Cakes & Bakes: Ginger stout loaf

Home-made ginger stout loaf sliced | H is for Home

I’ve made a few ginger cakes before, however, this ginger stout loaf is probably the most moist, treacly, dark and delicious of them all!

Porter and black treacle mixture in a saucepan | H is for Home

I’ve had a couple of bottles of Hatherwood Purple Panther porter in the fridge since before Christmas. I’ve not tried them yet, we’re having a Dry January… does cooking with alcohol count as breaking the fast? I’ve only used about a quarter of the bottle, so I’m wondering how to use the leftovers… baking-wise. I’ve used it in the past in chocolate cake and bread, so perhaps something different this time. What do you recommend?

Jar of Opies stem ginger in syrup | H is for Home Mixing bowl with sugars and chopped ginger | H is for Home

I’ve halved the original recipe, which is a Bundt cake that serves 12. It called for 3 large eggs. How do you halve 3 eggs? Well, I whisked up the 3 eggs and poured half of the mixture into the batter. I used the other half in a frittata for lunch… waste not, want not!

Ginger stout loaf batter in a lined loaf tin | H is for Home Cooked ginger stout loaf in a lined loaf tin | H is for Home

We’ve had lots of cold, damp, misty, murky weather of late. This rich, warming cake – served alongside a nice strong cup of tea – or with some piping hot custard – is the perfect antidote.

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest if you want to try the recipe soon!

Ginger stout loaf
Serves 8
Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 120ml/8 fl oz stout/porter
  2. 6tbsp molasses
  3. 3tbsp ginger in syrup, chopped finely
  4. 2 medium-sized eggs, at room temperature
  5. 1tsp vanilla extract
  6. 100g/½ Muscovado sugar
  7. 100g/3½ Demerara sugar
  8. 100ml/3½ fl oz vegetable oil
  9. 125g/4½oz plain flour
  10. ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  11. ½tbsp ground ginger
  12. ½tsp cinnamon
  13. ¼ tsp ground cloves
  14. ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  15. ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  16. ¼ tsp allspice
  17. ¼ teaspoon fine sea saltHome-made ginger stout loaf ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 175ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
  2. Grease & line a 1kg/2lb loaf tin with parchment paper
  3. Pour the stout and molasses into a medium-sized saucepan, bring to a simmer, stirring to combine. Remove from the heat, set aside and allow to cool
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped ginger, eggs, vanilla extract, Muscovado sugar and Demerara sugar until the mixture is no longer gritty
  5. Slowly add the oil, mixing all the while
  6. Slowly add the stout mixture and mix until well combined
  7. Carefully add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing well in between each addition.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared tin
  9. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
  10. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack
Notes
  1. Serve warm with custard or allow to cool completely before topping with cream cheese icing
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Adapted from New York Times
Adapted from New York Times
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Prune tea loaf

Home-made prune tea loaf | H is for Home #recipe #prunes #tealoaf #fruitloaf #loafcake #baking

We’ve been having a busy first few days of 2018. I’ve been a bit tardy again this year with preparing & filing our tax returns so I wanted this week’s Cakes & Bakes to be quick and simple. This prune tea loaf is just the ticket!

Armagnac is the perfect pairing for prunes. However, if you prefer, you can swap this out for an equal quantity of freshly-brewed, strong black tea.

Serve warm, cut into thick slices, buttered generously accompanied by a cup of tea. After my little break, it’s back to doing the accounts!

Prune tea loaf batter in a lined baking tin| H is for Home Cooked prune tea loaf a lined baking tin| H is for Home

Click here to save my recipe to Pinterest for a later date!

