Saturday, 16 November 2013

Peaches and cream upside down cake

One thing I can't stand is throwing perfectly good food out, and I often have random eggs left over if I've bought a box to make a cake with. Since I detest eggs and will only interact with them in baking-related form (or pancakes on pancake day and even that is only under duress), they often find themselves dumped unceremoniously in the bin. As a result I will often look for random things to bake with a specified amount of eggs to use them up - which can be counter productive since I then inevitably have to go and buy more things...

Anyway, we were having my Mum round for a Sunday roast and I decided to try and find something desserty to make which could use up the 2 eggs I had hanging around in the fridge. I scoured my 'to bake' list and came across this Peaches and Cream Upside Down Cake from Laura Loves Cakes and decided this would be perfect as a dessert if I just made a single layer and served it with some whipped cream, and handily this would fulfil my egg objective aswell!

I halved my usual victoria sponge recipe - which I think is the much the same as the one that Laura used - and followed her instructions for the peaches. It was a lovely, fresh and light dessert, perfect for after a whopping great big roast.

Here's what I did...

100g caster sugar
100g butter
2 eggs, beaten
100g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp milk
2 peaches
85g light brown soft sugar
carton of whipping cream

1. Grease the bottom and sides of a sandwich tin and line the base with baking paper. Preheat oven to 190c.
2. Slice the peaches into eight, toss them in the brown sugar and arrange them on the base of the sandwich tin.
3. Mix together the caster sugar, butter, eggs, flour, baking powder and milk in a bowl and beat until smooth.
4. Pour the cake mixture over the peaches and smooth the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and springy when pressed.
5. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack - don't leave it too long, I think this cake is best enjoyed warm!
6. When you're ready to serve, whip up the cream and serve it on the side.

There was a little disappointment as the peaches and the sponge around them were quite pale and watery looking, I would have liked to have got a bit more caramelisation on them. Not sure what went wrong but it's happened to me before with fruit type cakes, I guess maybe there was too much juice on them? Anybody have any tips for fruit based baking?

I'm entering this into Calendar Cakes, the monthly blog challenge by Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes, and Laura is the host this month with the theme being 'desserts.' I know this isn't a classic pud, which to me would be something piping hot with custard, but we did have it for dessert so hopefully it counts!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Fizzy cola jaffa cake cake

 This was a cake for my friend Alex's birthday a couple of months ago. I'd had a tip off that she liked the look of this one and jumped at the chance to make it for her - it's something I probably never would have tried myself otherwise because I would have been scared and suspicious of the jelly layer and also because... *whispers* I don't like jaffa cakes. Sorry, sorry... I just don't. I don't know why - I like jelly, I like cake, and I like chocolate, especially of the orange variety. I think my issue is with the texture of the jelly against the cake/chocolate - it just makes me feel weird!

Anyway, the recipe was from Sunday Brunch and involved making a chocolate cola cake, then topping with a layer of orange jelly and covering with a chocolate ganache.

It was pretty straightforward and handily I had all the pans in the right sizes required, as the base of the frying pan you use to make your jelly layer needs to be the right sort of size to fit your cake. The recipe claimed that I wouldn't need all the jelly but that is LIES - I used all of it and could have done with a bit more! Perhaps my pans were on the large size, or perhaps my expectations were incorrect! It was a horrendous moment turning the jelly layer out onto the cake, I was convinced it was going to tear, but success!

The ganache was my favourite bit, lovely and gloopy, and just the right texture to hang nicely over the sides without running too much.

It was a good cake - jelly layers in cakes are definitely not my favourite thing, but it worked well and I was pleased with the effect!

I think I slightly over did the cake as I did find it quite dry - but the recipe did say to serve with cream and I didn't, so that could have lessened the dryness! The birthday girl hates cream though so it went without, but I think I would definitely do a batch of cream to go alongside it next time. Recipe is online here.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Baileys and chocolate cheesecake

Just a really quick post about this all kinds of amazing Baileys and Chocolate Cheesecake I made back in September. I've been wanting to expand my dessert repertoire and I think a no-bake cheesecake is one of the best desserts in existence - not only is it super easy to make, I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't like cheesecake so you really can't go wrong.

This one from the Caked Crusader had been burning a hold in my To Bake list for a few months and I decided to give it a whirl when we had some friends around in September (yep, that's how behind I am here!).

Due to my greed good hostess skills I didn't get any picures of the fully formed cheesecake, but I'm sure you get the drift here. My tin was definitely slightly too small, since the biscuit base to cheesecake ratio is a little off - not sure they are supposed to be quite 50/50 but to be honest I think the base is the best bit. I always eat the top bit and save the base for last!

This was a brilliant dessert - the cheesecake was lovely and creamy with a hint of the Baileys and the chunks of Flake added to the texture and gave nice little chocolatey hits. I am definitely making this again, I think a brilliant one for Christmas too.

I've also just remembered that my best friend and I were recently drooling over the Baileys flavours and I think adapting this using the orange truffle flavour would be genius! And that has also given me renewed devastation at the demise of the mint chocolate flavour Baileys, mint chocolate Baileys cheesecake would be amazing!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Rhubarb and Almond Loaf

I made this cake last month and looking at it now, I really want to eat it again because nothing says autumn to me like a golden loaf cake with a smattering of almonds and hint of spice.

It was a last minute bake for Mike's Dad's birthday, which was the day after we got back from our France holiday. I'd almost written off being able to make him something this year, but when we got back my Dad had left us some goodies from his garden and allotment and amongst them was a bunch of rhubarb. I'd barely unpacked my suitcase before I was thinking about what rhubarb-based cake I could make!

As I was pushed for time I settled on a rhubarb and almond loaf cake from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book. It was a good cake, but I was slightly disappointed with the rhubarb content and kicking myself for not listening to my instincts! You stew 4-5 stalks of rhubarb, but then when incorporating it into the cake batter the recipe just calls for 100g of it. I had WAY more than 100g of it, but dutifully measured it out and added it. Even though I thought it looked like a stingy amount in the bowl, panicked thoughts of soggy cake and sunken fruit were flying through my mind so I went with it.

Mike wasn't too bothered as it meant he got to eat a giant bowl of leftover stewed rhubarb which he very much enjoyed! But when we came to cut and eat the cake I was a little disappointed in the rhubarb to cake ratio. That said, I'd definitely make again as it tasted great, perfect Autumnal cake! The photos are a bit scant as we hardly had time to take any pictures, and just managed a few snaps after it had been cut.

I won't reproduce the recipe, as a quick google revealed it's already knocking about in many places (here and here are examples). Despite the stingy rhubarb content, Hummingbird comes up trumps again!
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