Thursday, 31 May 2018

Rich Plum Cake

Now this recipe is very different from your usual fruit cake, with some very different ingredients, [tin strawberries??]  but trust me, it is very good, so deliciously moist and fruity. A little eccentric perhaps, but give it a try, one dull afternoon! I found this is the old Talking about Cakes book from the 1970s. 

You will need a 7 or 8 “ spring form tin, greased and lined. Pre heat your fan oven to 130C. I used an 8”.

4 oz butter
4 oz soft dark brown sugar
1 oz dark chocolate, melted
4 oz plain flour
small half teaspoon cinnamon
small half teaspoon mixed spice
small half teaspoon nutmeg
3 large eggs, separated,
4 oz glacé cherries
4 oz chopped almonds
8 oz raisins
8 oz sultanas
8 oz currants
6 oz mixed peel
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tin strawberries, drained
Whiskey or Rum to soak the cake when baked

In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar, then beat in the melted chocolate. Whisk the egg whites until fairly stiff.

Mix the flour and spices then roughly divide into 3. Add the first 3rd to the creamed mixture, together with the egg yolks and beat thoroughly. Add the second part to the stiffly beaten egg whites. Assemble all the dried fruit then add the last 3rd to the fruit. Mix all three parts together along with the lemon juice and the well drained strawberries.

Tip into your prepared tin and bake in a slow oven for about 2 hours. 

When cooked and still in the tin, pour over about 4 tablespoons of your chosen spirit!! I used Rum. Leave for a while, for the booze to soak through, then cool on a rack. 

As you can imagine, it is absolutely beautiful, well worth the effort. A great keeper too.

No more recipes for a few weeks. See you at the end of July with a very special recipe!

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Coffee and Walnut Muffins

I do love making muffins and these are just great, using wonderful Camp Coffee and Buttermilk.  For years I never used Camp but then saw it in their new bottle and re discovered how good it is to bake with. It will always be a store cupboard favourite now!

Lightly oil [or spray] the cups of your 12 hole muffin tin. You could use cases if you wish. I often don’t bother.  Pre heat your fan oven to 170C

9 oz plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
3 oz each of caster and soft dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 oz chopped walnuts
3 teaspoons of Camp Coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 large egg
110 ml sunflower oil
225 ml buttermilk or whole milk [you know what I used]

In a large bowl place the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Mix the wet ingredients in a large jug and tip the wet into the dry.  Done. How easy is that?

¾ fill the tin/cases and bake for about 25 mins. Leave to cool in the tin for about 5 mins then lift out and cool on a rack.

Make a camp coffee butter icing and place or pipe a swirl on the top of each muffin along with half a walnut.

Just delicious. Piece of cake!

Note: have you tried the spray greaser “cake release”. Just a fast squirt for things like bun and muffin tins? Very handy.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Date Delights

This old recipe was printed on the back of a bag of McDougalls flour many decades ago. Now, I love anything with dates! Who doesn’t? These little squares are so delicious. The original used marg, as you can imagine.

You will need an approx 2” high square tin, about 10” x 7”, well buttered and line the base. pre heat your fan oven to 160C

4 oz softened butter
4 oz demerera sugar
2 eggs, beaten
4 oz chopped dates
4 oz plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 small teaspoonful vanilla extract

Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs, dates, vanilla and flour and beat until well combined.

Spread the mixture over your prepared tin and level off.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Leave in the tin to cool for a short while, then cut into 16 squares. [I turned it upside down between two racks to take it out]

Yum yum. Very simple easy baking at its best

Friday, 18 May 2018

Butterscotch Squares

Another of my favourite tray bakes, originally from the Ladies of the WI. You can make this with either a rich buttery shortcrust pastry or rough puff. I personally love the crumbly texture of shortcrust, but flakey is good too!! I have posted my shortcrust recipe dozens of times. Or you can buy some, of course.

You will need a Swiss Roll tin 7” x 11”, well buttered and the base lined.  Pre heat your fan oven to 190C

Shortcrust pastry, using 8 oz plain flour.

The Filling:
4 oz butter
4 oz demerera sugar
4-6 oz sultanas
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoonful caster sugar

Roll out just over half of the pastry to line the base of your tin, going up the sides too, trim.

In a saucepan, melt the butter then stir in the sugar, sultanas, egg and vanilla. Beat well, then leave to cool.

Roll out the remaining pastry to fit the top of the tin. Spread the base with the filling, then cover with the pastry topping. Press the edges together and neaten off. Score the top, through the pastry, making a diamond pattern. Brush with milk and sprinkle with the caster sugar.

