Author Archives: Charlotte

Coconut and Lime Cake

Coconut and Lime Meringue Cake

Birthdays are the perfect time to experiment with cakes and to make big impressive cakes. It was my Dad’s birthday recently and when I asked him what cake he wanted he said he wanted a lemon cake. Now I do love a lemon drizzle cake but it just wasn’t exciting enough for me, I wanted to make a big layer cake and I have already made a lemon layer cake so wanted to try something new. I know he is a huge fan of coconut so I decided to keep to the citrus theme that he asked for but switched the lemon to lime and combined it with coconut, two flavours that work really well together. It is a 4 layer cake, the sponge is made with coconut milk, lime zest and drizzled with a lime syrup. The cake is covered and filled with coconut buttercream and then I piped soft meringue onto the top and covered the sides with coconut to finish. I’m not going to lie, I was quite proud of this creation and I’m sure I will be recreating it again!

Coconut and Lime Cake

To make this Coconut and Lime Meringue Cake you will need:

12oz butter or margarine
12oz caster sugar
12oz self raising flour
6 eggs
4 tbsp coconut milk
zest of 1 lime

For the syrup:
juice of 2 limes
80g caster sugar

Start by making the sponge. Cream together the butter and the sugar and then add the eggs one at a time beating well. Fold the flour into the mix and finally mix in the lime zest and coconut milk. Divide the mixture between 4 greased and lined sandwich tins and bake in the oven for approx 25 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and move on to making the lime syrup.  Heat the lime juice with the caster sugar in a pan until all the sugar is dissolved. Use a skewer or fork to make some holes in the cakes and drizzle the syrup over the cakes. Leave the cakes to cool completely before icing.

Sponge cakes

For the coconut butter icing:
500g softened unsalted butter
750g icing sugar
2 tbsp coconut milk
100g desiccated coconut (plus more for sides of cake)

To make the butter icing cream the butter and icing sugar together and beat well. Add the coconut milk and desiccated coconut and mix in well. Use the icing to layer the cakes and then cover the cake in a layer of butter icing, trying to get a nice smooth finish.

Layer the cake

Cover with butter icing

To make the meringue put the egg whites and the sugar in a heatproof bowl with 35ml water. Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Use a handheld whisk to slowly beat the mixture until it forms stiff peaks. This will take about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat. The meringue should be thick and glossy. Fill a piping bag with the meringue and pipe onto the top of the cake.

Meringue

 

To finish the cake use a blow torch to give the meringue some colour. Cover the sides of the cake in dessicated coconut  and add a slice of lime to the top of the cake. Tada!

Layer cake

Coconut and Lime Cake

 

Lottie xx

I am entering this post into the One Ingredient Challenge hosted by Nazima at Franglais Kitchen and Laura at How to Cook Good Food.

one ingredient limes

Pastries fresh from the oven

Chocolate, Almond and Vanilla Danish Pastries

Danish Pastries are a recent addition to my baking repertoire, but after my success with croissants moving on to danish pastries was a natural progression. Again I turned to Paul Hollywood’s book ‘How to Bake‘ for advice on how to make a basic danish pastry dough and then I filled them with whatever I wanted. These particular ones are filled with vanilla creme patissiere, flaked almonds and dark chocolate chips. My favourite danish pastries are Pain aux Raisin, really just because I love the shape, so I opted to use the snail shaped swirl for these pastries too. They make take time to make but homemade croissants and danish pastries really are so much better than the ones you buy in the shop, the smell they fill your kitchen with when they are baking is also wonderful and the bonus is that you can add to them whatever you want. You can see my chocolate orange croissants here. Just be prepared as to how much butter both of these doughs really do use!

Danish Pastries

To make these Chocolate, Almond and Vanilla Danish Pastries you will need:

For the dough:
500g strong white bread flour
10g salt
80g caster sugar
10g instant yeast
2 medium eggs
90ml water
125ml warm whole milk
250g chilled, unsalted butter

For the filling:
100g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
40g cornflour
500ml whole milk
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
40g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate chips
100g flaked almonds

To finish:
Beaten egg
Flaked almonds
Apricot jam
200g icing sugar

Start the dough the night before you plan to eat the pastries. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl, mix together. Add the eggs, water and milk and mix until well combined. If making in a mixer leave on a medium speed for 6 minutes, if making by hand then knead the dough for up to 10 minutes. Chill the dough in the fridge for 1 hour.

