Saturday, 3 October 2015

Plum and Almond Loaf Cake and Baking with a Baby...

Dear Mummy,

I know it took you ten times longer than usual to make this cake. I know this because I tried to help. Except I'm only ten weeks old and my version of helping probably isn't, well. that helpful. 

I just thought you might like cuddles with me when you were preparing all the ingredients. I know you don't mind and your heart just melts when you snuggle me tight. But then you thought I might like my musical bouncer instead. That was a mistake Mummy. I really, really didn't. So we had to have loads more cuddles again while I got over the trauma of the twinkling Three Blind Mice tune. Meanwhile the ingredients stood forlorn on the table. 

And as you were half way through mixing all the ingredients together, wasn't it helpful that I decided what I wanted was a really, really, really long feed?  And then you needed to burp me a lot .... and then change all my clothes because you burped me a bit too much. 

Of course after such a lovely long feed, I often have a little nap. But sometimes I need rocking back and fro to help me nap. That's difficult when you're trying to stone and chop plums isn't it Mummy?

Then, just as you thought I was asleep and you'd gently placed me down in my bassinet, you foolishly decided to empty the dishwasher and the clanging of dishes woke me straight back up. Despite being so sleepy just moments earlier I suddenly found the ladybird pram toy Mamas and Papas promised you and Daddy would be vital for my development, yes the one I've studiously ignored for the last six weeks, FASCINATING.  And I was too excited to sleep. And that's why the flaked almonds didn't get toasted like they should and you just chucked half the pack on top of the cake.

But Daddy said the cake was tasty and I gave  you so many big smiles; it didn't matter in the slightest that it had taken five hours to bake.

Lots of love

Your Baby Girl xxx

Plum and Almond Loaf Cake

For the Cake:
250g Self-Raising Flour
175g butter, softened and cut into cubes
150g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp almond extract
350g plums, stones removed and chopped
For the topping:
3 tbsp plum jam
2 ripe plums, stones removed and cut into wedges
Toasted flaked almonds, for scattering
1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/140C fan/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line a 900g loaf tin with non-stick baking parchment.
2. Place the flour, butter, sugar, eggs and almond extract in a large bowl and beat together for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is pale and fluffy. 
3. Add the chopped plums and stir in. Spoon the cake mix into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes or until cooked and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
4. Prior to serving, warm the jam and brush over the top of the cake. Arrange the plum wedges over the top. Scatter the toasted almonds over and serve immediately.
Baker's notes...
  • This is a lovely Autumnal bake, perfect for using the best British plums
  • Damsons would work just as well


Nutty Blackberry and Apple Cake supporting Tea & Talk on World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is on the 10th October this year and the theme is dignity in mental health. 

The Mental Health Foundation explains:

'Effectively supporting people experiencing mental health problems is on target to become one of the greatest public health challenges of our time. Stigmatising and discriminatory treatment can be particularly distressing when a person is experiencing a health crisis. We all have mental health, and by failing to treat people with mental health problems with dignity we make it more difficult to ensure that everyone takes steps to safeguard their wellbeing and to seek help, as it can lead to self-stigma, low confidence, low self-esteem, withdrawal and social isolation'.
As part of World Mental Health Day, the Mental Health Foundation are holding their annual fundraising and awareness-raising day, Tea and Talk. I was asked if it were possible to contribute a recipe to feature as inspiration in Talkback, the Mental Health Foundation Supporter's magazine. This delicious, fruity Autumnal treat is a lovely cake to exchange for some vital fundraising cash!

Nutty Blackberry and Apple Cake

175g butter, softened
175g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
125g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eating apples
150g blackberries
20g soft brown sugar
50g toasted almond flakes
50g toasted chopped hazelnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line an 8 inch loose bottomed round cake tin. Beat together the butter and sugar for several minutes until light and fluffy. 
2. Gradually add in the eggs, adding a spoonful of flour if the mixture is curdling
3. Fold in the flour and ground almonds. 
4. Stir through two thirds of the apples and all of the blackberries. Scrape into the prepared tin and dot the remainder of the apples on the top and sprinkle over the brown sugar
5. Bake for 50-55 min or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and scatter over the toasted nuts

Baker's notes...

