Wales and Welsh Cakes.

We just got back from a magical trip to Wales. The number of castles scattered wherever we went was incredible. Some in total ruins while others painstakingly preserved to the original designs. All there for people to walk around and through. Down to the deepest cellars right up to the tallest towers and turrets.

Cardiff Castle
Caerphilly Castle
Carreg Cennan Castle

The coastline is wild and magnificent, the little towns and villages unique and the people friendly, happy and sincere. Truly a wonderful place to visit.

We even had a drink in the pub where my husband’s pop was born. (Yes, he was born in the pub!)

Breakfast in some places consisted of the usual continental and/or a cooked breakfast plus a plate piled high with moist and crumbly sugar dredged Welsh Cakes. In any bakery or cafe and there they were again and in grocery stores in packets of 6 or 8.

Honestly, you’d think we’d be well sick of them but noooo….we weren’t even nearly done with them.

We came across a little cookbook with traditional Welsh baking recipes and wouldn’t you know it….inside a Welsh Cake recipe. So naturally we had to buy it. My belief is that I will be making every one of the delightful treats in this book….and so to begin…

WelshCakes

225g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp allspice

Pinch of salt

120g butter -cubed

115g sugar

100g currants

1 egg  – beaten with 1 Tbls milk

castor sugar to sprinkle
Sift together the flour, baking powder, allspice and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir through the sugar and currants then add the egg and milk mixture and stir lightly with a butter knife until it all just comes together into a stiff dough. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/4 inch and then use a 5cm cookie cutter to cut into rounds.

Heat and butter a heavy based frypan or griddle and cook the rounds for about 3 minutes on each side or until they’re golden brown.

Sprinkle with castor sugar and just you try to stop at one…


Delicious.

Enjoy…

Berry And Almond Yoghurt Cake

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It would seem I had my bake on this weekend.

After a visit to the wonderful Ramsgate Organic Markets (near Brighton-Le-Sands in Sydney) on Saturday morning, I baked 2 dozen Hot Cross Buns, then on Sunday a Berry Almond Cake and a humongous crusty Italian loaf, all of which ended up at mum and dads for our usual Sunday family feast.

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Though I didn’t end up tasting the cake I was told it was ‘the best cake ever’ so I thought I’d share…

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Berry And Almond Yoghurt Cake

150g butter – cut into cubes

155g castor sugar

2 eggs

10g vanilla extract

250g plain flour

15g baking powder

200g plain Greek style yoghurt

100g fresh blueberries

100g fresh raspberries

85g flaked almonds

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Preheat oven to 180oC. Butter a 19cm square cake tin and line with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar, using an electric beater or stand mixer, until light and fluffy. In a small bowl lightly whisk the eggs and vanilla then very slowly add to the butter mix being sure to scape down the sides a couple of times. This should take a couple of minutes, you don’t want to rush this part or the mix will split.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and add half to the butter mix along with half the yoghurt. Stir until just combined then add the rest of the flour and yoghurt and a few berries and stir until combined. Try not to over mix it.

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Spoon into baking tin and smooth the surface. Scatter with the almonds and remaining berries and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Take out of the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for 20 – 30 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve as is or with a spoonful of yoghurt.

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Enjoy…

Birthday….

 No recipe post today.
Just wanted to show off the Minion cake my niece made me for my birthday.

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Very clever…
Thanks Ronie.

There was also Lemon and Passionfruit Cheesecake from my wonderful husband and some Red Velvet Cupcakes from my niece Beckie.

The other cake was for my Mum. Fig, Pistachio and Ginger with a Pomegranate Cream Cheese Icing. That one I made and will be sharing the recipe a little later.

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Thanks to the great little cooks…

Lona

Chocolate and Ginger Cupcakes

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I think I went a little mad on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

The baking bug got a hold of me and wouldn’t let go easily.

I ended up with banana bread, choc. Ginger cupcakes, rocky road biscuits, ginger and date scones and a gluten free sponge cake with cream and jam. Madness I tell you, but oh so much fun.

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Everything ended up going to my mum and dads for Sunday lunch. What a feast.

I’m still not done baking though. Hot Cross Buns I think. Yeah I’ll be making some today.

In the meantime enjoy these lovely rich cupcakes.

For 12 cup cakes you need:-

65g butter

150g golden syrup

80g castor sugar

2 eggs

160g plain flour

10g baking powder

40g cocoa

5g bicarb.

