Showing posts with label nutmeg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nutmeg. Show all posts

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Apple and spice loaf cake

Today is Father’s Day, and therefore I tried to choose a cake that the CCD (Caked Crusader’s Da) would favour.  He likes the more old-fashioned fruit cake style of baking but I didn’t want to make a dark and heavy fruit cake as I think of those as Christmas specialities.

This recipe uses plenty of dried fruits but is lightened by the addition of apple and almond.  It’s lovely plain but I prefer it with a generous layer of butter spread over it; that touch of saltiness brings out all the flavours.  The gentle spicing makes it moreish and comforting.

I’m not sure you’d know there was grated apple in the loaf but it did provide a softer and lighter texture than other tea loaf cakes I have tried in the past.  The quickest way to make a cake look professional?  Jam glaze:

I definitely need to make more loaf cakes – they have to be the easiest cakes to cut; none of this ‘have I found the centre of the cake’ faffing and producing huge slices on one side of the cake and tiny ones on the other!

Happy Father’s Day CCD!


175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
175g light muscovado sugar, plus an extra tablespoon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 dessert apple – I used a Pink Lady
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g mixed dried fruits – I used raisins and sultanas
85g ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
175g plain flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
optional: 1 tablespoon apricot jam

To serve: butter


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with baking paper.

Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and light.  I left my stand mixer to do this while I prepared the apple.

Place some cold water in a bowl and add the lemon juice (this is purely to stop the apple browning).

Peel the apple and cut into quarters.

Remove the core and slice two of the quarters thinly, placing in the lemon water.

Place the remaining two quarters into the water.

Beat the eggs, one at a time, into the butter mix.

Beat in the vanilla.

Remove the two quarters of apple from the bowl and stand them on kitchen paper to soak up the water.

Add the dried fruits and almonds to the batter and stir in.

Grate the two quarters of apple into the batter.  I did it directly over the mixing bowl so I didn’t lose any of the juice on the work top.

Stir thoroughly.

Add the baking powder, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and fold in.

Spoon into the prepared baking tin and level the surface.

Place the apple slices across the top of the loaf.

Sprinkle over the extra tablespoon of sugar.

Bake for 45 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 140°C/fan oven 120°C/275°F/gas mark 1.

Cover the cake with foil and bake for a further 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.  (NB. If at the end of the cooking time the cake batter is still uncooked, increase the temperature back to the original 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4, remove the foil and give it a further 10 minutes – I had to do this).

Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack.

If you wish to give the cake a shiny top, heat the apricot jam until it is runny.

Brush it over the top of the cake and leave to set.

Serve in generous slices either plain or with butter.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 26 February 2012

Eccles cake

I buy so many food magazines every month that, to save myself from being buried under piles of paper, I tear out the recipes that I might make and then pass the magazine on to the CCM (Caked Crusader’s Ma).

This recipe was one that caught my eye and I tore it out. However, I didn’t tear out the full page photo of it as I’m trying to keep my recipe files as compact as possible and the little photo on the recipe page was adequate.

When I went round to visit the CCM she presented me with the full page picture. The conversation then followed thus:

Me: oh, I don’t need that – I tore the recipe out.
CCM: I know, but I thought you might like this visual aide.
Me: Not really. I will make it at some point.
CCM: Why not next week?
Me: Are you trying to subtly hint that you want this cake?
CCM: I wasn’t aware I was being subtle.

So, here’s the cake! It’s a modern take on the traditional Eccles cake
but, whereas the Eccles cake encloses the fruit in an individual pastry pasty, here the filling is in a sponge cake.

I loved the spiced fruit filling and also that the sponge contains apples. It’s a lovely concoction of warming flavours and textures. The restrained amount of white glace icing on top is a perfect addition!

On a different note, the CCB (Caked Crusader’s Brother) bought me a present this week:

Now normally, I wouldn’t be pleased to be gifted a tube of toothpaste; I would think they were trying to tell me something but this is cupcake flavoured toothpaste and it tastes just like vanilla buttercream – it is delicious. I will hold off worrying until he presents me with a can of cupcake deodorant!


