Blueberry and Lemon Loaf

I love the zesty, fresh taste of a lemon drizzle loaf but I really wanted to try a different take on a classic cake. I decided I would experiment with using fresh blueberries which worked really well, adding more moisture to a sometimes dry cake whilst adding a new flavour. Other fruits could also be added to the cake and I would really like to try adding raspberries, one of my favourite fruits and experiment with various flavour combinations. The icing I used to make this cake was different to the usual lemon juice and sugar on a lemon drizzle cake, I made a thick water icing instead which made the simple loaf look more impressive.

Ingredients for 1 loaf

⅓ cup melted butter (75g)

1 cup caster sugar (200g)

2 eggs

½ tsp vanilla extract

1½ cups plain flour (180g)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ cup milk (125ml)

2 tbsp lemon zest

1 cup blueberries (200g)

2 tbsp plain flour

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup icing sugar (100g)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C/ 350°F and grease and line a 8×4 inch loaf pan.
  2. Beat together the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract using an electric hand mixer.
  3. Then in a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir in to the egg mixture alternately with milk until fully combined.
  4. Wash and dry the blueberries, then lightly toss them in the 2 tbsp of flour until they are well coated. This prevents them sinking to the bottom of the cake.
  5. Gently fold in the lemon zest and blueberries and pour out the mixture into the line tin.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes until golden in colour and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for about 40 minutes.
  7. For the icing combine the juice of half a lemon with sifted icing sugar until it becomes thick but a bit runnier than toothpaste. I added about 100g of icing sugar, however the easiest thing to do is just keep adding icing sugar to the juice until it reaches the right consistency.

Neapolitan Celebration Cake

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As I recently finished 6th Form, it was a perfect reason to celebrate by making a celebration cake. My friends and I all went to the park in town and enjoyed a picnic and cake after our last day of school, it was so much fun and I was so pleased the cake went down really well with everyone. It would be a perfect cake for a summer garden party or birthday. This is an idea I’ve had in mind for a while and just didn’t have the time or occasion to make it so I couldn’t wait to try it out! Based on Neapolitan ice-cream I made a layer of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cake, I was so pleased that my invention turned out well. You will notice this recipe states baking powder is optional, I have found it gives the sponges an extra rise but for slightly thinner sponges, ideal with a three-tiered cake, the recipe still works well without. I made 4 sponges, two chocolate and one each of strawberry and vanilla. I have found this is the simplest way without having to awkwardly half the recipe. You can freeze the other half of the chocolate sponge and to enjoy at a later date or alternatively cut in half and sandwich together with the remaining icing.

INGREDIENTS FOR TWO 7 INCH Chocolate SPONGEs

100g unsalted butter, softened

50g cocoa powder

90ml boiling water

300g golden caster sugar

1 rounded tsp baking powder (optional)

3 large eggs

4tbsp milk

175g self-raising flour, sifted

INGREDIENTS FOR TWO 7 INCH SPONGEs (Vanilla and Strawberry)

100g unsalted butter, softened

300g golden caster sugar

1 rounded tsp baking powder (optional)

3 large eggs

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1 tsp strawberry extract (or vanilla extract)

2 tbsp red food colouring

4tbsp milk

225g self-raising flour, sifted

INGREDIENTS FOR ICING

300g good quality dark chocolate (Bournville works well)

300ml double cream

2tbsp apricot jam

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180º/fan 160º and line the bases of two round sandwich tins (roughly 7 inches in circumference) with baking parchment.
  2. Measure out the cocoa powder and boiling water into a cup and mix into a paste before pouring into a large bowl.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients for the chocolate sponges into the bowl and mix well using a hand mixer.
  4. Divide the sponge mixture evenly between the lined tins and bake in the oven for about 25-30 mins until well risen (try and place both sponges on the same shelf in the oven to ensure they rise equally).
  5. Remove the sponges from the oven and turn out of their tins onto a cooling rack to cool completely. After you have turned out the cakes, line them again with baking paper for the next sponges.
  6. Whilst the chocolate sponges are baking, make the icing and filling. Put the chocolate and cream in a bowl and using a bain-marie melt over a pan of simmering water until fully melted. Leave to cool until it thickens into a spreadable consistency (about an hour or two), this will take a long time but be patient as icing the cake will be difficult if the icing isn’t thick enough.
  7. Whilst the cakes are baking and the icing is thickening, begin the vanilla and strawberry sponges. Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl and mix together using an electric hand mixer until it is creamed together.
  8. Then add the baking powder, eggs, milk and flour to the mixture, and all the vanilla extract if you are not using strawberry extract for the strawberry sponge and mix together well.
  9. Once combined, split the mixture in half between two bowls and add the red food colouring and strawberry extract to one and vanilla extract to the other (if not done already, if you have, place the vanilla sponge straight into the lined tin). With the red food colouring, use as much as you want, I found it difficult to achieve the pink tone I wanted.
  10. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 mins until well risen (try and place both sponges on the same shelf in the oven to ensure they rise equally).
  11. Remove the sponges from the oven and turn out of their tins onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  12. Once the icing has thickened to a spreadable consistency, spread the top of one sponge with the apricot jam and then with the icing using a palette knife and place another sponge on top and repeat with the final sponge. Then with the remaining icing spread the top (and sides if you wish) with the remaining icing. I think icing the sides makes the cake look neater and more professional. I then decorated the cake with hundreds and thousands.

