Thursday 1 November 2012

AlphaBakes "N" Roundup

Apologies for the late round up this month! Where has the time gone? I can't believe it's the end of October already! The clocks have gone back and the days are getting colder but don't despair as I have a delicious line up of "N" related treats for you. So make yourself a hot drink, sit back and enjoy! Remember to check out Caroline's blog  to find out what we are baking with in November. 

First off the mark is Caroline's mum Jacqueline who entered quite a few nut cakes so I'll group them all below in one go. 

 date and walnut cake

 marmalade and walnut cake 

 mixed date, fruit and almond cake 

 coconut and candied peel cake

Next up is Angela from The Charmed Cupcake with Nutella Cupcakes with Vanilla, Peanut Butter and Nutella Cream Cheese Frosting. Yes please!! All my favourite ingredients in one cake :) I can't believe she or her husband are not fans of nutella and peanut butter but I'm sure this cake has changed their minds! 

Next is my mum with her Mixed Nut Mooncake. They were made for the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival and contains walnuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, melon & sesame seeds!

Next is my own entry with a Nigella Nutella Cake. I decorated it with chocolate fingers on the outside and fresh berries on top to balance all the chocolate!

The first of many Nanaimo Bars comes from Suelle from Mainly Baking. She used a recipe from Joy of Baking and says that it's well worth the effort of fiddling about and waiting for each layer to set. I wish I could have a slice!

Another entry from my mum who made a New York Baked Cheesecake. The base is made of homemade digestive biscuits and the filling has honey and chopped caramelized almonds.  The decoration on top is lemon, lime and orange rinds. 

Next is Fiona from Let Them Eat Cake with her Nectarine pie.  She noted that nectarines do not break down as an apple or pear does and would recommend roasting the nectarines next time. Sounds delicious either way! 

Mich from Piece of Cake has been busy baking for AlphaBakes this month. This is her first entry - Walnut Maple Yeasted Coffee Cake.  It has the chewy texture of white bread, is loaded with nuts and then baked and drenched in a sweet and sticky syrup - yum! 

Eira from Cookbooks Galore has sent in a nougat cake which was made as a special birthday cake for her youngest daughter. It does not actually use nougat but has the flavours of nougat in the form of ground almonds, icing sugar and egg whites. 

Katherine from Leeks & Limoni made some mini chocolate cakes with nutella cream.  I love cakes in mini form and the cream which is nutella with mascarpone cream sounds divine! 

Another Nanaimo Bar offering, this time from Laura of Laura Loves Cakes. It's a no bake recipe which was ideal for Laura as she has just moved home. Laura explains that a Nanaimo bar consists of three layers - the bottom layer is made from crushed biscuits, butter, cocoa powder and eggs, these also have walnuts and desiccated coconut. The middle layer is a combination of icing sugar, butter, custard powder and cream, then the whole thing is topped off with a layer of chocolate ganache. The name comes from a small town in Vancouver, Canada which she actually visited!

Another entry from me - a Neapolitan Rose Cake. I love Neapolitan ice cream so came up with this cake which has a vanilla, strawberry and chocolate layer finished off with piped rose buttercream.  The cake was delicious and my favourite layer is the strawberry layer which contains fresh strawberry puree. 


Clearly great minds think alike as Emma from Gloverly Cupcakes sent in some Neapolitan Cupcakes. She made this to bring to work as one of her colleagues was going on maternity leave and did not have time to make any baby decorations. Both her cakes and icing are tri-coloured and I'm sure they were much appreciated at work.  

Guess what's next? Nanaimo bars this time sent in by Helene from I Cook with Butter. I love these treats, I don't mind that we've had a few and can't wait to make my own! She used Edd Kimber's recipe and says that they are!! It took a while to make as you have to chill the layers separately but it was well worth the wait. 

Moving from Canada to New York, we have New York Cheesecake Brownies from Sally of PiggyBakes.  She wanted to put a twist on New York Cheesecake and came up with these gorgeous gems. 

Another entry from Mich of Piece of Cake with her No Knead Pizza which contains Spinach Feta & Pine Nuts. It's no knead as the name suggests but does require some advance planning as you need to ferment the dough for 18 hours. 

Another great mind with her Neapolitan Mousse Cake entry is Jean from Papers and Cakes and anything Baked. Nuts were off the menu as her husband has a nut allergy so she came up with this delicious looking Neapolitan Mousse cake for us. 

An unusual N in the form of Newcastle Brown Ale comes from Janine from Cake of the Week who baked a Pineapple Upside Down Loaf Cake with it. She is in her final year at Newcastle University and feels it will probably be her last year in Newcastle so decided to pay tribute to her adoptive city with this bake. The beer flavour comes through sharply but the sugar syrup cuts through it and it tasted better the next day. I'm surprised there was any left! 

Next we have Karen from Lavender and Lovage with her Old Fashioned Granny Loaf which is egg free and fat free! The recipe is from a very old copy of a Be-Ro cookbook that her grandmother used to use as well as her mum and daughter so a true family cookbook! It's a tasty fruit loaf, that was popular during WW2 due to the fact that it is fat-free, egg-free and only uses a scant amount of sugar and mixed fruit, which were rationed or hard to source. It contains walnuts which is the N for AlphaBakes. 

Here's another Nanaimo Bar from Elizabeth's Kitchen.  She grew up in Canada and recalls seeing trays of Nanaimo bars displayed alongside other wonderful cakes and pies in coffee bars and cafes, but only in the more upmarket establishments. She says they were one of her favourite squares and wonders why she's waited so long to try them at home! 

