Tag Archives: almond

Butternut Squash, Almond and Apricot Cake

I’m a big fan of vegetable cakes and nothing beats a good carrot cake on a Sunday afternoon. I have ventured into the world of vegetable cakes a few times, with these sweet potato scones, this lemon and mashed potato cake and I actually had my chocolate and beetroot cake recipe published in the Macmillan Recipe Book that was sold in Marks and Spencer Cafes. Recently my love of vegetables in cakes has been reignited by the absolute beauty of a book that is Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache. The book is full of absolutely gorgeous look and sounding cakes, made with everything from butternut squash to swede to aubergine. You wouldn’t believe the cakes you can make from vegetables. The good news is they are actually healthier too, often the vegetable is used to replace the butter or oil in a cake, healthier baking! Perfect!

This is a recipe from the book, it is a sunken apricot and almond cake made with butternut squash and it really is truly delicious. Grating the butternut squash is a bit laborious and tedious but you soon forget about that when you take a beautiful looking cake out of the oven. If you are thinking of treating yourself to a new recipe book, then may I recommend this book.

Apricot and almond cake

 

To make this cake you will need:

3 eggs
180g caster sugar
200g butternut squash (peeled and finely grated)
1tsp almond extract
60g rice flour
200g ground almonds
2tsp mixed spice
2tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
240 g tinned apricot halves

Butternut squash

 

Preheat the oven to 180C to start and then grease and line a large tart tin or cake tin. Alternatively you could make individual cakes with mini tart tins. If you are greasing a fluted tin make sure you throughly grease the flutes.

Whisk together the eggs and sugar until fluffy and then stir in the butternut squash and almond extract. Next add the flour, ground almonds, mixed spice, baking powder and salt and stir well. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and place the apricot halves onto the cake mixture. Bake the cake for approx 45 minutes.

After baking leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and dusting with icing sugar.

apricot cake

 

Slice of cake

 

Happy Baking!

Lottie xx

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

 

Shortbread

Chocolate, Cherry and Almond Shortbread

Chocolate, Cherry and Almond Shortbread

I thought that after exams I would have tons of time to bake but I seem to have found a million and one other things to fill up my time with and I still have lots to tick off my list! I’m pretty happy right now, for those of you that don’t know, I recently found out I passed medical school and I am finally a doctor! It is finally time for me to join the real world and stop being an eternal student. To celebrate this and then end of a long 6 years at University my lovely sister sent me an absolutely huge bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, and to make it even better it was personalised too! I have included a picture of it at the end of this post. This also means that everything I am baking at the moment involves Dairy Milk, this shortbread being one such example. This shortbread actually includes 3 of my favourite ingredients, hence why I created this recipe, if anyone else loves chocolate, can eat glacé cherries like sweets and loves anything almond flavoured, then this is the recipe for you!

Shortbread

 

To make this chocolate, cherry and almond shortbread you will need (this will make about 15 biscuits):

125g icing sugar
220g plain flour
125g cornflour
225g unsalted butter
100g milk chocolate
100g glace cherries
1tsp Almond Extract
Flaked almonds

Ingredients

 

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a large baking tray. Sift the icing sugar, flour and cornflour into a bowl. Add the cubed butter to this and use your fingers to mix it all together, creating something that looks like a crumble topping. Alternatively you can use a food processor for this. Break or cut the chocolate into small chunks and halve the glace cherries. Add the chocolate, cherries and almond extract to the shortbread mix and incorporate well. Now bring the mixture into a dough, it will be crumbly but will come together. Wet your fingers to help you do this if you need to. Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently to bring it together. Carefully roll out the do to about 5mm thickness and use a round cutter to cut out discs of shortbread.

Dough

Place these onto the greased baking tray. The biscuits will spread slightly as they cook so make sure there is space in between each of the discs. Sprinkle the biscuits with the flaked almonds. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, keep an eye on them and take them out as soon as they start to turn golden brown. Leave them on the baking tray to cool and firm up. Sprinkle the biscuits with caster sugar before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Then you can enjoy!

Biscuits

 

Lottie xx

And here is the amazing bar of chocolate I was talking about!

Dr Verrill chocolate

 

Edit:

I have entered these into November’s We Should Cocoa Challenge – the theme is cookies!

