Easy Key Lime Cake

For a sub-lime (ha ha) slice that’s perfect with a G&T…
The Cardiff Cwtch - Easy Key Lime Cake - Lime Drizzle Cake

…Not that I’m allowed an ice cold gin and tonic at the mo (see previous post). I mean I’ve got a bottle of non-alcoholic gin that’s absolutely lovely – but it’s just not the same, alas. At least I can still load up on plenty of cake – and this little lime number really hits the spot on a hot afternoon when you’re looking for a bit of a zing in your doorstop wedge.

Although not technically a Key Lime Cake since you’d need to use special Swingle Limes from the Florida Keys to own that title, it’s definitely a bit of a love note to one of my favourite places on the planet and to the massive slices of Key Lime Pie I like to scoff when I’m lucky enough to be there. The sponge is buttery and moist – thanks to a good dollop of sour cream – with just enough of a hint of lime, while the icing’s where the punch is packed thanks to plenty of zest, juice and boiling down the lime leftovers for an added flavour boost (I bet you could add a shot of gin too if you were feeling a bit frisky... πŸ˜‰ ). The perfect summer, afternoon cake – and it’s dead easy to make.

The Cardiff Cwtch - Easy Lime Cake - Lime Flavoured Cake - Cardiff Bloggers

Easy Lime Cake

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 130g softened butter
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 130g self raising flour
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • zest and juice of half a lime
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt

For the icing:

  • 200g icing sugar
  • zest and juice of half a lime
  • 100ml water
  • leftover lime skin
  • candied limes (optionl)
Lime Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Welsh Food Bloggers
Method
  1. Set your oven to 160C (fan) and grease a 15cm cake loose -bottomed cake tin.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together your butter and caster sugar – then pour in the whisked eggs. Stir to combine.
  3. Next, sift in the flour, followed by the baking powder and salt.
  4. Stir in the sour cream to create a soft, airy batter. Fold in the lime juice and zest (save the skin – you’re going to use it!)
  5. Pour the batter into your greased baking tin, then bake for 40 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool.
  6. Whilst the cake is baking, pop your lime skin in a saucepan with 100ml of water and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer on a low heat for around 20 minutes.
  7. Once the cake has cooled, whip up the icing. Combine your icing sugar, lime juice, zest and lime water. Ice the surface of the cake and then decorate with halved, candied limes if you like. If you’ve never made candied peel before then check out this post.

Have a lovely week! πŸ™‚

Picnic Perfect Victoria Sandwich Cake

…Oozing with plenty of homemade strawberry jam and Chantilly Cream…
Classic Picnic Perfect Victoria Sandwich Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Welsh Food Bloggers

When it comes to summer cakes, you just can’t beat the basic (but beautiful) Victoria Sandwich. To paraphrase the famous glutton Mr Joeseph Tribbiani, what’s not to like? Cream, good! Jam, gooooood! It’s a classic; the kind of cake that’ll please everyone if you turn up with it at a picnic or at your Mum’s front door on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I mean you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like a plain sponge cake, sweet cream and strawberry jam. Better yet, it’s very easy to make – even if you’re a bit of a baking noob. The classic, base recipe involves weighing your eggs first, then matching up with the exact same quantities of butter, caster sugar and self raising flour – but I’ve experimented and come up with a slightly more refined recipe with a little added baking powder and buttermilk for a buttery, moist but airy sponge. Sandwiched with a layer of slightly runny homemade strawberry jam (easier to make than it sounds and absolutely worth the added effort) and some piped Chantilly Cream (fancy pants for double cream whipped with a bit of powdered sugar and vanilla – yum yum), you just can’t go wrong. πŸ™‚

Classic Picnic Perfect Victoria Sponge Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Easy Bakes

Picnic Perfect Victoria Sandwich Cake

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 175g butter (softened)
  • 150g sugar
  • 3 medium eggs, whisked
  • 175g self raising flour (sifted)
  • 70 ml buttermilk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the jam:

  • 100g fresh strawberries (pitted)
  • 100g jam sugar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

For the Chantilly Cream:

