Coconut Macaroons

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Making these macaroons brings back bittersweet memories for me, mainly due to use of conny onny milk (condensed milk). Conny onny was one of my Nan’s favourite foods. She would eat it with a spoon straight out of the tin or have it on butties.

Unfortunately we lost my Nan just over a year ago. She had been poorly for quite a while with vascular dementia so in many ways we lost her a while ago. Dementia is such an insidious illness, not just for the sufferers but for family and friends too. My Nan was quite a character so to see her so diminished was very hard on us. I like to think wherever she is now that she is causing her usual mayhem!

I think of my Nan every day at 6 o’clock, our scheduled phone call time, whenever I use condensed milk or see a chocolate éclair. She once had me convinced that I was losing the plot. I thought I had repeatedly forgotten  to take my homemade chocolate eclairs out of the freezer. What I hadn’t realised is that Nan had been stealing them as soon as they defrosted!

She really was quite a woman!

Ingredients

45g Plain flour

Pinch of salt

225g desiccated coconut

170ml condensed milk

1tsp vanilla extract

rice paper

a little melted chocolate (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 160 C fan
  2. Line sheets with rice paper
  3. Mix all the remaining ingredients together to make a vey thick paste
  4. Using a dessert spoon or a small ice cream scoop place heaps of mixture onto the rice paper, leaving a little space between each.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes  or until golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool on the tray.
  7. Snap off the excess rice paper around each macaroon.
  8. Drizzle with melted chocolate. 

Greek Coconut cake

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We all have those people that enter our lives, becoming firm friends then through no fault on any part drift apart. There is nothing better than rekindling those friendships years later. I have one such friend, Angela. This blog is dedicated to her.

Last Saturday, Angela hosted a Greek themed dinner party. Whilst Angela provided the main course, I provided the dessert, Baklava and Ravani or Greek Coconut cake. The meal was accompanied by several bottles of prosecco and lots of laughter. To round the evening off we put on the Sing-a-long version of Mama Mia and belted out some classics! Gimme, gimme a man after midnight will never be the same again. Not to mention Angie busting out her clubbersize moves to Voulez Vous! We might be over 40 but we know how to party!

You know it is a good night when you find yourself confronted by your son and grounded for being late home!

This cake is a light, refreshing dessert and an absolute doddle to make.

Cake Ingredients

4 eggs, separated

2 cups of margarine

2 cups of caster sugar

1 cup of plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 cups of desiccated coconut

2 tsp orange oil

 Syrup Ingredients

1.5 cups of icing sugar

Juice of 2 lemons

0.5 cup of water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C  / 160C fan
  2. Grease and base line a 10 inch round deep cake tin.
  3. Cream the marge and sugar together until light and fluffy
  4. Beat in the egg yolks and orange oil
  5. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites with a pinch of sugar until you have stiff peaks.
  6. Fold a third of the egg whites and dry ingredients into the batter
  7. Continue until all the whites and dry ingredients are incorporated.
  8. Bake in the prepared tin for 1 -1 hour 15min or until cooked through when tested with a skewer.
  9. Allow to cool slightly in the tin.
  10. Boil all the syrup ingredients together for 5 -10 minutes or until the syrup is slightly thickened.
  11. Spoon the syrup over cake, allowing each spoonful to be absorbed into the cake. I find spreading the syrup over the cake with a pastry brush stops the syrup pooling at the edges.

This cake is gorgeous with vanilla ice cream but would work just as well with Greek yogurt.

 

 

Red Velvet and Cream Cheese Brownies

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I came across a version of this brownie many years ago and genuinely wasn’t sure what to make of it apart from the fact that I liked it. I’m not a lover of red velvet cakes as a rule but I do love cheesecake and am partial to the odd brownie. This recipe covers all of them. It always reminds me of a volcanic eruption to look at but it tastes divine!

Ingredients

6oz margarine

3oz dark chocolate, chopped

12oz caster sugar

3 free range eggs

1.5 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp red food colouring gel

10oz SR flour

05 tsp salt

12oz cream cheese (I got rid of any excess water but straining the cheese in a muslin cloth overnight)

4oz caster sugar

1 free range egg

1tsp vanilla extract.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C /160C fan
  2. Line a traybake tin with baking parchment.
  3. Melt the butter and chocolate together then allow to cool slightly.
  4. Beat the eggs, sugar, food colouring and vanilla together
  5. Add the cooled chocolate
  6. Mix in the flour and salt. The mixture should be RED
  7. Pour into the prepared tin.
  8. Beat the cheese, egg, vanilla and sugar to form a custard.
  9. Pour over the brownie mixture then swirl together with a butter knife.
  10. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

 

 

Windfall Apple Traybake

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I am very fortunate that the lovely students in my sugarcraft classes often bring me home grown fruit and vegetables, usually handed over with the phrase “Can you do something with these?”

