Cake Time: Raspberry Ripple Cake

raspberry ripple cake © L Madeleine

It’s a truth universally acknowledged amongst my friends and family that I am what is known as  a berry fiend. Raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants, cherries, blackberries, blackcurrants… any berry or red fruit and I am the happiest person in the world. Raspberries are my absolute favourite though. I can disappear a punnet of them in under a minute.

Food-wise, I think this is the best time of year, purely because berries and cherries are ripe in the UK, and they’re beautiful: fragrant and perfumed, tasting of the sun and summer, rather than watery, tasteless versions force-grown and imported in winter. They’re so delicious, you really don’t need to do anything with them, but if you are overwhelmed by one particular variety, here’s a recipe for you.

You can substitute the raspberries for another fruit – blackcurrants work well – and mess around with the jam and nut combo, if you like. Blackberry and hazelnut would work nicely, later on in the season. Anyway, enjoy!

L x

Raspberry Ripple Cake
Ingredients:
For the cake
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (do try to use real vanilla if you can, though)
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp raspberries
For the topping
  • 2 large tbsp raspberry jam
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds
Allons-y!
The cake:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Grease and line a 900g / 2lb loaf tin.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat the eggs, then add to the mixture gradually, with 2 teaspoons of the flour to stop the mixture from separating. Mix well.
  4. Using the point of a sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and stir into the mixture (Or add the vanilla extract, if using).
  5. Sift in the remaining flour in batches, folding in gently using a metal spoon. Add the almonds, along with enough milk to make a smooth batter and stir gently to combine.
  6. Place the raspberries in a separate bowl and mash into a puree.
  7. Take 2 tbsp of the batter and add to the raspberries, stirring well.
  8. Using a separate spoon for each mixture, dollop the batters into the tin alternately, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are evenly covered.
  9. Smooth over the top. Use a skewer to drag through the mixture in swirls to create a ripple effect.
  10. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top is set and a skewer comes out clean. (If  the top is browning too quickly, cover in foil until the rest catches up. Fan ovens are notorious for this!) Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and remove the greaseproof paper.
The topping:
  1. Melt the raspberry jam in a saucepan, adding a quick splash of water if it looks too thick. Set aside.
  2. In a dry frying pan gently toast the almonds, tossing frequently until golden brown. (Careful, they’ll burn the moment you’ve got your back turned…)
  3. Spoon the raspberry syrup evenly over the cooled cake and scatter with toasted almonds to decorate.

This recipe first appeared on the much-loved, much-missed Domestic Sluttery

Monday Recipe: Pimms Cake

Pimms Cake © Laura MadeleineIt is no secret that I’ll put booze into cakes at the slightest provocation. One day, I found myself staring at the liquor shelf and getting desperate. Gin? DONE. Multiple times. Rum? DONE. Brandy? I put it in everything. Hmm, Pimms… strange, brown, herby liqueur, what can I do with you?

 

Pimms was brought into being by James Pimm in 1823. He was a farmer’s son who’d studied Theology in Edinburgh, but luckily for us, he decided to open an oyster bar opposite Buckingham Palace instead. It was a roaring success, and he went on to invent a gin-based cocktail to accompany the oysters; hey presto, No.1 Pimms.

Since it’s that time of year again when we drag the ol’ Pimms out from the back of the cupboard and spend a glorious(ish) few weeks drinking it in alarming quantities while watching the best tennis players in the world sweat it out in a court, I thought I might bring this recipe out of retirement too. It’s a loaf cake, combining orange, lemon, mint, strawberries and a generous helping of Pimms itself. It was a favourite with the lovely readers of Domestic Sluttery last year, so hopefully, you’ll like it too.

L x

Pimms Cake 

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 45-50 minutes 

For the cake:
  • 225g butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • Zest of 1 lemon, plus a generous squeeze of juice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Handful mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Pimms

For the syrup:

  • 50ml Pimms
  • Juice of half an orange
  • Generous squeeze lemon juice
  • 2 inches cucumber, chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp icing sugar
To decorate:
  • Icing sugar
  • Chopped mint leaves
  • Strawberries

