Lemon Almond Syrup Cake

Cakes

Yo Joe

This cake is an upgraded lemon drizzle. Soft on the inside with a crackly sugar and almond crust, soaked in a tart lemon syrup fresh out the oven.

I first made a version of it in May when me, Tiger, Jess and Sue were moving out our flat. Amongst the tins of chopped tomatoes and packets of rice left in our cupboards we had lemons, walnuts, ground almonds and some yoghurt in the fridge. I made a cake out of them. And it was PENG. So, I wrote the recipe on the back of a Sainsbury’s receipt and have fiddled about with it all summer. I’m still working off that receipt now, with all the changes to the recipe scribbled on top of each other.

The original cake – the May one – sunk slightly in the middle. I altered the recipe, so it rises…how you would expect a cake to rise, but I think the original sunken state is important to remember. This cake has a heavy heart.

It feels right that I’m only writing up this recipe now. It’s a cake that marks change, I think. Fitting – we’re now juuuuust about to fall into autumn and in about a week, I’ll be moving back to Glasgow, into a new flat, this time, just for me and Tiger.

Gluten and Dairy Free Notes – This cake does well being made Dairy Free by replacing the butter and yoghurt with DF spread and a DF yoghurt. I’ve also made this cake Gluten Free by replacing the flour with a gluten free plain flour. In both cases, you couldn’t tell the difference.

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 2 large lemons – zest of both and 2 tbs juice
  • 60g greek yoghurt – any plain, thick yoghurt will do
  • 180g butter – softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 medium eggs – or 2 large eggs
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil – 15 ml

For the Almond Topping

  • 30g flaked almonds
  • 30g caster sugar

For the Syrup

  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbs water
  • 50g caster sugar

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180 or 160 fan. Grease and line a 20cm/8inch round cake tin.

Zest and juice the lemons and set aside. The zest and some of the juice will be added to the batter. There will be enough lemon juice for the syrup you will make later, so don’t get rid of any at this stage.

In a small bowl or jug mix the yoghurt and lemon juice (2 tbs), set aside while you make the rest of the batter.

Beat the lemon zest, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until just fluffed up around the sides of the bowl. I use an electric whisk for this. Next, add in one egg at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition.

To the butter mix, add all the other ingredients – ground almonds, flour, baking powder, yoghurt and lemon juice mixture and vegetable oil. Beat together just until a homogenous batter forms.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and top with the caster sugar and flaked almonds (30g of each). Bake for about 45-50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Check a little earlier if your oven runs hot.

While the cake is in the oven, make the syrup. In a small heavy bottom saucepan, mix the lemon juice (3 tbs), water and sugar. Heat on a medium/high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Bring the syrup to the boil and allow it to bubble for one minute. Set aside to cool slightly.

When the cake comes out the oven, pour over the syrup slowly, allowing it to soak in. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 15/20 minutes before turning it out.

Caitlin x

Blackberry Buns with a Sweet Milk Glaze

Buns and Breads

Hi Joe

I’m sat in a cafe right now and they love Mamma Mia! They’ve been playing the film soundtrack for 3 hours.

It’s an unassuming cafe; the tables are brown, the walls are grey, and they sell the same caramel crunch slices you get in every Costa Coffee between Glasgow and Oxford, and propbably beyond. I love it.

Blackberry Buns!! I’ve been trying to find a way of getting fresh fruit into cinnamon roll form without them baking into soggy fruit bum rolls for quite a while now – and i’ve cracked it. They are pillowy soft with a slight kick of sharpness from the blackberries, mellowed the second it hits the tounge by the sweet milk glaze.

These buns come with thanks to the lovely Rosa, baker and owner of too many forks, who agreed to test this recipe for me last week. Thank you Rosa!

Note on Dough For this recipe, I use the same dough as in my cinnamon rolls. It can be made on the day or the night before you want to bake these buns. If you choose the night before, allow the dough to have the first prove in the fridge overnight. The next morning you can fill, shape, prove then bake. This dough tends to rise quite fast though so you can easily do it all in one day. I’ve given you instructions as if making this dough by hand but if you’d prefer to use an electric mixer allow a dough hook to do the kneading for you – I’ve done it both ways and I can’t tell a difference.

Note on Filling – The filling needs to be cooled completely before using. It can be made a few days in advance.

Ingredients

For the Blackberry Filling

  • 60g sugar
  • 150g fresh blackberries
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • 1 tbs water
  • 10g cornflour

For the Dough

  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 7g active dry yeast
  • 1tsp salt
  • 20g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 medium egg
  • 80ml milk
  • 60ml water

For the Sweet Milk Glaze

  • 70g icing sugar
  • 30g cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp milk

Method

Making the blackberry filling. Add the sugar, blackberries, and lemon juice to a small heavy bottom saucepan. Mixing occasionally, simmer on a medium heat for 5/6 mins until the fruit has broken down and the mixture has reduced.  

