Category Archives: Loaf Cakes

Vanilla, Blueberry and White Chocolate Cake

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This is my go-to birthday cake recipe. Or just when-one-is-in-need-of-cake recipe. I made it last weekend and gave the princess most of it to take back to London. The rest I took to the office, where my colleagues made happy cake eating sounds. This recipe makes a glorious sponge cake that you can make into a bundt (as above) or into a triple or even quadruple layer cake with a frosting of your choice. Don’t like blueberries? Leave them out, or replace them with raspberries or orange zest or lemon zest. Ditto for the vanilla and the white chocolate chips…

So this makes a lot of cake. I made a large bundt cake and a loaf tin out of this. I suspect if you halved the recipe (totally do-able), it would make a regular size bundt cake or a three-layer round cake. You are forewarned.

Vanilla, Blueberry and White Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Joy the Baker via Smitten Kitchen

4 cups plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

227g unsalted butter, softened

2 cups golden caster sugar

4 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

300ml buttermilk

100ml double cream

100ml plain yoghurt

1/2 cup white chocolate, chopped

200g blueberries

Preheat the oven to 170C. Liberally grease a bundt tin with butter, and grease and line a loaf tin; or grease and line 3 layer cake tins.

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Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.

In a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time.

Combine the buttermilk, cream and yoghurt in a small bowl.

Fold in the flour mixture in three goes, alternating with the buttermilk mixture – flour then buttermilk, flour then buttermilk, flour.

Finally fold in the blueberries and white chocolate.

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Spoon the batter into the bundt tin and the loaf tin.

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Bake for approximately 40 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their tins for 10 minutes before turning out and cooling.

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Allow the cakes to cool completely before icing. I used a combination of cookie butter frosting and cream cheese frosting that I’d had in the freezer to ice both cakes.

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Marmalade Poppyseed Loaf

It is that time of year for marmalade making! Which means it is essential to use up whatever is left of last years marmalade stores to make way for the new. I guess you can tell I’m slightly obsessed with citrus this year. Andrés found blood oranges in the market the other day and seemed surprised when, upon finding them in the kitchen I immediately peeled one and ate it, the juices running down my hand. Blood oranges are my absolute favourite – the colour wheel of reds, oranges and purples delights me – and it turns out they’re superbly good for you too, which is always an added bonus for favourite foods.

2016-01-24 10.58.47-1Anyway, on Sunday I made the new batch of marmalade (having recovered sufficiently from the earlier in the week mess) and, because it was overcast and dark in a way only a January afternoon can be dark, I decided to use up the almost-last jar of 2015 marmalade in a cake. A brief scour of the web combined with Annie Bell’s Baking Bible lead to this: a rather glorious, bitter, damp, orange loaf cake that I intend to eat around 4pm most of this week.

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In truth, it is an exceedingly simple riff on a pound cake and could probably be adapted to use up whatever jam you have skulking in the back of the fridge. I used ingredients I had to hand, hence the use of honey – feel free to substitute for more soft brown sugar. Personally, I love this because it is not very sweet and the marmalade glaze gives it a bitter edge. Serve it with vanilla ice-cream for a winter dessert.

Marmalade Poppyseed Loaf

Makes one loaf tin

175g unsalted butter, at room temperature

90g soft brown sugar

3 eggs

60g runny honey

75g marmalade

175g plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

zest and juice of one orange

2 tbsp poppyseeds

marmalade to glaze

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a loaf tin with butter and parchment.

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Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, beating after each one. Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl and add in two tablespoons to the egg mixture. Beat lightly.

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Fold in the honey, marmalade, orange zest and poppyseeds. Lastly fold in the rest of the flour mixture followed by the orange juice.

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Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for half an hour, until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake rest in the tin for ten minutes before turning out and cooling. I spread the marmalade directly from the jar onto the still warm cake so it has a chance to absorb some of the syrup. Slice when cool. (Slicing when warm will lead to the cake falling apart.) Eat.

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On (almost) finishing. And some thyme and peach loaf cake.

Greetings dear readers. It has been a long time! Three (nearly four) whole months (ssshhh!). If you are wondering what on earth happened to me (I do hope you are), well, I finally submitted my thesis for examination. Cue dancing bears and confetti and loud bangs and cake.

Well, some of those things anyway. I am now in that weird interim period as I await my viva (defense) and start to contemplate life-after-a-PhD. This is a surprisingly scary thing. I’ve spent a very long time on one project and now I find myself at the end and the big, scary question now is, what next? And the even scarier realisation is that well anything could be next. The possibilities are somewhat endless. The good thing is that there seem to be various things happening in a range of places but I am as yet without an actual permanent job. I keep reminding myself that this is okay! I’m busy working in a cafe (making a lot of cake) and writing several things. And next week I am bonding with the mothership and princess up in the peaks for some much needed rest.