  • For more information, including how you can take part and several other delicious recipes visit Tea and Talk. Happy baking!
  • This recipe first featured on What Kate Baked in September 2014

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Pear Apple and Almond Cake


Easily my second favourite month of the year (December being número uno what with Christmas, obvs). The school kids have gone back meaning the queue in the local ice cream parlour is no longer 25 deep each afternoon (very fortuitous timing with the Indian Summer forecast).

The Great British Bake Off is getting into its stride, with favourites being formed and Ian no longer being star baker every single week. And star spangled Strictly is soon to return, brightening dark Autumnal evenings.

The shelves in the local greengrocers are packed full of glorious late summer and early autumnal bounty: blackberries, plums, apples and pears. All marvellous inspiration when it comes to baking. Such as this Pear, Apple and Almond Cake, a twist on a Mary Berry favourite.

Pear Apple and Almond Cake

125g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
1.5 level tsp baking powder
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp almond extract
150g butter, melted
150g cooking apples, peeled and cored
150g pears, peeled and cored
25g flaked almonds

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Lightly grease a deep 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
  2. Beat together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, sugar, eggs, almond extract and melted butter in a large bowl. 
  3. Spread half this mixture in the prepared tin. Thickly slice the apples and pears and lay on top of the mixture in the tin. Roughly spoon the remaining mixture over the fruit and sprinkle over the flaked almonds. 
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 1¼-1½ hours until golden and coming away from the sides of the tin

Baker's Notes...

  • This cake is perfectly served warm with an enormous dollop or two of custard
  • Alternatively serve cold with a dollop of creme fraiche

Monday, 24 August 2015

Blueberry and Soured Cream Cake

This is my first PB (post baby) cake.

I'm convinced the baby took an avid interest in the process; she looked down from my shoulder as I attempted to crack the eggs with one hand*. She happily dozed to the sound of the vibrating kMix and obligingly and conveniently fed while we were waiting for the cake to bake in the oven.

She may be only five weeks old but this overly ambitious Mummy has already signed her daughter up to the 2035 series of Great British Bake Off. The series in which powdered food replaces Bread Lions and Mel and Sue are replaced by robots**.

* So the cake may have had an added crunch from the not-insignificant amount of eggshell that ended up in the mixture.

** Probably.

For my first PB cake I turned to an old favourite; this blueberry and soured cream cake from BBC Good Food. I last made it well over three years ago but my husband enjoyed it so much, he has requested it on a weekly basis ever since (Me: 'I think I'll make a cake this weekend... maybe an Olive Oil, Ricotta and Raspberry Cake?'. My husband: 'Oh. How about the AMAZING-WONDERFUL-DELICIOUS-BEST-EVER Blueberry and Soured Cream Cake instead?').

Baker's Notes...

  • The full recipe can be found on the BBC Good Food website
  • Its such a simple, easy cake and I reckon you can replace the blueberries with raspberries or other such summer fruit
  • If you're not keen on the cheesecake style frosting, try a dollop of chantilly cream instead

Saturday, 1 August 2015

A bun in the oven

For the last nine months you may have noticed fewer posts and recipes on What Kate Baked. Its been an incredibly special time in our lives as on the 19th July 2015 our perfect little daughter was born.

It may be a few weeks before normal service resumes but I'm sure it won't be long before I'm teaching our little bundle of absolute happiness the joy baking brings!

Kate x 

Friday, 10 July 2015

'Homemade Memories' and Butterscotch Devil's Delight

For most people 1980s-style powdered, whipped puddings should happily stay in that decade. Along with florescent shellsuits, glam-metal and high volume bouffant hair styles that require the best part of an entire can of hairspray to stay in place. Memories of such puddings are of overly-sweet desserts, full of artificial little nasties.

Until now.

Kate Doran, cookery writer and creator of the really, really fabulous Little Loaf blog, has created a way better version of this childhood pud. Butterscotch Devil's Delight is a deliciously creamy, toffee dessert, and unlike its namesake, contains not a single artificial ingredient. Plus it includes a glug or two of whisky, making this a properly delicious, grown-up version.

