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Showing posts from March, 2013

Mocha Meringue Cake

I've been a late convert to the joys of coffee. As a child raised in a tea-drinking household, there was a brute strength to the flavour that I just didn't get. And while as an adult I love my daily, frothy capuccino, even now I gingerly dip my toe in anything stronger. But I do love a good coffee cake. And this is a great coffee cake. It's a soft mocha sponge with coffee buttercream, and with a coffee meringue topping and a coffee icing drizzle. Between the coffee and the sugar rush, it's a real pick-me-up. I've adapted the recipe from one I found in the BBC Good Food magazine some years ago. Entered into a baking competition by a reader it came in third. Personally, I think that may have been a bit of an injustice. It looked gorgeous. You can find the original recipe here .  I've thought about that cake for a long time, but never got around to making it. Today was the day, and I decided to mix it up a bit and temper the coffee with som

Lemon and Blueberry Crunch Muffins

There is something about a muffin.   That fluffy, soft interior with a slightly crunchy top.   They're a bit of rough ...   They don't need the spangly bling of a cupcake.   They stand on their own and say 'I am what I am' (cue Gloria Gaynor).   And these? 'Lemon again?' I hear you say. Absolutely! And this time with Blueberries, too! Definitely the ace.     These muffins are a lovely little treat, full of lemony flavour and bursting berries. With a crunchy topping of demerara sugar. Easy to whip up, your taste buds will thank you for them.   They are best eaten on the day you make them though, or you'll still get the flavour but the crunch will have softened. Lemon Blueberry Crunch Muffins Ingredients (makes 12) 60g softened unsalted butter 150g golden caster sugar 1 lemon (washed if waxed) 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten 275g self-raising flour 1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda 125ml buttermilk

Ruby Orange Syrup Cake

If you have been a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that I absolutely love lemon cakes. They've featured in quite a few of my posts in some way. I love lime and orange in baking, too, but tend to go back to similar recipes again and again ie lemon. So I'm always quite taken when I see something that speaks to this lesser used citrussy corner of my baking mojo, and in a new way.   A little while ago, I saw a post that caught my eye due to the use of blood oranges and the method used for making the cake. In an unashamed 'nod' to one of my favourite baking blogs, the cake in this post was inspired by the Caked Crusader's Middle Eastern Blood Orange Cake . CC based her version on a Claudia Roden recipe, and it included simmering the oranges before making a puree out of them. I've heard of that method before, but didn't get adventurous enough to try it on this occasion.     But I have been thinking recently a lot of lemon drizzle cakes,

Irish Cream Brownies

In case you didn't know, it's St Patrick's Day tomorrow. As Mike's parents are both Irish (as were some of my antecedents), I'm hardly going to forget it.   But it also struck me as good a reason as any to crack out the Baileys Irish Cream. I tried a new recipe for these, and although they're not as gooey as my usual recipe (see Ultimate Chocolate Brownies ), they are still pretty good. These are soft, moist brownies with a flaky crust. Just what you want, really. With a hefty dose of Baileys and a generous smattering of dark chocolate chips, they seem pretty darn appropriate for St Patrick's Day. They are based on a recipe from Fat Witch Brownies , one of my collection of US bakery books. Go on. Try one. Ah, go on, go on, go on, go on. (Thank you, Mrs Doyle). Irish Cream Brownies Ingredients (makes 16) 100g unsalted butter 150g dark chocolate, chopped (or use chips) 3 eggs (US large size so each weighing 57-64g in the shell) 180g

Vanilla Celebration Cake

The day I made this cake, I had started out by trying to imagine a birthday cake for my niece, who's going to be 11 this year. I wanted something that would appeal to a young girl, but was not too girly. Elegant, maybe, rather than in your face, but with a sense of fun. I had a number of different ideas in my mind, and although there are some I didn't use, the base was going to be inspired by the American-style 'Funfetti' cakes I have seen on a lot of the US blogs I follow. I think they stem from a particular Pillsbury cake mix that a lot of Americans seem to remember fondly from their childhood; the vanilla sponge cake is loaded with multicoloured sugar chips which give it a peppering of colours when baked. The cakes usually seem to be  iced with a plain frosting to maximise the impact of the speckled layers. There are some great examples here , on Sweetapolita and here , on The Kitchn. I thought this was brilliant, and I wanted that element of surprise, and pl

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Cake for my Mum

Dear Mum, Today is the first Mother's Day I've spent without seeing you. The last few weeks have been incredibly hard, in many ways. And I guess that somewhere in the back of my mind, I always thought that we'd have more time. But at the end of the day, it all boils down to one extremely simple fact. I miss you. I miss the way your eyes would light up whenever you saw me, especially if I had Sam with me. I miss the way you would gaze in wonder and admiration at how big Josh and Ben have got. I miss how you would tell me how very lucky I am.  I miss the way that you would blow me kisses with that cheeky grin, and how we would swap 'luvs ya's'. I miss the tender stroke of my cheek as we said hello and goodbye. I miss the way you had of making me feel so special and loved when I least expected it. I miss the way that you would surreptitiously pat my pocket to see if I had brought you sweeties. If you found a Malteser or two or three, it made your d