Frosted walnut layer cake + peanut butter cookies + Oreo brownies

Frosted walnut layer cakeNo, I didn’t go on the baking bender to end all benders in one night. I made these three recipes – frosted walnut layer cake, peanut butter cookies and Oreo brownies – over the course of the last few weeks, but haven’t had a lot of time to blog about them what with planning a wedding, organising my hen do, training for a 10K and, of course, just normal everyday life!

I thought it would help to blog about all three recipes at the same time, rather than labouring over three separate posts. And, hey, you get to drool over even more baked goods than usual!

Mary Berry’s frosted layer cake

I made this cake (pictured above) for my fiancé, who has been begging me to bake it ever since it turned up in a technical challenge on last year’s Great British Bake Off. It was fairly challenging, so I can only imagine how difficult it is without a full recipe to follow!
Frosted walnut layer cake 2
This is basically three layers of walnut sponge sandwiched with a big pile of buttercream and smothered with an even bigger pile of icing. There’s so much sugar in this recipe – be warned if your teeth tingle at the merest hint of sweetness!

The icing was quite tricky, and didn’t seem to completely set (I can’t remember from the show whether it’s supposed to, though), but I was pleased with my caramelised walnuts. I think my favourite bit of the cake was the buttercream, to be honest!

You can find the recipe on BBC Food here.

Peanut butter cookies

Peanut butter cookies
I made these when I found myself without any baked goods in the house, which really isn’t a great situation to be in. The recipe is from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet. I followed it to the letter, using spelt flour rather than the other option of wholemeal, but added a chopped up Twirl (milk chocolate fingers for the international readers out there!) at the last minute, just for the hell of it.

The cookies were gorgeously peanutty, but also ridiculously sweet! I don’t know if that’s down to the brand of peanut butter I used (think it was the ultra cheap stuff from Asda), the addition of the chocolate, or because Dan really does call for too much sugar, but just be warned! I’d tone it down next time by reducing the overall amount of sugar from 325g to about 200g.

Peanut butter cookies
The texture was rather interesting – they weren’t soft like a traditional cookie, but had more of a biscuit-like crunch, and also had distinct layers, which I assume is down to the bicarb. You can find the recipe on the Guardian website here.

Oreo brownies

Oreo brownies
Finally, I made these Oreo brownies after almost a year of a colleague asking (begging!) me to make them. I made them a few days ago for his birthday, and I think I met expectations!

The recipe is just my usual brownie recipe, with a packet of roughly chopped Oreos thrown in:

Makes 16 brownies

  • 320g dark chocolate
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 125g dark brown sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 85g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 154g packet of Oreos, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3/160C/140C fan. Grease and line a 20cm square tin.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a pan or in a bowl set above a pan of simmering water. Set aside and leave to cool slightly.
  3. Whisk the eggs until pale then add the sugars and whisk again thoroughly.
  4. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
  5. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir the Oreos in to coat.
  6. Add the flour and Oreo mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
  7. Pour the mix into the tin and bake for about 1 hour, checking the brownies after 40 mins in case your oven is better than mine!
  8. Once the brownies look set on top, remove them from the oven and leave them in the tin to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing them up.
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Coconut, cardamom and lime drizzle cake

Coconut, cardamom and lime drizzle cakeI’m going to go so far as to say that I think this coconut, cardamom and lime drizzle cake is one of my best ever baking inventions.

I’ve been on a bit of a ‘winging it’ kick recently, what with the muffins that nearly didn’t have any sugar in them and last week’s lovely lemony scones. But this recipe beats those two into a cocked hat!

I sound like I’m tooting my own horn, but I’m not: the idea for the flavour combination is mine, but the base cake recipe is an adaptation of a Chetna Makan recipe that I made a while ago. So well done to both of us!

Coconut, cardamom and lime drizzle cake
The lime is present in the cake mix (the zest) and the drizzle (the juice), while there’s both dessicated coconut and coconut cream in the cake itself. The cardamom could have been overwhelming, but it’s not! The flavour of this cake is very much reminiscent of the barfi I made for Diwali last year, except with the tang of lime cutting through the sweetness.

The texture of the cake is excellent – incredibly light, airy and moist. I’m eating a piece of this cake as I type, and it’s still really fresh-tasting even 3 days after baking it! I took this cake into the office, where it got a great reception. I’m very thankful that I thought to save myself some pieces at home.

I don’t think think there’s much else that I can say except… make it now!

Coconut, cardamom and lime drizzle cake

Coconut, cardamom and lime drizzle cake recipe

Adapted from this recipe.

Cuts into 15 pieces, or 12 big ones

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • 50g desiccated coconut, plus extra for decorating
  • 50g sachet of coconut cream (I used Patak’s)
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 50g caster sugar (for the drizzle)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C. Grease a rectangular baking dish (mine was 11″ x 7″ x 1.5″) and line it with baking parchment.
  2. Put the sachet of coconut cream in a small bowl and pour hot water over it. This will soften the cream and make it easier to mix into the cake batter.
  3. Beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and lime zest, using an electric whisk or stand mixer, until light.
  4. Release the seeds from the cardamom pods and grind in a mortar and pestle or by crushing the seeds with the back of a wooden spoon on a chopping board (I tend to find that spice grinders don’t work well with tiny quantities of cardamom seeds).
  5. Fold the cardamom, desiccated coconut and coconut cream into the flour mix.
  6. Spoon the mix into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden on top. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.
  7. Make the drizzle by mixing the lime juice with the 50g of caster sugar.
  8. Poke holes into the cake using a skewer (don’t go all the way to the bottom, though!) and pour the drizzle all over the top, while the cake is still warm. The drizzle will sink into the holes and create a crunchy top when set.
  9. Sprinkle over some more dessicated coconut to decorate, if you like.
  10. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then release it and cut into squares or rectangles.