For the filling:

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
30g unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
50g currants
85g raisins
85g sultanas
Dash of lemon juice

For the cake:

2 medium sized eating apples peeled, cored and diced into small pieces (I used pink lady apples)
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
100g plain flour
250g self raising flour
100g buttermilk

To decorate:

100g icing sugar
Enough water to make a runny but thick glaze


Start by making the filling: place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until the spices, sugar and butter have coated all the fruit. Put to one side.

Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan oven 140°C/320°F/gas mark 3.

Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.

Peel, core and chop the apple into small pieces (about 1cm square max) and put in a bowl of cold water with a dash of lemon juice. This will stop the apple browning.

Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat together until creamy and pale. Take your time over this stage as this really is the key to making a nice light sponge. The mix will never turn as pale and fluffy as when you use caster sugar, but you will notice it turn paler as you beat.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time. If it looks like the batter might curdle add some of the flour.

Fold in the flours and the buttermilk.

Drain the apple and carefully stir into the batter.

Spoon a generous half of the batter into the prepared cake tin.

Level the surface and spoon in the filling – taking care to leave an inch free around the edge. This is to stop the filling leaking out and burning while cooking, it also means that the cake will hold together better when you cut it.

Spoon the remaining cake batter on top of the filling and level out making sure that you go right to the edge of the tin.

Bake for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Leave to cool, on a wire rack, in the tin. The cake will store overnight in an airtight container.

On the day of serving the cake take it from the tin and place on the serving plate you have chosen.

Now make the glaze to top the cake: place the icing sugar in a bowl and beat in water, a teaspoon at a time.

When you have a runny – but not watery – white icing drizzle it over the cake and leave to set.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Spiced treacle cake

There’s something about spice that is so wintery and festive. This recipe caught my eye because it uses a large quantity of black treacle but no sugar or eggs. Black treacle is an appealing ingredient instantly reminiscent of traditional Christmas cakes and puddings.

I consider this a “Christmas come-down” cake – by which I mean it’s that time of year when you know that the festive feasts have finished and you shouldn’t really still be polishing off as many Quality Street as you are on an hourly basis, but you do actually rather fancy a bit of cake. This one hits the spot with its strong flavours and easy to eat, no-fuss simplicity!

This cake gave me the chance to test out my fab new nutmeg grater
, a Christmas present from the CCM and CCD (Caked Crusader’s Ma and Da):

It’s a one handed device similar in look to those hand-strength building devices – it seems to get mixed reviews but I love it. The nutmeg sits in the middle and a simple squeeze of the handles deposits a nice amount of nutmeg in your batter!

Weighing treacle is so much easier when you weigh it straight into the pan or bowl – here’s my in-no-way-precarious set up:

The cake is topped with a simple white glace icing. I chose not to flavour this as there was a lot of spice in the cake and I didn’t want it to compete. I made a largish amount of icing for the size of the cake – this was at the behest of the CCM who is partial to a thick layer of icing!

Happy New Year to all my readers; may all your cakes turn out splendidly, and may your biscuit tin never be empty!


For the cake:

130g unsalted butter
330g black treacle
375g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
300ml boiling water

For the icing:

225g icing sugar
2 tablespoons warm water, to start – you may need more

Decoration: anything you choose! Silver or gold balls would be nice, but I had some wafer snowflakes left from Christmas so used those.


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°C/Gas mark 4.

Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.

Place the butter and treacle in a saucepan and gently heat until the butter has melted and combined with the treacle. Stir occasionally. I find that weighing the treacle directly into the saucepan makes life a lot easier i.e. replace your scales’ dish with the saucepan for weighing it out.

Place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and all the spices into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

Pour in the butter and treacle and the boiling water and mix until you have a smooth batter. Take care at this point as the batter will be piping hot – don’t use a plastic spatula unless you’re sure it’s heatproof (trust me – this was an awful lesson to learn, not on this cake but an earlier one!)

Pour the batter (it will be gloopy) into the prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Place the cake, still in its tin, on a wire rack and leave to cool – the cake will be delicate until cool so I let it cool completely in the tin before turning out.

Don’t panic when your cake sinks a little – it will not stay as high as it does when first out the oven. It won’t sink with a hole in the middle, but the whole top will settle. Very sticky treacle and spice cakes always seem to do this – it’s a sign of how delicious it will be to eat!

On the day of serving, place the cake on its serving plate.