One of my ladies has had a recent glut of apples which she has kindly passed on to me. We have had apple crumble (my favourite!), apple crumble cupcakes, apple pie and I’ve even used them in our Doggy Birthday Cakes, yes, I do mean birthday cakes for dogs!

This recipe was inspired by the huge variety of regional apple cakes, Devon, Somerset and Dorset to name but a few. I took the basic ideas from these cakes and came up with my own version.

Ingredients:

At least 3 regular sized apples, any variety,( I used a mixture of Bramleys and Cox’s) cored and thinly sliced (no need to peel)

2 tsp ground cinnamon

8oz margarine

10oz caster sugar

4 large eggs

12 oz SR flour

1 tsp Vanilla extract

Demerara sugar for sprinkling

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / 160 C fan
  2. Line a traybake tin with baking parchment.
  3. Toss the sliced apples in the cinnamon until evenly coated and set to one side.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  5. Beat in the eggs and vanilla
  6. Mix in the SR flour.
  7. Pour half of the mixture into the prepared tin.
  8. Cover the mixture with apple slices.
  9. Pour over the remaining cake mixture and decorate the top with apple slices.
  10. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for approximately an hour.

This cake is gorgeous hot or cold, served as it is or with hot custard, whipped cream or yogurt

Chocolate Hearts

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Ingredients

8 oz softened salted butter

5 oz caster sugar

1 egg yolk

2 tsp vanilla extract

9oz plain flour

1oz cocoa powder

4oz chocolate of your choice, melted

1.Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan

2.Beat the sugar, egg, vanilla and butter together until light and fluffy

3.Mix in the flour and cocoa to form a stiff paste

4. Wrap the dough in cling film or put in a freezer bag and chill for at least 30 minutes. It is better to split the dough into smaller batches to prevent you overworking the dough.

5.Roll the dough out to about 3mm or quarter of an inch thick. Cut out the cookies in your chosen shape. Work quickly to stop the dough warming up too much as this makes it difficult to work with.

6.Line a baking tray with parchment paper

7. Place the cookies on the baking tray. Make sure you leave enough space for the cookies to spread.

8. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

9. Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

10. Coat the cookies in melted chocolate of your choice and decorate. I used freeze dried raspberries on mine.

Star Baker Cookies

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As I have mentioned before my sugarcraft ladies always have some form of edible delight waiting for them when they come to class. Heaven help me if I give them shop bought food! One of my ladies, Janice, has been with me for 4 years. She is the life and soul of the party, one of the kindest ladies I have ever met and the naughtiest laugh going! She is having a tough time of it at the moment so I thought I would make her my “Star Baker” tonight, complete with cookies!

Ingredients

8 oz softened butter

5 oz caster sugar

1 egg yolk

2 tsp vanilla extract

10oz plain flour

1.Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan

2.Beat the sugar, egg, vanilla and butter together until light and fluffy

3.Mix in the flour to form a stiff paste

4. Wrap the dough in cling film or put in a freezer bag and chill for at least 30 minutes. It is better to split the dough into smaller batches to prevent you overworking the dough.

5.Roll the dough out to about 3mm or quarter of an inch thick. Cut out the cookies in your chosen shape. Work quickly to stop the dough warming up too much as this makes it difficult to work with.

6.Line a baking tray with parchment paper

7. Place the cookies on the baking tray. Make sure you leave enough space for the cookies to spread.

8. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

9. Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

10. Dust with icing sugar or even cover with glace icing.

Coconut and Jam cookies

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Please forgive my lack of blogging, it has been a tad chaotic at The Cake Doctor’s Practice. We have had a lot of cake orders of late in addition to all our classes and workshops. I have been playing with recipes but just when I remember to take a photo of the cakes or biscuits I get distracted or they get eaten!

I was determined to write something up today so this the first of three!

Ingredients

8 oz softened butter

5 oz caster sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

10oz plain flour

4 oz desiccated coconut

6 tbs jam ( I used strawberry)

1.Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan

2.Beat the sugar, egg, vanilla and butter together until light and fluffy

3.Mix in the flour and coconut to form a stiff paste

4.Line a baking tray with parchment paper

5.Form the dough into walnut sized balls and place on the tray. I used a small ice cream scoop. Make sure you leave enough space for the cookies to spread.

6.Pass the jam through a sieve to ensure an even consistency.

7. Use the end of a wooden spoon to form a small dent in the top of each cookie then fill the dent with jam.

8. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.

9. Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Lardy Cake

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I have lived away from my hometown, Worcester, longer than I ever lived there! I left home at 18 to go to University in Liverpool and apart from holidays I haven’t lived at home since.You would think by now I would have stopped getting homesick but that simply is not the case. I miss  my family, Worcester cathedral, walking down the Shambles, even getting stuck in the one way system! Worcester is currently severely flooded due to the River Severn and the River Teme bursting their banks. The video below shows the extent of the flooding which is shocking.

One of the silly things I miss from home is Lardy cake! I was brought up on it. There is a tiny little bakery on Broad Street that make wonderful cottage loaves and the best lardy cake in the entire world! I always buy them when I go home.

