Raspberry and Rose Cake

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This cake is made with two 6″ sponges infused with rose water, drizzled with rose syrup and filled with raspberry conserve and raspberry flavoured buttercream. The cake was layered and decorated for a birthday but would be equally delicious and pretty served simply as a filled sponge.

Raspberry and Rose Cake

For the two 6″ sponges:-

225g Butter (softened)

225g Caster Sugar

4 Large Eggs, beaten

225g Self Raising Flour

1 Teaspoon Rose Water

Drop(s) of pink food colouring

Pre heat the oven to 160c and line two 6″ round cake tins.

Beat the sugar and butter together well, slowly add the beaten eggs then fold in the flour. Finally, stir in the rose water and colour. Divide between the two cake tins and bake for between 20-30 minutes.

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Raspberry and Rose layered sponges

To make a rose syrup I used 1 tablespoon of rose petal sugar with 1 tablespoon of water and boiled it for a few minutes. This was then drizzled over the cakes as they were taken from the oven and still warm. The cakes were then left to cool completely before slicing each one in half horizontally. The four layers were then placed on top of each other with raspberry conserve or raspberry buttercream between each layer.

For Raspberry Buttercream:-

150g Butter, softened

250g Icing Sugar

2 Tablespoons Raspberry Conserve

Beat all the ingredients together well for a few minutes.

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I used some of the buttercream to fill the cakes then used some to cover the whole cake. The cake was put in the fridge for about twenty minutes to firm the buttercream.

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Raspberry and Rose Cake

Finally, I added more raspberry conserve and a drop of pink food colour to the remaining buttercream and used it to decorate the outside of the cake. I added pink sugar sprinkles and some sugar roses to finish it off.

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Cranberry and Orange Cake

This is a moist sponge made with oranges, filled with cranberry and orange curd and covered with cranberry and orange curd buttercream. Its a fruity alternative to Christmas cake and packed with vitamin C!

Cranberry and Orange Curd

Ingredients:-

225g Cranberries

2 Oranges

225g Caster Sugar

50g Butter

2 Eggs, beaten

Method:-

Remove the skin and pips from the oranges and place the fruit and juice into a saucepan. Add the cranberries and cook the fruits gently until very soft. Blend or mash well so that the mixture is completely smooth. Pour the mixture into a double pan with water in the bottom pan, or a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the sugar butter and heat, stirring well until everything is well dissolved. Add the beaten eggs slowly, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Leave to cool completely before using. It will need to be stored in the fridge if not using straight away.

Spicy Orange Cake

Ingredients:-

50g Orange Juice

100g Golden Syrup

250g Caster sugar

250g Butter

4 Medium Eggs

250ml Milk

400g Plain Flour

2 Teaspoons Bicarbonate of Soda

2 Teaspoons Mixed Spice

Zest of 2 Oranges

Method:-                                           

Preheat the oven to 170c and grease and line 2 x 8” (20cm) cake tins.

Place the orange juice, golden syrup, sugar and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir well till everything is melted and dissolved. Leave to cool.

Whisk the eggs and milk together.

Stir the flour, bicarbonate of soda, orange zest and mixed spice together, then add to the eggs and milk and beat well. Add the orange, juice, syrup, sugar and butter mixture and combine everything but don’t overbeat.

Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for about 25 minutes until cooked.

I made orange syrup to drizzle over the cakes as they came out of the oven by heating 50g orange juice and 50g caster sugar in a small pan. Stir well and bring to the boil until it becomes thick and syrupy.

Cranberry and Orange Curd Buttercream

I made buttercream by beating 250g softened butter and 250 icing sugar together well for a few minutes. Add about 4 tablespoons of the cranberry and orange buttercream curd. More can be added if needed.

Fill the cake centre with a layer of the cranberry and orange curd and a layer of the buttercream. Then thinly spread some of the buttercream around the top and sides of the cake, leaving some of the cake showing through giving a ‘naked’ effect.

I decorated the top of the cake with some fresh cranberries which had been covered for several hours in a layer of caster sugar to sweeten them a little.