Now make the icing: place the icing sugar in a bowl and gradually beat in water. You can always add more water if needed so be sparing!

When you have a thick, opaque but still pourable consistency it is ready to be poured over the cake.

Ensure that the whole top of the cake is covered and let the icing drizzle down the sides.

Decorate as required.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 30 October 2011

Coble cake

Mr CC and I have just returned from a splendid jaunt to Whitby
; a beautiful town on the rugged North York coast. It is also the inspiration and setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

My cake this week is therefore Yorkshire-themed. Cobles are open fishing boats, with flat bottoms, commonly sighted on the North York coast. This cake is named after them but doesn’t seem well documented – there are some mentions but I couldn’t find a recipe anywhere on the internet. The cake is a spiced sponge, filled with apple puree and served with cream. This was all the detail I needed to produce my own version!

I was tempted to whip the cream and fill the sponge with it, along with the apple puree but I think this wouldn’t have produced such an elegant finish. I also considered stirring the apple puree through the cream but again, I wanted to keep the flavours distinct.

The one thing that the internet seems in agreement about re: Coble cake is that it needs to be served with cream. I was happy to oblige:

There were some lovely tea rooms in Whitby; one thing we noticed very quickly was that the region hasn’t got much time for fancy patisserie, favouring good hearty cakes in – and remember this is me saying this – hearty portions! We enjoyed, amongst other things, a toasted teacake so huge it took both hands to lift it to my mouth! I took the biggest bite I could out of one half (f
or photographic purposes only, obviously) – it barely made an indent:

I think our serving of chocolate cake and flapjacks highlights the generosity of Yorkshire portions. There aren’t many places where TWO flapjacks are considered the standard serving! Also notice how the chocolate cake is only just contained within the boundaries of the plate:

Another highlight was this toffee apple betty cake – the flavours were a delight and I loved how the apple was layered in the middle section:

This scone was lovely – unusually for me I chose to have it with butter and jam rather than cream and jam:

Mr CC was pleased with his carrot cake...and who wouldn’t be, having a triple-decker slice like this put in front of them?


For the cake:
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
220g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
80ml milk
300g self raising flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoon mixed spice

For the apple puree (puree is never an exact science so make whatever quantity you wish – it freezes brilliantly); however for this cake I used:
1-2 Bramley apples
10 tablespoons caster sugar – or to taste

To serve: thick or whipped cream


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Line two 20cm round loose bottomed sandwich tins with baking paper.

Start by making the sponge: Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Don’t skimp on this stage as this is when you get lots of lovely air into your sponge.

Beat in the eggs gradually, adding some of the flour if it looks like it might curdle.

Beat in the milk.

Fold in the flour and all the spices until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

Spoon into the prepared tins and level the surface.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the sponge comes out clean. Another good sign is if the sponge is just pulling away from the edge of the tin.

Leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the apple puree. Take a saucepan of appropriate size – roughly so that the apples will half fill the pan.

Cover the bottom of the pan with water – ideally about 2cm deep.

Peel, core and thinly slice the cooking apples.

Slowly simmer until the apples break down and you have a puree; if the pan looks dry add some more water. You can speed this up placing the pan lid 3/4s over the pan.

Personally, I like my puree with some apple chunks still in it; if you don’t cook until smooth.

Add the sugar right at the end – this is totally to taste so add gradually until you have the right sweetness for you.

When you are ready to assemble the cake place one sponge layer, flat side up, on the serving plate.

Spread the apple puree over the sponge and then sandwich with the second sponge, flat side down.

If you wish, dust the top sponge with icing sugar.

Serve in generous slices with whipped cream.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Spiced beer cupcakes with honey buttercream

As it’s Father’s Day this weekend, my choice of baking had to be something that the CCD (Caked Crusader’s Da) would really enjoy. The CCD likes a spice cake and he likes beer, so this recipe seemed to select itself!

I chose Adnam’s Broadside as it’s one of the CCD’s favourites. Bitterness seems to be my nemesis with flavours – I just can’t fathom how anyone can drink a pint of beer without their mouth puckering up!

The intensity of the heavy spicing and beer needed balancing out with something softer and silkier, so I added a honey buttercream to the cake; it adds a beautiful texture to the cake.
My logic was that there are honey beers, so it had to be a combination that worked!