10g ground ginger

3Tbls finely chopped glacé ginger

Chocolate Fudge Icing

70g butter

3Tbls water

80g castor sugar

180g icing sugar

3Tbls cocoa powder

To make the cake place the butter, golden syrup and sugar in a medium saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar has melted. Leave to cool about 5 minutes.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients until well combined and spoon evenly into patty lined muffin tins.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool completely before icing.

For the icing combine the water, butter and castor sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa together in a bowl and stir in the water and butter mixture until smooth.

Refrigerate until set.

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When you’re ready to ice your cakes simply beat the icing mixture a little to make it easier to spread.

I was feeling a little fancy so I piped the icing but spreading it on the cake is very acceptable.

These went down a treat after Sunday lunch at my mum and dads.

Enjoy…

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Chocolate Cherry Mud Cake..

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So, as promised, here is the recipe for the chocolate  cherry  mud cake I made  the other week for my sisters birthday…

(“Can I Really Eat It??”  Gluten Free Caramel and Prune  Mud Cake)

This is NOT one for those who opt for sugar-free baking, but a sliver of this cake is just heavenly.

In a saucepan over low heat gently melt 250g butter with 200g dark chocolate, 300g castor sugar, 220g syrup from a 670g jar of pitted morello cherries and 60g brandy, stirring often until smooth.

Once melted take off the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Then stir in 3 lightly beaten free range eggs.

Now stir in 225g plain flour along with 15g baking powder and 50g cocoa. Then gently stir through the drained cherries from the jar(I think it came to about 300g of cherries)

Pour the mix into a lined deep cake tin and bake @ 150c for between 1  1/2 to 1  3/4  of an hour.

Let it cool completely before decorating with fresh cream, a few cherries and some chocolate shavings.

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This was a very moist, luscious cake. Went down well with a strong cup of coffee.

Enjoy…

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“Can I Really Eat It??” Gluten Free Caramel and Prune Mud Cake.

imageMore birthdays this week.

The youngest siblings are twins and its their birthday.

We had a sibling night out on Friday and went to the local bistro (Grumpy’s in Hurlstone Park) celebrating birthdays, new jobs, and returns home from holidays. There was seven of us (one sister couldn’t make it but a niece could) Six girls and one boy. Quite the mad gang we are when we get together too.

I love the way we each order a separate meal and while eating cut of  chunks of our own meals and drop them into each others plates Or simply reach over and help ourselves to each others plates and meals.

We then ordered 5 different desserts, plonked them in the middle of the table and went for it. Forks clashed and flew I tell you. Luckily we had one of the beer gardens to ourselves. We had a great time.

Yesterday was cake making day. I spent most of the day trialling and making dessert for more family madness at mum and dads  today for family lunch.

Two birthdays means two cakes. One sister chose a Choc and Cherry Mud Cake  while the other (being a celiac) requested a Gluten Free Caramel Mud Cake.

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So lets go with the GF cake this time and I’ll do the choc cherry next time…..

To a medium saucepan add 185g butter, 150g white chocolate, 320g milk (I used soy), 100g glucose syrup, and 200g chopped pitted prunes and 50g chopped pitted dates. Put it over a medium heat and gently melt it all together, squashing the dates and prunes with a spoon on the sides of the saucepan.

Once the butter and chocolate has melted and the whole lot is smooth, take it off the heat and let it cool down for 10 minutes.

Now beat in 2 eggs and then fold in 250g Gluten Free Plain Flour mix (I use Orgran) and 20g gluten free baking powder.

Pour the whole lot into a lined deep 22cm round cake tin and bake at 150c for 55-60 minutes.

I let that cool overnight. This morning got up and made caramel ganache for the topping.

Simply heat 200ml cream to just before boiling and pour it over  a combination of 300g of white chocolate and caramel baking buttons. Leave it for a couple of minutes then stir until smooth.

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Let it set for a couple of hours or until its the consistency you want it to be and then spread it over the top of your cake.

Happy Birthday Jacky and Vicky.

Enjoy…image

Gluten free delight – gluten and sugar free banana, date and seed bread.

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The no added sugar banana bread I made a few weeks ago proved to be quite popular.  This time around I attempted a gluten free version so my sister could enjoy it too. She was diagnosed a celiac a few years back,  so I try out new recipes with wheat ingredients and then adapt them to make them gluten free.

Gluten free baking is daunting at first, but once you’ve done the research and bought the proper ingredient it can be very rewardng and delicious. A lot of recipes ask for several different flours but I’ve been using Orgran Gluten Free Flour and find the only thing I really need to add is Xanthum gum (which I think some supermarkets stock but I just fill a container from my sisters stock).

I had tried other brands while I was working at a bakery, but Orgran seemed to work the best.

