Tag Archives: cakes

The Comfort of a Cake you Know and Love

Dan Lepard’s Rye and Apple Cake #shortandtweet

Warm, sweetly scented with cinnamon and brown sugar, butter and golden syrup, wholesome with apples and rye flour. It is easily made on a gloomy afternoon when you should be dealing with your tax returns, planning Christmas, all things I would rather not do. Ever.  So much better to avoid and bake a teatime treat instead.

I always bake this one in this narrow high sided Matfer tin and it cooks perfectly in 50 minutes flat.

This time I used soya milk as we had run out of cow’s milk and experimented with lining the tin (the most irritating part of making any cake for me) with Lakeland’s fancy new parchment one side/foil the other side stuff. It’s a clever product that you don’t exactly need but I thought I would try it out. It worked fine!  And I think it would be excellent for wrapping stuff like fudge, or halva or well any of those things. It has the feel of the old Callard and Bowser butterscotch wrappers. You can get nice crisp lines with it and it doesn’t curl up like my usual baking parchment does.

Clever lined foil paper peels neatly off

Not much else to add, this is a lovely cake, too hot to cut at the time of writing, but hey, I have made it about half a dozen times since the recipe was first published in its original form in The Guardian and has been amended since then. It is one of our favourite tea time cakes, not too fancy, no icing, just a nice soft apple cake that is easy to put together and easy to eat. It is one of the many great recipes in Short & Sweet, so get someone to treat you to a copy if you feel the urge for a new baking book this winter.

I freely admit to having a huge bias in favour of cakes that you put together at least in part in a saucepan. No creaming of sugar and butter, no separating eggs, you just have to watch that you don’t overheat the sugar-butter-syrup bit and you will be fine.

I almost didn’t make it and I am late as it should have been ready for Evidence Matters’ round up by last night, but better cake than never!


Edit: If you’re thinking of making this cake have a look at Misk’s solution to the age old and much loathed task of lining a loaf tin with non stick parchment in her latest post → click here

Stem Ginger and Dark Chocolate muffins

50 minutes from thought to eating. If you were organized you could probably do it in 30 but I am just not that quick!  It finally rained today so now the weather is back to normal, we needed muffins for tea! I have reduced the butter and increased the milk in this recipe by a little as I am trying to cut down on butter.

From a recipe by Diana Bonaparte in Mad about Muffins my favourite muffin book! Loads of other wonderful recipes in here, including B’s all time favourite, mint choc chip muffins and many, many more!

Preheat oven to 170 C Fan. Find muffin tin with 12 compartments, find muffin cases, find the rest of the ingredients and off you go…..

The wet stuff: two parts to this:

  • 110 grams unsalted butter
  • 100 grams dark chocolate

Melt 100 grams of dark chocolate  and 11o grams of unsalted butter in a pan or the microwave on a low heat just enough that the butter melts and stir until smooth.

In the meantime mix up in a separate bowl:

  • 1 egg
  • 100 grams plain yoghurt –  (I used homemade)
  • 160 grams skimmed milk

Then add the butter-chocolate mix to the egg mix, or the other way round, just make sure the chocolate isn’t too hot or you will end up with scrambled eggy bits.

Whizz 2 nuggets of stem ginger, the sort that comes in syrup in a jar, in a food processor, or chop finely and add to the wet mix as above.

The dry stuff:

  • 260 grams of plain flour (all purpose)
  • 200 grams light brown muscovado sugar (sieved to get rid of the lumps)
  • 10 grams ground ginger
  • 1 and a half tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch of salt

Sieve these together and mix well in another bowl. You now have one bowl of dry and one bowl of wet ingredients

Filling and topping – weigh these out before you mix the wet and the dry together!

  • 150 grams dark chocolate, chopped up roughly or use choc chips
  • one more nugget of stem ginger finely sliced into 12 slivers

OK, all set! You should have one bowl of wet stuff, one of dry stuff, one little bowl with more chocolate bits in it and a saucer with some slices of ginger.

Fold the dry mix into the wet mix, work quickly, don’t beat it,  just mix it enough that the flour has just disappeared, more like folding than beating. The batter can look quite lumpy which is fine!  Then quickly fold in the second lot of chocolate bits.  Spoon the batter  into the paper cases. Put a sliver of stem ginger on top of each one and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Mine took 25 minutes because I think I made a bit more mixture than I meant to and so the muffins were quite big! They are done when they are well risen and spring back a little when you press them.

Cool on a wire rack but don’t wait too long to eat them, in fact invite someone round for a cuppa and then you can eat two while you are talking to them and no one will notice!

For an easy to print version of this post click here

Dan Lepard’s Chocolate, Stout and Raisin Slice

[Edited to take out links which are now ‘dead’]

I never hear the call to make things that involve coconut, that’s because I don’t have it in the cupboard. However I do have  chocolate, cocoa, flour, golden syrup, vanilla, butter, oats, raisins, egg, soft brown sugar, and one tin of stout left over from bun making – yes, all present – so I don’t have to go shopping for some obscure ingredient.

It’s not that I like chocolate…

This is the first time I have mixed a cake entirely in a saucepan; so the kitchen was disappointingly tidy all the way through, unlike when I make bread.

Mackeson’s stout is a classic, sweet and creamy black beer made with milk lactose and whey.  I Googled it to find out what was in it.  Wikipedia inform me that is why there is a milk churn on the tin. I never notice things like that unless they are pointed out to me; I thought it was a rook from a chess set.

It feels a bit crazy pouring a can of beer into a saucepan and boiling it up with oats and cocoa as the first stage of a cake – cocoa beer porridge – reminded me of Babette’s Feast where the sister is making ale-bread soup.  But I have already used stout in Dan’s new Easter bun recipe so I was on familiar territory.  I am quite proud of my home made vanilla essence, something I learnt from Celia at Figjamandlimecordial which also features in this slice.

What’s it like?  It is  soft and moist with the oats and the stout, not as dense as you might think either, goes very well with a nice cup of tea on a sunny but chilly Friday afternoon. The cake part is chocolatey, juicy with raisins, creamy….and not too sweet – I am not good at describing taste but I am sure you get the idea. The icing is sweeter, as icing should be, but you could always make a different icing if you want less sugar.  I am not going to write out the recipe here, it is only a click away after all! [Edit: this recipe is no longer available on the internet as far as I know, if I see it in a new Dan Lepard book I will update again]