Showing posts with label jam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jam. Show all posts

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Jam and custard bundt cake

I’ve had this gorgeous bundt cake for a while but not used it.  I wanted to save it for a special cake and this is it!  It was important that the outside of the cake was left simple and not over-iced so as to hide the intricacy of the mould.  Therefore, all the goodies are stashed away inside the cake and only revealed on cutting.

I hummed and hawed for a while over whether to put some glace icing over the top.  I do love glace icing but didn’t want to cover the cake, so I compromised – I went for a slightly thinner consistency of icing so it would cover but not hide the pattern.  Yes, I know it looked better without the icing but in my defence I truly love white icing! 

To stop the custard or jam seeping to the edge of the batter and possibly burning during baking I came up with a method to make channels in the batter and spoon the fillings into it.  Use a spoon or knife to make a channel like this:

Take care to spoon the custard and jam into the channel, making sure there is batter protecting it from the edges of the tin:

Cover with batter and spread carefully so as not to squidge the custard and jam out to the edge.

You get a lovely big slice from a bundt cake like this; the batter was the perfect quantity to fill the tin and, when baked, the cake only needed a thin trim to cut off the crust and make it stand nicely on a plate.

The sponge is lovely – soft and springy, and would be nice on its own with a buttercream or full covering of icing.  Definitely a keeper!


For the custard:
2 tablespoons custard powder
1 tablespoon caster sugar
280ml milk
For the cake batter:
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
450g caster sugar
4 eggs
2 tbsp vanilla extract
350g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250ml natural/Greek style  yogurt
4-5 teaspoons jam – I used strawberry
For the glaze:
150g icing sugar
2-3 tablespoons warm water


Preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan oven 160°C/ 350°F/gas mark 4.

Spray the bundt tin with cake release spray – my bundt tin was a N0rdicware 2.4l, 10 cup, 10 inch.

Make up the custard according to the instructions on the packet and leave to set.  You want the custard cold before you add it to the batter.

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy; don’t skimp on this stage.

Beat in the eggs one at a time, add a little of the flour if it looks like the batter might curdle.

Beat in the vanilla.

Weigh out the flour and bicarbonate of soda.

Measure out the yoghurt.

Stir in a third of the flour mixture followed by half the yogurt. Repeat this until everything is combined. Don’t over-beat the batter at this stage.

Spoon about a third of the batter into the prepared tin and ensure it is evenly spread out.   (NB.  I did this and my jam and custard sank during baking, so I think next time I’d put half the batter in first, then a layer of jam/custard, then half the remaining batter, layer of jam/custard, final bit of batter)

Take a blunt knife or teaspoon and bank the batter up the sides of the tin a little, to make a channel for the custard and jam.

Spread out half the custard onto the batter, taking care that it doesn’t reach the edges – you want it enclosed in the cake batter.

Dot some jam on top.

Spoon a further third of batter over the jam and custard, taking care not to squidge it out to the edges.

Bank the sponge again to make a channel.

Repeat the process with the remaining custard, jam and cake batter.  The final layer of cake batter should be spread smooth – no need to make a channel.

Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Leave the cake to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes, then de-tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Now make the glace icing:  mix the icing sugar with a little warm water until you have a thick, glossy icing that’s runny but not watery.   If in doubt, keep the icing on the thick side.

Spoon it over the cake and allow to drizzle down the sides.

Leave to set.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Coconut biscuits


I’m writing this as the biscuits are baking in the oven – the smell of toasting coconut is driving me mad!  Why won’t they bake faster????  Coconut is one of my all time favourite baking ingredients. 

When I looked at the method for these biscuits I expected them to be like the oaty melting moments biscuits I remember making at school.  While the method is similar i.e. roll dough into ball, roll in coconut, the result is quite different.  These are not shortbread-like in texture – they are a cross between a biscuit and a macaroon (note the ‘oo’ there – I’m talking about those big flat coconut macaroons you used to find in bakeries).  Slightly chewy and satisfyingly filling.

