Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Alabama Jam Cake.

My thanks for this recipe goes to Dan who messaged me on my Blog, with this, his grandmother’s recipe. She used to bake it on an open fire, with no temperature, just “add another log and close the damper”. Not even the slightest bit of Cornishness in it, but it is a simple, unusual, easy bake and you all know I love those!

I followed the message up and looked into the history of this US Southern cake and nowadays it often has spices and chopped pecans added, along with a caramel frosting. I decide to add a touch of spice. The jam traditionally used is blackberry [seedless?] as that would have been the cheapest fruit available for jam making. [I raided my daughter’s cupboard after last years’s jam making!] You can also split it when cold and add more jam! [or use two sponge tins?]

I have converted Dan’s recipe to UK imperial measurements and also halved it! It was an enormous cake. Families would have been large.

You will need an 9 inch spring form cake tin, or as I have used, a tray bake tin, at least 2 inches deep, buttered and lined, with parchment hanging over the long ends. Mine was 12 x 8 inches. Pre heat your fan oven to 170C

3 oz butter, softened
7 oz caster sugar
3 eggs
4 tablespoonfuls buttermilk
10 oz plain flour
1 teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda
1 cup blackberry jam - 5 oz
[a teaspoonful of mixed spice if you wish]
[I also finely chopped a few pecans to give it some extra texture]

I was given no method. So used the ingredients as listed. Cream the butter and sugar together until thick then add the eggs one at a time. Continue whisking until thick and creamy.  Stir in the buttermilk along with the flour, bicarb and spice.  Mix well then add the jam, folding it in until well incorporated. Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 30-35 mins, until firm to the touch. Longer for a deeper cake. Leave in the tin for a few minutes then lift onto a cooling rack. Cut into squares to serve. Nowadays this cake has a caramel topping drizzled over. I like plain though.

Well, quite a revelation! Just delicious. The smell while baking was wonderful. Jam stirred into cake mix? Whoever thought of that!  Thank you Dan, for the recipe and the memories of your grandmother.

Note: if you wish to drizzle over some caramel:
7 oz caster sugar
3 tablespoonfuls butter
8 tablespoonfuls double cream 
½ teaspoonful salt [more if you want salted caramel]

In a medium pan, place the sugar over a medium heat and stirring occasionally allow the sugar to melt. Don’t panic if it goes lumpy. It will all melt soon! When you have a lovely amber liquid, stir in the butter a bit at a time and then the cream and salt, stirring continuously. Enjoy. Will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Chocolate Hazelnut Praline Cake

A delicious and most unusual rich, dessert cake from the repertoire of my old friend Atty, now passed away. Yes, It does require a bit of extra work making the simple praline, but trust me, it is well worth it. The cake improves with keeping, so please make it a couple of days before using! Not easy, with those wonderful aromas. You can leave it plain or give a light dusting of icing sugar, but I made a small amount of chocolate butter icing and chopped even more hazelnuts over the top. Wow, such a wonderful cake.

You will need a 10” spring form cake tin, lined and pre heat your fan oven to 160C

The praline:
4 oz granulated sugar
4 oz hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Place the above in a heavy medium sized pan over a low heat and allow to melt without stirring. This will take some time. Now increase the heat and cook until the mixture turns a rich brown, shaking the pan now and then, so the nuts do not stick. Have handy a clean, very lightly oiled baking sheet and tip the praline onto the sheet in a thin layer and allow to cool and go brittle. When cold, place into a strong poly bag and bash it with a rolling pin until it is, more or less, a fine powder. Set aside for a mo.

4 oz softened butter
7 oz good quality chocolate
4 eggs separated
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 oz SR flour

In a mixing bowl, melt the butter with the chocolate [in a microwave is fine - or over a pan of simmering water] then beat until really smooth. Whisk the egg whites until you have stuff peaks. Whisk the egg yolks with the caster until pale and fluffy. Fold the praline into the chocolate mixture, then carefully add the eggs and flour, and lastly fold in the egg whites. 

Tip into your lined cake tin and bake for about 30 mins. Until the edges have shrunk back and springy to the touch. Leave in the tin for 10-15 mins then cool on a rack.

Absolutely well worth the extra effort. Enjoy.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Berry Baked Dessert

A beautiful summer dessert recipe, using berries of your choice. As you can see I used raspberries and blueberries. Blackberries are good too - in fact any berries. Of course these days, seasons for fruit are almost non existent, so you can make it any time. The cinnamon infused Demerara adds a lovely touch.

You will need a 8 inch or similar square pan, I used a 7 x 9 inch, buttered well. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C. The day before place the sugar and cinnamon in a little pot and shake well. Leave it to infuse.

