Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake

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Hello to all my lovely readers. How are you during these worrying and confined times? A coping mechanism that I use during chaotic, out of control times, is to do something soothing and familiar. And for me that’s baking. Whether it’s methodically following a recipe or developing a new one, being creative in the kitchen calms me. And there is the added bonus of a delicious bake at the end of the process! My Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake is the result of a personal craving for exactly this cake, light, buttery and packed full of plump vine fruits and cherries.

 

Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake

If I’m being completely honest I’m not a big fan of heavily spiced, rich fruit cake. For example Christmas cake. While I make it every year for my hubby and son who adore it, I will only have a tiny piece, primarily out of tradition and also to check the flavour. Yet a lighter, un-spiced fruit cake such as my Dundee Cake, is a completely different story. Pass me a slice, a cup of tea and I’m one happy girlie. And that light, fruit packed, buttery cake is exactly the inspiration behind my Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake.

 

Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake

A Spoonful Of Sugar

So, what makes this fruit cake extra special is the crunchy sugar topping. Added as a last minute idea, one teaspoon of Demerara sugar sprinkled onto the cake before it is baked takes this cake to another level. The crunchy texture adds an unexpected contrast to the soft, yielding cake without adding excess sweetness. You may of course leave it off, but I’d encourage you to try it once!

 

Uncut mixed fruit loaf cake.
Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake

Finally, a quick note about making this cake. After baking and cooling wrap the cake, still in its tin, in cling film. The cake firms up and pulls together overnight and, in my opinion, improves in flavour. Although this process isn’t necessary, if you have the time I highly recommend it.

 

Recipe: Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake serves 8-10

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature 

225g/8oz Caster Sugar – can be substituted with granulated sugar

1/4 tsp Salt – I use Maldon

1 tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen Massey

4 Large Free Range Eggs

275g/9.5oz Self Raising Flour – alternatively use the same weight of plain flour and add 1 teaspoon of baking powder

Zest of 1 Lemon

100g/4oz Glacé Cherries – halved

200g/7oz Mixed Vine Fruits – sultanas, raisins and currants – I use Waitrose  Luxury Vine Fruits. Alternatively use 300g mix of whatever dried fruits you prefer.

1 tsp Demerara Sugar 

Making The Fruit Cake Batter:

Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan, gas mark 3, 325F.

  • First of all, butter and line the base with baking parchment of a 2lb loaf tin – 24.5cm x 14.5cm x 7cm (10in x 6in x 3in).
  • Into a large bowl add the sugar, butter, salt and vanilla extract.
  • Whisk or beat the ingredients together until pale and creamy.
  • Add the eggs to the bowl and mix together until combined.
  • Sieve the flour into the bowl.
  • Add the dried fruit to the bowl and then add the lemon zest.
  • Use your hands to lightly toss the fruit in flour, this helps ensure even distribution of fruit through the cake.
  • Using a large spoon fold the fruit into the batter, taking care not to over mix.

 

Four images showing the process of making a fruit cake batter.

  • Spoon the cake batter into the loaf tin and smooth the top.
  • Sprinkle one teaspoon of Demerara sugar over the top of the uncooked cake.

Baking The Cake:

  • Place the cake into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 1 hour 25 minutes.
  • Since all ovens vary baking times may be 10-15 minutes either side of this time.
  • The cake is baked when an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove from the oven and place the tin on a cooling rack.
  • Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.

Before and after images showing a sprinkling of Demerara sugar baking to create a crunchy crust on the top of a cake.

  • When the cake is completely cooled run a palette knife around it’s outside edge and turn out of the tin.
  • Remove the baking parchment from the base, place the cake on a plate or board and it is ready to serve.
Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake

Don’t you want to reach through the screen a grab a slice right now?

Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake

Slice the cake and serve with a cup of tea. A quintessential way to enjoy afternoon tea, preferably with friends and family.

Keep this cake in an airtight container and eat within 4 days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake you may also like these:

Amaretto Light Fruit Cake 

Amaretto Light Fruit Cake
Amaretto Light Fruit Cake

Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake 

Iced Cherry Coconut Fruit Cake
Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake

Raspberry White Chocolate Loaf Cake

Raspberry White Chocolate Loaf Cake
Raspberry White Chocolate Loaf Cake

Because of their easy to slice and easy package shape I enjoy making loaf cakes to take to other peoples houses. Since that is not possible at present they’re also great cakes to take on picnics. Especially cakes that don’t have a sticky, wasp attracting icing, such as this Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake. Likewise, each slice can be cut into fingers, ideal for little hands to hold and munch on. Also, they are a delicious addition to packed lunches, for when normality returns!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie x

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

Mixed fruit loaf cake with descriptive graphics.

 

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Feta Sun Dried Tomato Soda Bread

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Hey lovely peeps, how are you holding up? Since we are now in the ?th week of lockdown, I’ve lost count. Actually, for the first time since coronavirus altered our entire lives, I actually mixed up my days last week! Crazy times we are living in. So, because I really want to help all my beautiful readers, I have been getting busy in the kitchen. And I have a fantastic, yeast free, bread recipe to share with you today. Say hello to my Feta Sun Dried Tomato Soda Bread.

Uncut feta and sun dried tomato bread topped with sesame seeds.
Feta Sun Dried Tomato Soda Bread

Doesn’t it look good? And it’s super easy to make and bake. I really am trying to make life easier for us all, one recipe at a time. So, if you can’t get hold of yeast, or want to make this bread because it tastes so good, let me show you how!

Feta Sun Dried Tomato Soda Bread

Mediterranean Flavours

The combination of salty, feta cheese chunks and nuggets of savoury, sun dried tomatoes in this bread are like a burst of summer. One bite of this bread and you can easily be transported to a quiet beach, beside the Mediterranean Sea, with the warm summer sun beaming down on your face. Yes, it really is that good, especially if you add fresh olives and a glass of cool, crisp wine! Either eat it sliced and slathered with butter, or create a little pick and mix selection platter as I have. Most importantly, have fun creating a feast from a simple loaf of bread.

Summer lunch platter with bread, olives, red grapes, celery and a selection of cooked meats.

If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you’ll know how much I love baking bread. Usually it is yeasted bread, but not today. Since this soda bread relies on baking soda reacting with the acidic buttermilk, causing the bread to rise during baking. Resulting in a crunchy crust and the tenderest crumb. As soon as you’ve baked this bread I guarantee you’ll want to make it again.

Recipe: Feta Sun Dried Tomato Bread

350g/12oz Plain White Flour

1tsp Baking Soda – also known as Sodium Bicarbonate. and Bicarbonate of Soda

275ml Buttermilk or whole/semi-skimmed milk with 1tbsp lemon juice added and leave for 5 minutes

100g/4oz Feta Cheese – alternatively use any similar crumbly cheese such as Cheshire cheese, or Superior Goat Cheese available from Ribblesdale Cheese

75g/3oz Sun Dried Tomatoes 

3 tbsp Sesame Seeds – optional

5 g Salt – I use Maldon

1/4 tsp Black Pepper – coarsely ground  

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6, 400F.

Making The Feta Sun Dried Tomato Soda Bread Dough

  • First of all prepare the milk with lemon juice if not using buttermilk.
  • Use a fork to break the feta cheese into chunks.
  • Snip the sun dried tomatoes into 1cm (1/4in) pieces,
  • Sift the flour and baking soda into a large bowl. And then add the salt and sesame seeds.
  • Add the feta to the flour mixture and toss around using your hands, this stops the cheese from clumping together.
  • Next, add the tomato pieces and toss around in the flour as before.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry mix and pour in most of your buttermilk (or substitute).
  • Use a butter knife to stir the ingredients, gradually bringing them together. If the mixture seems a little dry add the rest of the buttermilk. See the picture below, as the dough is quite wet and sticky.
  • Dust your hand with flour and bring the dough together to form a ball.

 

Four steps to making feta sun dried tomato soda bread dough.
Making the bread dough.