  • 200ml double cream
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Easy to Make Homemade Victoria Sandwich Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Cardiff Food Bloggers
Method
  1. The night before baking, prepare your jam strawberries; remove the leaves, slice them and then pop them in a bowl. Sprinkle with caster sugar, then leave in the fridge overnight. Sounds odd, but while you’re at it, put a small plate in your freezer – it’ll come in handy later.
  2. Set the oven to 160C (Fan), and grease your baking tin of choice. (I like to use a deep, 10cm loose-bottomed tin and then slice the cake in half once it’s cooked. But two 20cm sandwich tins will work just as well.)
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar, then stir in the eggs.
  4. Stir in the sifted flour, salt and baking powder. Gently fold in the buttermilk.
  5. Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for around 40 minutes if you’re using a deep tin, and 25 minutes if you’re using sandwich tins – either way, an inserted skewer or knife should come out clean.
  6. Once the cake is cooked, leave it to cool. Meanwhile, start making the jam; pop your juicy, pre-prepared strawbs in a saucepan and then either blitz them with a hand-held blender, or mash them. Add the jam sugar and lemon juice to the saucepan, and then gently heat the mixture on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Resist stirring!
  7. Turn the heat up to a roaring boil and leave the jam to bubble for up to 10 minutes. Remember that plate in the freezer? That’s going to give you a helping hand in working out when your jam has cooked. Every couple of minutes, take a small teaspoon of jam and drizzle it onto the ice cold plate – when you turn the plate vertically, if the jam runs then it’s not quite done. If it sticks in a blob and doesn’t seem in any hurry to go anywhere, then it’s ready! If like me you prefer your jam a little runnier, take it off the heat when it runs slightly, then sets on the plate. Once you’ve reached that stage and the jam is cooked, take the saucepan off the heat and pour it into a ready sterilized jar to cool and set.
  8. Once both the cake and the jam have cooled, you can whip up your Chantilly Cream – which is as simple as throwing the cream, icing sugar and vanilla bean paste into a bowl and then whisking them together until thick and airy.
  9. To assemble the cake, sandwich the two halves with a layer of jam and a layer of Chantilly Cream – then decorate with some extra cream, icing sugar and fresh strawberries.
Picnic Perfect Victoria Sandwich Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Welsh Lifestyle Bloggers

Have a lovely week! πŸ™‚

Bara Brith Blondies

a fresh, bite-sized twist on a Welsh classic…
Bara Brith Blondies Recipe - Welsh Food and Drink - The Cardiff Cwtch

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus! (Happy Saint David’s Day!) …For yesterday! The Welsh weather was hilariously on form all weekend – one minute sunny, the next minute rain, thunder, hail stones… And so my Saint David’s Day weekend was spent indoors (are we ever going to get a dry weekend?). Most of my Saturday was spent pottering around in the kitchen whipping up a few of my favourite Welsh Bakes to dole out to family and friends, and then on Sunday – I scoffed the lot. Standard. Obviously I made a massive batch of Welshcakes (I mean, it’s criminal not to scoff at least a dozen Welshcakes on Saint David’s Day, I think you’ll agree…), tried my hand at Aberffraw Shortbread, and I also made these Bara Brith Blondies.

Let’s be honest, Welsh Cakes and Bakes are never going to win any beauty contests; they’re pretty much the equivalent of me first thing on Sunday morning when I’m plodding around in my yoga pants and glasses walking the dog – unappetizing, no frills, what you see is pretty much what you get (and is at its finest when paired with a cup of tea). Welsh baking is simple and homely – it’s supposed to taste good, not look good, and usually be made with whatever you’ve got bashing around in your cupboard. And that’s why I love it.

I fancied making some Bara Brith over the weekend, but I wanted to try something a little different to the traditional tea loaf we all know and love (find my recipe for that right here). I wanted something a bit more bitesized – perfect for lunchboxes, for tea breaks, and for warming up in the microwave and serving with ice cream (I also saw someone serving up pancakes topped with little bits of Bara Brith over the weekend on social media – how genius is that!?). And so, I came up with these Bara Brith Blondies. They’re a really easy twist on the traditional recipe, with the same tea-soaked sultanas and mixed spice flavour, a super moist sponge and a honey drizzled crust. Yum! πŸ™‚