The aroma that filled the kitchen while these little cakes baked was intoxicating. I always used to be wary of baking with beer as I don’t like the drink, but the harsh flavour disappears on baking and adds richness and depth to the spices.

Don’t be tempted to cut down on the amount of sugar in the sponge recipe; I know it looks a lot, but it’s necessary to balance the bitterness of the beer. The dark sugar and the beer combine to produce an amazing flavour – first of all you get beer, but without the bitterness, then the spice hits, then the beer comes back.
Really flavoursome with a grown up edge!

Happy Fathers’ Day CCD!

For the cake:
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
220g dark brown soft sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
200g plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
250ml beer – I used Adnam’s Broadside, because it’s one of the CCD’s favourites
For the buttercream:
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
300g icing sugar
3 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
Line two cupcake pans with paper cases (this mix will make 14 cupcakes).
Beat together the butter and sugar until well combined and light – as the recipe uses dark brown sugar it will never whip up like caster sugar will, but you should notice it gets lighter.
Beat in the egg.
Beat in the spices.
Fold in half the flour, along with the bicarbonate of soda.
Stir in half the beer. I found it best to keep the beaters going and pour the beer in a very slow trickle.
Repeat the process with the remaining flour and beer.
Ladle the batter into the paper cases; the batter it will be wet – don’t panic!
Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out cleanly. Mine took 20 minutes.
Leave to cool, in the tin, on a wire rack for 5 minutes until the cakes are cool enough and firm enough to handle.
Remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on the wire rack.
At this point the cakes will keep for several days in an airtight container.
Now make the buttercream: whip up the butter until it is light and fluffy.
Beat in the icing sugar and continue to beat until well combined. A good test for this is to take a little of the mix on your tongue and press against the roof of your mouth – if it feels grainy keep beating!
Beat in the honey.
If the buttercream seems soft, refrigerate for 10-15 minutes until it firms up.
Spread or pipe over the top of the cupcakes.
Optional: grate a little nutmeg over the top of the cupcakes.
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Apple butter cake

Apple cake holds a special place in my cakey affections – it’s just the most perfect of flavour and texture combinations ; the sweet, yet still pleasingly tart, soft apple teamed with crumbly sponge. This one has the added joy of subtle warming spices – perfect to cheer up a cup of tea!

Often apple cake is paired with buttercream and – don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! – but this time I wanted something simple and crumbly. This recipe fit the bill particularly because it uses Demerara sugar, which always gives a delightful crunch to a batter. Incidentally, and this may sound nerdy, but “Demerara” is one of my all time favourite words to type. If you do it quickly and smoothly it almost feels like music under your fingertips!

The apple is chopped up and distributed through the cake so that each bite bursts with flavour. It also keeps well....not that it’s a major problem! Here is my apple, skilfully peeled and chopped by Mr CC; it’s nice to leave the apple quite chunky as then you get a lovely textural contrast with the cake:

One thing to stress about this cake is that it’s a very ugly batter; Mr CC entered the fray to placate me as he now recognises my unhappy wail (i.e. muttering, mild swearing and blackening the name of whoever wrote the recipe) when I think a recipe’s gone wrong! Much as I knew the apple would release juice during cooking and that the batter would be drier to accommodate it, I wasn’t expecting this:

Look at it! The batter is so firm that it was an effort stirring the apple into it...even Mr CC with his rippling manliness struggled. It also looked like there was way too much apple for the cake. After about the first 20 minutes of baking it still looked like scone batter with random bits of apple dotted on it. Then, the Miracle of the Oven occurred and the batter yielded and blended with the apple to make a rather fine cake! I suppose what I’m trying to say is.....

.... I don’t want to hear any muttering, mild swearing, or blackening my name if you make this cake because I have warned you that – until it comes out of the oven – this ain’t gonna be no beauty!

Apologies that the photos aren’t great this week – it was a dull, damp day; the sort of day it never feels like it actually gets light. I had to rely on flash to get any photos at all.


