Super sultana scones

In my previous post I ran a competition to celebrate having 50 followers. I had a few entries and a Twitter follower (@sarahblakemore) of mine won by guessing I would be baking scones next. I hope she enjoys her prize which should be winging its way to her as I write this.

I have been leaning towards traditional bakes recently, having baked Bara Brith last week and now these scones.

There is something comforting about baking classic cakes and biscuits. I remember my mum baking scones and her mum before her, giving the baking a sense of nostalgia and tradition.


For 10 little sultana scones (or 6 larger ones):

225g self raising flour

Pinch of salt

55g butter (cubed)

25g caster sugar

Handful of sultanas (or any other dried fruit)

150ml milk

1 egg (beaten)

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 fan and grease a baking sheet.
  2. Mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Stir in the sugar and sultanas.
  5. Add the milk and stir with a knife until the dough comes together.
  6. Flour a surface, tip out the dough, knead gently then flatten the dough until roughly 2cm thick. 
  7. Cut into rounds, I used a 5cm diameter fluted edge cutter.
  8. Place on the prepared baking sheet and brush with a little beaten egg.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes when they should be well risen and golden on top.
  10. Cool on a rack. 

Perfect split in two with jam and cream (I’m a follower of the Cornish tradition of spreading jam first and then cream). These should last a good week in an airtight container – that’s assuming they last that long!


Happy baking!

xox 

50 followers giveaway!

Hey guys, I’m celebrating reaching the 50 follower milestone by giving away a baking goodie to the first person to guess what I will be baking next!

You can enter the giveaway competition by commenting on here, my Twitter account (@BexiestBex) and my Instagram (@bexlovestobake). There are no limits to guesses, the winning entrant must be a UK resident.

Good luck guys!! 

Bara brith

It’s been a whie..again! But now it’s the summer holidays I promise I will be post more recipes.

Yay it’s the start of the summer break, but with the weather being so changeable we haven’t been able to make any solid plans yet. With hopes of going camping and not wanting to have to leave baking at home I thought a fruit loaf would be a safe bet.

Bara brith is a traditional Welsh fruit loaf, it can be found in local bakeries and traditional tearooms and is delicious warm with a slathering of slightly salted Welsh butter. The name Bara brith gets its meaning from ‘bara’ meaning bread and ‘brith’ meaning speckled.


A perfect match with a paned o te, super quick and easy and easily transported, this is a great  go-to bake.

For a regular sized loaf (approx 10 slices):

350g dried mixed fruit (I used sultanas and cranberries)

150ml boiling water

1 English breakfast tea bag

85g Demerara sugar (plus a tablespoon for sprinkling)

1 egg

170g self raising flour

1 tsp mixed spice

butter for greasing

  1. Brew the tea until strong in the boiling water, discard the teabag once steeped
  2. Place the dried fruit in a bowl, add the tea and allow to soak for 30 minutes
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease your loaf tin
  4. Beat the egg and sugar into the fruit and tea mixture
  5. Sift the flour and spice into a separate bowl, stir in the wet ingredients until well combined
  6. Spoon the sticky mixture into your prepared tin
  7. bake for 45 minutes
  8. Run a knife around the tin and turn out onto a cooling rack, leave to cool before slicing.

This loaf should stay fresh for up to a week in an airtight container.

Happy baking!

Bex

xox

Throwback bake: apple crumble cupcakes

So it is July, I’m not sure where June went or when ‘summer’ really arrived and I’m guessing I’m probably not the only one in the UK currently fed up with the lack of summer sunshine?

To mirror the current iffy squiffy anti-summer weather I thought I’d post the recipe for these apple crumble cupcakes. I found this recipe in my Hummingbird Bakery Cake days cook book. I baked these a few years ago (so a real flashback) for colleagues at a school I used to work at. They went down super well, and were well worth the extra effort on a school night.

Sweet cinnamon sponge, apple filling and a custard, crumble topping join together to make these quintessentially British cupcakes.

