I can’t remember where I first came across the recipe for French Yogurt Cake. It’s always just been there. But I never once felt the need to try it. There were always more exciting, more challenging cakes to try. Why go back to basics with a cake intended to be made with the help of toddlers?
This is why, my friends!
Beautiful, light, fluffy cakes that are the perfect teatime pick me up… or breakfast, coz it’s got fruit and yogurt in and that’s a breakfast food, right?
And, even though I possess no toddlers of my own (Darcy isn’t too good at baking, even though he loves the tasting part!) I can say with my limited knowledge of the species that this would be an absolutely brilliant recipe to bake with kids. No faffy weighing, just measure everything out using a yogurt tub and mix it up. Simple!
And so quick. The thing that takes the most time about this recipe is waiting for the oven to heat up! (Or sometimes it’s the pressing need to pop to the Co-op as you realise you’ve run out of eggs half way through!) We all know there are some days when you just want to get something in the oven without any hassle, these can be whipped together and out of the oven in less than half an hour (although I assume if you do choose to involve kids it will take longer…)
Don’t delay, give them a go today!
1 x 125g tub natural yogurt
2 tubs self raising flour
1 tub golden caster sugar
1/2 tub rapeseed oil
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon, grated*
~ 1 tub frozen raspberries
– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180C.
– Prepare a tray with 6 mini loaf cases. Alternatively you can make this as a large loaf and just increase the cooking time.
– Put all of the ingredients except the raspberries in a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Use the yogurt tub to measure out each of the ingredients.
– Divide equally between the mini loaf tins. (Space them well as this mixture rises!)
– Scatter the top of each cake with frozen raspberries.
– Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. (If cooking as a large loaf 45 minutes to an hour)
– Allow to cool until just warm them devour! Also excellent when you allow them to fully cool before consuming!
Instead of Lemon and Raspberry these can be adapted to any flavour you like. I have also had great success with Chocolate Orange, just replace the lemon zest with orange zest and add 2 tbsp cocoa powder and a tub of chocolate chips instead of raspberries.
It may seem a little early to be starting on Christmas baking but there is a very good reason for this. My nextdoor neighbour and I were talking and she mentionned that she needed a baking project for her class to do for the Christmas fair to raise funds but that there were a number of criteria that needed to be met, no boring fairy cakes, for example! I thought I’d seen a recipe somewhere about that would work but it proved to be a figment of my imagination. So I decided to invent something that would, hopefully, work. These are the delightful result!
They have all the tastes of Christmas but not in an overwhelming way. I have to confess I don’t usually like Christmassy flavoured things, I eat Christmas pudding after Christmas dinner because it’s traditional not because I like it. However, I really liked these muffins. They had all of the flavours but lacked the heavy, stodgy feeling I usually associate with Christmas foods. All in all a great experiment and come Christmas I shall certainly be making these again.
150g mixed dried fruits
zest and juice of 1 orange
50g dark muscoavdo sugar
2 tbsp sunflower oil
150g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
pinch of salt
100g icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
Holly berry and leaf decorations (I made leaves out of white icing and green colouring and berries out of glace cherry bits)
– Heat the oven to gas mark 6 and prepare 6 holes of a muffin tin.
– Combine the fruit and orange zest and juice in a microwavable dish and microwave for 2 minutes. Alternately leave them to soak for an hour.
– Beat together the sugar, milk, egg and oil.
– Sift the flour, baking podwer, nutmeg, mixed spice and salt into the mixture.
– Fold in gently.
– Add the mixed fruits and stir in.
– Divide the mixture evenly between the six cases.
– Bake for 20-25 minutes. (Mine took 25)
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little in the tin then place on a wire rack to cool completely.
– Mix together the icing sugar and the lemon juice until smooth.
– Once the muffins have cooled spoon a little of the icing over each muffin.
– Add the holly decorations and leave to set.
A completely new recipe for me here. I saw the recipe in Olive magazine while on holiday and scribbled down the list of ingredients on a post it note. I never manage to write down instructions other than the temperature and cooking time so, as usual, I winged it. Occasionally I manage to scribble down a word or two of instruction like “mix”, “boil” or “melt” and an arrow but it is rare! If I were organised I’d remember where I saw recipes or tear them out or something but organised I definitely am not! Despite making it up as I went along I am very pleased with this. It’s lovely, sticky, orangey and moist but you can still hold a slice in your hand to eat it. I thought it looked a little boring on its own so I added a glace icing to give it a little boost.
For the cake:
110g butter, softened
180g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
zest of 1 orange, grated
180g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp milk
For the syrup:
juice of 2 oranges*
3 tbsp lemon juice
100g golden caster sugar
For the icing:
2 heaped dessert spoonfuls of icing sugar
1 spoonful of lemon juice
– Heat the oven to gas mark 4. Grease and line a large loaf tin** with baking paper.
– Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
– Beat in the eggs and orange zest.
– Fold in the flour and baking powder then add the milk and mix well.
– Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes.
– Put all of the syrup ingredients in a pan and bring to a gentle boil for a five minutes. Do not let it boil over!
– To check if the cake is ready test with a skewer and if the skewer comes out clean then stab with the skewer all over.
– Keeping the cake in the tin pour the syrup over it a bit at a time and leave it for at least an hour until all of the liquid is absorbed.
– Remove the cake from the tin and put on a plate.
– Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar together until it reaches a smooth, runny consistency and either drizzle over the cake with a spoon or fill a small plastic bag with the icing and then cut the corner off it. Zig zag back and forth until the desired effect is reached.
*I take the zest off the second orange as well and store it in a bag in the freezer for use in another recipe.