This is hosted by BakeNQuilt and Chocolate Log Blog.

we should cocoa

Almond Breeze Challenge

Dairy Free Cherry and Almond Banana Breakfast Bread with Cherry Jam – Almond Breeze

Cherry and Almond Breakfast Bread made with Almond Breeze’s Almond Milk

Almond Breeze at Blue Diamond Almonds has given 30 food bloggers  through Foodies100 the challenge of creating a breakfast recipe using their almond milk and I was recently sent a carton of unsweetened Almond Breeze to see what I could come up with. I have never tried almond milk before and wasn’t sure what to expect, I am however a huge fan of almonds, so this sounded like something that I would like!  The unsweetened almond milk is very low calorie and has no added sugars, it is a great alternative to soya or dairy milk and is a good source of calcium. I also found that it is really easy to use in baking as a replacement for cow’s milk. It worked really well. With the chance to win a Gourmet Hotel Stay this competition was something I didn’t want to miss!

I remember going out for breakfast once and ordering coconut banana bread with lime marmalade. It was delicious and made me realise just how good banana bread is for breakfast, because of this I decided to come up with a banana bread recipe using Almond Breeze. As I would use Almond Breeze as a milk substitute I decided to make the banana bread completely dairy free and used a dairy free spread as a replacement for butter too. I also used wholemeal flour in the loaf to make it more of a breakfast bread rather than a cake.

My favourite flavour to pair with almonds is cherry. I think cherry and almond just go beautifully together, I used the combination for my Jubilee cake that I made recently. Cherry and almond is definitely up there with chocolate and orange! So when I hear the word almond, I automatically think of cherries and that is how this banana bread came to be a cherry and almond banana loaf, I used ground almonds to enhance the almond flavour. To finish it off I made a quick cherry jam for those who like a bit of sweetness at breakfast time!

You all know how much I love my 1M Nozzle for creating lovely swirls on my cupcakes. Well now I can honestly say I love it even more having come across an ingenious way of using the 1M nozzle to pit cherries! Let me tell you that it is fantastic! And you do need to stone quite a few cherries to make this. I didn’t realise how much I could love a nozzle.

So, to make this Dairy Free Cherry and Almond Banana Bread using Almond Breeze:

You will need:

160g plain flour
80g wholemeal flour
40g ground almonds
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp baking powder
100g dairy free spread (I used a dairy free olive spread)
120g caster sugar
2 eggs
3 bananas
150ml Almond Breeze unsweetened Almond Milk
120g stoned cherries (quartered)
flaked almonds to finish

Start by creaming together the spread and the sugar and then add the eggs one at a time. Mash the bananas and add to the mix along with the Almond Breeze almond milk. Mix will. Add the flours, ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cherries to the mixture and combine everything together. To prevent the cherries from sinking coat them in flour before adding them to the mix.

Pour the mixture into a greased and lined loaf tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about an hour. Half way through cooking sprinkle some flaked almonds on the top of the loaf. The cake is done when a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly (although this loaf is very nice served warm!)

To make the quick cherry jam:

200g stoned whole cherries
juice of half a lemon
50ml water
100g caster sugar

Put the cherries in a pan with the lemon and water and let it bubble away for about 10 minutes. Add the sugar, stir and continue to let the cherries simmer until the mixture starts to reduce. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

 

Serve the warm loaf sliced with cherry jam. Enjoy your rather yummy breakfast!

 

Thanks to Almond Breeze for sending me the almond milk for this recipe, I am very pleased I have now discovered almond milk!

Lottie xx

Please leave a comment below, I appreciate every comment left. If you use twitter then follow me @lotts_louise!

 

Jubilee_cake

Diamond Jubilee Celebration Cake – Iced Cherry and Almond Cake

From the moment I step out of my front door at the moment I am greeted with a world excited for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. There are Union Jacks EVERYWHERE! The church next door has union jack bunting draped over the front, I step off the train at Victoria Station which is now decorated with hundreds of union jack flags and today walking down Oxford Street I looked up to see the Union Jack Street decorations. Everyone everywhere in London is getting ready to celebrate, and quite rightly so, it looks like it is set to be a fantastic celebration. I for one am very much looking forward to this extra long weekend and will be taking a trip to Epsom Derby on Saturday and enjoying a street party on Monday. This weekend just gone I decided to get into the spirit of getting ready for the Diamond Jubilee and created a cake to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee! What better way to celebrate than with a celebration cake!

I decided to make a cake with a Royal theme and also with a connection to the Union Jack by using red, white and blue. I opted for a cherry cake because I thought that the cherries could represent jewels. I paired this with almond to make a cherry and almond because the flavours go so well together. This cake was filled with almond buttercream and cherry jam before being sandwiched together and iced with fondant icing and buttercream swirls.

Here is how to make my Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Cake:
For the cake:
8oz butter or margarine
8oz golden caster sugar
4 eggs
2 tbsp milk
8oz self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder2 oz ground almonds
1/2 tsp almond extract
200g glace cherries.