For 12-16 cupcakes:

For the sponge mixture:

80g unsalted butter (softened)

280g caster sugar

240g plain flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1//4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 eggs

240 ml whole milk

1/4 tsp vanilla

For the filling:

5 green eating apples (such as Golden Delicious)

30g unsalted butter (softened)

50g soft light brown sugar

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For the custard topping:

500ml whole milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

5 egg yolks

200g caster sugar

30g plain flour

30g cornflour

200ml double cream

For the crumble topping:

55g plain flour

55g rolled oats

pinch ground cinnamon

55g unsalted butter (chilled and cut into cubes)

40g soft light brown sugar

  1. Fill a muffin tin with cases, line a baking tray with parchment and a second tray with cling film.
  2. First make the apple filling. Peel, core and chop the apples into 1cm chunks. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, then add the apple, sugar and cinnamon. Give this a good stir to make sure the apples are coated in the spice mixture, then stew gently until the apples are soft and cooked through, but not mushy. Set them aside to cool while you prepare the batter for the cupcakes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 190.
  4. Using a hand-held electric whisk with powder, salt and cinnamon on a low speed until the ingredients are well incorporated and have the texture of fine breadcrumbs.
  5. Break the eggs into a jug, pour in the milk and vanilla and whisk three-quarters of the milk mixture into  the dry ingredients and beat well together, scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are well incorporated. Add the rest of the milk mixture and beat again, until the batter is smooth.
  6. Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases, filling each one up to two-thirds full. Using a teaspoon, put about 2 teaspoons of the apple mixture into the centre of each case. This will sink into the batter.
  7. Place the cupcakes in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until springy. Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and placing on a cooling rack.
  8. To make the custard topping, pour the milk and vanilla into a saucepan and bring to the boil. In a bowl, mix together the egg yolks, sugar, flour and cornflour to make a paste. Add 1 tablespoon of the hot milk to the thin paste if it seems too thick.
  9. When the milk has boiled, mix 4-5 tablespoons with the paste, then add this to the remaining milk in the pan and return to the heat. Bring back up to the boil, whisking constantly as the mixture heats. Continue to cook for a further minute to ensure the flour is cooked, then remove the pan from the heat. Pour the custard on to the baking tray lined with cling film, cover with more cling film and set aside to cool for 30-40 minutes.
  10. For the crumble topping, first mix the flour, oats and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the butter and rub in, using your fingertips, until all the ingredients have come together in a crumb-like consistency. Finally add the sugar, making sure it is evenly distributed.
  11. Spread the crumble mix on the paper-lined tray and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, checking at regular intervals and gently stirring the crumbs around to make sure they brown evenly. Once the crumbs are golden, remove them from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
  12. Tip the cooled custard into a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps. In a separate bowl whip the double cream, until it forms soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the custard, making sure the mix is smooth and even. To finish, top the cupcakes with the custard cream and then sprinkle generously with the crumble mixture.

Yum yum, such a sweet treat which harks back to grandma’s apple crumble and custard.

Happy baking!

xox

 

Cinnamon plum muffins.

This Sunday was a washout, one of those Sundays when you don’t feel like doing much outside of the house, the weather was miserable and a week of early mornings and late nights had made me thankful for a day of minimal activity.

Muffins are an excellent way to use up store cupboard ingredients and experiment with different flavour combinations. This would work well with any tart fruit like raspberries and bramley apples.


Sweet cinnamon and tart plums mix together in these muffins to create a sharp-sweet snack.

To make 6 muffins:

150g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 egg

40g caster sugar

120 ml milk

50g butter (melted)

1 tsp vanilla paste

300g stoned plums (chopped to 1cm squares)

25g flaked roasted almonds

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c (fan) and prepare a 6 hole muffin tin with cases.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla, sugar and butter together until pale and fluffy.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.
  5. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mix until just incorporated.
  6. Next fold in the flaked almonds and chopped plums.
  7. Divide the mixture equally into the muffin tin.Top with slices of plum and sprinkle with a teaspoon of demerara sugar mixed with a teaspoon of cinnamon.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden and cooked through.
  9. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack until completely cool.

These little muffins are perfect as a snack in a lunchbox or warm with cream.

Happy baking!

xox

SMASH! Healthy baby’s first birthday cake.

Last weekend was a birthday bonanza with two birthdays in the same family – as I have mentioned in my previous post where I baked mini cheesecake cupcakes. My niece turned one and since she hasn’t really been introduced to sugary/processed foods I made it my mission to put together a special healthy bake.

Can you tell I took this at night? Damn shadows!

Little Alice loves her fruit and so I made sure I packed as much of it in as possible; this cake has a banana and honey batter, raspberry frosting and is topped with a blueberry number one and so really does not need any added sugar. This was my first time frosting a whole cake and I was really pleased with the smooth result after refrigerating, and even after transit all over the countryside in a coolbox!