So here’s the Gf, Sf banana bread…..image

In a bowl mix together:

250g gluten free plain flour

2g bicarb

5g baking powder

3g table salt

5g Xanthum gum

Set aside.

Cream 120g butter  with 120g chopped dates and 40g glucose syrup (make sure it’s made from corn and gluten free) until the dates have broken down and blended really well with the butter. Add 1 egg (free range)  and beat well.  Add 280g peeled and roughly chopped banana and mix in.

Next throw in the flour mix and 150g milk (I used soy) at the last minute I also added 60g of seed mix (this is a mix I make up which consists of chia seeds, flaxseeds, pepita seeds and sunflower seeds. It’s great sprinkled on cereal  or  on the top of homemade bread before baking).  Mix well.

Spread mix into a baking paper lined loaf tin and bake at 180c for about 70 – 80 minutes.image

It’s actually surprisingly sweet for something that has no sugar added.

Enjoy…

 

“No Added Sugar” Banana Bread

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Sugar….

Just about everybody loves it. Unfortunately though, too much is a bad thing. Sad but true.

My challenge was to come up with a sweet treat that wasn’t sugar sweetened.

Fruit would be the way to go. In particular Banana’s.

“Banana’s contain sugar” I hear you say. True, but they also contain potassium, are a great source of antioxidant,  taste so darn good and the less ripe the fruit the lower the G.I.  Perfect.

I decided to work with the previously posted Banana and Coffee Bread recipe.

After a few ingredient adjustments and a couple of  trial bakes, the final recipe  resulted in a very moist, ‘ no sugar added’  sweet Banana Bread.

Try it. It’s terribly simple to make and absolutely delicious.

sugar free banana bread 1

You’ll need:

120g butter cut into cubes (I use salted)

120g chopped dates

1 large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

60g milk (I used soy)

150g plain wholemeal flour

100g plain flour

5g baking powder

2g bicarb soda

5g ground cinnamon

250g banana – not too ripe

80g  chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, beat the butter and dates together until the dates are all broken up and mixed really well with the butter.  Add the egg, vanilla and roughly chopped banana and beat until it’s all mashed up.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, bicarb and cinnamon and throw it all into the bowl with the banana. Pour in the milk and mix until combined. Stir in the walnuts.

Spread into a lined loaf tin and bake at 180c for 55 – 60 minutes or until brown.sugar free banana bread 2

My next challenge will be to make it  gluten and sugar free. My sister’s a coeliac and  a tough critic.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Enjoy…

Banana and Coffee Bread

In the mood for some banana bread…

I’ve made this many times and each time I tend to add something different or change the recipe a little, but it always seems to turn out really nice. It takes like 10 minutes to prepare. Lots of banana keep it  very moist.

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In an electric mixer cream together 110g butter and 160g castor sugar. Beat in 1 egg. Add 250g plain flour, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate Of soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp fine salt, 75ml milk (I use soy), 225g  smashed up banana and mix altogether to form a batter. Throw in 60g chopped walnuts (optional) and this time I added 1 1/2 tbs instant coffee granules for something different.

Pour batter into a baking paper lined loaf tin and bake at 180c for about 1 hour.

Having just tasted a piece I can tell you, the coffee works. Could have even added a little more.

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Yum!

Enjoy…

Rainbow Cake

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Yet another Birthday. My sister’s turns #? on Wednesday but Sunday is family get together day so Sunday, we eat cake.

Katy’s cake of choice this year – Rainbow Cake. Fine choice too.

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A very simple Vanilla Butter Cake – With an electric mixer, beat together 250g chopped butter with 220g castor sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in 4 eggs (one at a time) with 2 tsp vanilla extract. Next sift in 80g almond meal (ground almond), 260g plain flour, 10g baking powder and pour in 60ml milk. Mix on low speed until well combined. Divide batter into 3 bowls, add a few drops of food colouring and mix well.

(This particular cake had 6 layers so I made this recipe twice.)

Butter and line 3x18cm cake tins. Pour each coloured batter into a separate tin and bake at 160c for 22 minutes or until cooked. Let the cakes cool for a few minutes in the tin then take them out and let them cool completely on wire racks.

Cream cheese icing – In electric mixer beat 250g chopped butter with 250g cream cheese until white and very smooth. Gradually beat in 500g sifted icing mixture and finish of with 2 tsp vanilla extract.

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Now just spread cakes with icing and put them on top of each other. Leave enough icing to cover the sides of the cake.

Decorate with whatever sweets you (or whoever’s eating) like and serve.

Happy Birthday Katy.

EnjoyImage