Apple & Cinnamon Layer Cake

INGREDIENTS:
For the crisps:

  • 65g caster sugar
  • 40ml water
  • 1 firm eating apple
  • a few pinches of ground cinnamon

For the cakes:

  • 4 eggs
  • 340g plain flour
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2-3 eating apples – you need 200g grated
  • 200g coconut oil, solid
  • 340g light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

For the icing:

  • 350g mascarpone
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 130C for the crisps. Put the sugar and water into a small saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves and it starts bubbling. Pour into a bowl to cool.
  2. Cut the apple in half, top to bottom, and remove the stalk. Use a mandolin to cut thin slices of the apple – I used my thinnest setting. Set the slices onto a parchment lined baking tray. Use a pastry brush to thinly coat the slices with some of the syrup. Sprinkle over a little cinnamon. Put the tray into the oven and bake for 30 minutes then turn the oven off and leave to cool inside. Remove from the oven and place into a sealed tin or box.

  3. To start the cakes, preheat the oven to 180C. Grease two 6″ cake tins and line the bottoms with baking parchment. Wipe a clean mixing bowl down with a piece of lemon (to remove any little bits of grease). Separate the eggs, putting the egg whites into the lemony bowl (to be whipped later) and the yolks into a cup/bowl. Sieve the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt onto a plate or bowl. Peel the apples then grate them – weigh and make you have 200g (don’t add extra, it’ll throw the liquid balance off
  4. Put the coconut oil and brown sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium until fluffy and paler than before – about 4 minutes. Add the yolks one by one, beating well and scraping down in between each addition. Take off the machine and tip in the 200g of grated apple and the lemon juice. Fold together. Get your egg whites and whip them (I do this by hand because I think it’s simpler, but you could transfer the apple mix to another bowl and very throughly clean the mixer bowl and use the machine, or use a hand beater) until they hold stiff peaks (be careful not to overdo it – a spike on the end of the beater should hold upright with a little waver – it won’t be as firm as meringue).
  5. Fold half of the sieved dry ingredients into the apple mix, carefully but throughly, scraping the sides and bottom. Add half of the whipped egg whites and fold them in, followed by the rest of the flour, then the rest of the egg whites. It takes a little bit of patience but you need to get it evenly combined (no lumps of flour or big streaks of egg white) without losing too much air. Divide the mixture between the two tins, level, then form a dip in the middle.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes until domed, cracked, golden and a skewer comes out cleanly from the middle. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove from the tin and leave to cool. When the oven has turned off and cooled down a little, I gave the crisps a crunch boost by leaving them in there for a few minutes.
  7. Make the icing as the cakes bake or cool. Place the mascarpone into a bowl and beat until smooth. Sieve over the icing sugar, pour in the lemon and beat again. Keep in the fridge until you need it.
  8. When the cakes are barely warm (or cold) you can start cutting – use a sharp serrated knife to cut the dome away from the top, trying to keep as flat as possible. Work out where the halfway line is on the remaining cake and carefully score all the way around with your knife, then go around cutting deeply to split the cake (this should help guide the knife so you get an even cut).
  9. Place one of the cakes onto a clean serving plate. Smooth over 1/4 of the icing, going right out and almost over the edge. Add the next layer and repeat until finished. Finally arrange the crisps on top. Best immediately, keeps assembled for a day in the fridge (will be quite different to fresh), plain cake for 3-4 days in a tin.