Whilst the fruit cooks, combine the water and corn flour to form a loose paste. When the fruit has had 5/6 mins, lower the heat, and add the corn flour paste. Whisk briskly. Keep whisking the mixture for about 1 minute, until it has thickened. Remove from the heat and pour into a clean bowl. Allow to cool completely before using.  

To make the dough. In a large bowl add all ingredients for the dough apart from the 60ml of water. Mix everything together with one hand, or a metal spoon, squeezing the dough to incorporate the milk. Add the water and give it another mix and squeeze to form a shaggy mass. 

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface. It is a sticky dough and will still want to stick to the work surface a little even once it has had enough kneading – don’t be tempted to keep on adding flour to your worksurface. Knead for about 10mins until smooth, elastic, and tacky. If using a mixer, stop when the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball around the dough hook.

Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about an hour. If making this the day before, allow to rise in a warm place for 15mins before transferring to the fridge for the night.  

The last step is to fill, shape, prove and bake the buns. Grease and line a small rectangle baking dish, I use a 25cm X 18cm one. Set aside.  

Tip the risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Press into a rectangle shape with the long edge closest to you. Roll the dough out to roughly 9 X 13inch. It can be a little wider, for example 10 X 13inch, if you want a swirlyer swirl. You don’t have to worry too much about the exact measurements of the rectangle, so long as it is a rectangle shape and about half an inch thick, you’ll be grand. As you roll, gently pull the corners of the dough to keep as best a rectangle shape as you can, it will make the rolling and cutting easier.

With the 13inch side closest to you, spread the blackberry filling evenly over the dough, going right to the edges.  

Roll up the dough tightly so you end with a sausage of dough 13inches long, seam side down on your work surface. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 2inch pieces. You should get 6. If you are very good at maths you will see I’ve given you an extra inch to play with in case something goes wrong, you are welcome! Put these buns, swirl side up, evenly spaced in the lined baking dish.  

Cover with a tea towel or cling film and allow to prove until doubled in size. The rising time will depend on the temperature of your home, usually they need about an hour and a half. You can tell they are ready for the oven like this: very lightly press a fingertip into the dough, your fingerprint should fade away as the dough puffs itself back, fixing the dent you made and returning to its original position. How poetic.

While the buns prove, pre heat the oven to 180 / 160 fan.  

Bake the buns for 25 – 30 mins until golden brown on top.  

Finish with the icing. Mix the icing sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt. Stir in a tsp of milk. If you want a looser icing add in the other tsp. Let the buns sit out of the oven for 10mins before pouring over the icing. It’s best to let these cool for a futher 10/15 mins to let the structure set before eating…hey look, this bun needs the respect it deserves.

Have a good bun boiii oii ! Caitlin x

Summer Berry Crème Fraîche Cake

Cakes

Yo Joe

Mmmmm some peng cake. So soft, so sweet, so buttery, studded with strawberries and blackberries, covered in lime and raspberry jam icing.

I recently started my first job as a baker at an independent cafe in Glasgow called Kelvin Pocket. Lol I’m pretty proud of this fact, brings me a lot of joy. A guy called Paul owns and runs it. I really don’t know how he does it, he’s there 6 days a week and you rarely find him without a smile on his face. He also trusts me to bake things in his kitchen, for his business, which I think is a big deal. Maybe he doesn’t think too much about letting me bake for his customers in his kitchen, but I do.

The idea for this loaf came from a cake we make at the cafe. This cake, is really David’s cake. David works in the kitchen, who, along with Caroline, make producing well over 60 different baked goods a day look like something they could do in their sleep. Icing a cake takes them under 2 mins and putting together sweet bun dough can be done in about 7…. magic. I hope David doesn’t mind me pretty much copping his idea, I hope he finds it flattering instead.

I was a lil bit blown away when I watched Caroline and David put jam in the water icing for this cake in the cafe (hahaha I really am that easily entertained). I bought some back for the girls in the flat. It got squashed in my bag but they all went mad for it – telling, I think. This isn’t some fancy multi layered, french patisserie thing, it’s just really, really good cake.

I messed about with the ratios a lil bit, using David’s recipe as my blueprint, to produce his cake reincarnated cakeonmyface style. ah, the circle of cake life. While I was taking pics of this reincarnated cake I thought it looked like some kind of abstract painting, it was quite beautiful actually (lol, here we bloody go). I wasn’t the only one that thought this. I went past Katie’s flat and threw a bit of this cake at her to try while I was running to work. She sent me a message later saying ‘Emma says it is like gallery cake’. Emma is Katie’s sister, I’ve met her twice, about 2 years ago, but sounds like we see cake the same way.

Ingredients

For The Cake

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 140g crème fraîche
  • 160g self raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 160g berries of choice, I use strawberries and blackberries

For The Icing

  • 210g icing sugar, no need to sift it
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice, or lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry jam, or any other jam of your choice
  • water to reach the right consistency.

Method

Pre heat the oven to 190 / 170 fan oven. Grease and line a 2lb/900g loaf tin with greaseproof paper, letting a bit of paper hang over the sides of the tin so you can lift the cake out later.