Shaping, Cutting And Baking The Bread

  • Place the ball of dough onto a floured baking tray.
  • Sprinkle over sesame seeds. Because the dough is quite tacky they should easily stick.
  • Carefully flour a sharp knife and cut a cross into the dough. Cut right rough the dough almost to the base. While baking this allows the bread to rise and open up, ensuring the centre bakes through.

Shaping and cutting a cross through the dough.

  • Place the baking tray into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  • The bread is baked when it is golden brown across the whole loaf and sounds hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckle.
  • As soon as the bread is baked remove from the oven.
Freshly baked feta sun dried tomato soda bread.
Feta Sun Dried Tomato Soda Bread freshly baked.

Cooling The Bread

  • Remove the bread from the tray and place on a cooling rack.
  • Leave to cool completely before cutting.

Easy Bread Making

As soon as the bread is cool it can be sliced. I find using a serrated bread knife the best tool for cutting through this bread.


Serve this bread with olives, cheese and cooked meats. Alternatively, it makes a delicious accompaniment to soup, especially my Hearty Minestrone Soup.

Soda bread is always best eaten the day it is made.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Feta Sun Dried Tomato Soda Bread you may also like to try these:

Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread
Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia

Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia

Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones

Cheddar sun dried tomato scones
Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones.

Since lockdown began I am so grateful to have a garden. More so when the weather is fine and I can sit outside with a cup of tea listening to the birds singing. Because I love picnics, I am fortunate to eat my lunch outside, sitting on a blanket on the lawn. And I know I am blessed, as there are many who are confined to flats and apartments, only allowed out for exercise and essential shopping. So, it is with hope, that when this time of lockdown and social distancing is passed, I look forward to many of us enjoying picnics in the future. Whether at the beach, the local park or simply joining with familIes in a field, we will be together again, sharing, feasting and having fun.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy

Olives Direct sent me some a selection of olives and sun dried tomatoes to try. I used the marinated sun dried tomatoes in this recipe.

Sliced feta sun dried tomato soda bread on a white plate with descriptive graphics.

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Raspberry White Chocolate Loaf Cake

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Hello lovely readers, welcome to my blog, where each recipe I create is a feast and we have fun while cooking and baking. And today’s recipe is most definitely a feast, both for the eyes and tastebuds. Welcome to my Raspberry White Chocolate Loaf Cake. A vanilla flavoured cake, studded with ruby red raspberries and topped with a white chocolate drizzle. Finally, fresh and freeze dried raspberries are sprinkled on top, creating a delicious, dessert cake.

Fresh berry and vanilla sponge.
Raspberry White Chocolate Loaf Cake

Since I first thought up the idea for this cake I have wanted to bake it and share it with you. White chocolate and raspberries are a classic, flavour combination. While the vanilla flavoured chocolate melts into and flavours the cake, bursts of semi-tart, jammy raspberries create a flavour explosion in your mouth. And I get super excited every time those words “flavour explosion” are written in a sentence. Because, it means something must taste sensational. And this cake does!

Overhead image of a fresh berry sponge, decorated with raspberries.
Raspberry White Chocolate Loaf Cake

Lockdown Ingredients

Since we are currently in lockdown, here in the U.K. due to the Coronavirus, creating new recipes requires a whole new approach. As well as coming up with new recipe ideas, other things have to also be considered now. Currently, the most important aspect is ingredient availability. And even then, that can vary from region to region. So, with this recipe I have kept to ingredients that are generally either store cupboard staples, or are fairly easy to get hold of.

Sliced raspberry and white chocolate loaf cake.

I always have a stash of berries in the freezer and a quick scout round supermarket websites showed good availability. Using frozen raspberries in this recipe may result in a longer bake time, however, they are much easier to mix into the cake batter without breaking up. And, although white chocolate is added to the batter, it melts into the cake while baking, enhancing the vanilla flavour. So don’t expect to find chunks of it in the finished cake!

Recipe: Raspberry White Chocolate Loaf Cake serves 8-10

For the cake:

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – at room temperature.

225g/8oz Caster Sugar – regular sugar can be used see *note regarding mixing

1/4 tsp Salt – I use Maldon

2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – alternatively use vanilla bean extract

4 Large Free Range Eggs

275g/9.5oz Plain Flour – if using self raising flour leave out the additional baking powder

1 tsp Baking Powder

150g/5oz Frozen Raspberries – fresh raspberries can be used see ** note during baking times

100g/4oz White Chocolate cut into small chunks

For decorating the cake:

100g/4oz White Chocolate – cut into small chunks

2 tbsp Freeze Dried Raspberries – also known as GRIT available from Craic

also available from Waitrose – alternatively use some red or pink edible cake sprinkles

100g/4oz Fresh Raspberries

Making The Raspberry White Chocolate Cake Batter

Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3, 325F.

  • First of all, butter and line the base with baking parchment of a 2lb loaf tin – 24.5cm x 14.5cm x 7cm (10in x 6in x 3in).
  • Into a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt.
  • Whisk or beat until the mixture is pale and creamy. *If using regular sugar whisk the mixture for longer to obtain the same creamy consistency.
  • Crack each of the four eggs into a jug and lightly beat with a fork to mix them. Pour the eggs into the bowl with the butter mixture.
  • Add the vanilla bean paste.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into the same bowl.
  • Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth. Take care not to over mix, as this can cause the cake to become heavy.
  • Add the raspberries and chopped white chocolate into the bowl and fold into the cake batter. The cake batter will firm up due to the frozen raspberries, don’t worry!

The making of a fresh berry sponge batter.

  • Spoon the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin, pressing down with the spoon to ensure there are no air gaps, due to the colder, thicker, cake batter. Smooth the top of the cake using the back of a spoon.

Baking The Cake

  • Place the cake into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 1 hour 30-45 minutes.
  • The cake is baked when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. My cake took 1 hour 40 minutes to fully bake, initially I tested at 1 hour 30 minutes. Due to the variability of ovens and in this recipe, size of the frozen fruit and also size of loaf tin used to bake the cake, it seemed more appropriate to give a range, rather than specific bake time. **Also, if using fresh raspberries the baking time will be reduced to approximately 1 hour.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove from the oven and place the tin on a cooling rack.
  • Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
  • As soon as the cake is cooled it can be turned out of the tin. Run a palette knife between the cake and tin. Turn out the cake and carefully remove the baking parchment.

The raspberry white chocolate loaf cake before and after baking.
Decorating The Raspberry White Chocolate Loaf Cake

  • Place the cooled cake on to the plate or board used for serving.
  • Put the chopped white chocolate into a heatproof, microwaveable bowl. Zap on medium power for 20 second intervals, stirring between. As soon as the chocolate starts to melt continue stirring until fully liquid.
  • Either use a spoon or small piping bag to drizzle the melted chocolate over the cake.
  • While the chocolate is still unset sprinkle over the freeze dried raspberries.
  • Gently press fresh raspberries on to the chocolate, which acts as an edible glue and will hold them in place on top of the cake.
  • Finally, scatter fresh and freeze dried raspberries around the cake.
  • Place the cake somewhere cool to set. In warmer weather refrigerate.

 

The ultimate dessert cake!

Fresh and freeze dried raspberries decorate this raspberry white chocolate loaf cake

As soon as the chocolate is set the cake is ready to serve.

However you serve this cake, with morning coffee, afternoon tea, after dinner as dessert, remember to share it. Because, it really is too good to keep to yourself and why miss an opportunity to make your family and neighbours smile!

Store in an airtight container in the fridge and eat within three days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Raspberry White Chocolate Loaf Cake you may also like these:

Raspberry Drizzle Loaf Cake

Raspberry Drizzle Loaf Cake
Raspberry Drizzle Loaf Cake

Rich Raspberry Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Rich Raspberry Chocolate Fudge Brownies
Rich Raspberry Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake

Iced cherry coconut loaf cake.
Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake

So far, my experience of lockdown isn’t very different to my usual daily life. Because of chronic health conditions I rarely leave our house (see here). I do, however, have wonderful relationships with our neighbours. And seeing the smile on our next door neighbour’s face as I stood two metres away and watched her pick up the cake I’d left in her porch, lit me up inside. I always feel that sharing is a completely selfish activity, because the giver gets far more out of it than the receiver.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie x

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

Raspberry White Chocolate Loaf Cake
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Mini Egg Marbled Traybake

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Easter is nearly here and yet this year some things feel very different. Usually the shop windows are decked out with flowers, bunnies and beautiful springtime scenes, but not this year. Taking time to carefully choose Easter eggs for our friends and loved ones isn’t an option. Because we are all at home due to the Coronavirus. Yet at the time of writing, we are in lockdown, only allowed out for essential food shopping, exercise and medical appointments. The world as we know it has been paused and it can feel overwhelming and scary. So for me, doing things that are relaxing and routine really helps. For example making and baking this Mini Egg Marbled Traybake not only calmed me, it was very much appreciated by my family here at home too.