Orange and White Chocolate Loaf

This is another bake from Ruby Tandoh’s book ‘Crumb’, I am in love with all of the different flavour combinations she uses so I will definitely be using this book a lot. I thought I would try a loaf cake this week as they are traditionally very easy to make and great for a snack at any time. Citrus fruit cakes and biscuits are my absolute favourite so I had to give this one a go! This bake tastes like a lemon drizzle cake but with a sweeter note of orange and chocolate. It was really difficult to take a good photo of the loaf as it was quite crumbly due to the moist syrup.

Ingredients for 1 900g loaf

150g unsalted butter, softened

150g caster sugar

Zest of ½ lemon

Zest of 2 oranges

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

225g plain flour, plus extra for coating

1½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

75ml milk

150g white chocolate chips or a bar of chocolate chopped into pieces

ingredients for syrup

Juice of 1 orange

Juice of ½ a lemon

50g caster sugar

To decorate

50g white chocolate

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/ fan oven 160ºC/ gas mark 4. Then grease and line a loaf tin with baking parchment.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together, using an electric hand mixer, until it’s light and fluffy. Then beat in the zest and gradually add the beaten eggs.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder, then gently fold into the butter mixture. Gently stir in the milk.
  4. Chop the white chocolate to about 5mm chunks, or use white chocolate chips. Toss the chunks lightly in flour to prevent them sinking in the cake. Then stir into the batter.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the lined loaf tin and level it off. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes. Insert a skewer into the cake and it should come out clean, with only a few crumbs.
  6. Whilst the cake is cooking, heat up the orange and lemon juice and add the sugar, continue stirring until the sugar has fully dissolved.
  7. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pierce it all over using a skewer and pour the heated syrup all over. Leave the cake to cool before turning out.
  8. Heat the white chocolate in a microwave or alternatively, using the ban marie method. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the loaf using a spoon.

Mini Victoria Sandwiches

Happy New Year!!! I hope you all had a great christmas and new year and ate loads of lovely homemade food! For Christmas, I received a large range of baking based goods including tins, books and decorating tools so throughout this year I will try and use them in as many ways as I can! This recipe was made using a 12 sponge mini sandwich tin I received for Christmas, I think little cakes look really cute and work well presented as little gifts ( http://www.lakeland.co.uk/15170/My-Kitchen-12-Cup-Mini-Sandwich-Tin ) I’ve started off this year with a simple Victoria sponge as sometimes it’s best not to over-complicate things. I have used my new tin but you can always use the same recipe in a larger tin.

Ingredients for 12 mini sponges/1 large sponge

175g unsalted butter, at room temperature

175g caster sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

175g self-raising flour

Pinch of salt

Buttercream for filling

150g unsalted butter at room temperature

200g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

20ml milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling

roughly 12 tsp raspberry or strawberry jam

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly grease the tin.
  2. For the sponge, cream the butter and caster sugar together until the mixture is pale and light. Then, gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time. Add the vanilla extract and mix again.
  3. Then sift the flour and salt into the bowl and fold in until the mixture is glossy and smooth, being careful no to over mix.
  4. Divide the mixture between the mini sandwich tin, I used about 3/4 of an ice-cream scoop. Then ensure you level off the mixture.
  5. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 12 minutes until golden, well risen and a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of one of the cakes comes out clean.
  6. Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for 2 minutes and then ease out onto a wire cooling rack and leave until completely cool.
  7. To make the buttercream, cream together the butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract until the mixture is pale and light. Add some more icing sugar if needed. Then transfer the icing into a piping bag.
  8. Cut the sponges in half using a sharp knife. Pipe the icing in one large squirt in the middle of each sponge, add a teaspoon of jam and sandwich the top half.
  9. Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.

Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is one of my favourite cakes to bake, I just love the idea of combining a vegetable in a cake; it really works as a great winter cake. This recipe is a little different from the usual recipe I use as it contains bananas, you can’t really taste the banana too much, it just helps to combine the other ingredients. (I’m not sure what’s happened to the photo, sorry!)