Wash and cut the berries into chunks. Halves and quarters is perfect, if you chop them too small the berries will turn to mush and vanish into the cake batter. Set the berries aside.

Using electric beaters, mix the butter, sugar, lemon zest, salt and vanilla extract until it fluffs up and starts to clump at the side of the bowl, about 1 min. Do yourself a solid and don’t tire your arm beating this for ages, you’ll get the exact same fluffy cake with no more than 1 min of mixing.

Beat in one egg at a time, making sure the first is fully incorporated before you add the second.

Tip the crème fraîche, flour and baking powder into the butter mix, beat together for a few seconds just until everything is combined.

Gently fold in the berries and pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake for about 55mins or until the surface of the cake feels bouncy when pressed gently with your finger tips and a couple of moist crumbs cling to a knife inserted into the cake.

Allow the cake to cool for 15 mins in the tin before lifting it out to cool completely.

When the cake is completely cool, put all the icing ingredients, exept the water in a bowl and mix with a whisk or fork. Add a little (very little) drop of water at a time, mixing between each addition, until you have a thick icing that can be poured over the cake.

Allow the icing to set a little before cutting into the cake (or just, cut into it now.)

Hahahah I had to copy and paste ‘crème fraîche’ from wiki every time it appears in this recipe because I don’t know how to get the accents on my keyboard. I wanted you to have the authentic experience of reading ‘crème fraîche’, Joe, like in a real recepie book. Caitlin x

Cherry Cream Doughnuts

Buns and Breads

Hey Joe, doughnuts!!

But first, I’ve been thinking about shoes lately.

I attach a lot of my identity to the shoes I choose to buy and wear. I think you do to. It feels like something we quietly pride ourselves on. You helped me choose my first pair of Nike air max 90s. They were black and I accidently left them on a train home from Glasgow. I felt shy at school when all the other girls were wearing pretty boots, converse or vans while I was wearing my pink and white Puma Fast Riders. I remember looking down at my feet and feeling silly. Shame, If only I knew then that people would think I was really cool if I cut about in them at the age of 22.

Just have a think about wellies for a second – big old tubes of plastic. Lace up boots – long thin ankle holders attached to elongated rubber pancakes. The toe end of Reebok Classic Leather trainers are modelled on the Grinch’s curly toe feet and Sue’s slippers could be mistaken for 2 un-sliced Warburtons loafs.

I like the idea of a shoe in the shape of a doughnut. French people call their apple turnovers ‘apple slippers’, chausson aux pommes. This makes a lot of sense to me. I’d love to have apple turnovers on my feet. These doughnuts are a bit like slippers too. They are soft on the inside with plenty of airy pockets to slip your feet into. The crispy exterior would protect your toes from hard things and the sharp cherry jam glaze gives you a bit of fashion jazz. I don’t fill these doughnuts with feet though, as comfy as it would be, I fill them with a beautifully light cherry custard cream. I called the filling a ‘crémeux’ when I presented them to the girls in the flat because I used the word once and they got a bit obsessed with it. It means ‘creamy’ in French and describes this filling well. The base of the filling is a crème pâtissière, thick vanilla custard, which is folded through cream whipped to soft peaks. It feels rich and almost buttery but it’s light as a feather. I fold a bit of cherry jam through the custard cream which leaves a perfect sweet cherry taste after the creaminess has melted away.

Honestly, I’d be surprised if anyone actually follows this recipe, not that I wouldn’t love it if someone wants to – work away and power to you!! – but this is more for me to remember what I did and maybe for others to get a bit of inspiration. I’m sure the measurements are not perfect, they could be refined and tested many more times, but it’s as close to perfect as it is right now. The cream is also too special not to write down, you could chuck in any fruit jam which I find pretty exciting.

Jam Note – Make this the day before you want doughnuts, there is enough going on with dough frying to be making jam as well. I’ve included a quick recipe here for cherry jam which makes the exact amount you need for the recipe. This is a spenny use of jam, the amount of fruit you use will cost about £2.50. If you are tight on money or time, find the cheapest jam you can get at the supermarket.

Crème Patissiere Note – You make this thickened custard the day before you want doughnuts, so it has time to set. When ready to fill the doughnuts, you fold in the cream and jam. 

Dough Note – The recipe for this doughnut dough is by Tessa from Now-Forager.com. I’ve made doughnuts quite a few times now and this is the best recipe I have used by far. It is also the fastest to put together. This is a soft dough; you will need a stand mixer to knead it.

Ingredients

Makes 7 Doughnuts. The ingredients list makes this recipe look much more complicated than it is. There are a few steps but individually each one isn’t complicated.