Easter chocolate and vanilla marbled traybake cake, topped with Cadbury’s mini eggs.
Mini Egg Marbled Traybake

Easter Baking Inspiration

Because certain ingredients are not easy to get hold of at this time I have added a few notes to the recipe to allow for this. While I topped this chocolate and vanilla marble cake with Cadbury’s mini chocolate eggs (with the addition of a few tiny Sainsbury’s eggs that I had), you can use whatever eggs you like, or can get. Since the beauty and fun of home baking is that you can make it your own. You could create an image of an Easter chick or bunny using mini eggs? Since the possibilities are only limited by your imagination and skill!

 

Easter themed easy cake bake.
Mini Egg Marbled Traybake

I love seeing the range of different Easter bakes that people make. While looking on Pinterest for inspiration, the beautiful pastel colours of Cadbury’s mini eggs always catch my eye. And it certainly helps that they taste so yummy too. I have used them here on my Chocolate Mini Egg Sponge Cake, a delicious Easter dessert centrepiece.

Mini Egg Marbled Traybake

While this Easter traybake is cut into 12 large squares it can easily be portioned into small pieces. Because the cake is chocolate and vanilla marbled together, this bake is not overly sweet or heavy.

Mini Egg Marbled Traybake – makes 12 large cake squares

For the cake:

275g/9oz Unsalted Butter

275g/9oz Caster Sugar

1/4 tsp Salt – I use Maldon 

2 tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

5 Large Free Range Eggs (if you only have medium sized eggs that’s fine, simply add an extra tablespoon of milk) 

350g/12oz Plain White Flour (if using self raising flour leave out the baking powder)

2 tsp Baking Powder

2 tbsp Milk (whole or semi-skimmed are fine)

25g/1oz Cocoa Powder

For decorating the cake:

150ml/5fl oz Double Cream (heavy cream) – optional see note in decorating.

150g/5oz Milk Chocolate roughly chopped – use good quality chocolate with a minimum cocoa content of 30%

75g/3oz White Chocolate roughly chopped

Large Family Bag – approximately 300g/10oz Cadbury’s Mini Eggs, alternatively use your own choice of chocolate mini eggs.

Making The Mini Egg Marbled Traybake Cake

Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan, gas mark 2, 300F.

  • First of all you will need a 22.5cm x 30cm (9in x 12in) deep baking tin lined with baking parchment.
  • Place the sugar, butter, salt and vanilla extract into a large bowl and whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Crack all of the eggs into a separate bowl with the milk and beat together lightly with a fork.
  • Pour the beaten eggs and milk onto the creamed sugar and butter.
  • Next, sift the flour and baking powder into the same bowl.
  • Whisk or beat all of the ingredients together until combined.
  • Remove approximately half of the cake batter into a separate bowl.
  • Add the cocoa powder to one bowl and mix thoroughly.

Making vanilla and chocolate cake batter.

  • You now have two cake batters to create the marbled traybake.

Two cake batters, chocolate and vanilla for creating a marble cake.

  • Using the picture below as a guide scoop the vanilla cake batter into the prepared tin in random dollops.
  • Next do the same with the chocolate cake batter, filling in the spaces.
  • Use a butter knife to swirl the two cake batters together, taking care to ensure the batter is even across the tray and reaches the edges.

Baking The Marbled Traybake Cake

  • Place the tin in the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • The cake is baked when it springs back from a light touch in the centre and near the sides.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove it from the oven.
  • Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes in the tin.
  • Carefully remove the cake from the tin and place on a cooling rack.
  • Leave to cool completely before decorating.

Creating a chocolate and vanilla marbled traybake cake.

  • Note – Making a chocolate ganache topping for the cake makes it easier to slice through. Alternatively, melt the milk chocolate and pour directly onto the cake. Also, when nearly set, score lines through the chocolate to portion the cake, this will make cutting it once set easier.

Icing The Marbled Traybake

  • First of all make the milk chocolate ganache. Place the chopped milk chocolate and cream into a bowl set over a saucepan with a small amount of simmering water in the bottom. Importantly, make sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir the chocolate and cream together until fully melted and combined. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and set aside to cool slightly.
  • Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl a zap in the microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until fully melted. Pour the melted chocolate into a small piping bag. Alternatively, you can use a teaspoon to drizzle the white chocolate onto the cake.
  • As soon as the cake is cooled it can be decorated. Pour the milk chocolate ganache onto the centre of the cake. Continue pouring evenly towards the edges until the top of the cake is covered.

Covering a cake with chocolate ganache.

  • Pipe or drizzle white chocolate lines onto the chocolate ganache before it sets. Use a skewer to marble both chocolates together.
  • Also, use a skewer to mark out the cake portions by drawing lines through the chocolate.

Decorating The Mini Egg Marbled Traybake

  • While the chocolate is still unset add the mini eggs in whatever pattern you choose.
  • Scoring the portions before adding the mini eggs really does make slicing the cake, once set, easier. Have you ever tried to cut through a chocolate mini egg?!
  • Place the decorated traybake into a fridge for at least an hour to fully set.
  • As soon as the chocolate is set remove the cake from the fridge.
  • Use a clean knife to slice through each scored line, wiping the knife with a clean, damp cloth in between each new cut. Now cut around the outside edge of the cake, separating any excess chocolate from the side of the traybake.

Decorating an Easter Cake with chocolate and mini eggs.

  • Finally, run a palette knife underneath each cake portion and the baking parchment.
Mini Egg Marbled Traybake Easter Cake
Mini Egg Marbled Traybake

Place the cake squares onto a platter and share with your lockdown family.

Mini Egg Marbled Traybake

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. For the best flavour and texture serve at room temperature.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Mini Egg Marbled Traybake you may also like these other Easter bakes:

Chocolate Biscuit Base Mini Egg Brownies 

Easter chocolate biscuit base mini egg brownies.
Chocolate Biscuit Base Mini Egg Brownies

 

Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake

Easter recipe golden egg chocolate sponge cake.
Galaxy Golden Egg Chocolate Sponge Cake


Vanilla Mini Egg Nest Cupcakes

Vanilla mini egg nest Easter cupcakes.
Vanilla Mini Egg Nest Cupcakes

The True Importance Of Easter

While I really enjoy baking and sharing my bakes with others, Easter is the most important celebration in my year. Because, as a Christian, this is the time of year that Jesus’ death and resurrection are remembered and celebrated. Usually, Easter Sunday is a special time of thanksgiving and worship at church. Yet this year we will be celebrating in our homes, joined together as a church through an online service. Each of us celebrating and remembering the most important gift of salvation that is free to us all through Jesus Christ. If you would like to know more please read Important Stuff.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie x

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Amaretto Light Fruit Cake

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So, is anybody else starting to get excited about Christmas yet? Especially as Stir up Sunday is this weekend. Stir Up Sunday has its roots in the Anglican Church Book of Common Prayer, being the last Sunday before the beginning of Advent. It reads: “Stir up, we beseech thee oh Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.” Since Victorian times home cooks have traditionally made Christmas pudding on this Sunday. Although, nowadays, the day itself is set aside to make Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pies. This Amaretto Light Fruit Cake is a lighter, modern twist on a traditional Christmas cake. Most importantly, it can be made up to a few days before Christmas!

 

Amaretto Light Fruit Cake.

Since not everyone is a fan of the traditional, iced, spiced, dried fruit Christmas cake, creating a lighter version is not only delicious but also fun! And, because I know how time strapped the lead up to Christmas can be, as well as making this cake from scratch I have also included a super easy hack using a widely available cake mix. I really have thought of everything, so that you can enjoy baking your cake.