4 oz butter
5½ oz caster sugar
1 teaspoonful baking powder
pinch salt
2 large eggs
½ teaspoonful vanilla bean paste or extract
5 oz plain flour
2 cups full of berries of your choice 
a couple of tablespoonfuls of Demerara sugar mixed with a teaspoonful of ground cinnamon

In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time then stir in the salt, BP and vanilla, along with the flour. Mix well.

Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of your tin and arrange the berries on top. Sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar and bake for 40-45 mins.

Absolutely delicious served warm! And cold.

For those not on our shores - Demerara = Turbinado

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Cheesy Leek and Ham Pie

One of our family favourites. Made with left over roast gammon and shed loads of juicy leeks.
You only find proper whole gammons, reasonably priced in supermarkets at Xmas and Easter so I usually buy 3 or 4 large and cut them in half to freeze. You can make your own Puff pastry, but for this dead easy recipe, and quickness, buy it!

You will need a flat baking tray. Pre heat your fan oven to 210C, Make the filling well in advance as it needs to cool before using.

Cold roast gammon, about 1lb, cubed
3 leeks, tops trimmed and finely sliced
 a little oil
large knob butter
1 tablespoonful plain flour
¼ pint of ham stock [or veg]
3 tablespoonfuls double cream
¼ lb grated cheese. Mild Edam perhaps or stronger Cheddar- your choice
2 heaped tablespoonfuls fresh chopped parsley
fresh ground pepper
Puff Pastry [about a 1lb]
1 egg, beaten for brushing
grated parmesan for sprinkling

Take a large fry pan and fry the leeks in the oil and butter until starting to soften, add the flour and stir well, then add the stock and let it bubble for a moment. Turn the heat off and add the gammon, cream, parsley and cheese. Season with the pepper, but hold the salt. You do not need that because of the gammon. Mix well and allow to go cold.

Take half of the pastry and roll it into about a 11 inch circle. Not too thick. Place this on your baking sheet. Brush the beaten egg around the outer 1½ inches. Tip the cold mixture in the centre, making a sort of dome, keeping it away from the edges.  Roll out the other half of the pastry and fit over the top, pinching the edges together.

Now, being a Cornishwoman I crimp the edges, but you can turn it inwards and press with a fork if you prefer! As long as it is well sealed.

I like to make a criss cross pattern, like Heavy Cake, it’s up to you. Poke a small hole in the top for the steam to come out then sprinkle grated parmesan over generously. Do you like my little leaves? I used a Xmas holly cutter and they look so ridiculous. Artistic I am not! I don’t generally do stuff like that!

Bake for about 35-40 mins until the pastry is golden brown! Turn down to 190 after 20 mins. Don’t serve it right away, it is far better if left to cool for 20-30 mins. Great cold too.

Serve with wonderful Cornish new potatoes and a green veg.

Oh my!! This is an amazing recipe.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Pineapple and Sultana Cake

A wonderful boiled cake recipe from my old friend Atty. It is quite similar to one I posted not long after I started this Blog/page in 2013. I like the use of a single fruit type and the spice is optional. So simple, but prepare the first part the night before or in the morning for baking in the afternoon
Make sure your large saucepan is big enough to allow for the frothing when you add the bicarb!

You will need a 8 inch spring form cake tin, greased and lined. Pre heat your fan oven to 150C.

5 oz butter
8 oz golden caster sugar
1 lb sultanas
8 oz drained crushed pineapple from a tin
1 teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda
2 large beaten eggs
9 oz SR flour
1 teaspoonful mixed spice, if you wish

In a large saucepan, place the butter, sugar, fruit and pineapple and bring to the boil, then simmer for ten minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the bicarb. Allow to go cold. Stir in the beaten eggs, flour and spice.

Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 2 hours, maybe a little less, I turned mine down to 140C after 1 hr and placed a sheet of foil over the top.

Oh my! So moist and utterly delicious. A good keeper, in fact it is best if you can leave it for 2 or 3 days before cutting. 

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Apricot Tea Bread

Apricots are one of my favourite fruits, either fresh or dried. It is not often you find a cake, with such an unusual method, where apricots are the star! A delicious, moist and unusual oaty teabread, served sliced and buttered!

You will need a 2lb loaf tin, greased and with a strip of parchment along the long sides, hanging over to help you lift it out. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C.

12 oz soft light brown sugar
10 oz dried apricots chopped
2 tablespoonfuls of runny honey
8 oz medium oats
1 pint whole milk
8 oz SR flour
1 teaspoonful cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, soak the sugar, apricots, oats in the honey and milk overnight. In the morning, stir in the flour and spice. How easy is that? Very different method.

Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 1½ hours until firm to the touch. Turning down to 150C after about 55-60 mins. Cool in the tin for a few minutes before cooling on a rack. Allow to go cold, slice and butter. 

Just lovely! Stays moist for a few days.

Note: easily halved. Reduce the cooking time and use a 1lb tin