After 1 hour remove the dough from the fridge and roll to a rectangle approx 50cmx20cm. Take the butter and flatten it with a rolling pin. You want to make it into a rectangle that will cover two thirds of the dough. You can sandwich the butter between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper and use the rolling pin to roll it out. Once the butter is flattened place it on top of the bottom two thirds of the dough, it should come almost to the edge. Fold the top third of dough over a third of the butter and then fold the bottom half up over the top. Pinch the edges and chill for 1 hour in the fridge.

Flatten the butter

After another hour take the dough out of the fridge and put on a floured surface. Have the short end towards you and roll the dough into a 50cmx20cm rectangle again. Fold up one third and then the other third. Chill for another hour. Repeat this twice more, chilling between each turn.

Dough

Now leave the dough in the fridge overnight to rise.

You can make your creme patissiere ahead of time too. Whisk together the sugar, egg yolks (discard the whites) and cornflour until smooth. Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the vanilla extract. Bring to the boil and then take off the heat. Pour a splash of this milk onto the egg mixture and whisk together then pour all of it into the milk and stir over a gentle heat. Stir until it becomes thick and then remove from the heat. If you have any lumps don’t worry, just pour the mixture through a sieve to smooth it out. Add the butter, stir in and then leave to cool and chill.

The next day it is time to put all of your hard work into actually making some danish pastries. Take the dough from the fridge and cut in half, you should be able to see lots of lovely layers.

layers

Take one half and roll into a large rectangle with the long edge facing you. Spread the creme patissiere over the dough, leaving a couple of cm clear at the edge closest to you so it doesn’t leak out too much when you roll it. Sprinkle the flaked almonds and chocolate chips over the creme patissiere.

Sprinkle with chocolate

Roll the dough towards you, rolling as tight as you can. Cut the roll into slices approx 3cm thick and lay on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Repeat with the other half of the dough (you may wish to use a different filling for the second half of the dough – raisins and cranberries with some cinnamon work well sprinkled on the creme patissiere).

Ready to bake

Leave the pastries in a warm spot for approx 2 hours, they should double in size.

Preheat the oven to 200C, brush the pastries with beaten egg and bake for 15-20 minutes until lovely and golden. While they are in the oven heat a couple of tablespoons of apricot jam and brush the pastries with it as soon as they come out of the oven.

Pastries fresh from the oven

 

To finish mix the icing sugar with a couple of tbsp water and drizzle over the pastries, sprinkle with flaked almonds and enjoy while still warm!

Enjoy!

Lottie xx

I am entering these into this month’s Calendar Cakes as this is me trying something new. This is hosted by Dolly Bakes and Laura Loves Cakes.

calendar-cakes

 

Chocolate and blackcurrant cake

Chocolate and Blackcurrant Cake

Happy New Year from Lottie’s Bakes! I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year! Now it is January and time to diet … or time to make a delicious chocolate and blackcurrant cake! First though I have some very very very exciting news …. I got a Kitchen Aid for Christmas! It is beautiful and I love it. It is a lovely pistachio green and is the star of my kitchen. I can’t believe how easy it is to use and I’m sure I make much less mess when I use it! So here it is – say hello! Do you think it is okay to give it a name? Any mixer suitable name suggestions very welcome!

kitchen aid

 

Now it is time to bake – this is the recipe for the very first cake my Kitchen Aid helped me to make! If you have had enough of dried fruit and spices now Christmas is over then why not turn your loyalties back to chocolate and make this delicious Chocolate and Blackcurrant cake. Chocolate and blackcurrant pair together so well, I have used them before in this Brownie base Blackcurrant Cheesecake and I had to use them together again. This cake is a 3 layer chocolate sponge cake, filled with blackcurrant jam and dark chocolate ganache and then covered in dark chocolate ganache.

Chocolate and blackcurrant cake

To make this cake you will need:

220g plain flour
200g golden caster sugar
150g soft brown sugar
90g cocoa powder
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
250ml whole milk
125ml sunflower oil
1tsp vanilla extract
250ml boiling water

Good quality blackcurrant jam

To make the ganache:
400ml double cream
400g dark chocolate

Start by making the ganache first, this can be made the day before and left at room temperature to set. Heat the cream gently in a pan, don’t allow to boil but once hot take off the heat and break the chocolate into the saucepan. Stir the chocolate into the cream until melted and you have a thick, glossy ganache. Leave at room temperature to set to a spreadable consistency.

ganache

Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the dry ingredients together until well combined. Mix in the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla until the batter is well mixed and smooth. Gradually add the boiling water and mix well until it is all combined. The mixture will be very wet but don’t worry it comes out as a wonderfully moist cake. Pour the batter into 3 greased and lined 8 inch cake tins, dividing the batter equally between them. Bake in the oven at 180C for approx 20-30 minutes. To test if the cakes are done insert a skewer, it should come out clean.

