Friday, 26 April 2013

Apple Sauce Cookies

I'm currently in the middle of writing my dissertation and need a few library supplies to keep me motivated! I thought these sounded really interesting and I love cinnamon! They are a bit of a winter bake because of the cinnamon but the apple and raisins make them quite light and a bit more summery. They are extremely gooey because of the apple sauce in them but they go perfectly with a cup of tea, or in my case, in the library!

If you wanted to make them a bit more indulgent, you can make the salted caramel I used for the salted caramel buttercream and drizzle a little bit on top of each cookie. The sharpness of the caramel would offset some of the sweetness of the cookie; especially good if you don't have as much of a sweet tooth as I do! I managed to make 8 quite large ones, so you could easily make 12 smaller ones if you wanted!


50g unsalted butter
100g light brown soft sugar
180g jarred apple sauce
150g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
50g raisins/sultanas


1) Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
2) Place the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat until soft and fluffy.
3) Add the apple sauce and mix thoroughly.
4) In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon together.
5) Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix thoroughly.
6) Fold in the sultanas/raisins
7) Place walnut-sized spoonfuls onto the baking sheet, spaced apart slightly.
8) Bake for around 12-14 minutes until golden around the edges but still soft.
9) Allow to cool on the baking sheet until firm then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Raspberry Doughnut Muffins

These sounded really interesting when I first saw them so I thought they were worth a try. I got the recipe from BBC Good Food but altered it slightly. I decided to just sprinkle some sugar on the top of the muffins before they'd cooled down, instead of rolling the whole muffin in sugar and used slightly more than 1 teaspoon of jam in them, just to make them a bit more fruity! 

I was really pleased with the way they turned out! The dough is just in between a cake and a doughnut; they aren't really doughy like doughnuts tend to be, but they're a bit firmer than a standard cake! 

The raspberry jam inside just gives it a bit more of an edge on standard muffins and I'll definitely be making these again; maybe with some different types of filling!


140g caster sugar, plus a sprinkle extra for dusting
200g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml natural yoghurt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g butter, melted
18 tsp seedless raspberry jam


1) Preheat oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5 and grease a 12-hole muffin tin.
2) Place the sugar, flour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and mix until fully combined.
3) Place the eggs, yoghurt and vanilla in a jug and whisk together.
4) Pour the jug contents and melted butter into the dry ingredients and fold into the dry mix.
5) Spoon two thirds of the mixture into the muffin tins then carefully place around 1 and a half teaspoons of jam into the centre.
6) Cover with the remaining mixture then bake for 16-18 minutes until risen, golden and springy to the touch.
7) Leave the muffins to cool in the tin for a around 10 minutes before lifting out and allowing to cool fully on a wire rack.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Vanilla Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

These were a bit of an experiment really. The plan was for them to be a "Hidden chocolate" cupcake, so there are Rolos, Minstrels and Malteasers in the middle of these cupcakes. However, they didn't stay in the middle and mainly just sank to the bottom and melted a bit! The salted caramel buttercream makes up for this as it lifts the cupcake and really brings it to life, whilst still being quite easy to make.

The vanilla cupcake recipe is great on it's own and is from the Hummingbird Bakery "Cake Days" book and the Salted Caramel Buttercream recipe is from the BBC Food website here. I'm definitely going to try and use this caramel buttecream recipe more in the future because it is actually delicious! I'm never normally a fan of buttercream because I can find it overpowering and too sweet, but I think the salt in this calms it down a bit.


180g plain flour
210g caster sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
60g unsalted butter
180ml milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Salted caramel buttercream:-
125g caster sugar
80ml double cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
160g salted butter
200g icing sugar
Chocolate to decorate


1) Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3 and line a 12-hole bun tray with cupcake cases.
2) Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a large bowl and mix until everything is well combined.
3) Pour in half of the milk and beat until it is just incorporated.
4) Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together for a few seconds then beat into the cupcake mixture until smooth.
5) Spoon the mixture into the cases until two-thirds full. If you want to try the "hidden chocolate" cupcakes then just add half of the cake mixture to the cases and place a chocolate on top then add the remaining mixture.
6) Bake in the oven for 25 minutes then allow to cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.

Salted caramel buttercream:-
1) Heat the caster sugar and 4 tablespoons of water in a saucepan over a gentle heat until the sugar dissolves.
2) Increase the heat and cook until the mixture is golden and slightly thickened. My best tip for this part is to not touch the mixture; it's tempting to start mixing it but if you just leave it to boil away then it will become golden and come out as a nice smooth caramel.
3) Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream. It will spit at you a bit but don't worry and just keep stirring. You should end up with a golden mixture.
4) Stir in the salt and vanilla and allow to cool completely.
5) Cream the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy then beat in the caramel.
6) Decorate the cupcakes.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Fruit Scones

I can't even remember the last time I made scones so I thought I'd give them another go. I've made chocolate and plain ones before but I thought I'd try fruit ones for a change!

I got the recipe from "1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & Other Tempting Treats" again, but they make some really interesting suggestions as to what else you can put it. They suggest using 55g of mixed peel instead of raisins for citrus scones or even just making lemon scones by adding the zest of 1 lemon. The good thing with scones is that you can add whichever flavours you like to them as the base mix is quite plain!

