Category Archives: Cakes & Biscuits

Anzac Biscuits‏

This new post comes from my Mum…

Recently it was the 78th birthday of a very good friend of mine who originally came from New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsular in the North Island but has lived in our village for over 25 years. He is also one of our bell-ringers and a very good artist. Like me he has Coeliac Disease so when I make him his favourite biscuits from ‘down under’ I use Gluten-free Flour. Although they have oats in them many people with Coeliac Disease can tolerate oats as long as they are pure. I have made these biscuits for his birthday for many years.

ANZAC Biscuits were made to send to the ANZACS (Australian & New Zealand Army Corps) serving in Gallipoli during the First World War. As the ingredients would not spoil they were safe to travel and the recipe has become a tradition. The recipe I use was sent to me by a cousin of my husband’s from Melbourne Australia. I hope you enjoy them.

(Printable Recipe)

Makes 24/30 biscuits

Ingredients:
3oz (85g) Organic rolled oats
3oz (85g) Desiccated coconut
4oz (100g) Plain flour (gluten-free can be used)
4oz (100g) Unrefined caster sugar
4oz (100g) Butter
1oz (25g) Golden syrup
1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
2tbsp Boiling Water

Preheat oven to 180C/350F Gas 4 or 170C Fan Oven.

1 Put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl.

2 Melt the butter and golden syrup together in a small saucepan.

3 Mix the bicarbonate of soda with 2 tablespoons of boiling water then stir it into the butter/golden syrup mixture.

4 Make a dip in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter/golden syrup mixture and stir until well mixed.

5 Put teaspoonfuls of the mixture, having gently flattened them with a fork, onto greased baking sheets about 1½ inches (3cm) apart to allow room for spreading.

6 Bake in batches until golden about 8/10 minutes.

7 Transfer to a wire rack to cool and then keep in an air-tight tin.

NB: Some people with Coeliac Disease may be able to eat this recipe as many Coeliac’s can tolerate oats if they come from a reliable source.

Enjoy!

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Mince Pies

This has got to be one of the best Christmas treats ever and I have had them homemade as far back as I can remember! They are one thing I love coming back to the family home for, over the festive period. I have even had my Brother in Canada asking me to get this recipe on my blog.

This is an original family recipe and one that I think is personally better than the rest but then I may be slightly biased! I asked my mum for some background on them and this is what she told me…

This is my recipe for mince pies, everyone has their own I feel, but these freeze well and my family seem to like them. In fact when my eldest son (me) was at primary school he used to take one for break. This led to me making them for his form teacher too!

You do need a light hand for pastry or make it in a mixer but watch it carefully as it should not be over-mixed. I use my homemade mincemeat that I make with the apples from the garden, but if you use shop-bought mincemeat add a little brandy or rum to it as it adds a certain something to the pies.

I make the pastry with what flour I have in the cupboard – plain, self-raising or a mixture of both. The amounts shown below can be doubled in quantity or even halved.

(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients:
1lb/450g Flour
9ozs/260g Butter (margarine or half white fat half butter can be used)
1 Egg (either the whole egg can be used or just the yolk)
Cold water
Mincemeat

Preheat oven to 200C/400F Gas 6 or 180C Fan Oven.

1 Cut the butter into cubes and rub into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. If using a mixer do not over mix.

2 Add the egg and some water; continue mixing until the mixture comes together. If you only use the egg the pastry will be more difficult to work with but that is ok.

3 Remove from the bowl, wrap in cling-film and refrigerate for ½/1 hour.

4 Place onto a floured board, roll out thinly and cut out rounds to fit your tins.

5 Fill with the mincemeat and dampen the edges of the lids with water and press them lightly on top.

6 Brush with either beaten egg, milk or a mixture of both and cut a slit in the top. This can be with a knife or scissors. I am a bit of a traditionalist and put a cross.

7 Bake in the oven for 20/30 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire tray.

8 Serve warm sprinkled with icing sugar and cream or brandy butter.

9 If freezing I find it is better to freeze the mince-pies uncooked. Freeze in the tin, and when frozen remove from the tin and put into a freezer bag. To cook, remove from the freezer put back into the tin, allow to defrost, brush with an egg mixture and cook as before.

If allergic to either eggs or milk just leave them out.

NB I will post my recipe for homemade mincemeat at a later date.

Enjoy!

Blackberry Vanilla Cupcakes

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Having already made lots of delicious things with all the blackberries I had foraged a few weeks before, I wanted to make something completely different and outside of my ‘comfort zone’, so I started searching for food blogs using blackberries in other ways.

