Author: francesauty

Elderflower and Strawberry Summer Celebration

This cake is a combination of tweaked recipes from elsewhere and my own imagination. It came about because of my recent obsession with elderflower. I have always loved the flavour of elderflower and knew that people gathered the flowers and made their own cordial and wine, but for some reason I assumed it didn’t grow in Scotland. But since getting our puppy, then moving to our new house and village, I have become much more aware of the passing seasons and the flowers, trees and plants around me. I had a rough idea of what elderflower looked like but wasn’t sure. Then I saw some flowers that I thought might be it whilst out on a walk with the dog. I photographed it and had it confirmed by my friends on a Facebook group, who are keen cooks and bakers. I researched more about collecting and making cordial and decided to give it a try. I decided to use The River Cottage recipe which was very straight forward and easy. During the process I did doubt how …

Mocha Coffee Cake

I came up with this recipe for my old school friend who was coming over for coffee. I asked her what her favourite cake flavours were and she said: coffee, coconut, fruit and dark chocolate. I decided coffee and chocolate was a good way to go. I’ve long been a fan of Annie Bell’s Coffee and Walnut cake. Her coffee and mascarpone cream is so very delicious: it’s creamy but not clawing; and it feels luxurious and decadent, but is incredibly simple to make. The topping is almost identical to Annie Bell’s, so I can’t take credit for how delicious it is. But I decided I wanted to make more of a coffee sponge, incorporating chocolate, and leaving out the nuts on this occasion (though you could always sprinkle chopped walnuts on the top if you fancy). I also wanted to add more flavour and moisture by using a sugar syrup on the cake itself. Ingredients For the Cake: 150g of Butter at room temperature 150g of Golden Caster Sugar 150g of Self Raising Flour 3 …

Pistachio and Apricot Tart

  This recipe came about simply from chancing upon some very pretty apricots at the supermarket. I thought they would be delicious in a frangipane type tart, but then wondered what it would be like to substitute pistachios for the traditional almonds. There was only one way to find out; and I was delighted with the result. I have to say, though, that it’s maybe not the prettiest tart that I’ve ever made, and almost looks savoury. But I can assure you that it is sweet and delicious.   Ingredients: 300g of Sweet Pastry 100g of Butter, at room temperature 100g of Caster Sugar 2 Medium Eggs 150g of Pistachios 40g of Self Raising Flour 3 or 4 Apricots Preheat your oven to 180C. Roll out the pastry and line an 8″ tart tin with it, leaving the excess to hang over the edge. Prick the base with a fork several times and refrigerate for at least half an hour. Whilst the pastry is chilling prepare the apricots by cutting them in half and removing …

Blueberry and Lime Bundt Cake

Greetings from the blogging wilderness. I have moved house, unpacked a little and started to plan a lot. In the mean time, I have been quietly finding my way round my new oven (and planning its replacement). So, with an extension in the offing, blog posts won’t be super frequent, but I hope you will stay with me, and that the odd wee recipe like this will keep you interested. It really is a super simple cake but, I think, very delicious. I tweaked and adapted Felicity Cloake’s Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe and ended up with this. If you want fruity, zingy, and moist, then this is the cake for you. It doesn’t need to be iced or served with cream. And it doesn’t need to be in a bundt tin: a loaf tin or even small round tin would be just as nice. Ingredients: 175g of Butter 175g of Caster Sugar 3 medium eggs 4 Unwaxed Limes (3 might be enough if they are large) 100g of Self Raising Flour 75g of Ground Almonds …

Speculaas Snowflakes

There is no lengthy introduction to this recipe. I was given Gingerbread Wonderland for Christmas last year, but never got round to making any of the recipes in the book. Then I was recommended The Speculaas Spice Company later in the year. I decided to order some of their Speculaas spice blend in Autumn and to make Speculaas biscuits as gifts for my kids’ teachers for Christmas. Steven, from The Speculass Spice Company, included a lot useful information about the spice blend, including a recipe. Their website has even more recipes. But I decided to make a new recipe with elements from their recipe and with those in Gingerbread Wonderland, and here it is. Ingredients: 100g of Butter 150g of Light Muscovado Sugar 1 Medium Egg The zest of half an Orange 200g of Plain Flour 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder 3 Teaspoons of Speculass Spice Mix 50g of Ground Almonds Cream the butter and sugar until paler and fluffy. Add the egg with a dessert spoon of flour, and the orange zest, and mix thoroughly. Mix all the dry ingredients …

