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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
- 100g/3½oz dried figs
- 100ml/3½ fl oz water
- 60g/2oz walnuts
- 175g/6oz ground almonds
- 3 large eggs
- 80g/3oz melted coconut oil or unsalted butter
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1tsp cider vinegar
- Pinch of salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/Gas mark 2
- Line a 500g/1lb loaf tin with baking parchment
- 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
- Blitz the figs in a food processor until they form a coarse paste
- Add the ground almonds and process again until damp crumbs form
- Add the walnuts and salt and process again briefly until they're coarsely chopped. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat eggs and bicarbonate of soda with an electric hand whisk until frothy
- 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
- Sprinkle vinegar over the eggs and beat briefly to distribute evenly. Work quickly as the vinegar will activate the bicarbonate of soda
- Tip the nut mixture onto the eggs and fold in thoroughly with a metal spoon until the nuts are evenly distributed
- 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
- Cool on a wire rack before eating
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Teaming this cake with a cup of Earl Grey or full-bodied Darjeeling or Assam is tea-time heaven!
- 125ml/4½fl oz milk
- 4 tsp loose Earl Grey tea (or 4 tea bags)
- 115g/4oz butter, softened
- 225g/8oz caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 125g/4½oz self-raising flour
- 125g/4½oz plain flour
- ½ lemon, juice & zest
- 200g/7oz icing sugar
- 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
- Strain the liquid from the leaves (or squeeze the liquid out of the teabags) and set the liquid aside to cool some more
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/355ºF/Gas mark 4. Grease and line a 500g/1lb loaf tin with baking parchment
- 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
- 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
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin
- Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean
- Allow to cool in its tin on a wire rack
- 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)
- Pour over the loaf and leave the icing to set for about 30 minutes
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.
Justin enjoyed the resulting almond loaf so much that I had to make good on last week’s previously planned bake.
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!
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!
- 150g/5oz butter, softened
- 150g/5oz caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 6tbsp milk
- 150g/5oz plain flour
- 2tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 100g/3½oz dessicated coconut
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/gas mark 2
- Grease a 450g/1lb loaf tin
- Using a food processor or electric whisk, cream the sugar and butter
- In a measuring jug, whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla extract
- With the processor/whisk still going, mix the wet mixture into the creamed butter & sugar a little at a time
- In another mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients well (flour, baking powder, salt, dessicated coconut)
- Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture in 3 stages, mixing after each addition
- Spoon into the greased loaf tin and level out using a spatula or back of a spoon
- Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until golden brown on the top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean