Rather than allow the buttermilk to reach it’s ‘best before’ date, I used it to make a coconut buttermilk pound cake.
I found the perfect recipe on the Martha Stewart website – I already had all the ingredients in the kitchen.
Sometimes, on an online recipe, the comments made by people who have tried out the recipe are hugely useful. A couple of people stated that the size of the loaf tin recommended wasn’t big enough and they had left over batter. Because of this, I used my largest loaf tin – 19 x 15 x 10cm (8 x 6 x 4-inch). This was probably a bit to big – a smaller one would have sufficed.
Martha Stewart’s original recipe uses sweetened, shredded coconut however, dessicated coconut is easier to get hold of in the supermarket here in the UK. Dessicated is much finer than shredded, so I altered the recipe slightly.
It’s not often that there’s a ‘how to’ video of a recipe available – the one I embedded at the bottom of the post shows just how easy this recipe is.
Click here to save it to Pinterest for later – you won’t be disappointed!
- 170g/6oz butter, softened
- 170g/6oz caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 240g/8½oz plain flour
- 1½tsp baking powder
- 1tsp salt
- 240ml/8fl oz buttermilk
- 75g/2⅔oz dessicated coconut, toasted
- 2tbsp buttermilk
- 125g icing sugar
- 1tbsp dessicated coconut, toasted
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
- Grease a 12 x 22cm (4½ x 8½-inch) loaf tin
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy
- In a small measuring jug, lightly whisk the eggs
- Add vanilla, then the beaten eggs, combining well
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt
- Carefully add the flour to the mixture in 3 additions, alternating with two additions of buttermilk. Combine well
- Using a silicone spatula, fold in the 75g of toasted, dessicated coconut
- Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
- Allow the cake to cool in its tin on a wire rack for about an hour
- Remove the cake from the tin and allow to cool completely
- Whisk together the icing sugar and 2 tbsp buttermilk making sure there are no lumps
- Drizzle over the cake and sprinkle with tablespoon of dessicated coconut
In the days following Christmas, there are lots of recipe ideas for the food leftovers knocking about. So we thought we’d offer the same service after Easter. You know, for all that chocolate that you’ve not eaten. Are we being a bit optimistic that you’ve got chocolate leftovers?!
This is a lovely, simple recipe. The cake is perfect as an indulgent afternoon coffee accompaniment – or dinner party dessert.
It incorporates readily available ingredients and can be rustled up in a few hours – with time between stages to get on with other jobs if required.
The cake delivers everything that you might expect from a chocolate fudge tart – it’s intense, rich and smooth on the palate. A small amount of salt flakes add a delicious, subtle contrast to the sweetness. There’s flexibility regarding the chocolate that you incorporate depending upon your personal taste or budget. You also have the option to add a bit of booze if you like. Rum, brandy, Cointreau, amaretto, Kahlua – maybe a bit of whisky. Perhaps you’ve got some of those left over from Christmas (or is that wishful thinking again?). Wherever you get the ingredients from, make sure to give it a try.
- 150g/5¼oz Hob-nobs
- 45g/1½oz cocoa powder
- 45g/1½oz light brown sugar
- ¼tsp table salt
- 80g/2¾oz salted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 1 x 400g/14oz tin condensed milk caramel*
- 375g/12¼oz dark chocolate
- 150g/5¼oz double cream
- Pinch of sea salt flakes
- Line the base of a 25cm round tart tin with greaseproof paper, grease the sides with some extra butter
- In a food processor, blitz the Hobnobs, cocoa powder, sugar and salt
- Add the butter and pulse a few times to incorporate
- Firmly press the crumb mixture into the tin, taking extra care with the sides and aiming for an equal thickness throughout
- Chill for 10 minutes in the freezer
- Bake the tart case at 200ºC/390ºF/Gas 6 for 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool
- Put all the ingredients (apart from the salt flakes) into a saucepan and gently warm over a low-medium heat. Keep stirring the mixture until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth and glossy
- Pour the filling into the cooled tart case and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours
- Just before serving, sprinkle with the salt flakes
Another week, another afternoon loaf cake requested by Justin. The one I’ve chosen this time is Delia’s sticky toffee loaf cake with fudge icing. None of Delia’s recipes have ever let me down!