Cream together the butter and the sugar until well mixed. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after adding each one. Add the milk and almond extract and mix. Fold in the flour, baking powder and ground almonds until everything is well combined. Wash the cherries under running water to get rid of the syrup, dry them and cut them into quarters. Roll them in a bit of flour and then fold them into the cake batter. Pour the cake batter into a greased and lined 20cm cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes at 180C.

 For the almond butter icing: (filling and covering)

200g unsalted butter
300g icing sugar (seived)
1tbsp milk
1/2 tsp almond extract

Decorating and filling:
1/2 jar cherry jam
Ready to roll icing
Gold lustre food spray – I used Dr Oetker Gold Shimmer Spray
Butter icing (use recipe above, minus almond extract)
Food colouring – red and blue – I used Wilton Colour Pastes in Red and Blue

Once the cake is out of the oven leave to cool completely. Once cool use a sharp knife to divide the cake into two layers. Spread cherry jam on one half of the cake and almond buttercream on the other half. Sandwich the two halves together and use a palette knife to cover the cake in a thin layer of the almond buttercream.

Roll out the fondant icing until it is big enough to cover the top of the cake. Place on the cake and trim the edges. Use a stencil to spray the symbol onto the top of the cake, and then lightly spray the whole cake to give it a gold dusting. I had to enlist the help of my brother and sister because I needed several hands to hold down all the edges of the stencil while I sprayed!

 Now pipe the buttercream swirls on the outside of the cake. To get the red, white and blue swirls paint stripes of blue and red food colouring on the inside of the piping bag. Fill a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M nozzle and pipe swirls around the outside of the cake, starting from the inside of the swirl and moving outwards.

 

Put in the fridge to set the butter icing.
Serve at a Jubilee Street Party and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Lottie xx Please leave a comment below and if you have twitter then follow me @lotts_louise for updates on my blog!

I have entered this cake into the Homemade by Fleur, Blogging Jubilee Baking Competition sponsored by Appliances Online.

 

Gluten_free_lemon_and_poppy_seed_cake

Gluten Free Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake for Coeliac UK Awareness Week

This week (14th-20th May) has been Coeliac UK Awareness Week. Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune disease where gluten triggers an immune reaction and damages the small intestine. This means that people suffering from coeliac disease have to avoid foods containing gluten, these include wheat, barley and rye. The theme for the Coeliac UK Awareness Week is The Gluten-free Challenge. I don’t do much gluten free baking, and use wheat flour in pretty much all the cakes I bake, so this is something new for me. I found a recipe on BBC Good Food for this gluten free lemon drizzle cake. I was very surprised to see that the key ingredient to the cake is 250g MASHED POTATO! I have used vegetables in cakes before, obviously carrot is very popular in cake and courgette and beetroot are becoming increasingly popular cake ingredients (you can find my recipe for chocolate beetroot cake here). However I have never heard of using mashed potato so although slightly sceptical I thought I would give it a go! I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised with the results, it created a lovely and moist lemon cake and it doesn’t taste of potato!

 

Recipe (based on BBC Good Good Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Cake):

200g butter or margarine
200g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
175g ground almonds
250g mashed potato
zest of 3 lemons
2tsp gluten free baking powder
15g poppy seeds

Drizzle:
4tbsp granulated sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Icing:
150g icing sugar
4tbsp lemon juice

Beat the butter and sugar together and then beat in the eggs one at a time. Fold the almonds, mashed potato, zest, poppy seeds and baking powder into the mixture.  Incorparate well. The mashed potato needs to be lump free, so mash it well!

The secret ingredient:

 

Pour the mixture into a greased tin and bake at 180C for approx 45 minutes until the cake is golden. Make the drizzle while the cake is baking. In a pan heat up the sugar and lemon until the sugar has dissolved. Once the cake is out of the oven prick the surface and pour half of the syrup over the cake. Let it sink in and leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack, pierce the top and drizzle with the remaining syrup. Allow to cool completely.

 

To make the icing mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice, varying the quantities based on how thick or thin you want the icing to be. Once the cake is completely cool drizzle the icing over the cake. It is now ready to serve, you will be surprised how well the mashed potato works!

 

 

Enjoy!

Lottie xx

I am entering this into the One Ingredient May Challenge hosted by How to Cook Good Food and Working London Mummy. The theme this month is Lemon.