I’m limited in my opportunity to bake with coconut as the CCB and Boy Wonder (Caked Crusader’s Brother and my nephew) hate it; so I can only use it on weekends I won’t be seeing them.  In truth, the Boy Wonder doesn’t hate coconut at all and likes anything with it in...until you tell him its coconut!  Men, huh?

The quantity below yielded 25 biscuits for me.  According to the recipe it should’ve been 32.  I have never yet got the recommended number of biscuits out of ANY recipe I’ve made.  I don’t know why – I used the teaspoon measurement, like they said but my heaped teaspoons always seem a little more heaped than anyone else’s.  Maybe you’re not meant to see it as a challenge as to how much dough you can pile up onto the small spoon?

You can decorate the biscuits by placing half a glace cherry in the centre of each biscuit before baking but, seeing as the first thing I do is pick it off, I didn’t bother!

News just in – I’ve had a decadent about spreading the flat side of the biscuit with a little raspberry or strawberry jam – a sort of biscuit version of a Madeleine?  
Ever eager and dedicated to my research (ahem), I have scuttled to the kitchen and tested my theory:

Oh yes, it tastes even better than it looks!  This is the BEST way to enjoy these biccies!


120g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g caster sugar
2 eggs
150g desiccated coconut – you may need a tablespoon or so extra
300g plain flour
Optional: Jam to spread on the biscuit (strongly recommended!)


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Line three baking sheets with baking paper.

Place the butter, sugar and eggs into a bowl and beat together until you have a custardy looking cream.

Measure out the coconut then take four rounded tablespoons of it and place on a plate for later. 

Add the rest of the coconut to the butter mix and stir in.

Stir in the flour – you should have a firmish and sticky dough.

Take a rounded teaspoon of the dough and roll into a ball – it won’t be as sticky as you expect and will handle easily.

Roll the ball in the reserved coconut. (I found I needed an extra tablespoon of coconut to ensure all the balls got a nice even covering)

Place on a baking sheet and flatten so that you have a thick disc of approx 4cm across.

Continue to do this with the remaining dough.

Place the biscuits a little apart as they do spread on baking.  I was too cautious and put 8-9 per baking sheet; they could’ve gone closer!

Bake for approximately 18 minutes or until golden.  I turned the trays around halfway through to ensure even colour.

Leave to cool on the baking sheet before storing in an airtight container.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Cake balls, four ways

I have resisted the phenomenon that is cake pops because I can never get past the line in the method that instructs you to break the cake into crumbs. I wouldn’t need buttercream to bind the crumbs; my tears (caused by such wanton vandalism) would do the job. But I have to admit I do like the look of them, the size of them and their versatility.

Enter Lakeland with their cake ball machine
. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a plug in counter-top machine that bakes small amounts of sponge mix into balls in less than 5 minutes. Impressive, non? And you get all the joy of a cake ball without having to desecrate the sponge.

I found that lifting the balls out was easy if you used two cocktail sticks; they are small enough so as not to tear the sponge:

For my first dalliance with this machine I kept it simple. All the cake balls are made from the same tried-and-tested vanilla cupcake sponge recipe
. Some I rolled in jam and coconut for a classic English Madeleine:

When I rolled the balls in the hot jam I just had to photograph them as they looked so beautiful – almost like plums:

Others were rolled in chocolate ganache
and chopped nuts:

As you can see, the sponge is a lovely texture; I was really impressed with this little machine:

For the citrus lovers amongst my eatership I rolled the sponge in lemon drizzle mix
so that the whole ball was covered in the thin crusty glaze (it pains me to say it, but these were voted the favourites on the day – even by only casual lemon-eaters):

And finally, so no one had any grumbles, I cut some in half and sandwiched them with peanut butter cheesecake

Serving them in mini cupcake cases gave the air of a box of truffles – a really cute look with no need for any decorating skills at all:

Ingredients and method

Obviously, the quantities will vary depending how many cake balls you wish to make. Here are the basic quantities that you can scale up or down based on your needs.

