Archive for the ‘cake’ Category

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Just Cupcakes

August 5, 2008

Check these babies out:

Cupcakes

Cupcakes

So cupcakes are getting a bit trendy these days. So I thought I’d shamelessly jump on the bandwagon and make some of my own. When it comes to cupcakes it probably goes without saying that you have to forego any concerns about fat or sugar content and just get on with using the best ingredients to get the best results. 

As you can see from the photo, icing is really what makes the cupcake, so I thought I’d go to town, and it was a nice way to pass the time as Mr Rice nursed his monumental hangover.

Recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes
125g unsalted butter (room temperature)
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g self raising flour
25g plain flour
3 tbsps skimmed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Butter cream
150g unsalted butter (room temperature)
300g caster sugar 

Preheat the oven to 200ºC and put 16 bun cases into a muffin or bun tin. Then beat the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a food mixer until well combined, followed by the sifted flour and beat again until it’s all smooth. Then add the milk 1 tbsp at a time, with the mixer on, until the mixture is soft but not runny.

Get two teaspoons and get a heaped spoonful of the mixture on one, and carefully push it off the spoon and into the bun cases with the other until all the bun cases are equally filled. Make sure they are no more than half full or they will overflow when they cook.

Cook the cupcakes for 15-18 minutes until the tops are golden brown and then let them cool fully on a wire cooling tray before you ice them.

I used good old butter cream to ice my cupcakes. It has a lovely, luxurious, velvety texture and is solid enough to cover any uneven tops on your cupcakes. Flatter tops are also the reason I’ve used 25g plain flour, so they don’t rise up too high.

To make the butter cream, just beat together the butter and the icing sugar until nice and smooth. Then you can smooth it or pipe it onto the cupcakes however you like, and of course you can add a little colour and other accoutrements too to give them the perfect finish!

I also discovered that these cupcakes were a good cure for Mr Rice’s hangover. 

PS
Special thanks to Mr Lawrence for telling me to get on with blogging – I’ll make you some cupcakes v soon!

© Katheryn Rice 2008

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Strawberry shortcake cups

July 11, 2008

 

 

Strawberry Shortcake Cups

Strawberry Shortcake Cups

I always loved strawberry shortcake when I was younger, so this is an update, with a bit of a show-off presentation. It started off as a cheesecake with a shortbread base, but then I decided to make little shortbread cups instead. This is when the silicone muffin tin came in handy, but I’ll come back to that later.

 

Recipe for Strawberry shortcake cups
200g strawberries
200g shortbread biscuits
50g butter
½ tin of condensed milk
4 heaped tablespoons of fat free greek yoghurt
½ tub of cream cheese

Heat the butter gently in a small pan and while it’s heating, crush the shortbread biscuits into crumbs. You can do this by putting them in a strong food bag and smashing them with a rolling pin – this is the most cathartic method, good for releasing some tension, but be careful not to make any holes in the bag, or the crumbs will go flying. You can also crush the biscuits in a blender, which is more efficient but not as satisfying.

Add the biscuit crumbs to the pan and combine with the melted butter, then line the silicone muffin tin with the crumbs, about 1cm thick all the way round. Press the crumbs down quite firmly and smooth out. I used the end of a rolling pin to flatten down the base and then smooth up the sides, but you could use the back of a metal spoon too. When you’ve moulded all the cases, put them in the freezer to set. They’ll need to be rock solid before you take them out of the tin, so they don’t break. Give it at least an hour, preferably two.

Next, add the cream cheese and yoghurt to a bowl and then beat until smooth, then stir in the condensed milk. Add the vanilla and then finally the chopped strawberries. Chill in the fridge for as long as you leave the cups to set.

After an hour or two, remove the muffin tin from the freezer and very carefully remove the cases one by one. The best way is to actually peel the silicone away from the case. Carefully place each cup on a plate and then spoon in the filling and serve with a couple of fresh strawberries on the side.

If you’re not going to serve them straight away, freeze them until you’re ready, then get them out about 10 minutes before. 

© Katheryn Rice 2008

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Blackberry and apple muffins

May 18, 2008

blackberry and apple

Muffins have been on my list of things to cook for a while, particularly as I have muffins in mind as a quick and tasty alternative to toast for breakfast in the morning. Many a time I have pictured myself grabbing a frozen muffin or two from the freezer as I run out of the door to work. I finally had a spare afternoon and managed to dig out the muffin recipe I had been saving for this very day. To top it all, I had also invested in some silicon muffin cases, mini and normal sized, so I really was all set to go…

Blackberry and apple is one of my favourite combinations, which harks back to my childhood and many memorable sunday teatimes eating blackberry and apple crumble. So I thought I would transfer this combination to muffins. And to make myself feel better that I was planning to eat these for my breakfasts, I thought I should inject some healthiness in the form of brown flour and oats, to up the protein and lower the glycaemic load. Luckily the combination works very well and they are delicious!

