Sticky Toffee Ginger Cake!

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It is cold, I hear in some parts of the country it is snowing… here it is just cold, but a bitter cold, made colder by the fact that we have just moved house, and the house we have moved into doesn’t have a working boiler! In fact as I sit here next to my small portable radiator dreaming of ginger cake, I am in fact waiting for the boiler man to come around and offer to fit a new working boiler so that I may have heating…

So distract myself from the cold here is an amazingly warming, tasty and indulgent Sticky Toffee Ginger Cake!!

Dry Ingredients

  • 350g Plain Flour
  • 200g Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp backing powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 225ml boiling water
  • 2 tbsp treacle – Tip, put metal tbsp into jug of boiling water, then into treacle jar(stops it being so sticky!)
  • 100ml Oil

Base

  • Large handful of crystallized ginger
  • Golden Syrup
  • Margarine for greasing

Method:

  1. Put your oven on to 180c
  2. Grease your baking tray… I would suggest a large Pyrex dish approx 8in x 8in
  3. Coat the bottom of the tray with Golden Syrup then sprinkle over your crystallized ginger
  4. Mix all the wet ingredients together in a jug or bowl.
  5. Mix together all the dry ingredients them combine wet with dry, then pour over the ginger and golden syrup in the tray.
  6. Put in oven for approx 35-45mins.
  7. Tip cake out onto a large plate or board, serve warm – with custard!! (If you don’t tip the cake out when warm, you will need to reheat before you do, because the ginger and toffee will set hard.)

Perfect for family gathers and cold winter nights, (also great reheated in the microwave with custard!)

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Choc Chip and Banana Muffins

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Recently I have been too busy to bake, let alone blog, but here are some rather wonderful and easy to bake vegan muffins… a great way to use up old bananas!

What you will need:

  • 260g plain flour
  • 100g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 100g vegan margarine (I like to use Pure when baking since it has little flavor)
  •  Egg replacer (3 tsp egg replacer mixed with 4 tbsp warm water)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 3 mashed bananas (extra ripe!)
  • 80g Cooking chocolate (either chips or a broken up bar!)

What to do…

  1. Preheat your oven to around 180c and get your muffin tin ready, this mix should make around 12 medium sized muffins (i.e English not American style!)
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl
  3. Mash your bananas in a separate bowl with a fork until smooth(ish!)
  4. Melt your margarine then combine it with the banana then add the vanilla extract and egg replacer.
  5. Now combine wet and dry ingredients and finally add your chocolate!
  6. Once fully combined evenly distribute your mix into the ready prepared muffin tin, the mixture will be quite thick.
  7. Bake for around 20mins… the melted chocolate does make it hard to test with a wooden skewer, but it is worth testing them this way just to be sure there is no uncooked mixture. You can also tell they are done if they spring back into shape when lightly poked.
  8. Leave to cool… if you eat straight from the oven the chocolate will go everywhere!!!

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Cocktail in a Cupcake

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So last weekend I was visiting my friends for a girly night in with cocktails, more specifically we had Rum… I decided that I wanted to take this theme and make some appropriately festive cupcakes… so here is my cocktail inspired Coconut Cupcake with Pineapple frosting (annoyingly I didn’t actually have any Rum in the house when I was cooking, otherwise these would be Coconut Rum Cupcakes and dont they sound amazing!) However minus the rum these cupcakes were delicious and they really were the perfect cocktail accompaniment!

What you will need:

Dry

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Wet

  • 250ml coconut cream
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/4 cup soya milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting

  • Icing sugar
  • Fresh or Dried Pineapple
  • Vegan Margarine
  • Rum (I didn’t have this but it would work!)

How to make:

  1. Preheat your oven to 160c and prepare your cupcake tray
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients.
  3. In a large jug combine all the wet ingredients, and whisk together.
  4. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry until fully combined, should be a soft drop consistency.
  5. Spoon mixture into your cupcake tray and bake for around 20mins
  6. Once cooled make the frosting… When I made this I used fresh pineapple, once I had added margarine and icing sugar I didn’t need any additional water, if anything the fresh pineapple made the frosting a little too moist, but delicious. I think next time I will cut up small chunks of dried pineapple, then add a little rum to give this frosting a little more kick!

An there you have the perfect caribbean style cocktail cupcake… I cant wait to have a good excuse to make them again!

Mincepie Cake! (Not just for Christmas!)

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So back in December when I posted “Cheeky Cheaters Mincepies” my sister made a comment about how great mincepie cupcakes were…I took it one better and here is the Mincepie Cake (maybe I just made it bigger, whatever!) This is one of the best cakes I have ever eaten or made, it is now my partners favorite cake and who cares about Christmas this cake is so good it will be made all year round!

