Cakes & Bakes: Fig, almond and walnut loaf

Fig, almond and walnut loaf | H is for Home

Recently, we’ve been challenging ourselves to get by on a weekly food budget of £30.00 for two. We’ve been managing very well to date; buying carefully, preparing sauces in bulk (some which we freeze for future meals) – and using up tinned foods that have been half-forgotten in the cupboard.

Tinned figs | H is for Home

One of those tins were these Baldji’s Kalamata fresh figs in syrup. I think I bought them over a year ago with the intention of making some sort of dessert. After looking for a little online inspiration, I found a River Cottage recipe for fig, almond and walnut loaf.

Mixture of eggs, bicarbonate of soda and pouring in coconut oil

Their recipe included dried figs and water so I simply used the equivalent weight of the tinned figs and their syrup. I also needed to double the cook time from 20 to 40 minutes.

Fig almond and walnut loaf mixture | H is for Home Fig almond and walnut loaf mixture | H is for Home

Once the mixture was ready to put into the tin and on to the oven, I must admit, it didn’t look promising. It had the colour and consistency of refried beans. A bit of a grey, purple, sludgy slop!

Fig, almond and walnut loaf | H is for Home

Luckily, looks were deceiving as it turned out very well – delicious in fact. A few people have tried it – some would prefer it a little sweeter, so sugar, Stevia or agave could be added. We found that a drizzle of honey on the top of a slice was the perfect addition. The flavour works really well with the figs and gives that extra sweetness too.

Sliced fig, almond and walnut loaf | H is for Home

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Fig, almond and walnut loaf
Ingredients
  1. 100g/3½oz dried figs
  2. 100ml/3½ fl oz water
  3. 60g/2oz walnuts
  4. 175g/6oz ground almonds
  5. 3 large eggs
  6. 80g/3oz melted coconut oil or unsalted butter
  7. 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  8. 1tsp cider vinegar
  9. Pinch of saltHome-made fig almond walnut loaf ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/Gas mark 2
  2. Line a 500g/1lb loaf tin with baking parchment
  3. Roughly chop the figs and add them with the water to a small saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer gently until most of the water is absorbed
  4. Blitz the figs in a food processor until they form a coarse paste
  5. Add the ground almonds and process again until damp crumbs form
  6. Add the walnuts and salt and process again briefly until they're coarsely chopped. Set aside.
  7. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat eggs and bicarbonate of soda with an electric hand whisk until frothy
  8. Whilst still beating, slowly drizzle in the coconut oil/butter in a thin stream and continue beating until the eggs are pale, thick and doubled in volume
  9. Sprinkle vinegar over the eggs and beat briefly to distribute evenly. Work quickly as the vinegar will activate the bicarbonate of soda
  10. Tip the nut mixture onto the eggs and fold in thoroughly with a metal spoon until the nuts are evenly distributed
  11. Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean. Give the loaf more time to bake and perhaps turn the temperature down if it browns too fast
  12. Cool on a wire rack before eating
Notes
  1. You can store the loaf in an air-tight container in a cool place for up to 3 days - or slice & freeze for up to 2 weeks
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Adapted from River Cottage
Adapted from River Cottage
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Earl Grey tea and lemon cake

Slices of Earl Grey tea and lemon cake with cups of tea | H is for Home

Never have I baked a cake that is more perfect for tea-time! As its name suggests, this Earl Grey tea and lemon cake is infused with oil of bergamot and drizzled with a lemon icing.

Earl Grey tea steeped in a saucepan hot milk | H is for Home

You begin by steeping Earl Grey tea in hot milk. We used a lovely loose leaf tea from Fortnum & Mason however Earl Grey teabags will suffice.

Mixing Earl Grey tea and lemon cake ingredients | H is for Home

The recipe I used was by ex-Bake Off contestant, Urvashi Roe and it was originally for mini loaf cakes. I don’t have any mini loaf tins (yet!), so I used a single 500g/1lb loaf tin and upped the cook time to an hour.

Earl Grey tea and lemon cake batter in a loaf tin | H is for Home Baked Earl Grey tea and lemon cake | H is for Home

I know that ‘lemony’ cakes often top the charts when it comes to people’s favourites (Justin included), but personally I’m not the biggest fan of lemon flavour – however, a little drizzle of the icing I could handle! I suppose I could supplement the lemon juice and zest with a little of my home-made elderflower cordial.

Slice of lemon, juicer, zester and icing sugar | H is for Home

Teaming this cake with a cup of Earl Grey or full-bodied Darjeeling or Assam is tea-time heaven!

Drizzling lemon icing over Earl Grey tea cake | H is for Home

Click here to pin this recipe for later!