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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

 

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Chocolate Orange Cupcake

 

There’s still time for some last minute Christmas baking! Along with the last of the mince pies I baked today, I’ve made some chocolate orange cupcakes. Chocolate is always popular at Christmas and these have a rich chocolate, almost truffle flavour. These can be frozen, fully decorated so are perfect to pop in the freezer for any unexpected guests over the festive season.

Ingredients for Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

100g Butter (softened)
110g Caster Sugar
3 Medium eggs
2 Tablespoons Milk
120g Self Raising Flour
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
Zest of 1 large Orange
25g Dark Chocolate (chopped into small pieces)

Ingredients for Rich Chocolate Orange Frosting

150g Dark Chocolate
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
250g Icing Sugar
200g Butter (softened)
50g Vegetable Shortening (Trex)
1 Tablespoon Orange Juice
Plus 25g Dark Chocolate zested and sprinkled over the top of the completed cupcakes.

To make the cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 160c and place cupcake cases in a 12 hole cupcake or muffin pan.
Beat the softened butter and caster sugar together well.
Whisk the eggs together lightly with the milk.
Whisk the flour, cocoa and baking powder together.
Mix all these ingredients together with the orange zest and beat for one minute, making sure everything is combined.
Divide the mixture between the 12 cupcake cases and add a tiny piece of chopped chocolate to each one.
Bake for about 20 minutes until ready. Leave to cool.

To make the frosting

Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of boiling water. Leave to cool a little.
Beat the other ingredients together well; then add the cooled, melted chocolate. If the frosting is a little thick, more orange juice can be added.
Pipe or spread the frosting onto the top of the cupcakes.
Finish by sprinkling zested dark chocolate over the top.

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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

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Christmas Apple, Orange and Cinnamon Jelly

 

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This is one of my favourite Christmas recipes. It has a light but warming flavour – perfect for the festive season!

To Make Apple, Orange and Cinnamon Jelly

1 kg cooking apples
4 oranges
1kg caster sugar
1   1/2 litres water
4 cinnamon sticks
Chop the fruit roughly without peeling and add the cinnamon sticks and water. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Strain through a muslin bag. Add the sugar to the remaining liquid and take back to the heat. Heat gently until the sugar is melted, stirring all the time. Then bring to the boil and boil rapidly without touching until it reaches setting point. The jelly can be sieved again to remove any scum and poured into sterilised jars. This amount filled 6 small jars.

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How to make a perfect sponge

How to

A sponge is one of the most basic cakes you can make, with few ingredients and yet it’s something which can be incredibly difficult to get right! I’ve tried and tested many recipes and tips and here are my favourite tips for a perfect bake…

  • Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature, preferably slightly warm.
  • Weigh your ingredients accurately, baking is a science and slight changes can affect the result.
  • Heat your oven in advance and check that the temperature is correct with an oven thermometer. Many ovens are not accurate and too hot or too cool an oven can affect the end result dramatically. Sponges are usually baked at 160c.
  • Use the freshest, free range eggs for a light sponge and good quality butter will give a great flavour.
  • Line the tin/s with non-stick baking paper.

BS Edge

When following a recipe use the ingredients weight as a guide. Start by weighing the eggs in the recipe (weigh in their shells) and match the other ingredients to this. The eggs, sugar, butter and flour should all weigh equivalent amounts.

For a 20cm (8”) sponge you will need 5 eggs (weighing 50g each) , 250g Butter, 250g Caster Sugar, 250g Self-Raising Flour. Therefore, when you weigh the eggs, you will match the amounts to this. The amount of 250g has been given as a guide for the amount of mixture you will need. If the eggs weigh 265g the flour, butter and sugar should be 265g too and the cake will be very slightly larger. If the eggs weigh slightly less, for example 235g, you could add milk if you want to make up the amount to 250g.