Apple and Cranberry Snowflake Pies

The creation of these came about entirely from the purchase of the snowflake pie mould from Lakeland. Initially, I thought about making regular mince pies with it, then I thought it might be nice to make something equally Christmassy but slightly lighter. I came up with apple and cranberry and the combination, with some Christmas spice, works very well, and would make a great alternative to those who don’t like traditional mincemeat. Ingredients for the filling: 1 Large Bramley Apple (about 250g once peeled, cored and chopped) 50g of Dried Cranberries (soaked overnight in 20g of Vanilla Vodka or orange juice) 100g of Light Brown Sugar 15g of Butter 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract 1/2 Teaspoon of Mixed Spice 1 Stick of Cinnamon 1 Heaped Teaspoon of Plain Flour Zest of an Orange Soak the dried cranberries overnight in the vodka or orange juice to allow them to plump up. Chop the apple into small pieces and combine all the ingredients, except the plain flour, in a large pan and heat on medium. Cook the apple …

At long last…

It took a while, but I got there in the end with this recipe and beautifully detailed cake. It wasn’t so much the cake recipe, which I adapted from the Nordicware recipe card that came with the Snowflake tin, but getting it out of the damn tin. I had an idea to adapt the almond cake recipe by adding some dried cherries soaked in Amaretto (which, by the way, are awesome on their own). It just felt more festive. Once I had fiddled with the batter amount and worked out the optimum quantity of cherries and soaking liquid, I thought it would be easy to pop the cake straight out using homemade goop (it works on other bundt and detailed pans). But this was not to be. This pan is on a different scale of difficulty to remove cake from. I made it again, coating far more liberally with goop: fail. Then I looked on the internet for advice and it said you should only use a small amount on detailed pans like this, so …

The Elvis Bundt

In the distant past this cake started off as Nigella Lawson’s Banana Loaf. Since I have been using this recipe I have fiddled with it a few times. Then, when my American friend sent me Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips, I decided that peanut butter would be a splendid addition. Of course, The King was famous for loving this combination; hence the title. This recipe doesn’t make a large bundt. It fills a 2lb loaf tin, if that is your preference, or a 6 cup bundt pan (about 1.5 litres). It’s an every day cake that is easy to portion and slice up. And if you can’t get the peanut butter chips, then get the same weight in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and chop them into chocolate chip sized pieces. First, make the cake. Ingredients 175g of Plain Flour 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder 1/2 Teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda 125g of Melted Butter 120g of Light Brown Sugar 2 Large Eggs 3 Ripe Bananas 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract 150g of Peanut Butter Chips Preheat the …

Bonfire Roulade

If you are entertaining tomorrow night, with or without fireworks for Bonfire Night, and haven’t settled on what to serve for dessert, then I have the very recipe for you. I made a version of this last Hogmanay, and it was a dream dessert. It was Tiramisu Swiss Roll Cake by Izy Hossack at Top With Cinnamon. When I heard that Baileys were bringing out a Pumpkin Spice edition, I knew I had to incorporate it into this dessert, instead of the regular Marsala. I take no credit whatsoever for coming up with the roulade idea, and my recipe is simply a tweaked version of Izy’s. I don’t feel too bad, however, because I know Izy adapted the sponge element from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum (Rose’s website), so all is good. Bonfire Roulade Sponge 5 Large Eggs 100g of Golden Caster Sugar 1 Teaspoon of Gingerbread Syrup (If you don’t have any, use Vanilla extract) 75g Butter, melted and cooled 100g of Plain Flour 25g Cornflour 2-3 Tablespoons of Icing Sugar mixed with 1 …

Cinnamon and Maple Doughnuts

These started out as something quite different. I was aiming for a pumpkin doughnut, filled with a pumpkin pie type filling. I made a pumpkin dough, and made the doughnuts. I made a creamy pumpkin pie filling. I fried the doughnuts and filled them, but it just didn’t seem quite right. So then I decided to make them small, unfilled doughnuts. And I moved away from the pumpkin in the dough (I didn’t feel it was adding anything in the way of flavour it texture) and stuck to the spices. These weren’t flavourful either. I tried adding maple syrup to the dough and simplifying the flavour from pumpkin pie spice mix to just cinnamon. I kept the maple syrup glaze and chopped pecans but added cinnamon sugar. Bingo! Sweet Dough 200g of Milk, scalded then cooled 50g of Maple Syrup 15g of yeast 500g of Bread Flour 60g of Butter, softened 40g of Caster Sugar 10g of Salt 2 Large Eggs 2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon   Cinnamon Sugar 3 Tablespoons of Caster Sugar 1 Teaspoon …