Maple, Coffee & Seed Traybake

image

I was recently been sent some delicious Canadian Maple Syrup samples to try from We Love Maple. Quebec in Canada produces 90% of the country’s production, with Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia producing the remaining 10%.  Canada as a whole currently produces 71% of worldwide supply.

image

Maple syrup has a lower GI than both corn syrup and honey and comes in at 50 cals/15ml. It’s 100% natural and is high in both antioxidants and minerals.  It generally comes on four main varieties:

image

* Extra Light – which is extracted at the beginning of the season. Has a light colour and a sweet, delicate flavour.

* Light – is the second batch to be harvested, has a slightly darker appearance and has a pure and delicate taste. Perfect for use in both vinaigrettes and dressings.

* Medium – comes from the third harvesting and is the most commonly available.  It has a pronounced maple flavour and is ideal in cooking, for use in desserts and sauces.

* Amber – comes from the final harvest of the season, is darker in colour and has a rich, intense flavour.  This final harvest is perfect for use in sauces and glazes.

Using the samples I was sent, I came up with a variation on a coffee and walnut cake, adding both flavour and sweetness from the maple syrup as well as added nutrition, crunch and goodness from a mix of both pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

IMG_0498.JPG

To make it easier and quicker to make, I used the ‘all in one’ method and a disposable foil tray to bake it in. Ingredients and method to make the traybake are as follows:

Cake:

225g Butter

225g Light Muscovado sugar

275g Self raising flour

10g Baking powder

4 Large Eggs

45ml Canadian maple syrup

15ml Camp coffee essence

35g Pumpkin seeds

40g Sunflower seeds

Icing:

75g Butter

225g Icing sugar

15ml Canadian maple syrup

5ml Camp coffee essence

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan).

2. Add all the cake ingredients, apart from your seeds, into a large bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat them together for 4-5 minutes until light and very well mixed.

3. Stir in the seeds.

4. Pour the cake mix into the foil tray container and roughly level out.

5. Cook for 35-40 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned on top.

6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the foil dish.

image

7. For the icing, bring your butter to room temperature and beat thoroughly with the icing sugar, maple syrup and Camp coffee essence until light and fluffy.

IMG_0499.JPG

8. Spread the icing over the cooled cake and sprinkle with lightly toasted sesame seeds to decorate.

IMG_0502.JPG

I was sent four 45ml sized bottles free of charge to review from the PR company. I was under no obligation to write a positive review or to devise a recipe using the product.

Tiramisu Cake

image

A delicious cake, inspired by a wonderful Italian dessert. Instead of using butter, I’ve used Farrington’s Mellow Yellow Coldpressed Rapeseed Oil.  You’ll have to keep this cake in the fridge as the frosting has mascarpone and cream in it, but let it come up to room temperature for a few minutes to enjoy it at its’ best though.

image

280g Farrington’s Mellow Yellow Cold pressed rapeseed oil

20g Milk (not skimmed)

300g Soft brown sugar

300g Self raising flour

5 medium eggs

5ml Baking powder

15ml Camp coffee

2.5ml Beau cappuccino extract

250g Mascarpone Cheese

140ml Double cream

60ml Amaretto

4tbs Icing sugar

5ml Cocoa powder to decorate

 

1. Heat the oven to 180C.

2. Grease and line two 9″ cake tins.

3. Into a large bowl, place the oil, milk, sugar, flour, eggs, baking powder, Camp coffee and Cappuccino extract.

4. Beat together for 4-5 minutes until combined and creamy,

5. Divide equally between the two cake tins.

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cakes are cooked and the tops are springy.

7. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 minutes.

8. Turn the cakes out onto wire racks and leave until cold.

9. For the filling and frosting, beat together the Mascarpone cheese and double cream until thick.

10. Beat in the amaretto and icing sugar.

11. Sandwich the cakes together using half of the amaretto icing.

12. Spread the other half of the amaretto icing over the top of the cake.

13. Sprinkle the frosting lightly with cocoa powder.

image

14. Keep chilled due to the filling and frosting.

image

15. Allow the slices of cake to come to room temperature prior to serving to allow the sponge to soften (cold sponge cake isn’t very nice, after all!)

Saffron Bakewell Tart

Saffron is a spice from the Crocus genus of flower.  The flowers grow 20-30cm and each bear up to four flowers.  Each flower has three vivid crimson stigmas (strands).  These ‘strands’ are collected and dried to be used mainly as a seasoning and a colouring in foods.  Saffron is generally sold by weight, which as you can clearly imagine, it takes an awful lot of those stigma strands to produce a single gramme of the saffron we use in the culinary world. This makes it the most expensive spice in the world. Currently Iran produces approximately 90% of the world’s production of the saffron that is in use today.  It takes approximately 80,000 saffron flowers to produce just 500 grammes of finished saffron.

Saffron has a hay like fragrance and contains a pigment which gives a golden yellow colour to dishes.  It has also been used to dye fabrics and textiles as far back as the 7th Century and has been traded and used for over 4,000 years.

