Mar 23, 2012

Earl Grey Tealoaf

I used to hate things like this, didn't like fruit in cakes and buns at all. In fact, hard as it may be to believe but I used not like baked goods at all. Yes, I was MUCH skinnier back then! I didn't know what I was missing out on though, and once I started to change recipes to suit what I do like then I discovered that actually, fruity cakes aren't that bad at all. So here's my take on the humble tea loaf...made a bit fancier with posh tea and a variety of fruits.

Makes 1 loaf

350g mixture of sultanas, dried apricots and dried dates plus the zest of one lemon
140g dark muscovado sugar 
300ml hot black tea made with 2 earl grey teabags
300g self-raising flour
1 large egg

1. Put the fruit and sugar in a bowl and pour over the hot tea. Stir well, then cover and leave to soak overnight (I actually leave it for 2-3 days).

2. To cook, heat oven to 150C/gas mark 2 and lightly grease a 1lb loaf tin and line with a wide strip of baking parchment (helps lift it out when it's done).

3. Stir the flour and egg into the fruit mixture, turn into the tin and level the surface. Bake for about an hour and a half until well risen and a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean.

4. Cool for a few mins in the tin then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool fully.

Gorgeous on it's own, spread with butter, toasted, or if you're feeling really bad fried with butter and golden syrup! Can be frozen too if you're making it ahead of a party or something, just wrap it in tinfoil and allow to thaw at room temperature.

Sticky Ginger Cupcakes

Well, buns really. They were meant to be cupcakes but I had no muffin cases left so I made them in bun cases instead. I LOVE ginger. LOVE it. Ginger bread, ginger in stir-frys, ginger beer, ginger biscuits. It's up there with lemon as one of my favourite flavourings so it will come as no surprise to you all that these buns did not last long in our kitchen...or that the leftover icing was eaten from the mixing bowl with a spoon...

Sticky Gingerbread Buns
(makes about 16 buns, less if using muffin cases for proper cupcakes)
Cake mix
115g plain flour
2tsp ground ginger
three-quarter tsp ground cinnamon
1 piece stem ginger, finely chopped
three-quarter tsp bicarbonate of soda
4tbsp milk
85 butter, softened
70g soft dark brown sugar
2tbsp black treacle
2 eggs, lightly beaten

85g butter, softened
175g icing sugar
2tbsp syrup from the stem ginger
1 piece stem ginger, finely sliced, to decorate

1. Preheat oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Line bun tins with paper cases (or muffin tins with muffin cases).

2. Sift the flour, ground ginger and cinnamon together into a bowl. Add the chopped ginger and toss in the flour mixture until it is well coated. Place the bicarbonate of soda and milk in another small bowl and stir to dissolve. 

3. Beat the sugar and butter together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the treacle, then gradually mix in the eggs. beat in the flour mix, then gradually add the milk mix. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases.

4. Bake in the oven for 20 mins, or until well risen and golden brown. Allow to cool for 2 mins in the trays before removing to a wire rack and allowing to cool fully.

5. To make the icing put the butter in a bowl and beat until fluffy. Add the icing sugar and syrup and beat together until smooth and creamy. Spread the icing on top of each 
completely cold bun, then decorate with pieces of the stem ginger.

(You can turn these into gingernut buns by adding 40g finely chopped walnuts or pecans to the mix and then sprinkling with a few chopped nuts when iced).

Frosted Yoghurt Orange Cake

I found this recipe in GoodFood's 2012 calendar (it's the January recipe). GoodFood do this calender every January issue and it is month upon month of delicious recipes and gorgeous food photography. As is their entire magazine every month actually. Go on, go out and buy a copy. I'll wait...

Anyway, this is a great post-Christmas treat (she says in the middle of March). It's tangy and not too sweet so ideal for the post-chocolate period when we've all eaten far too much. It's also dead handy to throw together if you're expecting people at short notice - almost everyone has a jar of marmalade and some yoghurt hiding in their fridge.

175g unsalted butter, melted and cooled (plus extra for greasing)
225g self-raising flour
175g caster sugar
grated zest of 2 oranges
3 large eggs
150g pot of natural yoghurt

250g tub mascarpone
85g icing sugar
3 tbsp fine shred marmalade

1. Heat oven to 180C/Gas 4. Grease a 1kg loaf tin, then line with a strip of parchment.

2. Mix the flour, sugar and orange zest in a large bowl.

3. Beat the eggs, melted butter and yoghurt together in a jug. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well.

4. Tip the batter into the loaf tin, smooth the top and bake for 50mins-1 hour (until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean). Cool in the tin.

5. To make the frosting beat the mascarpone, icing sugar and marmalade together with a spoon until well mixed. Remove the COLD cake from the tin and strip off lining paper. Spread the top with the frosting and pop in the fridge to chill. Return to room temp before eating. Enjoy!

Another Apology

Yes, again...
As always I've been very neglectful of my blogging duties - this blog hasn't been updated since June LAST YEAR - apologies to anyone who starved whilst awaiting further recipes...

Anyway. I have been busy (and further to my last post the whole dieting thing died a death!). We've moved house - TWICE! I started college. I left college. We got engaged. My brother emigrated. We welcomed new babies into our extended circle of family and friends. I turned 30 (I know, I know, I'm really very old now aren't I?). Lots of other minor bit and pieces have happened that don't spring to mind now (and others that do but I'd rather keep to myself, I'm sure you understand).

So hello again to all. I am hoping that 2012 will be a more productive year for me, both in the kitchen and outside of it. Let me know if there's any recipes you'd like to see here and I'll do my best to accommodate you.