For the cupcake sponge (this will make 12 normal sized cupcakes or 32 cake balls):
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
1 tablespoon milk

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in the vanilla

Beat in the eggs, flour, and milk.

When the mixture is smooth and well combined, spoon teaspoonfuls of batter into the oiled (I used Dr Oetker cake release spray and – contrary to the cake ball maker’s instructions found that I didn’t need to reapply) cake ball maker. It’s important to work quickly and cleanly – if you drip batter anywhere other than the holes you will find you don’t get nice clean cake balls.

Bake for 4 minutes or until the balls are firm. Mine took exactly 4 minutes and the easiest way I found to remove them from the machine was to spear them lightly with 2 cocktail sticks and lift them out.

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

When they are cool, gently pick off any surplus batter that makes them look like Saturn with its rings!

Now the fun bit – decorating!

For the Madeleine version (enough for 16 balls):
Heat some jam (I used almost a whole jar of raspberry) and roll the balls in it.

Roll in a approx 100g of desiccated coconut.

For the chocolate ganache (enough for 16 balls):
125g dark chocolate – I used half dark, half milk
150ml double cream
100g chopped nuts

Place the chocolate, broken into chunks, in a heatproof bowl.

Heat the cream to boiling point, then immediately pour over the chocolate.

Leave to stand for a couple of minutes then stir until it is smooth and well combined.

Leave to cool and firm up before rolling the balls in it.

Roll the balls in chopped nuts.

For the lemon drizzle (enough for 16 balls):
2 lemons – zest and juice
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Icing sugar – enough to make a runny icing; the quantity required will depend on the juiciness of your lemon!

Place the lemon zest, juice and caster sugar in a bowl and beat in enough icing sugar to make a thin, extremely runny icing. (The reason for using caster as well as icing sugar is that the caster won’t sink into the cake and leaves a lovely light sugar crust on the top of the cake).

Pierce the cake balls all over – I used a cocktail stick for this.

Sit the balls in the glaze and leave them to absorb the lemon for 5 minutes or so.

Use a fork to lift the balls out and let the excess glaze run off.

For the cheesecake (easily enough for 32 balls – I only used it for 16 and spread the rest on digestive biscuits as a tasty treat!):
150g cream cheese – I used Philadelphia

25g icing sugar
70ml double cream
2-3 tablespoons peanut butter and add more to taste

Beat together all the ingredients except for the peanut butter.

When you have a smooth consistency spoon beat in the peanut butter.

Cut the cake ball in half and spoon or pipe a ring of cheesecake around one flat surface.

Press together with the other sponge half.

Refrigerate until you wish to serve.

Serve in small paper cases or on sticks.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 17 April 2011

History corner – Golden crunch cake

This history corner is the ‘youngest’ book I’ve featured – it’s “A Spoonful of Sugar” issued by the British Sugar Bureau in 1973. Two very good things happened for the world of cake in 1973; firstly, this booklet was published and, secondly I was born! Now you see why I opened with how this is the most recent book I’ve featured in history corner......

This cake is a simple sponge with a coconut meringue topping baked onto it. It’s far less complex to make than you might think because both the cake and topping bake at the same time. I was sceptical as to how well this would work but I shouldn’t have worried – it’s a doddle, a very delicious doddle!

The booklet features a surprising number of savoury recipes and, while we all know that a spoonful of sugar can help regulate the acidity of tomatoes and bring out the flavour of carrots I’m not sure I want to add sugar to dishes such as devilled prawns with egg mousse...even I think that’s taking things too far!