Allons-y!
The cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 900g / 2lb loaf tin.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and very fluffy.
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time, along with a tablespoon of the flour to stop the mixture from splitting. Beat well in between.
  4. Sift in the rest of the flour and stir gently until just combined.
  5. Add in the lemon and orange zest, the squeeze of juice, the mint leaves and the Pimms and stir gently into the cake mixture.
  6. Tip into the loaf tin and smooth the over the top
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer or toothpick comes out clean. If the top is browning too fast, cover with foil until the centre catches up.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool slightly.
The syrup:
  1. While the cake is cooking, make yourself a Pimms.
  2. Then, place all the ingredients for the syrup in a jug. Stir together well and add a little more sugar to your taste, if necessary.
  3. Tip into a small saucepan over a medium heat and warm gently for a few minutes, to allow the flavours to come together.
  4. While the cake is still warm, poke holes all over the top with a fork or a skewer.
  5. Spoon over the liquid of the syrup (not the cucumber) so that it soaks in. You might need to wait and do a second round. (You’ll probably have syrup left over).
  6. Quickly dust with a generous helping of icing sugar.
  7. Decorate with a sprinkling of chopped mint, fresh sliced strawberries, and of course, a jug of Pimms…

This recipe first appeared on the much-loved, much-missed Domestic Sluttery. 

Book Release Cake Time: St Germain Cake

St Germain CakeToday I’m sharing a recipe that I created specially for the launch of The Confectioner’s Tale. It involves some of my favourite things: raspberries, almonds and a more than generous helping of St Germain: a beautiful elderflower liqueur made from blossom hand-picked in the Alps (with a bottle that’s pure Belle Époque).

Named after the area on the Parisian Left Bank that – in its heyday – harboured artists, philosophers, bakers, jazz musicians, writers and the oldest food market in the city, it hopefully conjures up just a little of heady sweetness and decadence that were to be found there.

St Germain Cake

For the cake:

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 3 tbsp St Germain (elderflower liqueur: you can use cordial if you prefer)
  • zest of ½ a lemon
  • 100g fresh raspberries
  • 1 tbsp flour

For the elderflower syrup:

  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 50ml St Germain
  • Zest and juice of ½ a lemon
  • Handful of flaked almonds
  • Icing sugar and lemon zest, to decorate

Allons-y!

The cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line a 23cm, 9 inch deep cake tin.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.
  4. Add a quarter of the eggs, along with a tablespoon of the flour and beat well. Repeat with rest of the eggs, beating well in between.
  5. Add the rest of the flour in thirds, folding in lightly in between until it is just incorporated and no streaks are showing.
  6. Gently stir in the ground almonds, St Germain and lemon zest.
  7. Lightly toss the raspberries in flour (this’ll stop them all sinking to the bottom) and carefully stir them into the mixture. Add a splash of milk if the mixture needs loosening.
  8. Dollop into the tin, smooth over the top and bake for around 40-45 minutes, or until it’s golden and risen, and a skewer inserted (and held there for a few seconds) comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly in its tin on a wire rack.

The syrup:

  1. Place the sugar, St Germain, lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a simmer and reduce over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until the consistency thickens. Be careful of the hot sugar.
  3. When the cake is out of the oven, prick holes all over the surface with a skewer and spoon over the syrup so that it soaks in.
  4. Lightly toast the flaked almonds in a dry frying pan for 2-3 minutes. Keep your eye on them, because they’ll catch quickly.
  5. Decorate with the almonds, a dusting of icing sugar, lemon zest and eat warm, with a café, a glass of pastis or if you’re feeling decadent, champagne.

Friday Cake Time: Dulce de Leche Cake

Dulce de Leche Cake © Laura Madeleine

This cake has no shame; it’s a sticky, nutty, creamy, unashamedly cakey cake. A combination of mascarpone and hazelnuts keeps it from sliding into sugar-coma territory, but if you have a sweet tooth, this’un’s for you.

You can make dulce de leche yourself, if you’ve the patience, but otherwise just buy it in a tin. Spoon-licking lingerers will no doubt “help” you with the ingredients.

Dulce de Leche Cake
You will need:
For the cake
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g chopped hazelnuts

For the filling and topping:

  • 300g mascarpone
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out or a few drops vanilla essence
  • 25g chopped hazelnuts, to decorate
  • 1/2 tin or about 5 tablespoons of dulce de leche (caramel)

Make it!
The cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Lightly grease and line a 23cm round cake tin.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour with each to help the mixture stay smooth.
  4. Gently fold in the remainder of the flour and baking powder, taking care not to over-mix.
  5. When just combined, stir in the chopped hazelnuts.
  6. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until risen and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

The filling and topping:

  1. Spoon the mascarpone into a bowl. Add the vanilla and icing sugar (you might want a little more, to taste) and beat together. Set aside.
  2. Finely chop or give the hazelnuts a quick blitz with a hand blender.
  3. Tip them into a small, dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant – careful, they burn quickly. Set aside to cool.
  4. Carefully cut your cake in half.
  5. Spread the bottom half of the cake with a thick layer of the dulce de leche or caramel, followed by half of the mascarpone.
  6. Sandwich the top on and spread the remaining mascarpone over the top and sides of the cake.
  7. Swirl the remaining caramel over the surface and add the toasted hazelnuts to finish.
This recipe was first featured on the wonderful, much-missed Domestic Sluttery. 

Friday Cake Time: Marmite Cake

Marmite Cake © Laura Madeleine
When I was born, my sister Lucy was so disgusted by the idea of a baby sister that she stopped speaking for an entire year. Ok, she was only two. Impressive stubbornness, even then. Anyway,  since she wouldn’t speak, every morning, my mum had to do an identity parade of condiments to find out what Lucy wanted on her toast. She would point at the shelf, and read out what was there: “Jam? Peanut Butter? Marmite?” The last one would always get a frantic nodding. Hardly surprising then, that I said my first word at breakfast-time one day. Can you guess? Yep. Not “Mum” or “Dad” but “Marmite”.
This cake’s a celebration of the great, brown, yeasty stuff. I love it. Especially with cheese and melted butter. Be still my heart.  It’s a savoury cake, before any of you run away screaming, and that makes it great for picnics.

 

Marmite Cake

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30-40 minutes 

You’ll need:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 200g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 100ml milk
  • 1 tablespoon plain yoghurt
  • 1 (large) tsp Marmite
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
For the topping:
  • 20g butter, melted
  • 2 tsp Marmite

Make it!

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin. (A silicon one works well for this).
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add 150g of the cheese and stir to combine. (Save the rest of the cheese for the top later).
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs until very frothy and gradually add the olive oil, milk, yoghurt, and Marmite, whisking well. Season with the salt and black pepper, if you like.
  4. Add the egg to the flour mixture in batches, stirring to combine.
  5. Scoop into the cake tin and smooth out evenly, the sprinkle the top with the rest of the grated cheese.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cheese is golden and the cake feels firm.
  7. Cool in the tin for a few minutes.
The topping:
  1. Melt the butter and Marmite together in a small saucepan.
  2. Whilst the cake is still warm, poke holes in the top with a skewer and drizzle over the melted butter-Marmite mixture.
  3. Serve with LARGE SLICES OF CHEDDAR and revel in glorious Marmiteyness…

This recipe was first featured on the wonderful, much-missed Domestic Sluttery. 

Friday Cake Time: Gin and Tonic Cake

Gin and Tonic CakeYes, you heard me. Gin and Tonic. In a cake. I am unapologetic.

Actually, this cake contains no real gin (stop sighing in disappointment, you can drink the gin while you eat the cake) so it’s fine for non-drinkers and drinkers alike.

Instead, it’s a happy sponge meeting of juniper and bitter lemon. It’s good with a cup of tea, or with… oh, go on, crack open the Bombay Sapphire.

Gin & Tonic Cake

You will need:
For the cake:
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp dried juniper berries
  • 60ml milk
For the bitter lemon syrup:
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 50ml bitter lemon or tonic water, if you’re in a fix
  • Zest and juice 1/2 a lemon
  • Icing sugar, to decorate
Make it!
The cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Grease and line a 23cm, 9 inch deep cake tin.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.
  4. Add a quarter of the eggs, along with a tablespoon of the flour and beat well. Repeat with rest of the eggs, beating well in between.
  5. Add the rest of the flour in thirds, folding in lightly in between until it is just incorporated and no streaks are showing.
  6. Crush the juniper berries in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Place in a pan with the milk and heat until it comes to a gentle simmer.
  7. Pass through a fine sieve into a bowl and set aside to cool for a moment.
  8. When cool, stir gently into the cake mixture.
  9. Dollop into the tin, smooth over the top and bake for around 30 minutes, or until it’s golden and risen, and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
The syrup:
  1. Place the sugar, bitter lemon, lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a simmer and reduce over a medium heat until the consistency thickens. BE CAREFUL because hot sugar is HOT.
  3. When the cake is out of the oven, prick holes all over the surface with a skewer and spoon on the sugar syrup so that it soaks in. Dust with icing sugar and leave for a few minutes before turning out of the tin and leaving to cool on a wire rack.
  4. Decorate with a little more icing sugar, lemon zest and eat as a side to your favourite gin-based beverage.

This recipe was first featured on the much-loved, much-missed Domestic Sluttery.

Friday Cake Time: Orange Blossom & Honey Polenta Cake

© Laura Madeleine

I love this cake. It’s bright, cheery, sweet and comforting all at once. AND it keeps well in a tin, getting better over the course of a few days. It’s also easy to adapt to suit tastes and needs. No nuts for you? Leave them out. Dairy free? Easy. Gluten free? No problem.

Orange Blossom & Honey Polenta Cake

You will need:

For the cake:
  • 200g butter, softened (or dairy-free spread, if you’re non-lactose)
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 150g polenta (fine cornmeal)
  • 50g ground almonds (if you’re nut free, you can use 200g polenta instead!)
  • 2 tsp baking powder (gluten free, if you are too)
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 2 tsp orange blossom extract
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange

For the syrup:

  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • 1-2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tsp orange blossom extract
Make it!
The cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 165C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line a 20cm baking tin. (Just grease it if you’re using a silicone one).
  2. Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Measure the polenta, almonds (if using) and baking powder into a separate bowl.
  4. Beat the eggs in a jug, together with the orange blossom extract and honey.
  5. Add a third of the polenta mixture to the butter mixture, along with a third of the eggs and stir gently to combine. Repeat twice more with the remaining ingredients.
  6. Stir in the orange zest and 2 tbsp of the juice.
  7. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden-brown and a skewer pushed into the middle and held there for a few seconds comes out clean.
  8. Place on a wire-rack and leave to cool in the tin.

The syrup:

  1. Whilst the cake is cooking, put the remaining juice in a saucepan along with the icing sugar and orange blossom extract. (You may want to add more or less to taste).
  2. Simmer over a low heat for 3-4 minutes until the liquid has reduced slightly.
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Use a skewer to poke holes in the top of the cooling cake. Spoon the syrup over the top, making sure to cover the whole cake evenly.
  5. Decorate with zest from the second orange, and a drizzle of honey. (I put some jasmine flowers on mine as well, because why shouldn’t you, eh?)

This recipe was first featured on the much-loved, much-missed Domestic Sluttery.

Friday Cake Time: Chocolate Chilli Fondant Puddings

Chocolate Fondant PuddingsAs we all know from Masterchef, there is no sorrow like an over-baked fondant pudding. The moment you break the cake surface with that spoon, and glorious, warm melted chocolate oozes out… Cue the drooling.

If you ever want to knock something impressive up for someone, these are a) pretty darn foolproof, even if you’re not that into baking, and b) they don’t take long to cook, so you can take the opportunity to perform that six minute, solo interpretive dance routine you’ve been wanting to try out on your guests. They won’t run away, because they’re aware of imminent pudding.

Chocolate Chilli Fondant Puddings (makes 6)

You will need:

  • 300g good quality dark chocolate
  • 75g butter, diced
  • 75g muscovado sugar
  • 5 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 40g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp of a likely booze (I used dark rum but cointreau or similar would work too)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Make it!
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F / Gas Mark 6. Grease 6 ramekins.
  2. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a large pyrex bowl or similar set over a pan of simmering water. (Try not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl).
  3. When the chocolate is melted, tip in the butter, sugar, eggs and flour and whisk well until combined.
  4. Stir in the rum and cayenne.
  5. Spoon the mixture evenly into the ramekins and sprinkle with a little more sugar.
  6. Place on a baking tray and bake for 9-10 minutes, until beginning to rise. The puddings should be cooked into a thin, cakey layer on the outside concealing devilish, molten chocolate within.
  7. Serve immediately, with ice cream and champagne and try not to drool so much, it’s unbecoming.
P.S. you can prepare up to step 5 in advance: just cover and chill until ready to use, then add an extra 2-3 minutes to the cooking time, allowing you to slip into something more comfortable… (a hooded onesie, OBVIOUSLY).
This recipe was first featured on the much-missed, much loved, Domestic Sluttery.