 mins, until the cakes are cooked and springy to the touch.
5. Leave in the tins for 5 mins, then remove to a wire cooling rake to cool completely.

Icing -
1. Mix the milk and milkshake powder together in a jug.
2. Put in a large bowl with the butter and icing sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.  I like to use a wooden spoon for this as I find it less messy.

To assemble -
Swirl or pipe the icing onto the cakes, you can afford to be generous here as this recipe gives plenty of icing.  Decorate as desired, I used strawberry, glimmer, crunchy nuggets, from Tesco.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Apple and Sultana Loaf

I've been making this cake since I was a child, in fact the original recipe came from the kid's TV show, Blue Peter, in the early 80s!  I've converted it to metric for ease, and added some caramel icing, the recipe for which you'll find here, but it's fine without, and is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea.
Equipment -
900g loaf tin, lined

Ingredients -  
225g self raising flour
115g unsalted butter, diced
115g caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch of salt
85g sultanas
3 eating apples, peeled and cored (I use Granny Smith)

1. Preheat oven to 170C, 350F, gas4
2. Sift flour into bowl and rub in butter until it looks like breadcrumbs.
3. Mix in sugar, eggs, lemon and salt.
4. Mix in apples and sultanas.
5. Put mixture in the loaf tin, leveling the top and cover the tin with foil.
6. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, removing the foil for the last 15 mins to allow the cake to become golden.
7. Cool for 10 mins in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack to allow to cool completely.
8. Ice if desired, I think caramel icing goes well with this, but maple icing or cinnamon  buttercream would be nice too.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Rhubarb and Custard Cupcakes

These may look innocent enough, but they have a hidden centre of rhubarb curd under that vanilla flavoured icing.  The sponges are a little different too, they're made with custard powder in the batter to give that real rhubarb and custard taste of a British summer.
If you don't want to make the curd, you could use rhubarb jam instead, but I can assure you, it's well worth a try if you fancy a go at something different.
 Equipment -
Electric whisk
Sugar thermometer
12 hole muffin tin lined with paper cases

Ingredients -

Rhubarb curd -
600g rhubarb
4 large, free range eggs
200g butter, diced
4 tsp cornflour
175g caster sugar

Sponges -
100g custard powder
200g butter, softened
2 large, free range eggs
4 tbsp milk
140g caster sugar
100g SR flour, sifted

Icing -
170g caster sugar
120ml water
4 free range egg yolks
300g butter, very soft but not runny
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Method -

Rhubarb curd -
You'll find the recipe here.

Sponges -
1. Heat oven to 180C, fan 160C, gas 4.
2. Beat the custard powder with the eggs, sugar, milk and a tablespoon of the flour, using an electric whisk.
3. Divide between the cake cases and bake for about 20 mins, until golden and springy to the touch.
4. Leave to cool completely.

Icing -
1. Put the sugar and water in a small pan and heat gently, without boiling until the sugar dissolves.
2. Boil until temperature reads 110C on a sugar thermometer (5 mins or so).  Don't let it caramelize.
3. Put the egg yolks in a large bowl and whisk briefly.
4. Pour the sugar syrup  into the egg yolks with the electric whisk running, in a slow, steady stream.
5. Keep whisking until mixture is pale, thick, mousse like and totally cold.
6. Gradually whisk in the butter, followed by the vanilla.

To assemble -
Use a cupcake corer or apple corer to remove a plug of sponge from the centre of each cake.  Fill almost to the top with the curd.  Cut the crust off the removed plug and replace it to cover the hole.  Ice as desired, I used a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and some sugar crystals.  I thought I had some more exciting decorations in the cupboard but was sadly mistaken!