Sugar has many uses beyond eating; I think the British Sugar Bureau was just (some might suggest cynically) trying to get people to use as much sugar as possible so I can’t vouch for any of the following “Sugar Hints” printed inside the cover:

  • A cube of sugar in your biscuit tin will help keep biscuits fresh and crisp

  • A cube of sugar is just the answer if you’ve run out of candles for a birthday cake. Drain a small can of apricot halves and arrange them around the cake, putting the cut side uppermost. Soak some sugar lumps in lemon essence, put one on each apricot and light with a match [I love the notion that you’re so disorganised you’ve run out of candles, yet will have tinned apricots, sugar cubes and lemon essence in your cupboard! They might as well have suggested that you use albatross feathers!]

  • A spoonful of sugar added to the water in a vase of flowers will make them stay fresh longer

  • Three of four cubes [they really increased the “hard sell” with this one!] of sugar put in a suitcase will prevent damp odours when storing

  • A spoonful of sugar in water used for washing a linoleum floor will give it an extra shine [and no doubt attract all the neighbourhood ants and wasps!]

The quantities looked a bit mean so I’ve doubled them; the doubled amount is what’s set out below. I also made two tweaks to the recipe; firstly I added coconut extract to the sponge (but vanilla or almond would work just as well) and secondly, I dotted some jam on top of the batter to add an almost bakewell vibe to it. Feel free to leave both out if you want to be a purist about it (but, when I make the cake again, I will definitely repeat both those modifications). It didn’t need much jam:

The cake sunk a little in the middle during cooling but the topping didn’t. I wonder if that was caused by my adding jam to it – whatever the reason it had no effect at all on flavour.

This cake is awesome! It’s the sort of cake that, however much of it you eat, you want just a tiny slice more. The topping is crunchy and coconutty and the cake is soft and spongy – the extra egg yolks make it wonderfully golden in colour and give it an almost custard-like flavour. I think it’s one of the best cakes I’ve eaten in a long while as it packs so much flavour and texture into such a simple recipe.

I finish how I began: 1973 was a very, very good year for cake!


For the cake:
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
170g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks (keep the whites for the topping)
230g self raising flour
2 tablespoons milk (either whole or semi skimmed)
Optional: 1 teaspoon of coconut, vanilla or almond extract

Optional: 2-3 teaspoons raspberry jam

For the topping (which bakes at the same time as the cake):
2 egg whites
115g desiccated coconut
115g Demerara sugar


Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan oven 140°C/325°F/Gas mark 3.

Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.

Beat the butter and sugar together until they are pale, light and fluffy. Don’t skimp on this stage as it’s where you get all the air into your sponge.

Beat in the two eggs and two egg yolks along with one tablespoon of the flour.

Fold in the remaining flour and milk and – if using – coconut extract.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.

If using, dot the jam over the surface of the batter.

Now make the topping: whisk the egg whites until they are stiff and then fold in the coconut and sugar.

Spread on top of the cake batter.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. I found this far too short a time and mine actually took 55 minutes – although, thinking about it, I did double the quantities so it actually makes sense!

Leave to cool, in the tin, on a wire rack until the tin is cool enough to remove safely.

Leave the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.

Serve in thick slices – no accompaniment is needed.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 20 March 2011

Battenberg (or Battenburg) cake

I still can’t decide which spelling to go with for this cake; the more I think about it the more both spellings end up looking equally wrong (if I was of a more optimistic bent I might have said “equally right”).

It is generally accepted that Battenberg cake was invented in honour of the marriage, in 1884, between Queen Victoria’s granddaughter to Prince Louis of Battenberg.
The four squares symbolise the four Battenberg princes. However, that doesn’t help to explain why two of the squares are pink, and two yellow…but they always are (except when a silly baker doesn’t put in enough food colouring...ahem).

