10 Autumn Bakes to try This Weekend

Ten banging bakes to fuel you through a soggy Sunday on the sofa…

Batter up! Because, is there anything better than a Baking Day? Don’t answer that; the truth is that most of the time there are plenty of things I’d rather be doing than holing up in the kitchen spilling flour all over the countertops. Autumn is the exception; as soon as those leaves start falling, it’s all I want to do. It’s probably down to the weather. I mean, we’ve swapped those long summer weekends spent out and about in beer gardens and on beaches, with cold and gloomy ones where staying in and dragging the duvet downstairs onto the sofa becomes the best offer on the table. And those are the weekends I’m living for right now. Marathon lie ins followed by lazy breakfasts (check out some of my favourite brunch recipes here) and a day spent pottering about the house. Slowly crossing things off the “To Do” list in between ticking things off the “To Watch” list and baking something sweet and satisfying to curl up with a cuppa and scoff later. 

I’ve done a bit of digging through the archives and picked out some of my favourite guaranteed cosy cakes, breads and bakes to make a list of 10 Autumn Baking Ideas that are perfect for one of those lazy Autumn weekends spent indoors. This one’s set to be a washout (again, ugh!), and so whether you’re planning on a full on Baking Day or just fancy passing the time with a bit of boredom baking, why not give one of these babies a try? 🙂

Orange and Nutella Babka

I’d never heard of the utter genius that is the Babka until this time last year when they seemed to be all over social media. Stuck somewhere between cake and bread, they’re basically a pillowy, sweet dough that’s rolled with any kind of filling you fancy – from chocolate to the oh so Autumnal apple and cinnamon – and then twisted and knotted before throwing it into the baking tin, giving it it’s trademark swirls.

I’m playing around with another Babka Recipe as we speak, but for now here’s last year’s Nutella and Orange-spiced offering.

Apple Pie Cake

If you want to know what I’m up to this weekend, then here’s your answer. I’ve got a mate coming to stay and my parents popping over for a Sunday roast and so one of these Apple Pie Cakes will be going in the oven tonight. If you’re bored of bog-standard apple pies and crumbles, then this is the bake you’ve been waiting for. Sweet, cinnamon-spiced apple pie mix swirled on top of a beautifully moist buttermilk sponge, it’s quite possibly my favourite cake EVER; it’s easy to make and delicious scoffed with custard, double cream or ice cream (or even by itself!). Save now, thank me later.

Biscoff Buns

I’m a total bun-head; I love iced buns, sticky buns, cinnamon buns… My anaconda don’t want none, unless you got buns hun. Especially cinnamon buns. Phwoar. I’m still working on my recipe for whipping them up at home, but until I stumble on the perfect recipe, here’s a twist with a Biscoff filling. If you’re yet to stock your cupboard with a jar of Biscoff Spread, then you’re missing out, my friend! That delicious little saucer surfer of a biscuit is now in spread form and works beautifully on toast, in porridge, and as the filling for this tear and share tray of sticky Biscoff Buns. Yum!

Feeling Blue-berry Muffins

Sometimes it’s nice to just go back to basics and bake something simple and satisfying, right? Well you can’t go wrong with a tray of Blueberry Muffins fresh out of the oven and bleeding blueberry juice all over the shop. The added crunchy topping to these blueberry muffins give them a little something extra.

Banana Crumble Cake

Bog-standard banana bread gets a glow-up with this recipe for Banana Crumble Cake. Hands down one of my favourite recipes with its moist, banana sponge (without the dense mattress texture you sometimes get with banana bread) and crunchy cinnamon crumble topping. You’ll never want waste speckled bananas on anything else!

Chocolate and Praline Dipped Madeleines

Here’s a recipe to keep in mind for party season, when you need to take a plate of something. Madeleines are so simple to make, but add the Chocolate and Hazelnut Praline topping and you’ve got something that not only tastes delicious but looks like it took you hours to make.

(These Chocolate and Hazelnut Praline Muffins are also a winner if you’re looking for something a bit more substantial…)

Leftover Pumpkin Traybake

How many times have you gutted a pumpkin to carve and thrown out all the good stuff? How many times have I said, “I’ll make it into soup or risotto!” and still ended up throwing it all out? Well, if you fancy actually using up your pumpkin guts for once, then you can’t go wrong with this very easy Pumpkin Traybake. Full of spice and topped with a cream cheese frosting, this bake makes use of every part of the pumpkin that doesn’t get turned into a lantern for Halloween – even making use of the seeds for a crunchy topping. 🙂

Bramble Bars

We’re pretty much nearing the end of blackberry picking season now, but if you’ve still got some stored up in the freezer and don’t fancy popping them in a crumble, why not try these Bramble Bars instead? Part flapjack, part bakewell tart – they’re sandwiched with a layer of sweet, blackberry jam. Yum!

Bara Brith (Welsh Mottled Bread)

It’s never going to win any beauty contests, but there’s nothing better than a slice of hot Bara Brith smothered in butter with a cup of tea. For the uninitiated, it’s a spiced tea loaf filled with dried fruit soaked overnight in tea. Very easy to make, Bara Brith is Wales itself in bread form; traditional, homely and full of tea.

Bakewell Tarts

I couldn’t resist picking up a pack of Cherry Bakewell Tarts from Home Bargains the other day and – oops – I’ve already pretty much polished it off. Hey, they’re small, alright?! These homemade Bakewell Tarts are not small, but are just as moreish – plus the recipe is a snap thanks to a few short cuts. Bake at your own peril! 😉

Happy baking! Let me know what your favourite Autumn bake is in the comments section! 🙂

10 DIY Foodie Gifts for Valentines Day

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“If music be the food of love, play on”, so famously wrote a certain Mr Shakespeare, and while music definitely has the power to shuffle my mood, food is capable of doing just as good a job.  So what better way of treating your favourite someone this Valentines Day (or Galentines Day!) than to cook up something sweet (or spicy!) for them?  So, if you’re like me and feel that food is the uh, food of love… then scroll on 😉

1. Chilli and Red Pepper Jam

Simple to make, these jars of spicy jam make great DIY presents all year round and are perfect with cheese, or even drizzled on sausages, burgers and even homemade chips.

