Tag Archives: baking

Depression Cake(otherwise known as Vegan Choc Cake)

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Wow! You know sometimes you’re surprised by just how well a thing turns out? Like the Impossible Pie? This is one of those times…just wow! This  has to be the ULTIMATE make do & mend recipe(I can’t wait to share it with Jen and everyone on Thursday’s Twitter meet #makedoandmendhour)! Created during the Depression era in the US when expensive items were hard to come by, this egg/butter less cake is a godsend to Vegans or those with an intolerance to eggs/dairy! I trialled a number of vegan recipes when I worked baking for the coffee shop, oh how I wish I had this recipe then!

I wondered for a long time about this cake, not convinced it could ever be good with no eggs. Having now made it you can trust me when I say this cake is not only good for a vegan but a good one for EVERYONE!  It’s an easy recipe is a great activity for kids(I let my toddler help) I plan on letting my eldest try it out next, I figure everyone needs to know how to make at least one great cake!

I tweaked the recipe slightly as I didn’t have any vinegar(usually a Depression Cake has vinegar as it reacts with the baking soda to cause a rise in the cake) but did have some flat-ish cola! It works really well as the “acid” part needed for the reaction.

I used a rectangular cake pan but you could use an 8″ round too.

 

What I Used:

1 & 1/2 cups plain flour

1 cup caster sugar

1 tsp baking soda(bicarbonate of soda)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup cocoa

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup of flat-ish cola(if yours isn’t flat open the can into jug half an hour before needed and stir it about every now and then to get rid of some bubbles)

1/4 cup oil

 

What I Did:

If you Google this cake the method is usually to dump the dry in a cake pan make wells(one for oil, one for vanilla and one for vinegar) but I decided that I’d rather do it this way…

Sift the dry together into the pan, then in a jug measure out the wet, THEN pour that over the dry.

Mix with a fork(plastic one is best if your pan is non-stick) until no floury bits are visible.

Bake at 360/180 for 30 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frost with your favourite frosting(I made buttercream) or glaze.

 

Eat, all the while marvelling at how good the cake is and wondering why we even bother with eggs in cakes at all! 🙂

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Ps. If you don’t have cola but do have vinegar you can just use plain water in place of the cola and add 1 tbsp of white vinegar!

*EDIT* I have since tried to make the cake without sieving the ingredients(like recipe on the net said) I also used cold coffee in place of cola(water) DO NOT DO THIS!

If you want the very best cake you can make use what I did and use a sieve to combine the dry ingredients. This might be a frugal recipe but there’s little point in making it not taste the best it can taste, what’s thrifty about a cake that you’d only eat if you had to as opposed to one you’ll make just to eat it? 😉

Granny’s Shortbread Recipe

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This is my Granny Rose’s recipe, it’s basic, in fact so much so I’m pretty sure it is the same one almost everyone’s Scottish gran knows. Homebaking doesn’t get much simpler than this traditional biscuit, and it’s a great first recipe for baking with wee ones! 🙂

It goes by ratio. 6:4:2

6 of flour(plain/all purpose)

4 of fat(I use unsalted butter but you can use margarine)

2 of sugar(caster/superfine)

I also use a pinch of salt in my shortbread

 

Whatever your measurement is (grams or ounces) follow this formula for traditional Scottish shortbread.

Beat the butter with a wooden spoon until creamy then beat in the sugar until light & fluffy.

Add in the flour(and salt) little by little until you have a dough.

Work the dough on the work surface to bring together then, either roll out and cut shapes or press into your tin(or mould like me).

Place on a baking sheet if making biscuits, prick all over with a fork and bake at 180(gas 3) for 35-40 mins or until golden.

If your shortbread starts to look too dark, cover with a piece of foil!

Remove from the oven and whilst still hot dredge with more sugar. Mark the pieces, if you have baked in a tin and leave to cool completely.

 

You can of course do all this in a machine, but Granny Rose always gives me a stern look when I mention such things, like that one time I suggested SEMOLINA(makes a grainy, crunchy, rather pleasant non-trad[in her eyes] biscuit) in the shortbread recipe! 😉

 

By the by….Saturday (17th May) was World Whisky Day so in light of that fact I made “shortie” in my thistle mould to go with a wee dram at night, suitably patriotic don’t you think? … Slainte!

