Apple Streusel Cake!

 

I am a big fan of apple desserts. Apple pie warm with ice-cream is one of my favourite desserts and no matter how much I’ve eaten, if that’s on the menu, I’ll find room! This cake is basically a mix between an apple crumble and a cake. In my eyes, that has to be a winner so when my parents came to visit this weekend, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl! Needless to say, it did not disappoint and turned out perfectly. I have a feeling this easy recipe will become a household favourite!

Ingredients for the sponge:

  • 60g unsalted butter, softened plus extra for greasing
  • 140g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 80ml whole milk
  • 3 granny smith apples

Ingredients for the streusel topping:

  • 70g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 40g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 70g soft light brown sugar

One 20cm diameter spring-form cake tin

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (325 degrees F) Gas mark 3, then grease the tin with butter and dust with flour
  2. First make the streusel topping. Sift the flour and the ground cinnamon into a bown. Add the butter and using your fingertips, rub the ingredients together until they resemble breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and set aside while you make the sponge batter.
  3. Using a hand-held held electric whisk or free-standing electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla essence, and mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt, then add half of this mixture to the creamed butter and sugar, followed by half the milk. Mix well on a medium speed after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl, then repeat with the rest of the dry ingredients and the milk. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin.
  5. Peel, core and slice the apples into quartered and each quarter into three or four slices, depending on the size of the apples. Arrange the slices in concentric circles on top of the cake batter, then sprinkle with the streusel topping, making sure it forms an even layer.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until it is golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean with no uncooked mixture sticking to it. Set aside to cool and then remove from the cake tin. This cake can be enjoyed warm or cold.

 

Brooklyn Blackout Cake – Clandestine Cake Club – Americana – 18.08.12

A few weeks ago it was my second Clandestine Cake Club event, and the theme was Americana. I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to attempt the Hummingbird Bakery’s Brooklyn Blackout Cake as I’d had my eye on this bad boy in all it’s chocolatey glory for a while! I had intended to try a trial run, but unfortunately I just didn’t find the time in the run up to the event, so the night before I took to the kitchen and hoped for the best! I was planning on doing the sponges the night before and then doing the chocolate custard the following morning and assembling it, however in the end I decided to do the custard the night before as well and let it cool over night, I would really recommend that if you try this recipe you do the same. The custard needs a long time to cool and thicken and so it’s not really something you can do in a rush. As you’ll see from the pics below the consistency of the custard changes once it’s cooled properly so had I left it until the day I wanted to assemble it, I would have had a bit of a nightmare. Once assembled the cake needs 2 hours chilling in the fridge, so ensure you leave yourself plenty of time before you’re planning on serving it!

Ingredients:

  • 100g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 260g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 45g cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 170g plain flour
  • 160ml whole milk

For the Chocolate Custard:

  • 500g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 125g cocoa powder
  • 200g cornflour
  • 85g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Three 20cm cake tins, base-lined with greaseproof paper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (325 Degrees F) Gas 3.
  2. Put the butter and sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or  use a handheld electric whisk) and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Turn the mixer down to slow speed and beat in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt until well mixed. Add half the flour, then all the milk, and finish with the remaining flour. Mix well until everything is well combined.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Leave the cakes to cook slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

5. For the Chocolate Custard: Put the sugar, golden syrup, cocoa powder and 600ml water into a large saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat, whisking occasionally. I would recommend you use a BIG saucepan for this as later on the mixture does grow considerably and I found myself having a frantic rush tipping it into a big pot to avoid it spilling over the edge of a smaller pan I’d started with!

6. Mix the cornflour with 120-200ml water, whisking briskly as you add the water. The mixture should be the consistency of thick glue so add more water if it’s too thick (do not exceed 250ml). Whisk gradually into the cocoa mixture in the pan over a medium (not high) heat. Bring back to the boil, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly for a few minutes until quite thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Pour into a bowl, cover with cling film and chill until very firm.

 This was what the hot custard looked like. It’s very shiny and slick and dark. After it’s cooled it’s much thicker and has a texture more like margarine, which is much easier for spreading:

7. Slice a thin layer off one cake and put in a food processor. Process into fine crumbs. Put one cake on a cake stand and spread one-quarter of the custard over it. Place a second cake on top and spread another quarter of the custard over it. Top with the last cake and spread the remaining custard over the top and sides

8. Cover with the crumbs and chill for 2 hours

I took the cake out of the fridge for about an hour before I served it which allowed it to return to room temperature a bit. It was without a doubt one of the richest chocolate cakes I have ever tasted. I found that there was a lot of leftover chocolate custard so I actually made 2 layers of vanilla sponge the following day when I had some family over for lunch and used it to fill and top that, which was a great combination and wasn’t quite as rich.