For the Quick Cherry Jam

  • 250g cherries – cut into halves, pitted and with stalks removed
  • 125g sugar

For the Crème Pâtissièremakes 400g

  • 250ml milk – whole or semi skimmed
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean or 3/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract will do perfect too
  • 50g egg – about 1 egg
  • 13g cornflour
  • 12g plain flour
  • 25g butter – at room temperature

For the Doughnut Dough

  • 170g milk – whole or semi skimmed
  • 1 medium egg
  • 50g plain flour
  • 215g strong white bread flour
  • 29g sugar
  • 6g fast action dried yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 42g butter – softened at room temperature
  • About 1L bottle of vegetable or sunflower oil for frying

For the Cherry Cream Filling

  • 400g crème pâtissière
  • 150g double cream
  • 2 heaped tablespoons cherry jam

For the Cherry Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons cherry jam – you can blend smooth with a blender, like I did, for a less bitty glaze.
  • 250g icing sugar
  • juice of one lime or lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom extract – optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Water to get the desired consistency

Method

The day before making the doughnuts prep the cherry jam. Mix the cherries and sugar in a heavy bottom saucepan. Put the pan over a medium/low heat and mash the cherries slightly with a fork to help them release some juice. Let the mixture bubble for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. When the jam is ready it should be glossy and thick enough coat the back of a spoon. Transfer the jam to a clean jar or bowl and allow to cool. Cover and keep in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Next make the crème pâtissière. It needs time to set so get this going the same day you make the jam. In a small saucepan, add the milk, vanilla and half the sugar. Mix and set aside. Measure out the egg into a mixing bowl, place the bowl on top of a tea towel on your worksurface. Now heat the milk mixture over a low/medium heat. While the milk heats add the rest of the sugar, the corn flour and plain flour to the bowl of egg. Whisk the egg mixture to combine.

Once the milk has come to a simmer keep a close eye on it, you want to catch it just before it reaches a full boil. It will simmer a little and then swell up a centimetre, now take the pan off the heat and slowly pour the heated milk into the egg mixture, pouring with one hand and whisking with the other. When all the milk has been poured into the egg, the custard will be very liquid. Pour the whole thing (egg and milk mixture) back into the saucepan over a medium heat. Whisk continuously until the custard has thickened to a consistency just thicker than mayonnaise, this will happen quickly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the pan for a few mins before whisking in the butter a teaspoon at a time. The crème pâtissière should now be thick and glossy. Transfer to a clean bowl and press cling film directly over the surface of the crème pâtissière, this will prevent a skin forming over the custard as it cools. Store in the fridge until ready to use (no longer than 3 days).

The next day make the doughnut dough. Put all ingredients for the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix the ingredients on low speed to combine, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 7 mins or until the dough is smooth, glossy and has come away from the sides of the bowl. This is a wet dough and will feel tacky. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and let it rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

When the dough is almost doubled, fill a large heavy bottom saucepan halfway full with vegetable or sunflower oil. You need at least a 2-inch depth of oil for frying. Attach a sugar or deep fry thermometer to the side of the saucepan and heat the oil to 177C.

As the oil heats, prep for frying. Line one baking tray with greaseproof paper, you will use this to put the doughnuts on before frying, and another tray with kitchen towels or toilet paper (lol), you will put the doughnuts on this tray after they have been fried. Set both trays aside.

Tip out the doughnut dough onto a well-floured worksurface. Sprinkle some flour over the dough and your rolling pin before rolling the dough to 1/2 inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut out 7 doughnuts. Place them on the greaseproof lined baking tray. Cover the tray loosely with cling film.

When the oil reaches 177C, use a slotted metal spoon to gently lower 2 doughnuts into the oil. Fry the doughnuts for 2 mins on each side until deep golden-brown. Remove from the oil with the slotted spoon and place on the kitchen towel lined tray. Allow the oil to come back to 177C and repeat the process until all doughnuts are fried. Allow the doughnuts to cool completely before filling (about 1 hour).

Make the cherry cream filling. Whisk the cream to soft peaks and set aside. Use a spoon to work the crème pâtissière back and forth to loosen it up a bit. Heat 2 tablespoons of cherry jam on the hob or in the microwave to loosen it. Gently fold the loosened crème pâtissière and cherry jam into the whipped cream. You can strain the cherry jam through a sieve if you do not want bits of cherry in the cream.

Pierce the side of each doughnut with a knife and wiggle it about to create a hollow space for the cream. Have a deep side baking tray ready for the filled doughnuts (they need to be kept upright so the cream doesn’t escape). Fill a piping bag or sandwich bag with the cherry cream and cut a small hole in the tip of the piping bag (or sandwich bag). This is a loose filling, don’t expect this piping to be a clean process, the only way to be here is a bit messy. Hold a doughnut like you would a glass, wedge the tip of the piping bag into the hole and slowly squeeze, pulling the bag out the hole as you feel it balloon with filling. Sit the filled doughnut hole-side-up until you are ready to glaze it. Repeat until all doughnuts are filled.

Make the cherry glaze. Put all ingredients for the glaze in a bowl, add a teaspoon of water and mix. Add a drop of water at a time until you reach the consistency you like. For icing like mine, you want a thick ribbon of glaze to fall slowly from a spoon pulled out of the glaze.

