Strawberry Picnic Cake

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I feel like baking’s been on the back seat for a lot of this year; I’ve been so busy the past few weeks that just getting dinner on the table (/my lap… TV’s just been too good) has been a struggle.  I just haven’t had time to batter up and whip up something sweet.  Last weekend though, I had a little window and instead of just scrolling or snoozing through it, I decided that I wanted to bake something fuss-free that would perk up my mid-morning cuppa come Monday – and this is what I came up with.

This Strawberry Picnic Cake is one of those bakes that looks super fancy but actually involves barely any effort – if you’re a dab hand with a wooden spoon and can slice a strawb, then you’ve got this.  Texture-wise, it’s a cross between a brownie and an angel slice – with a gooey layer of fresh strawberries (and some raspberries thrown in for a sour edge) sandwiched between a soft, pink sponge.  Once it’s sliced up and dusted with a little icing sugar, it makes for a cute little lunchbox pick-me-up, or would be the perfect treat to pack in your picnic basket (…along with a little tub of fresh cream, obviously!) – if the weather ever perks up…  🙂

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Strawberry Picnic Cake

Ingredients

  • 150g Ground Almonds
  • 150g Salted Butter
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 150g Self Raising Flour
  • 2 eggs (whisked)
  • 300g Strawberries (sliced)
  • 50g Raspberries
  • A few drops of pink food colouring
  • Icing Sugar to dust
  1. Grease and line a deep, rectangular baking tray and set your oven to 180°C.
  2. Grab a mixing bowl and pour in all the cake ingredients except the strawberries and raspberries – hold those back!  Stir everything together to make a thick, lumpy, pink batter.
  3. Pour half of the batter into your baking dish and spread it out into all the corners.  Create a sandwich layer by topping the batter with the strawberries and raspberries, then smooth over the remaining batter.  
  4. Before you pop the cake in the oven, add a neat layer of evenly spaced sliced strawberries on top – one for each slice (I cut nine slices).
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, then leave to cool before slicing.
  6. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar and serve with cream. 🙂

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Have a lovely week everyone! 💕

 

Christmas Jaffa Cake… Cake

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Bye bye November!  Hello December – which means Christmas isn’t just around the corner anymore; it’s literally on the block.  Maybe you’re ready for it, or maybe you’d prefer to just shut the curtains and pretend you’re not at home.  I might not be anywhere near ready (I say I’m going to be more organised every year and every year I fail), but I’m definitely ready for the food. Am I ever not ready for food? 😉

I haven’t baked a cake in a while and seeing as it’s the first of December tomorrow I fancied making something a little bit festive.  So, I decided to make a giant Jaffa Cake.  It’s a plain sponge threaded with orange jelly (which makes the cake really moist) and decorated with candied oranges and chocolate.  Yum!

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Jaffa Cake Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 200g Butter
  • 100g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Pack of Orange-flavoured jelly
  • 100g Chocolate
  • 25g Hazelnuts

For the candied Oranges:

  • 2 Oranges cut into slices
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200ml water
  1. Grease a 20cm cake tin and set your oven to 180°.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar.  Stir in the eggs, then fold in the flour and baking powder.
  3. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes (or until an inserted skewer comes out clean).  Put to the side and allow to cool.
  4. While the cake’s cooling, get started on making your candied orange slices.  First, cut your oranges into slices that are about half a centimetre thick.  Bring a deep saucepan of water to the boil and soak the orange slices for 3 minutes until the peel is soft.  Have a bowl of cold water ready, and drop the slices in there to cool.  Heat up a saucepan with the sugar and water – don’t be tempted to stir, leave it until the sugar all dissolves and then add the blood orange slices.  Let them simmer in the sugar water for 30 minutes, making sure you soak both sides, then put them on a sheet of baking paper and leave to cool.
  5. Next, use a skewer to poke holes in the cake (make sure you leave a gap in the centre and try not to poke all the way through to the base otherwise you’ll get a soggy bottom!).  Mix up your orange jelly as per the instructions on the pack and then slowly pour the mixture over the cake, concentrating on the holes you made.  Pop the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours for the jelly to set.
  6. Decorate the surface of the cake with the candied oranges, melted chocolate and hazelnuts (add a little orange zest if you want a little more zing!). 🙂

Have a lovely weekend!

