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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Trio of Tea-Time Bakes....

Yes, I've been baking again, I didn't bake all these cakes today, these are what I've made over the last week. Morning teas, afternoon teas, weekend visiting, there's always an excuse to bake in my house.

These are some of my favorite things ~ there's a Yorkshire Tea Loaf, which I have posted about before on here, but this recipe is slightly different and gives a nicer loaf in my opinion.

Secondly there's the ever so naughty Jam Donut Muffins that really do taste like a jam donut but must be far healthier than a deep fried version, these won't last two minutes, believe me.

Last but not least is the English Walnut Cake, because it's walnut season. I sat and shelled 5 kg of them over the last few evenings. I love walnut & coffee cake, or walnut & maple syrup cake, but sometimes it's nice to bake a plain cake and let the flavour of just one ingredient shine through, in this case the humble walnut. It doesn't need icing or frosting or buttercream, it's lovely as it is without all that.

Yorkshire Tea Loaf:
275g mixed dried fruit soaked overnight in 400ml fresh hot tea (any kind of tea will do)
75g Glace cherries Halved
70g soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon mixed spice
270g self raising flour

Oven pre-heated to 150 deg C

you will need a greased and lined 2lb loaf tin

Soak the fruit overnight, the next day stir in the sugar and spice. Then beat in the eggs and mix well, next add the cherries. Sift in the flour and mix quite vigorously until it looks well combined. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 90-100 minutes. It will be well risen, golden brown on top and should feel firm when you press it in the middle. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool. This is lovely cut into thick slices and spread with salted butter. It will keep well for a few days in an airtight container or you can wrap it in foil and freeze it.

Jam Donut Muffins:
300g Self Raising Flour
150g caster sugar + 100g extra for coating
80 ml vegetable oil
1 large egg
175 ml buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Jam, about 9 teaspoons (strawberry or raspberry is best)
100g melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degC, 375 deg F, Gas Mark 4. Grease a muffin tin, the recipe usually makes 8-9 cakes.

Mix the flour and sugar with a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. In a large jug mix the oil, buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract. Pour the wet into the dry and mix very gently, you only want to combine the two, don't beat the life out of it or your cakes will be tough. If it's still a little lumpy that's fine, it will all work out int he end.

Put a heaped teaspoon full of cake mixture into the bottom of the muffin cups, you need to completely cover the bottoms of the tin with it, then add a teaspoon of jam into the centre and top with a further heaped teaspoon of cake mixture. The tins should be about 2/3 full. The trick is to make sure the jam is fully enclosed within the cake mixture so that it doesn't boil out.

Bake for 20 minutes, they will be well risen and golden brown. Let them cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then pop them out onto a wire cooling rack.

Mix the remaining sugar together with the cinnamon. Brush the cakes with melted butter and roll them in the sugar/cinnamon mix. These are best eaten within 24 hours of baking, but I bet they won't last that long!

Walnut Cake:

Use either a regular size loaf tin, 2 mini loaf tins or a 6" round cake tin, greased and lined.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C, 375deg F, Gas mark 4.

110g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
125 g soft unsalted butter
80g caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
60g walnuts, ground finely in a food processor or finely chopped by hand
Extra walnut halves for the topping

Cream the butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between.

Sift the flour and salt together. Stir in the walnuts then add this to the butter and egg mixture, folding it in whilst adding the milk. Mix well to combine. Put the mixture into the tin and level the surface, decorate with walnut halves.

Bake times depend on which tin you use ~ my 6" round cakes take 40 minutes to cook, the mini loaf tins 30 minutes and the regular loaf tin 45-50 minutes, but which ever tin you are using start checking after 30 minutes. The cake will be golden brown, risen and feel firm in the centre when cooked. It needs no other adornment:

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