Easy Bara Brith Recipe - Welsh Food and Drink - The Cardiff Cwtch

Bara Brith Blondies

Ingredients
  • 250g sultanas
  • 300ml boiling hot water
  • 1 black teabag (I used Earl Grey)
  • 170g melted butter (cooled)
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 260g plain flour
  • runny honey to glaze
Bara Brith for kids Recipe - Welsh Food and Drink - The Cardiff Cwtch
Method
  1. Soak your sultanas and teabag in the boiling hot water – leaving them to steep overnight if possible, or for a couple of hours. The sultanas should plump and soak up either all or most of the tea. Discard any leftover water.
  2. Grease and line a deep, rectangular baking tin, and set your oven to 160C.
  3. To make the batter, cream together the melted butter and sugars. Stir in the eggs, mixed spice and vanilla bean paste, and then fold in the flour and tea-soaked sultanas.
  4. Try not to overwork the batter – call it quits when all the ingredients have more or less come together – and then pour it into your baking tin, gently smoothing it into the corners.
  5. Bake for 1 hour, then leave to cool.
  6. Brush the surface with runny honey, and then chop up and scoff with a cuppa. πŸ™‚
Bara Brith Blondies Recipe - Welsh Food and Drink - The Cardiff Cwtch - St David's Day Food

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus, pawb! (Happy Saint David’s Day Everyone!) πŸ’›Β You can find a video of this recipe (along with two other easy Welsh Bakes with a Twist) over on my IGTV.

Banana and Caramel Upside Down Cake

Sweet and Sticky and perfect served warm with ice cream…
Sticky Banana Caramel Upside Down Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch

What a wild weekend, right? Hopefully – wherever you’re reading this from – you escaped the worst of storm Dennis (the Menace). Here in Cardiff we’ve experienced the worst flooding in at least forty years. The Taff was the highest that I’ve ever seen it, Bute Park and Pontcanna Fields became a swamp on Sunday morning, and the water slurped so far beyond its normal level that swans were seen strolling down streets in Grangetown. Thankfully my house is on a hill, but other’s haven’t been nearly as lucky. It’s been a bizarre and sad weekend, and one best spent cosying up indoors with a good book and plenty of cake. Good thing I whipped this baby up on Friday!

I feel like bananas are a bit of a divisive fruit. I know people who will absolutely no way – under no circumstances – go anywhere near them, and then there are those who find them… a’peeling (har de har). I absolutely love them; I’ve always got a few banging around in my fruit bowl – and whether they’re soft and freckled, or practically green, they’re hands down the star of this Caramel and Banana Upside Down Cake. With a sticky, sweet and slightly crisp caramel crust on the outside, the cake itself is moist and crumbly and slightly spiced with cinnamon (and rum, if you’re feeling it!). Topped with sliced bananas, you can scoff it cold, or even better, slightly warmed with either cream, ice cream or custard.

…I know what you’re thinking. “Hey Nia, where’s the rest of the cake?” Well, funny story. Whilst the cake itself is very, very easy to make – you can’t rush it out of the tin (no matter how good it smells!). Which is exactly what I did and I ended up with hot caramel all over my kitchen counter. Oops. Do yourself a favour; leave the cake to completely cool in the tin before you turn it out and flip it onto a plate. πŸ˜‰

Sticky Banana Caramel Upside Down Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Cardiff Bloggers

Sticky Banana Upside Down Cake

Ingredients

For the Banana Caramel Topping:

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g dark muscovado sugar
  • 90g butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 large bananas sliced lengthways

For the Cake:

  • 150g self raising flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g softened butter
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 150ml yogurt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 100ml dark rum (optional)
Sticky Banana Caramel Upside Down Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Welsh Bloggers
Method
  1. Set your oven to 170C. Lightly grease a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
  2. To make the caramel, gently heat together the butter, dark muscovado sugar and caster sugar (don’t stir yet!) until melted and combined. Stir in the vanilla bean paste. Pour a little into the bottom of your cake tin, then arrange the bananas (sliced side down) on top. Pour in the rest of the caramel.
  3. To make the cake, cream together the butter and sugar, then stir in the whisked eggs. Sift together the flour, salt and cinnamon, then pour it into the bowl and mix with the butter and sugar. Finally stir in the yogurt (and rum).
  4. Pour the cake batter into the tin on top of the caramel and bananas, then bake for 50 minutes (or until an inserted skewer comes out clean).
  5. Important bit! Lightly run a knife around the edge of the cake, and then leave the cake in the tin to cool (if you release it from the tin at this point then the whole thing will collapse and spew molten caramel EVERYWHERE… Speaking from experience!).
  6. Once the cake has completely cooled, turn it out onto a plate with the bananas and caramel facing up. Serve with cream, custard (or ice cream!).
Sticky Banana Caramel Upside Down Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Cardiff Food Blogger

