Friday, 27 August 2010

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie

This recipe is from one of my favourite books - The hummingbird bakery cookbook. I had lots of fresh raspberries and thought what better to try than this delicious recipe. The description in the book says "This triple-layer dessert looks irresistible when sliced: a slim layer of brownie topped with cheesecake and covered with raspberry-flavoured whipped cream. The three elements combine beautifully" I really can't describe it any better. This is truly a delicious and decadent dessert. 

brownie base 

adding cheesecake layer

straight from the oven 

making the cream topping 

top with fresh raspberries 


200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
200g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
3 eggs
110g plain flour

400g cream cheese
150g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

Cream topping
300ml whipping cream
100g icing sugar
150g raspberries, plus extra to decorate

a 33x23x5cm baking tray

Preheat the oven to 170C

For the brownie: 
  • Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  • Leave until melted and smooth. 
  • Put the butter and sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated. 
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scrapingany unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. 
  • Gradually beat in the flour, mixing well after each addition, then turn the mixer up to high speed and beat in the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly. 
  • Pour into the prepared baking tray and smooth over with a palette knife. 

For the cheesecake: 

  • Put the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on slow speed until smooth and thick. 
  • Add one egg at a time, while still mixing. 
  • The mixture should be very smooth and creamy. 
  • The mixer can be turned up to a higher speed at the end to make the mix a little fluffier and lighter, but be careful not to overmix, otherwise the cheese will split. 
  • Spoon on top of the brownie and smooth over with a palette knife. 
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is firm to the touch and light golden around the edges. 
  • The centre should still be pale.
  • Leave to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight if possible.

For the cream topping: 

  • Put the cream, sugar, raspberries in a freestanding electric mixer with a whisk attachment and beat until firm but not stiff. 
  • Turn the brownie out onto a board and turn the right way up.
  • Spread the topping evenly over the brownie and decorate with more raspberries. 

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Candy Cookies

I saw these smartie cookies on one of my new favourite blogs les reves d'une boulangere and knew I had to make them.  They looked so cute and I happen to have a bag of smarties handy. The cookies really do spread a fair bit when cooking as pre-warned but as I paid little heed to that, my cookies turned out a little larger than I imagined! Next time, I'll use less dough and make even more cookies! I ran out of smarties so I used peanut M&Ms as well and they were great! The cookies are delightfully light and crispy with the extra crunch of smarties or M&Ms. I really enjoyed both of them, it's really difficult to choose a favourite. I love the bright, vibrant colours. Perfect for a party. 

cookie batter 

adding smarties 

fresh from the oven

adding M&Ms 
smartie cookies

M&M cookies

Recipe from bakingwithfrench 175g caster sugar
110g brown sugar
225g unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (or 2 tsp vanilla essence)
450g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
55ml milk
+ smarties/M&M/any candy for decoration

  • Beat together the sugars and butter until pale and fluffy. 
  • In a seperate bowl, use a whisk to beat together the vanilla and eggs. 
  • Gradually transfer this egg mixture to the creamed mixture, beating between each addition. This will prevent the mixture from curdling. 
  • Over this mixture, sift the flour, baking powder, soda and salt. 
  • Use a metal spoon to carefully fold together until no lumps remain. 
  • Gradually add the milk and stir until soft dough forms (be careful not to add too much milk or dough will be too sticky). 
  • Leave in fridge for 20 minutes, covered. 
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (fan-forced) and prepare 2 large cookie trays. 
  • Remove from fridge and roll small balls of mixture; put on prepared tray and flatten slightly. 
  • The cookies will spread a fair bit when cooking. 
  • Continue rolling balls until no mixture remains. 
  • Decorate the balls of dough with as many smarties/candy as you desire. 
  • Bake biscuits for 8-9 minutes or until they are golden brown, but still slightly soft. They will harden slightly upon cooling. 
  • If you want a crunchier cookie, then cook for longer until brown and rather firm to touch when removed from oven.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Orange Polenta Cake

I've been meaning to make this cake for a long time now and finally got round to it. The polenta gave it a nice fine texture and the orange made it light and refreshing. Definitely a good cake to make for afternoon tea. 

blitzing the oranges 

adding to the batter 

ready to go in the oven 

fresh from the oven 

For the cake
2 oranges
5 eggs
250g golden caster sugar
100g polenta
100g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder

For the icing
1 lemon, juiced
1 orange, juiced
3 tbsp granulated sugar

  • Wash the oranges and place in a medium sized saucepan.  Cover completely with water and bring to the boil, then simmer for an hour.  Allow to cool before removing the oranges.
  • Quarter the oranges and remove the pips.  If you have a food processor, blitz the oranges until they are well chopped but not a sludge.  Put to one side.
  • Preheat the oven to 170C.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar.  Fold in the polenta, ground almonds, baking powder and oranges.  Carefully pour into a 25cm spring-form tin, base and sides lined with greaseproof paper.
  • This mixture is very runny, so be careful when placing it in the oven.  Cook for 1 hour then test to see if the cake is ready by inserting a skewer. 
  • While the cake is cooking, make the icing by mixing together the lemon and orange juice and the granulated sugar.  As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the liquid over the hot cake.  Allow the cake to cool in the tin. 

