Re-bake: mango and coconut cake

Mango and coconut cakeYes, mango. And coconut. AGAIN. I do love both of these ingredients a lot, so any excuse to throw them together is most welcome. The excuse this time was that my mum recently went to India for a cousin’s wedding, and brought back some mangoes in various states of ripeness. I immediately ate the really ripe ones, and saved a not quite ripe one to use in a cake when ready.

I’ve made a variation on this before – mango, banana and coconut cake. This went well, but I didn’t have any banana this time round and so I used a different recipe for the coconut sponge layers. I stuck to the cream cheese and mango filling, though, as it was so delicious last time.

Coconut sponge layersThe sponges came out perfectly, even though (especially because?) I added just a little extra dessicated coconut. Because I didn’t put any mango pulp in the cake itself, I used the whole mango to make the filling.

This meant I ended up with a LOT of it, and it was also a little runnier than I remember it being last time! However, this didn’t really matter – it just meant I could ladle some filling over the cake for a particularly luscious pudding.

Mango and coconut cakeThe finished cake was, quite simply, AWESOME. It was very, very coconutty and yet the mango was strong enough to hold up against it, creating a somewhat orgasmic flavour. I think this is probably one of the best cakes I’ve ever made!

Mango and coconut cakeI would heartily recommend making this if you can get hold of some proper Indian/Pakistani mangoes this summer. It’s probably best to just use half of the mango in the filling to prevent it from becoming too runny, but it’s no bad thing if you throw the whole lot in like I did!

The recipe

Adapted from two recipes in BBC Good Food’s 101 Cakes & Bakes:

For the sponge layers:

  • 175g/6oz softened butter
  • 175g/6oz caster sugar
  • 175g/6oz self raising flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 75g/2oz dessicated coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream or single cream (I used Patak’s coconut cream, which comes in sachets)

For the filling:

  • 200g soft cheese
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 25g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 0.5 to 1 medium, ripe mango
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and line the base of two 20 cm/8 inch sandwich tins with greaseproof paper.
  2. Mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and eggs for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Gently stir in the coconut and cream.
  3. Divide the mixture between the two tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 20-25 minutes until evenly golden and firm.
  4. Loosen the edges and leave the tins to cool for 5 minutes and then transfer on to a wire rack to cool. Peel off the lining paper.
  5. Peel the mango, slice it away from the stone and chop into smaller chunks. Mash it to a pulp (you can use a food processor for a fine texture or a potato masher/fork for a chunkier one).
  6. Beat together the other filling ingredients and then stir in the mango. You can either stir it all in (but you’ll probably end up with lots/a runnier filling) or stir half of it in and use the rest of the pulp as another layer in the cake/on top or in another recipe!
  7. Spread one of the sponge layers with the filling and place the other on top. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

First bake: wholemeal loaf

Wholemeal loaf

This, surprisingly, was my very first attempt at a Proper Loaf. I’ve baked pitta and naan bread before, but never just a good ol’ loaf of bread. I’ve always preferred brown to white bread so I thought I’d ease myself into the world of loaf making by following a Delia recipe for a wholemeal loaf.

Wholemeal loaf

The recipe itself was pretty easy to follow and everything seemed to go according to plan, which is somewhat shocking for me! I did everything it asked for, including warming the flour beforehand – which seemed slightly faffy, but probably made for a better result somehow!

Surprisingly, the recipe doesn’t call for lots of kneading – which I suppose is why it’s a quick and easy method.

Wholemeal loafI have to say, the smell of the loaf baking in the oven was AMAZING. It was so pleasing to have this smell in my house! I think it could maybe have done with a little more baking, though, as the texture was a little dense.

However, it still tasted great – we had some thick slices with big wedges of cheese for lunch and then toasted the rest the next day. It only lasted 2 days for 2 people, but we were both very hungry (of course!) on both days, so it might last longer for others.

I think I would definitely make this again, but knead the dough more/leave it in the oven for longer to see if that helps the texture.

Wholemeal loaf

The recipe

On the Delia Online website here:

First bake: lemon buttermilk cake

Lemon buttermilk cakeI ended up with a lot of left over buttermilk after my housewarming afternoon tea, so I thought I’d take advantage of this by, er, baking again. The day after a massive afternoon tea for 11 people. Yeah, I know.

Anyway, I found a simple but delicious-looking recipe on the excellent Cake, Crumbs and Cooking blog that I just had to try – I love all things lemony and this looked pretty foolproof.

I followed the recipe pretty faithfully (although I did add a little vanilla extract), and did indeed end up with the same disgusting-looking mix that Caroline had. However, like her, this also rectified itself after I added the flour. Phew!

