Cakes & Bakes: Yellow layer cake with buttercream icing

Slice of home-made yellow layer cake | H is for Home

Our neighbours have gone on holiday this week and have asked me to look after their chickens again. They have about twice as many chickens as they did last time… so that means twice as many eggs every day.

Separated eggs | H is for Home

I’ve been looking into recipes where you use lots of just yolks and just whites – as I don’t like to waste half the eggs. I found a couple of recipes by Rose Levy Beranbaum that fit the bill. I’ll be attempting her favourite yellow layer cake this week.

Flour, butter & sugar in a food mixer bowl | H is for Home

I decided to make the yolks-only cake first as I discovered, on my online travels, that egg whites can be easily and successfully frozen for use at a later date. Yolks take a little more effort. The yellow layer cake I made today – as you’ve probably deduced – uses just egg yolks.

Yellow layer cake batter in an orange vintage Kenwood food mixer | H is for Home

It also uses bleached cake flour, something you don’t tend to find in supermarkets here in the UK. I took a lengthy detour on the website of Rose’s Devon-based friend, Kate Coldrick, who shows you in great detail how to make your own substitute.

Yellow layer cake batter in a round baking tin | H is for Home Yellow layer cake cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

I followed both Rose’s and Kate’s instructions almost to the letter, hoping that I’d produce a cake like never before.

Yellow layer cake sliced in half horizontally | H is for Home Yellow layer cake with buttercream icing in the centre and on the top | H is for Home

The sponge was light & airy and the texture was crumbly. I teamed it with a vanilla buttercream icing which complements, not overpowers the flavour.

Detail of a yellow layer cake with buttercream icing | H is for home

Stay tuned next week Thursday for my egg white recipe!

Yellow layer cake with buttercream icing
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Cook Time
35 min
Cook Time
35 min
For the cake
  1. 4 large egg yolks
  2. 160g/5½oz sour cream
  3. 1½tsp vanilla extract
  4. 200g/7oz bleached cake flour*
  5. ½tsp baking powder
  6. ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  7. 200g/7oz caster sugar
  8. ¼tsp salt
  9. 170g/6oz butter, softened
For the icing
  1. 250g/9oz butter, softened
  2. ½tsp vanilla extract
  3. 300g/10½oz icing sugar
  4. 1tbsp milk
For the cake
  1. Grease a 23cm/9-inch spring-form cake tin then line it with parchment paper
  2. 20 minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/Gas mark 4
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, lightly combine the yolks, about ¼ of the sour cream and the vanilla
  4. In a stand mixer bowl, with paddle attachment, combine the cake flour, caster sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt
  5. Mix on a low speed for 30 seconds to blend
  6. Add the butter and the remaining sour cream and mix on a low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened
  7. Increase to medium speed, or high speed if using a hand held mixer and beat for 1 minute to aerate and develop the structure
  8. Scrape down the sides
  9. Gradually add the egg mixture in 2 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition until fully incorporated
  10. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the surface. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes away clean and it springs back when pressed lightly in the centre
  11. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes
  12. Loosen the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula, and remove the sides of the spring-form tin
  13. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and flip it again onto a second rack it so that the top faces up
  14. Allow to cool completely before slicing in half horizontally and icing the middle and top
For the icing
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and vanilla essence
  2. Blend in the icing sugar, a quarter at a time, beating well after each addition
  3. Beat in the milk and continue mixing until light and fluffy
  4. Keep the icing covered until ready to use
  1. *If like me you're based in the UK and find it hard to find bleached cake flour in the shops, have a look at Kate Coldrick's meticulous method to make your own version
Adapted from The Baking Bible
Adapted from The Baking Bible
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Panipopo

Portion of home-made panipopo torn form the loaf | H is for Home

I’ve been seeing recipes for panipopo sweeping by on my Pinterest feed for quite a while. I’ve never really stopped & clicked because I thought that the sweetened coconut bread would be too wet and sickly.

Panipopo dough | H is for Home Risen panipopo dough | H is for Home

How wrong I was! I’m glad I read some of the comments remarking on how delicious it is and how ex-pat islanders hanker after it when they’re away from home.