Amaretto Light Fruit Cake – Not Just For Christmas 

Because this cake is so tasty, making it shouldn’t only mean for Christmas. I originally made this cake for our son’s birthday in October. Since he requested Christmas Cake for his birthday celebration I compromised and made this lighter version with the addition of almond liqueur. After posting a photo of his birthday cake on Instagram I received lots of requests for the recipe. Resulting in me trialling Wright’s Baking Madeira Cake Mix with the same mix of fruit and liqueur.

Cut amaretto light fruit cake on a cake plate with a slice of cake on a separate plate. A bottle of Disaronno liqueur and packet of cake mix.
Amaretto Light Fruit Cake using Wright’s Madeira cake mix.

Both cakes are an absolute delight. So, no matter which version of the cake you choose to make, they are both delicious. For those who would rather not add alcohol simply leave it out of the recipe. Using almond extract as an alternative, in my opinion, would totally change the cake’s flavour. And as so, is not something I would recommend.

Original birthday cake version of this amaretto light fruit cake.
Baked from scratch Amaretto Light Fruit Cake.

The cake’s texture is moist and light with the fruit evenly distributed throughout. Either serve with a hot cup of tea, or a glass of Amaretto. Since both compliment this cake equally well. Because this cake does contain alcohol make sure that those who are eating it are aware. Finally, adding extra liqueur to the cake will result in a very strong alcohol flavour which doesn’t evaporate during baking. I speak from experience!

Recipe: Amaretto Light Fruit Cake – serves 10-12

Cake Made From Scratch:

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Sea Salt – halve if using free flowing salt

4 Large Free Range Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey 

75g/3oz Ground Almonds

325g/11oz Self Raising Flour – alternately use the same quantity of plain flour and add 1tbsp baking powder

400g/14oz Mixed Dried Vine Fruits – I use a mix without citrus peel

200g/7oz Glacé Cherries

60ml or 4tbsp Amaretto Almond Liqueur

Using Wright’s Baking Madeira Cake Mix:

1 x Wright’s Baking Madeira Cake Mix

60ml Flavourless Vegetable Oil – I use sunflower oil

60ml or 4tbsp Amaretto Almond Liqueur

140ml Plain Tap Water

375g/13oz Dried Vine Fruits

200g/7oz Glacé Cherries

Method:

For both cakes use an 8in x 4in (20cm x 10cm) round cake tin that is thoroughly greased with butter and line the base with baking parchment. Note – cut out two circles of baking parchment per cake. One to line the base and the second to place on the top of the cake if it browns too quickly while baking.

Making And Baking The Cake From Scratch

  • First of all, preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3, 325F.
  • Place the butter, salt and sugar into a large bowl and whisk together until pale and creamy.
  • Next add one egg plus one tablespoon of flour and whisk together until just incorporated. Repeat this step three times until all four eggs have been added.
  • Now add the vanilla extract and amaretto and whisk to combine.
  • Sift the remaining flour (and baking powder) into the bowl and add the ground almonds. Stir together using a large metal spoon.
  • Finally add the dried vine fruit and glacé cherries.
Showing the stages followed to create the fruity batter.
Creating the fruit and amaretto cake batter.
  • Mix the dried fruits into the cake batter .
  • Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin, ensuring the top of the mixture is smooth.
  • Place the cake into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. If the cake starts browning too quickly place the spare circle of baking parchment on top of the cake.
  • The cake is baked when an inserted skewer comes out clean. If raw cake batter clings to the skewer return cake to oven for a further 15 minutes baking then check again.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
Steps showing the cake tin filled with fruity cake batter and after it is baked.
Filling the cake tin and baking the cake.

Using The Wright’s Baking Madeira Cake Mix

  • First of all preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3, 325F.
  • Into a large bowl add the oil, amaretto liqueur and water. Then add the cake mix from the packet.
  • Follow the packet instructions to mix the cake batter.
  • Add the dried vine fruits and glacé cherries and mix into the batter with a large metal spoon.
  • Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.
  • Place the cake into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. This is longer than the time given on the packet due to the addition of fruit.
  • If the cake starts browning too quickly place the spare circle of baking parchment on top of the cake.
  • The cake is baked when an inserted skewer comes out clean. If raw cake batter clings to the skewer return cake to oven for a further 15 minutes baking then check again.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.

Removing Either Cake From It’s Tin And Serving

  • As soon as the cake is cooled it can be released from the tin.
  • Run a palette knife between the outside edge of the cake and inside of the tin.
  • Turn the cake out carefully.
  • Remove the baking parchment circle from the cake base.
  • Place the cake onto a cake plate, cake stand, or board.
Lighter alternative to a traditional Christmas cake.
Amaretto Light Fruit Cake

 

Overhead image of sliced cake served with a glass of amaretto liqueur.
Amaretto Light Fruit Cake

Either cake will keep for up to a week when stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge. Alternatively, as this cake takes minimal preparation compared to a traditional Christmas cake, it can be made and baked the evening before it is needed. For example, on Christmas Eve!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Amaretto Light Fruit Cake you may also like these:

Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake

Dundee Fruit Cake on a white cake stand.
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake

 

Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake

Chocolate marble celebration cake filled with Maltesers
Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake

 

Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake

Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake
Mixed Fruit Loaf Cake

 

 

Christmas really is the time of year when we think of others. Whether family are coming to stay, friends popping by for a drink and nibbles, or others in society that do not have the home comforts we enjoy. Making an extra cake, mince pies, or cookies to give out may take little effort from us, yet mean the world to those they are gifted to. So, during Christmas, I challenge you, as I do myself, to actively give to those in need. Just as our Heavenly Father freely gave His only Son Jesus to the world that we may know Him. Emmanuel – God with us.

From our home to yours, wishing you a very Happy Christmas.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake

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Today I have a confession to make. Although our daughter’s birthday was way back in the Summer, I made her cake last week! Truthfully, I have made and baked her cake twice before (this year), however, I wasn’t able to frost or finish the cake due to health complications. Finally, with a little help from Wright’s Baking, I made and decorated this delicious Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake for her to enjoy and share with our family. See recipe for alternative to using cake mixes.

Baked swirled sponge covered in ganache and surround with edible pencils.
Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake

Every year, since her birthday is in the Summer, I usually make two cakes for our daughter’s birthday celebrations. First of all an ice cream cake, which is incredibly easy to make no matter where we are. So, when we spent her 16th birthday down on the farm with our beloved Devon family, I planned ahead and took a cake tin with me! Serving the ice cream cake in the evening, after a feast of a barbecue that afternoon, proved the perfect dessert to top off our birthday celebrations. And sharing it with friends and family who had travelled down to celebrate with us made the special day even more memorable.

Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake

Maltesers Topped Chocolate Marble Cake – A Birthday Cake Tradition

As well as the frozen birthday cake I always bake a chocolate marble cake such as this Marbled Chocolate Bundt Cake to celebrate our daughter’s birthday. Since it is her favourite cake and she always shares it with her friends and family. So, every year I try to come up with a new design or decoration. Having made a Raspberry Lemon Celebration Layer Cake I wanted to try a similar design using marbled chocolate pencils instead. Also, she loves Maltesers, so I wanted to incorporate them in the design.

Overhead photo of a special party bake, showing Maltesers mixed with star sprinkles.
Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake

My first two attempts at baking this cake from scratch were perfect, however, due to health limitations I never managed to make or ice the cake in time. And so that’s where the lovely Deb from Wright’s Baking really helped me out. Using both their Chocolate Fudge and Madeira Cake mixes to make the marble cake took way less time and energy than baking from scratch. Resulting in me having enough energy to make the chocolate fudge icing and decorate the cake on the following days.

Celebratory bake topped with Maltesers.
Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake using only Maltesers on top.

Our daughter thoroughly enjoyed her birthday cake, so a huge thank you to Wright’s Baking. Their cake mixes are available in most supermarkets and via their online shop.