Dollop a spoon of the glaze on each doughnut, you can guide the glaze gently over the doughnut, so it drips down the sides. Place on a tray before eating lots of them, very quickly. Mmmmmm doughnuts.

haha this is me feelin shy in the school playground with my pink and white Pumas

Caitlin X

Chocolate Orange Cake with Chocolate Fudge Buttercrem. They Will Never Know It’s Dairy Free.

Cakes

Hi Joe

This cake is peng and also dairy free. This is the best chocolate cake you will ever eat and the only chocolate cake I will ever make. Mmm bold. A dark, moist chocolate cake flecked with orange zest, sandwiched together with an orange cream cheese buttercream and slathered in a chocolate mousse like fudge icing. You can’t always have your cake and eat it. But sometimes you can haha. So when the opportunity comes along you have to jump on it.

you can get one of these aprons fron my giftshop located in the bread aisle of your local Sainsbury’s

I’ve actually been drafting this post for about 6 weeks, I’ve gone through 29 different versions of this intro. Not because the cake is hard to write about (it’s actually very easy to write about how good this cake is) but because of the reason that I made the cake. That was harder to write about. I’ve realised there are some things that I don’t want to write about on here, and that day is one of them. Joe, you know why, and that’s good enough for me. So… cake.

Me and Sue spent a day making this. It deffo didn’t have to take that long but we really drew out the process. We adapted the cake from thetasteofkosher.com and the fudge frosting from loveandoliveoil.com. The actual cake part of this is honestly the best chocolate cake in the world, so moist and dark and deep, lots of layers to the flavour. You could eat the chocolate fudge buttercream straight out of the bowl with a large spoon, the trick is cream cheese. It does great things.

This is turning into a bit of a confessional post. The white buttercream in the centre is a tub of Betty Crocker’s ‘Cream Cheese Style Icing’, mixed with some orange zest and salt. We needed it to be dairy free and we didn’t want to make a liquid, yellowy icing that you get when you use df butter and cream cheese. Cheers Betty, you’re a legend.

Note on Cake Tins. This recipe will give you a 3-layer chocolate cake, using 3 7inch round cake tins. You can also bake this in 2 9inch round tins, just increase the baking time by about 10 mins. If you only have one tin, like we did, you can bake the cake in batches. As one cake comes out, remove from the tin straight away, wipe the tin, grease it again and pour the next round of batter in. Honestly, with this batter there is no difference at all in the finished cakes if it has waited out for a bit before being baked.

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cake

  • 255g / 2 cups plain flour
  • 395g / 2 cups caster sugar
  • 75g / 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 470ml / 2 cups hot black coffee – just use cheap instant coffee here
  • 120ml / 1/2 cup vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 2 oranges

For the Orange Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • 400g/1 tub Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Style Icing – achieved by walking to your local supermarket
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Chocolate Fudge Buttercream. This icing sets in about 20 mins so you can’t make it in advance. Only start this once you have sandwiched the cake layers together.

  • 450g / 2 cups dairy free butter, softened – or regular butter
  • 300g / 2 cups + 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 150g / 1 1/4 cups + 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 100g / 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp dairy free cream cheese – or regular cream cheese
  • 100g / 1/4 cup + 3 tbsp hot water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 285g dark chocolate

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180 / 160 fan oven. Grease cake tins and sprinkle lightly with flour, banging the sides of the tin to remove any excess.

In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients; flour, sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Set this aside.

Make the coffee. To 470mls water you want about 3 teaspoons instant coffee.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add in all the wet ingredients; coffee, oil, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest.

Pour the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 25 mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. If you want even layers, weigh out the cake batter, you want roughly 450g in each tin. Once out of the oven allow cakes to cool completely before icing.

Prepared the orange cream cheese buttercream by mixing all ingredients in a bowl.

Place the first cake layer on the place/board/cake stand you want to serve the final cake on. Spread an even layer of the orange buttercream over the top of the cake making sure it reaches the edges of the cake. Place the next cake layer on top and repeat. If you want to, fill in any holes and smooth out any bumps in the sides of the cake with any extra buttercream. Place the cake in the fridge to firm up while you make the fudge buttercream.

For the chocolate fudge buttercream, use an electric whisk to cream the butter for 4 mins. You want a really fluffy consistency, I promise the time is worth it. If you don’t have an electric whisk, go at it with a wooden spoon.

Sift in the icing sugar and coco powder. Add in the cream cheese, hot water, vanilla extract and salt. Mix everything to combine.

Chop up the chocolate and melt it. I give the chocolate 15 second bursts in the microwave, stirring in between so it doesn’t burn. When this happens, the chocolate goes lumpy 😦 .

Pour the melted chocolate into the butter cream and beat everything together for another 2/3 mins. This whips air into the buttercream, giving it the chocolate mousse like melt in the mouth ting.

Remove the cake from the fridge and cover the whole thing in buttercream.

Now, eat the cake.

