Mary Berry’s Lemon Drizzle Traybake

The Bear and I made this amazing lemon drizzle traybake, a Mary Berry recipe a few weekends ago.  It was absolutely amazing, spongey, lemony and sweet.  Some tips – make sure your baking powder is fresh (for that spongey texture, and cake-rise) and for the glaze, gradually add sugar to water.  I didn’t (want to) use 175g sugar for the glaze (on top of the 225g already in the cake mix) and found a gradual approach to the glaze-mix was a sensible one for me.

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Peach cobbler

We’re a big fan of baked fruit desserts.  When I stumbled upon this recipe for a peach cobbler, I knew it was a keeper.  A stroke of luck, ripe peaches were on sale in the shops. It was as if the dessert stars were alligned!

It is imperative that you place the baking dish on top of a lined tray to catch spillage.  And there will be some, depending on the shape of your baking tray!

We love our cream, but didn’t see the necessity to drizzle some over the cobbler.  The fruits were sweet with a touch of tang from the lemon juice.  Just delicious on their own.

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Rachel Allen’s Dutch Apple Cake

I’ve had a hankering for apple pies and tarts since our last visit to Ireland in November last year.   We were treated to home-made apple desserts, ripe from the garden variety, served with hot custard and cold vanilla ice cream.  Once we were back in London, I dreamed about them for days, I kid you not.  In fact, Hubby made several trips to M&S for their apple pie and custard.

We were watching Rachel Allen on telly last week and saw her make a lovely crumble topped cake, which got me flicking through her book ‘Bake’.   I found an easy recipe for a Dutch apple cake, achievable even with the little ankle-biter begging for play-doh every 2 minutes.   I used a 9″ springform tin and the cake turned out beautifully.  No cream needed, but pots of tea is advisable.

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The return of the oaty fruit crumble

I’ve blogged many versions of this recipe over the last few years.  It is a firm family favourite, fuss-free and easy to put together.  I had a full fruit bowl and some of the apples were starting to look a bit sorry for themselves.  A shame to let them go to waste.  I added them to chopped pears and blueberries, with a hint of grated nutmeg, lemon zest, brown sugar and ground cinnamon, topped with oats.  45 minutes later, beautiful, earthy warmth filled the kitchen.  Served with single cream.  Yum.

Here is the recipe – serves 2 to 3 portions

A) Crumble:

  • 2 packed cups of uncooked oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1.5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 to 3 tbsp vegetable oil

B) Fruit base

  • 3 to 4 peeled, cored and chopped apples
  • 1 large pear, peeled, cored and chopped
  • a good handful of blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees celsius
  2. In an oven-proof pie dish, mix all the fruit bar the blueberries with the rest of the ingredients
  3. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes
  4. Remove the dish from the oven, stir well and add the blueberries
  5. In a separate bowl mix the oats with all the ingredients bar the oil
  6. Mix 1tbsp of oil into the oats, then add another, combine until the mixture is wet.  Only add some or all of the 3rd tbsp of oil if necessary
  7. Top the fruit with the oat mixture, use your oven mitts and transfer the dish into the oven
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the oats topping is golden and crunchy
  9. Remove the dish from the oven, leave to cool slightly and serve with cream or ice cream

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Peach and raspberry shortcake

We abstained from sweet treats over lent which would explain the lack of baking posts in recent weeks.   It was a gorgeous morning, and I decided to bake us a shortcake I had bookmarked in Bill Granger’s Bill’s Food.

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If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that Bill is my food guru, the man I credit for my interest in food.

The original recipe called for apples and blueberries.  I’ve made several cakes and tarts using this combination, and decided to substitute them with peaches and raspberries, reminiscent of another favourite Bill’s sweet treats.

The cake got the thumbs up from Hubby, my trustworthy critic, and food sampler.   I served the cake with double cream and it went down a treat.

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Apple and plum crumble tart

In this recipe, I combined two of my favourite desserts, crumble and tart.    I used gala apples and plums as they were all I had in my fruit bowl, but I’d be keen to try them with other stone fruits and berries.

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Ingredients:

A) Pastry

  • 125g butter, melted and left to cool
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 180g plain flour

B) Filling

  • 4 ripe plums, stoned and sliced
  • 2 small gala apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

C) Crumble topping

  • 155g oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 120ml vegetable oil +2 tbsp water

Method:

A) Pastry

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees celsius
  2. In a large bowl, mix the butter, sugar and vanilla
  3. Add the flour into the bowl and form the mixture into a dough (don’t knead)
  4. Tip the mixture into the middle of a greased pastry tin (with a loose base) Use your fingertips to spread to the mixture from the middle to the sides of the tin
  5. Place the tin in the oven and leave to cook for 15 minutes until golden
  6. Remove tin from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes

B) Tart

  1. In a bowl, mix the chopped fruit together and scatter the fruit around the now cooled pastry (still in tin) in step A6 above
  2. Mix the cream, egg, vanilla and sugar in a bowl and pour it over the fruit
  3. Place the tin in the oven and cook for 25 minutes

C) Crumble

  1. Mix all the crumble topping ingredients together (the oats mixture should hold together when squeezed)
  2. Remove the tart tin from the oven after 25 minutes (B3 above) and scatter the oats mixture over the fruit
  3. Place the tart tin in the oven for 20 minutes until the oats are golden
  4. Remove the tin from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes
  5. Remove the tin from the pastry and serve with cream whilst warm

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Baby’s 1st birthday cake

Baby girl turned 1 in November.  We threw her a party and invited a few of her little friends who were similar in age.

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I fretted over the party food for weeks before deciding on the following combination of savoury and sweet:

  • vegetarian satay pies
  • chicken tikka and coleslaw sandwiches
  • cheddar cheese and pickled onion sandwiches
  • store-bought falafel, cucumber and cherry tomato kebabs with yoghurt dip
  • store-bought tortilla chips, chopped carrots and cucumber with hummous and salsa dips
  • cocoa brownies
  • scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream

The theme for the party was Little Miss Sunshine, and we picked all things yellow for the decorations.   I decided then that a lemon cake of some description would make the perfect birthday cake.   I found a delightful recipe for lemon and blueberry cake and whipped up a mascarpone and cream cheese frosting.   I used a batch of batter for cupcakes, and made a 3 layer cake (the middle layer being a simple vanilla sponge).   Both cupcakes and cake were a hit as was the frosting, which I could have simply eaten on its own.

IMG_5540I frosted the cake the morning of the party and ran around like a headless chicken trying to get everything organised before our guests arrived.  It was a cold, wet day and the lighting was bad for photos.  I have no photos of the inside of the cake, but it was very pretty 🙂

I doubt if I’ll be baking her birthday cakes when baby girl is older as she’d be too embarrassed about homemade cakes! But if I’m lucky enough, I may have another year or two before the shop-ordered princess cakes make their appearance.