Recipe: Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake serves 10-12

For the cakes: If you are unable to get hold of the cake mixes use this recipe Malted Marbled Chocolate Cake leaving out the powdered malted milk drink.

1 x Wright’s Baking Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix

1 x Wright’s Baking Madeira Cake Mix

2 x 200ml Tap Water

2 x 60ml Vegetable Oil (or melted butter for an extra luxurious bake!)

For the frosting: please note all quantities given can be rounded up or down to the next whole unit without it affecting the finished result.

250ml/8.4fl oz Double Cream (heavy cream)

250g/8.8oz Dark Chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa)

3 x Tubes Rolos (150.6g/5.3oz)

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

Pinch of Salt (1/4tsp)

For the decorations:

1 x Box Marbled Black and White Chocolate Pencils – available from Amazon 

or Chocolate Trading Company Note – you will have some chocolate pencils leftover.

Large Box of Maltesers 310g/11oz or equivalent weight in bags.

Optional – Star sprinkles and balls

Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas 3, 325F

Making The Cake Batter And Creating The Marble Swirl Effect

Note: When cutting out the baking parchment to line the cake tin base with double up and cut an extra circle. So it can be used during baking if the cake top browns too quickly.

  • First of all grease a 20cm/8in round tin with a depth of 10cm/4in. Line the base with baking parchment.
  • Make each cake mix up separately according to the packet instructions.
  • Use a large spoon to add 3 separate spoonfuls of chocolate fudge batter into the base of the cake tin.
  • Follow by adding 3 spoonfuls of madeira batter in between the chocolate.
  • Continue in this manner layering each spoonful of cake batter on top of the other flavour until all of the batter from both mixes is used.
  • Place the handle end of a big wooden spoon into the batter and swirl so that both batters become intermingled without being fully mixed into each other.

Making the batter and creating the swirl.

Baking, Cooling And Shaping The Marble Cake

  • Place the cake tin into a preheated oven, on a shelf slightly below the middle.
  • While baking, if the cake top is browning too quickly place the spare circle of baking parchment on top. I also had to crunch up 3 balls of foil to keep the parchment in place as the oven fan kept blowing it around!
  • Bake the cake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until an inserted skewer comes out clean. The wide variation of baking times is due to different ovens altering the speed at which a cake cooks. For example, if you know that your oven runs hot then consider lowering the baking temperature and baking for a slightly longer time.
  • As soon as the cake is baked remove it from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin.
  • Once the cake is cooled run a palette knife inside the rim of the cake tin and then turn the cake out.
  • Using a serrated knife cut carefully across the cake to level the top. Our daughter had some of the spare cake in a bowl with hot custard! Alternatively it can be used to make cake balls or as the sponge in a chocolate trifle!

Preparing the baked sponge for decorating.

Making The Very Best Chocolate Fudge Ganache Using Rolos

  • Place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan with an inch of simmering water in. Ensure that the base of the bowl DOES NOT touch the water.
  • Pour the cream into the bowl and add the chopped up, dark chocolate. Add the salt and vanilla extract.
  • Stir the cream, chocolate and other ingredients together until the chocolate is fully melted and glossy in appearance.
  • Add the Rolos to the chocolate ganache and continue to stir until they have completely melted and the mixture is glossy with no lumps.
  • Carefully remove the hot bowl from the saucepan and leave to one side to completely cool. I placed my bowl on a window ledge to speed up the cooling process.
  • Note – while warm the chocolate ganache can be poured. It makes a delicious topping for ice cream and also Profiteroles.
Showing each step to making the chocolate fudge ganache that will be used to cover the cake.
Creating the chocolate fudge ganache.

Covering The Cake With Chocolate Fudge Ganache

  • Place your cake on a flat plate or board that it is to be served from. And then place that onto either a spinning cake decorator, or, as I did, onto un upturned round tart tin. The plate easily moved round on top and allowed for easy decorating.
  • Spoon two thirds of the thick, cooled, chocolate fudge ganache on to the top of the cake.
  • Use a palette knife to spread the ganache over the top of the cake and then down the sides. Add more ganache as needed to ensure the entire cake has a good, thick, even covering of ganache on both the top and sides. Remember, the finish should be neat but by no means perfect as the cake will be entirely covered with decorations.

Covering the sponge bake In ganache.

Adding The Marbled Chocolate Pencils To The Birthday Cake And Finishing The Decoration

  • First of all take one pencil and measure it against the side of the cake. With a sharp knife mark the height at which the pencil will be trimmed. Cut the excess from the pencil at the base and double check against the cake to ensure you are happy with the height. Keep hold of this pencil as it is the master to which all the other pencils will be measured against.
  • Now cut 20 pencils to the correct length at the base. Place the “waste” pencil cuttings into a bag, they can be used a cupcake decorations.
  • Take one pencil and place it vertically against the side of the cake, press the pencil into the ganache so that it is secure.
  • Continue to add more pencils next to the previous one, always checking that the pencil is straight and parallel to the previous pencil.
  • As soon as the cake is completely surrounded view from above to ensure the pencils for a uniform circle around the cake.
  • Next add the Maltesers carefully to the top of the cake.

Showing how to add the Callebaut flutes to the side of the ganache covered sponge and then adding Maltesers to the top.

  • If using, now add any extra sprinkles to the top of the cake. The white crisp pearls and caramel stars used in this cake tied in with the marble colour theme and immediately added a fun, celebration element to the cake.
Chocolate marble celebration cake topped with Maltesers and surrounded by Callebaut chocolate marble pencils
Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake topped with Maltesers and fun sprinkles.

Chill the cake for a couple of hours, or overnight to allow the frosting to set. Cut between the pencils to serve. Keep any leftover cake either in an airtight container, or wrapped in cling film and refrigerated.

Chocolate marble celebration cake cut so the inner swirl is visible.
Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Chocolate Marble Celebration Cake you may also like these:

Fluted Chocolate Lemon Marble Cake

Fluted Chocolate Lemon Marble Cake
Fluted Chocolate Lemon Marble Cake

Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake

Raspberry Vanilla Celebration Cake semi covered in vanilla buttercream and decorated with fresh roses.
Raspberry Vanilla Naked Celebration Cake

Maltesers Malted Chocolate Loaf Cake

Maltesers malted chocolate loaf cake.
Maltesers Malted Chocolate Loaf Cake

Most importantly, seeing the smile on our daughter’s face made the effort to make this cake worth it! Since I am not and never really intend to be a professional cake decorator, I have learned some easy techniques that give a cake real WOW factor. And I am so thrilled that I get to pass these easy decorating ideas on to you my readers. While I know the chocolate pencils used on this cake aren’t cheap, compared to the cost of buying a handmade cake they are worth every penny!

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please my Disclosure Policy.

 

Celebratory bake sized for Pinterest with descriptive graphics.

Chocolate birthday cake topped with Maltesers and surrounded with marbled chocolate pencils.

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Raspberry Drizzle Loaf Cake

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Summer is well and truly here and while enjoying the gorgeous sunshine, here in the Southeast of England I am also indulging myself in all of the delicious soft fruits available at this time of year. My Summer Mixed Berry Sponge Cake is always a big hit using berries in the frosting as well as to decorate. So, drawing inspiration from that cake I set about creating an easier bake. Specifically a loaf cakes as they are very popular with you, the readers of my blog.  Let me introduce my Raspberry Drizzle Loaf Cake.

Raspberry Drizzle Loaf Cake

Because this cake has fresh raspberries whipped into the cake batter it naturally turns light pink, keeping the colour while baking. Likewise the coral pink icing, that I use to drizzle over the cake, gets its hue from fresh raspberry pulp. Pushing the raspberries through a sieve ensures that the icing remains silky smooth and without any pips. Sieving the raspberries doesn’t take long to do and really makes a difference to the finished cake. And although the cake has whole raspberries in it, the seeds seem to get lost in the batter, as they are hardly noticeable when eating the cake.

Raspberry Drizzle Loaf Cake

Fresh Raspberry Cake Baked To Share

Raspberries may well be my favourite of the summer berries, although it is hard to choose! Yet, while planning this recipe, a raspberry drizzle cake became an exciting and delicious prospect. And loaf tin bakes always result in a cake that is both easy to transport and slice, making it ideal for sharing with friends, family or colleagues. Taking a cake to anyone’s home or workplace is never a bad idea!