Beat the sugar and butter together well until they are pale and creamy;

Beat the eggs in a separate bowl;

Whisk the flour with a hand whisk to loosen and add air. I never sieve my flour as I feel it compacts when it falls;

I never add baking powder as I’ve found it can make the cake dry;

There are two methods for mixing all the ingredients together and I’ve found that both work well –

  1. Add the beaten eggs very slowly to the beaten sugar and butter mix. Mix well, a little at a time. If the eggs are slightly warm they won’t curdle and a tip to help this is to put the eggs, in their shells in a bowl of warm water before starting the recipe. Then carefully fold in the flour.
  2. Add the beaten eggs and the flour to the beaten sugar and butter and beat everything together well for only one minute.
  • Be careful not to overbeat with either method.

BS Edge

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin/s. The sponge can be baked in one tin or divided between two tins. One 20cm (8”) sponge should take approximately 50 minutes to bake, if the mixture is divided the cakes will take about twenty minutes.

  • Never open the oven until at least ¾ of the way through baking a sponge. Opening the door too early can cause the cake to collapse. The sponge will be baked when it is golden brown and starting to shrink away from the sides of the tin. A clean skewer stuck into the cake will come out clean – no sticky mixture attached. Keep an eye on the cake near to the end of the baking time and take it out of the oven immediately it is ready.

Leave the cake for two to three minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.  If you want to slice the cake in half horizontally to fill, you will need to leave it for at least two hours for the crumb to set otherwise it will just crumble.

Some more tips for sponges

Sponge 2

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

I love to use fresh, home grown produce and recently I’ve had lots of apples to use. Some of my other baking plans have had to be put on hold while I make everything appley. This week I used up lots of mixed apples to make an apple sauce, a lovely apple syrup and a moist and sticky apple and cinnamon cake.
I started with a bag of apples and peeled, cored and chopped them roughly and then added them to a pan with enough water to cover them. I cooked them till they were soft and then strained off the liquid. The remaining pulp just needed a little sugar added to it to make apple sauce to store in the fridge. I measured the remaining liquid and added 1/2 the equivalent in sugar – my liquid was 400ml so I added 200g sugar. I brought this mixture to a boil in a pan, stirring well to dissolve the sugar, then let it boil rapidly until it started to thicken. This makes a really gorgeous apple syrup which can be used to drizzle over cakes, desserts or ice cream or added to a drink. If you let it thicken a little more it will become a jelly once set.
I drizzled my apple syrup over a warm apple and cinnamon cake as it came out of the oven:)

If, like me you love apples you may be interested in this article by Helen Nichols of Well-Being Secrets explaining why “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. This fascinating article discusses the scientifically backed health benefits of apples. More apple cake please.

To make Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Ingredients:-

140g Butter, softened

140g Soft Brown Sugar

2 medium Eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons Cinnamon (plus, 2 more teaspoons for the topping)

250g Self Raising Flour

3 small eating apples (or 2 medium), grated

(2 tablespoons Demerara sugar for the topping)

Method:-

Pre heat the oven to 170c and prepare a loaf tin.

Beat the soft brown sugar and butter together and add the beaten egg slowly. Fold in the flour and cinnamon and finally, the apple. Pour into the prepared tin. Mix the 2 teaspoons of cinnamon for the topping together well with the Demerara sugar and spread this over the top of the cake. Bake for between 40 – 50 minutes approximately. (Check with a skewer to see if it comes out clean.)

The cake will be golden brown with a crunchy topping and moist inside. It keeps well with the flavour improving if its left a day or two. However, I couldn’t resist serving it straight from the oven, drizzled with apple syrup and a large dollop of creamy vanilla ice cream. Heaven.

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Gluten Free Creme Brulee Cupcakes

I’ve lost my way a little in my plan to bake along with The Great British Bake Off after attempting Crème Brulees which turned out to be a complete disaster. I read the recipe really carefully and all started off well as I thought ‘how difficult can this be?’ My little ramekins went into the oven with beautiful creamy custard with just the perfect wobble. I was confident. What I took out of the oven were ramekins of curdled scrambled egg. I have no idea what went wrong and it was all very disappointing but I haven’t attempted to try again since. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or ingredients to hand usually to keep trying the bakes until they are perfect so in order to catch up a bit and maybe bake something edible I decided to try some Crème Brulee Cupcakes. I’ve made them gluten free as last week the bakers attempted pitta’s without gluten, cakes without sugar and ice cream without dairy. I’m not too sure about cakes without sugar but gluten free cakes are delicious so here is my recipe for Crème Brulee Cupcakes. (Much easier than Crème Brulees!)

Crème Brulee Cupcakes

Ingredients for the cakes:-

120g Soft Brown Sugar

120g Softened Butter

120g Gluten Free Flour (I use Doves Farm)

1 Teaspoon Gluten Free Baking Powder

2 Medium Eggs, beaten well

1 – 2 Tablespoons Milk (Ideally the milk and eggs together should weigh 120ml)

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Method:-

Melt the butter and sugar together in a pan over heat, stir well and make sure the sugar is dissolved but don’t overcook. Add this mixture to all the other ingredients and beat for about one minute. Pour into 12 cupcake cases set in a cupcake tin and bake at 160c for about 20 minutes.

Topping:-

The cupcakes are topped with a vanilla cream swirl and sprinkled with ‘burnt’ brown sugar.

When the cakes are cooked and removed from the oven to cool, turn the oven up to 180c. Place two tablespoons of Demerara sugar, spread onto a baking sheet, into the oven and cook until brown – this will only take a few minutes so needs to be watched. The sugar will go very crunchy when removed from the oven to cool.

Whisk 250ml of double cream until thick and add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon caster sugar. This is now ready to swirl onto the top of the cooled cupcakes.

Sprinkle the cooked Demerara sugar liberally over the top and eat! The cakes won’t keep out of the fridge long with fresh cream on top but that is unlikely to be much of a problem. They may not be too much like actual Crème Brulees but they are the lightest, scrummiest cupcakes and very moreish (oh, dear).

If you want to try real Crème Brulees here is a recipe.

If you’ve missed The Great British Bake Off, here are some of the faces which tell you everything about how painful and how exciting baking can be!

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Rose Iced Cookies

Last week was ‘biscuit week’ on The Great British Bake Off and we saw some of the bakers ‘crumble’ under the pressure in the tent (sorry!!!) Here’s a recap of the baking fun.

I had great intentions of trying to create an amazing showstopper biscuit ‘box’ filled with biscuits but sadly didn’t have enough time – I’m really not sure that I could have created anything half as amazing as the bakers though. So my bake this week involved creating a very simple but delicious rose icing to decorate some quick cookies.

I’ve been lucky enough to have some lovely roses in my garden and have collected rose petals…

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Rose Petals

I rinsed off the petals very carefully and then lay them out on a tray covered with kitchen roll to dry…

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Rinse the rose petals very carefully

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Drying rose petals

I then added my dried rose petals to a jar topped up with granulated sugar. This makes rose petal sugar but when trying to use this in the past I’ve struggled to know how to use it as dried rose petals are horribly chewy so need to be removed from the sugar. I came up with a great solution which is to put the petals along with the sugar into a food processor and blitz them together. This gives a rose petal icing sugar which can be used in baking or to decorate. I found mine was quite strong so I added just a teaspoon full at a time to ordinary icing sugar to get the perfect flavour.

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Rose Petal Sugar

This icing was so pretty and delicious and perfect to ice simple vanilla cookies…

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Rose Iced Cookie

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Great British Bake Off and Black Forest Cake

