Recipes from around the web

Flour

Credit: WordRidden (Flickr)

I follow quite a few baking blogs/websites now, so I thought it would be nice to share the recipes I’ve recently stumbled across that I’ve added to my ‘to bake’ list. Hopefully I’ll make this a fairly regular feature on the blog!

1) Coconut and raspberry set cheesecake (The Caked Crusader)

Considering how much I love coconut, it’s crazy that I’ve never even thought of using it in a cheesecake before. This looks absolutely divine!

2) Coconut mascarpone cake with mascarpone cream (Dan Lepard for the Guardian)

Yes, it’s coconut again. Dan Lepard made this cake for his recent civil partnership ceremony. It’s properly spectacular and a cake I would love to be surprised with on a special occasion. (Hint hint. Anyone? Oh, never mind).

3) Tres leches cake (Something for the Weekend)

Okay, I came across this on TV a fair while ago (when Something for the Weekend (RIP) still existed, obviously) but it’s never far from my mind. Just look at all that creamy dairy goodness…

4) Chocolate chunk peanut butter cake (Cake, Crumbs and Cooking)

So good it’s all gone before anyone can take a photo of it, apparently. As I’ve blogged before, chocolate and peanut butter is a most excellent combination, and one I definitely want to indulge in again soon.

5) Black Forest g√Ęteau (BBC Good Food)

My version of this would never look as neat as it does in the picture, but I would certainly have fun eating cleaning up the mess.

What recipes have you got your eye on for making in the near future?

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Re-bake: courgette and mozzarella muffins

Courgette and mozzarella muffins

As you may have gathered, I do a lot of baking. Among the things I’ve baked the most are these delicious courgette and mozzarella savoury muffins from a recipe by the baking genius that is Dan Lepard.

This recipe has many of my favourite ingredients – with courgette, chilli, cheese and parsley all in there, this is a dream bake for me! It’s also super easy to make, employing one of my favourite methods: throw it all in a bowl, then mix and bake. So simple!

Some notes on the ingredients: courgettes are widely available now, as they’re a summer vegetable that seems to keep growing whether gardeners would like it to or not! So they’re pretty cheap at the moment. Mozzarella can be expensive, but I recently discovered that Morrisons has included the cheese in its new ‘Savers’ range, which is the equivalent of Asda Smartprice and Tesco Value. At 44p for 125g, it’s definitely the cheapest I’ve come across in all the time I’ve been making this recipe, and it tastes fine, so I would recommend finding your nearest Morrisons if you’re on a budget.

Back to the muffins, then. Being a pescetarian, I make the vegetarian version of this recipe, which replaces the smoked ham with smoked paprika. Add to this the generous helping of chilli flakes, and you have some wonderfully spicy muffins! The spice level is perfect, in my opinion, but if you don’t get on with chilli it’s probably a good idea to reduce the amount you put in by one or two teaspoons. I had to use red onion instead of white this time, and I only had frozen parsley as opposed to fresh, but that didn’t make much of a difference to the overall flavour.

As with most muffin recipes, the key is to not overdo it when stirring the mix. I always mix until the ingredients have just come together (for me, it’s when it’s mostly combined, but I can still see some bits of unmixed flour in the bowl). Overmixing can result in hard, dense muffins that fail to rise, so keep an eye on what you’re doing!

You can eat these while they’re still warm, but they’ll most likely still be a little soft in the middle, so try to resist temptation until they’re completely cool and you’ll find them easier to eat. I also think they’re tastier when cold, but then I’m the sort of freak who likes cold cheesy pasta and pizza!

Courgette and mozzarella muffins

The recipe

Get the recipe from Dan Lepard’s Guardian column here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/apr/10/courgette-mozzarella-muffin-recipe

First bake: cherry Bakewell cake

Cherry Bakewell cake

Cherry and almond is one of those classic flavour combinations that’s best in a Bakewell tart (although a traditional tart uses strawberry jam, not cherry!). It’s one of my favourite pairings, so I was intrigued when BBC Good Food added a slew of Bakewell-based cake recipes to their website last year. I baked this cherry Bakewell cake after adapting a recipe for a raspberry version – and it’s truly delicious.

The great thing about this cake is how easy it is to make. You throw everything into a bowl/food processor and mix, then layer the mix with fresh cherries in the tin and top with flaked almonds. And that’s it! My version takes a little longer than BBC Good Food’s raspberry cake, because of the process of taking the stones out of the cherries, but it’s well worth it.

De-stoned cherries

De-stoned cherries

De-stoning cherries is pretty easy – I do it in the same way as when I de-stone olives. I slice them around the middle then twist half of the fruit away, and pick out the stone from the other half. You end up with some nice, neat cherry halves as a result (see above).

I don’t have a food processor big enough for a cake mix, so I just threw all the ingredients in a bowl and beat them together, which seemed to work fine and didn’t take too long at all. I never seem to have golden caster sugar in, so I mixed normal caster sugar with light muscovado sugar.

The recipe calls for 140g of ground almonds, but as the bag I bought was 150g, I thought ‘what the hell?’ and put the whole lot in. I also switched the teaspoon of vanilla extract for half a teaspoon of almond extract and half of vanilla, which adds an extra almondy dimension to the cake that I think brings it very close to the flavour of a proper Bakewell tart.

Cherry Bakewell cake mix in the tin

Cherry Bakewell cake mix in the tin

Cherry Bakewell cake mix in the tin

Cherry Bakewell cake mix in the tin, with almonds

Layering the mix and cherries is a doddle. The mix is thick enough to be spreadable with a spatula, and then you simply throw the cherries on top and spread the other half of the mix over them. Then, scatter with flaked almonds and it’s ready to go! I found I had to leave it in the oven for a good 20 minutes or so longer than the original recipe says, but I think that’s because cherries are much juicier than raspberries, making the overall cake more moist.

The final result is pretty damn good. The almond flavour is really, really intense – thanks to my addition of almond extract and extra ground almonds. The cherries themselves are cooked beautifully – they were quite sour when raw, but end up with just enough sweetness when baked in the cake. There’s not much I’d do next time to improve on the recipe, although one of the commenters on the original recipe suggests adding blobs of cherry jam too, which I might try to get some extra cherry flavour in there.

Cherry Bakewell cake

The recipe

Adapted from BBC Good Food’s raspberry Bakewell cake recipe:

Serves 8

  • 150g ground almonds
  • 140g butter , softened
  • 140g golden caster sugar (or 70g caster sugar and 70g light muscovado sugar)
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 250g cherries, de-stoned and sliced in half
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds
  • icing sugar, to serve
  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and base-line and grease a deep 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
  2. Blitz the ground almonds, butter, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla extract in a food processor or beat together in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Spread half the mix over the cake tin and smooth over the top. Scatter the cherries over, then dollop the remaining cake mixture on top and roughly spread – you might find this easier to do with your fingers.
  4. Scatter with flaked almonds and bake for 50 mins until golden. Insert a skewer into the middle of the cake – if there’s cake mix clinging to it, bake for 10 to 20 mins longer. Cool, remove from the tin and dust with icing sugar to serve.