** I think my loaf tin might be a 2lb one but I have two and one is tiny and the other large. Any large loaf tin would do I think.
I received a cupcake cookbook I’d ordered today, Cupcakes by Susannah Blake, which was very inspirational. It’s a lovely little book, it has a decent basic recipe and then lots of variations in both flavours and toppings. Not only is there the simple recipe but lots of other recipes like gluten and dairy free or polenta based. All in all a good book. However, there is no way that I can see that her 115g recipe will make 12 muffin tin cupcakes unless the cases are very short. My basic recipe uses 200g and usually makes 13, I like to ‘test’ the extra one to ensure quality control! With a 12 hole muffin pan I usually put a muffin case in a ramekin dish et voila, an extra space! May be I’m just using extra large paper cases but either way I ignored her recipe today and went with my own.
The reason I was making cupcakes was because it was the dog’s first birthday. Don’t worry, I’m not really that kind of person but it seemed a good excuse for cake! He has a very sweet tooth so he got given the 13th cake with peanut butter as icing and chocolate dog treats to decorate. Naturally he got a candle too but he wasn’t allowed to eat that!
200g butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
the seeds from 1/2 a vanilla pod*
2 tbsp milk
150g icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
natural pink food colouring
– Heat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a muffin tin with paper cases and a ramekin with one case.
– Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. If your sugar is lumpy use the back of a spoon to break it up before adding the butter to make things easier for yourself.
– In a separate jug beat the eggs and vanilla seeds.
– Add the egg to the mixture a bit at a time beating thoroughly between each addition. If it curdles then add a tbsp of the flour and carry on.
– Add the flour and fold it in.
– When thoroughly combined stir through the milk.
– Divide the mixture evenly between the cases. I use an ice cream scoop, one of the ones that you squeeze and a little metal bit runs round the inside, to measure out the mixture.
– Bake for 18-20 minutes then remove and test with a skewer, the skewer should come out clean.
– Place on a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
– To make the icing mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together. It should be spoonable but not too runny. If necessary add more lemon juice a few drops at a time, it’s better to add a little at a time as you can always add more but you can’t take it out!
– Divide the icing into two and add a cap full of food colouring to one bowl, Mix well.
– Place a heaped teaspoon of icing on each cake and use the back of the spoon to gently guide it. Place your decoration of choice on top immediately.
* To get the seeds out of the vanilla pod carefully split it lengthways and then use the back of the knife to scrape along gathering up the seeds as it goes. #
The dog’s birthday cake:
As I type this I am so full I may actually rupture something. I can feel my arteries clogging by the second! My sister came out of hospital early today and so we had fish and chips for dinner as that was what she wanted. I love fish an chips! I’m lucky in that there are several excellent chippies in the area when the urge does strike.
However, before I knew we were having fish and chips I had prepared dessert. As you will see from the ingredients it’s basically cream. My brain must have been elsewhere this afternoon because I put it in the big serving glasses. Big mistake! It is lovely and light while you’re eating, an absolute dream, but once you’ve finished the richness hits you right in the stomach! Take heed and don’t put it in anything bigger than a ramekin to serve.
Makes 4 large ramekins, 6 smaller (I made 3 portions!)
600ml double cream
140g caster sugar
– Zest the lemons and juice them, straining out the pips and pulp.
– Put the cream and sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and bring to a simmer but do not let it boil. (The cream will change colour and little bubbles will rise.) Cook it for 3 minutes at this stage, stirring gently.
– Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice. Use a whisk to combine it thoroughly.*
– Allow to cool slightly then pour into individual serving glasses or ramekins.
– Sprinkle the tops with lemon zest.
– Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
*If you by any chance forget to juice your lemons first and just juice them straight into the pan, pips and all, like I did then just pour it through a sieve into a jug and then pour straight from the jug into the serving dishes, easy!
Filed under Desserts, Easy
When I was living in Japan I decided to cook an English Christmas Dinner for we expats. I couldn’t find a turkey but I did manage to get a whole chicken. Much planning was done and a few problems solved by phoning mum back in the uk at 3am for emergency stuffing advice. Then came the really fun part, the actual cooking. In that kitchen I only had a toaster oven, a microwave and two hobs. I borrowed another toaster oven from another flat and managed to cram the chicken inside by squishing it a bit. It was a baptism of fire but that was my first roast dinner. Now I’ve got it down to a fine art!
Roasting a chicken couldn’t be simpler. Shove half an onion and half a lemon inside, salt and pepper of top, bop it in the oven. Done. A delicious main meal in less than 5 minutes. Steam some veggies in the last half hour of cooking and you’re sorted!
1 whole chicken
1/2 an onion
1/2 a lemon
– Heat the oven to gas mark 5.
– Take the chicken out of the packaging and place in a toasting pan.
– Snip the string around its legs and unhook the legs from inside the body cavity.
– Push the half onion and lemon inside the body cavity.
– Sprinkle with salt and a bit of pepper, or even some thyme if you like.
– Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes per pound and an extra 20 minutes on top of that. For example, if you have a 4 pound bird then that’s 1 hour 40 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and pick up the chicken using a large fork, let the juices drain for a bit so you don’t drip on your work surface then transfer to your chopping board.
– Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
In the meantime make the Gravy. If you don’t want gravy then reserve the juices for stock or soup. Equally if you have leftover gravy it makes a good addition to soups.
– Take your roasting pan with the juices and put it on the largest ring on your hob.
– Add a splash of water, preferably from your vegetables, and bring to a boil. – In a small mug or dish mix 1 tbsp of corn flour with a splash of cold water.
– Pour this into the gravy pan and whisk to blend it thoroughly.
– Continue to cook for a few minutes.
– Carefully pour into a gravy boat and serve.