Bake for about 40 mins. Allow to cool for a bit before cutting into squares, with a sharp knife.  Delish.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Apple Scone Cake

This lovely treat is another recipe from my friend Pam, who lives near Hayle, although her family hailed from Looe. She has been so kind sharing many of her favourite recipes. Serve warm with lashings of fresh butter, but equally delicious cold, the wedges freeze perfectly. Just “nuke” for a few moments to bring it back to just baked perfection.

You will need a lightly buttered baking sheet and pre heat your fan oven to 200C. Because you do not want the grated apple to go brown, get everything prepped and ready to go, then grate immediately into the flour mix.

1 medium/large cooking apple
8 oz plain flour
large pinch salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
ground cinnamon to taste
2 oz butter
2 oz golden caster sugar
about 4 fl oz whole milk [or buttermilk]
1 oz demerera sugar for sprinkling

In a medium bowl, rub the butter into the flour, salt and bp until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the caster sugar and mix well.

Peel then grate the apple into the mixture and quickly mix to a soft, but not sticky, dough with the milk, you might not need all the milk.  Shape into about an 8 inch round and place on your baking sheet. Brush with a little more milk, if you wish, and sprinkle over the demerera. Mark into 8 wedges wth a sharp knife - about half way through the dough.

Bake in your pre heated oven for about 25 mins. Cool on a wire rack for a while, until cool enough to divide, split and butter. Yum yum

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Carol H’s Coconut Squares

The recipe for these absolutely scrumptious tray bake squares was given to me by Carol, a Bridge friend from Bissoe. She rarely makes them because they are too nice! She found the recipe many decades ago, in an old magazine. 

You will need a buttered Swiss Roll tin, about 9 x 13 inches and line the base with parchment.
Pre heat your fan oven to 160C

6 oz plain chocolate [I used 70% cocoa solids]
4 oz glacé cherries
4 oz sultanas
4 oz butter, 
6 oz caster sugar
2 eggs
8 oz desiccated coconut

Break up your chocolate and place it is a small basin over a saucepan of simmering water, until melted. [or, like me, use the microwave]

Stir until the chocolate has melted, then spread it over the paper on the base of the tin. Place in the fridge to harden.

Wash the cherries and chop, then roughly chop the sultanas too.  Cream the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy then add the eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each addition, then add the fruits and coconut. Spread the mixture evenly over the chocolate base, and bake for about 30-35 mins.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool and go complexly cold and the chocolate to harden.
Cut into approx 30 squares.

Just wonderful. Thank you Carol.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Buttered Saffron Cake Pudding

This is an old Cornish version of the traditional Bread and Butter pudding but becomes particularly “ours” when substituting stale Saffron Cake for the bread. In olden days the cake went stale quite quickly so this pudding uses up the left overs. Our ancestors hated waste, so inventing  some of our best recipes!

This old recipe uses whole eggs for the custard, instead of yolks, as we usually do these days. Plus no cornflour. The whites will thicken the mix but it will be less yellow, so I added a few extra strands of saffron. I follow the recipe as per our ancestors! You can’t alter perfection!  Also we do not need any vanilla to flavour as we have the wonderful saffron.

You will need a medium ovenproof dish, well buttered. Cook in a “moderate oven” i.e. fan 160C

You can make your own Saffron Cake of course, I often do, but this time I went into Rowe’s and bought one!, took off the wrapping and cut into slices, not too thick [a small cake will cut into 9 good slices easily serving 6-8]. Leave out for 3 or 4 hours until starting to go stale.

Stale Saffron Cake, buttered
Brown Sugar - I used demerera
Orange zest
Granulated or demerera for sprinkling over the top
a few Currants
Butter for spreading

For the custard:
4 large eggs, whisked
1 pint warm whole milk [see note]
2 tablespoons caster sugar
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Sprinkle the bottom generously of your buttered “fireproof” dish with brown sugar [I love that old fashioned expression!] then cover with a layer of saffron cake slices - butter side up. Add a few extra currants and a little zest to taste. Repeat this with the cake slices running in the opposite direction. Continue until the dish is full but do not place extra currants on the top layer. I ended up with three layers of cake. Lots of extra pics on my Blog.

Make the custard:

Warm the whole milk with the caster sugar and nutmeg until almost boiling. Remove from the heat, then whisk in the eggs. Sieve this mixture and then place back in the pan and cook until it starts to thicken, whisking all the time.

Pour the custard through the gaps in the the saffron cake but do not fully immerse the top layer. Cover the last layer with some demerera sugar and bake until the custard is well set - about 30 mins.

The original recipe tells you to serve it with plenty of clotted cream! Allow to cool for 15- 20 mins before serving.

Well I never, how scrumptious. Dare I say one of the most delicious and perfect desserts a Cornishman or woman can eat!!

Note: Double cream may be substituted for milk when making the custard or half and half. I used just whole milk.

2nd note: very few calories in this dessert!!