Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Cakes & Bakes: Red velvet cake

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

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slice of red velvet cake with cup of tea | H is for Home

 For ages I’ve admired all the images of red velvet cakes that show up in my Pinterest stream. The cakes, which are an American phenomenon, look amazing but I had no idea what they tasted like.

unpacking red velvet cake with cup of tea | H is for Home

When we were sent these heart-themed baking accessories by Meincupcake, I decided that the day had arrived for me to embark upon my red velvet cake challenge!

red velvet cake with cup of tea | H is for Home

As far as I could tell from the photos I’d seen, most red velvet cakes adhere to certain rules; layers, cream cheese frosting and a propensity towards flamboyance!

red velvet cake dry ingredients | H is for Home

I need to point out, I used the Rowntree cocoa that I already happened to have in the store cupboard. It was Dutch processed, meaning that during production, it has been ‘alkalised’ to give it a smoother flavour. I could tell by looking at it that it had been processed because it’s quite dark brown. Unprocessed cocoa is often referred to as cacao and is much lighter in colour.

red velvet cake wet ingredients | H is for Home

Unprocessed cocoa is called for in the recipe (although it’s not absolutely necessary) as all kinds of alchemy are involved in the making of the cake! The cocoa, buttermilk, baking soda and vinegar all commingle to produce the most moist, light, heavenly cake you’ve ever tasted – with the brightest, reddest crumb!

adding food colouring to red velvet cake batter | H is for Home

Now that I’ve got the Dutched versus un-Dutched details out of the way, let’s get on to the business of cake-making!

adding buttermilk to red velvet cake batter | H is for Home

As I mentioned before, there’s a lot of science involved in making red velvet so the order in which the ingredients get added really makes a difference.

folding in egg whites to red velvet cake batter | H is for Home

The buttermilk and the vinegar add acidity to the mix producing a bubbly chemical reaction with the alkaline baking powder and helping make the red colour really bright.

folding in egg whites to red velvet cake batter | H is for Home

The eggs are separated and the egg whites whipped into peaks and folded in gently at the end to add even more lightness to the sponge.

red velvet cake batter in heart-shaped cake tins | H is for Home

I think I mentioned previously that big cakes are just too much for just the two of us (even with me being a greedy cake eater!). So, instead of making a 4-tiered cake, I made a large 2-tier and a smaller 2-tier cake, giving one of the cakes away to friends.

cooked red velvet cakes in heart-shaped cake tins | H is for Home

I wanted to use both my newly-acquired accessories in this recipe, so I thought I’d use the pastry cutters to make red, heart-shaped shortbread biscuits to adorn the cake.

making red, heart-shaped shortbread biscuits | H is for Home

 I love cream cheese frosting, especially on carrot cake. Next time though, I’ll tweak the recipe so the mixture is firmer and less runny.

making cream cheese frosting | H is for Home

It’s delicious either way, but when it’s firmer you’re able to pipe the frosting on the top and have a thicker layer of it in the middle.

frosted & decorated red velvet cake with cup of tea | H is for Home

The resulting cake was so MASSIVE, we didn’t have a big enough plate to hold it!

detail of frosted & decorated red velvet cake with cup of tea | H is for Home

I think I remained very restrained with my cake embellishments – I was considering red edible glitter, hundreds & thousands… in the end, I just studded it with a few little chocolate beans.
frosted & decorated red velvet cake with cup of tea | H is for Home
I’m really happy with my first attempt and can’t wait to have another go!