Ingredients for carrot cake

225g self-raising flour

2 level teaspoons baking powder

150g light muscovado sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

50g chopped walnuts

50g sultanas

100g grated carrot (ensure you squeeze out all of the liquid)

2 ripe bananas, mashed

2 large eggs

150ml sunflower oil

Ingredients for icing

150g icing sugar, sifted

175g full fat cream cheese

50g unsalted butter, softened

walnut halves, to decorate

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180º/ 160º Fan? Gas Mark 4. Grease a 20cm deep round cake tin with butter and line the base with baking parchment.
  2. Measure all of the ingredients for the cake into a large bowl and beat well until fully combined and the mixture becomes smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 mins until the cake is well risen. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out the cake and leaving to cool on a wire rack.
  4. For the icing, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix using an electric hand mixer until the mixture is smooth with no lumps. Spread the top of the cake with the icing and decorate with walnut halves.

(I’m not sure what’s happened to the photo, sorry!)

Chocolate Birthday Cake

I made this for my friend, Georgia’s, birthday last week and completely forgot to post it! I have been so busy applying to uni that I thought I had posted it last weekend, so I’ll post this one today and the bake for this week tomorrow. This is by far the best chocolate cake recipe I’ve found, with the perfect moist texture and delicious icing. Some of you may recognise this cake from the chocolate orange cake I posted a few months ago https://emmajanebakes.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/chocolate-and-orange-cake/ , it is a similar recipe and I was incapable of thinking of another creative way to decorate it without ruining it. I added salted caramel flavouring to my icing to add an extra flavour, I thought it tasted great and also proves how versatile this recipe is.

Ingredients for two 7 inch sponge

100g unsalted butter, softened

50g cocoa powder

90ml boiling water

300g golden caster sugar

1 rounded tsp baking powder

3 large eggs

4tbsp milk

175g self-raising flour, sifted

Ingredients for icing

150g good quality dark chocolate (Bournville works well)

150ml double cream

1tbsp apricot jam

¾ tsp salted caramel flavouring (optional)

50g dark chocolate (thin chocolate works best)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180º/fan 160º and line the bases of two round sandwich tins (roughly 7 inches in circumference) with baking parchment.
  2. Measure out the cocoa powder and boiling water into a cup and mix into a paste before pouring into a large bowl.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients for the sponge into the bowl and mix well using a hand mixer.
  4. Divide the sponge mixture evenly between the lined tins and bake in the oven for about 25-30 mins until well risen (try and place both sponges on the same shelf in the oven to ensure they rise equally).
  5. Remove the sponges from the oven and turn out of their tins onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. For the icing and filling, put the chocolate and cream in a bowl and using a bain-marie melt over a pan of simmering water until fully melted. If you wish you can add the flavouring at this point which gives the icing a bitter caramel taste, I thought this worked really well. Leave to cool until it thickens into a spreadable consistency (about an hour) , this will take a long time but be patient as icing the cake will be difficult if the icing isn’t thick enough.
  7. Spread the top of one sponge with the apricot jam and then with the icing using a palette knife and place the other half on top. Then with the remaining icing spread the top (and sides if you wish) with the remaining icing. I think icing the sides makes the cake look neater and more professional.
  8. Using a vegetable peeler grate the good quality dark chocolate into small curls and sprinkle over the top of the cake; I used a vegetable peeler to create the small curls.

Marmalade Fruit Loaf

This week’s bake is a fruit loaf with an orangey twist, a prefect afternoon tea treat for the autumn months. This is a fairly dry bake as it is a loaf so it tastes great with butter. This recipe was an all in one recipe making it really easy to bake, however do not be fooled by the easy recipe, this does take a long time to bake so make sure you leave enough time.

Ingredients for a 2lb loaf

40g red or natural glacé cherries

100g softened butter

100g caster sugar

100g sultanas

100g currants

2 large eggs

175g self-raising flour

1 rounded tbsp chunky marmalade

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160ºC/ Fan 140ºC/ Gas 3 and grease a alb loaf tin and line the base with baking parchment, alternatively use a loaf tin liner.
  2. Cut the cherries in rough quarters, place in a sieve and rinse under cold running water. Then drain well and dry using kitchen paper.
  3. Measure all of the remaining ingredients into a large bowl, add the cherries and mix using an electric hand mixer until fully blended. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and level the top using the back of a spoon of a spatula.
  4. Bake in the oven for about 1 ¼ hours or until a skewer, when inserted, comes out clean. Leave the loaf to cool in the tin for about 10 mins, then turn out and leave on a wire rack to cool.

I finished my cake here, however the recipe states you can finish the cake with a marmalade glaze or simply sprinkle with caster sugar. To make the glaze, warm 1 tbsp of marmalade in a small pan and then spoon over the top of the cake and leave to set. I thought this would make the cake too sticky and hard to eat so I left it out.

