Archive for the ‘cake’ Category

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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©2007 Katheryn Rice

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Mince pie tarts

December 17, 2007

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For me, mince pies are more about the mincemeat than the pastry, so I thought it best to come up with an alternative to the traditional shortcrust-heavy version. These mince pie tarts use puff pastry, which may be just as calorific, but less heavy than shortcrust. And of course tarts have no lids, so the pastry to filling ratio ends up being about 50/50.

Making mince pie tarts instead of mince pies also gives you more scope for different shapes and sizes too. Make them as big or small as you like, but remember that the small ones might not last very long. No sooner had I put this lot down on the table had Mr Rice eaten nearly all of them. They are delicious, and so easy to make, but the making is much longer than the eating.

Recipe for Mince Pie Tarts
1 medium jar of mincemeat
100g glace cherries, roughly chopped
50g pecans, roughly chopped
50g flaked almonds
150ml Disarronno Amaretto
100g ground almonds
200g puff pastry
50 ml milk

Mix together all the ingredients except the milk, ground almonds and the pastry in a bowl and leave to stand. Sprinkle your working surface with flour to prevent the pastry from sticking, then roll out until 3-5mm thick. Choose the size/s you would like to make and cut these shapes out of the pastry, then move them to a floured and lined baking tray. Carefully brush each piece with milk, then sprinkle on a light layer of ground almonds.

If you want the edges of the tarts to rise up around the filling, carefully score a line all the way round each one, about 1 cm from the edge, and carefully spoon the filling inside this area. You can skip this bit if you like and just carefully spoon the mincement mixture into the centre of each tart, and the tarts will just rise a little less, but be just as delicious.

Cook at 180ºC for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is turning golden brown. Leave to cool for ten minutes, then carefully remove from the baking tray onto a cooling rack. Serve on their own or with cream or ice cream.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Yes, you can freeze bananas

December 8, 2007

We’ve all done it. You get carried away planning your five a day and end up buying too much fruit, some of which will sit in the fruit bowl until it’s time to throw it away. Bananas go from green, to yellow, to brown, to the bin. But it doesn’t have to be this way. They freeze brilliantly.

Bananas are best frozen when they are ripe. Just put them straight into the freezer with their skins on. The skin will go a very dark brown, but don’t worry about this, because the flesh stays a lovely yellow colour and the flavour intensifies.

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Frozen bananas take about 2 hours to defrost properly, then carefully score the skin lengthways with a sharp knife and pull apart to reveal delicate, glossy and soft banana flesh.

So what do you do with them? Frozen bananas can be added to smoothies without even being defrosted. Banana bread and Banana cake are both excellent with defrosted frozen bananas, and the soft flesh is perfect for banana icing.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Banana and chocolate chip cakes

November 27, 2007

I was in a bit of a quandry about how to approach this recipe. There are quite a few healthy cake recipes on She Likes Her Food, such as courgette and ginger muffins and healthy chocolate brownies. So, do I add to that collection or go the way of the sticky ginger cake instead? I decided to meet in the middle. Brown flour (good), ground seeds (good), bananas (quite good) and chocolate chips (not so good). There are definitely enough good ingredients in these cakes for you enjoy them without feeling too guilty.

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Recipe for Banana and chocolate chip cakes
50g wholemeal plain flour
150g ground almonds
3 medium bananas, mashed*
120ml vegetable oil
240ml honey
2 eggs, beaten
100g white chocolate drops
10g dark chocolate drops
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp linseeds
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder

Icing
200g cream cheese
1 banana, mashed
50g icing sugar

Grind the seeds together to a chunky consistency in a spice grinder or food blender. In a medium sized bowl mix together the seeds, flour, ground almonds, cinnamon, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. In larger bowl, combine the vegetable oil, honey and eggs and stir thoroughly until combined, then add the mashed bananas and mix well, then add to the flour mixture. Stir carefully until everything is properly combined, and transfer straight to your cooking tins. These quantities make a fair amount of mixture, and it’s up to you what kind of tins you use. I use a combination of large and small muffin tins, and a flat tray-bake style tin as well.