To make one three tiered 4″ cake with cream cheese frosting:

For the frosting:

200g low fat cream cheese

2 tbsp sugar free (diabetic) raspberry jam

enough blueberries/fruit drops to make a number one for the top

For the cake:

200g whole wheat or spelt flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 medium ripe bananas (if yours aren’t ripe put in the oven for 5 minutes at 180)

90g unsalted butter (melted)

1/4 cup of honey

1 egg (beaten)

1 tsp of vanilla bean paste

  1. For the frosting beat the cream cheese until smooth, then mix in the jam. Place in the fridge to chill.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 and grease three 4″/10 cm pans well.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix together.
  4. In a separate bowl mash the bananas thoroughly. Fold in the melted butter and add the honey, egg and vanilla until well combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the three tins (if you’re obsessive like me, use the scales to ensure an even amount).
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until golden and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the middles of the cakes.
  7. Leave to cool in the tins on a rack, then refrigerate ready for frosting.
  8. When you are ready to frost the cake, take the cakes and frosting out of the fridge.
  9. Choose the cake with the prettiest ‘dome’ for the top and cut off the other two domes with a serrated knife, being careful to ensure a level top.
  10. Place the first layer on your chosen serving plate or board with a generous helping of frosting, spread the frosting out towards the edge allowing some to drip out.
  11. Add the second cake layer and repeat the frosting method.
  12. Top with the final cake layer, adding about half the remaining frosting, spread on the top of the cake. Evenly spread the frosting dripping down the sides and from the top all around the cake and place in the fridge along with the remaining frosting. (It will look far from perfect at this stage)
  13. After 30 minutes chilling (you too!) add the remaining frosting to the cake and evenly coat the top and sides. (As this was my first time I did thinner layers and more chilling stages, don’t worry if it takes you a few layers).
  14. When you have an even finish, place the blueberries (if using) on the top of your cake in the shape of a number one.
  15. Take out of the fridge for 30 minute- an hour before serving.

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As you can see, Alice was very enthusiastic about this cake, she especially enjoyed the frosting! Mum and dad also thought it was tasty and the best thing is that it does not contain any nasties.

I really enjoyed baking this and decorating this tiered cake and I’m trying to find an excuse to make another full sized fully frosted cake!

Happy baking!

xox

 

Mini cheesecake cupcakes

This weekend was a double whammy. Two birthdays in the same family, both of which milestones. My boyfriend’s 30th birthday  and his daughter (my niece) had her first birthday.

Knowing I would be travelling back to West Wales for the celebrations I thought I’d lighten the load and chances of accidents on route by baking some mini cheesecakes – Ben is a real fan of cheesecake desserts. I baked him this no-bake strawberry cheesecake a few years ago.

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After the success of the Peanut butter and jelly cheesecake I chose a baked recipe and knowing how much of a sweet tooth he is I used Oreo cookies for the base.

For 8 cupcake cheesecakes:

a pack of Oreo cookies

45g melted butter

300g full fat cream cheese

1 tbsp plain flour

90g golden caster sugar

1 drop of vanilla paste

1 egg and 1 yolk

3 tbsp Greek yoghurt

a handful of strawberries (hulled and sliced) plus 4 half strawberries

  1. Line a tray with 8 cupcake cases and preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Bash the cookies in a food bag with a rolling pin/blitz in a food processor until they look like breadcrumbs
  3. Stir in the melted butter until well mixed. Divide the mix between the cases, pressing down so level. (I reserved a couple of spoons of the cookie mixture to top mine)
  4. To make the cheesecake filling, beat the cheese in a bowl with a spatula until creamy, then stir in the flour, sugar, vanilla, egg and yolk, yoghurt and beat again until light.
  5. Put a layer of the sliced strawberries on the cookie bases, then spoon out the cream cheese mixture on top – don’t over fill as they puff up while baking
  6. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. They will be puffed up and have a little wobble in the middle when they are done
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tray for half an hour. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and chill in the fridge overnight (or at least 2 hours)
  8. To serve, peel off the cupcake cases, garnish with the reserved crumb mixture and half a strawberry.

These little cupcakes went on a real adventure this weekend; I baked them on Friday night, packed them into a cool box along with a delicate fully frosted smash cake on Saturday morning, drove them 90 miles to the family boat, carted them in the heavy cool box onto two different boats, sailed around with them, put them back in the car and returned to Ben’s house. They weren’t tasted until 10pm on Saturday night – but they survived all the travelling – hoorah!

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Happy baking!

xox