Of course the joy of it being just after Christmas jars of mince are now very cheap… I realized I would be making this cake a lot when my partner came home with 8 jars of mince, but at only 10p a jar I couldn’t complain… this cake is just too good!

What you will Need:

(This recipe works best if you have 1 large mixing bowl and 2 other bowls)

Large Mixing bowl:

  • 1 cup vegan margarine (I use Pure Soya because it is basically flavorless)
  • 1 1/4 cups Sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Dry bowl:

  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Wet bowl (or jug!):

  • 240ml Soya Milk + 1 tbsp Cider Vinegar (combine and leave for 5mins to turn into buttermilk)
  • 6 tsp egg replacer combined with 8 tbsp warm water (whisk this together before adding to the soya milk.

Other: 2 large tbsp Christmas Mince

What you need to do:

  1. Pre heat your oven to 170c and prepare two 23cm tins (to make one large sandwich  cake, or use two smaller 18cm tins to make two small, but separate cakes, you can always cut these in half if you want to make it a sandwich cake!)
  2. In your main mixing bowl  you will have the margarine, sugar and vanilla extract, combine these until light and fluffy.
  3. You should have two other bowls, one with wet and one with dry ingredients. Add these slowly to your main bowl until all your ingredients are fully combined. (If you missed out the cinnamon you could just go right ahead now and put this in the oven, this is a lovely light Victoria Sponge style cake, soft moist and delicious!)
  4. However the magic touch with this cake is to add the Christmas Mincepie mix now, two large tbsp should be enough, but if you want it extra mincey just add more! You may find that if the jar of mince has got cold it might crystallize a little, 30secs in the microwave should sort this out if your worried about it.
  5. Once the mince is fully combined, split the mixture between your two tins and bake… If you have gone for one large cake in the 23cm tins this should take about 20-25mins if you have gone for the smaller more compact tins it will take 25-30mins. Test with a wooden toothpick, if it comes out clean your baked 🙂
  6. Once cooled you can just lightly dust with icing sugar and serve as is, the cake needs no more, or if your feeling adventurous, a light marmalade makes a great sandwich filling!

Peach Frangipane Tart!

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So your looking for a quick and easy desert that you can make in the morning to be ready for the even meal when you have friends over… difficult friends, friends with difficult dietary requirements, the vegan, the gluten free mother in law… look no futher this is it, this is the easy, but fancy top nosh desert! (And as the vegan with the gluten free mother in law, I know your pain and frustration at finding decent deserts, once you’ve done a fancy fruit salad a few times you need more inspiration!)

What you need (1 large tart)

  • Mrs Crimbles Pastry Mix (honestly I have tried to make g/f pastry from scratch, it was not worth it, this stuff is amazing and it works!) –  http://www.mrscrimbles.com/products/home-bake-mixes/
  • 3.5oz Vegetable Trex (or margarine)
  • 4 tbsp cold water
  • ————————–
  • 120g dairy free spread
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups ground almonds
  • 6 tbsp cornflour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp Soya Milk
  • 2 peaches, fresh or tinned (or other appropriate soft fruit!)
  • Icing sugar to dust

What you need to do:

  1. First make your pastry (this of course does not have to be gluten free, but if you are going to make it g/f I would strongly recommend using Mrs Crimbles Pastry Mix, I found it in my local sainsburys so think it is readily available! Follow the instructions on the pack…
  2. I use a food processor for pastry, advice I was given from my mum, she is right, it makes much better pastry, something to do with keeping the heat down and not over working the dough. So combine the flour mix with the vegetable fat in your food processor and give it a quick wizz, slowly add the 4 tbsp of cold water, the dough should quickly form up into a ball. Wrap this in clingfilm and put in the fringe until you need it.
  3. In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients, then add the margarine, rub it in like you would if you were makings a fine crumble mix.
  4. Add the wet ingredients and mix together to form a soft paste.
  5. Get your pastry from the fringe and roll it out until it is large enough to fill your tart dish(make sure you have greased your tart dish before you put the pastry in!)                                      …… a good tip for rolling pastry, partially g/f pastry…..                           Cover your work surface in clingfilm, place your pastry in the middle of the clingfilm and then place a new piece of clingfilm over the whole surface again. Now roll your pastry, it will spread out under the clingfilm and once you have it to the correct size you can lift off the top sheet of clingfilm, and lift the pastry with bottom clingfilm and pace it pastry down into your tart dish. Now smooth the pastry into place. Once happy, remove the clingfilm and do any additional patching required. I challenge you to try it once, it makes things so much easier!!!
  6. Now your tart dish is lined you do not have to pre-bake the pastry, so fill the tart with your frangipane mix and then cover in sliced peaches.
  7. Put in a pre-heated oven for approx 25mins at 160
  8. Once baked leave it to cool for at least 1 hr and lightly dust with icing sugar before serving.