If, like me, you love baking, have a T.V. and live in the UK, you would undoubtedly have come across ‘The Great British Bake Off’. Series 6 started last week after much excitement and build up. Along with thousands of others I couldn’t wait to start watching and meet this year’s bakers. The first programme of the series didn’t disappoint. It was packed full of baking talent; smiles and tears; baking innuendo and of course, the most popular judges on T.V., Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. It’s a winning formula that has encouraged many of us to take to our ovens and challenge ourselves. I’m always inspired by the intrepid bakers who have such an incredible journey through baking triumphs and disasters, taking on many bakes that I’ve never tried and some I’ve never even heard of.
I’m once again following The Great British Bake Off by challenging myself to try a bake a week along with the programme. I don’t have the time to do all the bakes or indeed the ability to eat them all (though I’d probably give that a good try!) so I’m going to try just one thing a week and see if I can learn something new. In the first week the bakers were asked to bake a perfect Madeira Cake, Mary’s Frosted Walnut Layer Cake and a Black Forest Gateaux which was the final challenge and could be the baker’s own version. I initially wanted to try the Technical Challenge which was Mary’s Frosted Walnut Layer Cake (Recipe here). However, after finding a bowlful of beautiful cherries on my cherry tree (the first I’ve had) I decided I would have to bake a Black Forest Cake.

The recipe for the two chocolate sponges was taken from the new Bake Off book ‘The Great British Bake Off – Celebrations’. They are fatless, whisked eggs and caster sugar with sifted self-raising flour and cocoa powder folded in. (This makes a very light sponge). I then added a layer of cherry preserve between the two sponge layers (made with my cherries), and white chocolate cream cheese frosting (recipe below). The frosting was also added to the top and sides. The cake is ‘semi-naked’ – with only a very fine layer of frosting on the side, to cut down on sweetness.
Finally, I used some of the same frosting to pipe some swirls all over the cake and added some little cherry blossoms made with flower sugar-paste and a tiny round chocolate ball for the centre. The decoration was really simple as it’s very random but I was pleased with the result and the effect would look lovely on a Wedding or Celebration Cake with fresh fruit and flowers added.


This week also happens to be Afternoon Tea Week (10th – 16th August) and this cake looks beautiful served on a cake stand with a pot of tea at the ready!
Afternoon Tea Week celebrates the great heritage and tradition of Afternoon Tea in the UK. Here is more information and events
In case, you missed the first Great British Bake Off, here’s a recap of some of the best bits!

And finally, Here is a lovely post all about Afternoon Tea by Urvashi at The Botanical Kitchen

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
100g Butter, softened
100g Cream Cheese
100g White Chocolate, melted and allowed to cool a little
300g Icing Sugar
Method
Add all the ingredients together and beat well for a few minutes until well combined, soft and light. If it is too wet, add more icing sugar and beat well. The consistency needs to be soft but firm enough to spread on the cake.

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Blueberry, Lemon and White Chocolate Sponge

Blueberries are delicious with a little lemon or lime and in this cake I’ve used them with lemon and white chocolate. The lemon adds a slight tartness to the blueberries and really brings out their flavour. The white chocolate adds a creamy sweetness that really complements this.

Blueberry, Lemon and White Chocolate Cake

Blueberry, Lemon and White Chocolate Cake

I made a 6” round sponge, using two 6” round baking tins.

For the sponges:-

200g softened butter

200g caster sugar

200g self-raising flour

3-4 medium eggs, beaten (you will need 200g weight)

Zest of 2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 160c. Grease and line the two baking tins.

Mix all the ingredients together, I beat the sugar and butter first and then add the beaten eggs, flour and zest and beat for a further minute.

Divide the mixture between the two baking tins and bake for around 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown, firm to touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

While waiting for the cake prepare a

Blueberry preserve

100g Blueberries

Juice of 2 Lemons

100g Granulated sugar

Place the sugar and lemon in a pan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Then bring to the boil, boiling rapidly until the mixture starts to become syrupy. Add the blueberries and simmer until the mixture reduces and becomes thicker. You can test by dropping a little onto a cold plate. Only stir very gently as the blueberries will break up too much. Leave to cool completely before adding to the cake.

When the two sponge cakes are baked and fully cooled they are filled with white chocolate buttercream and the blueberry mixture.

White Chocolate Buttercream

Melt 100g white chocolate. When it’s almost cool but not set, add 50g softened butter, 250g icing sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat well.

I’m entering this cake into this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge at Tin and Thyme as the theme is baking with chocolate and blueberries.

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