Caitlin xxx

Apricot Streuselkuchen

Cakes

Hi Joe

This is for our Grandparents, the most generous people I know.

I keep a lot of the letters Oma and Grandad write me. Some of these letters make me cry, it’s actually happened quite a few times now. Haha it’s becoming a trend. They don’t make me cry in a bad way. I’m not sure why this happens, I think it’s what happens when you feel a particular kind of love in your heart. I have a couple different stacks of the letters, in different draws and different rooms spread between Oxford and Glasgow. Do you keep the letters they send you?

I asked Oma to send me her recipe for Streuslekuchen, the stuff she always had about 3 boxes of stashed in the freezer just in case there was ever a…Streuslekuch shortage…? Haha can you image! What would become of the world. I got a letter a few days later of the recipe handwritten, in true Oma style.

If your name isn’t Joe and you don’t know what Streuselkuchen is – it’s a German vanilla sponge cake topped with a cinnamon sugar crumble. Cake-like but falls somewhere in-between the biscuit and cake category. It’s not the most jazzy thing in the world but you’re world will be brighter with it. You’ll eat one slice and then eat lots more in quick succession. My lil addition of apricot jam, was because we had apricot jam in the fridge. Feel free to leave it out.

Ingredients

For the StreuselDepending on the size of your tin, you may end up with extra. Stick it in the freezer to use another day. Or um eat it?

  • 200g flour – I’ve made it with plain and self raising, there isn’t too much difference here
  • 125g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 125g butter – fridge cold and cubed

For the Kuchen.

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 500g self raising flour
  • 200g butter – softened
  • 200g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml milk
  • Apricot jam – a couple of tablespoons if you want to use
  • Icing sugar to serve – 2 ish tablespoons. This bit is v important. Oma never made Streuselkuchen without a thick powdering of icing sugar, it doesn’t taste the same without

Method

Pre heat the oven to 190 / 170 fan. Grease and line a shallow 20 x 25 cm tin. A 20cm square tin will work just as well. This is a forgiving cake, so work with what you have.

Make the streusel. Put the flour, sugar, cinnamon and cubed (cold) butter in a bowl. Using your finger tips rub the butter into the flour mixture. You are looking for a rough texture, with smaller and lager bits of crumble. Put the bowl in the freezer or the fridge while you make the cake.

For the cake, measure out the flour, add the salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until lighter in colour and fluffed up around the sides of the bowl. I use electric beaters but a wooden spoon will do it.

Add one egg and beat until fully incorporated, then the second egg and a table spoon of the flour. Beat again until the mixture has fluffed up.

Tip half of the flour and salt into the butter and egg mixture. Beat to combine. Now pour in the milk and add the rest of the flour. Mix until there is no more dry flour.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and smooth out. Spread the apricot jam over the batter layer if you are using. Follow with a generous covering of the streusel, you shouldn’t see any cake beneath.

Bake for 30 – 35 mins, until a knife inserted into the cake comes out with no wet batter.

Once cooled, remove from the tin, cover with sifted icing sugar and cut into big chunks.

Joe, I reckon you’ll say somethin like ‘mmm cake. Can we put some chocolate ganache maybe in place of the apricot jam?’ Love Caitlin X

Banana Chocolate Swirl Muffins

Cakes

Yo Joe

I had an identity crisis yesterday. Did a HIT workout and then ate an egg white omelette…with no toast. Lol I’d rather eat a muffin, thanks.

Time the eating of these right – not too hot to burn your mouth, not too cold to firm up the chocolate – and you get the most amazing little pockets of melted chocolate hiden in swirls of sweet banana cake.

I developed this recipe from a very old baking book that mum had on her shelf. It’s the kind of baking book where desiccated coconut and glace cherries are put on everything, and all the pictures have a kind of yellow tint to them. The recipes in this book are simple. They say things like ‘combine all of the ingredients, smooth into a tin and bake for 50 minuets.’ or ‘Once you have made the cake, ice it.’ In the spirit of this baking book, I’ve made this recipe really quick and easy. Have a good muffin!

Note on tins – This recipe makes 6 large muffins. If you’re using more of a standard cupcake style tin, expect to get about 12 muffins from the batter. Just remember they will need less time in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 240g mashed banana – about 2 medium bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 185ml / 3/4 cup milk
  • 60g / 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 185g / 3/4 cup + 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 250g / 1 1/4 cups + 1 tbsp self raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

For the Chocolate Batter

  • 60g / 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 120g / 3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped – milk chocolate will work just as well

Method

Pre heat the oven to 190C / 170C fan. Grease 6 miffin holes in a muffin tin.

In a large bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together; mashed banana, eggs, milk, melted butter and vanilla extract.

To this, add all the dry ingredients; sugar, salt, self raising flour and baking powder. Mix everything together to combine.

Pour half of this batter into another bowl. Add the cocoa powder and chopped chocolate. Give it all a mix.

Alternating between the two batters, spoon blobs of the cake mix into the muffin tins until they are 3/4 full. Using a skewer or knife draw a figure of eight through each muffin, this will give you the swirl effect.