Thanks to the treacle and spices, it’s quite a dark, wintery, warming cake; perfect, considering that I can see a light flurry of snowflakes falling outside as I write this!
It’s a straightforward recipe – a bit of heating, a bit of mixing – and a long, slow bake. As Delia recommends, this cake is best left overnight before tucking in. The various ingredients have time to combine and settle into each other.
The resulting cake is full of flavour – substantial, yet not hard going. Perfect with a cuppa!
My ‘dark brown’ soft sugar was quite light in colour and I didn’t have any golden icing sugar, so I used Muscovado sugar and plain white icing sugar instead. I reckon the resulting shade of my icing matched Delia’s fine. I had to apply it a little sooner than I would have ideally liked to ensure there was still a bit of daylight for a photograph. Make sure that your loaf is completely cooled before topping with icing otherwise it will just melt.
- 1 level tsp mixed spice
- 2 level tsp ground ginger
- 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 110g/4oz stoned dates
- 50g/1¾oz pecan nuts
- 110g/4oz spreadable butter
- 50g/1¾oz black treacle
- 175g/6oz golden syrup
- 150ml/5¼fl oz milk
- 2 large eggs
- 225g/8oz plain flour
- 4 tbsp evaporated milk
- 3 tbsp dark brown soft sugar
- 50g/1¾oz butter
- 150g/5¼oz golden icing sugar
- Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/Gas mark 2
- Line a 900g/1lb loaf tin with a loaf tin liner
- First, place the tin of black treacle (without its lid) in a saucepan of barely simmering water to warm it up and make it easier to measure (I needed to do the same with the golden syrup)
- Next prepare the dates and pecans. The nuts should be chopped fairly small and the dates should be chopped into equally small pieces
- Put the butter, black treacle and syrup into a large saucepan and melt them together over a gentle heat
- Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it cool for a few minutes, then mix in the milk
- Beat the eggs before adding those to the syrup mixture as well
- Sift together the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Gradually whisk the syrup mixture into the dry ingredients, bit by bit, until you have a smooth batter
- Lightly stir in the pecans and about ⅔ of the dates, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin
- Lightly drop the other ⅓ of the dates over the top, pushing them down gently with a skewer (adding this amount of dates last of all gives a better distribution of fruit as the mixture is a fairly slack one)
- Place the cake on a lower shelf so that the top of the tin is aligned with the centre of the oven and bake it for 1½ hours to 1 hour 50 minutes by which time it will have a very rounded, slightly cracked top
- Allow it to cool in the tin for about half an hour before turning it out on to a wire rack
- In a small saucepan melt together the evaporated milk, brown sugar and butter. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes
- Tip it into a bowl and set aside to cool
- Sift in the golden icing sugar and whisk everything together till smooth
- Using a palette knife, spread the icing all over the top of the cooled cake
- Store the cake in an airtight tin, in its paper liner. The cake does seem to improve if kept for a couple of days before eating
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!
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?
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!
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.
- 120ml/8 fl oz stout/porter
- 6tbsp molasses
- 3tbsp ginger in syrup, chopped finely
- 2 medium-sized eggs, at room temperature
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 100g/½ Muscovado sugar
- 100g/3½ Demerara sugar
- 100ml/3½ fl oz vegetable oil
- 125g/4½oz plain flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½tbsp ground ginger
- ½tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Heat oven to 175ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
- Grease & line a 1kg/2lb loaf tin with parchment paper
- 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
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped ginger, eggs, vanilla extract, Muscovado sugar and Demerara sugar until the mixture is no longer gritty
- Slowly add the oil, mixing all the while
- Slowly add the stout mixture and mix until well combined
- Carefully add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing well in between each addition.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin
- Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
- Cool in the tin for 15 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack
- Serve warm with custard or allow to cool completely before topping with cream cheese icing
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!