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Stout Marshmallows

 

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Marshmallows are something I have wanted to try for ages, I just never seemed to get around to it. In truth it was a lot to do with the idea of faffing around with a candy thermometer and the idea of the mess too.

I can however now say that having made them that the faffing(which in reality is not much) and mess(easy to clean with hot water) is absolutely worth it! PLUS if you do gift these to your father on Fathers Day you’ll heaps of brownie points-bonus! 🙂

As with most things I do it’s never enough to just make plain, simple  ones and leave it at that. These stout(STOUT? heck yes! delicious, sweet, cloud-like with a rich stout taste that comes second, they really do work!) The stout flavour take the kiddie confectionery to another, more adult level.

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This recipe uses stout from my local brewery Williams Bros here in central Scotland. March of the Penguins to be precise, but any dark, rich, malty stout would work, try Guinness if you can’t get my delicious local brew.

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Everyone here loves them and they would be the perfect thing for Fathers Day. So I urge you to get the pots out and get your mallow on!

 

What you need:

A sugar/candy thermometer is essential here!

A med/large pot, I use one with high sides. This recipe has a tendency to foam a lot so get yourself something kinda big, but not too big that your thermometer doesn’t reach the sugar syrup.

A pan, I used a regular loaf pan. That is about perfect size for this amount. Oil the pan and dust with a mix of half icing sugar and half cornflour.

 

The sugar syrup:

3/4 (6oz)cup sugar

1/2 cup & 2 tbsp(5oz) golden syrup

1/4 cup stout(flat)

Pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract, I used 1/4 tsp vanilla paste

 

For the gelatine bloom:

1/3 cup stout(flat)

1.5 tbsp powdered gelatine

 

For the icing sugar/cornflour dusting:

1/2 cup icing sugar

1/2 cup cornflour

Mix together in small bowl and use to dust pan and top of mallows.

 

What to do:

First off let your stout go flat, I mean proper flat. If you’re rushed(aren’t we all?) pout it into a jug and stir it around with a fork until flat

Then take the stout pour into the bowl of your mixer and sprinkle the gelatine over the top in a even layer. Mix to make sure there are no big lumps. Fit the whisk attachment to the mixer.

Put the sugar, stout and golden syrup and salt into your pan, clip the thermometer to the side, if yours is swanky like that, and bring fairly quickly to a rolling boil. You want this stout, sugar syrup to reach 240 on the thermometer, once it’s been boiling for a few ins keep checking, towards the end the temp seems to rise rapidly!

Once you’ve reached the 240 take the pan from the heat and start your mixer running, slowly(ish) at this part! Boiling sugar is not something you want splattering over yourself, please be careful.

Gently pour the sugar into the gelatine until combined, now you may increase the speed.

Let the mixer do it’s thing. The mixture will grow and change to a paler colour. At this stage add the vanilla. You know the mallows is ready when you can trail mallow on the surface and it retains it’s shape. This can take about 10-12 mins to do. You can feel the side of the bowl for this too, you want it to feel only barely warm to the touch.

Once at the setting stage, work quickly with a silicone spatula and pour the mallow into your pan. Don’t worry too much about getting everything or it will start to set!

Smooth as much as you can, but again do it quickly and don’t “faff”.

Sprinkle a little more icing sugar/cornflour mix over the top and leave to set for at least an hour.

Gently pull the mallow away from the edge of the tin to release and using a knife cut into pieces. Dip your knife into any remaining icing sugar/cornflour between cuts. If it is proving hard to come off the sides, ease a knife down the edge and push a little of the sugar/corn flour mix down the gap. Work your way along the sides of the pan like this and it *should plop out no bother!

 

🙂

Ps. Just had a thought, how AMAZING would these be as s’mores?! Yum, I’m off to buy half covered chocolate digestive biscuits and try!

 

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Toffee Apple Cake!

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I had a Wright’s (<click here to see their site & more delicious bread and cake mixes) cake in the cupboard, I actually bought it with the intention of making a cake with the wee one. Oops!

 

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It’s ok though, he was busy with the play dough I had made, we’ll bake a cake another day 🙂

I wanted to bake something that was not just the regular toffee cake and I had some bramleys kicking about that I felt I should use up. Simple, let’s make a toffee apple cake!

Easy, tasty and quick what more could you ask for? By the way, this is MUCH yummier than you imagine a packet could ever taste, nobody will ever guess it was from a mix, honest!

 

What I used:

1x Wright’s Toffee Cake mix
3 medium Bramley apples, chopped and then stewed in 1tbsp water until soft
40mls Rape seed oil
100mls Milk
80mls Water
1/4 tsp Vanilla paste
1/4 tsp Baking powder
Small handful of pecan nuts, chopped
 

For the top:

4-5 Pecans, chopped
1tbsp Demerara sugar

 

What I did:

First off  stew the apples, until soft but not completely smushed*, set aside to cool

Tip baking mix into large bowl

Add other ingredients(and apple)

Pour into 9″x9″ lined pan

Sprinkle on the topping

Bake at 350(180) for about a hour or until a toothpick comes out clean

Remove from oven ad place o rack for 1-15 mins before turning out to completely cool

Eat! 🙂

*actual technical baking terminology

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My Favourite Cake(ever)!

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This really is my all time favourite cake recipes. It’s lovely, even my Granny Rose likes it, high praise indeed! It’s not too sweet, it’s just right. Be sure to add the cinnamon sugar to the top it really does add a lovely wee crunch! 🙂

I was given this recipe while on holiday in the beautiful Perthshire Highlands. The lovely lady who gave me it told me it was given to her by Scot Herbs. I was curious about the use of the herb rosemary in it(if I’m being frank, I thought it was a bit weird sounding).  Worry not though Dear Reader, it’s fabulous!

Here is the recipe, tweaked slightly(and added measurements in US cups[SO much easier than grams, right?] to my taste but click here for a link to the original Scot Herbs recipe!

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Blueberry and Rosemary Madeira Cake

 

What I used:

250g(1 cup/2 sticks) Soft Butter

200g(1 cup)  Sugar/white super fine

3 Large Eggs

300g(2  1/2 cups)PlaiFlour/all purpose

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract Paste

2 tsp Fresh Rosemary Needles, chopped finely(I use a pair of scissors for this)

4 tsp Milk

Two handfuls of frozen Blueberries

 
Cinnamon Sugar(for top)
2 tbsp Demerara Sugar
A  big pinch of cinnamon 

 

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What to do:

Preheat the oven to 170oC/Gas Mark 3.
Grease and line a loaf pan, or if you’re like me cheat and use a liner(life’s too short to always grease pans)
Cream the butter adding the sugar until it is pale and fluffy
Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of the flour after each egg.
Add the vanilla.
Fold in the rest of the flour and chopped rosemary needles
Thin out with the milk
Fold in half of the frozen blueberries
Pour into  loaf pan
Add a few more berries on the top(helps so that not all of them are at the bottom of the cake)
 Sprinkle the spiced sugar over the top
Bake for 1 – 1 ¼ hour or until a toothpick comes out clean

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It’s got good staying power this cake if, like the Scot Herbs site says, it lasts that long! Freezes well too. 

🙂

 

Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge Icecream Bars

 

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Wow, this “recipe” is easy! In fact, I’d probably go so far as to say it’s amazingly ridiculously easy 🙂

AND it’s pretty darned tasty but then, you knew it would be with a name like that, right? 😉 It’s a bit like a frozen version of Scottish Millionaire’s Shortbread-yum.

 

Get a dish of some sort, not too big but not too small a 1lb loaf tin would be perfect, or like me you could use a long thin one( to be precise).

Line your pan with cling film or seeing as I had none I used foil backed parchment, or is it parchment backed foil?…I digress…

Get 100g of cookies and crush them into crumbs, I say crumbs because we don’t want dust here, it’s not a cheesecake base so you can be a little chunking if you like, texture is good!

I used a delicious oat one from Borders Biscuits, but depending on the combo you’re going for the sky’s the limit! Their strawberry shortbread with strawberry cheeesecake ice cream anyone?

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Next take 65g of butter( I used unsalted as the ice cream I chose was salty enough) & melt it. Combine the melted butter with the cookie crumbs.

Tip about half of this into the tin, I may have been a little heavy handed at this point resulting in a mere scattering over the top, but really it doesn’t matter, just make sure you have a good layer on the bottom. Press into the base and stick in the freezer while you do the next bit.

Take the icecream about half the tub(500mls) and soften. I don’t mean melt it, but you want it soft enough so that you can spread it over the base. Return to the freezer.

Next, in a pan over a low heat, combine 100g of fudge (I chose Ochil Fudge Pantry‘s Death by Chocolate) which you’ve chopped, with 2tbsp of double cream. Stir until melted and glossy. Let cool a little, give a last stir, then pour over the icecream. working quickly so that it doesn’t melt scatter the remaining cookie crumbs over the fudge layer, press down slightly and return to freezer until needed.

 

When you want to eat it, simply take from deep freeze and cut off a bar! 🙂

 

 

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What’s SO Impossible about Impossible Pie?

Holy Moly this is great!

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It’s not even a little bit great, but a whole big bit great! Yes, we like pies in this house but you know sometimes I find a the whole making pastry etc thang a bit of a kerfuffle. I’m going to introduce you to the kerfuffle-free “pie” of your dreams(possibly). You’ll make it, then be cursing that you didn’t find the recipe sooner!

If you are having guests and have no idea what to make for dessert but still want to look like you’ve put a bit more effort into it than buy a pie, do this. ALSO it would be fabulous for someone who is watching their carb intake as only the smallest bit of flour is used in making it.

Usually people make a coconut version. I have don that before but wanted to try a chocolate version. I still used coconut, next time I will leave it out comepletely and add pecans I think.

Don’t go expecting some sort of miracle here, I mean the mixture does form a kind of crusty outer but it’s not like a real pastry crust, what it does do though is create for you a custardy filling with edges set a little more firmly and it all mixes together and bakes in a matter of moments!

What you need:

35g(1/2 cup) desiccated coconut

2 egg

2 TBSP cocoa

30g(1/4 cup) flour

235ml(1 cup) milk

75g(1/4 cup) sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla 

40g(3 tbsp) butter

Handful of raspberries(I used some lovely Scottish ones I had pin the deep freeze-no need to defrost!)

What you do:

Mix everything together apart from berries

Pour into a baking dish(I used a 7″ skillet)

Dot the raspberries over the surface

Bake!  350f(180c for about 25 mins)

Check the pie after this time you want it pretty much solid but with the “slightest” jiggle, it will firm on cooling.

This is tasty warm(I like the plain coconut version warm) but better left to cool and eaten at room temperature. The result is a dense chocolatey(it is more chocolate tasting if cooled) pie, cut through with the sharpness of the rasps.

Quick make this!

Ps. I should mention that it will look WAY too runny but have faith, this does work! 🙂

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Pancakes-Scottish style!

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This recipe is so easy that I can’t really understand why I don’t make more pancakes. My Granny Rose always had pancakes ready when we came home from school, and if she had been busy, you could be sure there would be some in the freezer. Incidentally Granny Rose never had a really had a proper recipe for so this is the one from my go-to book.

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They are simple, tasty and much better than a chocolate bar for the kids when they fancy a munch(yeah, ok me too!) In other words: the perfect snack!

You will need:

8 tbsp self raising flour

3 tsp(level) baking powder

1 tbsp caster sugar

Pinch of salt

1 egg

1/4 pint + 5 tbsp of milk(perhaps a little more depending)

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Here’s what you do:

  • Put the flour, salt, sugar & baking powder in a bowl.
  • Crack the egg in
  • Add milk
  • Beat

Cook on a med hot girddle or heavy based frying pan until you can see bubble forming on the surface of pancakes(not bursting though). Flip them babies over and continue cooking until golden.

In our house these are generally eaten when cold with butter and jam. Yum!

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Maple, Vanilla Cheesecake

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It was the weekend, so in celebration of the fact I decided to make a cheesecake. We love cheesecake in our house it’s true, in fact my hubby even wrote a song about it(true story)!

I had some Borders Biscuits Butterscotch Crunch(baked in the lovely Scottish Borders hence the name) in the pantry so this was my starting point. The pain of having to crush these beauties(they are probably my favourite biscuit) was only do-able because I was pretty sure it was going to bake my crust a-MAY-zing! Without being all trumpet blowing etc, it WAS amazing!

