Cakes & Bakes: Jam-filled pound cupcakes

Home-made jam-filled pound cupcakes | H is for Home

Are cupcakes still all the rage? I never really got that into them, perhaps because I’m terrible at decorating them. The icing has to be perfect for me to really enjoy them. Crunchy icing puts my teeth on edge. It needs to be a sweet, flavoursome butter cream or cream cheese.

Separated eggs | H is for Home Whisked egg whites | H is for Home

These jam-filled pound cupcakes don’t need any topping because the interest is all in the middle. I used some of my home-made mixed berry jelly from last autumn – there are always a few jars in the store cupboard. You can use any fruit jam, marmalade or lemon curd instead. Or what about a spoonful of Nutella? Mmmmmmmm…

Putting cake dough into cupcake cases | H is for Home Putting jam into cupcake cases | H is for Home

I used a pound cake recipe I found in Marvellous Mini-Cakes – a little book full of teensy sweet & savoury cakes. I used to think a pound cake was a cake that weighed a pound! In actual fact, it’s a cake traditionally made with a pound each of its four main ingredients – butter, sugar, flour and eggs… so I guess it’s really a 4lb cake!

Home-made jam-filled pound cupcakes | H is for Home

As tempting as they may be, please don’t attempt to eat these straight from the oven. The hot, molten jam will scald the roof of your mouth!

Click here to save this recipe for later.

Jam-filled pound cupcakes
Yields 6
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 120g/4¼oz salted butter
  2. 120g/4¼oz caster sugar
  3. 2 eggs, separated
  4. 120g/4¼oz plain flour, sifted
  5. 2 scant tsp baking powder
  6. pinch of salt
  7. jamHome-made jam-filled pound cupcakes ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a muffin tin and dust with flour or add cupcake/muffin cases
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture turns pale and becomes smooth
  4. Add the egg yolks, flour and salt and combine
  5. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites
  6. Add them gradually to the mixture
  7. Add the baking powder
  8. As soon as you have stirred in the baking powder, put a dessert-spoonful of cake mixture in each cupcake hole/case
  9. Add a teaspoonful of jam to the centre of each cake
  10. Cover with the remaining cake mixture, ensuring that the jam is fully covered by the cake mix
  11. Put in the oven straight away
  12. Bake for about 20 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time, prick with a skewer if it comes away clean, the cupcakes are done
  13. Allow to cool slightly before turning them out of the tin
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Adapted from Les Petits Plats Francais: Marvellous Mini-Cakes
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Price Points: Preserve starter kits

Preserving starter kits | H is for Home

  1. Kitchen Craft preserving starter set, 4 pieces: £10, hobbycraft
  2. VonShef 9L Maslin pan jam preserving starter set bundle: £32.99, Amazon
  3. 5-Pieces preserve starter set by Kilner: £69.99, Wayfair

One of the things I love about the start of autumn is making jams, jellies, pickles, chutneys and all manner of other preserves. I made a batch of apple and chilli jelly this week… the first of the season.

Late summer is spent foraging for fruit such as wild raspberries, elderberries and blackberries. They’re added to the redcurrants that were harvested from our allotment in and are made into mixed fruit jelly.

You really should try it – it’s really easy, satisfying and far superior to most shop bought stuff. Get yourself one of these preserve starter kits and you’ll be quickly on your way to making your own.

Each has its own merits however, I’ve chosen #2 as the best of the preserve starter kits for a number of reasons. The most important component is the jam/maslin pan. It needs to be large, sturdy and made of the right material. It needs to be made of a non-reactive material such as stainless steel. Reactive metals such as aluminium and untreated cast iron can give a metallic taste to the food and can also cause discolouration. The pan also needs to be a good conductor of heat, for example, copper so that it achieves the high temperatures necessary in jam-making.

The next most important component is the thermometer. It’s not absolutely essential but, if you’re not entirely confident with using the cold saucer method, a thermometer is the foolproof way of knowing that the magic 105ºC/220ºF temperature has been reached.

A jam funnel is very useful if you’ve got shaky hands like mine, however buying the other components are less necessary. I have a huge store of different sized & shaped jars – I never put the finished jars of honey, mayonnaise, pesto etc into the recycling. With a little pre-planning, you shouldn’t need to buy jars specially for preserving. Just make sure ones you’re reusing have no chips or cracks and have their original airtight lids.

Having said all that – yes, both #2 and #3 come with jars as part of their kits. The former has the edge over the latter as the single 1-litre jar is much less practical than 6 smaller ones. If you store a litre of jam, jelly, chutney etc in a single jar you’ll have to eat all the contents within a couple of weeks of opening or it will go off. Also, you should store your preserves in the fridge once they’ve been opened. I usually have too much other stuff in the fridge to accommodate a litre-sized pot of jam.

In the years I’ve been preserving, I’ve never used a jar lifter (I use a pair of kitchen tongs), a jar wrench (just twist a dinner knife between the space between the lid and the jar) or a magnetic stick (again, I use kitchen tongs). So that’s 3 of the 4 Kitchen Craft items that would be neglected at the back of the cupboard. You could buy each preserve making component you think you’ll need singly – but it’s often cheaper to buy them as a bundle.

Cakes & Bakes: Jammie dodger hearts

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Plate of jammie dodger hearts and mug of tea

Do you love a jammie dodger? We’ve got the perfect Cakes & Bakes recipe for you if the answer is an enthusiastic ‘yes’!

making biscuit pastry for jammie dodger hearts

They’re quite a retro biscuit aren’t they? We think of them as very ‘seventies’. We were certainly eating a lot of them around that time.

chilled and halved biscuit pastry for jammie dodger hearts

They first appeared about fifty years ago so are actually mid sixties in origin if we’re being totally accurate. They’ve definitely graced a lot of kids’ party tables over the decades.

making heart shapes from biscuit pastry for jammie dodger hearts

They’re not just for kids though –  apparently, about 40% of jammie dodgers purchased are consumed by adults.

spooning jam on to heart shaped biscuit pastry for jammie dodger hearts

We think that these home made versions are even better than the shop bought. They’re crispy, but have a fresh softness too which the packet variety have inevitably lost. And you can add all kinds of interesting and luxurious jams if you want to feel a bit more grown up as you eat a fourth one.

heart-shaped biscuits cooling on a rack

We went for the pretty heart shaped cookie cutters which works really well with the red jam. The ‘cut outs’ make nice little biscuits too so don’t throw them away.

jammie dodger hearts cooling on a rack

Could you resist one of these straight out of the oven?

Quick panna cotta
Yields 6
Cook Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 600ml double cream
  2. 1tsp Vege-gel (or any other agar agar powder)
  3. 50g caster sugarpanna cotta ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Pour the double cream into a medium-sized saucepan
  2. Before heating, add the Vege-gel/agar agar powder and combine well with a whisk
  3. Add the sugar and heat on a medium flame stirring until the sugar has dissolved
  4. Bring to simmering and pour into heat proof glass coups or bowls
  5. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before covering with cling film/Saran wrap and putting into the fridge for at least 2 hours
  6. Serve cold with fruit compote, preserve or coulis
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Jam coconut slices

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Jam coconut slice with mug of tea | @hisforhome

Although there is technically a bit of baking involved here, this week’s Cakes & Bakes is more of a little suggestion for leftover pastry from making other things.

Puff pastry scraps | @hisforhome

We had a few pieces after making a batch of sausage rolls yesterday.

Jam slice uncooked | @hisforhome

Generously spread jam or preserve onto the rolled out pastry – we chose strawberry and plum. Then sprinkle with coconut and bake for about 10 minutes; that’s it!

Jam & coconut slice uncooked | @hisforhome

 It’s delicious, especially when eaten whilst still warm.

Jam & coconut slice cooked | @hisforhome

It works well with puff or shortcrust pastry – a lovely little treat with that well deserved cuppa.

Chilli, garlic, ginger jam

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red and green chillies | H is for Home

We had a mini glut of chillies following the small crop of our own being suddenly boosted by gifts from friends who had a greenhouse full! A chilli jam seemed like the best course of action – chilli, garlic & ginger jam to be precise.

It’s a very flexible preserve suitable for adding to Indian, Chinese or Thai dishes – lightly brushing on barbecued meats & vegetables – or giving cheese on toast a real kick! The cooking process filled the house with wonderful aromas and these little jars of intense flavour are excellent additions to the store cupboard or larder.

Chilli, garlic, ginger jam

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Makes about 200g

Chilli, garlic, ginger jam

Ingredients

  • 12 chillies (choose from finger/cayenne, serrano, jalepeño etc depending on how mild or fiery you like it)
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic bulbs
  • 75g ginger
  • 75ml rice wine vinegar
  • 75ml water
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 150g palm sugar, crumbled or soft brown sugar
  •  
  •  

Instructions

  1. Peel the garlic and ginger and de-stalk the chillies (don't remove the seeds) before pulsing in a mini-processor for about 20 seconds
  2. Add the purée to a medium-sized saucepan with the vinegar, water, lime juice and sugar
  3. Warm on a low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves
  4. Turn the heat up to high and boil rapidly for 10 minutes
  5. Decant into sterilised jars before securing the lids tightly
http://hisforhomeblog.com/food/chilli-garlic-ginger-jam/

Charity Vintage: Kilner jars

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collection of vintage Kilner jars for sale by & in support of Wesley Community Furniture(ends 23 Sep, 2014 20:07:23 BST)

With all the jam, jelly and preserve making that I’ve been doing this summer, I’m almost clean out of jars. I always give away a lot of what I make to family & friends so the jars are never to be seen again. This collection of 16 vintage Kilner jars for sale by & in support of Wesley Community Furniture* would set me up nicely again.

Kilner jars are great for preserves but are also useful for storing dry foodstuffs like rice, pasta, peas, beans, lentils and dried fruit. And they’re so much prettier than the plastic bags they come in!

*Wesley Community Furniture aims to work in partnership with others to provide furniture and other household items at the lowest possible prices to those in greatest need in Manchester, to further relieve poverty by providing jobs, volunteering and training opportunities, and to recycle and re-use as much of the material they receive as possible.