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Courgette Cake

My colleague brought in these beautiful courgettes (zucchini) from his garden. It's not unsurprising then that I decided to make a cake with it. I've always wanted to try making a courgette cake and I'm really glad I did as it was really delicious. It's very similar to a carrot cake. The courgettes made the cake moist and the orange icing in this recipe went very well with it. I'd like to try it with lemon or other fruit or chocolate. Have you baked anything with courgettes? How did it turn out? 

Look at the size of them! 

adding grated courgette to the cake batter 

ready to go in the oven

fresh from the oven

with icing on top 

I added some crushed walnuts as it looked a little plain

For the cake 
250g butter
250g caster sugar or brown sugar
4 eggs
350g self raising flour
juice and zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
350g courgette, grated  (I used 1 large one as shown in the picture above)
50g walnuts, roughly chopped
80g sultanas

Orange Cream Cheese Icing 
125g cream cheese
50g unsalted butter
300g icing sugar
juice and zest of 1/4 orange 

  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Grease and line a 25cm deep cake tin. 
  • Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy. 
  • Add the eggs one at a time while mixing until the eggs are well incorporated. 
  • Sieve the flour with the cinnamon and mixed spice. 
  • Fold in 1/3 of the flour, followed by 1/2 of the orange juice and zest, repeat this using the remaining flour and orange so that all the ingredients are well combined. 
  • Stir in the courgette, walnuts and sultanas and mix well. 
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and place on the centre shelf in the preheated oven.
  • Bake for approximately 1 hour or until the cake is firm to touch. 
  • Turn the cake out on a rack and allow to cool completely.

To make the icing: 
  • Beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy. 
  • Gradually beat in the icing sugar and orange juice and zest until you have a smooth creamy icing.
  • Spread over the cooled cake. 

Friday, 6 August 2010

Banana bread with sultanas and pecans

Final one in my banana series for now. I initially wanted to make a wholemeal banana loaf but realised too late I'd run out of wholemeal flour. I also did not have any walnuts to hand. However I had pecan nuts and sultanas so decided to make up my own recipe. The final result was surprisingly good. The bread was moist and tasted quite strongly of bananas  (I used extremely ripe bananas) I love the added crunch of the nuts and the sultanas complemented the banana flavour well. 

115g butter
115g sugar
225g self raising flour
2 eggs
3 medium bananas
1 cup sultanas
1 cup pecans (or walnuts)

  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Mash the bananas in a bowl.
  • Cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer or hand mixer. 
  • Add the eggs and continue mixing. 
  • Add the mashed bananas and mix together. 
  • Add in the flour, sultanas and nuts. 
  • Transfer the mix to a loaf tin. 
  • Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

Banana, date and walnut bread

Next in the banana series.  I decided to make a healthier version with dates and walnuts which complements the banana flavour very well. No oil or butter required.  The dates make the bread moist and the nuts add the extra crunch.

150g dates, chopped and pitted
200g brown sugar
250ml water
320g wholemeal self-raising flour
260g mashed ripe bananas
55g chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

  • Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 14x21cm loaf pan. 
  • Combine dates, sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat.
  • Cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. 
  • Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. 
  • Remove from the heat. 
  • Add flour, bananas, walnuts and bicarbonate of soda and stir until combined. 
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. 

Banana bread

I went a little banana mad recently. I didn't make all of these in one go but as I have been a bit behind with my blogging, I thought I'd do a little banana series.  I have to admit I sometimes buy bananas and allow them to ripen with the intention of making cake or bread!
This is one of my favourite recipe to use whenever I have over-ripe bananas. It's really easy to make - no KitchenAid required and works everytime.  I love the combination of banana and honey. Simple and delicious.

butter mixture
banana mixture 

ready to go in the oven

fresh from the oven

100g butter
225g self raising flour
100g golden caster sugar
3 ripe bananas
2 eggs
6 tablespoons clear honey

  • Preheat oven to 180 C.
  • Lightly butter a 900g/2lb loaf tin and line base with parchment paper.
  • Sift the flour into a bowl and using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir the sugar into the flour mixture.
  • Peel and mash the bananas and tip into the bowl with the eggs and honey.
  • Beat well until evenly combined
  • Transfer into prepared tin and bake for 1¼ hours or until golden brown and a fine skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Cover loosely with foil if it begins to brown too much.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Blueberry and Lemon Cake

I actually made these a while back but haven't had a chance to blog about it.  Everytime I make these, they disappear really quickly and everyone wants more. I usually have lemons in my fridge and whenever I get nice blueberries, I'll make this cake. The cake is really moist and citrusy and the blueberries add a freshness to the taste. Perfect with a cup of tea :)

adding blueberries on top before adding lemon mixture 

after adding lemon mixture 

For the cake 
225g butter, softened 
225g golden caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
250g self-raising flour, sifted
finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
25g ground almonds
200g fresh blueberries

For the topping
juice of 2 lemons
115g golden caster sugar 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Grease and line the base of a 20cm/8inch square cake tin.
  • Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little flour towards the end to prevent curdling. 
  • Beat in the lemon rind, then fold in the remaining flour and ground almonds with enough of the lemon juice to give a good dropping consistency. 
  • Fold in 3/4 of the blueberries and turn into the prepared tin. 
  • Smooth the surface, then scatter the remaining blueberries on top.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • To make the topping, place the lemon juice and sugar in a bowl and mix together. 
  • As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick it all over with a fine skewer and pour over the lemon mixture. 
  • Leave to cool in the tin until completely cold.