But in the meantime, I am back here. (Yay!) I will do a catch up post soon but today I’m keeping it simple. Today is all about this cake (bout this cake).

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I found this cake via Instagram, which I realise sounds odd but there you go. I follow Honey&Co and on Sunday a while back they had a ‘cook along’ which, quite frankly, is just a genius idea. Basically they posted photographs of the step-by-step process of this cake and you could cook alongside with them. I was at work (#chefslife) but I scrolled back through the feed with interest. I love a loaf cake and at this time of year I’ll take anything with peaches. Their cake is made with fennel seeds (which sounds exciting and intriguing) but in my head I had this mantra going “peaches and thyme, peaches and thyme” so I decided to do a little adapting and made this instead. This is wonderful cake – good for tea – but even better a day old, toasted under the grill and slathered with salted butter. (You can ask the girls at work. They will concur.)

Peach and Thyme Loaf Cake
Adapted from Honey & Co

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g golden caster sugar
zest of one orange
zest of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3 eggs
120g white spelt flour
40g buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
80g all-fat natural yoghurt
40g creme fraiche
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 peaches
demerara sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 170C and grease a large loaf tin with butter. Line the base of the tin with parchment.

Cream together the butter, sugar, zests, vanilla and salt until the mixture is white and fluffy.

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Pull the thyme leaves from their stems. If your thyme is flowering you can also add in some of the flowers. Pull enough leaves to fill a tablespoon loosely. Add the thyme into your mixture.

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Add in the eggs and beat again. The mixture will probably look split, do not stress. It’ll come back together.

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Cut two cheeks off each peach (Honey & Co came up with this delightful phrase). Slice the cheeks finely. Dice the rest of the peaches.

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In a separate bowl, mix together the flours and baking powder.
Fold half the flour into the egg/butter mixture followed by all the yoghurt and creme fraiche.

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Fold the diced peaches into the cake batter

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Pour the batter into your loaf tin.
Arrange the peach slices on the top and sprinkle with a little demerara sugar.

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Bake until the cake is risen and cooked through – a skewer inserted comes out clean and the cake springs back at your touch. Depending on your oven this will take around 45 minutes or so.
Allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out and cooling completely on a wire rack.

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Sour Cherry Loaf Cake

I am back at work today, for the first time in six weeks. It’s a slight shock to the system, obviously, and my looming three-year deadline is not helping. I’ve already read some Foucault. You know, just to ease into things again. Now I need to read my thesis draft so I can remember what exactly I have written. I need to edit it, improve the writing, engage with the theory and generally make it better (better? presentable? an-organised-argument-rather-than-a-random-jumble-of-words? Oh the things still to do!). On top of that I am ever-so-slightly jet lagged (I keep thinking I’m fine and then am awake until 2am. Dammit!) and I am house-hunting. To counterbalance all this, I thought I would share this cake with you. Plus, it’s Monday. Who doesn’t need cake on Monday?

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This cake was still cooling on the counter when it was attacked by frenzied hoards of, apparently ravenous, people. (Evidence in the above picture of the cake falling apart as it was cut – precisely what happens when you try to cut hot cake.) I’ve never had that happen before. It obviously speaks volumes about the cake. And the sour cherries within. I made it (well, three of them actually) at cookNscribble a few weeks back to help use up all those sour cherries we had in the freezer. It’s not quite a pound cake, (traditional pound cakes have equal quantities flour/butter/sugar), but it is fairly similar. I found the recipe on NPR (via a Google search for sour cherry cake). The original uses mascarpone but I only had souring heavy cream so I used that. I also reduced the quantity of sugar by a half cup. I don’t think it needs the extra half but feel free to add it back in if you like things slightly sweeter. It’s a straight-forward creaming method cake, no frills, and bakes easily in loaf tins. I suspect it would make a good bundt cake too.

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Happy Monday!

Sour Cherry Loaf Cake
Adapted from NPR

2 cups sour cherries (if using frozen, defrost in the fridge overnight)
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups butter (3/4lb*)
2 1/2 cups caster sugar
6 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and line two loaf tins with parchment.
Place the cherries (and any juice) in a bowl and cover with the 1/2 cup of sugar. Set aside.
Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and set aside.

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Cream the butter with the other 2 and a half cups of sugar until bright white and fluffy.
Add in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. If the mixture splits (this is almost inevitable), add in a few tablespoons of the flour/salt mixture.