Leave the cakes to cool in their tins before removing. Handle the cakes gently as they are very moist.

Once the cakes are completely cool you can start assembling. Use a knife or palette knife to spread a thick layer of blackcurrant jam over one of the layers. Spread ganache over another layer and sandwich the 2 together. Repeat, spreading a layer of blackcurrant and ganache and sandwiching together.

Blackcurrant jam

 

Once the cake is assembled carefully cover the cake in ganache, trying to keep the cake as straight as you can and making sure the icing is spread evenly and smoothly.

Assembled cake

I finished my cake with a dusting of icing sugar using a stencil to create a snowflake design.

Snowflake

 

Happy Baking! Any Kitchen Aid tips and tricks then please send them my way!

Lottie x

Ps. I am entering this cake into this month’s Tea Time Treats. The theme is eggs and guess what, this cake contains eggs! It is hosted by The Hedgecombers and Lavender and Lovage.

Mince pies

Orange and Marzipan Mince Pies

Orange and Marzipan Mince Pies You can’t have Christmas without mince pies, they are one of the first things that start appearing in the supermarket, a real sign that Christmas is approaching. Even if it is only September. A friend of mine absolutely loves them, by the time October has come around I’m sure she has eaten her way through a few dozen already. Mince Pies make perfect December baking though, delicious, Christmassy and quick and easy to make. Perfect. We have our tree up now, and it is looking rather beautiful, sitting down with a mince pie and the lights on the tree makes me feel very Christmassy (is that a word?) indeed. These mince pies are made with orange zest incorporated into the pastry dough and a disc of marzipan inside with the mincemeat. A delicious twist to your traditional mince pie! Mince pies To make these mince pies you will need (makes 12): 190g plain flour 120g cold unsalted butter (cubed) 55g caster sugar 1 egg zest of 1 orange white marzipan mincemeat milk to glaze icing sugar Start by working the butter into the flour in a bowl. Rub them together with your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Then add the sugar and stir in. Pastry crumbs Add the finely grated zest of an orange and stir in. Add the egg to the mixture and bring together to form a dough. Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and bring together to form a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 2 hours. Pastry Roll out the dough out to 2-3mm thick on a floured surface. Use a large pastry cutter to cut out discs and use these to line the holes in a bun tin. Use a smaller cutter to cut out discs for the top of the pies and put these to one side. Pastry discs Roll out the marzipan to 3mm thickness and use a small cutter to cut out discs, put a disc into the base of each pie. Add the marzipan Top the marzipan with a teaspoon of mincemeat. Add the mincemeat Top the pies with the pastry lids using water to seal the edges of the pastry together. Finally brush with milk to glaze and pierce holes in the top to allow the steam to release. Glaze with milk Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 200C until golden brown. Remove carefully from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack. Serve dusted with icing sugar. Delicious served warm! Freshly baked mince pies Mince Pies   Enjoy! Lottie xx

Christmas cake

Lottie’s Christmas Cake

Lottie’s Christmas Cake

My blog has seen two Christmases now and here are some of the Christmas bakes I have posted so far: Lebkuchen – wonderful soft, spiced German biscuits. Christmas Cupcakes – decorated with snowflakes, holly, bows and glitter. Mince Pies – a Christmas favourite with cranberries. Chocolate Yule Log – a must have at Christmas. Orange Kugelhopf Cake – a German orange cake perfect for Christmas. Gingerbread house – this has to be done every year! Stollen – fruity bread with marzipan inside, a favourite this time of year.

This year I will be posting a few of my own Christmas recipes including Christmas Cake, Almond and Orange mince pies and German stollen. The first thing that has to be made though is the Christmas Cake, if you haven’t made yours yet then make sure you do very soon as you need plenty of time to feed it with alcohol before decorating it. My Christmas Cake is packed with  my favourite dried fruits including raisins, apricots and figs, as well as plenty of my favourite glacé cherries. It is lightly spiced and subtly flavoured with almond extract and chopped almonds. This recipe will make one large 8 inch cake, although I split mine to make a 6 inch cake and a couple of miniature cakes to give as gifts. I will be posting soon on ways to decorate your Christmas Cake with fruit and nuts and with marzipan and icing. Now time to get baking!

