Bread and Butter Pudding with a Twist

It’s been said many a time: there’s something indescribably comforting about a warm baked pudding during winter.  So that’s exactly what I’m bringing you this month, but not any old pudding…  Below are the instructions for a traditional favourite that’s been upgraded to a whole new level of deliciousness – Bread and Butter Pudding with Hot Cross Buns, Marmalade & Marzipan!  And the best part of it is it’s SO easy to make.  You don’t even need an electric mixer!

bread and butter pudding vintage table cloth

YOU WILL NEED

Equipment: A medium saucepan, large mixing bowl, whisk, large ovenproof dish

INGREDIENTS

250ml thick cream

600ml milk

5 large eggs

100g caster sugar

1½ tsp vanilla essence

8 hot cross buns

40 soft butter

100g marzipan (cubed)

3 – 4 tbsp orange marmalade

Icing sugar for dusting

METHOD

Pre-heat oven to 170ºC (150ºC Fan / Gas Mark 3) and prepare your ovenproof dish by spraying with non-stick spray.

  • Warm the cream and milk in your saucepan over a gentle heat.
  • Using your mixing bowl and whisk, combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla.
  • Stirring continuously, slowly add the warm cream mixture to the cool egg mixture.
  • Halve your Hot Cross Buns, then spread them with butter.

  • Arrange them in your ovenproof dish, then dot with the marzipan and marmalade.
  • Pour over the custard mixture, then set aside to soak for 15 minutes. Press the buns down into the mixture as they soften.

  • Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until set, then remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  • Dust lightly with icing sugar and serve warm for pure comfort and enjoyment.

bread and butter pudding vintage table cloth

Happy baking!

 

How To Make This Fabulous Melting Ice Cream Cake

You know the lovely long summer holiday you’ve been looking forward to for ages?  Well, don’t look now, but it’s all over!  Is it just me, or does it feel like that flew by quicker than you can say “flip-flops”?  But, fear not… school starting doesn’t mean the summer has gone!  I’ve got the perfect bake for a lovely hot January… a fab, funky Melting Ice Cream Cake with a surprisingly speckled inside! I baked this for a friend’s little girl – adapting the recipe & instructions from a similar cake on Pinterest.

YOU WILL NEED

EQUIPMENT

An electric mixer, 3 disposable foil trays (or equal sized baking tins if you have them) two piping bags, an icing scraper (or similar tool) and a long wooden / bamboo skewer

 INGREDIENTS

For the cake:

  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 350g soft unsalted butter
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 6 large free range eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Up to 65ml milk – any kind
  • 120g Icing-based sprinkles of your choice (normal sugar-based sprinkles like vermicelli or 100’s & 1000’s will melt away during the baking process, but icing-based ones retain their shape & colour)

For the frosting:

  • 200g butter, VERY soft but not melted
  • 250g medium fat cream cheese
  • +- 800g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • Purple gel colour

For the “melting ice cream” pink ganache:

  • 200g white cooking chocolate (large blocks, chopped up, work better than chocolate chips)
  • 85ml cream
  • Pink powder colour
  • Sprinkles to decorate

For the ice cream cone:

  • One sugar cone
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies

METHOD

Preheat oven to gas mark 4/170ºC/360 ºF

Prepare your disposable foil tins by spraying with Spray & Cook and cutting a circle of baking paper for each one

 

Instructions for the cake:

  • Cream your butter and sugar until combined, light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time.
  • In a separate bowl, mix baking powder & flour, then add little by little and mix well (with the mixer now on slow).
  • Add vanilla extract.
  • If your batter is a little thick as mine was, add up to 65ml of milk – adding a tablespoon at a time and stopping when you get to a consistency that you’re happy with.
  • Add your chosen sprinkles to the batter and mix well.
  • Using a spatula, divide your batter equally between the disposable tins. Use the back of a spoon to smooth down each cake – this will help them to bake flat.
  • Pop them into the oven and keep a close eye on them – you don’t want them to get browned. Take them out as soon as a skewer to the centre comes out clean (25-30 min depending on your oven).
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  • Once cool, level the tops of all 3 layers, reserving the scraps for later use.

Instructions for the frosting:

  • Mix the butter and cream cheese
  • Add icing sugar gradually and mix well
  • Add lemon juice
  • Refrigerate to firm if necessary, or add up to 60ml hot water if too firm
  • Remove ⅔ of the white frosting from the mixing bowl and transfer to a separate bowl – cover with a damp towel to prevent the frosting from drying out.
  • Tint the remaining frosting, with the purple gel food colour, using a few drops at a time.
  • Transfer the purple frosting to a piping bag with a 12mm round tip. (If, like me, you don’t have the widest selection of piping tips, just using the coupler on its own works equally well! You could even just snip the tip off a disposable piping bag.)
  • Fill the second frosting bag with white frosting.