Red velvet cake
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for the cake mixture
  1. 475ml/16fl oz vegetable oil
  2. 3 large eggs, separated
  3. 1½tsp vanilla essence
  4. 6tbs red food colouring
  5. 450g/15½oz granulated sugar
  6. 440g/15½oz self raising flour
  7. 60g/2oz cocoa powder (preferably not Dutch processed)
  8. 1½ tsp salt
  9. 250g buttermilk
  10. 2tsp baking soda
  11. 2½tsp white vinegar
for the frosting
  1. 280g/10oz cream cheese
  2. 125g/4½oz butter, softened
  3. 250g/9oz icing sugar (sifted to remove any lumps)
  4. 2tsp vanilla essence
for the shortbread
  1. 125g/4oz butter
  2. 55g/2oz caster sugar
  3. 180g/6oz plain flour
  4. 1tsp red food colouring
to decorate
  1. chocolate beans, glimmer sprinkles or heart confetti (all completely optional!)
for the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease cake tins well (I used the 25½cm/10-inch and 30½/12-inch heart-shaped cake tins)
  3. Separate the eggs and set aside
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the vegetable oil and sugar until dissolved
  5. Mix in the egg yolks before carefully adding the food colouring (you don't want to splash red all over yourself!)
  6. In another mixing bowl, combine the flour cocoa powder and salt
  7. Add these dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two batches, alternating with adding the buttermilk
  8. Using an electric mixer in yet another mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed. Set aside
  9. In a small bowl or teacup, mix the baking powder and vinegar
  10. Add to the batter
  11. Carefully fold the egg whites into the batter
  12. Divide the batter between the cake tins
  13. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes away clean
  14. Allow to cool completely in the tins
  15. Carefully remove from the tins and slice each cake in half horizontally using a large serrated knife (like a bread knife)
for the frosting
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese
  2. Gradually add the icing sugar until completely mixed in
  3. Cover with cling-film and keep refrigerated until you're ready to use
for the shortbread biscuits
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar and food colouring together until smooth
  2. Add the flour and mix until the the colour is uniform and the dough comes together into a large ball
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently roll out thinly until the mixture is about ½cm/⅕in thick
  4. Form into shapes (I used the smallest size heart-shaped pastry cutter) and place onto a greased baking sheet
  5. Sprinkle liberally with caster sugar before chilling in the fridge for about 20 minutes
  6. Bake for 5-8 minutes, or until pale pink
  7. Allow to cool on a wire rack
Adapted from New York Times
Adapted from New York Times
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

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Cakes & Bakes: Coconut brownies

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

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stack of home-made coconut brownies with mug of coffee | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

Justin and I share similar tastes in a lot of things, desserts are not one of them. He prefers lemon tarts & drizzles – cream cakes too. I adore chocolate fudge cake, death by chocolate, chocolate brownies… you get the picture! We do occasionally have common ground; we both like carrot cake and baked vanilla cheesecake.

coconut brownie ingredients | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

Last week I was lamenting his lack of love of brownies when he said, “Coconut brownies might tempt me.” That was all the encouragement I needed to whip up a batch.

coconut brownie dry and wet ingredients | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

I made it with cocoa instead of the usual dark chocolate and used less butter than would be usual as I wanted a dryer, less dense and chewy texture.

coconut brownie dough | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

He hasn’t said whether he liked it or not. All I know is that it didn’t hang around for long! :-)

sliced home-made coconut brownies | via @hisforhome #recipe #chocolate #brownies

Click here to pin the recipe for later

Coconut brownies
Yields 9
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Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 75g/2½oz cocoa
  2. 75g/2½oz dessicated coconut
  3. 150g/5⅓oz caster sugar
  4. 50g/1¾oz plain flour
  5. 1tsp baking powder
  6. pinch of salt
  7. 175g/6oz butter
  8. 3 eggs
  9. 1tsp vanilla essence
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas mark 2
  2. Grease a 20cm² / 8inch² cake tin
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre
  4. In a small bowl, microwave the butter for about 15-20 seconds to just liquefy but not cook. Allow to cool slightly
  5. Lightly whisk the eggs in a measuring bowl before adding the vanilla essence
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients and combine well using a spatula
  7. Pour the batter into the greased tin and bake for 25-30 minutes
  8. Allow to cool in the tin before slicing into squares
  9. Can be stored in a cool place in an airtight container for about 3 days
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Express rolls

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

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Freshly baked express rolls in a tea towel lined basket | H is for Home

I’ve nicknamed these dinner rolls ‘express rolls’.

Express rolls ingredients | H is for Home

From start to finish they take 60 minutes or less to make.