Christmas cake

For this Christmas cake you will need (makes 1 8 inch cake):

500g currants
180g sulatanas
180g raisings
75g glace cherries halved
50g chopped dried apricots
50g chopped dried figs
50g mixed peel
7 tbsp brandy
50g chopped almonds
pinch salt
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
225g unsalted butter
100g light soft brown sugar
125g dark soft brown sugar
4 eggs
1 tbsp black treacle
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1/4 tsp almond extract

Start 12 hours before you want to bake the cake. Put all of the dried fruit including cherries and mixed peel into a large bowl and add the brandy. Mix well, cover and leave for 12 hours.

Once the fruit has been soaked you can make the cake. Preheat the oven to 140C. Grease and line a cake tin. In a large bowl whisk the butter and sugars together. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Gently fold the flour, salt and spices in. Now add all of the fruit, along with the nuts, treacle, zest and almond extract and fold together.

Dried fruit

Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake at 140C. If you have made an 8 inch cake this will take approx 4 hours. A 6 inch cake will take approx 3 hours. Keep an eye on the cake and if it starts to brown to quickly put a double circle of greaseproof paper on top of it. The cake will be done when a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan for half an hour before removing it and leaving on a wire rack to cool.

cake

Once the cake has cooled use a skewer to make small holes over the top of the cake, drizzle a couple of spoons of brandy over the top of the cake. Wrap it up and store in an airtight container. Keep feeding it with brandy like this every few days until you come to ice it.

Feed cake with brandy

Happy Christmas Baking!

Lottie xx

2 cupcakes

Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes

Someone asked me the other day as we were walking past The Hummingbird Bakery just why cupcakes are so popular. It’s true, we really do have an obsession with cupcakes. While macarons, whoopie pies and marshmallows have all had their go and tried to become the ‘new thing’, the cupcake always wins. There are small (well kind of) and everyone loves little individual cakes but I think the real win is in their variation. There is a cupcake to suit everybody. Whatever flavour you want be that lemon, carrot, chocolate, vanilla, the list goes on. Covered in whatever frosting you like …. ganache, cream cheese icing, buttercream. Then of course they can be decorated however you want, be it with a quick dash of sprinkles or more elaborately with little fondant figures. It is no wonder everybody loves a cupcake. And that’s why when we were walking past The Hummingbird Bakery we couldn’t help but be tempted inside by row upon row of absolutely perfect looking cupcakes and choose our individual, just what we want, cakes. Another thing…cupcakes are great fun to make at home and with a piping bag and a bit of simple decoration, very easy to make look professional.

vanilla and chocolate cupcakes

This recipe is for chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, for that time when you can’t decide which you want. The chocolate sponge is dark and moist and is covered with a swirl of vanilla cream cheese icing. I finished these cakes with simple pink daisy, made from fondant icing.

Cupcake

To make the chocolate sponge (12 cupcakes) you will need:

110g plain flour
50g soft brown sugar
125g caster sugar
45g cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
125ml whole milk
65ml sunflower oil
125ml boiling water

Preheat the oven to 190C and line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl, add the sugars, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix well. In another bowl beat together the egg, milk and sunflower oil. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and combine well. Finally add the boiling water and mix in. The cake mix will be very runny so pour it into a jug so you can pour it out into the baking cases. Divide the mixture evenly between the cases, filling each one half to two thirds full. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C for about 20 -25 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate cupcakes

Now to make the icing, you will need:

125g full fat cream cheese (cold)
175g unsalted butter (room temp)
450g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix with the butter. If you are using an electric whisk or stand mixer then you might want to cover the bowl and whisk with a tea towel while you do this bit to avoid getting icing sugar everywhere. Now add the cream cheese and vanilla extract and whisk again. You want to mix until the ingredients are just combined, if you whisk it too much then the icing will go runny and you won’t be able to pipe it. Fill a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of your choice (I used the Wilton 1M nozzle – my favourite as I’m sure you know by now!) and pipe big swirls of frosting on to your completely cooled cupcakes. Finish with whatever decoration you fancy!

Tray of cupcakes

2 cupcakes

And while we are on the topic of cupcakes here are a few cupcakes I came across recently:

How absolutely amazing are these gorgeous cupcakes that I found in the Whole Foods Market in Kensington!

Flower cupcakes

And have you ever seen so many red velvet cupcakes in one place as at The Hummingbird Bakery in Soho??

Hummingbird Red Velvet Cupcakes

Happy Cupcake Baking!