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Peaches with Ginger, Pecan & Brown Sugar Cake

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 8″ round cake
for ginger-pecan cake:

  • 1 cup (140 gr) All purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 gr) toasted pecans, finely ground
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 1 1/2 tspn baking soda
  • 30 gr (1 oz) fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 cup (200 gr) lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of the cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. If desired, use bake-even strips.
  2. Whisk together the flour, toasted and ground pecans, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a mixer bowl, combine the grated ginger, brown sugar, and butter. Cream on medium until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  5. Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the whole milk. Beat well after each addition, but do not overmix.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Smooth the top with the back of a spatula if necessary. Bake for ~60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out cleanly. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan and cooling completely.

for brown sugar frosting:

  • 2 1/2 Tbspn All Purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1/2 cup (50 gr) dark brown sugar
METHOD:
  1. Combine the flour and milk in a small saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat until the mixture thickens considerably. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Stir in the vanilla.
  2. In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy and the sugar is no longer grainy. Beat in the flour and milk mixture.
  3. Spread over cake.

for topping:

  • 2 large peaches, sliced

METHOD:

  1. Arrange the peach slices atop cake.

Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt

Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt

Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt Stack

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 8oz block cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup strawberry jam
  • 1 1/2 cup 0% or 1% milk
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

METHOD:

  1. In a large bowl, beat together the yogurt, cream cheese, and jam until there are no clumps in the mix.
  2. Add in the milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and beat until fully mixed.
  3. Pour the base into an ice cream maker and freeze using the manufacturer’s directions.
  4. Let the frozen ice cream sit out for 5 minutes before scooping and serving to soften.

Peanut Butter Banana Granola

Peanut Butter Banana Granola

Peanut Butter Banana Granola Ingredients

 

INGREDIENTS:

(Makes about 3 cups)

  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips(optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts(optional)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the banana, oats, syrup, peanut butter, oil, cinnamon, vanilla and salt until evenly mixed.
  3. Spread the oats out in a thin layer on a non-stick baking surface.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, breaking up the oats into clusters about 20 minutes into baking.
  5. When the clusters are golden and firm, remove them from the oven and let them cool.
  6. Once the granola has cooled, add chocolate chips or nuts if using. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator when not eating. 

Swedish Caramel Almond Cake (Toscakaka)

INGREDIENTS:

For the cake:
  • 70ml milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
For the topping:
  • 150g flaked almonds
  • 125g butter
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • 50ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder (optional, could replace with vanilla)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 160C.
  2. Grease a deep 9″ round tin (preferably with a removable bottom) and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  3. Stir the lemon juice into the milk and leave to sit (to make buttermilk, you can replace with 75ml if you have it on hand).
  4. Toast the almond flakes in a oven tray for 5-7 minutes until they’re a light golden brown, then set aside.
  5. Melt the butter in a saucepan then pour into a bowl and leave to cool (keep the pan to use later).
  6. Whip the eggs, sugar and vanilla together on medium-high for 5 minutes, until the mixture is a yellowy-cream colour and very thick. While it whisks, sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together. Sieve 1/3 of the flour mixture over the egg bowl then gently fold in with a big metal spoon or large spatula. Drizzle half of the milk over the top and fold in. Repeat with the next 1/3 of flour, the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour. Finally drizzle half of the butter over the top, fold in, then repeat with the remaining butter. Be gentle but thorough, scraping the bottom – it’s easy to get little pockets of flour. Carefully transfer to the tin. Tap on the counter once to remove any big air bubbles.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and set – when 15 minutes have gone, start making the topping.
  8. Place the toasted almonds, butter, sugar, milk, salt and espresso powder into the saucepan and stir as the butter melts. Keep heating for a few minutes – it should bubble and thicken slightly.
  9. Turn the oven up to 200C, then remove the cake to a rack and pour the glaze over the top. Spread the almonds out into an even layer. Place in the top of the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until the glaze is dark brown and bubbling.
  10. Cool for a few minutes then slide a knife around the edge of the tin to loosen it and remove the cake to a rack.
  11. Best eaten once it’s cooled to room temperature, though I have to admit to trying a warm slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It keeps well in an airtight tin for two days and is still alright on the third.