I always recommend reading a recipe through thoroughly before starting and especially so with this cake. Since you will find the lemon whose zest is needed for the cake is also required for its juice in the icing.

Recipe: Raspberry Drizzle Loaf Cake – serves 8-10

For the raspberry cake batter:

225g/8oz  Unsalted Butter at room temperature 

225g/8oz  Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Salt – I use Maldon 

Finely Grated Zest Of 1 Lemon – scrub the lemon under hot water and dry before zesting (the juice will be needed for the icing).

4 Large Free Range Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

250g/9oz Plain White Flour

1tbsp (3tsp) Baking Powder

225g/8oz Raspberries – fresh (when making this cake during the colder months frozen berries are a perfect substitute, I buy 300g frozen punnets of raspberries from Waitrose).

For the raspberry icing:

100g/4oz Raspberries – same as for the cake

1tsp Fresh Lemon Juice

225g/8oz Icing Sugar (confectioners sugar)

2-3tbsp Sugar Nibs – alternatively use edible, small white cake decorations such as balls.

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3, 325F.

For this loaf cake you will need a 2lb loaf tin that is approximately 25cm x 11cm x 7.5cm (10in x 4.5in x 3in). Grease with butter and line the base with baking parchment.

Making And Baking The Raspberry Cake

  • First of all, add the butter, sugar and salt to a large mixing bowl.
  • Using an electric hand whisk beat all the ingredients together until pale and fluffy.
  • Next add the zest of a finely grated lemon, four large eggs and the vanilla extract.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder onto the wet mix and then add the fresh raspberries.
  • Now, using the electric hand whisk, beat all of the ingredients together until they are combined and the pink colour is uniform throughout the batter.
Four separate images showing each stage of making a raspberry cake batter.
Making the raspberry cake batter.
  • Spoon the pink cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and smooth the surface.
  • Place the tin into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for approximately 1 hour 30 minutes. Allow 10 minutes either side of this guide due to differences between ovens.
  • To test if the cake is baked insert a skewer (I use a metal one) into the centre of the cake. The cake is baked if the skewer is clean when removed. However, if there is cake batter on the skewer bake the cake for a further 5-10 minutes before retesting.
  • As soon as the inserted skewer comes out of the baked cake clean, remove the cake from the oven and place the cake, in its tin, onto a cooling rack. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.
A loaf cake tin showing both the unbaked and baked cake
The unbaked and baked raspberry cake.

Making Fresh Raspberry Drizzle Icing

  • While the cake finishes cooling make the raspberry icing.
  • Place the raspberries into a fine sieve over a bowl. Note – the sieve needs to be fine enough to stop raspberry seeds from passing through.
  • Use a spoon to push the raspberries against the sieve.
  • Every few minutes, ensure that the spoon is clean, lift up the sieve and scrape the raspberry pulp from underneath into the bowl.
  • Continue until only seeds and a small amount of pulp is left in the sieve.
  • Add one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice to the raspberry pulp in the bowl.
  • Next add the icing sugar to the bowl and mix the ingredients together with a balloon whisk, ensuring the finished icing is smooth and lump free.
  • The finished icing should be thin enough to spoon over the cake and drizzle down the sides, without soaking into the cake. If the icing seems too thin add some more icing sugar.
Four images showing the making of a fresh fruit icing.
Creating fresh raspberry icing.

Decorating The Cake With Raspberry Icing

  • First of all run a palette knife between the outside of the cake and inside of the tin.
  • Turn out the cake and remove any parchment paper stuck to the base.
  • Place the cake on to a cooling rack which has a baking tray underneath.
  • Spoon the icing over the top of the cake, encouraging it to drip down the sides.
  • Continue until the top of the cake is completely covered and there are drips on all four sides. Discard any excess icing.
Four separate images showing how to decorate the cake.
Decorating the Raspberry Drizzle Loaf Cake.
  • Finally, sprinkle around the outside edge of the cake with your chosen decoration. I have used small, white, sugar nibs to contrast with the pink icing.
  • Transfer the cake to a serving plate. I use a fish slice on either end to lift the cake.
  • Leave the cake to set for at least 30 minutes.
  • During very warm weather I suggest putting the cake in the fridge to set.
Raspberry Drizzle Loaf Cake
  • Serving before the icing is set may result in the icing dripping from where it has been cut!

For best results bake and ice this cake the day before it is needed. Likewise as the cake cools overnight in the fridge it’s overall flavour and texture improves. Once cut, place the remaining cake in an airtight container and eat within four days. Store in the fridge during warm weather.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Raspberry Drizzle Loaf Cake you may also like these:

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Drizzle Cake
Lemon Drizzle Cake

Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake

Sliced iced cherry coconut loaf cake.
Iced Cherry Coconut Loaf Cake

Raspberry White Chocolate Loaf Cake

Raspberry White Chocolate Loaf Cake

Since making this raspberry cake I have received very positive feedback, especially from those who normally prefer ‘chocolate’ cake! Because the fruit in this cake is fresh, tangy and not too sweet, it is fast becoming a firm favourite among friends, family and neighbours. And we know that all food tastes better when it is shared. So who will you share your cake with?

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones

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Finally, summer is here and I’m so excited. Since this season also makes life easier and more fun! Windows stay open allowing plenty of fresh air to flood our homes, washing dries easily and long, sunlit days allow eating outdoors. Whether it’s an organised picnic, cup of tea in the garden or venturing to an open air concert, Summer is THE season for outdoor fun. And these Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones are as ideal for Afternoon Tea as they are easy to pack up for a fun picnic.

 

Cut scones topped with clotted cream and lemon curd on a pretty plate.
Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones

Picnics are a great way to gather friends and family together, for feasting and fun. Whether you choose to meet at a local park, or trek to the seaside, they are a fantastic way of getting people together without being restricted by space or cost. Also, most people are more than happy to bring food along with them, as well as drinks, blankets and games. And so it’s fun to organise everything in advance. Since delegating spreads the workload, it also ensures that everyone relaxes and has fun making new memories!

 

Pinterest image of Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones with descriptive graphics.

Scones; Such An Easy Bake

Scones are the number one recipe I advise people to try if they are new to baking. Since they are virtually foolproof and nobody minds an occasional, slightly wonky One! A successful bake builds a level of achievement and satisfaction in a newbie baker. As a result, they are more likely to continue baking, while learning new skills, attempting more complex recipes as confidence in the kitchen grows.

Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones

And now, back to these delicious. Truthfully, I must say these are my favourite scones to date! A positive result for someone who wouldn’t go near a scone until I started baking them myself! So, it is time for me to stop chatting and make these yummy, cream tea favourites.

Recipe: Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Milk Scones makes 8-10 large scones

450g/1lb Plain White Flour

3tsp Baking Powder

1/4tsp Sea Salt Flakes – I use Maldon

25g/1oz Vegetable Fat such as Trex

50g2oz Unsalted Butter

4tsp Caster Sugar – plus extra for sprinkling on top of the unbaked scones

Zest of 2 medium or 1 very large lemon (scrubbed and washed in hot water before zesting)

225g/8oz Sultanas

284ml/10fl oz Buttermilk – Alternatively, use the same quantity of whole or semi skimmed milk, add 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and stir. Leave for 5 minutes then stir again, the liquid should be thicker and slightly lumpy and is now ready to use.

3-4 Tablespoons of Semi or Whole Milk

Method: Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F

Note – you may notice an American dry cup measure in the photographs. Since we are decorating at the moment I was unable to locate my round cutters. So I improvised. Using a one cup measure worked perfectly for cutting out the scones. Also, if using a smaller cutter for smaller scones, remember to adjust the baking time.

Making The Buttermilk Scone Dough

  • First of all line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
  • Next, tip the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl.
  • Stir all the dry ingredients together with a balloon whisk.
  • Add the vegetable fat and butter in small chunks, then add the lemon zest.
  • Using a pastry cutter work the fats into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs with some pea sized chunks of fat still visible.
  • Add the sultanas and using your fingers gently lift and drop them into the bowl so they become covered in flour.
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and pour in all of the buttermilk.
Four stages showing how to incorporate fats and fruit with flour for a recipe.
Making the scone dough.
  • Using a butter knife stir all of the ingredients together until large clumps begin to form.