Recipe for blackberry and apple muffins
Dry ingredients
140g soft brown sugar
150g brown self-raising flour
100g rolled oats, blended until powdery
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Wet ingredients
85g butter, melted and just cooled
2 large eggs
200ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Filling
150g blackberries
1 eating apple, finely chopped

If you have silicon muffin cases, lay them out in muffin tins (this helps to keep their shape), or just place them close together on a baking tray. I used 12 mini muffin cases and 12 normal sized cases, and also needed to use a silicon muffin tray too. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then mix all the wet ingredients in a jug, making sure they are well combined. Then pour the wet into the dry and carefully fold in. When it’s about half combined, add the fruit chunks and continue to fold carefully until just combined. You have to be careful not to over-mix or this will make your muffins tough and flat – not so much fun than light and fluffy ones!

Spoon the mixture into all your muffin cases and tins and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes. They are ready when golden brown and springy to the touch. Let cool for a bit and then remove from the cases. If you want to freeze them, let them cool completely, then wrap individually in cling film and put in the freezer in a sealed freezer bag.

Tip: If you want to make them more fluffy and less health-conscious, substitute the brown flour and oats for all white flour. 

© Katheryn Rice 2008 

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Banana bread

April 21, 2008

Banana Bread

Wholesome comfort food.

Recipe for Banana Bread

4 bananas*
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
200ml vegetable oil
180g wholemeal plain flour
100g plain flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
85g dark brown sugar
2 tbsp clear honey
100g pumpkin & sunflower seeds

Mash the bananas add them to the bowl of a food mixer with the eggs, vanilla extract, honey and oil and beat until smooth. In another bowl, add the sifted flours, salt, baking powder and brown sugar and stir gently to combine. Then add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and fold carefully together. When it is almost combined, add the pumpkin and sunflower seeds and finish mixing.

Transfer to a lightly oiled 750g loaf tin and cook for 55-60 minutes at 160ºC. The cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean. Let rest for ten minutes, then run a knife around the edges and carefully turn out. Slice and eat warm or keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

It was a lucky coincidence that Mr Rice had just bought a tub of Nutella, so after we had feasted on a delicious, warm slice of the bread, we devoured another one, slathered with the rich, hazelnut chocolate spread – sunday afternoon perfection!

Banana bread with chocolate spread

*You can use defrosted frozen bananas in this recipe.

© Katheryn Rice 2008

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Chocolate Brownie Cake

April 12, 2008

Chocolate brownie cake

My lovely friend Estelle is having a baby in a couple of weeks, and last weekend was her Baby Shower. It was a lovely, chilled out afternoon with a cool bunch of girls, eating lovely food and talking about baby stuff, amongst other things. Estelle was suitably pampered and I treated her to this special Baby Shower Chocolate Brownie Cake.

Recipe for chocolate brownie cake
1 pack of dark chocolate drops
1 pack of white chocolate drops
100g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa)
220g butter
4 medium-large eggs
100g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
400g brown sugar
50g demerera sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tub of full fat cream cheese
200g icing sugar 

Melt the chocolate and butter in a large glass bowl over a pan of hot water, or microwave it on high for 40 seconds at a time, stirring until it is all melted. Any longer than 40 seconds and the chocolate will burn and be unusable. Stir it together until it is all blended, then simply add all the other ingredients and stir again until completely mixed. Finally, add the chocolate drops, give a quick stir and then transfer to two 9 inch cake tins – silicon or greased and lined metal – and cook at 180 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Be careful to leave an inch at the top of each tin, as the mixture will rise whilst cooking, and the first time I tried this recipe it overflowed onto the bottom of the oven. Mr Rice was not impressed when he had to clean it up.

When the cakes are cooked they will be springy to the touch, but remember that the skewer test does not apply here, as you want the end result to be sticky and moist, not clean and dry like a normal cake. They will be crispy on top and gooey inside. Let the cakes cool fully in the tin. With normal chocolate brownies there is no problem removing and cutting them into pieces when warm – even if a little breaks off. However, it is crucial that this version remains fully intact, and the cooler it is, the less fragile it will be.

While the cooling is taking place, make the filling. Simply place the tub of cream cheese and the icing sugar into a mini blender and blend until the mixture is smooth. Then leave in the fridge to firm up.

Carefully remove the cakes from their tins and lining paper, if used, and choose the cake with the best-looking top, and place the other on a serving plate.

Then smear the filling all over the bottom cake, and sandwich the other on top. Carefully melt the white chocolate in a bain marie or in 30-second bursts in the microwave, and use a teaspoon to drizzle the chocolate over the cake in whatever style you like. Finally scatter the silver balls all over the cake – they will always land on the chocolate.

