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

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.

Orange Cake

Many of you might know that I’m not a big fan of orange juice, although I was born in the orange land. My loved mom says that she got sick when she pregnant of me because of an orange juice she had at my grandma’s… and the funny thing is that I feel sick too if I drink orange juice? Coincidence or not, I just avoid orange juice. However, I really like orange cake, and this one had to appear on the blog, not only because it’s extremely easy to make, but also for being so flavourful.

This cake takes only one orange and you use the whole thing, what makes the flavour very intense. It’s great for breakfast or to go with a cup of tea in the afternoon.

Orange Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 whole orange
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil (I used sunflower)
  • 2 cups (400g) caster sugar
  • 2 cups (250g) plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

Preparation

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Cut the orange into four parts and remove the white core and any seed.
  3. In a blender, blend the orange, oil, eggs and sugar until you get a very smooth mixture.
  4. Pour this mixture into a bow and fold the flour and baking powder, but do not overmix.
  5. Pour the batter into an angel cake pan (24cm), buttered and sprinkled with flour, and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the cake is cooked all the way through.

Note: If you want, you can make a glaze with orange juice and sugar and pour on the top of the cake after baked. I like it plain without the glaze.

Coffee and Walnuts Cupcakes

For those who know me, knows that I don’t drink coffee, but I like anything coffee flavoured: ice cream, truffles, candies, etc. So when I received the November edition of the Good Food magazine, I marked this recipe to be tested. The recipe is from Mary Berry. Both the cupcakes and the frosting has coffee flavour, but it’s not too strong.

The only thing I changed in this recipe was the amount of frosting. I only made half of it and, in my opinion, it was more than enough to frost well the twelve cupcakes. Try it and then tell me!!!

Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 115g/4oz butter, softened
  • 140g/5oz self-raising flour
  • 140g/5oz caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoon milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 25g/1oz walnuts, chopped

For the coffee icing (half of the original recipe)

  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 teaspoon boiling water
  • 50g butter, at room temperature
  • 113g/4oz icing sugar
  • 12 walnut halves to decorate

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. Put the coffee granules and water into a mixing bowl and stir until smooth. Add the butter, flour, sugar, milk and eggs. Mix with an electric whisk until smooth. Stir in the walnuts, then spoon into the muffin cases.
  3. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25mins or until risen and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack until stone cold.
  4. To make the icing, put the coffee granules and boiling water into a bowl and stir until smooth. Add the butter, sift in the icing sugar, and stir until smooth and free of streaks.
  5. Spoon on to the cupcakes, then decorate each one with a walnut half.

Note: The cupcakes can be made and iced up to one day ahead. Freeze without the icing for up to 1 month.

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Blueberry Muffins

I’ve made these muffins a while ago, but since I didn’t prepare any new recipe this past weekend, it’s worth sharing this one. The original recipe I got from the  Food Network website, my favorite tv channel when I was studying in the USA.

I love cakes with fruits in the middle and the fresh blueberries here give a delicious flavour to these muffins.

Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ⅔ cup caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 ½ cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar to sprinkle on the top of the muffins

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Put 12 muffin cups in a 12-muffin tin.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand-held mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter, zest, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour in 3 parts into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk in 2 parts, until just combined. Fold in the blueberries. Take care not to over mix the batter.
  5. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool muffins in the pan on a rack. Serve warm.