- 200g/7oz prunes (Agen ones are best)
- 2-4 tbsp Armagnac
- 2 eggs
- 100g/3½oz brown soft sugar
- 250g/9oz self raising flour
- 75ml/2⅔fl oz milk
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325ºF/Gas mark 3
- Grease & line a 900g/2lb loaf tin
- De-stone and roughly chop the prunes and put them into a medium-sized mixing bowl
- Pour the Armagnac over the prunes - it should just about cover all the fruit
- Cover with cling flim/Saran wrap for about half an hour to allow the fruit to absorb the liquid
- In a measuring jug, lightly beat the eggs before adding them to the soaked prunes and any un-absorbed liquid
- Add the sugar and flour and combine well
- Mix in the milk to loosen the batter
- Spoon evenly into the lined loaf tin and sprinkle a little granulated sugar evenly over the top
- Bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes away clean
- Leave the loaf in its tin to cool for 5 minutes before turning it out on to a wire rack
- 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
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.
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!
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.
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.
- 200g/7oz digestive biscuits (about 14 biscuits)
- 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, melted
- 600g/21oz cream cheese
- 2tsp cornflour
- 200g/7oz caster sugar
- 120ml/4fl oz maple syrup
- 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 60ml/2fl oz double cream
- 60ml/2fl oz maple syrup
- 1tsp cornflour
- 115g/4oz walnut halves
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
- In a bowl, grind the digestive biscuits to fine crumbs (I use the end of a rolling pin)
- Add the melted butter to the bowl and toss with a fork until the butter has moistened the crumb mixture
- 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
- Bake for 10 minutes and allow it to cool
- Raise the oven temperature to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
- With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until soft and fluffy (about 2 minutes)
- 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
- Add the eggs and the yolk to the mixture, one by one, beating after each addition
- Add the heavy cream and mix again
- Pour the batter on to the cooled base and bake for 5 minutes
- Lower the oven to 90ºC/200ºF/Gas mark ½ and bake for a further hour
- Switch off the oven, leave the door ajar and allow the cheesecake cool in the oven for ½ hour
- Chill in the refrigerator for 4 hours but no more than 24
- 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
- Whisk in the cornstarch and turn off the heat
- Add the walnuts and turn to coat
- Spread them out on a piece of parchment paper to cool and harden into praline
- Sprinkle over the cheesecake
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.
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.
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!
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!
- 200g/7oz unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
- 420g/15oz plain flour
- 75g/2¾oz cocoa powder
- 50g/1¾oz beetroot powder
- 375g/13oz golden caster sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1½tsp vanilla extract
- 335ml/11¾ fl oz buttermilk
- 1½tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1½tsp white distilled vinegar
- 75g/2¾oz unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 450g/1lb icing sugar
- 190g/6¾oz full-fat cream cheese, chilled
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
- Grease 4 x 20cm sandwich tins and line with baking parchment
- Combine the flour, cocoa and beetroot powder in a large bowl and set aside
- In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together
- Slowly whisk in the beaten eggs, then the vanilla extract
- Start adding the flour mixture to the butter mixture in batches, whisking well but slowly after each addition
- Add the buttermilk and stir until smooth
- Working quickly, combine the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar in a small bowl, then fold it into the cake mixture
- Once incorporated, divide the batter between the prepared cake tins
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean
- Remove and cool slightly in the tin before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely
- Trim the cakes so they're level
- Rub the butter into the icing sugar to resemble fine breadcrumbs
- Add the chilled cream cheese and beat until smooth
- Stir in the vanilla extract
- Fit a large piping bag with a plain nozzle and fill with the frosting
- 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
- 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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