A vegan Panettone… sort of…

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So the last few days have been full of baking, most of which I will post on here over the next few days, but since the rest of the things I have baked are to be presents I wont post about them until after I have given them, we dont want to give the magic away too soon!

This however was an experiment in more ways than one… firstly I had never baked a panettone, but more to the point I have never tried one either! Having never eaten one before I was not really able to know if it hit the spot, however it was nice, although I think it needs a little refining… that said I have seen some traditional recipes that call for it to be baked over 3 days, so maybe it will never be perfect! My partner thought it was ok, but didnt have the right texture, my father in law said, “It tastes like one of those Italian breads, pan something maybe?” So it must be close to the mark!!

Since I had no idea were to start I used this recipe as a guild, but as you can see it is not very detailed, maybe if you are Italian you dont need the detail, its just in the blood? http://www.vegitalyguide.com/2012/12/24/vegan-panettone/

What you need (taken from the above website)

For the dough:

250 grams of white flour
50 grams of corn or tapioca starch
50 grams of natural cane sugar
3 tablespoons of hazelnut paste
juice of one orange
grated orange peel (1 orange)
40 grams of yeast
one cup of ricemilk
1 handful of raisins, soaked in water

For the chocolate glaze:

100 grams of melted chocolate
4 tablespoons of water
2 tablespoons of natural cane sugar

How to Bake a Vegan Panettone:

Since the website has very vague instructions I did a lot of research into how you bake a normal panettone, and so here is how I made mine… (this is the 3 hour rise not the 3 days rise version!)

  1. Warm the rice milk (or soya milk, I used soya because I had it!) until it is tepid, add the yeast and sugar, set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, corn or tapioca starch, plus the 3 tbsp’s of Hazelnut paste… since I couldn’t find hazelnut paste in any of the shops near me, I used a 3 Nut paste, which had cashew nuts, hazelnuts and peanuts!
  3. Add the orange rind, and orange juice. Then add the yeast mixture.
  4. Mix together and add a little more flour if needed to enable you to knead the dough gently for a few minutes.
  5. Place the dough in a clean lightly floured bowl and cover, leave to rise in a warm place for 3hrs.
  6. Soak the fruit in water.
  7. Once the dough has risen, drain the fruit and knock back the dough, adding the fruit.
  8. Place dough in a prepared cake tin, and leave to rise for another 30mins (Preheat your oven 150c)
  9. Bake for between 30-40mins
  10. Once cool, combine the ingredients for the glace (which is definitely more of a chocolate coating!)
  11. Cover your panettone in chocolate, leave to set, and then enjoy!

Be aware that this didn’t keep very long, it might be worth adding oil to the mix to preserve it, I also might consider adding egg replacer next time, just to see if I can change the texture a little?

Any additional advice on making vegan panettone welcome!!!

Earl Gray Tea Cake!

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So this cake is still at the experiment stage, and if anybody tries  it please let me know how it turns out and if you changed the recipe in anyway, I am not 100% sure this cake is yet perfect… but I am willing to try it a free times, since the first experiment was very very good!!!

What you Need: Earl Gray Tea Cake

  • 1 & 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 a cup sugar
  • 1/2 a cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 a cup cold earl gray tea (strong earl gray tea with loose leaf tea, keep the tea leafs in it, they make the cake look great when mixed inside)
  • 1/2 a cup soya milk with 1 tbsp Cinder Vingar (combined)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp egg replacer with 3 tbsp warm water (I am not sure was is necessary but I used it anyway!)

What you Need: Lemon Butter Icing

  • Icing sugar
  • Fresh Lemon
  • Vegan margarine (I use Pure Soya for baking since it has a much milder flavor than something like Vitalite, and is less greasy than Pure Sunflower)

How to make it:

  1. Pre Heat the oven to 170c Prepare your cake tin
  2. Combined the soya milk with the cider vinegar to create vegan butter milk.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients together.
  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together slowly.
  6. Pour into your tin, bake for 30mins or until a toothpick will come out clean.
  7. Once baked place your cake on a cooling rack and leave for at least 1hr
  8. Mix together your ingredients to make the icing, since I always make this by eye and mood, and wont say how much to use, but remember the more liquid you use the more icing sugar you will need!!
  9. Ice cake, maybe a little lemon zest on top to decorate… Enjoy!

The cake I made was good… I think the texture was a little strange, so maybe no egg replacer next time, or maybe more baking powder, or maybe the cooking time was wrong… possibly making the earl gray tea in warm soya milk might work… once I try this again I will know more! An if anybody else does make it let me know how it worked for you!!