Rolled & sliced panipopo dough | H is for Home Panipopo dough in a rectangular baking tin | H is for Home

Panipopo (or pani-popo or pani popo) is a Polynesian bread originating from Samoa or Hawaii – depending on who you believe.

Risen panipopo dough in a rectangular baking tin | H is for Home Pouring sweetened coconut milk on the risen panipopo dough | H is for Home

I thought that all that liquid would make for a soggy bread, but most of it is absorbed by the dough in cooking. The liquid that is left turns into a thick, unctuous, syrupy sauce. We weren’t sure what to eat it with – I chose to have it as it comes, dunking it in more of the  sauce that I’d reserved. Justin went all adventurous and had his with a little bit of Cambozola…  he reckons it’s a winner.

Cooked panipopo on a oven cloth | H is for Home

Here’s the recipe – why don’t you have a go? Let us know what you think!

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Cook Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
For the dough
  1. 7g/¼oz active dry yeast
  2. 240ml/8½ fl oz warm water
  3. 450g/16oz plain or bread flour
  4. 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
  5. ½ tsp salt
  6. 1 egg
  7. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
For the coconut sauce
  1. 200ml/7 fl oz tinned coconut milk (check the tin, mine was already diluted to 50% coconut milk, 50% water)
  2. 200ml/7 fl oz water (omit this if your coconut milk is already diluted)
  3. 100g/3½oz caster sugar
  5. Home-made panipopo ingredients
For the dough
  1. In a measuring jug, stir the yeast into the warm water and leave for 10 minutes
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt
  3. In another measuring jug, lightly mix the egg and vegetable oil
  4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Combine well, adding a little more flour if the dough is too sticky
  5. Empty out the dough on to a floured surface and knead for 10-20 minutes until smooth and elastic
  6. Put the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover with cling film or put inside a large plastic bag. Leave in a warm place to prove until doubled in size
  7. Grease a large, deep rectangular or round baking tin. Set aside
  8. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface
  9. Roll the dough into a long rectangle, roll it up and slice it into 2.5cm/1-inch or any even-sized rounds
  10. Put the rounds into the baking tin, cover with cling film or put into a large plastic bag and allow to prove until doubled in size
  11. Wile the bread is proving, preheat the oven to 180ºC/375°F/Gas mark 4
For the coconut sauce
  1. In a large measuring jug, combine the coconut milk, water (if using) and sugar and stir until all the sugar has dissolved
  2. When the dough has doubled in size, pour the coconut sauce evenly over the dough
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top of the bread is has turned a golden brown
  4. Allow them to cool in the tin for at least an hour before serving
Adapted from
Adapted from
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Chocolate chip & brazil nut cookies

Home-made chocolate chip & brazil nut cookies with mug of tea | H is for Home

The focus is back on Rio this week with the start of the Paralympics. Which made me remember that I still have half a bag of Brazil nuts in the cupboard leftover from making a double espresso brazil nut cake a few weeks ago.

Chocolate chip & brazil nut cookie dough mixture | H is for Home Chocolate chip & brazil nut cookie dough and reserved chocolate chips | H is for Home

I’ve been in something of a cookie & biscuit frame of mind recently, so I thought I’d use them up by making some chocolate chip & brazil nut cookies.

Chocolate chip & brazil nut cookie dough portions on a tray | H is for Home

I use quite a lot of chocolate in my baking – cocoa, dark chocolate, mocha – but I’ve never used chocolate chips before. In most recipes that call for chocolate chips, I’ve always just used chopped up chocolate pieces.

Chocolate chip & brazil nut cookies cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

Chocolate chip cookies I’ll make an exception for, because those perfect little dots of chocolate are just essential!

Stack of home-made chocolate chip & brazil nut cookies | H is for Home

The recipe makes over 2 dozen lovely, soft cookies. They’re quick & easy and the perfect thing to get the kids involved in making.

