Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Country Slice Bundt Cake

Country Slice Bundt Cake
Well, things have been a bit shit recently. Please excuse my language, but it really is the only word I can feasibly use. When the going gets tough, my family get feeding. It's a minor miracle that I'm not currently the size of a house, or at the very least, an ample outhouse/potting shed. My mum and dad have very much been in rescue mode, which has meant copious amounts of hot cross bun loaf, cream cakes, cottage pie, and enough tea to drown most of you.

Folk tell me to keep busy, and do things that make me happy. It was only natural that I was going to reach for the Nordic Ware, mainly to show some appreciation to those who have been by my side, for which I am truly thankful. I feel a series of these coming on...

Within two minutes of arriving at my parents' house, I am guaranteed to have a brew in front of me, with some sort of sweet treat. These are usually in the form of half of Marks and Spencer's food hall, or those cute Mr Kipling types where two cakes come in a little wrapped box. You obviously have to eat both, thus preventing the second from becoming stale and rotting before your eyes (inevitably causing vermin).

Regular readers will already know that my dad and maternal grandad both share a love of a spiced fruit cake, so I've done many variations over the years. With this in mind, I decided to do a nod and a thank you to Mr Kipling* himself, and do my own variation of his Country Slice. I can't tell you just how much this tastes like the real thing! Smiles all round. And more brews.

Cake:
  • 225g butter
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 350g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 350g Homepride plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 150g mixed fruit (Asda do a mixed bag of giant sultanas and currants!)
  • 250ml lemon yoghurt 
  • 5 tbsp apricot jam - no bits!
  • Sugar crystals

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to gas 3/160 c
  2. Prepare a regular sized bundt tin - 2.4l, 10 cup, 10 inch with melted butter and dust with flour.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  5. Add the vanilla extract.
  6. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices. 
  7. Stir the dried fruit into the four mix.
  8. Pour the yoghurt into a jug.
  9. Sift in a third of the flour mix followed by half the yoghurt. Repeat this until everything is combined. 
  10. Note: your fruit will be left behind but covered in flour. This will stop them sinking! Boom...
  11. Stir the fruit into the mix.
  12. Give everything a quick mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds.
  13. Pour the mix into your prepared tin. 
  14. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  15. Leave the cake to cool for ten minutes before removing from the tin.
  16. When the cake is fully cool, warm your jam in the microwave until it's runny.
  17. Brush it onto the cake until it's covered and shiny... 
  18. Sprinkle with sugar crystals.
* Okay okay, we all know he wasn't a real man, but you don't go telling kids that Santa doesn't exist, so keep your trap shut, you bloody killjoy (taking advantage of a sweary post).

Monday, 20 March 2017

Amaretto Sour Bundt Cake

Amaretto Sour Bundt Cake
There's no place like home... So I tapped my heels together and made a sparkly little cocktail bundt to take to my friend's house! My challenge was the classic Amaretto sour. That warming mix of almonds, with the sharp citrus fruits; it's just scrumptious!

As well as being soaked in Amaretto, I added some ground almonds in place of all the flour, which makes a moist cake with almost a frangipane-like texture. This one was actually a gluten free version, which can easily be made by substituting the plain flour for Dove's farm plain flour. The only change I'd recommend to your normal baking is to use a tin with fewer nooks and crannies, as the cake itself is a bit softer, but just as delicious.

Cake:
  • 225g butter
  • 450g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g Homepride plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 250ml plain low fat lemon yoghurt 
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 100ml Amaretto
Topping:
  • 300g icing sugar
  • More Amaretto 
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • GlacĂ© cherries
  • Red cake glitter (optional)
  • Segments of orange
  • Cocktail umbrellas (essential)
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to gas 3/160 c
  2. Prepare a regular sized bundt tin - 2.4l, 10 cup, 10 inch with Cake Release/melted butter and dust with flour.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  5. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and ground almonds.
  6. Pour the yoghurt into a jug, and add the Amaretto, vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  7. Stir in a third of the flour mix followed by half the yoghurt. Repeat this until everything is combined. 
  8. Give everything a quick mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds.
  9. Pour the mix into your prepared tin. 
  10. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  11. Leave the cake to cool for ten minutes before removing from the tin.
  12. When completely cool, add the orange juice to the icing sugar, and mix with enough Amaretto to make a runny icing. You can use a bit of water if you like.
  13. Tip it over your cake and let it drip down. 
  14. Decorate with glacĂ© cherries rolled in red cake glitter, segments of orange, and my fave naff umbrellas. 
Bloggers: Please respect the fact I am sharing my own ideas and basic recipe. Blood, sweat and many tears have gone into getting this right, so you may enjoy a perfect bundt. If you wish to re-blog a recipe from these variations, please credit my blog and link to this original post rather than pasting the recipe on your own page.

Too Good to be Gluten Free Pie Review

Too Good to be Gluten Free Pies
My tame taste tester has been at it again. This time, I've had her trying pies of the gluten free variety for National Pie Week. Here's what she had to say for her little self.

I pride myself on being a proper Northern bird, which, amongst other things, means I LOVE a pie; in fact I believe that most food can be improved by the addition of a pastry crust. So when Rach asked if I would like to try some pies, I was keen to get involved. 
Too Good to be Gluten Free Pies

Too Good to be Gluten Free make a great variety of gluten free products including quiches, pies and sweet treats. We were sent the following pies:
  • Slow cooked steak and ale
  • Red Thai chicken and cauliflower
  • Kale and Stilton open top pie

The steak and chicken pies were ear marked for a big Sunday feast, which I served with chips and peas. The steak was soft and tasty, perfect with a dollop of gravy and chunky chips. The Thai chicken pie was perfectly spicy, filled with tender chicken. The pastry was deliciously short and tasty, and I was very impressed. Needless to say they were demolished in record time!

I cooked the cauliflower, kale and Stilton pie at the same time and took it to work the following day for lunch with a salad. This was my personal favourite, strong Stilton flavour and lovely veg, it was filling, and felt like a real treat. 

I really enjoyed these pies and would recommend them to anyone, they are a nice size so you don't need to feel bad about eating a whole one to yourself! We were very excited to see them in our local supermarket the other week, and I have now got my eye on the dark chocolate and salted caramel tart, droooool!


Too Good to be Gluten Free Pies
Disclaimer: I was not paid for this post. Too Good To Be Gluten Free sent Lee some pies to test free of charge.
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