When you’re making a classic you have to follow the rules so I used food colouring in this recipe - it simply wouldn’t be a Battenberg without it. Sadly, I didn’t put enough so had an orange rather than pink sponge, but it still looked rather attractive and had that all important colour contrast to achieve the chequerboard effect. Jamming up the sponges is one of the more fun parts of the process:

It’s worth taking the time to make your own marzipan for this cake; it will mean extra work and home made is -in my experience - harder to roll out but it is so superior in taste, and that’s what really matters. Not sure if I made a mistake or the recipe was wrong but I found my marzipan far too soft to roll and had to add a lot more icing sugar. Here’s what it started out looking like:

I find you can get away with a softer marzipan (although not as soft as the photo above!!) if you’re just covering the top of a fruit cake but this needed to be more firm to wrap the sponge. There may have been swearing but I persevered and kept kneading more and more icing sugar into the marzipan and I ended up with something, still sticky, but capable of rolling:

Once I’d cursed everything I could think of and sworn I would never make marzipan again, I tasted tasted good!

The combination of classic sponge, apricot jam and soft almond paste is a joy – every mouthful delivers flavour and texture. While mine may not be the prettiest Battenberg you’ll ever see I will venture it’s one of the tastiest. Just make it the day before you want to eat it – that way the pain of the marzipan will be but a distant memory!

Being a caketinoholic (it is a proper addiction as my cupboards and bank statements prove) I used my Battenberg cake tin which takes the effort out of the process.
You could, of course, use a normal square tin and make dividers out of foil.

Sept 2011 – Battenberg update

I made this cake again with pink colouring – if anything I over compensated for my colour failure last time as you’ll notice it’s somewhat lurid!

Had a much easier time using my no-bake marzipan recipe. It rolled easily and tasted divine.


For the cake:

175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
175g self raising flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
red food colouring
Apricot jam

For the marzipan - see Sept 2011 update above for easier recipe:

115g caster sugar
115g icing sugar, plus a lot more (potentially) to bring into a dough and for rolling
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk e.g. 3 egg yolks and 1 white
2 tablespoons lemon juice
265g ground almonds


Preheat the oven to 190˚C/fan oven 170˚C/375˚F/Gas mark 5.

Grease a Battenberg cake tin or a 20cm square tin. If using the square tin use a rigid strip of foil or baking paper to divide the tin in half.

Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Don’t skimp on this stage as it’s the most important time to get air into the cake.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Stir in the flour and vanilla.

Divide the batter into two separate bowls. You can weigh these to ensure the batter is evenly divided.

Add some red food colouring to one bowl of batter – add enough so that the cake is starting to look red, it will bake paler. I didn’t add anywhere near enough and got an orange sponge!

Spoon the batters into their separate sections of the prepared tin and level the surface.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the sponge comes out clean. Mine took 30 minutes.

Place the tin on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out and leave to cool completely.

When cool level the surfaces so that your cake is flat and even on all sides. If you used the square tin with a central divider, now is the time to cut each coloured sponge in two – divide them by cutting down the longest length.

Store in an airtight container until you are ready to assemble the cake.

Now make the marzipan: place a bowl over a pan of simmering water, ensuring that the water cannot touch the bowl.

Place both sugars, egg and egg yolk in the bowl and whisk for about 10 minutes or until pale and thick.

Take the bowl off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and ground almonds. It will be very sticky and not at all like a paste that you can roll! With hindsight, this is where I should’ve added extra icing sugar to bring to a firm dough. You’re aiming for something thick enough that you can roll it out. You may need to add a lot of extra icing sugar – I did.

Wrap the marzipan in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Now prepare the sponges for assembling: warm the apricot jam (about 6 tablespoons) then use to glue the four canes of sponge together.

Cover the outside of the cake with apricot jam and put to one side.

Roll the chilled marzipan into a rectangle big enough to accommodate the sponge – about 30cm x 20cm should do it. I rolled the marzipan between two sheets of clingfilm. If your marzipan is still sticky dust the work surface (or clingfilm) liberally with icing sugar.

Place the cake at one end of the marzipan and roll it up ensuring that the seam is at the bottom and cutting off any excess marzipan.

If the marzipan tears at all you can patch it up with spare marzipan.

Tidy up the edges by trimming any surplus marzipan.

Serve in thick slices.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.