Traditional Welsh Cakes

Welsh cakes are amazing. They are almost a scone, but not as fluffy. They are made best using a skillet which helps to distribute the heat properly. They take a little longer to cook than pancakes (because they are thicker) and when they are done, they are best served coated with a think layer of sugar. Needless to say, these don’t really fit onto a diet plan, but completely worth the treat. I used the recipe from BBC Good food as a basis, but I’ve made a few adjustments to suit our house. 

Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 100g butter , cut into small pieces
  • 50g mixed dried fruit
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • splash milk

Method

  • Tip the flour and, sugar,  into a bowl.
  • Then, with your fingers, rub in the butteruntil crumbly.
  • Mix in the dried fruit.
  • Work the egg into the mixture until you have soft dough, adding a splash of milk if it seems a little dry – it should be the same consistency as shortcrust pastry.
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to the thickness of your little finger.
  • Cut out rounds using a 6cm cutter, re-rolling any trimmings. (I used a medium size drinking glass as a cutter)
  • Grease a flat griddle pan or heavy frying pan with lard, and place over a medium heat.
  • Cook the Welsh cakes in batches, for about 3 mins each side, until golden brown, crisp and cooked through. Delicious served warm with butter and jam, or simply sprinkled with caster sugar.
  • Cakes will stay fresh in a tin for 1 week.
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Nigella’s Lemon Drizzle Cake

For my birthday I realised that I need to make something for the office, so I decided to try out a fool proof recipe for Lemon Drizzle cake. Instead of using a loaf tin, I decided to try out my ring cake tin. I think a ring cake always looks impressive and they are super simple to drizzle the icing all over. Many thanks to The Extraordinary Art of Cake for sharing the recipe

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 175g self raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons milk

For the Syrup

  • juice of 1 and a half lemons
  • 100g icing sugar

For the Drizzle Icing

  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 150g icing sugar

Method

For the Cake

For the cake, I used a ring loaf tin, and because I had no idea how much the cake will rise, I actually doubled up the recipe and the cake overflowed all over the oven. I also had enough to make 4 cupcakes, which I don’t recommend. This mixture is too soft and the cupcakes just fall apart. For lemon cupcakes, take a look at my other recipe

  • Preheat your oven to 180 C/ gas mark 4.
  • Butter and line your tin well.
  • Cream together butter and sugar and add eggs and lemon zest, beating them in well.
  • Gently fold in the flour and the salt, mixing thoroughly and then add the milk.
  • Spoon the batter into your prepared tin and bake for 45 mins or until cake tester comes out clean.

 For the Syrup

  • Put the lemon juice and icing sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves.
  • As soon as cake is out of oven, puncture all over with skewer and pour over the syrup.
  • Leave cake to cool completely before removing from the tin. I found that turning it over onto a plate (without removing it from the tin) allows the bottom of the cake to cool a little quicker. 

For the Drizzle Icing

  • Combine lemon juice and icing sugar until smooth and white, add a little more icing sugar if needed.
  • Make sure your cake is completely cool before drizzling with the glaze.

Rose Cupcakes

It’s my birthday! I decided to mark the occasion with something yummy, non diet and lovely to look at. Of course I haven’t baked in a while I realise my ingredients cupboard is almost bare. I had to substitute some custard powder into my icing mixture which is why the icing is more peachy than rosy. The recipe for this is from Crumbs and Dirty Dishes. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

Ingredients

For the Rose-milk

  • 1 flower’s worth of rose petals (washed) (you may need to use more depending on how big or strong smelling your roses are)
  • 3/4 cup milk

For the Cupcakes

  • 120ml rose-milk
  • 275g self raising flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 110g unsalted butter
  • A few drops of red food colouring

For the Icing

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 15ml rose-milk
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • A few drops of red food colouring

Method

For the Rose-milk

An hour before you want to start on the rest of the cupcakes, take the milk for both the cakes and the icing and put on a fire on a very low heat with the (washed) rose petals. After at least an hour, remove the petals and drain excess milk then split the milk into the required amounts for cake and icing again.

For the Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  • Line a tray with cupcake cases.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until the mixture is very pale but not completely liquid.
  • Add one egg, beat for a few minutes then add the second egg before beating again.
  • Add one third of the flour, then one third of the rose-milk, beating for a few minutes or so after each addition. Repeat until both have been used up.
  • Add a drop or two of food colouring, just to give it a slight rose tint.
  • Spoon the mixture into 12 cupcake cases in the tray.
  • Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until firm to the touch and cooked through. Leave to cool.

For the Icing

I’ll give you the actual recipe I should’ve followed, rather than the botch job I did. I made half the amount of icing from the original recipe and it was enough to cover all the cupcakes.

  • Beat the butter and rose-milk whilst adding the icing sugar gradually.
  • Drop in the food colouring – remember a little goes a long, long way.
  • Ice the cupcakes as soon as they are cool and the icing is ready.

Vanilla Frozen Yoghurt

I’m trying out all sorts of healthy ice cream alternatives. This is a simple vanilla flavoured frozen yoghurt. 

  • 255g/9oz low fat natural fromage frais
  • 2 vanilla flavour Muller light
  • 1/2 level tbsp artificial sweetener
  • Few drops vanilla essence

Mix all the ingredients and insert into ice cream machine.

Follow the ice cream machine instructions.

Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt

I got an ice cream machine! After a bit of a faff, I finally figured out how it works (you need to put the big bowl in the freezer overnight first) I decided to throw some stuff together to make frozen yoghurt. It’s not ice cream, but its a much healthier option. 

Ingredients

  • 500ml fat free plain yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon sweetener (I use a stevia based sweetener, it is miles ahead of any of the others)
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries

Method

Mix the ingredients together, then using a hand blender give it a few blitzes, but making sure there are still some bits and it is not completely smooth. Then follow the instructions on your ice cream machine and voilà!

Mini Chocolate Puddings

Having bought ramekins, I am now over the moon with the simplicity of using them for all sorts of things. Of course, Chocolate pudding had to be it. When I was growing up, we would call this a self-saucing pudding, but call it what you want, it is super yummy and just more-ish. This is where using ramekins really helps, it is a simple form of portion control. I allow myself only one, but I don’t feel like I haven’t had enough to satisfy. I used this recipe as a base, and halved the quantities. The results were amazing.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 40ml unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 40ml milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 90ml firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups boiling water

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F/180° C/160° C Fan assisted. In a large bowl, sift together flour, half of the cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla; add to flour mixture. Stir batter until just combined. Spread batter evenly into an 8 cup shallow baking dish. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining cocoa powder, brown sugar, and boiling water. Pour liquid evenly over batter, do not mix.

Bake until a tooth pick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with crumbs adhering to it, 30 to 35 minutes (20 – 25 minutes for ramekins). Let cool 10 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (or custard).

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