Leave to set for 30 minutes and serve. The filling makes the lower cake even more squidgy and gooey than normal…Enjoy!

© Katheryn Rice 2008

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Mikki’s Apple Creme Caramel

February 17, 2008

This is a bit of a departure for me – blogging about someone else’s cooking, but when my sister Mikki sent me the picture and recipe for Apple Creme Caramel I thought I had to share it.

applecremecaramel.jpg

Mikki wrote, “I made this yesterday for Valentines, and I’m pretty sure its the best pudding I’ve ever made! Really! It’s so light and fresh, and only 200 calories! The apple gives it a lovely zing that is offset by the custard. The recipe sounds a bit odd, and I was sceptical to start with, but I made it anyway and it really works.”

Recipe for Apple Creme Caramel – serves 6

Caramel:
750ml clear apple juice
pinch of ground cinnamon
3tsp sugar

Custard:
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
2oz sugar
500ml clear apple juice

Garnish:
10oz blackberries

Preheat the oven to 160C

To make the caramel put the apple juice in a large, heavy pan with the cinnamon. Bring to the boil, then cook over a high heat for about 20mins or until reduced by half. Lower the heat to moderate, add the sugar and continue boiling down for a further 10mins or until thickened to a bubbling darkish syrup. Take care, as it burns very easily at this stage. The syrup will thicken as it cools, so don’t reduce it too much.
Remove from the heat and pour in to 6 ramekins (150ml / 5floz capacity). Swirl the apple caramel round the sides, or use a spoon and spread it around a bit. Make sure to keep some of the caramel to serve.

For the custard beat the eggs and egg yolks with the sugar until smooth. Heat the apple juice in a pan until it comes to the boil, then slowly stir in to the egg mixture, mixing well (this works honestly – it looks like it’s curdled, but it turns out fine). Pour the custard in to the caramel lined ramekins.

Set the ramekins in a roasting tin. Pour hot water in to the tin to come about halfway up the ramekins. Bake for 35-40 mins or until the custard has just set (mine took 45 to go golden on top). Remove the ramekins from the tin, leave to cool then chill for at least 2 hours.

To serve loosen each custard with a knife run round the edge, then turn out on to a plate (hold the plate on top of the ramekin then flip it over) where it will be surrounded by it’s own pool of apple caramel sauce. Serve with a drizzle of the thicker caramel and blackberries.

© Katheryn Rice 2008

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Victoria sandwich cake

January 31, 2008

victoria-sandwich-3.jpg 

Mr Rice’s favourite ever cake. A classic, guaranteed to warm the coldest of hearts. This recipe is so simple – equal quantities of butter, sugar and flour, and light, lovely butter cream melting into sweet strawberry jam.

I’ve changed the recipe a little to make it even more light and fluffy. Nigella Lawson recommends replacing 25g of flour with cornflour. And I’ve added my own touch – creme fraiche. It just gives the cake that extra lift. Try it, and you’ll you know exactly what I mean!

NB: it’s best made in a food mixer with a K beater

Recipe for Victoria sandwich cake:
225g unsalted butter
225g golden caster sugar
200g plain white flour
25g cornflour
4 eggs
3 tsps baking powder
2 tbsp creme fraiche
6 tbsps strawberry jam
Buttercream recipe
150g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease and line two loose-bottomed cake tins. Put the butter and sugar into the food mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs one at a time, with a heaped spoonful of flour in between each one. When all the eggs are added, put the rest of the flour in, plus the cornflour and baking powder. Mix it all on a medium speed until it’s well combined, then add the vanilla and the creme fraiche and beat again until well mixed.

Transfer equal amounts of the mixture into each cake tin and place both tins on the centre shelf of the oven. Cook for 25 minutes at 180ºC. Be careful not to open the oven before 25 minutes or they might sink in the middle.

victoria-sandwich-1.jpg

When the cakes are golden brown and springy to the touch, remove from the oven. Run a knife run the edge of the tin to loosen the cake, then carefully remove the cake and lay on a cooling rack. Carefully remove the loose bottom, then even more carefully peel away the paper.

To make the buttercream beat the butter and icing sugar together until it’s light and fluffy. It’s up to you how you put the cakes together. I put both tops facing inwards, which gives  perfectly flat top, plus if the cakes have sunk in the middle you can disguise this by filling up the gap with jam and buttercream, which is never a bad thing! So, spread a good dollop of jam on each cake, then spread the buttercream all over one side, as close to the edge as you can. Then sandwich the two cakes together, and finally dust with icing sugar. Irresistible!

victoria-sandwich-2.jpg

©2007 Katheryn Rice

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