Chocolate chip & brazil nut cookies
Yields 30
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Cook Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
  1. 115g/4oz plain flour
  2. 1tsp baking powder
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 75g/3oz butter, softened
  5. 150g/5oz golden caster sugar
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1tsp vanilla extract
  8. 100g/3½oz dark chocolate chips
  9. 75g/2½oz brazil nuts, chopped
  11. Home-made chocolate chip brazil nut cookies ingredients
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a baking sheet or line it with a parchment paper
  3. In a small mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt
  4. In another larger mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar (using an electric mixer is best)
  5. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract
  6. Add the flour mixture and beat well on a low speed
  7. Using a wooden spoon, stir in 70g of the chocolate chips and the chopped brazil nuts
  8. Drop teaspoonfuls of the cookie dough on to the prepared baking sheet. Space them 2½-5cm / 1-2 inches apart as they spread quite a bit in the cooking
  9. Dot the top of each cookie with 3 or so of the reserved chocolate chips pressing lightly into the dough
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they just begin to turn a golden brown
  11. Allow to cool on a wire rack while you make the next batch. Repeat until all the cookie dough has been used (My large baking tray took 3 batches to use up all the dough)
  12. Store in an air-tight lidded container for up to 3 days
Adapted from The Great Big Cookie Book
H is for Home Harbinger

No churn pistachio ice cream

Home-made no churn pistachio ice cream | H is for Home

Remember last week, I failed to use the bag of pistachios in my store cupboard? Well I’ve used them this week… well most of them, anyway.

Milk and pistachios in a saucepan | H is for Home

I’ve puréed them and whipped up a batch of pistachio ice cream adapting my basic no-churn ice cream recipe originally borrowed from Nigella.

Pistachio purée in an electric blender | H is for Home

It tastes nothing like the pistachio ice cream you can buy in a supermarket (in a good way).

Whipped cream in a food processor | H is for Home

It looks nothing like it either – but if you like it like that, by all means add a couple of drops of green food colouring to the mix.

Tub of home-made pistachio ice cream with chopped pistachios sprinkled on the top | H is for Home

Finish with a generous sprinkling of chopped pistachios and you’ve got yourself a quick, simple summertime dessert to enjoy on it’s own, in a cone or as an accompaniment to a hot fruit pie or brownie.

Pistachio ice cream
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  1. 100ml/3½fl oz milk
  2. 30g/1oz pistachios (shells off weight)
  3. 300ml/10½floz double cream
  4. ½ tin condensed milk (200g)
  5. 2tsp vodka
  6. 20 pistachios, roughly chopped
  7. Home-made pistachio ice cream ingredients
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and 30g of pistachios. Turn off the heat just before it begins to simmer. Allow to cool
  2. Put the double cream, condensed milk, vodka and puréed pistachios into an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on a high speed until firm (about 2 minutes)
  3. Decant the mixture into a 1-litre lidded tub/container, sprinkle the chopped pistachios over the top and freeze for at least 4 hours - preferably overnight.
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Macadamia nut & cranberry cookies

Home-made macadamia nut & cranberry cookies | H is for Home

I keep forgetting how quick and easy it is to rustle up a batch of cookies. I have a bag of pistachios in the cupboard that needs to be used up, so I decided to make some pistachio & cranberry cookies using a recipe I found on the BBC Good Food website.

Chopped macadamia nuts ans dried cranberries | H is for Home

However, when I popped across to the supermarket to get some dried cranberries, I saw that they also did packets of cranberries WITH macadamia nuts.

Home-made macadamia nut & cranberry cookie dough batons | H is for Home Home-made macadamia nut & cranberry cookie dough batons wrapped in cling film | H is for Home

I love macadamia nuts – a little on the expensive side, but you don’t need that many in the macadamia nut & cranberry cookies I ended up making.

Home-made macadamia nut & cranberry cookies, uncooked on a baking tray | H is for Home

They were just so scrumptious! Crumbly, sweet and nutty. A few chunks of white chocolate added to the mix would have gone down a treat as well. I’ll try that combination very soon. I guess I’ll use that bag of pistachios some other time!