Another great use for the custard would be to heat it up and pour over ice-cream! Delicious!!

Peanut Butter Crispy Treats – Weight Watchers Recipe

 

I’ve been meaning to try a new weight watchers recipe for a low fat treat that I don’t need to feel guilty about eating (not that the guilt of eating baked goods ever actually stops me!)

This was a no cook, very easy recipe and for only 3 Weight Watchers Pro-Points per serving I figured I’d give it a try and it could be a good lunch box treat for work. It makes 10 slices and will keep up for a week in the fridge in an air tight container.

Ingredients

  • 75g (2 3/4 ox) milk chocolate chunks
  • 50g (1 3/4 oz) reduced fat peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 75g (2 3/4 oz) rice crispies

Instructions

  1. Line the base of an 18cm (7 inch) loose-bottom cake tin with non stick baking parchment. Put the chocolate, peanut butter and golden syrup in a large saucepan, stir and gently heat until melted.
  2. Add the cereal and stir to coat the mixture. Spoon into the prepared tin and level with the back of a spoon. Chill in the fridge until set, then cut unto 10 wedges.

 

Super simple low fat treat. If you’re not so worried about the points then I’d suggest adding a little extra chocolate as, let’s face it, anything with only 3 weight watchers points is going to be slightly limited in the chocolatey stakes! However, for a guilt-free treat if you’re point counting it’s pretty good!

Vanilla Cupcakes!

It’s been a while since my last post, I’m still getting used to finding the time to blog! I’ve had quite a busy week so not had much time to bake since last Thursday night when I made some vanilla cupcakes for a colleague who was leaving to go and work in Sydney! I promised I would make him some of my usual vanilla cupcakes, so I couldn’t let him down.

I’m a cupcake girl at heart really when it comes to baking, and the Hummingbird bakery cupcake recipes are really what started my love of baking a few years ago. The vanilla cupcakes are my go to, tried and tested baked good of choice, and they never let me down! I have the two Hummingbird recipe books, and they use different quantities for the vanilla cupcakes recipe, so I tend to use the quantities from the ‘Cake Days’ book, which when using big ‘muffin’ type cupcake cases tends to make about 16.

The recipe is:

Ingredients:

For the Sponge:

  • 80g (3oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 280g (10oz) caster sugar
  • 240g (8 1/2oz) plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 240ml (8 1/2 fl oz) whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 large eggs

For the Vanilla Frosting

  • 500g (1lb 2oz icing sugar)
  • 160g (5 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 50ml (1 3/4 fl oz) whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • Food colouring (Sugar Flair gel is my preference)

Equipment – one or two 12 hold deep muffin tins

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F), Gas mark 5, and line a muffin tin with muffin cases
  2. Using a hand-held electric whisk or a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, slowly beat together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt until the ingredients are well mixed in and resemble fine breadcrumbs
  3. Mix together the milk, vanilla essence and eggs by hand in a jug. With the whisk or mixer still on a low speed, pour three-quarters of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Add the rest of the milk mixture and beat again, now on a medium speed, until the batter is smooth
  4. Spoon the batter into the muffin cases, up to about two-thirds full. If there is any batter left over, it can be used to fill up more cases in the second tin. Pop in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the sponges feel springy then you touch them. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely
  5. To make the frosting, whisk the icing sugar with the butter on a low speed using an electric whisk, or free standing mixer, until fully combined and a sandy consistency. Add the vanilla essence to the milk and pour into the butter and icing sugar while still mixing on a low speed, then increase the speed to high and whisk the frosting until light and fluffy
  6. If you want to colour the frosting then divide into separate bowls and add drops of food colouring to each bowl little by little to build up to the desired shade.
  7. Once the cupcakes are cool, add the frosting, either smoothing and swirling with a palate knife, or by putting the frosting into a piping bag with nozzle and piping the frosting in a swirl on top.

The nozzles that I used for the decorating was a Wilton 1M for the blue swirls, piped from the edge of the cupcake to the centre, and for the white roses, I used a Wilton 2D, starting in the centre of the cupcake working out and around to the edge. The edge where the piping ends can look a little messy where it ends, so I placed a few heart shaped sprinkles to decorate and cover this up a little! Then I sprinkled with a little edible glitter and there you go!

They are a real favourite in our household and really very simple to make!