I then stumbled across Donal Skehans excellent blog The Good Mood Food Blog and some of the delicious things he was making with blackerries over in Ireland.

I first noticed his Blackberry Coulis recipe which is very similar to my own Blackberry Compote one and then saw the superb cupcakes he had made using his coulis. Having never made any cakes in my adult life, this was the challenge I wanted and so I set about getting the few ingredients I didnt have in my cupboard or fridge, before having a go at making them and doing his recipe proud! As Donal quotes, ‘This recipe makes delicious, light and moist cupcakes with a fruity taste’.

What I discovered, like so many other recipes I try, it wasnt overly complicated to do, you just needed to follow the instructions step by step.

So I started by making his Blackberry Coulis, so that it was then ready for me to use in the cupcake mixture later on. Once I had sieved it and let it cool, I started on my baking adventure, thinking I was going to get flour and eggs everywhere and dreading the washing up after. Suprisingly, for the time I spent in the kitchen, I only used 3 bowls and a saucepan and hardly made a mess at all!

Again, not having any ink in my printer (I must remember to buy some) I brought my laptop into the kitchen so I could follow Donal’s recipe. It was a total clash of technology and cuisine going on in my small kitchen, epecially when I got my LED beeping electronic scales out too!

I got everything ready to bake, with my girlfriend on hand in the living room watching ‘Come Dine With Me’ (being the normal master home baker), just incase I messed anything up.

All I can say is that they were great fun to make! Everything was so easy, and after spending all that time in the kitchen making them, all I wanted to do was eat one.

I made sure the cakes properly cooled before spooning on the frosting, and then put them aside to set. Once I was happy that they were ready to eat, I had my first one and it was totally delicious! My girlfriend was very impressed at my baking, so I continued into the evening, using the rest of the cake mixture to make a dozen more, so that I could freeze some and have them on other occasions, especially as I have some of the coulis left too.

If anyone wants to have a go and making some fruity cupcakes, then I suggest you have a go at these as the are fantastic!
 
 

Blackberry Coulis

Makes about 150ml/¼ pint

250g Blackberries
50g Golden caster sugar
½ tsp Vanilla extract

1 Put the blackberries and sugar into a small pan with 100ml/31⁄2fl oz water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 mins until the fruit is soft. Stir in the vanilla, remove and cool a little.

2 Tip the contents of the pan into a blender or food processor, and whizz to a purée, then strain through a sieve, rubbing it through with the back of a ladle or spoon.

Serve warm or chilled.

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The coulis will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
 
 

For the main recipe:

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Blackberry Vanilla Cupcakes

(Recipe adapted from Donal Skehan)

Makes 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 cup Flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Salt
6 tbsp Unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Blackberry coulis (made earlier)

For the frosting:
8 oz Cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups Powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp Blackberry coulis
Blackberries for decoration

Preheat the oven to 180C.

1 Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

2 In a small mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3 In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions.

4 In another bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk and blackberry coulis. Add half of the dry ingredients to the bowl of the mixer and mix on low speed until just combined. Mix in the blackberry coulis/milk mixture. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients on low speed just until incorporated. Do not over-mix.

5 Divide the batter evenly between the prepared paper liners.

6 Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and blackberry coulis in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth and well blended. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired and garnish with fresh blackberries.

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Blackberry on Foodista

Chocolate Sponge (Gluten Free)

Having made a delicious gluten free Victoria Sponge, my partner, being the master baker in the house, decided to have a go at making a chocolate version, as a surprise for me on the first day of my new job.

The only change to the original recipe is the inclusion of 1 tbsp cocoa powder to the sponge mixture and 1/2 tbsp of cocoa powder to double the amount of buttercream, as this is spread over the top as well as being used as the filling.

All I can say is, that it tastes as great as it looks!

Victoria Sponge (Gluten Free)

This is one of the simplest cakes to make whether being made with wheat flour or gluten free flour and definitely one of the finest to eat. Having had my partner make a Victoria Sponge using both kinds of flour in recent months, there is nothing to distinguish which was which from the finished product, as both come out light, fluffy and buttery. It is a very easy cake to dress up and perfect for any occasion as a treat or gift.

