Sunday, 22 April 2018

Everyday Coffee Loaf Cake

I had a strong craving for a coffee and walnut cake for the last few days and I finally resisted by making this loaf cake recently. I have a thing for coffee and walnut cake, alongside coconut cake, in that I can easily eat the whole cake by myself. To stop myself eating a whole cake, I simply don't make these cakes on a regular basis and try to treat myself to a slice when I'm at a coffee shop.  I wanted the full hit of a coffee and walnut cake but didn't want to make a traditional sandwich cake held together by copious amount of buttercream. So,  I decided to make a loaf cake instead, which requires minimal effort and has maximum flavour.
The recipe is adapted from my baking book: National Trust Cakes, Bakes and Biscuits. I simply reduced the amount given for a sponge cake, however, I should of let the icing set before I poured it on the cake - my impatience to taste the case was the reason for this. Nevertheless, the coffee and walnut loaf cake was moist, soft and moreish.



You will need a 2lbs/900g loaf tin.
Ingredients
100g self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
100g soft margarine
2 large free eggs
4 heaped teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons boiling water

For the topping
75g butter
125g icing sugar
8 - 10 walnut halves

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C, 325F, gas mark 3. Beat together the flour, caster, sugar, margarine and eggs until they are very light and fluffy, preferably in an electric mixer. Put the coffee granules in a cup or  small bowl and add about 3 teaspoons boiling water. The coffee should be very, very dark and just runny - if it's a bit stiff, add a few drops more water, but it certainly shouldn't look like ordinary coffee. You want a liquor that will give a huge hit of coffee without adding too much volume of liquid.
Add 1 teaspoon coffee mixture to the cake mix and beat in. Taste, and add more coffee if needed. Don't throw away any remaining mixture.
Pout the batter in the loaf tin and smooth the tops. Bake for 45 minutes until the cake is firm and springy to the touch.
Remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
To make the topping beat together the butter and  icing sugar until pale and soft. Add 1 teaspoon coffee mixture and taste. Add more, to taste.
When the cake is cooled frost the top of the cake with the coffee icing. Place the walnuts around the edge of the loaf cake and leave the icing to set, which should only take about an hour.

xxx
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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Fig, Orange & Walnut Loaf

Very few smells can evoke sense of my childhood, comfort and home then a cake baking in the oven. When I bake, I'm more than likely to bake a cake more than other baked goods. It's just that cake are so warming and comforting to me and easy to make. 
There are some cracking cake recipes and other wonderful bakes in Honey and Co: The Baking Book.  I recently purchased this book and was inspired by the flavour combinations, strong Middle Eastern flavours (as expected) and bakes to satisfy you at any time of the day. I've made a few bakes from this book, but I couldn't help but sharing this recipe: easy to make, great flavours and incredibly moreish. The loaf isn't the prettiest but is sure tastes good. 





Ingredients
120g whole milk
120g honey
40 unsalted butter
75g caster sugar
75g light brown soft sugar
230g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
75g walnuts, roughly chopped
75g dried figs cut in 4 pieces
75g candied orange peel
1 egg
30g demerara sugar to sprinkle

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas mark 4. Butter a 1kg loaf tin and line with a sheet of baking parchment to cover the base and long slides, allowing a little overhang so that this can used to help lift the loaf out later.

Warm the milk honey, butter, caster sugar and light brown sugar together in a large saucepan until the sugars have dissolved and the mixture is just starting to boil. Remove the heat and stir in the flour, spice and salt. Mix in the walnuts, quartered figs and candied orange peel, then add the egg and combine thoroughly before transferring the batter to the lined tin. Smooth the top and sprinkle with the demerara sugar.

Bake in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes, then turn the tin around for an even bake and leave for 30 minutes. At this stage it should still be a soft to the touch, but stable and with a lovely thick crust. You can't really test this cake with a toothpick as it contains so much fruit, but if you push down a little with the tip of your finger in the centre and it doesn't sink, remove from the oven. If you feel there is still quite a bit of softness here, bake for another 10 minutes, but do take it out after that. Allow to cool in the tin.

Sere with butter and orange marmalade, it keeps well for a couple of weeks in an airtight container.

xxx
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Monday, 21 November 2016

Cakes, Bakes & Biscuits - review

When I think of the National Trust, I think of imposing stately homes, rich English culture and stunning countryside views. Until last year, I didn't realise that The National Trust released cookery or baking books until I reviewed the fabulous The Picnic Cookbook. Well there's another book from The National Trust specialising on baking. There's a strong emphasis on English baking as per expected as there is an historic love affair in Britain and cakes. The majority of the recipes are beautifully illustrated and all the recipes have clear instructions. 
My favourite chapter in this baking book is Regional Cakes, not only are the cakes look delicious, many of the recipes are historical and unique to that particular region.With so many baking books on the market, I like the feel of this book: accessible, compact and informative. The rrp is £9.99, but it's currently on Amazon for £7.99. I also think this baking book would make a great Christmas present for all your baking friends. 



This baking book is split into the following chapters:
  • The Basics: Classic recipes include Maderia cake, Lemon Drizzle Cake and All-in-one chocolate cake. 
  • Traditional Favourites: Recipes to try include Victoria Cake, Everyday Coffee Cake and Carrot Cake with Lime Topping. 
  • Regional Cakes: Stand out recipes to try include: Suffolk Fourses, Bath Buns, 18th Century Pepper Cake, Kedleston Marmalade and Norfolk Tart. 
  • Scones and Slices: Delicious recipes include: Florentine Slice, Ginger and Treacle Scones and Cherry Almond Scones. 
  • Teabreads and Loaves: luscious recipes to try include: Date & Wanut Loaf, Barm Brack and Marmalade & Apricot Teabread. 
  • Bite-sized treats: recipes to try include: English Madeleines, Espresso Express and Battenburn Cupcakes. 
  • Fun for Little Ones: Stand out recipes to try with your little ones: Jam donuts, Cheery Buns and Rocky Roadsters. 
  • Savoury Treats & Breads: Recipes to try include: Courgette, Feta & Spring Onion Cupcake and Beautiful Bread. 
  • A Lighter Bite: Luscious recipes to try include: Upside-down Polenta Plum Cake, Cranberry, Pecan & Maple Syrup Flapjacks, 
  • Sweet Something: A lovely selection of jams & preserves including: Apricot Jam and High Dumpsie Dearie. 
I baked the Date & Walnut Loaf, which I adapted to Date & Cashew Loaf as I didn't have any walnuts at hand. I think you could use whatever nuts you have at hand. I found this cake incredibly moreish, I didn't think the combination of dates with nuts would work, but it did superbly. 






Ingredients
225g self-raising flour 
50g walnut loaves (I used cashew nuts)
1 tsp mixed spice
75g butter
100g light or dark soft brown sugar
225g whole dates
150ml water
2 large free range eggs, beaten
2 tbsp sesame seeds

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 180C, 350 F , gas mark 4. Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.
2) Mix together the flour, walnuts and mixed spice.
3) Place the butter, sugar, dates and water in a pan and bring gently to the boil. Remove from the heat and cool for a few minutes. Add to the flour, spice and nuts with the beaten eggs and beat well.
4) Turn into the prepared tin, hollow the centre a little and sprinkle the top with the sesame seeds. Bake for 1-1 1/4 hours until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
5) Remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve sliced with butter.

Many thanks to Pavillion books for the review copy. 

xxx
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