Have a great week! 🍌🍌🍌

London Fog Cake

…a moist Earl Grey enriched sponge with creamy vanilla sponge –
London Fog Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch

Tell you what, my 2020 so far has been bloody spectacular (…are you picking up on the sarcastic subtext of that statement?). Firstly, a new year dog walk around the block with my mother-in-law resulted in a five hour wait in A&E after Bungle bolted and dragged her up a hill by the wrist. Not a day after the house emptied and a bit of normality resumed, Sunny went down with the flu. And a day after that, the other hairy bloke in my life caught bog-eye from shoving his face in too many butts (…I’m talking about Bungle, in case that wasn’t obvious). Then yesterday, the council oh so kindly informed me that pulling into a bus lay-by to drop your husband off for his Christmas Party is not cool and will result in a Β£75 fine. Awesome.

It’s been a howler so far, and so I shouldn’t really have been surprised that my first bake of the year turned out to be howler too. I’ve made plenty of cakes in my time – enough to be honestly surprised when one goes tits up – but the science behind it all still kind of eludes me – it is all just chemistry after all. All the basic ingredients need to be there and need to be balanced in a very specific way before you even get around to adding flavours and fillings. For example if you put too much structure-building flour into a cake, then it’s going to be dry. And sugar is responsible for more than just its sweet taste; sugar plays a huge part in the soft, spongy texture of cakes due to the way sugar crystals trap little pockets of air. Too little sugar and your cake’s not going to have a soft texture. Aaaand, if you put too much liquid into a cake – which I found out when I tried to make this London Fog Cake – then your cake’s going to be heavy and dense and is probs gonna end up going straight in the bin. I knew I’d put too much liquid in it as soon as it came out of the oven – but hindsight’s 2020, innit? (Badump tshhhh.)

London Fog Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - January Baking - January Cakes

Anyway, I managed to turn this baking fail into a baking win by making it my mission to read up a bit into the science behind good cakes, and now – hopefully – none of my future cake experiments will end up in the bin. I went back to the drawing board, and I have to say, my second attempt was much, much better. Pretty damn good, in fact.

If you’ve never heard of London Fog before (Just a heads-up, I’m not talking about the weather in London…), it’s basically just an Earl Grey Latte. Lovely bergamot-infused black tea made with frothy, hot milk. The perfect drink for glum (and sometimes foggy) January days. This cake is essentially the drink in cake form – a black tea-enriched sponge, with a creamy, vanilla-flavoured frosting.

London Fog Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Tea-Enriched Sponge - Easy Tea Cakes

London Fog Cake

Ingredients
  • 3 Earl Grey teabags
  • 75ml boiling hot water
  • 3 large eggs, whisked
  • 175g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g dark muscovado sugar
  • 175g self-raising flour, sifted

For the buttercream icing:

  • 400g icing sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
London Fog Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Earl Grey Latte Cake

Method
  1. First things first, make some tea! Empty the contents of the teabags into a cup, then pour on the 75ml of boiling hot water. Leave to steep, then cool.
  2. Set your oven to 170Β°C and grease a small, loose-bottomed cake tin.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Pour in the eggs, then stir to combine.
  4. Pour in the flour and tea mixture, alternating between the two. Stir to make a soft batter.
  5. Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 minutes, then leave to cool. Meanwhile make the buttercream by whipping together the icing sugar, butter and vanilla bean paste.
  6. Decorate the surface of the cake, then scoff (…with tea πŸ™‚).
London Fog Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Earl Grey Enriched Cake

Have a lovely week! How’s 2020 treating you so far? πŸ’“