To assemble:

Use the remaining white frosting to sandwich the cake layers (I prefer to assemble my cakes directly on to a flat cake plate) and cover the entire cake in a thin crumb coat. You will have a little frosting left over and this should be reserved for later use.

After the crumb coat has been applied, use the piping bags with white and purple frostings to apply alternating lines of frosting around the sides of the cake, making them as even as possible. Using a cake turntable is recommended here, as it makes the job much easier.

 

Place your icing scraper vertically to the side of the frosted cake and carefully scrape away some of the frosting in a single motion until stripes are revealed. You may need to make several passes before the frosting is completely even – wipe excess frosting away from the scraper after each go. Set the cake aside while you prepare the ganache. (*See note below)

 

Instructions for the ganache:

  • Heat the cream until it’s about to boil, then add the chopped chocolate.
  • Allow to stand for 2 minutes, then stir until the chocolate has fully melted into the cream.
  • Whisk until smooth and glossy. When you start to stir it, you think it won’t come together, but it will.
  • Add pink powder colour, little by little, until the desired hue is achieved.
  • Allow to cool slightly to a pourable consistency.
  • Using a spoon, drizzle some of the ganache onto the centre of the cake, then gently push the pooled ganache over the edges of the cake to create a drip effect. Reserve the unused ganache.

 

Instructions for the ice cream cone:

  • Crumble the reserved cake scraps into a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the remaining buttercream.
  • Mix until thoroughly combined and firm enough to pack into a ball. Roll the ball as smooth as possible, then set aside.
  • In another bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of icing with the Rice Krispies. Pack this mixture into the sugar cone and insert the bamboo skewer into the centre.
  • Thread the ball onto the skewer and press it on to the top of the sugar cone.
  • Use a spoon to cover the ball with the leftover pink ganache. If the ganache is too firm, reheat at 10-second intervals in the microwave until smooth and pourable. Allow the excess ganache to drip back into the bowl.
  • Turn the ice cream pop upside down and insert it into the cake at a slight angle.
  • Pour more ganache over the ball portion, if needed.
  • Cover the ice cream ball and pink ganache with sprinkles.

*The Pinterest post called for refrigerating the cake at this stage, which I did, but I found it made the smooth application of the ganache more difficult as it tended to set too quickly.  It was, therefore, difficult to spread/smooth it, so I wouldn’t recommend it. Luckily I had my little blowtorch handy so I could heat & blend some of the messier bits!

Happy baking!

 

 

Deeply Delicious and Utterly Easy Chocolate Almond Cake

A friend recently made this deliciously rich chocolate cake when we went over for dinner and a few rounds of Mexican Trains*. Come dessert time, I decided as soon as I bit into this chocolatey deliciousness that it had to be my next bake for the blog.  Even though I’ve got a good, flop-free chocolate sponge cake which I often make, the addition of almonds and coffee along with the decadent chocolate frosting puts this one in another league!

CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE

YOU WILL NEED:

Equipment: Mixer, spatula, food processor or equivalent to blitz the almonds, 25cm cake tin

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 225g dark chocolate
  • Small hot espresso or 4 tsp good instant coffee in 3 tbsp boiling water (I went for the instant option)
  • 200g butter
  • 80g flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp good quality cocoa
  • 5 eggs
  • 225g castor sugar
  • 125g whole almonds, blitzed in the food processor to make ground almonds

Ingredients for the frosting:

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 3 tbsp butter

Chocolate Almond Cake

METHOD:

Preheat your oven to 180ºC, Gas Mark 4.

Prepare your cake tin by generously spraying with Spray & Cook and lining the bottom with baking paper.

For The Chocolate cake:

CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE

  • Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or place a glass bowl over small saucepan of water).
  • Once it starts to melt, add the hot espresso.
  • Cut the butter into blocks and add to the chocolate coffee mixture. RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO STIR!
  • Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa together.
  • Separate the eggs, dropping whites only into the bowl of a standing mixer.
  • Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then quickly but gently fold in the sugar with a large metal spoon. *
  • Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir to dissolve the last of the butter.
  • Beat the egg yolks in a little bowl, and add to the chocolate butter mixture.
  • Gently fold this mixture into the sweet egg whites. You are folding to keep the air in the cake.
  • Finally, fold in the sifted flour and cocoa, followed by the ground almonds.
  • Once the flour mixture and almonds are just combined, plop the mixture into your cake tin, scraping everything from the bowl with your spatula.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean, with no streaks of batter. A few moist crumbs are OK! **

 

Chocolate frosting:

CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE

  • Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler and stir together to make smooth, melted chocolate. Pour over the completely cooled cake. ***

Cook’s notes:

* Mexican Trains is a double twelve or double fifteen Domino game that I can absolutely recommend – it’s great fun for the whole family!