Kate has just published her very first (of many, I've no doubt) cookbook, 'Homemade Memories: Childhood Treats with a Twist' (Orion, £18.99 hardback). It is chock-full of glorious recipes and gorgeous photographs; my copy is already decorated with multiple sticky notes as I've bookmarked recipe after recipe. All the classics are included and reinvented with style: Almond, honey and cinnamon fig rolls, Magnum-esque Chocolate-coated Ice Cream Bars and Chocolate Milk For Grown-Ups all feature. And as part of a blog hop to celebrate the publication of Homemade Memories, I was invited to try out this scrumptious Butterscotch Devil's Delight.

Butterscotch Devil's Delight (reprinted with permission)
  • 45g butter, cubed
  • 150g dark muscovado sugar
  • ¾ tsp flaky sea salt
  • 450ml double cream
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 350ml milk
  • seeds of half a vanilla pod
  • 1 - 2 tbsp whisky or scotch
  • Handful cocoa nibs, to serve (NB: I used a little grated dark chocolate to decorate)

  1. In a medium saucepan, brown 30g of the butter. Once golden and toasty smelling, stir in the sugar and salt. Remove from the heat and whisk in 150ml of the cream.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the cornflour with 50ml milk. Whisk in the sugar mixture followed by the remaining milk. Return everything to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  3. Remove from the heat then stir in the remaining butter, vanilla seeds and 1 tbsp whisky until smooth. 
  4. Press cling film into the top to prevent a skin forming and allow to cool to room temperature.
  5. Whip the remaining cream, adding 1 tbsp whisky at the start for a boozier pud. Fold two thirds of the cream into the cooled pudding.
  6. Divide between 4 - 6 glasses and chill, along with the remaining cream, for about 2 hours. Remove the puddings from the fridge, top with an extra dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa nibs, then serve.

Baker's Notes
  • This is a glorious pudding: light and silky, creamy, toffee with a gentle boozy kick
  • Random fact: Butterscotch Delight is Simon Cowell's favourite pud. One bite of Kate's version and it will surely become yours too. 

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Bakewell Florentine Biscuits

What are Italian in origin, lacy in appearance, chewy, crunchy and chocolatey all at the same time and Delia's favourite biscuit in the entire world?

(The picture above may provide a bit of a clue)

It is, of course, the Florentine. A delectable, delightful treat of a biscuit with the generous layer of dark chocolate contrasting perfectly with the sweet caramelized dried fruit. Put simply, that is exactly why one Florentine is never, ever going to be enough (to be honest, when is it ever the case that one biscuit is enough? Even when it comes to the humble Rich Tea or the always-languishing-at-the-bottom-of-the-biscuit-jar digestive?)

So, yeah, these lasted about 3 and a half minutes

Thomas J Fudges, who make their own scrumptious Florentines, challenged me to create my own version and, ta-dah, here they are:

Bakewell Florentines

50g chopped glace or soured cherries
50g flaked almonds
50g whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped
25g butter
75g demarara sugar
15g plain flour
60g double cream
150g dark chocolate

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC, gas mark 5. Line two baking trays with light greased parchment paper or cupcake silicone moulds
2. Place the fruit and nuts in a large bowl, sift over the flour and mix together until the flour is evenly distributed. Melt together the butter and sugar in a pan over a gentle heat until combined.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream followed by the fruit and nuts. Dollop teaspoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets (ensuring they are spread out) or into the silicone moulds. 
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown all over. Leave to cool
5. Meanwhile melt the the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until melted, stirring occasionally
6. Carefully dip the underside of each florentine in the chocolate and leave to set
Baker's Notes...
  • A variety of dried fruit and nuts would work really well. Its all down to personal preferences. Try pistachios, hazelnuts, cobnuts or walnuts, dried apricots, cranberries, sultanas or raisins. 
  • Other ingredients you may wish to use include a little chopped stem ginger, a large spoonful of dessicated coconut or extra chocolate chips or nibs
With thanks to Thomas J Fudges for covering ingredient costs and providing samples of their own Florentine Biscuits