Home-made macadamia nut & cranberry cookies on a wire cooling rack | H is for Home

Macadamia nut & cranberry cookies
Yields 30
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Cook Time
12 min
Cook Time
12 min
  1. 175g/6oz butter, softened
  2. 85g/3oz golden caster sugar
  3. ½ tsp vanilla extract
  4. 225g/8oz plain flour
  5. 150g/5oz macadamia nuts & cranberries
  7. Home-made macadamia nut & cranberry cookies ingredients
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla extract
  2. Stir in the flour
  3. Roughly chop the macadamia nuts & cranberries before adding to the mixing bowl. Bring the mix together as a dough
  4. Halve the dough and shape each half into a log about 5cm across. Wrap in cling film, then chill for an hour or freeze for up to 3 months
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF fan/Gas mark 4
  6. Slice the logs into 1cm-thick rounds, place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake for 12-15 minutes
  7. Remove from the oven, leaving the cookies on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Blueberry pie

Slice of home-made blueberry pie | H is for Home

It’s been almost six months since I last posted a pie recipe on Cakes & Bakes. I’ve righted that wrong this week with a blueberry pie.

Blueberry pie pastry dough | H is for Home Uncooked blueberry pie pastry case | H is for Home

Blueberries, sugar & spice | H is for Home

My recipe is a hodgepodge of three others. The blueberry pie filling is from my vintage 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook, Dinner for Two; the sweet pastry is from Dorie Granspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours and the crème anglaise is from that catering college staple, Ceserani & Kinton’s Practical Cookery.

Blueberry pie pastry case and sugared blueberries | H is for Home

Much as I enjoyed this bake, if I were to make another blueberry pie, I’d do it a little differently.

Home-made blueberry pie and lid | H is for Home

Firstly, the blueberry pie filling was WAY too sweet for my taste. Perhaps it wouldn’t have tasted so sweet if the pastry I’d used had been just a plain shortcrust.

Uncooked home-made blueberry pie | H is for Home

Secondly, the filling recipe calls for ½ teaspoon of cinnamon; Justin liked it, but it just didn’t work for me.

Crème Anglaise ingredients | H is for Home

Thirdly (and lastly), I had my first slice with crème anglaise and my second (not straight after, obviously 🙂 ) with double cream. I much preferred the latter version.

Home-made blueberry pie | H is for Home

Perhaps I’ll test my 3rd portion with vanilla ice cream – all in the name of research on behalf of our readers, of course!

Blueberry pie
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For the pastry
  1. 400g/14oz plain flour
  2. 120g/4oz icing sugar
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 250g/9oz very cold butter
  5. 2 egg yolks
For the filling
  1. 125g/4½oz caster sugar
  2. 30g/1oz plain flour
  3. ½tsp teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 375g/13oz blueberries
  5. 2 tbs butter
For the crème anglaise
  1. 300ml/½pt milk
  2. 25g/1oz caster sugar
  3. 2 egg yolks
  4. 2-3 drops vanilla extract (I used ¼tsp vanilla bean paste)
  6. Home-made blueberry pie ingredients
For the pastry
  1. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine
  3. Stir the eggs, just to break them up, and add it them little at a time, pulsing after each addition
  4. When the eggs are in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds
  5. Just before your pastry reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change, so listen out
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing
  7. Butter the pie dish and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the dish and over the rim. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbread-ish texture
  8. Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking
  9. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4
  10. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminium foil and fit the foil tightly against the pastry
  11. Bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently with the back of a spoon
  12. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes. Allow to cool before adding the pie filling
For the filling
  1. Combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon
  2. Stir in the blueberries
  3. Turn into pastry-lined pie dish and dot with butter
  4. Roll out the remaining piece of pastry into a round and, using the rolling pin, carefully lower the pastry over the filling
  5. Press the pastry lid into the pastry bottom either with your thumbs or a fork. Trim the excess and brush the top with a little milk
  6. Bake at 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4 for 25-30 minutes or until crust is brown and juice just begins to bubble through slits in the crust
For the crème anglaise
  1. Boil the milk in a medium-sized saucepan. Allow to cool a little
  2. Mix yolks, sugar and vanilla in a basin before adding to the milk
  3. Put the saucepan back on a low heat and stir with a whisk or wooden spoon until the desired thickness. Do NOT boil
  4. Pass through a fine sieve into a serving jug
H is for Home Harbinger