Prune tea loaf
Serves 8
Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 200g/7oz prunes (Agen ones are best)
  2. 2-4 tbsp Armagnac
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 100g/3½oz brown soft sugar
  5. 250g/9oz self raising flour
  6. 75ml/2⅔fl oz milkHome-made prune the loaf ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas mark 3
  2. Grease & line a 900g/2lb loaf tin
  3. De-stone and roughly chop the prunes and put them into a medium-sized mixing bowl
  4. Pour the Armagnac over the prunes - it should just about cover all the fruit
  5. Cover with cling flim/Saran wrap for about half an hour to allow the fruit to absorb the liquid
  6. In a measuring jug, lightly beat the eggs before adding them to the soaked prunes and any un-absorbed liquid
  7. Add the sugar and flour and combine well
  8. Mix in the milk to loosen the batter
  9. Spoon evenly into the lined loaf tin and sprinkle a little granulated sugar evenly over the top
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes away clean
  11. Leave the loaf in its tin to cool for 5 minutes before turning it out on to a wire rack
Notes
  1. The loaf will keep for a couple of weeks (if it lasts that long!) if wrapped in baking parchment and kept in an airtight container in a cool place
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: New York maple-walnut cheesecake

Home-made New York maple walnut cheesecake | H is for Home #cheesecake #bakedcheesecake #recipe

Baked cheesecake is both Justin’s and my favourite kind of cake. I often make it for special occasions such as when we’re having people over to visit. The last time friends came to stay, I made a New York maple-walnut cheesecake. It was such a hit – with us and them – that I’ve been looking forward to making it again and sharing the recipe on here.

Making crumbs from digestive biscuits | H is for Home Digestive biscuit cheesecake base | H is for Home

I found the recipe on the New York Times website. It’s pretty similar to the one I make using a Gordon Ramsay recipe, with one… or should I say two great additions. Including maple syrup in cheesecake is delicious; Tossing and coating walnuts in hot maple syrup and then sprinkling them over the top is candied heaven on earth!

Cream cheese and maple syrup | H is for Home

I made a few little adjustments to the NYT’s original New York maple-walnut cheesecake recipe. For a start, I cut down on the quantities; much as I love cheesecake, 12 portions is too much for just the two of us. I also swapped the Graham cracker base for the more usual British version of digestive biscuit crumbs. Lastly, I doubled the amount of maple syrup in the actual cheesecake mixture as I thought the flavour was a little too subtle.

New York maple-walnut cheesecake | H is for Home

Also, the original method included an initial hot bake at 260ºC/500ºF for 15 minutes. This, I think, is to give the top of the cake a nice golden brown colour. It would have completely burnt my first attempt if I hadn’t been keeping an eye on it. This time around, I lowered the temperature and duration of this stage… it turned out perfectly!

The walnuts can be substituted for other nuts, I’d think that pecans or Brazil nuts – or both – would be wonderful.

Click here to save the recipe for later!

New York maple-walnut cheesecake
Serves 8
For the base
  1. 200g/7oz digestive biscuits (about 14 biscuits)
  2. 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake
  1. 600g/21oz cream cheese
  2. 2tsp cornflour
  3. 200g/7oz caster sugar
  4. 120ml/4fl oz maple syrup
  5. 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  6. 60ml/2fl oz double cream
To finish
  1. 60ml/2fl oz maple syrup
  2. 1tsp cornflour
  3. 115g/4oz walnut halves Home-made New York maple walnut cheesecake ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
For the base
  1. In a bowl, grind the digestive biscuits to fine crumbs (I use the end of a rolling pin)
  2. Add the melted butter to the bowl and toss with a fork until the butter has moistened the crumb mixture
  3. Grease the sides of a 23cm/9-inch, spring-form cake tin and scatter the crumbs evenly over the pan bottom, pressing it down using the bottom of a straight-sided glass or back of a spoon
  4. Bake for 10 minutes and allow it to cool
For the cheesecake
  1. Raise the oven temperature to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
  2. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy (about 2 minutes)
  3. Combine the flour and the sugar and add this mixture and half of the maple syrup to the cheese in thirds, mixing after each addition
  4. Add the eggs and the yolk to the mixture, one by one, beating after each addition
  5. Add the heavy cream and mix again
  6. Pour the batter on to the cooled base and bake for 5 minutes
  7. Lower the oven to 90ºC/200ºF/Gas mark ½ and bake for a further hour
  8. Switch off the oven, leave the door ajar and allow the cheesecake cool in the oven for ½ hour
  9. Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours but no more than 24
To serve
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining maple syrup over a low heat until it bubbles. Allow to simmer gently for 1 minute until it has thickened slightly
  2. Whisk in the cornstarch and turn off the heat
  3. Add the walnuts and turn to coat
  4. Spread them out on a piece of parchment paper to cool and harden into praline
  5. Sprinkle over the cheesecake
Print
Adapted from New York Times
Adapted from New York Times
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Natural red velvet layer cake

Slice of home-made natural red velvet layer cake | H is for Home #recipe #cake #redvelvet

I’ve made & posted a version of red velvet cake on the blog before. Today, I’ve used an alternative recipe to produce a natural red velvet layer cake.