Turning Out And Shaping The Dough And Cutting Out Individual Scones

  • Turn the clumpy dough out onto a floured surface. And note, the dough should be quite wet and sticky.
  • Using floured fingers bring the dough together and pat out to form a round shape that is about 1 inch (2.5cm) deep.
  • Most importantly, check that the disc of dough moves freely across the surface and is not stuck.
  • Flour a round 3 inch (7.5cm) cutter that is also at least 2 inches (5cm) deep and place it on top of the dough.
  • Press the cutter straight down onto the dough taking care not to twist it.
Patting the dough out onto a pastry mat, ready to be cut.
Getting the dough ready.
  • Place each cutout scone onto the baking parchment lined baking tray.
  • Brush fresh milk onto the top of each scone using a pastry brush and then sprinkle a pinch of sugar over the top.

Baking The Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones

  • Place the scones into the centre of the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Because each oven is different and other variables such as the thickness of scone dough affect the baking time, I have given a range of times. My scones took 18 minutes to bake.
  • The scones are baked when the are risen, golden in colour and sound hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckle. Similar to bread when baked.
  • As soon as the scones are baked remove them from the oven and carefully place them on a cooling rack.
Raw and baked Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones
Before and after baking.

Serving And Enjoying The Scones

Eat these scones either warm or cold. Also they can be enjoyed just as they are, or split in two and topped with either clotted cream or butter.

Split scones topped with clotted cream and lemon curd on a pretty plate. Fresh whole scones and lemons are in the background.
Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones

Topping a scone with clotted cream and lemon curd and sitting down with my favourite foodie magazine, a delicious cup of tea, and a relaxing afternoon.

Delicious magazine with a plate on top containing a tasty afternoon sweet treat.
Relax with a great foodie magazine and a clotted cream and lemon curd topped scone.

Homemade scones are usually best eaten on the day they are baked. Yet with this recipe they stayed moist for up to 3 days when kept in an airtight container.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones you may also like these:

Super Light Scones

A platter set with small plain scones, fresh strawberries and clotted cream and jam in bowls.
Super Light Scones

Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe

A lined breakfast tray with muffins, cafetière and mug of coffee and a blush coloured dahlia flower.
Easy Blackberry Oat Muffin Recipe

Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones 

Savoury cheese scones in a lined basket with fresh tomatoes and basil and a wedge of cheddar cheese.
Cheddar Sun Dried Tomato Scones

So, is this recipe tempting you to make scones at home? Doing so is a very rewarding experience, especially when you share your bakes and receive compliments on your baking! And, aside from being a world away in taste and texture from their shop bought counterparts, you know exactly what has gone into your baking. Love cannot be bought, yet these scones were made with an extra large helping of it.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie x

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. This post does not contain any sponsored content. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones piled on a pretty cake plate with a bowl of fresh lemons in the distance.
Lemon Sultana Buttermilk Scones perfect for Afternoon Tea.

 

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Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia

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Today is the first of June and finally it is beginning to feel like Summer. And, of course my mind immediately turns to all the lovely fresh produce that this season yields. Since we are currently celebrating British Tomato Fortnight I am creating recipes that celebrate the diversity of this tasty little fruit. So with caprese salad as my inspiration let me introduce you to my Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia.

Pinterest sized image of Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia Bread with descriptive graphics.

Focaccia is a bread with Italian origins. At its simplest it is a flat, white, airy bread, drizzled with olive oil and having a dimpled appearance. Serve it with salad, soup, pasta or as part of antipasti, the key is in the lightness of its crumb. In comparison, this cherry tomato and mozzarella topped bread with layers of basil hidden within the bread, is almost a meal in itself.

Two images of Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia showing the light, airy crumb of the bread and the gooey, stringy cheese.
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia a feast that really is fun to make and eat!

As the bread bakes the fresh basil and garlic permeate throughout creating an incredible savoury flavour. Also, the fresh, vine ripened tomato flavour intensifies in the heat of the oven. Resulting in a joyfully flavoursome bread that is perfect for sharing, Italian style, around a table full of friends, family and food.

Baked Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia fresh out of the oven
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia

If you haven’t made bread before, please do not worry. Because, as I am writing a recipe I always imagine the person reading it is standing next to me. Since I am a natural chatter-box, I describe each part of the process in easy to understand language and include photos for every step of the recipe. So you can be confident as you start your baking process.

Recipe: Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia

For The Focaccia Dough

250ml Tap Water – at room temperature

7g Dried Yeast – I use Allinson 

1tbsp Runny Honey

350g/12oz Strong White Bread Flour – I use Wright’s 

5g Salt – I use Maldon sea salt

2 Garlic Cloves – finely minced or crushed

2tbsp Olive Oil

Filling And Topping The Focaccia 

2 Generous Handfuls Of Fresh Basil Leaves (approximately 25-30) – one handful for folding into the dough and the second for topping the focaccia

12 Mini Plum Tomatoes – cut in half. Alternatively use 24 small round cherry tomatoes

150g/5oz Approximately 20 Mini Mozzarella Balls – drained

1-2 Garlic Cloves

2tbsp Olive Oil

Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:

Making The Focaccia Dough

I use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment for the first part of mixing and proving the dough. Alternatively you can make the dough by hand. Large bowl in the instructions refers to the stand mixer bowl or the bowl used for hand mixing. Also, it is important to weigh all of the ingredients accurately to ensure a successful bake.

  • First of all add the tepid water to a large bowl and add the olive oil and then the honey. Adding the olive oil first ensures that the honey releases easily from the oiled tablespoon.
  • Next add the yeast.
  • Add the flour so that it covers all of the liquid ingredients.
  • Finally add the salt and minced garlic.
  • Fit the bowl to the stand mixer and lower the dough hook.
  • Mix on a low speed until all the ingredients are combined. Increase to a medium speed for approximately 10 minutes until the dough passes the windowpane test. To carry out the test stop mixing/kneading. Remove a small piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers. To pass the test the dough should stretch without tearing until light is visible through the dough. If the dough tears continue mixing/kneading for a further 2 minutes and test again.
  • As soon as the dough passes the windowpane test stop mixing/kneading and scrape any dough from the dough hook into the bowl.
  • Form the dough into a ball, place back into the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel.
  • Place the bowl in a draught free place and leave until the dough is doubled in size.

Knocking Back The Dough And Adding The Fresh Basil Leaves

  • As soon as the dough is doubled in size, turn it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured worktop. Most importantly, ensure the top of the risen dough is in contact with the worktop and the sticky underneath is now on top.
  • Pull out part of the dough with your hand and then tuck it into the centre of the dough.
  • Turn the dough clockwise, approximately 10 minutes if it were a clock and repeat the pulling and tucking technique. Repeat this process until the dough is smooth and not sticky to touch. See bottom right photo.
Four images showing each stage of shaping bread.
Building structure within the focaccia dough.
  • Turn the dough over and press out using your fingertips until it is a roughly square shaped approximately 10”/25cm.
  • Lay one handful of fresh basil leaves on top of the dough.
  • Fold the top third of the dough down and then fold the bottom third of the dough up and over.
  • Turn the dough by a quarter and repeat the folding step.
Detailed images showing fresh basil being folded into bread dough
Folding fresh basil into the bread dough.

Pressing Out The Focaccia Dough And Adding The Toppings

  • Turn the dough over and place onto a lightly oiled baking tray.
  • Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the dough and use your fingers to press out the focaccia dough, taking care to keep the basil leaves within the dough.
  • Press the halved mini plum tomatoes into the dough.
  • Likewise add the mini mozzarella balls in the same manner.
  • Scatter over the minced garlic and last handful of basil leaves.
  • Finally drizzle lightly with olive oil and add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
  • Leave in a draught free place to rise and preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6, 400F.
Four images showing the focaccia and adding the toppings
Shaping the focaccia bread and adding the toppings.