2. Blood Orange Glazed Doughnuts

Blood Oranges are in season right now, and are perfect for making a very Valentines appropriate pink glaze for these mini ring doughnuts.

3. Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can’t go wrong with a fresh batch of cookies, especially when they’re crisp on the edge and gooey in the middle like these ones.  They’re flavoured with mint and chocolate, but the recipe is easily adapted for any filling you fancy!

4. Orange and Almond Loaf Cake

A perfect bring-along treat for Galentines Day, this simple almond loaf cake has a bright pink, blood orange glaze.

5. Marshmallow Teacake Cupcakes

Remember those chocolate and marshmallow tea cakes from when you were a kid?  Well here they are in cupcake form – only with the boring biscuit bit ditched in favour of cake!  What’s not to like?


6. Chocolate Orange Flavoured Welsh Cakes

If you’ve got any chocolate oranges hanging about in your cupboard (…is that even possible?), then why not chop up a few segments and put them in these heart shaped Welsh Cakes?

7. Praline and Chocolate Dipped Madeleines

Madeleines are normally flavoured with lemon, but these are a little bit fancier dipped in chocolate and hazelnut praline.  Easier than they look, they’re a great little treat to box up and gift to your favourite people.


8. Bakewell Tarts

Everyone loves a good tart (…steady now…) and Bakewell Tarts are one of my absolute faves.  This recipe makes two individual tarts that would be perfect as a dessert if you’re planning on cooking a special dinner on Valentines Day.

9. Brigadeiros (Easy Chocolate Truffles)

These are dangerously easy to make, and easily adapted too!  Just combine condensed milk, chocolate and butter in a pan and heat to combine.  Leave to cool then roll into these bite-sized balls.

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10. Lemon and Gin Blondies

I’m not sure whether it’s true that Blondes have more fun, but these bite sized lemon and gin-flavoured Blondies are a zesty alternative to Brownies. 🙂

Happy Valentines Day everyone! ♡

Chocolate and Praline Dipped Madeleines

I’ve made (and scoffed) Madeleines more than a few times.  They’re so easy to make and are the perfect kind of tea cake to stick out on a plate whenever you’ve got someone coming over for elevenses (they’re made to be dunked!).  Traditionally they’re flavoured with lemon, but since it’s Christmas I thought I’d do something a little more fancy pants.  These ones are dunked in melted chocolate and then sprinkled with praline and a little bit of edible glitter (if you can’t use glitter at Christmas, then when can you?).  I’d never made praline before and to be honest it took two attempts; I made the mistake of stirring the sugar as it was heating and it crystallized in the saucepan and looked like snow.  Oops!  How many times have I rolled my eyes as Bake Off contestants make exactly the same mistake?!  Typical!  I got it the second time round though and had more than enough left over.  It’ll be jazzing up my porridge over Christmas I think!  😉

Chocolate and Praline Dunked Madeleines

Ingredients

  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g self raising flour
  • A splash of milk
  • 100g butter melted (and a little extra to grease the tin)
  • 100g chocolate (I used milk, but I bet dark chocolate would be even better!)
  • 100g chopped hazelnuts
  • 50g brown sugar
  • 50ml water
  1. Preheat the oven to 200° and grease the madeleine tin with a little butter.
  2. Whisk together the eggs and the caster sugar in a bowl until combined and frothy.
  3. Pour in the melted butter (be careful if it’s still hot – if you pour it in too quickly you’ll get scrambled eggs!), and then stir in the flour.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tray – about a desert spoonful for each madeleine mould should do the trick.  Leave them to rest for about 10 minutes before you whack them in the oven.
  5. Bake for around 10 minutes until the madeleines have risen and cooked through.  Leave the madeleines to cool while you work on the toppings.
  6. To make the praline, scatter the chopped hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes until golden.  In a saucepan, heat the sugar and water together on a low heat until it caramelizes (don’t stir!).  Pour the caramel over the roasted hazelnuts and leave to cool.  Once it’s cooled, smash it with a rolling pin.
  7. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, then dunk the tips of the madeleines. Once they’re all coated in melted chocolate, dunk them into the praline to coat the melted chocolate tip. Leave to set, then scoff! 🙂

Have a great week everyone!  Hope the final run up to Christmas hasn’t got you too stressed! X

Madeleines

Depending on who you are Madeleines will either make you think of Proust… or The Transporter.  Personally they make me think of holidays in France when I was a kid and my mum buying bags of them to keep my brother and I quiet on the long car journey from ferry to campsite.  I only found out recently how easy they are to make (as long as you’ve got the iconic fluted tin) – almost too easy.  Problem is they’re really easy to scoff too…

Madeleines

  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 1 lemon – you’ll need both the juice and the zest (watch out for the pips!)
  • 100g butter melted (and a little extra to grease the tin)
  1. Preheat the oven to 200° and grease the madeleine tin with a little butter.
  2. Whisk together the eggs and the caster sugar in a bowl until combined and frothy.
  3. Add the lemon juice, zest and flour and lightly stir into the mix.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tray – about a desert spoonful for each madeleine mould should do the trick.
  5. Bake for around 10 minutes until the madeleines have risen and cooked through.
  6. Best dunked in tea 🙂

I had a spare pot so I decided to plant the seeds from the lemon I squeezed.  If anything happens, I’ll let you know!