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

I don’t usually bake large cakes due to the fact there are only three people in my family and they never usually get eaten, which is a shame and waste of a lovely cake! However, I have been dying to make this cake for a while now and thought I would just give it a go and I was really pleased with the end result! It’s a flavoursome cake, and is lovely eaten when warm with ice cream as a desert.

Ingredients

225g softened butter

225g light muscovado sugar

3 large eggs

100g chopped walnuts

100g sultanas

225g self raising flour

2 level teaspoons baking powder

1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon

400g cooking apples, peeled, cored and grated

1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon (to combine with apple)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170º/160º fan and line a 9 inch/ 23cm cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Measure the butter, sugar, eggs, chopped walnuts, sultanas, flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and combine using a electric hand mixer for about 2 minutes.
  3. Spoon half the mixture into the baking tin and then spread an even layer of the grated apple and cinnamon mixture (already combined). Then spoon the remaining cake mixture on top and level off the surface.
  4. Sprinkle well with light muscavado sugar, chopped walnuts (I forgot to do this oops) and a small amount of cinnamon.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour 10 mins (this of course will vary depending on your oven), the cake should be well risen and golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack and dust will icing sugar.

This was a really easy cake to make and doesn’t involve much decorating to look impressive (which is great for someone who can’t decorate well such as me). I am currently in love with cinnamon so this is just perfect, I’ve added a bit more cinnamon than the original recipe to give it a bit more of that beautiful flavour!

Chocolate and Orange Cake

Now I’ve finished all my AS exams I will now have a lot more time on my hands to do loads of baking! I thought since I usually do small bakes I would try something a bit larger and a tad more adventurous. In truth, I am awful at decorating cakes and every one I have decorated has gone so wrong and never turned out how I wanted it to (I’m a perfectionist, I can’t help it). So, I gave this chocolate and orange cake a go and it didn’t turn out too badly!

Ingredients for the sponge (serves 8)

100g unsalted butter, softened

50g cocoa powder

90ml boiling water

300g golden caster sugar

1 rounded tsp baking powder

3 large eggs

4 tbsp milk

175g self raising flour, sifted

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

Ingredients for filling and icing

150g Bournville chocolate, broken into small pieces

150ml double cream

1tbsp apricot jam

50g good quality dark chocolate

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180º/fan 160º and line the bases of two round sandwich tins with baking parchment.
  2. Measure out the cocoa powder and boiling water into a large bowl and mix into a paste.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients for the sponge into the bowl and mix until combined using a hand mixer.
  4. Divide the sponge mixture evenly between the lined tins and bake in the oven for about 25-30 mins until well risen (try and place both sponges on the same shelf in the oven to ensure they rise equally).
  5. Remove the sponges from the oven and turn out of their tins onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. For the icing and filling, put the chocolate and cream in a bowl and using a bain-marie melt over a pan over simmering water until fully melted. Leave to cool until it thickens into a spreadable consistency, this will take a long time but be patient as icing the cake will be difficult if the icing isn’t thick enough.
  7. Spread the top of one sponge with the apricot jam and then with the icing using a palette knife and place the other half on top. Then with the remaining icing spread the top (and sides if you wish) with the remaining icing.
  8. Using a vegetable peeler grate the good quality dark chocolate into small curls and sprinkle over the top of the cake. I used a vegetable peeler to create the small curls but other methods for larger curls would look just as effective.

I’m really pleased with how this cake turned out, considering I don’t really do large bakes. This would be a perfect bake for the bank holiday weekend!

Crunchy Lemon Syrup Loaf

The lemon loaf was quite easy with an ‘all-in-one’ recipe yet was delicious once made, a simple and tasty afternoon tea treat! It was moist, sweet and had a fresh, great on a summers day! This is a great recipe for beginner bakers, children but also experienced bakers looking for a quick bake!

 

Ingredients for 1x 2lb loaf

100g soft margarine

175g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

175g caster sugar

2 eggs

4 tbsp milk

finely grated rind of 1 lemon

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/ 350ºF/ Gas 4, then grease and base line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

  2. Measure all of the ingredients into a large bowl and beat well for about 2 minutes then pour the mixture into the the tin and level the surface.
  3. Bake the loaf in a pre-heated oven for about 40 mins or until the loaf springs back when lightly pressed.

Ingredients for the topping

juice of half a lemon

50g granulated sugar

Method

  1. Whilst the cake is baking, make the crunchy topping by measuring the lemon juice and sugar into a small bowl and stir until fully mixed.
  2. Then spread the mixture over the loaf whilst still hot then leave it to completely cool in the tins then remove the paper once cold.

This recipe can be easily adapted to use a 1 lb tin instead by simply halving the ingredients!