Ziplock bags of un-Dutched cacao powder and beetroot powder | H is for Home

I’ve done a lot of research into getting that bright red colour naturally. Beetroot powder instead of red food colouring and un-dutched cocoa powder instead of the usual alkalised type found more usually in the shops.

Plain flour, un-Dutched cacao powder and beetroot powder | H is for Home

You see, this cake is all about chemistry. It’s the pH magic that’s created when the acid of the non-alkaline cocoa powder, the buttermilk and the vinegar are introduced to the bicarbonate of soda. As an aside, our local supermarket was out of buttermilk so I had to make my own. It’s really simple and a good tip to remember. Add a tablespoonful of white vinegar or lemon juice to a cup (235ml/8⅓fl oz) of milk, allow to stand for 5 minutes – there’s your home-made buttermilk!

Natural red velvet layer cake batter in cake tins | H is for Home Cooked natural red velvet layer cakes in cake tins | H is for Home

The cake wasn’t the radioactive shade of red that you get when using food colouring. I think I’d add a little bit more beetroot powder next time to get a slightly redder shade however – my natural red velvet recipe is work in progress! Some people comment on an ‘earthy’ taste to their cake when using beetroot, but I can’t say I noticed any. A delicious taste was detected that’s for sure!

Home-made natural red velvet layer cake | H is for Home

Click here to save this recipe to Pinterest!

Natural red velvet layer cake
For the cake
  1. 200g/7oz unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  2. 420g/15oz plain flour
  3. 75g/2¾oz cocoa powder
  4. 50g/1¾oz beetroot powder
  5. 375g/13oz golden caster sugar
  6. 3 eggs, beaten
  7. 1½tsp vanilla extract
  8. 335ml/11¾ fl oz buttermilk
  9. 1½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  10. 1½tsp white distilled vinegar
For the frosting
  1. 75g/2¾oz unsalted butter, slightly softened
  2. 450g/1lb icing sugar
  3. 190g/6¾oz full-fat cream cheese, chilled
  4. 1tsp vanilla extractHome-made natural red velvet layer cake ingredients
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For the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease 4 x 20cm sandwich tins and line with baking parchment
  3. Combine the flour, cocoa and beetroot powder in a large bowl and set aside
  4. In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together
  5. Slowly whisk in the beaten eggs, then the vanilla extract
  6. Start adding the flour mixture to the butter mixture in batches, whisking well but slowly after each addition
  7. Add the buttermilk and stir until smooth
  8. Working quickly, combine the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar in a small bowl, then fold it into the cake mixture
  9. Once incorporated, divide the batter between the prepared cake tins
  10. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean
  11. Remove and cool slightly in the tin before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely
  12. Trim the cakes so they're level
For the frosting
  1. Rub the butter into the icing sugar to resemble fine breadcrumbs
  2. Add the chilled cream cheese and beat until smooth
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract
  4. Fit a large piping bag with a plain nozzle and fill with the frosting
  5. Place the first cake on a cake stand or plate and pipe large pearls of frosting on the top, starting at the outside and working your way inwards
  6. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat until all the layers are lined up and the top is fully decorated with frosting
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Swedish almond cake

Slice of home-made Swedish almond cake | H is for Home

We’ve just about made our way through last week’s mammoth sourdough coffee chocolate cake. This week, Justin has requested another afternoon tea cake – so I’ve obliged with this Swedish almond cake… one of his favourite flavours!

Egg, sugar and flour in mixing bowls | H is for Home

I came across the loaf cake on the food blog, BakingBar. It’s a family recipe, passed down by David’s grandma.

Swedish almond cake batter | H is for Home

I only made a couple of little tweaks to the original recipe; I omitted the ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, added a sprinkling of flaked almonds and divided the batter into two, smaller loaf tins.