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Add in half the flour mixture, followed by half the sour cream. Beat until smooth, then add in the rest of the flour followed by the cream.

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Drain the excess juice of the cherries into a pot.

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Gently fold the cherries into the cake mixture.

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Divide this between the two loaf tins.

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Bake for approximately one hour, depending on your oven. The cakes are cooked when risen, golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Whilst the cakes are baking, reduce the cherry juice over a medium heat until it starts to thicken. This takes only about five minutes. When the cakes are still warm, paint the juice over the cakes. Allow to cool completely before eating. (If you can keep the masses at bay that long.)

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This cake freezes super well for up to three months. Allow to defrost at room temperature overnight before serving.

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*This is approximately 340g. But I was measuring in American, so I haven’t used the gram measurement yet.

Oat Banana Bread

I know, I know. I really don’t need to write about banana bread any more. This is the fourth post on banana related breads and cakes. You can find the others here, here and here. I think we can all agree that I am totally incapable of eating bananas before they are over ripe. We all have our flaws, I guess. My solution is of course, to freeze the bananas until I need to make banana bread. The problem with that solution is my freezer is tiny and last night I went on a fridge cleaning, freezer raid (to eliminate all the things that were starting to look like they had freezer burn) and decided it was time to use up all the bananas that were languishing there, threatening a coup. Obviously, if I was a smoothie drinking person, I could have just blended the bananas into smoothies. But I’m not. So more banana bread was the only solution (and convenient on-the-go breakfast food). I also had to get up at 7am to facilitate a fire drill and banana bread become a very necessary recovery activity afterwards.

Oxford with Mom and Loul Feb 2013 058You’ll be pleased to know that this is, in fact, different from the other banana recipes on this site. Apparently there are endless variations on banana bread/cake. This one is not sweet at all. In fact, you can eat it successfully with butter and honey. It’s dense with banana and heavy with oats and spelt. But it’s also addictive and more-ish and I suspect it will keep you going for days. It’s adapted from Scandilicious Baking, which is fast turning into my new, go-to book. I used a combination of plain and spelt flours, as I didn’t have any refined spelt flour. I also left out the pecans/walnuts, again because I didn’t have any but I don’t think my bread is lacking in any way. I decided to brown the butter, since it has to be melted anyway, and I am just loving brown butter at the moment. I used slightly more banana than originally called for, mainly because I wanted to be rid of the frozen bananas. Finally I reversed the method, adding the wet ingredients to the dry ones. The resulting bread feels a bit like health bread (I think it’s the oats that does it) but in a good way.

Banana Bread

Adapted from Scandilicious Baking

4 medium bananas

1/3 cup + 2 tbsp buttermilk

75g butter

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 egg

225g plain flour

50g wholemeal spelt flour

60g rolled oats

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp bicarb

freshly ground nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp)

a pinch of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a loaf tin with baking paper and butter.

Melt the butter and cook it until it starts to brown and smells nutty. Remove from the heat and cool.

Mash the bananas and then stir in the buttermilk, maple syrup, egg and cooled butter.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a separate bowl.

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Make a well in the dry ingredients and then pour in the wet ingredients. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon, taking care to ensure everything is incorporated (you don’t want little pockets of flour randomly about). Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin, smooth down with a spatula and sprinkle with a tablespoon of oats.

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Bake for about 50 minutes, until the cake is risen and golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin before turning out and eating with butter and honey…

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Gingerbread Loaf

The Princess is visiting so naturally I had to make a spice cake of sorts this weekend. I made this last night so I’m afraid there are no pictures of the method as it was already dark when I was whisking and folding and pouring. I experimented with the recipe in Bouchon Bakery which I have been dying to use ever since it arrived last year. I appear to be slightly useless at reading recipes before going to the shops so upon my return I discovered I was supposed to have both canola oil and lemon zest for the recipe so I had to do a little adapting. I left out the lemon zest – let’s be honest, I didn’t really have a choice there – and I used butter instead of oil. As a result I mixed up the method too, melting the butter and black treacle together before adding in the eggs. I had to use black treacle because I couldn’t find molasses. Personally, I like the result. This is a dark, dense, sticky gingerbread. I like to eat it with a little butter but the Princess is holding out for cream cheese icing. (I’ll let you know how that goes.)

Other things to note: the recipe says it makes two loaves. It is possible my loaf tin is very large but mine made 1 and 1/2 loaves. I also baked the loaves one after the other because I only have one loaf tin. Obviously if you have two loaf tins you can divide the mixture in half and then bake them simultaneously. My loaves consequently baked within 40 minutes and not the hour recommended. I was dubious about the addition of boiling water but I went ahead with it, although I added less than the recipe calls for. It changes the nature of the batter, making it much thinner and less sugary. So, even if it seems weird, do add the water.