Bake the muffins for 25 mins or until a skewer insterted into them comes out clean.

Caitlin X

Ricotta Rhubarb Cream Gateau

Cakes

Yo Joe

Cake On My Face is one T O D A Y boiiiiiiiii !! Happy Birthday to us! lol my nose and your arm got a bit of a camio.

Wow, big moment. We have a bigger family than we did a year ago, more than two readers actually (mum, dad, I’m lookin at you). Let’s give our hundreds of readers some reviews of our birthday cake; ‘Really good‘ – Mum. ‘The texture of the cake with the cream is really good‘ – Joe. Brilliant, that concludes our review section.

I know you would’ve preferred a chocolate birthday cake Joe but there is a big Chocolate Orange cake coming soon on here and I got in my head that I wanted to recreate the ricotta cake I made for mum’s last birthday. It was a peng cake creation but I didn’t write down how I made it, so it’s sort of remained a mystery cake. Well, I have recreated it for us, and this time I wrote down the recipe.

This cake is really good on its own, dust it with some icing sugar and it’s a moist and buttery dream. But the rhubarb cream is really beautiful with this cake, lil bit tart, lil bit sweet and paired with the cake it’s a rich, light and buttery combo. I’ll explain my thinkin behind the rhubarb cream. I’m not a huge fan of buttercream on cake if it isn’t chocolate or creamcheese based, so rhubarb buttercream wasn’t gunna happen. I was looking through some old baking books and every single cake in the book, other than muffins, was called a gateau. Lemon gateau, chocolate gateau, blueberry gateau, passionfruit gateau, tropical gateau (by tropical they meant mango)… replace the word ‘gateau’ with ‘cake’ and that’s pretty much what they were. Thought this really elevated the vibe of the cake. I worked out the gateau component of the cake was cream. No cream, Cake. Cream, Gateau. Instead of buttercream or icing, they covered their cake layers with a flavoured double (heavy) cream. So I made us a Gateau for our birthday.

My instructions on how to ice the cake are pretty lacking, so here is an informative picture guide detailing how I ice cakes.

Cake.
Cream.
Cream on cake, people call this a crumb coat, its a thin layer of cream to fix in place any loose crumbs before you put the rest of the cream on. hahahahahah can you see the lil grumpy face in this cake.
More cream.
Smooth out tadaa!

This cake will keep in the fridge for about 3 days, so eat it fast!

Ingredients

For 2 round 8inch Ricotta Cakes

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 150g ricotta cheese
  • 20g (1 tablespoon) milk
  • 50g wholemeal flour
  • 150g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For The Rhubard Sauce – can be made up to a week in advance, just keep it covered maybe?

  • 200g rhubarb, chopped into small pieces
  • 50g sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornflour or plain flour

For The Cream

  • 600ml double cream
  • a splash of milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 / 160 fan oven. Grease and line two 8 inch round cake tins.

Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt for 3 mins until pale and fluffy, it’s easiest to use electric beaters here but you can also use a wooden spoon. Add 50g of the plain flour and one egg. Beat together to incorporate. Add the other two eggs, one at a time, beating to combine until you have a glossy and fluffy batter.

Mix the ricotta and milk in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl (sorry, washing up, but it’s worth it), sift in the remaining flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon, adding back any bran from the wholmeal flour that the sieve collected.

To the batter, add the flour mixture in three goes and ricotta in two, beating inbetween each addition, starting and ending with flour. Pour the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 50/55 mins, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before icing.

For the rhubarb cream. Add the rhubarb, sugar and a splash of water to a small sacupan. Heat on medium, until the fruit softens and bubbles (about 4 mins). You may need to help it by mashing it a bit.

With a whisk at hand, add the flour and whisk quite quickly to make sure the flour doesn’t clump. It’s fine if it does, no one is gunna see with all the cream. Once the flour has been incorporated, let the mixture bubble for another 10 mins or so. It’s best to watch and whisk this for the 10 mins because it’s not much fruit so it can burn easily.

Once the mixture is thicked and reduced pour onto a plate and allow to cool completely (about an hour and a half).

When the rhubarb sauce is cooled put it in a large bowl and gradually whisk in the cream. Once all the cream is incorporated add in the milk (not to much). If you’re worried this cream won’t be able to hold up the cake, dont worry, it will, it’s pretty sturdy stuff. Because the rhubarb is acidic, it thickens the cream so you won’t have to whisk this as long to get it thick enough to ice the cake. Keep whisking, either by hand or with an electric whisk, until the cream holds a stiff peak when you lift the whisk out the batter. Keep the cream covered in the fridge until you are ready to ice the cake.

Fill and cover the cake with the cream. If you want this really neat, you can trim the cake to get a flat top and even sides before you ice it. Give a generous amount of cream for the middle, sandwich the other cake on top and spread the whole thing with the remaining cream. Stick in a candle, call it a gateau and sing happy birthday.

Me, Cake, Joe.