Swedish almond cake batter in loaf tins | H is for Home

As they baked, the smell of almond wafted through the house – I could barely wait for them to be taken out of the oven before I was ready to slice and devour!

Cooked Swedish almond cakes in loaf tins | H is for Home

Do sit tight and be patient though, allowing the loaf to cool for half an hour or so really does make all the difference. Brew yourself a lovely cup of tea, cut a couple of slices, take a set, put your feet up and tuck in!

Two loaves of Swedish almond cake | H is for Home

Click here to save this recipe to Pinterest for later!

Swedish almond cake
Serves 12
Ingredients
  1. 280g/10oz caster sugar
  2. 1 egg
  3. 160ml/5⅔ fl oz milk
  4. 1½tsp almond extract
  5. 150g/5¼oz plain flour
  6. 115g/4oz butter, melted
  7. ½tsp baking powder
  8. 30g/1oz flaked almonds
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/ºF/Gas mark
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg
  3. Beat in the milk a little at a time
  4. Beat in the almond extract
  5. In a separate, medium-sized mixing bowl sieve together the flour and baking powder
  6. Add the dry mixture to the wet and combine
  7. Fold the melted butter into the batter
  8. Pour the batter equally into two greased & lined 500g/18oz loaf tins
  9. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top of both
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
  11. Remove from the oven and allow the loaves to cool on their tins for 20 minutes
  12. Dredge with icing sugar, cut into slices and serve
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Adapted from Baking Bar
Adapted from Baking Bar
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Rhubarb upside-down cake

Slice of home-made rhubarb upside-down cake with cream | H is for Home

We planted a rhubarb crown in a dolly tub in our garden about 3 years ago. Gardening/allotment experts say you should allow a young plant at least a year without harvesting to encourage vigour. We’ve finally felt able to pick a few stalks this year.

Rhubarb plant in a vintage dolly tub in our garden | H is for Home

I’d normally use it to make a crumble however, I’ve never made a rhubarb upside-down cake before and thought it would go down a treat.

Soft brown sugar and butter in a cast iron skillet | H is for Home

I tweaked a recipe I found on the Guardian website. The results were so delicious, I’m already planning on reusing the recipe to make a pear upside-down cake next week.

Sliced rhubarb in a cast iron skillet | H is for Home

I love the pretty patterns that you can make with fruit on the ‘top’ of upside-down cakes.

cake batter ingredients | H is for Home

The cake batter is one of the easiest I’ve ever thrown together. It calls for vegetable oil instead of butter, a couple of eggs, caster sugar, flour and baking powder – just mix the wet into the dry ingredients. It takes all of about 3 minutes!

Cooked rhubarb upside-down cake still in the skillet | H is for Home

The soft brown sugar and butter in the base of the skillet came together to form the most wonderful, chewy caramelised edges.

Home-made rhubarb upside-down cake | H is for Home

It was lovely with a little pouring cream but it would be equally good – hot or room temperature – with vanilla ice cream or on its own.

Save the recipe to Pinterest here!

Rhubarb upside-down cake
Serves 8
Ingredients
  1. 80g/3oz diced unsalted butter and a bit more for greasing
  2. 140g/5oz soft brown sugar
  3. 4-5 stalks rhubarb
  4. 150g/5¼oz caster sugar
  5. 175g/6oz plain flour
  6. 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  7. 150ml/5 fl oz sunflower oil
  8. 2 large eggsHome-made rhubarb upside-down-cake ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a 30cm/12-inch cast iron skillet with a little butter
  3. Scatter the brown sugar and butter over the bottom of the skillet and put it in the oven for 5 minutes
  4. Remove the skillet from the oven and press the raw rhubarb into the melted butter and sugar
  5. Mix the sugar, flour and baking powder in a large bowl
  6. In a measuring jug, beat the vegetable oil and eggs together
  7. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix well
  8. Pour the batter over the rhubarb in the skillet and return the pan to the oven for about 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
  9. Allow the cake to cool in the skillet on the top of the stove before running a sharp knife around the rim and carefully turning the pan upside down on to a plate
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Adapted from The Guardian
Adapted from The Guardian
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
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