Apple Crumble Cake

I can’t decide what part of The Great British Bake Off I’m enjoying more this year, the bakes… or Noel Fielding’s patterned shirts.  Honestly, the ice-cream shirt (which I remembered seeing Zoella wear last year) had me furiously googling into the wee hours trying to track it down to no success.  True, GBBO just isn’t the same without Bezza, but I’m actually really enjoying it – and the cakes are just as inspiring as always; I mean, Kate’s sticky toffee apple caramel cake looked INSANE.  I’m going to have to give one of those a go nearer to bonfire night 🙂

Anyway, here’s a much, much plainer apple cake!  I love an easy loaf cake, and this one is full of chopped apples and cinnamon and topped with a crunchy, sugary crumble.  Another way of using up a couple of apples without going down the full-on crumble route.  We scoffed it with lots and lots of custard under a blanket in front of the TV, which – let’s be honest – is what Autumn is all about.

No recipe to this one because I didn’t measure anything out.  It was one of those “just chuck everything in and hope for the best” kind of days!  Have a great weekend everyone! ♡

Orange & Almond Loaf Cake

If you saw my post on Blood Orange Doughnuts then you’ll know how obsessed I am right now with using them to make perfect Calpol-pink icing.  I mean, who knew?  Seriously, my days of using food colouring are over, and now I’m on the hunt for other fruits that’ll work in my icing crayon box.  And if I find any, I’ll let you know 🙂

I’m also a tad obsessed with Loaf Cakes – mostly because they’re so easy to make as long as you’ve got the right tin!  For this one, I played around with my Lemon and Pistachio Drizzle Cake recipe and instead made an Orange and Almond version.

Orange & Almond Loaf Cake

Ingredients

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g butter or marg (you can even use olive oil)
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g ground almonds
  • tbsp baking powder
  • zest of one orange (I used a blood orange for the pink icing, but a normal orange will do if you’re not into that)
  • juice of one orange
  • powdered sugar
  1. Set the oven to 180 and grease a small loaf tin.
  2. Cream together the fat and sugar and then lightly beat in the eggs.
  3. Next add the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and orange zest and stir until the mixture has combined to make a fluffy batter.  Pour into the tin.
  4. Cook for around 40 minutes – or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  5. Use the juice and powdered sugar to make the icing; it’s all down to preference, you’ll need around a 3:1 ratio of sugar to juice, but it take take a little trial and error to get the exact texture and pigment/flavour you’re after.

Christmas Gingerbread Cake

Are you sick of food yet?  No?  Me either.  I had a whole Terry’s Chocolate Orange for breakfast yesterday whilst watching The Life of Brian and it was quite possibly the best breakfast I’ve had all year.  🙂  Anyway, if you’re like me and your hunger for all things sweet knows no bounds (even at Christmas!) you’ll have eaten a fair bit of cake over the past week.  I made this Gingerbread Cake in the week leading up to Christmas because I knew I’d be pushed for time to bake when the big day arrived (since I was hosting this year – but more on that later).  It was the first time I’d ever made a cake ahead of time and frozen it, and d’you know what?  I was pretty chuffed with how it turned out!  So much so that I might freeze all my cakes in future.  If you’re not a fan of the traditional Christmas iced fruit cake, then this is a sweet alternative.

Christmas Gingerbread Cake

Ingredients

  • 100g Golden Syrup
  • 100g Light Brown Sugar
  • 175g Butter
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 250ml of Milk
  • 350g Self Raising Flour
  • 3 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • (Plenty of Buttercream and Sprigs of Rosemary to decorate)

Method

  1. Melt the syrup, sugar and butter in a pan until combined then set aside to cool.
  2. Beat together the eggs and milk.
  3. Beat the cooled syrup into the milk and eggs (make sure it’s cool enough else it’ll scramble your eggs!)
  4. Sift and fold in the flour, baking powder and spices.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased cake tin and bake at 180° for around 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. If you’re freezing the cake wrap it tightly in cling film as soon as it’s hot enough to handle.
  7. Once completely cooled (or defrosted!) – slice the cake into three layers.  Sandwich with buttercream and lightly cover the sides and top to create a “naked cake” style icing.  Decorate with a crown of rosemary to finish 🙂