Victoria Sponge Ingredients:

8ozs Gluten Free Plain Flour
8ozs Caster Sugar
8ozs Cooking Butter/Margarine
4 Eggs
1-2 tsp Gluten Free Baking Powder

Buttercream Ingredients:

3ozs Butter or Cooking Margarine
6ozs Icing Sugar

Additional:

Pot of Sugar Free Jam

Equipment Required:

2 Greased 8 Inch Sandwich Tins
Sieve
Large Mixing Bowl
Electric Whisk

1 Weigh out ingredients separately.

2 Firstly cream the margarine and sugar until it looks a pale colour.

3 Then tip in the eggs and sifted flour and whisk the mixture until it is a dough like consistency.

4 Once you have done this, grease the cake tins with some margarine, line them with grease proof paper and spoon out the cake mixture into the 2 cake tins.

5 Smooth out the cake mix to cover the bottom of each tin.

6 Bake in an oven at 175C for 20 to 25 mins or until the cakes are firm but spring back when touched gently.

7 Empty the sponges out of the cake tins and leave the cakes to cool on a cake cooling rack or a floured greaseproof round plate if you don’t have one.

8 When the cakes are cool, spoon out the buttercream on the underside of one sponge, and then spoon out the jam on the underside of the other sponge.

9 To complete, sandwich the two halves together, and dust the top of the Victoria Sponge with icing sugar through a sieve.

Serve and enjoy!

Somerset Cider Apple Cake

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According to my mum, she found this in a old recipe book and as it had cider and apples in it and as my home county is Somerset, she thought it would be appropriate to give me this to share with everyone.

This is one of those cakes that is so delicious and moist that I would choose it any day over most other cakes even though it would appear the most rustic of them all!

It has been around as a big family favourite all my life and I know it will keep being one! Shame she can’t put a few of the small ones in the post to me – writing this blog can be very cruel at times!!!

Ingredients:
1¼ lbs Sultanas
½ Pint medium/sweet Cider
1 lb Caster Sugar
12ozs Butter
4 Standard Eggs
1¼ lbs Plain Flour
1½ lbs Cooking Apples
3 Level teaspoons baking powder
2 Level teaspoons mixed spice or ground coriander

Preheat oven to 180C/350F Gas 4 or 170C Fan Oven

Makes 18 muffins and two 1lb loaf cakes. It is also enough to fill a large roasting tin 30cm x 25cm (12″ x10″). Grease and line the tins.

1 Place sultanas in a basin and cover with the cider, leave in a cool place overnight until the sultanas are plump and have absorbed most of the cider.

2 Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add beaten eggs gradually.

3 Add sifted flour, baking powder and spices, the mixture will seem stiff at this stage.

4 Add chopped apples (these can be the size of your choosing but should not be too big), sultanas and any remaining cider, and mix thoroughly.

5 Put mixture into prepared tin/tins and bake in centre of oven.

The muffins take 20/25 minutes. The loaf tins will take 40/45 minutes and the large roasting tin 1¼ to 1½ hours. Test with a skewer to make sure the middle is cooked.

Tip: If the top of the cakes are browning too quickly, place a piece of greaseproof paper lightly on the top and continue cooking until they are done.

When cooked the cake should spring back and have begun to shrink from sides of tin. Leave to cool in the tins.

NB Somerset Cider Apple Cake can be eaten hot, as a pudding, with cream or custard, stored in a tin for up to 1 week and freezes well.

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Apples on Foodista

Shortbread Biscuits

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A real lifelong favourite of mine are my mum’s shortbread biscuits. Thirty years on and she is still making them in exactly the same way.   Winter is a common time of year that the family can always find some freshly baked biscuits on a rack or plate somewhere in the Kitchen or breakfast room but they can be made and enjoyed all year long.   And most importantly, after a weekend visit I’m normally packed off home with half a dozen to enjoy later.

4ozs Caster Sugar (Golden or White)
8ozs Butter (Margarine can be used but doesn't have such a rich flavour)
10ozs Sifted Plain Flour
2ozs Cornflour

Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F Gas 4 or 170C Fan Oven.

1 Put all ingredients into a food mixer or processor and mix thoroughly until all the ingredients have come together. This may take a couple minutes or more.

2 Roll out on a floured board and cut into biscuits, or if preferred press into tins, flute the edge, mark into triangles and prick with a fork.

3 Bake for 20/30 minutes, or until lightly coloured, and cool on a wire rack. Biscuits may only take 15/20 minutes.

4 If cooked in a tin cut through marks before the shortbread cools.

5 The shortbread can be kept in a tin for 2/3 days but also freezes well.

* When my children were small I used all sorts of different shaped cutters for special occasions like birthdays, Christmas and Easter.

** If using metric measurements the figures for the ingredients are below, and then follow the recipe.

100gms Caster sugar
200gms Butter
250gms Sifted Plain Flour
50gms Cornflour

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