I was recently sent a sample of saffron to try from the Premier Saffron company who import their hand picked saffron from Iran.

Pairing perfectly with almonds, I re-created the traditional Bakewell Tart to include some saffron, thereby adding a slightly different, but subtly delicious tasted.  Here’s how I did it:

Pastry
225g Plain flour
50g Lard
50g Butter
25g Caster sugar
30ml (approx.) cold water

Filling
5-6 strands Saffron
15ml Milk
125g Butter
125g Caster sugar
150g Ground almonds
75g Ground Rice
2 Eggs
2.5ml Almond essence
45ml Raspberry jam
Flaked almonds to decorate

1. To make the pastry, cut the lard and butter into small cubes and add them to a large bowl containing the flour and sugar.  (I use half lard and half butter to give a ‘short’ crisp pastry, as taught to me by my nan and my mum).
2. Rub them together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs (it helps to keep the pastry cool and the butter and lard not to melt if you only use your finger tips).
3. Add the cold water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together to form a dough.
4. Wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
5. Heat the oven to 190℃, and place an upturned rectangular baking tin in to heat up (this will help prevent your tart from getting a ‘soggy bottom’.
6. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to an even thickness to line a 20cm square tin.
7. Retain the pastry trimmings for decoration.
8. Return the pastry lined tin to the fridge to chill whilst you prepare the filling.
9. Place the saffron strands onto an oven proof plate and heat in the oven for 4-5 minutes until warmed (this helps the flavour and colour release from the strands).
10. Warm the milk gently then add the warm saffron strands.  Stir and leave to infuse for a few minutes. The milk will turn a summery pale yellow colour.
11. In a large bowl, place the butter, caster sugar, ground almonds, ground rice, eggs and almond essence.
12. Add the milk and saffron mixture and beat until well incorporated.
13. Remove the pastry case from the fridge and spread the jam evenly over the base.
14. Pour the filling mixture into the pastry case, over the top of the jam.
15. Re-roll the pastry trimmings and use to decorate the top of the Bakewell Tart.
16. Sprinkle with flaked almonds to decorate.

17. Place in the oven on top of the upturned baking tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden brown and the pastry is cooked.
18. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove the tart from the tin on to a wire cooling rack and leave until cold.

19. Slice and serve with custard or simply on its own with a cup of tea.

The saffron adds a very subtle flavour to the Bakewell Tart and marries perfectly with the almonds.

I was sent a pack of the saffron strands from Premier Saffron to try.  I was under no obligation to create a recipe or to link to their website as a result of receiving the sample.

Chocolate Cake for Easter

The most indulgent chocolate cake to grace my table is this one that I made in collaboration with the Central England Co-Operative.  Unlike most chocolate cakes, it’s not dry as it has evaporated milk in the recipe.  It’s slathered in a rich and creamy chocolate ganache and is decorated with rather a lot of chocolate mini eggs along with some decadent praline animals.

 

It’s certainly not a cake you’d make every week, but for special occasions and a little indulgent treat, this is the cake sure to be a hit with any chocolate lover.
All of my ingredients were sourced from my local Co-Operative, and where possible, FairTrade ingredients were used.

 

Cake:
300g Self raising flour
340g Caster sugar
40g Cocoa
150g Butter (room temp)
3 Large eggs
110g Evaporated Milk
80g Water
5ml Vanilla extract
Ganache:
200g Dark chocolate
100g Milk chocolate
250ml Double cream
Decoration:
Cadbury Mini eggs (my cake took 9 bags)
Box of Co-Operative Spring praline chocolates
1. Heat the oven to 180℃.
2. Grease and line two 20cm/8″ cake tins.
3. In a large bowl place all the cake ingredients.
4. Mix together for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy.

 

5. Divide equally between the two cake tins.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
7. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out into a wire rack to cool completely.
Whilst the cakes are cooling, now is the time to get your ganache ready.
8. In a saucepan, break the chocolate into squares and add the cream.
9. Heat very gently until the chocolate has melted, stirring frequently.
10. Remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl, then set aside to cool and set.
11. When the cakes are cold and the ganache has set, use ¼ of the ganache to sandwich the cakes together.
12. Place the cakes onto a serving plate and use the other ¾ of the ganache to thickly coat the sides and top of the cake. Don’t worry about it being perfectly smooth and pretty as you’re going to decorate the sides and top with lots and lots of mini eggs.
13. Starting at the bottom, place a row of mini eggs all around the cake, adding extra layers until you either run out of mini eggs, or you’ve covered the sides completely.
14. Decorate the top of the cakes with the spring praline chocolates.
You won’t want a large slice of this cake unless you’re a raving chocoholic with the sweetest tooth known to man, so this cake will certainly go a very, very long way indeed!  You could even (perish the thought!) share it with friends and neighbours, as I did!
Happy Easter, enjoy my recipe xx
I was sent a voucher from the Central England Co-Operative to buy ingredients with which to create a recipe for them.