home made cakes for special days and elevenses

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Lime, Almond and Polenta Cake

This gluten free lime, almond and polenta cake is full of flavour, with a lovely citrus tang. It is moist but has the kind of crumbly texture that you only find in polenta cakes. It is also very easy to make.




Lime, Almond and Polenta Cake

Serves: approx. 10 slices 

Ingredients

For the cake:
200g ground almonds
125g fine polenta
1½ tsp baking powder
225g softened butter
225g golden caster sugar
zest of 2 limes
3 eggs, beaten

For the drizzle:
150g icing sugar
juice of 3 limes

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Grease a 23cm diameter loose bottomed tin, and line the base with baking parchment.
2. Place the ground almonds, polenta and baking powder into a bowl and stir. Set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the lime zest.
4. Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the eggs, and beat to combine. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
5. Spoon the mixture into the tin, and level with the back of the spoon. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes.
6. Gently heat the icing sugar and lime juice in a saucepan, until the sugar is dissolved.
7. As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, prick the top all over with a thin metal skewer or cake tester, and drizzle the sugar and lime syrup evenly over the top. Leave to cool in the tin. When cool, remove carefully as the cake has a crumbly texture.



Thursday, 9 October 2014

Mini coffee, almond and blackcurrant cakes


I have a fabulous new cake tin from Lakeland, and a new favourite cake to go with it. To make these mini coffee, almond and blackcurrant cakes I adapted the quantities of a recipe I developed for the Good Food Channel web site last year. I haven't managed to find the perfect quantity to make the 12 mini cakes that this tin will hold, but this recipe makes 9-10 deliciously moist and flavoursome little treats.







Coffee, Almond and Blackcurrant Mini Cakes
Makes: 9

Ingredients
For the cakes:
1 tsp instant coffee granules (for a subtle coffee flavour)
2 tsp boiling water
110g unsalted butter, softened
110g golden caster sugar
100g self raising flour
20g ground almonds
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp milk

For the buttercream:
½ tsp instant coffee granules
1 tsp boiling water
100g icing sugar
30g butter, softened
1 tsp milk

To fill:
Blackcurrant jam

1. For the cakes: Preheat oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4. Grease ten of the mini sandwich tins.

2. Dissolve the coffee granules in the boiling water and leave to cool a little.

3. Cream together the softened butter and sugar, until pale and fluffy.  Add the sifted flour and almonds, and the beaten eggs, to the butter and sugar. Beat to combine.

4. Add the milk and dissolved coffee granules, being careful not to over beat the mixture.

5. Divide the mixture between 9 of the tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the cakes begin to come away from the sides of the tins. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin.

6. For the buttercream: Dissolve the coffee granules in the boiling water and set aside. Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl.

7. Rub the softened butter into the icing sugar using the back of a wooden spoon, and add the coffee and milk. Whisk with an electric mixer for a few minutes, until light and fluffy.


8. To decorate: Once the cakes have cooled, split each one in half with a knife.  Spread a layer of blackcurrant jam onto the underside of one, and buttercream onto the other. Sandwich together and dust the tops with icing sugar.




The cakes can be a little fiddly to remove from the tins, but I find that the best way is to place a cooling rack on top and turn the whole tin over. As the tins are loose bottomed, a gentle push from underneath should pop the cakes out onto the rack. Any stubborn ones should come out with the help of a sharp knife around the side of the tin. I greased my tin with butter, but I see from the online reviews that some people prefer to use cake release.

The tin is available on the Lakeland website*. It's not especially cheap but it is a good quality product and pretty versatile. I'm thinking of trying individual cheesecakes or even tiny Christmas cakes in mine soon. I love that there are a couple of spare bases provided with the tin as well, as I am bound to lose one before too long!

* this is not a sponsored post, my tin was a birthday present from a thoughtful brother! 



Tuesday, 7 October 2014

A kids' birthday cake catch up

Thought I would share some children's birthday cakes that I made over the last few weeks, featuring the Ninja Turtles, a cinema theme, Peep and the Big Wide World, and superheroes. These are all first attempts at these particular designs, so still a bit of room for improvement.