Friday, 14 February 2014

Chocolate and Raspberry Zebra Cake



Happy Valentine's Day all! This is a special cake for a special someone which I baked last week as I'm currently away in Australia for a few weeks.  It's a chocolate and raspberry zebra cake from BBC Good Food. This is my second time making a zebra cake and I'm impressed at how simple it is to make and yet how impressive it is. I'm really pleased that you can see the zebra effect on the cake. I used my I heart cake mould which gives you perfect heart shaped slices. 

J's verdict is that the cake had a good presentation, an interesting texture which was quite velvety and you could actually taste the raspberries in it. The dense chocolate icing was really rich but not too sweet so the sweetness didn't overwhelm the gooeyness which was nice and just great with the fresh raspberries. 

I will now be taking a little blog holiday and will be back in March when I am hosting AlphaBakes

I'm sending this to several blog challenges this month starting with AlphaBakes hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes and co hosted by myself. The letter this month is Z for Zebra cake. 


Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and co hosted by Jane from The Hedgecombers. The theme this month is chocolate. 



Calendar Cakes hosted by Rachel from Dolly Bakes and Laura from Laura Loves Cakes. The theme this month is Oh L'Amour!


Four Seasons Food hosted by Anneli from Delicieux and Louisa from Eat Your Veg. The theme this month is 'Food from the Heart' 


A new challenge called Love Cake hosted by Jibber Jabber UK. The theme this month is Baking with Passion. 








 making the raspberry batter 

 chocolate batter and raspberry batter 

 creating the zebra cake 

 looks like a pretty flower...

 zebra effect 

 heart shaped slice 

 definitely a zebra effect! 

Recipe from BBC Good Food

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Raspberry and Basil financiers




Recently I was invited to a French Glace Cherries Masterclass in London where Cindy from Food For Thoughts showed us how to make French glacĂ© cherries Jelly Cakes and French glace cherry and pistachio financiers. We also got to sample some lovely treats made with glacĂ© cherries which Cindy prepared for us to sample throughout the afternoon. 



The inspiration for this recipe came from the financiers we made. I had a lot of leftover egg whites after making custard for my custard crumble cake so I decided to make financiers. As it's nearing Valentine's, I chose to make raspberry and basil financiers after seeing it on BBC Good Food.  

This is a slightly unusual combination of flavours but I thought it worked really well. It was definitely not to everyone's taste though particularly the basil. The cake itself is light and nutty and the tart raspberries paired well with the basil. The heart shapes look cute and are perfect for a delicious Valentine treat. 

I'm sending this to a few challenges this month. 

Made with Love Mondays hosted by Javelin Warrior where the idea is to make everything from scratch.


Cooking with Herbs hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage. The theme this month is Chinese and Romantic Inspired Recipes with Herbs. 



Treat Petite hosted by Stuart from Cakeyboi and Kat from the Baking Explorer. The theme this month is Loved Ones. 


Calendar Cakes hosted by Rachel from Dolly Bakes and Laura from Laura Loves Cakes. The theme this month is Oh L'Amour!


Four Seasons Food hosted by Anneli from Delicieux and Louisa from Eat Your Veg. The theme this month is 'Food from the Heart' 


A new challenge called Love Cake hosted by Jibber Jabber UK. The theme this month is Baking with Passion. 






 cooking browned butter

 adding basil

 add raspberries before baking


Recipe is from BBC Good Food

Monday, 10 February 2014

Apple and Blackberry Custard Crumble Cake


I made this recipe as a test for the recipe I was developing for the Sainsbury's 'apple and pear challenge'. I tweaked the recipe slightly for Sainsbury's but this is a pretty good recipe too. The inspiration for this cake came from Sunday lunch at a local pub where the crumble of the day was apple and blackberry. We didn't order dessert as we were too full but I decided to make my own apple and blackberry crumble in cake form. I added fruit to the sponge and a layer of blackberries on top. I also decided to add some hazelnuts to the crumble which gave it a lovely crunchy, nutty texture. The apples and blackberries paired beautifully and the hint of cinnamon really lifted the cake. The addition of custard and crumble appears to now be a signature bake for me but why mess with a good thing? 


 making the custard 

 adding apples and blackberries to the mix 

 more blackberries on top 

 crumble layer 

 

serve with vanilla ice cream 

For the cake
250g butter
250g caster sugar 
250g plain flour
4 eggs 
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
100g blackberries + 50g blackberries to dot on top of the sponge pre baking

For the custard
250ml milk
1 vanilla pod 
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoon cornflour
60g caster sugar

For the crumble
90g butter
90g soft brown sugar
60g ground almonds
80g jumbo rolled oats
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
100g blanched, whole hazelnuts 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Make the custard first by heating the milk and vanilla pod on a low heat to simmering point. 
  • Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a separate bowl. 
  • Pour the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture and continue whisking constantly. 
  • Rinse out the pan.
  • Return the mixture to the pan and heat gently until the custard thickens. You will need to stir frequently. 
  • Make the cake mixture by creaming butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at at a time and mix well.
  • Fold in the flour, baking powder and ground cinnamon.
  • Finally add in the apples and 100g blackberries and stir by hand.  
  • To make the crumble, place all ingredients except for the oats and hazelnuts in a food processor and blitz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add in the oats and pulse gently. Stir in the hazelnuts by hand.
  • To assemble the cake, pour the sponge mixture into a lined tin and smooth with a palette knife.
  • Sprinkle 50g blackberries on top, pushing them in slightly. 
  • Pour the custard layer on top. 
  • Then add the crumble layer. 
  • Bake in a preheated oven for approximately 40- 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.


Friday, 7 February 2014

Apple and Pear Upside Down Custard Crumble Cake


Recently I was contacted by Sainsbury's to participate in their 'apple and pear challenge'. I was sent an Orchard Assortment box which contains 4 English apples and 2 English pears.  I brainstormed some ideas and as I couldn't decide what to make, I decided to combine a few favourite desserts - fruit crumble, upside down cake and custard! I made some caramel then layered the apples and pears on top. This was followed by a layer of custard, a layer of sponge mixed with chopped apples and pears and finally a crumble layer. At the last minute, I also decided to add some flaked almonds just to give it extra crunch and texture. The cake is served upside down and it tasted absolutely divine! The sponge was really light and the caramelised fruit and custard really complemented the cake well. The crumble and toasted flaked almonds made a really good crunchy base.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the cake and there wasn't a crumb left at the end of the day! 



The varieties included in the Sainsbury's Orchard Assortment Box are
Rubens - red in colour, this apple has a crisp, refreshing and sparkling flavour coupled with a sweet hint of melon
Jazz - A colourful apple with flashes of red, green and yellow, its flavour is characterised as sweet and aromatic with undertones of pear
Kanzi - Scarlet red in colour with a pale green background, this crunchy and juicy apple has a deliciously complex sweet taste
Cameo - This new variety is dark red in colour offset with orange flushes. Sweet, juicy and crunchy, topped off with a blend of honey and citrus flavours.
Sweet sensation - Vibrant red blush over a green-yellow background, this pear variety is deliciously sweet to taste and melts in the mouth when ripe
Concorde - A cross between Conference and Cornice pears, the Concorde is a green, slightly russetted pear with a rich, sweet flavour.


For this recipe, I decided to use the Jazz and Cameo apples and the Sweet Sensation pear as I felt the flavours would complement each other. 

 making the caramel for the apples and pears 

 cooking the custard 

 lovely caramel 

 adding chopped fruit to the batter 

 layer fruit on top of the caramel layer 

 add custard 

 add sponge 

 add crumble and flaked almonds (see instructions - I'd recommend adding the almonds at a later stage) 

 fresh from the oven 

  I love how you can still see the pears 

 You can clearly see the caramel fruit later, custard layer and sponge. The crumble layer is definitely there but you can't see it very well here. 


An original recipe by bakingaddict

For the caramel
200g caster sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 apples and 1 pear - peeled and sliced

For the cake
220g butter
220g caster sugar
220g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
chopped apples and pears (I chopped up the fruit leftover after layering the cake base as shown)

For the custard
570ml/1 pint milk
60ml single cream
1 vanilla pod
4 egg yolks
35g caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour

For the crumble
100g plain flour
50g ground almonds
125g butter
35g demerara sugar
35g caster sugar
60g rolled oats

100g flaked almonds (optional)


  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Make the caramel by placing 200g caster sugar and 3 tablespoons of water into a pan over medium-high heat. 
  • Watch carefully until it is amber in colour - do not stir the mixture at any point. Take it off the heat and carefully pour it into a lined baking tin. 
  • Arrange the apple and pear slices as shown. 
  • Make the custard by heating the milk, cream and vanilla pod on a low heat to simmering point. 
  • Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a separate bowl. 
  • Pour the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture and continue whisking constantly. 
  • Rinse out the pan.
  • Return the mixture to the pan and heat gently until the custard thickens. You will need to stir frequently. 
  • Make the cake mixture by creaming butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at at a time and mix well.
  • Fold in the flour, baking powder and vanilla extract.
  • Finally add in the chopped fruit.
  • To make the crumble, place all ingredients except for the oats in a food processor and blitz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add in the oats and pulse gently. 
  • To assemble the cake, add a layer of custard to the caramel fruit and smooth with a palette knife.
  • Add in the sponge mixture and level with a palette knife.
  • Place the crumble on top.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for approximately 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • Take the cake out of the oven and sprinkle flaked almonds all over the top and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes or until the almonds are toasted and brown. [I added the almonds before baking but it browned quickly so I had to cover the cake with foil after about 20 minutes - I would definitely recommend adding the almonds at the end] 
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before turning it upside down on a serving tray to serve. 
Disclaimer: I was sent an Orchard Assortment Box from Sainsbury's for review purposes and a Sainsbury's gift card to cover the cost of the ingredients. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.