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Cook in the oven at 180C for 20-25 minutes, until golden and a tester comes out clean. Leave to cool for a while before removing them from the tins to a cooling rack.

Whilst the muffins are cooking, make the icing. Mix all the ingredients together, using an electric whisk, until the mixture is pale and fluffy, then cool in the fridge until needed. Smooth the icing generously over the muffins and chill until the icing is set. They are lovely and moist, so will not dry out in the fridge or freezer, in fact the cakes actually end up even more moist if they have been frozen.

* You can freeze bananas if you have a surplus, and frozen bananas work really well in this recipe. When frozen the skins go dark brown, but the flesh retains its pale yellow colour. They need about 30 minutes to defrost, and when you peel them you will find soft, glossy flesh that is slightly mushy and allows very easy mashing. You never have to let bananas go brown again – just freeze them! Read more about freezing bananas.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Sticky Ginger Cake

October 31, 2007

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I used to love Jamaica Ginger Cake when I was little – moist, sticky, rich and gingery, and believe it or not, it can be recreated at home. It takes a little bit of effort, but it’s so worth it. A word of warning though, there’s a lot of sugar and butter in this recipe, and not a great deal of redeeming healthy ingredients, so I have included some ground seeds and nuts to help you to justify eating it.

Recipe for Ginger Cake
250g butter
250g black treacle
250g soft dark brown sugar
300ml milk
2 eggs
100g stem ginger
300g wholemeal plain flour
100g sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp allspice
3 tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp ginger syrup
5 tbsp icing sugar

Melt together the butter, treacle and sugar by heating gently in a pan for a few minutes, stirring constantly. When it’s smooth, add the milk and stir until combined, and the mixture is just warm. Leave it to cool a little.

Chop the ginger finely and mix with the flour, baking soda, allspice and ground ginger. Grind the mixed seeds and nuts together into a fine powder and add to the bowl. Make a well in the middle. Gently beat the eggs and add to the melted ingredients, then carefully pour this into the well, stirring from the middle to bring the mixture in from the edges and combine to create a thick, smooth mix.

Pour the batter into a square cake tin (buttered and lines if not silicon), and cook at 160°C for 1 hour, until it’s risen and a knife comes out clean. Leave it to cool before you take it out of the tin.

This cake freezes really well, so if you’re going to freeze it, don’t ice it, just wrap it tightly in cling film and freeze until you need it. If you’re going to ice it straight away, put the icing sugar and ginger syrup in a mini blender and whizz together until smooth, then drizzle over the cake and leave to set – delicious!

©Katheryn Rice 2007

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Strawberry Eton Mess Parfait

October 23, 2007

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How impressive does this look? What’s even more impressive is how easy it is to make…

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Look at those juicy red strawberries! They tasted as delicious as they looked, and it was hard not to eat them all before I started making this divine pudding. But it was the prospect of the finished result that helped me resist temptation – the anticipation of a mouthful of strawberry eton mess parfait.

If you want to impress someone, make this pudding.

Recipe for Strawberry Eton Mess Parfait
2 large punnets of strawberries
300ml double cream
500ml Greek yoghurt
6 meringues
1 punnet of raspberries
2 tbsps Lemon curd at room temperature

Hull the strawberries and then chop them into 1-2 cm chunks and set aside. Pour the double cream into a large bowl and whisk until stiff, then carefully fold in the yoghurt. Add the strawberries then crumble the meringues into the mixture so you get meringue pieces of varying sizes from tiny crumby bits to healthy, crunchy chunks. Now carefully stir everything together so it’s all combined.

Finally, you need to add the lemon curd. It’s very important to remember that the lemon curd is there to run through the parfait – like a lemon ripple – not as a part of the main mixture. If you stir the lemon curd in too much it will change the flavour of the parfait completely and overpower the strawberries. So, make sure the lemon curd is at room temperature so it’s soft. If it needs softening a bit more, put it in a small bowl and warm it up beating it gently with a spoon. When it’s ready, carefully swirl the curd through the mixture with a metal spoon. This should be done in one movement for each tablespoon and no more.

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You can make individual portions, which make a lovely dessert after a special dinner, or you can make one big parfait if you want to make a real impression.