 

orange_macarons

Chocolate Orange Macarons

We have been busy this week creating a ‘balcony garden’. Although our flat may lack a garden we do have a lovely little balcony which we have decided to turn into a mini garden. We have planted a mini herb garden, some tomato plants, broad beans, a strawberry plant and some sunflowers. Fingers crossed they all grow well despite the absolutely torrential rain. I have to admit I do get quite excited about growing fruit and vegetables. Last year it was chillies, tomatoes, courgettes and spring onions, I hope we do just as well this year! But anyway, back to baking, today is another Macaron post following my recent blog for my Cappuccino Macaron success. You can read that blog post here. I have to admit I am rather fond of Macarons since my first success in making them, although until this year I hadn’t actually tried one before! I think my new found love of macarons deserves a trip to Paris to try the very best…. maybe! This time we have chocolate orange macarons, these are one of my favourites of the flavours I have tried so far, chocolate and orange are just the perfect partners (great in cupcakes too)!

You will need:

175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
3 large egg whites (approx 110g)
75g caster sugar

Follow all the steps on this page for making Cappuccino Macarons, the basic macaron recipe is the same it comes from Delicious Magazine and works well!

The only difference is before you mix the dry ingredients with the whisked egg whites, fold in 1tsp orange extract and orange food colouring. I used Tangerine Sugarflair Paste, remember a little goes a long way!

To make the chocolate ganache filling:

200ml double cream
200g dark chocolate
1tsp orange extract

Heat the cream gently in a saucepan until almost boiling. Take off the heat and break the chocolate into the cream. Stir until the chocolate is melted and you have a lovely glossy chocolate ganache. Leave it to cool (in the fridge if you want to speed things up) until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

I decorated my macarons simply using some orange food colouring paste with a little water, brushed over the surface of the macarons.

Spoon the ganache into a piping bag, snip of the end and pipe onto half of the macarons. Then sandwich with the other halves.

Have a go!

Lottie xx (follow me on twitter @lotts_louise to keep up to date with my blog!)

This is entered into We Should Cocoa hosted by Laura at  How to Cook Good Food, Choclette Chocolate Log Blog and Chele at The Chocolate Teapot. The theme this month is Almond!

Osterzopf

Easter Bread Baking: Osterzopf and Hot Cross Buns

Just one more post for my Easter related baking! I went back to my parent’s house over Easter and completely took over the kitchen with my bread and Easter egg making! I’m sure my Mum is glad to have her kitchen back now and I am back to my minature one. My Dad is a bit of a fan of the bread maker but I decided to do it properly. I made a giant Osterzopf loaf and plenty of Hot Cross Buns. Osterzopf is a German Easter bread, a bit like brioche with a subtle hint of lemon, lovely toasted and buttered! The recipe is below. For the Hot Cross Buns I used Mary Berry’s recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.

For the Osterzopf you will need:

500g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
50g sugar
250 ml milk
7g dried yeast
75g butter
1 egg (beaten)
1 lemon, zest only
1 tbsp milk
1 egg
sugar to finish
Flaked almonds.
Honey to drizzle.
You can also add raisins if you fancy.

Start by mixing the flour, dried yeast, salt and sugar together. Heat the milk gently in a saucepan until warm, not hot. Add the butter to the milk and stir until melted. Pour this into the flour mixture and mix well. Add the beaten egg and lemon zest and mix to form a dough. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film or a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place (I use the airing cupboard) for 30 minutes to an hour.

Turn out onto a floured surface again and knead. Divide the dough into 3 equal size pieces and roll each out into a sausage shape. Plait the sausages of dough together and use a bit of water to stick the ends together. Put the plait onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, cover again and leave to rise for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Beat the egg with the 1tbsp of milk and brush over the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with sugar and flaked almonds.

Bake for 45 mins to 1 hour until golden. When you take the loaf out of the oven drizzle with honey and serve. Enjoy!

 

 

And my Hot Cross Buns:

 

After my flurry of bread baking over Easter I am pretty keen to make some Sourdough, I saw them making it on River Cottage the other day, so watch this space and see how I get on. In other news, I spent this morning making a rose swirl birthday cake with some piping using my trusty Wilton 1M nozzle, blog post to follow soon!

I have been prompting for a musical version of Titanic this week that my boyfriend is in. It is an excellent show and I am very excited about watching it from the front instead of the side tonight! There are really only very few seats left but if you are near Epsom and are wondering what to do tonight then I recommend going to see ELOC perform Titanic at Epsom Playhouse! You will not be disappointed.

If you have enjoyed reading my blog then please leave a comment, I appreciate every comment left. And if you are on Twitter and haven’t done so already then add me on twitter @lotts_louise to keep up to date with my blog!

Love, Lottie xx

I have entered this bread into Alpha Bakes hosted by The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes. This month’s letter is B.