Lemon buttermilk cakeThe resulting cake was lovely – the rise was amazing, and the texture was beautifully soft and light. I didn’t have enough icing sugar to make a proper icing like Caroline’s, so I settled for a drizzle-type icing instead, which made for a nicely tangy finish.

Lemon buttermilk cake 3All in all, I would definitely recommend this recipe to all fans of lemon cake. It gives my much beloved lemon drizzle cake a run for its money, and that’s saying something!

The recipe

On the Cake, Crumbs and Cooking blog here:

First bake: raspberry and lemon layer cake

Raspberry and lemon layer cakeIt was my turn to bake for the office last week, and after asking around I gathered that a Proper Cake, preferably with a summery theme, would be most welcome. I settled on a Delia recipe for raspberry cake, slightly tweaked to incorporate a lemon-flavoured filling – surely the embodiment of summer?!

Raspberry and lemon layer cake filling

Raspberry and lemon layer cake filling

It might have had fresh fruit in it, but this was by no means a healthy cake – the light sponge layers were sandwiched with the help of a thick layer of raspberry jam and a massive dollop of double cream, mascarpone, icing sugar and lemon curd. Unnnnngggghhh.

Raspberry and lemon layer cakeI changed Delia’s recipe because I didn’t have any fromage frais for her filling, and also because I was really keen to get some lemon in there – I also added some lemon zest to the sponge.

Overall, this was a rather successful cake that attracted quite a few compliments from my colleagues. The filling really is very rich, so if you’re a bit worried about that you could just halve it, or replace the double cream and/or mascarpone with low fat creme fraiche instead.

Raspberry and lemon layer cakeThe recipe

Adapted from this Delia recipe.

For the sponge:

  • 6oz/175 g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 oz/175 g caster sugar
  • 6 oz/175 g butter, very soft
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon

For the filling:

  • 8 oz/225 g raspberries
  • 3-4 tbsp raspberry jam
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 150ml double cream
  •  2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp lemon curd

1. Pre-heat the oven to gas 3/170C. Grease and line two 20 cm sandwich tins.

2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the eggs, caster sugar, butter, vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat well until combined, either by hand or with an electric whisk. The resulting mixture should easily fall off a spoon – if it doesn’t, add a tiny bit of water and beat again.

3. Split the mix between the two tin, level the top and bake in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.

4. Beat together the mascarpone, double cream, icing sugar and lemon curd until well combined. Set aside.

5. Spread one of the cooled sponges with a layer of jam, then half of the cream filling. Press the raspberries into this, top with the remaining cream and place the other sponge on top, gently pressing down. Dust the top with icing sugar and serve.

Housewarming afternoon tea

Housewarming afternoon teaNearly three months after moving into my first house, I finally got round to holding a housewarming do last weekend. Rather than opt for a standard party that would probably result in lasting damage to my new investment, I decided to hold a family afternoon tea – the perfect excuse to bake an awful lot.

My boyfriend and I split the baking duties after coming up with what seemed like a reasonable list of goodies to make for 11 people, including 2 small children who probably wouldn’t eat much. We both started preparations the day before, and must have put in almost 24 hours of graft between us altogether!

All of our savoury options were vegetarian, due to me being a pescetarian and my boyfriend being veggie. However, my mum brought the savoury stars of the show, some chicken samosas (not pictured), to appease those with meatier appetites. She also brought some onion bhajias for us non meat eaters – despite suffering from some horrible jet lag after a recent trip to India. What a trooper!

Housewarming afternoon tea sandwiches

Sandwiches – egg & cress, or possibly savoury cheese

Housewarming afternoon tea sandwiches

More sandwiches

Housewarming afternoon tea mini Caesar salads

Mini caesar salads

My favourite part was, of course, the sweet baking…

Housewarming afternoon tea Victoria sponge

Victoria sponge

Housewarming afternoon tea toffee brownies

Toffee brownies

Housewarming afternoon tea scones

Plain and fruit scones. Served with clotted cream and a choice of raspberry or strawberry jam.

Housewarming afternoon tea brandysnaps


Housewarming afternoon tea Viennese whirls

Viennese whirls, with some Viennese fingers lurking behind them

Housewarming afternoon tea Victoria sponge

Another pic of the Victoria sponge, just because. Along with some cucumber sandwiches. Making a starring guest appearance: ELEPHANT TEAPOT

The tea of choice was some loose Ceylon from Whittard’s, which I would highly, highly recommend for its fresh, delicate flavour – the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea.

All in all, the event was a huge success, as evidenced by the coma-like silence as everyone sat around clutching at their stomachs towards the end. I was worried about there not being enough, but there was so much left over that we held another afternoon tea with the leftovers for some friends the next day! And there was STILL a lot left over from that, so I made everyone take some goodies home with them.

Housewarming afternoon teaBelow is a list of everything that was made and, where relevant, where the recipes came from and links to any previous posts about them: