Bakewell Tart Squares

It’s MOVEMBER, everybody! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go to http://www.movember.com and get informed/involved. You will start seeing guys with weird moustaches around during this month… well, at least it’s for a good cause. And for us girls, who cannot grow moustaches, we can still do something to raise money and support this cause as well. So let’s get baking!!!

Where I work we have a group of people who likes baking and so we’ve started a project called “Baking for a Good Cause”. And this month it will be all dedicated to Movember. Today is our first baking sale and I chose to make these delicious squares inspired on the traditional Bakewell Tart. It has a layer of shortbread at the bottom, then a layer of raspberry jam, and a very soft almond flavoured sponge on top. How can that go wrong?

When I first made this recipe I found the sponge layer too thin. So this time I made 1 1/2 times the sponge part and it was perfect. The recipe below is already with the quantities I used.

Bakewell Tart Squares

Adapted from Mary Berry’s recipe in My Kitchen Table: 100 cakes and bakes

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 175g plain flour
  • 85g hard butter, dices
  • 2 tbsp of cold water

Sponge

  • 172g butter, softened
  • 172g caster sugar
  • 262g self-raising flour
  • 1 1/2 level tsp baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract

Extra

  • 8 tbsp raspberry jam
  • flaked almonds, for sprinkling on top

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan. Reserve a 30 x 23cm (12 x 9in) roasting tin or traybake.
  2. To make the pastry, measure the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Bind to a dough with two tablespoons of cold water. Roll out on a piece of baking paper, then transfer to the traybake, making sure you cover the bottom completely. Spread the jam on top.
  3. To make the sponges, measure all the ingredients into a large bowl and beat well for 2 minutes or until well blended. Transfer to the tin, level the surface and sprinkle with flaked almonds.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until the cake has shrunk from the sides of the tin and springs back when pressed in the centre with your fingertips. Leave to cool in the tin, then cut into squares. Lift out using a palette knife.

Yield: 15 large or 20 medium squares

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Brazilian Rain Doughnuts

Saturday afternoon, after a bbq with my family (ahhh… how much I enjoy moments like this), it starts that smooth rain outside. We didn’t have to say it twice before all the women hanging out in the kitchen stood up and decided to make what? “Bolinhos de Chuva”, which can be translated as rain doughnuts.

It is one of those recipes that every person has a different version and my grandma used to call it “spoon doughnuts”, just because you drop the dough into the oil with a spoon. They go really well with some tea or coffee (if you like coffee) 😉

Brazilian Rain Doughnuts

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • oil for frying
  • caster sugar and cinnamon to roll the doughnuts

Preparation

  1. In a bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Add the milk, sugar, salt and beat until well combined. Add the flour  little by little until all mixed. Add the baking powder and mix until you have a smooth dough. The dough will be firm, but still able to drop from a spoon.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium size saucepan. With a spoon, take half spoonful of dough and drop in the oil to fry. Fry until golden brown all over. Remove from the oil and drain it in kitchen paper.
  3. Mix some sugar with cinnamon and roll the doughnuts over. It’s ready to serve.

Yield: about 20 doughnuts

Banana Muffins

The other day I had two bananas abandoned on the fruit bowl and they were too ripe, so I thought “what can I make to use these banana?” After a quick search on the internet, the answer was “Banana Muffins”. They are so easy to make and you don’t need a mixer. Just mix everything by hand and they will be done in no time.

Banana Muffins

Recipe from Joy of Baking

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (115g) walnuts or pecans
  • 1 3/4 cups (230g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 ripe large bananas(approximately 450g), mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 180C and place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Line a 12 – 1/2 cup muffin pan with paper liners or butter or spray with a non stick spray.
  2. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool and then chop coarsely.
  3. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky. (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery bread.) Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake about 20 -25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool for five minutes and then remove muffins from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 12 regular sized muffins

Jaffa Drizzle Loaf

This was the cover of a small collection of recipes called 30+ brilliant bakes that came with the Good Food Magazine this month and just by looking at it I knew why… and also knew I had to make it ASAP. Although not a big fan of oranges… I know, I know… that’s weird considering I was born in a region surrounded by oranges, I love cakes flavoured with oranges. In fact, citrus cakes are on the top of my list.

The flavours in this cake and so the title is because of a well known snack here in the UK called jaffa cakes, which is a more a biscuit to me than a cake (it’s also taxed as biscuit, I heard). Jaffa cakes, named after Jaffa oranges, are a round soft biscuit (like a sponge) with a layer of orange jam and covered with chocolate. They’re very nice, but nothing compared to this cake… believe me!

Jaffa Drizzle Loaf

Ingredients

  • 140g butter, softened
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tbsp milk
  • finely grated zest 1 large orange

To finish

  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 50g dark chocolate

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan. Butter and line the base of a 1.2 litre loaf tin. Put all of the cake ingredients into a bowl and beat with a hand whisk or with a eletric mixer until light and fluffy. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the top.
  2. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and firm to the touch. Meanwhile, gently heat the orange juice and sugar in a small pan, stirring until dissolved. When the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and spoon over the orange mix. Leave it to cool in the tin, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. Break up the chocolate and melt it over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave on medium in 30-sec bursts. Drizzle over the cake and leave to set.

Yield: 8-10 slices

Nutricional Information: Per slice 410kcal, protein 6g, carbs 57g, fat 19g, sat fat 11g, fibre 1g.

Foolproof Chocolate Fondant

This was the first time I made chocolate fondants from scratch and I can see myself making this recipe over and over again. It will certainly impress your guests and you can enjoy their faces as they cut into the small cake and see the melting chocolate sauce running on the plate… yummy! The combination of hot chocolate cake and sauce with ice cold vanilla ice cream is fantastic.

You can prepare the fondants ahead of time and keep them in the fridge or freezer, but you can only bake it right before you serve. The only secret here is timing. If you leave too long in the oven, it will cook through and you will end up with a solid chocolate cake. If you bake for just a little, the cake won’t hold its shape and it will collapse when you try to unmold it. The recipe suggests exactly 12 minutes, but due to the variation in the ovens it could be a little more or less. Basically you will see the cake cooked on the outside but still with a wobble to it.

Foolproof Chocolate Fondants

From Good Food Magazine November 2011

Ingredients

  • 175g butter, plus extra melted for greasing
  • cocoa powder for dusting
  • 175g good quality dark chocolate (70%)
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 85g plain flour
  • vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberries, to serve

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan. Use a pastry brush to great 6 pudding moulds really well and place in the fridge for the butter to set. Then grease again, dust with cocoa powder and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together over a pan of barely simmering water, then remove. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and eggs together until light and fluffy. Fold the chocolate and beaten egg together, then fold through the flour.
  3. Divide the mixture between the moulds. The pudding can now be frozen or chilled.
  4. Place on a baking tray and bake for exactly 12 minutes until the mixture has puffed up and formed a crust but still has a slight wobble to it. Turn the puddings out onto serving plates and serve with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream for a great contrast of hot and cold.

Yield: 6 fondants

Optional: Add different flavours to you chocolate fondant, like finally chopped chillies or coffee (add 50ml good quality expresso coffee right before folding the flour).

Pear Cake

There are  so many pears in the tree in our garden at the moment that I needed to find a recipe to use them, besides eating pears every day. And what a nice surprise this cake was! I brought the whole cake to work and we had it with a cup of tea.

The sponge is very light and the pears make the cake very moist. It is not too sweet either. Just perfect!!! It could easily be served as dessert as well. Very easy to make and it can impress your guests. I can give you some pears if you want to try 🙂

Pear Cake

Adapted from here.

Ingredients

  • 75g butter, melted, plus extra for the tin
  • 3 ripe large pears, peeled, cored and cut in quarters
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 113g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 113g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam, for the glaze (optional)

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Line a 24cm loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment and brush with butter.
  2. Put the pears cutted in quarters in a bowl with the lemon juice to prevent them discolouring. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl, adding a pinch of salt and the caster sugar. Next beat in the eggs and melted butter until smooth.
  3. Pour half of the cake mixture into the tin. Arrange the pears in a circle with the bigger part closer to the side of the tin. Pour the rest of the cake mixture without covering the pears. Sprinkle the demerara sugar on top.
  4. Bake in the preheart oven for about 40 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin, gently peeling away the parchment.
  5. To make the glaze, melt the apricot jam with 1 tbsp water and pass through a sieve to remove any lumps. Brush the cake with the glaze and serve.

Yields: 8 servings.

Apple Cake

To celebrate the apple season here and to use the apples we pick from our tree I baked this cake, which is very delicious. I have made this cake for some time already, but making it with our very own apples makes it taste even better. Hmmm… and the smell of apples and cinnamon in the house when the cake is in the oven it’s just so good!!!