170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
170g Demerara sugar, plus an extra 2 tablespoons to sprinkle on top
2 eggs
335g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 apples, chopped fairly roughly – use eating apples rather than cooking apples; I used 2 pink ladies and 1 granny smith


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light– don’t skimp on this stage; while the mix will never get pale and fluffy with a granular sugar such as Demerara it will turn noticeably lighter in colour and texture.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time

Fold in the flour, baking powder and spices.

Stir in the chopped apples; please don’t panic that the batter is stiff and it’s hard work to get the apples into it. This is necessary to ensure that, when the apples release their juice during cooking, the cake doesn’t become soggy.

Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Sprinkle over the additional tablespoons of Demerara sugar.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Mine took longer at 40 minutes but I was baking two at the same time.

Place the cake, still in its tin, on a wire rack and remove the tin as soon as it’s cool enough to handle.

Leave to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Serve in generous slices, with a steaming mug of tea!

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.


Sunday, 7 November 2010

Spiced apple sauce cake with cinnamon buttercream

Now that British Summertime has ended it’s time for a baker’s thoughts to turn to spice, apples and cake that comforts!
When I saw this recipe I knew it was perfect to accompany a cup of tea on a murky November afternoon.

Much as it’s against my principles I should point out that this cake is low in calories and saturated fat (although that probably doesn’t include the buttercream).
But don’t let that put you off because it is also moist, delicious and very, very moreish. I can’t help but think of Marjorie Dawes’ diet advice to her Fatfighter’s group: “and because it’s only half the calories you can eat twice as much of it”.

The recipe came with a cream cheese frosting but – try as I might – I just cannot warm to the flavour of it, so switched to the cinnamon buttercream we all loved from my apple cupcakes last month. I halved the amount of honey in the buttercream as I wanted it to be firmer.

This cake is exceptionally soft so I advise caution on removing it from the tin; it’s probably best to let it cool completely before handling it. Even then, take care – it’s a really squidgy, but also crumbly, sponge. Here it is before decoration:

The batter was light and airy – I tried to photograph it to illustrate it’s light, open batter; not sure this is the best photo I’ve ever taken but, this is what the batter looked like:

Apple and spice is probably second only to vanilla in my “all-time favourite cake flavours” list.
It’s the way the sweet acidity of the apple is warmed by the spice and the flavours dance around your mouth and linger. Just beautiful. The walnut garnish adds some extra texture and I was rather pleased with my idea of putting the walnut halves round the edge because, not only did it look pretty, but it also used more buttercream!


For the cake:

1kg Bramley apples (or any other cooking apple)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water, add more if necessary
100g plain flour
100g wholemeal flour
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
225g golden caster sugar
100g raisins
50g walnuts, roughly chopped
50ml sunflower oil

For the buttercream:

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
300g icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Optional, to decorate: walnut halves


Start by making the apple puree: peel, core and slice the apples and place into a non-stick saucepan.

Add the lemon juice and water and simmer – covered – over a low heat until the apples break down into a thick puree. I found I needed to add some more water to generate the steam to break down the apples – I probably added a further 4 tablespoons; use your judgement. If the apples look dry then add more water.

Remove the lid and increase the heat (only a little) then cook for a further 5 minutes and stir to ensure that the excess liquid cooks away.

Remove from the heat, decant into a bowl and leave to cool completely – if you wish, you can make the puree the day before you bake and store it in the fridge overnight.

Preheat the oven to 160˚C/fan oven140˚C/320˚F/gas mark 3.

Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.

Sift together all three flours, bicarbonate of soda, spices and sugar into a bowl, then tip in any bran left in the sieve – in this instance you’re sieving to combine the ingredients rather than weed out undesirables!

Stir in the raisins and walnuts.

Weigh out 550g of the apple puree and stir into the dry ingredients along with the oil. (You can use any leftover apple puree in the decoration)

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Mine actually took a fair bit longer – 1 hour 20 mins but I know all ovens are different so use your judgement.

Leave the cake – in its tin – on a wire rack until it is completely cool; the cake is very soft so take extra care.

Now make the buttercream: beat the butter on its own until it is light and whippy.

Add the icing sugar and milk and beat until light and smooth.

Beat in the honey and spice.

Spoon any leftover apple puree onto the centre of the cake (you could also cut the cake through and use the puree to sandwich it).

Pipe the buttercream around the top of the cake and decorate with walnut halves, if so desired.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.