Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake

i LoVe cAKe I loVE CaKe i lovE CAkE I lOVE CaKe I loVE CAKE!!!!!

Prep time: 20 Mins
Baking time: 65-70 Mins (Plus 10-15 mins for the base)
300g Ginger Nut Biscuits
150g Unsalted Butter (Melted)
425g Tin Pumpkin Puree
750g Mascarpone Cheese
200g Caster Sugar
2 Lemon Zest
2 Large Eggs and 3 Yolks

Let us retire to the cake laboratory. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 23cm springform tin with baking paper. I don't mind admitting that I find lining tins rather a chore but it's a necessary evil I'm afraid. Finely pulverise the ginger nuts, either in a food processor or using a rolling pin and no small amount of brute force, then mix in the melted butter. Tip into your prepared tin and press firmly to the edges. Bake in the centre of the oven for 10-15 minutes, just to set and brown slightly, then remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack whilst you prepare the filling.

For the filling grab a large bowl and tip in the pumpkin puree. Add the mascarpone, sugar and zest, followed by the eggs and yolks then just give it a big old whisk until smooth. You can do this in stages if you'd like but the cavalier in me can't resist just throwing it all in and hitting it with some hardcore balloon whisk action. When it's all nicely whisked together pour the mixture onto the base and bake in the centre of the oven for 65-70 minutes, until golden brown on top and just wobbling in the centre.

When you are happy the cheesecake is baked remove from the oven, leave in the tin until at room temperature, then place in an airtight container and leave in the fridge to chill overnight (at least for 4-5 hours). Carefully remove from the tin, peeling off the paper and you are ready to slice and serve. Wooooooooooooo!!!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

My Baking Adventures - September/October 2014

Here's what I've been making and baking over the last month or two. You'll find most of the recipes on the blog, but if you have any questions, comments or just want to say hello, then don't hesitate to get in touch!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Bramley Apple Crumbles

With such a bonanza of beautiful ingredients available to the amateur baking fantasist one can be forgiven for occasionally overindulging in the unconventional and the outlandish. I often find myself struggling to resist the urge to tinker and toy with recipes or concepts, even if only for the sake of it. However both in baking and in life, it is restraint that is the mark of a true artisan, for there is beauty to be found in the simple, the classic and the traditional.

These bramley apple crumbles are all about making life easy. With only a few ingredients and even fewer processes they can be prepared with minimal effort, but deliver one of the most satisfying and comforting eating experiences there is. The only challenge is deciding what to serve with them. Cold custard anyone?

Prep time: 15 Minutes
Baking time: 40-45 Minutes
75g Unsalted Butter (Cut into little cubes)
150g Plain Flour
25g Jumbo Oats
75g Light Muscovado Sugar

5 Large Bramley Apples
150g Caster Sugar

Begin by preheating the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and digging out 6 oven proof ramekins. In a medium sized mixing bowl rub together the butter and flour to a light breadcrumb texture. Add the oats and muscovado sugar, then gently work together with your hands, until evenly combined. It doesn't matter if a few little lumps remain. Set to one side whilst you prepare the apples.

Peel and core the apples, then chop evenly. About 2cm cubes should be fine. Toss the chopped apple in the caster sugar, then evenly distribute into each ramekin. Generously pile a handful of crumble mixture onto the apples, then place on a baking tray in the centre of oven for around 40-45 minutes, until the crumble is nice and toasty brown. Remove from the oven, set to one side for 10 minutes then serve. See, I told you it was easy!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Maple Syrup Cake

With the nights drawing in, the days becoming ever shorter and the weather taking a turn for the tempestuous there's no better time to sit down in a big comfy chair and indulge a big comfy slice of cake. This beauty is sweet, satisfying and gloriously gratifying, with a deep maple flavour and a soft, almost syrupy texture. It's one of those cakes that may seem a little unassuming, maybe even uninspired but I promise you it will knock your socks off. So when the dark and dull days are getting you down why not escape into the kitchen for a little cake therapy? Baking always brightens up my day!

Prep time: 20 Mins
Baking time: 60 Mins
185g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
50g Light Muscovado Sugar
3 Large Eggs (Beaten)
1tsp Vanilla Extract
175g Maple Syrup
200g Plain Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
220g Pitted Medjool Dates (Chopped)

155g Maple Syrup (To drizzle at the end)

Cake time! Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3, grease a 20cm deep, loose bottomed tin and line the base with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and the sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Pour in the vanilla and 175g of the maple syrup, sift in the plain flour and baking powder then mix to a smooth consistent batter. Finally, fold through the chopped dates.

Carefully spoon the cake mixture into your prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for around 60 minutes, until golden on top and a metal skewer can be cleanly removed when inserted into the middle of the cake. When you are happy the cake is baked remove it from the oven, leave in the tin for around ten minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack with a plate underneath. Remember to peel off the paper from the base of the cake!

Pierce the top of the cake all over with a sharp knife or skewer then brush over some of the maple syrup. Leave for ten minutes to soak in, then brush over some more of the syrup. Keep doing this until you've used all of the remaining maple syrup and that's the cake all finished. Well done!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Apple and Almond Crumble Cakes


Prep time: 25 Mins
Baking time: 35 Mins
185g Light Muscovado Sugar
100g Plain Flour
100g Ground Almonds
1tsp Baking Powder
185ml Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Extract
1tsp Almond Extract
3 Dessert Apples

For the crumble
50g Butter
100g Plain Flour
50g Flaked Almonds (Lightly crushed)
50g Light Muscovado Sugar

To the kitchen! Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper cases. In a large mixing bowl mix together the sugar, the flour, the ground almonds and baking powder. In a separate bowl or large jug beat together the oil, eggs and extracts, then pour into the dry ingredients and mix to a smooth, consistent batter. Peel, core and chop the apples into little cubes, then fold through the cake batter. Spoon evenly into your paper cases, then it's crumble time.

For the crumble rub together the butter and flour, then add the flaked almonds and sugar and keep mixing with your hands until crumbly. It doesn't matter if there are a few small lumps remaining. Pile the crumble onto each filled paper case. You will have enough to be very generous, but there's nothing wrong with that. Bake in the centre of the oven for around 35 minutes until the crumble is a nice toasty brown on top, then remove from the oven. Leave the cases in the tray for around 10 minutes, then carefully remove and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. So simple and so delicious!