Apple Cake

Cake

  • 3 apples
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup oil
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 100 g raisins
  • 50 g walnuts, roughly chopped

Orange Syrup (optional)

  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • sugar

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Wash and peel the apples. Reserve both the peels and the pulp separately. Chop the apples into small cubes.
  3. Place the peels in a blender. Add the eggs, oil, cinnamon, sugar and baking powder. Beat until you get a homogeneous mixture.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and add the sifted flour, chopped apples, raisins and walnuts. Stir until everything is well combined. Pour the batter into tin with a hole in the middle, greased and floured.
  5. Put in the preheated oven and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Syrup: Stir all ingredients until the sugar is dissolved and spread on top of the cake when still warm.
  7. If you prefer without the syrup, just sprinkle icing sugar using a sieve.
Yield: 12 servings

Peteleco Cake

Do you want a chocolate cake ready in no time? Then this is the recipe for you. I got it from Nestlé’s website, but I had to change the syrup that goes on top because the cocoa powder I had was only enough for the cake batter 😛 On the other hand, I had a chocolate bar, which was the perfect alternative for a topping. Here I’ll post both (topping and syrup) and you can pick one.

If you’re curious about the name of the cake, the word “peteleco” in Portuguese means a flick, a quick slap. So the name says it all about this cake 🙂

Peteleco Cake

Ingredients

Cake

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups boiling water

Topping

  • 100g plain chocolate (74% cocoa)
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp water

Chocolate Syrup (alternative for the topping above)

  • 6 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/2 cup water

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC and grease a rectangular 22 x 33 cm tin with butter and sprinkle flour all over it.
  2. For the cake, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl.
  3. Add the oil, eggs and lastly the boiling water, mixing well.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 25 minutes.
  5. For the topping, melt the chocolate (double boiler or in the microwave). Transfer to a saucepan and add the butter, sugar and water. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar melts, but do not boil. Spread over cake while still hot.
  6. If you choose to make the syrup, combine all ingredients and bring it to the boil until it becomes a thick syrup. Remove from heat and spread over the cake as soon as you take it out of the oven.

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

I made these cupcakes to take to work and raise funding for Race for Life, which is a big event that happens every year in the UK to raise money for Cancer Research UK. All I have to say is that they disappeared very quickly 🙂

The recipe for the cupcakes is from this book and I have to confess one sin… I didn’t make the buttercream given in the recipe 😛 I just bought some vanilla frosting at the store with some things for decoration, but I’m posting the original lemon buttercream in case you wanna make everything from scratch.

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients

  • 115g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 115g butter, softened
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • finely grated rind of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp milk

Lemon Buttercream

  • 85g butter, softened
  • 175g icing sugar
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
Note: I used store bought Vanilla Frosting

Decoration

  • sugar flowers, silver balls, or anything you like for decoration

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, add the butter, sugar, eggs, lemon rind and milk, and beat together until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases filling up to 2/3 of each paper case.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the buttercream, place the butter in a bowl and beat until fluffy. Sift in the icing sugar, add the lemon juice and beat together until smooth and creamy.
  5. When the cupcakes are cold, put the buttercream in a pipping bag and pipe over the cupcakes. Decorate as you wish.
Yields: 12 cupcakes

Jam Swirled Muffins for a birthday

I don’t how you feel about your birthday, but I always like to do something to celebrate mine: have a bbq with family and friends, go on a trip somewhere you like, cook something special at home… anything you like!!! My birthday this year was very nice. Besides other things, B took me to see Mamma Mia, and for those who know me, knows that I love ABBA. It was a lot of fun!!!

Now about age, sometimes I find it hard to believe that 32 years has past since I was born already. Well, there is nothing we can do about that, right? I once saw this quote and I think it says it all “Don’t count the years… make the years count!”

But this is a food blog… so you must be asking “Where is the recipe?” and here it is. To celebrate this date, I baked these muffins from Patricia’s blog. They are very moist and yummy.

Jam swirled muffins

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup (133g) caster sugar
  • 2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup jam of your choice – if too thick, thin it with a little lemon juice (I used strawberry jam)

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F; put the muffin cases in a 12 regular size muffin pans.
  2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add sugar and mix.
  3. In a large glass measuring cup or small bowl whisk together the yogurt, eggs, vanilla and melted butter until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk lightly with a fork – do not overmix the batter, otherwise you’ll end up with tough muffins.
  4. Add the jam and whisk lightly, to keep the marbled effect. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops are golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack, cool 5 minutes, then carefully unmold. Let cool completely on the wire rack.

Yield: 12 muffins