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.

 

 

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.

Peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes

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It has been a long time since I’ve had a minute to write a new blog. It has been a tad chaotic here. I have gone into partnership with one of my friends, Leanne, who is also one of my sugarcraft students. We have opened our own Sugarcraft school! Everything happened really quickly! From making the decision, getting the funding and then literally building our kitchen and classroom from scratch!

It has been really hard work but I love it! I have space to work on my cakes and we can teach what we what, when we want!

This little recipe is a personal favourite of mine. As I’ve mentioned before I’m not a fan of cupcakes but this one I like. The peanut butter frosting is absolutely divine!

The combination of soft, rich chocolate sponge and the salty, sweet peanut buttercream is very reminiscent of Reese’s Peanut Buttercups. Naughty but nice!

Ingredients

  • Cupcakes
  • 110g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, free range
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 75g plain flour
  • 50g good quality cocoa powder
  • 120ml milk
  • 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • Peanut Butter Frosting
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 140g peanut butter (smooth is easier for piping)
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • a splash of milk
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan
  2. line a muffin tin with cupcake cases
  3. The cupcakes are made with the all in one method so shove everything in a bowl and mix together until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Use an ice-cream scoop to portion the mixture into the cupcake cakes
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool completely before icing.
  7. To make the buttercream beat all the ingredients together and mix until lovely and smooth. You may need to add a touch more milk if the icing is a little on the stiff side.

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.

A Cakewell

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As you know I do love having a bit of a play in the kitchen. It’s the scientist in me! Sometimes my experiments are a success (chocolate pizza, springs to mind!) and others less so. My intention for this cake was to make a rainbow cake for my Sugarcraft class but I discovered once I was half way through weighing everything out that the extra bag of flour that I thought was in the stock room I had actual opened 2 days before! Not to be put off and very aware that my ladies would never forgive me if I arrived to class empty-handed, I had a bit of a rethink.

I’ve made my version of Bakewell tart before and it always goes down well but I had already weighted out the ingredients for a cake. I had a bit of a brain wave and decided to combine the two. And OMG, it was bloody gorgeous”

I used a standard Victoria sponge with a frangipane middle layer sandwiched together with my home-made jumbleberry jam and decorated with traditional feathered glacé icing. If you are not confident of your feathering ability you could just as easily sprinkle flaked almonds onto the sponge mix before popping it in the oven to bake.

Ingredients

Sponge

  • 6 oz margarine
  • 6 oz caster sugar
  • 6 oz SR flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 free range eggs

Frangipane

  • 5 oz ground almonds
  • 2 oz margarine
  • 5 oz caster sugar
  • 0.25 – 0.5 tsp almond extract (I like to really taste the almonds)
  • 3 free range eggs
  • Jam of choice
  • Flaked almonds or glacé icing (4 oz icing sugar and a little water) to decorate.

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 160C fan / gas mark 4.
  2. Grease and line 3 x  8 inch round sandwich tins
  3. Beat all the sponge ingredients together in a mixer until smooth
  4. Divide between 2 of the tins and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
  6. Beat all the frangipane ingredients together and turn into the remaining tin
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes then remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  8. Once the sponges and frangipane are completely cool, sandwich them together with your chosen jam and decorate with glacé icing

Triple chocolate tiramisu

ImageMany, many years ago, whilst I was working for Liverpool University, I had the good fortune to work with a lovely lady called Mariana Catapano. Mariana was living in student accommodation whilst on sabbatical with us but unfortunately didn’t have a television in her room. As an avid football fan who never missed a match, this was a fate worse than death. Consequently she would often come to my house for her tea and to watch the footie. Her contribution to the meal was a homemade tiramisu.

Now. Mariana told me that this was her grandmother’s recipe and that truly authentic tiramisu does not contain alcohol. Hey, she is Italian so I’m not going to argue with her!

 

I have been making Mariana’s tiramisu for the past 20 years and have never had a complaint. Not everyone likes coffee flavoured desserts, however. I’m sure if I tried to give it to my sister she would think I was trying to poison her! As a consequence and because I have a friend coming for tea who is in need of a bit of cheering up (tiramisu actually means “pick you up”), I have had a play with the recipe and come up with this coffee free alternative.

Ingredients

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites, whisked to a stiff peak
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 1 standard tub of mascarpone cheese
  • 300 ml hot chocolate or chocolate milkshake, warm
  • 1 pack of sponge fingers
  • 300g grated chocolate
  • 4 – 5 tbs cocoa

Method

  1. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until light and fluffy
  2. Beat in the mascarpone
  3. Fold the whisked egg whites into custard.
  4. Dip the sponge fingers into the hot chocolate and allow to soak up a little of the liquid then layer into a glass bowl.
  5. Pour over a layer of the custard
  6. Sift a little of the cocoa over the custard and then sprinkle over a layer of grated chocolate
  7. Repeat the layers until you have used up all the ingredients, making sure to finish on the cocoa and grated chocolate layer.
  8. Pop it in the fridge and chill for 3-4 hours or ideally overnight.

Obviously this recipe does contain raw eggs so should not be given to pregnant women, the elderly or infirm and the very young.

 

 

 

 

 

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

There is really something quite special about walking your dogs in the UK this time of year: Blackberries! There is nothing better than picking a couple of handfuls was you walk along, taking them home and cooking yourself a pudding. Even better they are free! It has to be said, however, that the blackberry crop has been very disappointing this year due to the late frosts and unpredictable rainfall. Still, I’ve managed to pick just enough over the last couple of weeks to copple together a crumble.

You know how people always ask you “if you were on death row, what would your last meal be”? Well, I’ve mentioned before that I would always say apple crumble. I have to say though that my apple and blackberry crumble would come a close second! This recipe includes a teaspoon of cornflour in with the fruit. As the blackberries burst their gorgeous juices mix with the apples and cornflour and form a mouth-watering fruity jam. It really is something special!

I would like to say this is a low-fat, calorie counting recipe but I would be lying! I have managed to lose over a stone in weight, however, so I think I deserve a little treat and it does have fruit in it! I’m not even going to have custard with it just a little blob of low-fat whipped cream. I’m being really good because I can hear the custard calling to me!! “Eat me, eat me!” it says.

Ingredients:

4 eating apples e.g golden delicious

150 g blackberries

1 tbs sugar (more or less according to taste)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 heaped tsp cornflour

150 g (5oz) plain flour

1 tsp cinnamon

75 g (3oz) butter

75g (3oz) caster sugar or soft brown sugar

25g (1oz) porridge oats

Method:

  1. Peel, core and dice the apples
  2. Toss the apples, blackberries together with the sugar, cinnamon and cornflour. Place in a ovenproof dish.
  3. Rub the flour and butter together until they resemble breadcrumbs.
  4. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and oats.
  5. Cover the fruit with the crumble topping.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 ◦C  for 30-40 min or until golden brown.

You can alter this recipe according to your personal tastes,  as long as the dry ingredients in the topping equal a total of 6 oz. Try:

  • increasing the amount of oats
  • including 1 oz ground almonds
  • including flaked almonds or mixed nuts.

This crumble topping is brilliant for any fruit crumble. It also freezes well so you can make up double the amount and freeze half for a later date.

Enjoy!

Love from

Ali xx