Express rolls wet and dry mixtures | H is for Home

What other people call them depends on where they are or where they’re from. To me, they’re bread rolls…

Express rolls dough | H is for Home

To people from ‘up north’ they’re barms, barm cakes or muffins.

Express rolls dough cut into 16 pieces | H is for Home

 If they were a bit wider and flatter they’d be oven bottoms or oven bottom muffins. If they had a crusty top they’d be cobs.

Express rolls dough balls | H is for Home

 Other people may say nonsense to all those terms and call them baps or buns.

Proved express rolls dough balls | H is for Home

Whatever you chose to call them, they’re soft and delicious straight out of the oven.

Cooked express rolls being given a butter glaze | H is for Home

They’re perfect little rolls for having with a bowl of soup, making an afternoon sandwich or as mini-burger buns.

Cooked express rolls separated | H is for Home

It’s a foolproof way of speeding up the proving process that I’ll definitely use again in the future!

Pin this recipe for later

Express rolls
Yields 15
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Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
40 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 525g/18½oz bread flour
  2. 50g/1¾oz granulated sugar
  3. 1tbsp dry active yeast
  4. 1½tsp salt
  5. 175ml/6 fl oz water
  6. 155ml/5½ fl oz milk
  7. 60g/oz butter, diced
  8. 1½ tsp lemon juice
  9. 20g/oz butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 85ºC/180ºF/Gas mark ⅕
  2. In the bowl of an electric food mixer, gently combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt making a well in the centre
  3. Add the water, milk and butter to a medium-sized mixing bowl and heat in a microwave on high for about 1 minute
  4. Stir to partially melt butter and to make sure it's softened
  5. Pour the milk mixture into the well of the dry mixture and add the lemon juice
  6. Attach the dough hook before setting the mixer on low, gradually increasing to medium-low
  7. Mix for about 3-4 minutes until the dough is smooth & elastic
  8. Cover the bowl with cling film/Saran wrap and allow to rest for 5 minutes
  9. Grease a 30cm x 23cm (13" x 9") baking tin
  10. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, shape into an evenly level square, about 20cm²
  11. Cut into 16 equal(ish) portions and shape into 15 balls, using the excess dough from the 16th piece to add to smaller rounds as needed
  12. Put the dough balls into the prepared baking tin
  13. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the dough with water
  14. Put the tin in the oven, close the oven door and turn the oven off
  15. Allow the rolls to rise in the oven for 20 minutes
  16. Remove the rolls from the oven and preheat to 190ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 5
  17. Bake in for 15 minutes until the tops have turned a golden brown
  18. Remove from the oven and brush the tops of the rolls with the melted butter
  19. Serve straight away or allow to cool before storing in a cool place in an airtight container
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Yorkshire tea loaf

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

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Buttered Yorkshire tea loaf and cup of tea | H is for Home

This week’s Cakes & Bakes features a traditional Yorkshire fruit loaf. We often sits down for a tea break at about four in the afternoon – and absolutely love this kind of thing as an accompaniment to our brew. Sweet, sticky and full of good things to give you a mid afternoon energy boost.

Yorkshire tea loaf ingredients | H is for Home

There’s a very simple list of ingredients.

Soaked dried fruit | H is for Home

It’s vital that you soak the dried fruit in tea overnight – it makes a big difference to the end result so don’t be tempted to skip this stage!

Adding egg and sugar to Yorkshire tea loaf mixture | H is for Home

It’s everything in one bowl method.

Yorkshire tea loaf mixture | H is for Home

 Preparation is easy so you can’t go wrong!

Uncooked Yorkshire tea loaf mixture | H is for Home

The loaf keeps well for up to 2 weeks, but it probably won’t hang around that long though.

Baked Yorkshire tea loaf mixture | H is for Home

It’s delicious served on its own or with a thin scrape of butter (thick scrape in Justin’s case).

Baked Yorkshire tea loaf sliced | H is for Home

Even just looking at it in pictures, we’re tempted to get the kettle on!!

