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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Cakes and Craic

I have just spent three days cooking with my granddaughter. Though she enjoyed making fresh pasta and Foccacia - especially poking the holes, it was cake that really excited her, to the extent that she stuck some black tape to her chin to be Duff Goldman, the Ace of Cakes!

Making a range of cakes reminded me how much fun they can be so here are a couple of recipes which all received the "Poppy" treatment.

Lemon Muffins Makes 10 or 12

For the Muffins

300 grams Plain Flour

175 grams Caster Sugar

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 Lemon

50 grams Butter

225 mils Milk

1 medium Egg (beaten)

For the icing

2tbsp Lemon Juice

175 grams Icing Sugar

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and add the sugar, mix well.

Zest the lemon and place the zest in a small saucepan with the butter (cut into cubes). Place on a low heat and add 4 tbsp of milk. When the butter has melted remove from the heat, cool slightly and add the rest of the milk and the beaten egg..

Combine the butter mixture with the flour and sugar and spoon into muffin cases.

Bake for 15 minutes at 200c.

Remove and leave in the tin whilst you make the icing by beating the lemon juice into the icing sugar. Ice the buns whilst they are still warm so that the icing spreads easier.

Cool and put into an airtight box.

Carrot Cake

I use the Avoca Cafe recipe (and so does Rachel Allen)

Makes 2 cakes, just as well as it is more-ish!!

14oz caster sugar

14oz grated carrots (I use a microplane)

14 oz self-raising flour

14fl oz sunflower oil

4 eggs (I use medium)

1tsp salt (I use Halen Mon) or even their Vanilla Salt

1tsp mixed spice

1tsp vanilla essence

Combine eggs, sugar and oil and mix well with an electric mixer.

Add salt, spice and vanilla essence and mix well.

Sift in the flour and mix thoroughly

Add grated carrots and mix through.

Pour into 2 baking tins, well-greased or use a paper liner.

Bake for 1 hour at 170c 325f Gas mark 3. Check after 55 mins especially in a fan oven.

Cool in tins for 15 mins the turn out on to a rack.

For topping

6oz cream cheese e.g. Philadelphia (I use Mascarpone)

2oz butter (softened)

Zest of a lemon and juice of ½ a lemon.

6oz icing sugar.

Combine all ingredients and spread on cake.

Madeira Cake

Probably the most versatile of all cakes, It can be added to to change the taste and can be cooked round, in loaf tins or in a swiss roll tin to make a range of traybakes.

Ingredients – for 18 cm square tin or 20 cm round tin

350 g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

250g softened margarine (I used softened butter)

250g caster sugar

4 xl eggs – beaten

1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease the tin and line the tin with double thickness of greaseproof/baking paper (I tend to use commercial baking cases). Grease the paper and set the tin aside.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add in the sugar; mix well with a wooden spoon.

Now add in the margarine/butter, eggs and lemon juice. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Now beat the mixture, either using the wooden spoon, vigorously for two mins or one minute using electric beaters on medium speed.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours. To test if baked, press lightly in the middle. If the cake springs back, it is baked. Or alternatively, test by inserting skewer in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.

A traybake will take 20 minutes or so as the mix is much thinner.

Variations all added at the mixing stage

I tsp Coffee essence - Camp or Irel

Grated Zest of an orange or lemon

Mixed fruit and candied peel


Traybake toppings

Icing as for the Lemon Muffins

The Carrot Cake topping

Raspberry Jam and sweetened dessicated coconut

9oz Icing sugar combined with 3 tbsp Orange or Rose water to amke a runny fondant icing - it will set in time


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