(Makes about 8-10 slices)

Passionfruit and Espresso Tosca Cake

Image
INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9-inch round cake
or one 6-inch octagon and four 3-inch hexagonsfor cake

  • 58 g whole milk
  • 75 g passionfruit purée
  • 5 Tbspn (71 g) unsalted butter
  • 150 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • ½ tspn baking soda
  • ¼ tspn salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150 g sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract

for topping

  • 150 g sliced almonds, toasted
  • 9 Tbspn (125 g) unsalted butter
  • 125 g light brown sugar
  • 50 g whole milk
  • ½ tspn salt
  • 1 tspn espresso powder
  • 1 vanilla bean, optional
  • flaked sea salt
METHOD:
  1. for cake. Preheat oven to 165° C. Grease one 9 x 3-inch pastry ring (or equivalent) and place on a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, stir to combine the milk and passionfruit purée. Set aside.
  3. In a small, light-colored saucepan, melt the butter. Continue cooking until the solids drop to the bottom and the butter turns golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  5. Suspend a mixer bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract in the mixer bowl until warm to the touch. Remove from the simmering water and continue whisking on high, until the mixture falls from the whisk in thick ribbons.
  6. In three additions, gently fold in the flour mixture, alternating with the passionfruit and milk mixture. Finally, fold in the melted browned butter, mixing just enough to incorporate the butter. Do not overmix.
  7. Immediately transfer the batter to the prepared pastry ring. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden and set.
  8. for topping. When 15 minutes have passed in the baking time, start the topping. In a saucepan, combine the sliced almonds, butter, brown sugar, milk, salt, and espresso powder. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape the seeds into the saucepan, and add the pods. Cook over medium heat until the butter and sugar melts, then keep cooking for a few minutes longer, stirring frequently, while the mixture bubbles and thickens slightly. Remove from heat and remove the vanilla pods.
  9. Increase the oven to 200° C. Remove the cake from the oven and top with the prepared almonds, smoothing with the back of a spoon. Place the cake in the top third of the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes longer, until the glaze is dark brown and bubbling. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with a small amount of flaked sea salt, and let cool completely on a wire rack. To remove, slide a knife along the inner edge of the ring before lifting the ring off carefully.

Passion fruit Whoopie Pies

INGREDIENTS:
makes 6 large whoopie pies, or numerous more small onesfor cake:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbspn vinegar
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/8 cup black cocoa powder (if you don’t have black cocoa, just substitute regular cocoa powder)
  • 1 tspn sea salt
  • 1 1/4 tspn baking soda
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 scant cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside for five minutes.  (Or, use buttermilk instead of milk and vinegar.)
  3. In a bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, black cocoa, salt, and baking soda.  Set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla extract to the butter mixture, creaming until combined.
  6. Alternatively in three stages, add the dry ingredients and the milk to the butter and eggs, making sure to mix thoroughly between each addition.
  7. Using a piping bag with a large round tip or an ice cream scoop, pour the batter into round shapes on baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper, making sure to leave at least 3-4 inches between each cake
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, adjusting for the size of the whoopie pies.  Cakes are done when they are springy and retain their shape when gently touched.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool completely before filling with frosting.

or passion fruit curd:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 oz. passion fruit nectar/juice/syrup
  • 1/2 oz. water (if using passion fruit syrup or nectar, leave out if using fresh juice)
  • (2 Tbspn sugar, if using passion fruit juice)

METHOD:

  1. Have ready a fine mesh strainer over a bowl.
  2. Combine ingredients in a double boiler.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  3. Immediately strain through the mesh strainer and let cool completely.

for passion fruit frosting:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 5 Tbspn flour
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3-3/4 cups cooled passion fruit curd

METHOD:

  1. Place milk in a medium saucepan.  Scrape in the vanilla bean and throw the whole bean in.  Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, cover, and let steep for ten minutes.
  2. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk.  Add the flour.  Whisking constantly, cook the milk and flour until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  3. In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about five minutes.
  4. Add the passion fruit curd to the butter and whip until combined.
  5. Add the thickened milk mixture to the butter and passion fruit, whisking until light, whipped, and fluffy.  Use immediately.
  6. Pipe the passion fruit frosting onto a cake round and then sandwich with another cake.
  7. Refrigerate to allow the frosting to set before serving.