Saturday 9 December 2017

On cakes

The reason why I have posted so many cake recipes in this blog along the seven years since I started publishing it on Lancashire Life’s website and then on Blogspot, is that I usually make a cake every weekend. We like having it as a dessert and it is handy to have a slice of cake for breakfast before dashing to work. Above all, I really enjoy making cakes, it is relaxing and rewarding. Not just because they come out well, all modesty aside, they also taste good, their sugary flavour boosts my energy and makes me feel better on the whole. Here are some of them I have recently experimented, which may come in useful during Christmas time as well.

Cake with yogurt
You need: two eggs, 300 g of plain flour, 170 g of golden caster sugar, 50 g of butter, 100 g of chopped dried apricots, 250 g of natural yogurt, one tsp of baking powder, half a tsp of bicarbonate of soda, 100g of white chocolate and party sprinkles to decorate.
Beat the butter and add the yolks of the eggs and the sugar. Mix the yogurt with the dried apricots and add it to the mixture. Add flour, the baking powder and the bicarbonate of soda. Finally whip the whites till stiff and add them as well. Bake at 180° C for 30-45 minutes. To decorate the cake, melt the white chocolate in a pan adding some milk if it is too thick. Pour it on the cake and sprinkle some sweets on top.

Fruit pie
I prepared this fruit pie to celebrate our ten years in the UK using fruit with the colours of the British and the Italian flag. It was so good it was gone in a flash.
For the dough you need: 250 g of self-raising flour, two eggs, 50 g of sugar, 50 g of butter.
For the custard cream you need: 500 ml of milk, 100 g of sugar, two eggs, 40 g of plain flour, grated zest of a lemon.
For the topping you need: fruit (e.g. strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi, peaches), gelatine in leaf or sachet (follow the instructions on the packet).
Prepare the dough mixing all the ingredients then chill it for half an hour. Prepare the custard cream mixing all the ingredients and cooking it till it thickens then let it cool. Roll out the dough and line a greased pie tin with the dough sheet. Bake the dough for 20-30 minutes at 180° C or till golden. Spread the custard cream on top and decorate with the fruit. To finish pour some gelatine on top and chill before serving.

Rice pie
You need: 250 g of Arborio or Carnaroli rice, 500 ml of milk, a piece of the rind of a lemon, two tbsp of sugar.
For the dough and the custard cream see the recipes above.

Prepare the dough and the custard cream following the instructions of the fruit pie above. Cook the rice in 500 ml of milk adding two tbsp of sugar and the lemon rind. When the rice is ready, remove the lemon rind and mix it with the custard cream. Roll out the dough and line a greased pie tin, spread the rice and custard cream mixture on top and bake for 30-45 minutes at 180° C.

Apple pie
I made some apple pies and cakes at the end of summer when some neighbours kindly provided apples for free leaving them in baskets along the road leading to Chobham high street. Here is the recipe of my favourite apple pie:
For the dough you need: 300 g of plain flour, a pinch of salt, half a tsp of baking powder, 100 g of sugar, three eggs, 60 g of melted butter.

For the filling you need: 5 apples, 100 g of sugar, the juice of a lemon, 3-4 whole cloves, a tsp of fennel seeds, a tsp of ground cinnamon, the grated zest of a lemon, 100 g of pine nuts, 100 g of sultanas.
Peel, core and cut the apples in cubes, add the sugar, the juice of the lemon and all the other flavours. Prepare the dough mixing all the ingredients and chill it for half an hour. Roll out half of the dough and line a greased tin pie, fill it with the apple mixture and cover the pie with the rest of the dough. Bake for 45 minutes 180° C.

Fig tea loaf
Here is a super-delicious fig cake made with dried figs which I love. Figs always remind me of Christmas as that's the only time I had them when I was a child.
You need: 300 g of flour, two eggs, 10 g of brown sugar, the grated zest of a lemon, two tbsp of sunflower oil, one and a half tsp of baking powder, half a tsp of bicarbonate of soda, 150 g of dried figs coarsely chopped, 50 g of mixed peel and half a glass of milk.
Mix the figs, mixed peel and the zest of the lemon with the sugar and eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Pour the mixture into a greased loaf tin and bake for half an hour to forty five minutes at 150°C, till a skewer comes out clean. Sprinkle generously with icing sugar when cold.
I’ll be back in January. Have a good Christmas!