Gingerbread Loaf
Adapted from Bouchon Bakery
340g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
a pinch of salt
220g lightly packed brown sugar
320g black treacle
170g unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 cup boiling water
Makes 2 loaves

Preheat the oven to 180C and line two loaf tins with parchment paper.
Weigh out the flour and then add in the bicarb, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt and half the sugar.
Place the rest of the sugar with the butter and treacle in a pan and heat until the butter melts. I watched this carefully because I didn’t want the mixture to get very hot and I removed it from the heat when it was at about body temperature. Allow it to cool slightly.
Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and then whisk them into the treacle mixture. (If your treacle is too hot you will end up with scrambled/cooked eggs at this point.)
Fold the flour into the treacle mixture (I added it all at once) and mix until smooth. Lastly stir in the boiling water, adding it in quarter cup portions so the bowl doesn’t get overwhelmed. The mixture will thin out but will take the whole cup of water.
Divide the mixture between loaf tins (or if you only have one, pour in half the mixture) and bake for about 40 minutes. I would check the loaf at 30 minutes – it’s done when it springs back and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack and cooling completely. Then wrap it in clingfilm and allow it to mature overnight before slicing and buttering for breakfast…

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

Well, despite the universe’s attempts to totally overwhelm me, I am still here. I’ve gotten a bit tunnel vision-y of late as I try to get everything I need from the schools I’m working with before the term ends and the madness of Christmas descends. I’ve changed the design of my project quite significantly and that meant that following half term I had a lot of work to do in terms of focussing in on what I needed and then trying to get it. I’ve been interviewing, I’ve spent time in the kitchens and this week I’m focus grouping with children. I’m terribly nervous about the whole thing (children can be scary!) and I’m trying to go prepared. Basically that entails going over in my mind what I’m trying to achieve – getting them to talk about food and draw a few things on a sheet – and I’ve spent a mini fortune on crafts and paints and coloured markers so at the very least the time spent will be fun. Well, I think it will be fun. Heavens knows what the kids will think.

And because I’ve been focussed on my work I haven’t really been getting up to much baking. It also doesn’t help that it is getting dark so early (4.30pm now!) and then I can’t shoot anything anyway because I like to use natural light in the photographs. Oh the dilemmas of the end of the year. But, this Sunday I finally got around to doing something. I woke up quite early (all these 6am starts are slowly slowly adjusting my body clock) and started to patter about in the kitchen and, before I had time to get distracted by anything, I made up some banana bread. I’ve had some bananas frozen for a while now and freezer space is becoming an issue (and good freezer rules say you shouldn’t keep anything over three months anyway) so I thought I’d whip some up which I can then take with me on the early mornings for breakfast. Yes, I am a firm believer in chocolate for breakfast – particularly if you have to be up hours before the sun.

This recipe is adapted from Baked Elements. I got all excited because their recipe calls for a cup of crunchy peanut butter. Then I looked in the cupboard and found that I didn’t have any peanut butter. (I think this might be a first.) Rather than get dissuaded, I decided to forge ahead with out it. I don’t feel like the end result is missing anything frankly. It’s a dense and chocolate filled bread that happens to taste of banana although I would argue the banana is merely a vehicle for the chocolate. I also substituted in some wholemeal flour (to make it healthier obviously) and used golden sugar and golden caster sugar rather than regular sugar. I also used sour cream rather than milk. Finally I used cobnut oil in place of a plainer oil because I thought the hazelnut flavour would come through. To be honest I can’t say the flavour is very strong. But I thought I’d better use the cobnut oil as it is verging on becoming one of those things that lives in the cupboard for an eternity and stares at you accusingly whenever you open the cupboard door.

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
Adapted from Baked Elements
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp wholemeal flour
1/2 cup golden sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 generous cup mashed bananas (about 3)
1/2 cup cobnut oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
115g dark chocolate (70%)

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a loaf tin with butter and dust it with flour. Shake out the excess flour.
Mix together the flours, sugars, salt and bicarb and set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, oil, eggs and soured cream.

Chop the chocolate into pieces and toss in with the dry ingredients.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredient mixture and add in the liquids.
Fold everything together until combined.

Pour into the loaf tin and bake for about one hour. The cake is done when it springs back to the touch. If you feel like it is getting too dark on top, cover it with a little tin foil.

Leave to cool for 15 minutes in the in before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.
Slice and eat.