Monday, 14 February 2011

Lemon Glaze Sponge Cake

I decided to embark on this cake to mark the occasion of a colleague leaving work.  It is difficult to decide what kind of cake to make, if any, when baking for someone with a nut allergy.  It is not as thought every cake I bake contains nuts, but sometimes the ingredients themselves do...and that can lead to awkward moments and pangs of guilt....

So I played it safe with a lemon sponge.

I gather the ingredients from the cupboards.  The usual; eggs, flour, sugar and butter...I prepare my workstation and then I remember.....I've just moved house and I don't actually own my own set of scales.  I have, dear reader, always relied on the scales of a flatmate or relative.  How embarrassing.  I'm not fond of guessing weights when it comes to cake baking because it can be disastrous, but on this occasion, I have no choice.

Upon tasting the finished cake, the following day at work, I realised that what I had actually created was a sort of ultra moist Madeira Cake - I'm not complaining, it was lush.

Unfortunately I was unable to take any pictures before the cake was completely and utterly demolished.

4oz golden caster sugar
2oz light brown soft sugar
6oz unsalted butter
3 medium eggs
6oz self raising flour, sifted (or premium self-raising sponge flour)
2 tbsp golden syrup
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 1/2 lemon

2oz light brown soft sugar
juice of 1 and 1/2 lemons

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4. Grease the base and sides of a 23" round clip cake tin.
Cream together the butter and two types of sugar for 5 minutes.
Break the eggs into a seperate bowl and whisk lightly.
Slowly add the eggs to the butter / sugar mixture, a little at a time, mixing the ingredients together until combined.  Don't worry if there are any little lumps, these will work their way out in the oven.

Sieve the flour into the mixture, a little at a time, gently folding it in.  Use a spatula to get to the edges of the bowl as flour has a habit of creating little pockets in cake mixtures.
Add the Golden Syrup, lemon juice and lemon zest and gently stir in.  Try not to knock too much air out.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and pop it into the oven, on a middle/top shelf, for 35-45 mins until golden brown.  If the cake wobbles when you remove it from the oven then put it back in for 5-10 minutes until a skewer inserted into middle of cake, comes out clean.

As soon as the cake is finished in the oven, place it on a cooling rack, but leave it inside the tin.
Skewer holes all over the cake.  In a small bowl mix togther the glaze ingredients and then pour or brush them over the surface of the cake, whilst it is still hot.  This glaze will fall down the holes and make the cake deliciously moist.

leave the cake to cool completely in the tin before serving
Delicious with natural yogurt 

Katie  xx

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

chococlate brownies (gluten free)


185g milk chocolate (good quality)
185g butter
90g Plain Flour - a gluten free flour blend works just as well
40g Cocoa Powder
3 medium free-range eggs
185g soft light brown sugar (golden caster sugar works well too)
50g dark chocolate (70% minimum cocoa solids)
50g white chocolate


Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4.
Line the base of a large roasting tin or deep baking tray with parchment.

Break the milk chocolate up into smaller pieces and place them into a heatproof dish, over a pan of simmering water - this arrangement is commonly known as a bain marie.  Add the butter to the chocolate and leave to melt.  This should take 5 minutes or so.

Whilst the chocolate is melting break the eggs into a separate bowl and add the sugar.  Whisk until the mixture is pale in colour and around twice the size.  It is easier to achieve this consistency with an electric mixer as it can take some time by hand.

Once the chocolate in the bain marie has melted, stir together with the butter.  This creates a wonderfully glossy chocolate.  Pour the chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture and fold to combine.  Be careful as you fold as you don't want to knock out the air that has already been whisked into the eggs.

Sieve the flour and cocoa into the mixture, a little at a time, and fold until completely combined.  Flour and cocoa have a nasty habit of creating little pockets of themselves and not mixing in so you may wish to use a spatula, running it along the sides and bottom of the bowl to check for pockets!

Once all of this is mixed together you should have a wondefully thick, glossy mixture.  Chop up the white and dark chocolate into chunks (like the picture).  These will melt slightly in the mixture but will mainly add variety to the texture of the final brownie.  You could also add some chopped nuts, like macadamia, pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts if you wish.

Once everything has mixed in, pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place on the top shelf of the oven for 30minutes. 

When you remove the brownies from the oven the top should be crisp and the inside gooey.  Don't worry if you think they are undercooked, they are probably fine.

Leave the brownies to cool completely in the tin before removing and cutting up into portions.

Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.  Yummy!!