Tag Archives: homebaking

No-Need-For-Frosting Carrot Cake Muffins!

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I LOVE carrot cake!

Invariably though I often find myself contemplating, as I scoff my shop bought, homemade or bakery slice, whether actually it’s the cream cheese frosting that I adore. When the realisation dawns that in 90% of the situations that is the truth, I am always left disappointed and little perplexed as to why this should happen. Surely a cake/confection/meal/whatever is only as good as the sum of it’s ingredients? *see my post about Rocky Road

I think you should be able to eat a cake and enjoy both the frosting and the cake part individually. Or say a biscuit and the filling(particular pet peeve of mine is a dry Empire biscuit with horrid jam, and glace icing)? When the two constituent parts are good the end result should be FABULOUS. Sadly in a lot of my carrot cake experiences this has not been true. One good thing and one rubbish thing does NOT equal a good wedge of cake!

Anyhow, I rather think these carrot cake muffins do the trick, so much so that (this time) I didn’t even bother to slather them in frosting and the boys in my house still were crazy for them, praise of the highest order! In my mind these might just be the perfect healthy(my eldest eats no veggies!) after-school snack!  🙂

 

Here’s what I used:

 

1 egg

3/4 cup plain/all purpose flourimage

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup caster sugar

2.5 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup oil(I used Borderfields Lemon infused oil <click for link)

1/2 cup grated carrot(I like organic carrots cause I read somewhere once they are the veg that absorbs most pesticides & I’m fancy like that)

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Wee handful of raisins

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 ginger

 1-2 tbsp milk if needed

 

What I did:

Basically I put all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then dumped in the carrots, oil and egg. 

Mixed it all together and added the milk, I had to use 2 tbsp, to get a soft dropping consistency.

Divided between 6 muffin cakes.

Baked for about 30 mins(or until a toothpick comes out clean) at gas 180/350

Cool on a wire rack.

Eat!

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These muffins are moist, tasty and in my opinion don’t need a cream cheese frosting . The lemon oil is not overpowering but does add another level of flavour without going to the bother of faffing about with zesting a lemon(I didn’t actually have one in the house anyway!)

Although I made a small batch of muffins this time you can easily double up the recipe to make a full tray. By the way, they freeze beautifully too! 🙂

I’d love to hear what you think. If you try these please drop me a line to let me know how you get on!

🙂

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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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. 

🙂

 

My “Kind of Carmelitas” *EDITED*

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I sort of stumbled upon this while searching the web, a carmelita is an oat bar with chocolate and rather obviously, as the name suggests, caramel. Poring over the photographs on Google images I knew I wanted to make them, but instead of being gooey and squishy, I needed them to be a bit more stable seeing as I wanted to pack them off with the menfolk for lunches etc.

I tweaked the recipe and the result is a bar that is quick and easy to make,  tasty AND holds up well to traveling!

 

What I used:

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Crust & Topping:

2 cups of Bisquick

1 3/4 cups of oats(I actually used Stoats Sunflower & Poppy seed Porridge-a mix of oats with sunflower, poppy, linseeds & pumpkin seeds. If you use plain old oats it will be ok, just not as awesome)

3/4 cup soft brown sugar, packed

170g butter melted(I used unsalted, you could make it salted and have Salted Carmelitas!)

 

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Chocolate Caramel Layer:

3 Mars bars

1 oz butter

 

 

What I did:

Set your oven at 350f/175c

You will need a 9×9″ baking pan

Mix all these ingredients together

Take half of the mixture and press into your pan

Cook for about 15 mins or until golden.

Set on rack to cool slightly as you prep middle layer.

Break the Mars bars into pieces and place in a glass bowl, microwave in 20 second bursts until melted, stir together. Also you should note here, it’s kind of weird trying to mix the bars & butter together, it will look all buttery & like it’s not going to  work. I does so stuck with it, there is nothing wrong. By the way you will probably think this layer is too thin, it’s really not, trust me! 🙂

Working quickly(otherwise it will start to set) spread the Mars bar & butter mixture over your base.

Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the top(it doesn’t matter if there are gaps, in fact it’s nice!) of the choc/caramel layer, pressing it down slightly.

Bake for another 15 mins or until the top is golden.

Take from oven and cool on a rack before cutting into bars.

 

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Yum! 🙂

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 *EDIT*

I tried making these delicious bars again substituting the Mars bars for some of my favourite fudge(made locally too)! 

It was sublime! I would even go so far as to say, even better than the original version.

If you want to do as I did ad swap candy bars for fudge, just carry on as normal and when making the middle layer use 200g of chocolate fudge(Ochil Fudge Pantry’s Death by Chocolate is what I used) chopped up and softened in a pan(on the cooker) with 1tbsp double cream, then spread over crust  🙂

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New Year-New Recipes

And so ladies and gentlemen for my first trick…I mean RECIPE, sorry always loved magic shows as a kid, don’t know what came over me, here it is in all it’s glory, tah dah!

Ps. It may be not quite a “magic” trick but I assure you these WILL vanish into thin air!

Pps. Click anywhere on the page to see the book at Waterstones 🙂

Cornflour Cakes

These were something of an intriguing find in my Christmas present Great British Bakes by Mary-Anne Boermans. Having never baked a cake with solely cornflour in the carb part of the recipe I was curious to give it a whirl, the promise of being “quite unlike any other cake” swung it! These little cakes are really rather good, and Mary-Anne is right, the texture is unusual and not something we in the 21st century are used to, but in a good way! Also they are GLUTEN free, which is nice 🙂

Don’t be tempted to not put the curd in the middle of these cloud-like morsels, you really DO need it. I’d cheated as I didn’t have enough lemons in the fruit dish, but did have a jar of bought lemon curd and a slightly past it’s best fruit to spritz juice into it(just was not cutting it on the tartness scale).

Here’s what you’ll need:

cakes:

80g butter

56g sugar

112g cornflour

1/2 tsp baking powder

zest of 1 lemon

pinch of salt

1 egg

glaze:

mix together icing sugar with fresh lemon juice to make a smooth lemony icing

filling: lemon curd, however you get to have it(bought in the shop, or making your own) is fine, we’re all friends here

preheat the oven to 200c/180f/gas6

line a bun tin with paper cases

cream the butter until very soft add sugar and beat again until light and fluffy

add the egg,  zest and beat until totally mixed

sift together flour salt and baking powder, add to the butter slowly a spoon at a time until combined completely

drop spoonfuls into the paper cases until 3/4 full

bake for 8-10 mins until golden

when baked and cool, slice a little cone out of the cake and plop ina little lemon curd(however you make it) put back the top and glaze with the sharp citrus icing

place on a fancy plate with a doily and impress the vicar, or not, they are equally delicious with a builder’s mug of strong tea on your own in the kitchen, honest!

enjoy! 🙂