Happy Birthday to us. Love Caitlin x

Vegan Spiced Carrot Cake

Cakes

Hello there Joe

This loaf has a crunchy sugar crust and a kinda caramel vibe to its soft inside, in its sweet stickiness. It’s the kind of stickiness that makes you want to eat one thick slice of this cake after another… and another, and then another. And then, it’s gone! Hmm. Oops. I really had no idea that a vegan cake could taste so good. A while ago, Beulah had sent me a photo of a carrot cake recipe scribbled on a notebook page that she had been given by a friend. I wanted to make her a surprise carrot cake using this recipe. I was asking her if she liked raisins in her carrot cake, before I chucked them in. Didn’t want her to be eating the surprise carrot cake, smiling but feeling sad that there were unwelcome raisins in her cake. The conversation went like this:

Caitlin: If you had a hypothetical carrot cake would you want it with or without raisins?

Beulah: I am an unhypothetical vegan. But I love raisins!

I worked on the un-vegan (non-vegan?) carrot cake recipe she sent me. What I ended up with was a beautiful beautifl lil vegan carrot cake that I’d take any day over one with eggs and butter.

Ingredients

  • 175g caster sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 100g water
  • 100g vegetable oil
  • 50g golden syrup
  • 50g black treacle
  • 60g chopped walnuts – any nuts are good
  • 375g grated carrot – yes, 3 7 5 g
  • 60g raisins
  • 40g demerara sugar – to sprinkle over the top

Pre heat the oven to 190 / 170 fan. Grease and line a 1kg (2lb) loaf tin.

Grate the carrots and chop the nuts. Set them aside.

Combine sugar, flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and spices in a large bowl. Set this aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the oil, syrup and treacle. When the first bubbles appear, remove from the heat and pour into the dry ingredients. Add the carrots, nuts and raisins. Mix everything together until combined.

Pour into the loaf tin. Sprinkle the top of the unbaked loaf with the demerara sugar and bake for 55 mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with no wet batter on it.

Have a good carrot cake. Caitlin X

Triple Chocolate Cookies

Cookies and Biscuits

Yo Joe,

Bruh, these are peng. Hahahaha you just sent me a message with ‘bruh’ in it and I think it’s a great word. These took a few goes to get right, but once they found their sweet spot, they were perfect. A lil bit crispy round the edges but so chewy and fudgy in the middle, these are now the only chocolate cookies I will ever need. I was trying to recreate the Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Triple Belgian Chocolate Cookies, they are the best cookies. You really can taste the difference.

To get the Sainsbury’s flat, chewy, dense cookie vibe I did a bit of playing around with my Double Chocolate Cookies recipe. The ingredients are similar but the key is to use plain flour instead of self raising. This gives you less of an American style cake like cookie and more of a… Sainsbury’s style cookie.

If you want cookies that look like they are straight out of a bakery, add a couple chocolate chunks and, for these cookies, a sprinkling of sea salt to the top of your cookie balls. These additions stay on top of the cookies as they bake and make them look very ‘pretty’ (Joe this was your review of them before they went in the oven.)

Freezing Cookie Dough : Once you’ve formed the cookies into balls, you can bake half the batch and freeze the rest for cookies on a rainy day. Bake them thawed, as instructed in the recipe or add 2/3 mins to the baking time if you’re going straight from freezer to oven. I do not have a degree in food hygiene so use your judgment on how long to keep them in the freezer for before baking, maybe a week?

Ingredients

  • 200g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 170g plain flour
  • 20g cornflour
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 250g chocolate, chopped into rough chunks – I use a mixture of white and dark

Method

Line a plate with grease-proof paper and set aside.

Cream together the butter, sugars, salt and vanilla until light and fluffy. It’s easiest to use electric beaters here, but can be done with a wooden spoon. Add in the egg and cream the batter again.

Sift in the plain flour, cornflour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Use a wooden spoon to work the dough together until there is no more dry flour visible.

Stir in your chopped chocolate, saving a small handful to press into the top of your cookie dough balls.

Form the dough into balls. I use a 4.5cm ice-cream scoop, which fits a lil more than a level tablespoon of dough but you can easily use a spoon to scoop and your hands to roll. Place the dough balls on the lined plate and put in the fridge for 30 mins. (I see you’re about to, but don’t skip this step). If your dough is too squidgy to form into balls pop the bowl in the fridge for 15mins to let the dough firm up.

Preheat the oven to 180 regular oven / 160 fan over while the cookies are chilling. Line a couple of baking trays with grease-proof paper.

Top the balls with chocolate chunks and a lil sprinkle of salt, and place them spaced apart on the baking trays. Bake for 9-12 mins until the outer edge is set but the center is still soft. Keep an eye on these, they go from perfect to burnt fast.

When they come out of the oven, bang the baking tray on your work surface a couple times. This flattens the cookies, giving them a rippled effect on the crust and a dense chewy interior.

Remove the cookies from the baking tray to stop them cooking further.

Hope you have a good cookie. Caitlin x