** The reason for using a metal spoon is that the edge cuts through the mixture, so it doesn’t deflate.  If you fold ingredients in batches, using a cutting action and turning the mixture in on itself, rather than stirring, you avoid the risk of losing too much volume.

*** I found, when making this the first time in a smaller (23cm) tin, that my cake needed much longer to cook.  A larger tin, which allows the heat to penetrate the batter more, will bake in a shorter time.

**** The chocolate frosting is almost pure melted chocolate, so it does set quite firm and tends to crack a bit when cut.  If you’re OCD like me, and the cracking bothers you, I reckon a chocolate ganache will work really well with this recipe too.  An easy ganache I’ve made before uses 200g chocolate & 85ml cream: heat the cream until it’s about to boil, then add the chocolate.  Let it stand for 2 minutes, then stir until the chocolate has fully melted into the cream. Whisk until smooth and glossy. When you start to stir it, you think it won’t come together, but it will. Allow to cool to a pourable / spreadable consistency, then spread over your cooled cake!

 

 

 

When life hands you lemons, make lemon drizzle cake!

A recent abundance of lemons on the tree in my back garden prompted me to find a recipe in which I could use them.  Luckily, I didn’t have to look far!  A friend gave me The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook a few years ago and their Lemon & Poppyseed cake was the 1st (and actually only!) recipe that I tried. So when life handed me lemons, I decided to make lemon drizzle cake! This cake has been a tremendous hit with everyone who’s tasted it.  So far, it’s been requested by my mom-in-law, my children (no surprise there to be honest, it’s cake afterall!) and even a colleague of my husband’s. Twice! You know what they say: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

lemon drizzle cake

Lemon Drizzle Cake

YOU WILL NEED:

Equipment: Mixer, spatula, whisk, 24cm Ring mould

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 245g caster sugar
  • Grated zest of 1½ lemons
  • 15g poppy seeds
  • 165ml whole milk
  • 235g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 egg whites

Ingredients for the Lemon Syrup:

  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 100ml water

Ingredients for the Lemon Glaze:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 250g icing sugar
  • Pretty sprinkles if desired!

lemon drizzle cake

METHOD:

Instructions for the cake:

  • Preheat your oven to 170ºC, Gas Mark 3.
  • Prepare your ring mould by generously spraying with Spray & Cook.
  • Cream together the butter, caster sugar, poppy seeds and lemon zest in a large bowl.
  • Slowly add the milk in stages and beat until all the ingredients are incorporated (don’t worry if the mixture looks slightly split at this stage).
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Add this to the butter mixture in 3 stages, beating well after each addition.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
    Using a metal spoon, gently fold this into the cake mixture until well mixed, but don’t overmix or you’ll lose all the fluffiness!
  • Pour into mould and bake for about 30 minutes until the sponge is golden and bounces back when gently pressed.

lemon drizzle cake

Instructions for the Lemon Syrup:

  • Whilst the cake is baking, make the lemon syrup by mixing the lemon zest and juice, sugar and water in a saucepan and gently boiling it until it has reduced by half and has thin syrup consistency. Do be mindful not to let this boil for too long… I have ended up with a very sticky toffee-ish mess once!
  • When the hot cake comes out of the oven, pour the lemon syrup all over the top whilst it is still in the ring mould.  This makes the cake wonderfully moist.  Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on to your plate of choice to cool completely.

lemon drizzle cake

Instructions for the Lemon Glaze:

  • Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar until smooth and glossy. It should be thick but pourable – add a little water or more icing sugar to thin or thicken as necessary.
  • Once the cake has cooled, spoon over the glaze and let it run down the sides of the cake.

lemon drizzle cake

lemon drizzle cake

The official recipe states “Sprinkle with a few poppy seeds” at this point, but I always opt for prettier sprinkles like the pearls and silver balls seen in the photos.  And glitter.  Almost always glitter!

lemon drizzle cake

That’s it… all that remains is for you to serve yourself a slice of lemony deliciousness.  Enjoy!