Baking The Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Focaccia

  • As soon as the focaccia has plumped up around the tomatoes and basil, while doubling in size, it is ready to be baked.
  • Place the focaccia into the centre of the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes.
  • The bread is baked when it is golden on top and underneath, use a palette knife to lift a corner.
  • And once baked remove from the oven.
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil freshly baked.
  • Leave the focaccia to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  • Alternatively, bake earlier in the day and reheat in a moderate oven for 10 minutes prior to serving.

To serve this focaccia I ran a pizza wheel across it at various angles to create interesting shapes and portions.

A pizza wheel is used to divide the Italian bread into portions for serving.
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia divided into portions.

This bread can be made a day in advance, including the toppings. Cover with cling film and refrigerate. To bake, remove from the fridge, allow the dough to come up to room temperature and puff up and then bake as per the recipe.

Any leftover focaccia can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for one day. Also, freezing the focaccia is not recommended due to the fresh tomatoes.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Focaccia you may also like these:

Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

Baked cheese olive ciabatta bread being pulled apart to show the gooey cheese.
Baked Cheese Olive Ciabatta Bread

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

Tomato thyme garlic focaccia bread cut in half.
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

Garlic Cheese Bombs

Garlic cheese bombs mini bread rolls filled with mozzarella image shows one being pulled apart showing the gooey cheese.
Garlic Cheese Bombs

Because, when I bake, I use the very best ingredients I can afford, this always has an impact on the final flavour. And including locally grown, British produce give me a sense of pride at how incredible our farmers are here in the U.K. Supporting British farmers and also British businesses, such as Room Forty who provide an Afternoon Tea service, is something that I am passionate about. Our country has a wealth of talented people who produce an amazing array of produce and products. While they may be a little more expensive than mass produced imports, what they have in abundance is love and care. Resulting in far higher quality produce grown and made by people who are passionate about what they do.

Do you consider where your food comes from when grocery shopping?

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

The British Tomato Association gifted me the tomatoes produced by Eric Wall to sample and taste during British Tomato Fortnight #BTF19. I have not been paid or received any financial gain for writing this blog post. All opinions, views and content are my own. No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

 

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Lemon Curd Sponge Tart

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Anyone who has visited this blog before will probably have picked up on my love of lemons. Bright yellow citrus fruits that instantly transport my kitchen and my mood into a sunny day. Whether I use them I sweet or savoury recipes, their impact on flavour is the same. Fresh, juicy, tangy, this fruit knows how to treat your tastebuds to a flavour party! Today I am sharing my new recipe for Lemon Curd Sponge Tart. A sweet celebration of all things lemon.

 

FF Lemon Curd Sponge Tart

Since I love  Bakewell Tart I wanted to create a similar style dessert with lemon as the foremost flavour. And I have been completely successful. While homemade, buttery, shortcrust pastry provides a crisp base for this dessert, it really is all about the layers. So, on top of the pastry is a generous layer of tart lemon curd, followed by a light, lemony sponge and finally topped with a fresh lemon drizzle icing. The resulting tart is more than the sum of each individual layer.

 

Lemon Curd Sponge Tart

To Drizzle Or Not To Drizzle?

While originally I wanted to create a dessert that could be served with custard, I’m so glad I opted for the lemon drizzle instead. If you do want to serve this warm with delicious Custard that is totally possible too. Simply allow the tart to cool for at least 20 minutes after baking, leave off the drizzle, slice and serve in a bowl with lashings of creamy custard. Also as mentioned previously serving a slightly chilled slice of this tart with a hot cup of tea really allows you to experience all the separate layers as they come together in one mouthful.

 

Lemon Curd Sponge Tart

Although I do sometimes have to leave labels on things I’ve made, saying they need to be photographed before eating, this doesn’t guarantee that my family will play by the rules! Fortunately I had finished the photography of this Lemon Curd Sponge Tart before they descended upon it. Nothing makes me happier than to see a bake on the worktop gradually reducing in size as people help themselves to a slice. That tells me more than anything that could be said.

Recipe: Lemon Curd Sponge Tart Serves 6-8

350g/ All Butter Shortcrust Pastry – see my recipe here

4 Heaped Tablespoons Lemon Curd – I use Waitrose own label

For the sponge

100g/4oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

100g/4oz Caster Sugar

Zest of 2 Lemons – scrub with nail brush under hot water before zesting

1/8tsp Salt

2 Large Free Range Eggs

100g/4oz Plain White Flour – I use Wright’s Baking

1tsp Baking Powder

For the drizzle 

75g/3oz Icing Sugar (confectioners sugar)

Juice of 1-2 lemons

Method: Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, 400F, gas mark 6.

For this tart you will need a 20cm x 5cm (8in x 2in) round, fluted tart tin with loose bottom.

Note: For full step by step instructions with accompanying photographs for rolling out pastry, filling a tart case and blind baking, please see my recipe for Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry.

Making The Pastry Tart Case

  • First of all ensure that the pastry has been chilled in the fridge for at least one hour.
  • Lightly dust the worktop with flour and roll the pastry out to a circle that is slightly wider than the tart tin.
  • Loop the pastry over the rolling pin and allow it to fall gently into the tart tin.
  • Carefully press the pastry into the sides and base of the tin.
  • Trim away any excess pastry.
  • Dock the pastry base with a fork to stop it rising during baking.
  • Scrunch up some baking parchment and line the pastry case with it. And then fill with baking beans/ceramic balls.
  • Place the tin into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • As soon as the baking time is finished remove the tart from the oven.
  • Carefully use the baking parchment to lift the beans out of the partly baked tart shell.
  • Return the tart to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
  • And then remove the blind baked pastry from the oven and allow to cool.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4.
  • While the pastry is cooling make the lemon sponge.

Making The Lemon Sponge And Filling The Tart Shell

  • Into a medium sized bowl add the butter, caster sugar and salt. Whisk the ingredients together until pale and creamy.
  • Add 2 eggs and sift in the plain flour and baking powder. Whisk until just combined.
  • Now add the zest of 2 whole lemons. Stir with a large spoon to mix.
  • Spoon the lemon curd into the cooled tart shell and spread to form an even layer.
  • Next, spoon the cake batter on top of the curd in small amounts. And then use a fork to spread the cake batter, forming an even layer.

 

Making the sponge filled tart case.
  • Place the filled tart back into the centre of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  • The sponge layer is baked when it is golden in colour and springs back when lightly pressed in the centre.
  • As soon as the tart is baked remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
The baked Lemon Curd Sponge Tart
  • Once the tart is cool remove from the loose bottom tart tin and place on to a plate.

Making The Lemon Drizzle And Finishing The Tart

  • Sift the icing sugar into a bowl.
  • Stir as you add the lemon juice until you have a consistency that can be drizzled from a spoon.
  • Spoon the lemon drizzle over the top of the sponge, stopping at the pastry edge.
  • Leave to set. In warm weather, or to speed up the process refrigerate the tart.
FF Lemon Curd Sponge Tart
Adding the fresh lemon drizzle to the cooled tart.

Finally, slice the cooled tart and serve on a plate with a drink of your choice.

Store any leftover tart for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Lemon Curd Sponge Tart

Golden lemon layers set this dessert apart from anything you might buy in the supermarket.

FF Lemon Curd Sponge Tart
Lemon Curd Sponge Tart each district separate layer.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Lemon Curd Sponge Tart you may also like these:

Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

FF Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova 

FF Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova
Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova

Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

FF Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake
Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake

As well as enjoying baking to feed my family, friends and neighbours, I also find the process relaxing. Even with the health constraints of my body, which can be very frustrating, I am still able to make a beautiful dessert such as this lemon creation. Since I break down the process over 2 days, making and baking the filled tart one day and then decorating and photographing it the next, I am able to still carry out an activity I enjoy and also achieve a sense of satisfaction. Both of which are important in maintaining a sense of independence and uplifting metal well being. Baking is a form of therapy for me.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

Additionally, the bluebells featured in the photos are from our garden, yet THEY ARE NOT EDIBLE. All parts are toxic, do not use to decorate your bakes.

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