This recipe is an homage to the lardy cakes from my childhood. They are slightly different from the ones from home because they are baked a little like a Chelsea bun where as the traditional ones are made in huge slabs. They might not look the same but they certainly taste like the lardy cakes I know  and love.

As the name suggests they are traditionally made with lard but you can just as easily use a vegetable fat alternative such as Trex if you like.

If you fancy having a go at making these, do it on a day when you have plenty of time as they need to rest and prove a couple of times. They are not difficult to make, however.

Ingredients

  • 1lb strong white flour
  • 1 level tsp salt
  • 1 oz lard or Trex
  • 2oz caster sugar
  • 1 oz fresh yeast or 1 sachet of fast acting dried yeast
  • 0.5 Pt warm milk
  • 4oz raisins
  • 4oz currants
  • 4oz sultanas
  • 6oz lard
  • 6oz soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp mixed spice

Method

  1. Sieve the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl
  2. Rub in the lard.
  3. Mix together in a jug the sugar, yeast and warm milk
  4. Make a well in the flour mixture and mix in the milk to a smooth paste
  5. Transfer to a greased bowl and cover with oiled cling film.
  6. Put somewhere warm and allow to prove for 30 minutes.
  7. Knead in the fruit and allow to rest for 10 minutes, covered with the cling film.
  8. Mix together the sugar, lard and spice.
  9. Roll out the dough into a long rectangle.
  10. Spread the filling mixture over 2/3 of the dough.
  11. Fold the unfilled 1/3 into the middle and then bring the lower filled 1/3 over the top.
  12. Roll out into a rectangle again then roll into a swiss roll shape.
  13. Cut into 1 inch chunks, turn them over and place swirl side up into a lined 10 inch square cake tin.
  14. Cover with oiled cling film and allow to prove for 40 minutes
  15. Bake in a preheated oven (200C/180C fan/ gas mark 6) for 30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes and cover with foil if it is browning too much.
  16. Remove from the oven and turn out immediately onto a cooling rack.

Spiced pear and dark chocolate teabread

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I have a ridiculous number of books in my house, ranging from making sugar fairies to Tietz Clinical Biochemistry! The overwhelming number, however, are cookery books, particularly baking books. I have bookcases lining the main wall in my dining room, a bookcase on the landing, one in my bedroom, one in Ben’s room, two in the spare room and even one in the attic!

The majority of my cookery books have little pieces of paper in them showing me were my favourite recipes are. This recipe is result of pinching ideas from a number of books. It is deliciously moreish, looks lovely and works equally well as a pudding with a dollop of cream.

Ingredients:

  • 6 ripe conference pears
  • 12oz SR flour
  • 9oz margarine
  • 9oz caster sugar
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 4oz dark chocolate chunks
  • 0.5 freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C /160C fan /gas mark 4. Line 2 bread tins.
  2. Peel, core and dice THREE pears.
  3. Cream the caster sugar and margarine together.
  4. Beat in the eggs
  5. Mix in the flour and spices
  6. Add the diced pear and chocolate.
  7. Peel, core and slice the remaining pears.
  8. Divide the mixture between the bread tins then place pear slices across the top.
  9. Push the slices slightly into the mixture
  10. Bake for 45-55 minutes.

Mincemeat and Marzipan Teabread

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I guess many of you, like me, still have the odd bits left over from Christmas. The chocolates, admittedly, are long gone but I did have a large unopened jar of mincemeat  that I had intended for mince pies but then never got round to making them. Everytime I opened the cupboard door the mincemeat berated me for neglecting it! I can across this recipe in a Good Food recipe book a couple of years ago but felt it needed tinkering with so tinker I did.

The Good Food recipe called for diced marzipan but I felt it got lost during the baking so I went for a Stollen approach with a layer of marzipan running through the cake. I added a bit of spice and prettied it up with flaked almonds. The resulting cake is moist and flavour packed and gorgeous with a cuppa after a long walk with the dogs.

This recipe makes 2 x 1kg (2lb) teabreads which keep well in an airtight container but freeze well too.

Ingredients

  • 1lb self raising flour
  • 8oz cold butter
  • 6oz light brown sugar
  • 10oz marzipan
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 600g mincemeat
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 0.5tsp mixed spice
  • handful of flaked almonds

Method

  1. preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/gas mark 4
  2. Line 2 x 1kg (2lb) loaf tins
  3. Rub together the flour, butter, spices and sugar until they resemble breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the eggs and mincemeat and mix well.
  5. spoon a layer of mixture into each loaf tin.
  6. Roll out the marzipan until it is approximately 1 cm thick and add a layer to each tin. (I used the bottom of the tins as a template so that the marzipan fitted perfectly)
  7. Divide the remaining mixture between the tins.
  8. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the mixtures
  9. Bake in the oven for approximately an hour (cover with foil part way through if the cakes start to brown too quickly). Remember that when testing with a skewer the marzipan will