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Yorkshire tea loaf
Yields 2
The perfect accompaniment to a cup of afternoon tea!
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Ingredients
  1. 350g mixed dried fruit (currants, sultanas, raisins, mixed peel. Try adding a tbsp of crystallised ginger)
  2. 350ml strong tea brewed for 3-4 mins
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 200g brown soft sugar
  5. 270g self raising flour
Instructions
  1. Brew a large, strong mug of tea (we usually use loose Yorkshire tea... of course! But any strong breakfast or afternoon tea will do!)
  2. Put the mixed dried fruit into a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Allow the tea to brew and cool slightly before pouring it into the mixing bowl (it should just about cover all the fruit
  4. Cover with cling flim/Saran wrap for a few hours, ideally overnight, to allow the tea to plump up the fruit
  5. In the morning, preheat the oven to 170ºC/
  6. Grease 2 x 450g/1lb loaf tins ( or 1 x 900g/2lb loaf tin)
  7. In a measuring jug, lightly beat the eggs before adding them to the mixed fruit and any un-soaked liquid
  8. Add the sugar and combine well
  9. Pour evenly into the loaf tins and bake for 40-50 mins or until an inserted skewer comes away clean. If you're using a 900g tin, baking will take about 60-75 mins
  10. Leave the loaves in their tins to cool completely before turning them out
  11. They'll keep for a couple of weeks if wrapped in baking parchment and kept in a cool, airtight container
Adapted from Clandestine Cake Club
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Crescia

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

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Slices of crescia with mini chick decorations | H is for Home

It’s Easter week, so we thought that we should make something that’s traditionally eaten at this time of year for this edition of Cakes & Bakes.

Crescia ingredients | H is for Home

We plumped for Crescia – an Italian cheese loaf.

Crescia ingredients | H is for Home

You can use any hard cheese – parmesan, pecorino and so on.

Crescia dough | H is for Home

The dough is simple to make and easy to handle.

Crescia dough proving | H is for Home

It’s baked in a tall tin so it has a distinctive shape like panettone – the smell as it cooked was amazing!

Baked crescia loaf in tin | H is for Home

A very handsome loaf wouldn’t you agree?

Crescia loaf | H is for Home

The bread is light and airy with a wonderful flavour. It’s traditionally eaten with cold meats. I’m vegetarian, but Justin volunteered to test this combination and tried it with some of his fennel salami – a perfect match he thought. It also works really well with various cheeses, olives, marinated vegetables, oil & balsamic vinegar etc, etc, etc. 

Slices of crescia with salami, cheese and salad | H is for Home

We can highly recommend this loaf – and we certainly won’t be waiting till next Easter to make another one!

You can pin the recipe from here to try later!

Crescia
Yields 1
A light & cheesy Italian loaf enjoyed at Easter
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Cook Time
40 min
Cook Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 300g grated hard cheese (such as Parmesan Reggiano, Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano)
  2. 5 eggs
  3. 1tsp cracked black pepper
  4. pinch of salt
  5. 150g olive oil
  6. 150ml warm milk
  7. 1tbsp yeast
  8. ½tsp granulated sugar
  9. 600g strong bread flour
Instructions
  1. Put the grated cheese into a large mixing bowl
  2. Break the eggs into a bowl or large measuring jug. Add the salt & pepper and whisk slightly
  3. Add the egg mixture to the grated cheese, add the olive oil and combine
  4. In a measuring jug, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk, add the sugar and allow to stand for 10 minutes
  5. Add ⅓ of the flour to the cheese, egg & oil mixture and combine
  6. Add ⅓ of the dissolved yeast mixture and combine
  7. Alternate adding & combining the flour and yeast mixtures until it has all been incorporated and you have a smooth paste that comes away from the edges of the bowl
  8. Cover the bowl with cling film/Saran wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in size
  9. Grease a high-sided baking tin such as a panettone tin (I used the tall bottom pan from my 3-tier steamer)
  10. Generously flour a work surface, turn out the dough and knock back before putting it into the high-sided baking tin and again covering with cling film/Saran wrap
  11. Allow the dough rise again until it has doubled in size (about 45 minutes to an hour)
  12. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F/Gas mark 4
  13. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes away clean
  14. Remove the loaf from the tin straight away and allow to cool on a wire rack
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
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