You can enjoy them plain or with butter and jam like I did if you fancy!


55g butter, cubed
450g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp caster sugar
250ml milk
60g sultanas


1) Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas mark 7 and grease a baking sheet.
2) Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl.
3) Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
4) Stir in the sugar and raisins, then enough milk to bring the mixture together into a soft dough.
5) Roll the dough onto a floured surface to around 1 cm thickness.
6) Cut out the scones with a 6cm cutter and place on the baking sheet.
7) Brush the scones with a little milk then bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden and risen.
8) Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Goat's Cheese, Potato and Onion Tart [Archive]


I never really see many sweet tarts that I fancy making minus the classic lemon and treacle ones so I thought I'd make a savoury one instead. This one seemed like a bit of a posh way to have lunch this week and I have a new fondness for Goat's cheese. It's a really simple recipe as well; even though there are a lot of steps, they're really simple and easy to follow. You can also buy a pre-made pack of shortcrust pastry if you don't fancy making it yourself. I got the recipe from good old BBC Good Food here.


175g plain flour
75g butter
Few tablespoons of cold water
25g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced
1 medium potato, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
140g goat's cheese
3 eggs
200g creme fraiche
2 tbsp thyme leaves


1) Sift the flour into a large bowl.
2) Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
3) Add water a teaspoon at a time until the pastry comes together in a ball. Don't worry if the pastry seems a bit crumbly, this just means that you'll get really lovely crumbly pastry in your tart!
4) Allow to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The longer the better for this as pastry needs to be really cool.
5) Roll pastry out and place in dish to chill in the fridge again. This is to allow the pastry to settle before you blind bake it to prevent it from coming away from the dish. 
6) Preheat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5.
7) Line the pastry with baking parchment and fill with baking beans to blind bake for 15 minutes.
8) Remove the baking beans and parchment and bake for a further 5 minutes.
1) Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and add the onions and potato.
2) Cook for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally.
3) Add the garlic then cook for another 3 minutes.
4) Place in the pastry case with the Goat's cheese. I kept some of the cheese spare to sprinkle on the top but you can put it all in the case if you want!
5) Whisk the eggs and creme fraiche together then pour into the pastry case on top of the potato and onion.
6) Bake at 190C/gas mark 5 for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and set in the centre.
7) Serve warm or allow to cool and enjoy for lunches!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Sticky Toffee Squares

These are just bitesize sticky toffee pudding squares and smell amazing whilst in the oven! I love a good sticky toffee pudding so this is heaven to me. You can always warm them up and have some with custard or ice cream if you fancy as well but they're just as nice on their own! If you fancy, you can add grated apple or chopped walnuts to the cake for an extra taste or crunch as well.

If you don't fancy the toffee sauce on top, then you can leave it out as the cake itself is quite moist even with the dates in it. I got the recipe from the book "1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & other tempting treats" which has loads of great cupcake and traybake recipes in it!


85g butter
175g pitted dates, chopped
175ml boiling water
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
140g caster sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
175g self-raising flour
Toffee sauce:-
85g soft light brown sugar
40g butter
2 tbsp single cream or milk


1) Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.
2) Place the dates, water and bicarbonate of soda in a small pan and heat gently for 5 minutes, until the dates are soft.
3) Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat until fluffy.
4) Beat in the eggs, vanilla essence and dates.
5) Sift in the flour and beat into the mixture.
6) Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until firm and shrinking from the sides.
7) To make the toffee, add all of the ingredients into a small pan and heat gently for 3 to 4 minutes.
8) Prick the cake all over with a skewer then pour the hot toffee sauce evenly over the top.
9) Leave to cool in the tin then cut into squares to serve.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Christmas Cake [Archive]

I know Christmas is over and everyone has the post-Christmas blues, but everyone loves a good Christmas cake so I'm going to post the recipe for the one my grandad is famous for and that went down quite well this year when I made it! :) This post is late mainly due to the fact I gave a couple of these as presents and I didn't want to spoil the surprise!

You don't need to have alcohol in it if you don't want to and don't worry that the cake doesn't rise much! I also did mine about a month before Christmas and wrapped it in foil to keep it fresh but to allow the cake to mature a bit! Don't worry about it drying out, as long as you keep it covered and sealed it will be fine!


300g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
200g butter
200g caster sugar
4 eggs beaten with 125ml milk (or 1/2 and 1/2 milk and brandy)
200g currants
200g sultanas
200g raisins
100g halved glace cherries
100g mixed peel
1 tsp mixed spice


1) Sieve together flour, spice and ground almonds.
2) Cream butter and sugar then stir in the flour mixture with eggs and milk a little at a time.
3) Add fruit and mix thoroughly.
4) Place mixture in a greased 23cm round tin and cover with greaseproof paper.
5) Bake in oven at 150C/Gas mark 2 for 4 and a half hours.

I decided not to put marzipan and icing on mine purely because I prefer it as it is and I know a lot of people like to have Christmas cake with a bit of cheese!