Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Apple and Toffee Crumble Cake

It's like an apple crumble...but with cake and toffee sauce.

The days are getting shorter and I have a lot more time on my hands as there is less work. This is generally bad, but it also means that i have more time to mill around the kitchen and do some baking! I fancied some cake but didn't want it to have loads of icing or a glaze or anything...then I saw some Granny Smiths just chilling out in the fruit basket. So cake with an apple crumble topping spiked with toffee sauce it was to be. As usual, I've gone for a bake-it-with-your-eyes-closed Victoria sponge base. EASY! Unfortunately I'm not so good at remembering when I have things in the oven and it caught just a bit on the bottom and sides - rubbish! Nothing a little extra toffee won't sort out.

for the cake:
175g soft butter
175g sugar
3 eggs
175g plain flour
tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla extract

for the crumble
50g cold butter, diced
55g sugar (white and brown mix if you like)
70g flour (plain and wholemeal mix)

for the toffee
50g butter
50g white sugar
50g brown sugar
60ml single cream

2 medium Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced

- preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and line and grease a 20cm round loose bottomed tin
-make the crumble: place all the ingredients in to a medium sized bowl and rub the butter in to the dry stuff until you get something resembling breadcrumbs - or crumble! Set aside in a cool area.
-Make the sponge: cream the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. Add the flour and baking powder, stir to incorporate, then beat to combine. 
- for the toffee sauce, place all the ingredients in to a small sauce pan and set over a medium heat. Once all the sugar has dissolved, turn up high and boil for a few minutes till thickened. Remember to stir!
-Assemble! Pour the cake mix in to the tin and level. Add the apple slices then spoon over 5 tblsp or so of the sauce. Sprinkle some of the crumble on top (you won't need all of it. You can freeze the rest).
-bake for 30 minutes and test with a knife or skewer to make sure it's done.
-Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Serve with the rest of the toffee sauce.

Toffee! Just a little over done on the bottom there. ooops!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Banana Waffles

Waffles with three different styles of banana!
Since I decided the floor was no place to hang my coat anymore, I realised that I was going to need a friend to come and help me drill some holes for a pretty set of hooks I had acquired. Because this was going to happen in the morning, I made some brunch in exchange for labour - and seeing as I don't get nearly enough use from that waffle iron, waffles were on the menu! A request was put in for them to have banana in. I had a look on the internet for a recipe, but couldn't decide on any of them so just sort of...well I made it up. They have bananas times three: one mashed in to the batter, some cooked in the middle and then some fresh slices on the top. A dollop of yogurt and a drizzle of honey later, you have tasty breakfast times! The batter keeps for a few days in the fridge - which is good as this will make 8.

200g plain flour
80g wholemeal flour
2tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp each of ground ginger and cinnamon 
10g vanilla sugar
1 ripe banana, mashed up in a bowl
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
300ml milk
65g plain yogurt
25g butter, melted
2tblsp honey

one banana per waffle

- place all of the dry ingredients in to a large bowl and mix about a bit
- crack the eggs in to the mashed banana and combine using a balloon whisk. Then add the milk and vanilla and mix well. Add this in to the dry ingredients, mix well then add the yogurt.
-pour over the melted butter and honey and whisk
- turn on the waffle iron and when hot spoon some of the batter on and spread a little (I used a 1/4 cup measure as it was about the right size) slice half a banana on to the batter then dot a little more of the mixture on top of each slice. Close the iron and cook for around 3 minutes or until fluffed up and browned. 
-serve with the other half of the banana, yogurt and honey. YUM!(AND only 215 calories a waffle, if you make 8 - excellent!)


Monday, 19 November 2012

Clementine and Cardamom Polenta Cake

Syrupy and orangey.

I really love the texture of a cake when it's loaded with delicious polenta - because it's quite crumbly it takes a good lashing of syrup well, but it's also pretty dense so is quite satisfying and substantial. Also, because it's getting close to Christmas, the shops around here are loaded with clementines for next to nothing! So I bought a lot...too many to eat. So I thought, hmmm...they can become a cake! So they did. I've always loved orange flavours mixed with cardamom, so that's what's happened here. Very easy to make and it lasts ages in an air tight tin.


200g butter, room temp
230g sugar
10g vanilla sugar
3 eggs
150g polenta
190g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 heaped tblsp low fat yogurt
zest and juice of 5 clementines (do not juice until needed)
7 cardamom pods, seeds smashed - pods discarded

extra 100g sugar

-preheat the oven to gas mark 3 and grease and line a 20cm loose bottomed tin with baking paper and set aside.
-cream the butter and the sugars together until light and fluffy and add the cardamom
-add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition so they are nearly totally combined. Add the flour, polenta and baking powder
-add the yogurt and zest. Cut 3 of the 5 fruits in half and squeeze the juice in to the batter. Mix well
-Spoon the mixture in to the tin and level. Bake on the middle shelf for 35-40 minutes. It may need longer - test with a skewer or a knife and when it comes out batter free, your cake is done! Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out on to a wire rack.
-make the syrup: Juice the remaining clementines in to a small pan and tip in around 100g of sugar. Simmer until dissolved then boil until it thickens. Pour some of this onto a serving plate, place the cake on top and then spoon the remaining syrup over the cake. 
-Serve with ice cream, yogurt or on its own.

not the best picture, but the pomegranate was delicious on top!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Apple Waffles with candied Hazelnuts

Heart shaped breakfast treats.

I made an excellent purchase a while ago - a waffle iron! I haven't used it nearly enough yet. I did have some friends round for some waffles when I got it, but it's just sort of stayed in the cupboard since then. So when I had Sunday off I decided to make some brunch! A German recipe for apple ones won. They tasted like little mini apple pies.

60g butter, melted and slightly cooled
10g vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
2 eggs
100g plain flour
60g cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
100ml milk
zest of a lemon
1 big apple

100g hazelnuts
some sugar

-first make the hazelnuts. Tip the nuts in to a small pan and toast over a medium heat. Place on some baking paper to cool. Add a good amount of sugar to the pan and place on a low heat to dissolve. Once dissolved, heat until it starts to turn golden brown. Don't stir the caramel or it will crystalise! When it's ready, very carefully pour on to the nuts and leave to set. When completely cold, smash the brittle up in a bag.
- For the waffles! Put all the dry ingredients in to a bowl and mix. Add the eggs, milk and zest (and vanilla extract if using) and whisk in to a thick batter. Pour in the butter, mix to combine and then cover and leave in the fridge for an hour or so.
- heat up the waffle iron. Core and quarter the apple and slice thinly. Mix the apple in to the batter. When the iron is hot enough, spoon some of the mixture on and close the top. 
Cook each waffle for about 4 minutes. They should puff up a bit. 
- serve with yogurt, the hazelnuts, some cinnamon and a drizzle of honey. A lovely Sunday treat!