More Nanaimo Bars - this time from my co host Caroline from Caroline Makes. She used Graham Cracker crumbs which she bought in America. She also used Edd Kimber's recipe but had some difficulty slicing into it. Still looks good to me! 

Moving away from Nanaimo Bars and going back to Nutella we have Egg-free Nutella Fudge Brownies by Mel from Sharky Oven Gloves. They are really easy to whip up and she substituted egg with banana  in this recipe as one of her colleagues does not eat eggs. She was irked by the fact that the middles sunk on cooling but may have been due to the lack of eggs in the recipe. Still looks utterly fabulous to me! 

Next is a Nectarine Cake with Cinnamon and Nut Topping by Kit from I-Lost in Austen. She used nectarines harvested from her garden and I have to say it sounds and looks absolutely divine! 

Susie from Fold in the Flour made a decadent chocolate and hazelnut praline tart.  She used ground hazelnuts in the pastry to up the 'nutty' flavour. I love the hazelnut praline border! 

Caroline's sister, Clare has sent in a nutella and nut cake which is a sponge cake with a nutella and walnut topping. 

Welcome to Cal Cakestall who has sent in a double N millionaire shortbread. It has nutella shortbread as the base, and then lots of chopped toasted hazelnuts in the caramel. It looks absolutely divine. Word of caution - don't read the calorie count unless you really want to!

After all the Nutella recipes, we actually have a homemade version from Vinny aptly named Vinny's homemade chocolate hazelnut Nutella. I know Nutella is not all that good so making your own is the perfect solution as you can control what you put into it! Here it's served with eggy pancakes and fresh strawberries - yum! 

Back to normal nutella, Anuja from Simple Baking made Torta Alla Gianduia (Nutella cake) using a Nigella recipe which she adapted to be gluten free. Simple, stunning and delicious! 

A most unusual N, well certainly not one I've heard of before comes from Clare from Under the Blue Gum Tree. She made Naartjie, Cranberry and White Chocolate Muffins.  Naartjie is the Afrikaans word for a tangerine. She initially wanted to make a crustless cardamom and naartjie zest milk tart which sounds intriguing but disaster struck and she came up with these. She's not too sure about the texture but the flavour combination works well together and I particularly like the drizzle and dried fruit peel on top. 

Another unusual N entry is from my co host Caroline from Caroline Makes with her Navajo Fry Bread. She was in Monument Valley earlier this year which is operated by the Navajo Native Americans. She tried some Navajo fry bread made using blue corn and bought a packet mix to try at home. She served them with bacon and a little honey for breakfast... yum!

Continuing with the American theme are some Nutty Pumpkin Blondies by Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes. She decided to do some late night baking as she had a really frustrating day at uni. It contains fresh pumpkin, white chocolate and mixed nuts. 

Yet another unusual N (well in my book anyway) are these Blackcurrant and Rose Nonnettes by Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog. They are eggless French honey cakes baked with blackcurrant jam and rose syrup. Sounds divine! 

Well that's the end of the emails but I decided to have a quick look at my twitter favourites and spotted 2 more entries. They are both brilliant but tenuous entries - coincidence? ;-) 

Gill from Pigling Bland has sent in a very impressive looking Winter Fraisier (Spiced Plum) which uses Nielsen-Massey vanilla. The créme mousseline is spiced cinnamon and nutmeg, and the traditional strawberries are replaced with port-roasted plums. I think she should have been on the Great British Bake Off! 

Last but not least is Dom from Belleau Kitchen with his carrot and cocoNut cake. It's a classic carrot cake with the addition of dessicated coconut and rolled oats and makes for a lovely elevated carrot cake.

I hope I've not left anyone else out - do remember to email us as it really helps when rounding up the collection! Thanks again to everyone who contributed this month. Head on over to Caroline's blog to see what we are baking with in November.

Addendum 1/11/12

A latecomer to the pack - delicious looking apple and nutmeg scones by Cakes, Crumb and Cooking. Apples take really well to spicing and here they are combined with ricotta cheese, mixed spice and nutmeg. Perfect for the autumnal weather!


  1. what lovely and delicious round up Love all!!

  2. Great roundup! Thnx for hosting this :)

  3. Hello Ros, thanks for the lovely round up and I am so impressed that your mum makes Mooncakes... that is one beautiful baked Mooncake. I have never tried my hand at this type before.

    1. Thanks for joining in AlphaBakes. My mum made about 10 varieties of mooncake this year!! Clearly baking runs in the family :)

  4. Excellent roundup - I can't believe how many people made nanaimo bars! I'll have to be more original next time :-)

    1. Thanks! I want to make Nanaimo bars now more than ever!

  5. excellent excellent round-up... what an amazing number of entries, you should be so pleased as punch!... lovely work, one and all!

    1. Thanks Dom! I am always impressed with the entries for AlphaBakes - so much talent out there!

  6. I am super angry and annoyed at myself that I wasn't able to participate in last month's Alphabakes! I Think it's the first or second one i've missed :( but things were just crazy and I fell ill sighhh everyone did so well especially your Napoleon cake LOVED IT!

    1. Oh don't be angry or annoyed - there's always next time. I know what it's like so don't worry about it. Hope to see you for this month :)

  7. What a fantastic roundup, so many stunning entries! Thank you!

  8. Really sorry - thought I'd emailed mine, obv not. Would be v grateful if you'd add them. Have emailed now.

    1. I've just added it at the end - hope that's ok. Thanks for entering AlphaBakes!

  9. Looks like some yummy food in the round up!

  10. Replies
    1. Indeed! I'm always impressed each month with the entries we get.


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