Earl Grey tea and lemon cake
Serves 8
For the cake
  1. 125ml/4½fl oz milk
  2. 4 tsp loose Earl Grey tea (or 4 tea bags)
  3. 115g/4oz butter, softened
  4. 225g/8oz caster sugar
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 125g/4½oz self-raising flour
  7. 125g/4½oz plain flour
For the icing
  1. ½ lemon, juice & zest
  2. 200g/7oz icing sugar
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For the cake
  1. Place the milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and immerse the Earl Grey tea in the hot milk. Cover the pan and set aside for 40 minutes to allow the tea to steep
  2. Strain the liquid from the leaves (or squeeze the liquid out of the teabags) and set the liquid aside to cool some more
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/355ºF/Gas mark 4. Grease and line a 500g/1lb loaf tin with baking parchment
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar using an electric whisk or free standing mixer with a paddle attachment. It takes a while - about 10 minutes and you'll need to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time
  5. Once the mixture is light & fluffy, add the eggs one by one and mix well. Add half the flour and half of the tea-infused milk and mix until combined. Add the rest of the flour and milk and mix until there are no traces of flour in the bowl
  6. Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean
  8. Allow to cool in its tin on a wire rack
For the icing
  1. Mix the lemon juice, zest and icing sugar together into a smooth paste. It should be quite gloopy so it doesn't dribble too much down the sides (though a little dribble is okay)
  2. Pour over the loaf and leave the icing to set for about 30 minutes
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Adapted from Great British Chefs
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Coconut loaf cake

Home-made coconut loaf cake | H is for Home

If you remember, for last week’s Cakes & Bakes recipe, I was meant to bake a coconut loaf cake but I didn’t have any of the main ingredient.

Creamed sugar & butter

Justin enjoyed the resulting almond loaf so much that I had to make good on last week’s previously planned bake.

Coconut loaf cake batter in a loaf tin

Once again, this was a quick and easy cake to make. Cream the sugar & butter, mix together the wet ingredients, add together. Mix together the dry ingredients, add together. Bake. That’s it!

Cooked coconut loaf cake in its tin | H is for Home

Nothing quite beats the aroma of coconut cake baking in the oven… and if we thought the last loaf cake was delicious, this one raised the bar even further – coco-nutty (of course!), moist, sweet – just scrumptious!

Coconut loaf cake
Serves 8
Cook Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 150g/5oz butter, softened
  2. 150g/5oz caster sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1tsp vanilla extract
  5. 6tbsp milk
  6. 150g/5oz plain flour
  7. 2tsp baking powder
  8. pinch of salt
  9. 100g/3½oz dessicated coconutHome-made coconut loaf cake ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/gas mark 2
  2. Grease a 450g/1lb loaf tin
  3. Using a food processor or electric whisk, cream the sugar and butter
  4. In a measuring jug, whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla extract
  5. With the processor/whisk still going, mix the wet mixture into the creamed butter & sugar a little at a time
  6. In another mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients well (flour, baking powder, salt, dessicated coconut)
  7. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture in 3 stages, mixing after each addition
  8. Spoon into the greased loaf tin and level out using a spatula or back of a spoon
  9. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until golden brown on the top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Almond loaf cake

Home-made almond loaf cake | H is for Home

Today’s almond loaf cake wasn’t meant to happen; Justin requested a coconut cake that he could have with an afternoon cup of tea. We didn’t have any dessicated coconut in the store cupboard and it was out of stock when I went to by some from the supermarket.

Almond loaf cake batter in a a tin

A snap decision in Morrison’s saw me pick up a bag of ground almonds instead… and what a good decision that turned out to be.

Cooked almond loaf cake in its tin | H is for Home

A last-minute, quick, basic wet & dry recipe that turned out to be taste triumph!

Preparing to pipe chocolate on to almond loaf cake

A little drizzle of chocolate finished it off nicely.

Home-made almond loaf cake | H is for Home

A new one for my afternoon cake repertoire!

Almond loaf cake
Serves 8
Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 175g/6oz + 1tbsp golden caster sugar
  2. 150g/5oz butter, softened
  3. 2 eggs
  4. ½tsp almond essence
  5. 4 tbsp milk
  6. 125g/4½oz plain flour
  7. 1½ tsp baking powder
  8. ¼tsp salt
  9. 150g/5oz ground almonds
  10. 50g/2oz dark chocolateHome-made almond loaf cake ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/325°F/Gas mark 3
  2. Grease a 450g/1lb loaf tin
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well combined
  5. Stir in the almond essence and the milk
  6. In another mixing bowl, sieve together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt
  7. Stir this into the wet ingredients in three batches, stirring well after each addition
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin, levelling out using a spatula or back of the spoon
  9. Sprinkle the tablespoon of sugar evenly over the top
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean
  11. Allow to cool in the tin for at least half an hour
  12. Break up the chocolate into a small heat-proof bowl
  13. Melt in a bain-marie or in 10-second bursts in a microwave
  14. Make a piping bag out of a triangle of parchment paper, fill with the melted chocolate and zig-zag over the top of the cake
  15. Serve
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/