For the individual portions, line small ramekins with cling film, making sure you leave plenty hanging over the edges and then fill each to the top and freeze for a minimum of 3 hours. To serve, remove from the freezer 20 minutes before serving. Use the cling film edges to remove the portions from the ramekins and place flat side down on a serving plate, garnish with strawberries and raspberries and dust with icing sugar.

For a large parfait, transfer all the mixture into a cling film-lined loaf tin. If you use a silicon tin you won’t need the cling film, and you will get a smooth finish. This will need to be frozen for 5 hours minimum. Remove from the freezer 1 hour before you serve it, garnish with strawberries and raspberries and dust with icing sugar.

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©Katheryn Rice 2007

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Ginger & Lime Cheesecake

September 18, 2007

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Something this heavenly shouldn’t be so easy, but it really is. I urge you to make it for someone who deserves it! The original idea for this cheesecake came from my mum when, many years ago I called her one evening for help with an idea for a pudding for a boy I fancied. She told me the basic recipe, which I wrote on a corner of the newspaper, with the phone wedged between my cheekbone and my shoulder. And of course the boy in question* couldn’t resist temptation when it was so beautifully presented to him on a plate.

I don’t know where the scrap of paper is anymore but I don’t need it these days, as I have tinkered with this recipe so many times, it is etched into my mental memory banks for good.

Even the coldest heart will melt when a slice of this dessert passes through their lips, so get cooking!

Recipe for Ginger and Lime Cheesecake
2 packets of ginger biscuits
75g butter
3 balls of stem ginger, chopped into 1cm cubes
1 tbsp ginger syrup
250g tub mascarpone cheese
200g tub cream cheese
400g can condensed milk
juice and zest of 2 limes

First, the cathartic bit: put half the ginger biscuits into a strong freezer bag, seal it up tightly and then smash the biscuits to smithereens with a rolling pin. Transfer to a bowl and do the same to the other half of the biscuits, so they are reduced to a pile of crumbs, with perhaps a few larger pieces in for extra bite. Be careful during the smashing session that you don’t make a hole in the bag. If this happens, put the biscuits into a new bag and carry on.

In a large pan melt the butter slowly, then add all the biscuits and stir thoroughly until the butter and biscuits are well combined and moist.

The tin you will need for this cheesecake is a high-sided 9 inch loose-bottomed cake tin. I usually use silicon for all my baking, but have never had the balls to try it with this in case the base breaks when being removed from the tin. This cheesecake needs a solid tin, so my advice is to avoid silicon for this recipe.

Grease the tin and then tightly pack the biscuit base into the tin and at least ¾ of the way up the sides of the tin too. It’s really important to do this, as this will hold the cheesecake together, and allow you to serve it without the tin.

When the base is well pressed into the tin, drizzle the ginger syrup over the base and scatter the stem ginger pieces on the bottom so they are evenly distributed.

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Then put the base in the freezer to set while you make the filling. Leave it for at least half an hour, but an hour is best.

Get a large mixing bowl and add all the cheeses and the condensed milk. Whisk it all together until it is completely smooth. Then add the lime juice and zest and whisk again until it is fully combined. You can taste the mixture at this stage and add more lime juice / cheese / condensed milk to suit your taste.

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The base is set when it is really hard and cold. It will not be this hard or cold when you serve it, but it needs to reach this state to be properly set. So, when it’s set, simply pour / spoon the mixture into the base, until it is about 1cm from the top of the base (NOT the tin). Don’t overfill it, or it won’t work. Then put it back into the freezer to set.

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You can leave your cheesecake in the freezer for 1 hour to 2 weeks, depending on when you plan to serve it. If your cheesecake has been in the freezer for more than 2 hours, you will need to get it out 1 hour before you want to serve it. It’s also important to take it carefully out of the tin as soon as you get it out of the freezer. This is when the base will be at its most firm, and therefore the least likely to break. To remove it, pass a knife very gently around the sides, separating the base from the tin. When it is all loosened, gently release the clip holding the bottom of the tin in place, and slowly put it onto its serving plate.

*yes, of course it was Mr Rice.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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