Here’s what I used:

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Crust:

1 x (150g) packet Butterscotch Crunch

100g pecans

75g butter(I used normal butter not the spreadable kind I put in the photo! My bad. Use regular butter, though to be fair I am not sure it would have make a big difference if I had used spreadable)

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Here’s what I did:

  • Put the pecans on a baking tray and toast in the oven for about 8 mins at 180c.  Really do this, it’s totally worth it from a taste point of view!
  • While the nuts are baking,  whizz up the biscuits in my food processor, you could do it the trad way with a plastic bag and a rolling pin, if you are feeling all angsty and stuff. Just do what you need to do! Remember though you don’t want it all to be too small, some bigger pieces in the dust is a good thing. Texture is your not the enemy here!
  • Tip the crumbs into a bowl, then blitz the nuts the same way.
  • Melt the butter and add to the pecan/ biscuit crumbs. Mix.
  • Put the buttery crumbs into your pan(a springform one is best, I use a 8″ round one) which you have lined with parchment, or at the very least given a good buttering/oiling. Press into the base and up the sides of the tin by about 2-3 cms. Put into the fridge to set.

Filling:

3/4 can of condensed milk

300g Philadelphia cheese

1 egg

Vanilla extract

Maple syrup

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Here’s what I did:

  • Whip up the cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly pour in the condensed milk, mixing as you go. Once completely combined, add the maple syrup and vanilla. Beat again. Add the egg and beat until just combined, you don’t need to whip the heck out of it here!
  • Pour in the crust ad place in the oven(set at 180c/350f/ gas ) for 25 mins after which check for  the jiggle. We want a soft wibbly middle but not a full on wobble! Once you’re happy, turn off the heat leaving the cheesecake inside but open the door a crack. After an hour take the cake out and put on a cooling rack to continue cooling.
  • Once cooled(at least 3 hours, it’s worth it honestly!) slice. The best way to do this is with a warmed knife, wiping the blade between each cut.

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I urge you to go and make this right now! It’s not only REALLY tasty but quick, and pretty much no fail- what more could you wan’t? 🙂

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A very lovely breakfast loaf(no need to knead)!

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This recipe is super simple and inspired by one I read from celeb chef wife-turned chef herself Tana Ramsay.

It’s delicious, healthy and with the added benefit of slow releasing carbs from the oats, a filling start to the day, without being as heavy as a bowl of porridge.

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You need:

70g Apricot chopped(go for unsulphured if you like, I just couldn’t get my hands on any at the time)

70g Cranberries dried

70g Walnuts chopped

150g Caster Sugar

500g Self Raising Flour

40g Porridge Oats(I recommend Stoats!)

1 Teabag, normal black tea here!

100mls Milk

2 Eggs

1tsp salt

1tsp Baking Powder

Topping:

1 heaped tbsp Demerara sugar

2 tbsp Oats

A little cinnamon if liked

What to do:

Have ready two 2lb loaf pans(greased & lined)

Set oven to 170c/gas 3/375f

Place the fruit in  saucepan with 400mls of water and the teabag, bring to simmer. Switch off heat, stir in oats, put the lid on and leave to cool.

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In a bowl whisk eggs with sugar until foamy and leave ribbon trails in mixture(you know sometimes I don’t even bother & nobody seems to notice much difference)

Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into the egg/sugar mix, stir to combine.photo-43

Next stir in the milk, followed by the tea soaked fruit(you’ll want to move the teabag probably before  tipping this into the flour!)

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Mix until combined and no flour is showing. At this point you may need a splash of milk extra to what I have said, you want a thick, but dropping consistency.

Spoon into your prepared loaf pans. I use paper liners as it’s quick and looks nicer, if you happen to be gifting one as I tend to do.

Sprinkle with the extra oats, demerara sugar and cinnamon and place in the oven for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

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Remove from oven. Leave five mins then transfer from pans to rack to finish cooling.

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I find the best way to eat these loaves is grilled as it makes the most delicious toast.  It does have a rather heavy texture, something I am working on improving(Tanas was the same incidentally) but once toasted golden, the taste and texture improve and it really is tasty. Honest!  Ignore this last wee bit of info, because once I have rejigged the ingredients it’s pretty much perfect now(& really good untoasted too)

*note to self “prefect recipe before posting blog”-doh! 🙂

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I have it on good authority these last a good week, but it never lasts that time in my house! FYI these loaves freeze well too!

Go forth, bake and enjoy!