Lottie xx

Chocolate and pear muffin

Dark Chocolate and Pear Crumble Muffins

Dark Chocolate and Pear Crumble Muffins

Apples and pears are definitely autumn fruits and work so well in creating delicious autumnal baking. Not the themed and traditional baking that we do in winter and not the pretty sponge cakes that we do in summer. Autumn allows you to really bake, no need to cover everything in swirls of icing or make fancy decorations, but to really use the great flavours that autumn gives us. It isn’t just pumpkins that you will see appearing in the supermarket at this time of year but lots of delicious apples and pears, and pears are just the perfect ingredient to bake with. They also pair amazingly well with chocolate, if you haven’t tried it before then give it a go. These muffins combine dark chocolate with sweet pears, topped off with a crumble.

Muffins

 

To make these muffins you will need:

300g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
150g golden caster sugar
1 egg (large)
1tsp vanilla extract
225ml milk
50g butter (melted)
2 pears (fresh or canned)
150g dark chocolate
For the crumble:
75g plain flour
75g butter
50g caster sugar

 

Pear and chocolate

 

Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar together. Break up the chocolate, saving a small amount to grate on the top of the muffins. Chop the pears into small chunks. Add the pear and chocolate to the flour and stir in. Measure 225ml in a measuring jug, add the egg, vanilla and melted butter and beat together. Add the liquid mix to the flour mixture and combine everything together without overmixing it. Line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cases or use squares of greaseproof paper. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, you will be able to get 12 muffins out of this mixture. Now make the crumble.

Unbaked muffins

 

Combine the flour and butter for the crumble together in a small bowl using your fingers. Mix in the sugar. Top the muffins with a sprinkle of crumble and finish with some finely grated chocolate. Bake in the oven at 200C for 25-30minutes.

Chocolate and pear muffin

Now all that is left is to enjoy your lovely autumn baking!

Chocolate and pear muffins

 

Lottie xx

Lemon and blackberry cake

Lemon and Blackberry Cake

Everybody loves lemon cake, you can’t go wrong with it. This makes it the perfect option to take to a social gathering, in this case I took this cake along to my amateur dramatic group Summer BBQ. That’s the other thing about lemon – a perfect lovely summery flavour. As it has been approaching the end of summer blackberries have been coming into season and their lovely tart sweetness pairs deliciously with the citrus zing of lemons. Sadly these weren’t berries that I picked brambling, but I can’t wait to get out brambling and make lots of delicious blackberry bakes! The use of blackberries in a lemon cake also creates a great visual contrast with the pale yellow of the lemon icing to the dark juicy whole blackberries hidden inside the cake.

Lemon and blackberry cake

To make this lemon and blackberry cake:

For the sponge:

200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
4 large eggs
200g self raising flour
zest of 2 lemons (unwaxed)
splash of milk
100ml lemon juice
100g caster sugar

Flowers

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat together until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each one. Add the flour and fold into the mix with a spatula or metal spoon. Fold in the lemon zest and 1 tbsp milk. Spoon the batter into 3 greased and lined 6 inch cake tins, dividing the mixture equally. Bake in a preheated oven at 175C for 15 to 20 minutes. Once baked leave in the tins to cool for 10 minutes before turning out to cool on wire racks. Meanwhile heat the lemon juice and sugar in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. Pierce the cakes with a skewer several times and brush the syrup over the cake, infusing it with the lovely lemon flavour. Leave to cool completely before icing.

Cake layer

For the icing: (the use of lemon curd is inspired by Peggy Porschen’s Lemon Limoncello Cake and it works so well):

250g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
100g lemon curd

Fresh blackberries
White ready to roll icing to make the daisies.

To make the icing put the butter (at room temp) and icing sugar in a bowl and beat well. Add the lemon curd and mix until well combined.

Layers

 

Use the icing to sandwich the layers of cake together, adding the whole blackberries in between the layers too. Use the remaining icing to cover the cake, giving it nice straight sides and finishing the top with a swirl.

The cake

 

You can use any remaining blackberries around the outside of the cake and use some fondant icing to make some daisies to finish off the top of the cake. Then you can enjoy!

slice

 

Lottie xx

And for those of you that don’t know I am very excited that I have a recipe published in the Macmillan CancerLittle Book of Treats‘. You can buy it for £4 in Marks and Spencer Cafes and support a fantastic cause, it is a lovely book with lots and lots of delicious recipes inside. You could also host a Macmillan Coffee morning, for more information visit the website.

I have linked this recipe up to the Four Seasons Food Challenge due to the autumnal blackberries in this cake. This is hosted by Delicieux and Eat Your Veg.

fsf-autumn