Archive for November, 2012

Move over, Heston!: Orange and Almond Cake with Smoked Paprika Butter Icing

Heston Blumenthal may have had a whole orange at the centre of his Christmas pudding, but I’ve gone one better – one orange, that is! This moist and delicious cake has not one, but two whole oranges in it – zest, pith and all. While you might expect this to make the cake very bitter, it in fact gives it a wonderfully light and fresh flavour which balances the richness of the almonds.



But when you get down to it, my major reason for making this cake (other than to feed to my friends!) was to use up the other half of the paprika butter cream icing from my last post. I had stored this in the freezer, and wasn’t terribly sure whether it would thaw ok or not, but in fact it worked out just fine. I simply froze it in a small tub, and when I needed it I just defrosted it in the fridge over night, then took it out of the fridge for a couple of hours before icing the cake. To refresh the icing simply pop it in the blender with a couple of tablespoons of milk and blend until it regains a smooth and pliable consistency.

The cake recipe comes from the BBC food website.

Orange and Almond Cake


Preparation method

  1. Wash the oranges thoroughly. Bring them to the boil in a large saucepan of water and gently cook for two hours.

  2. Preheat the oven to 175C/325F/Gas 3 and butter and flour a 23cm/9in cake tin.

  3. Leave the oranges to cool, before slicing in quarters and removing the pips.

  4. Pulp the oranges in a food processor.

  5. Beat the eggs and gradually stir in all the remaining ingredients, including the orange pulp. Pour into the cake tin and cook for about an hour, until the cake is golden in colour and has risen.

  6. Transfer to a wire cooling rack, keeping the cake in the tin. When the cake has cooled, carefully remove from the tin and serve cut into slices.

    Ingredients For the Icing:

    • 125g butter (room temp)
    • 250g powdered sugar
    • 0.5 tsp vanilla
    • 1 tsp sweet paprika, 1tsp smoked paprika
    • ½ tsp  each: salt, black pepper

    Whip butter on high for 5 minutes.  Scrape sides and repeat.  Add powdered sugar a cup at a time with mixer on speed 1.  Add milk, vanilla, and spices.  Whip on speed 3 to incorporate everything fully. Spread the icing over the top of the cake and decorate as pleases you, chill to set the icing


Spicing it up!: Chocolate and Paprika Cake



Recently I’ve felt a bit stuck-in-a-rut, baking wise. I’ve largely been sticking with what I know, or using up whatever has been kicking around the kitchen. It’s fine, but it leaves me a bit twitchy and unsatisfied. So I went in search of something a bit different from the norm.

I’ve been on a bit of a paprika kick recently, especially since picking up a box of really lovely smoked stuff – it’s tangy, sweet and rich, and I really can’t get enough of it. The Cake Spy has a lovely recipe for a Chocolate and Paprika cake, which I used as the basis of my cake. I didn’t stray from the recipe too much, but I did make a few changes; I made it as a one-layer cake (I was making this for the family, and transporting a double-decker cake on the train doesn’t bare thinking about), and significantly reduced the quantity of icing! It ended up rich, dense and delicious – but I think the cake could take a bit more paprika, to be honest.

Chocolate Paprika Cake (serves 8 – 10)

Ingredients For the Cake:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 0.75 cups vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • 0.5 cup dark cocoa
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili
  • 0.75 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1.5  cups strong brewed coffee
  • 30g dark chocolate chunks

Baking Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Grease one 8 inch pan with butter
  3.  Combine all ingredients except for flour and coffee into a large mixer bowl and mix until the batter is shiny and everything is incorporated.  Alternately add flour and coffee a cup at a time starting with the flour. When everything has been added, scrape down sides of bowl and mix on speed 3 for one minute. Stir in the chocolate chunks.
  4. Pour contents into prepared pans and bake for 55 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool.

Ingredients For the Icing:

  • 125g butter (room temp)
  • 250g powdered sugar
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp  each: salt, black pepper

 To make the icing:  Whip butter on high for 5 minutes.  Scrape sides and repeat.  Add powdered sugar a cup at a time with mixer on speed 1.  Add milk, vanilla, and spices.  Whip on speed 3 to incorporate everything fully. Spread the icing over the top of the cake and decorate as pleases you, chill to set the icing 🙂

Wedding baking part 2: Coconut and Lime Cake



Well, I finally have a bit of time to catch up on my writing up bakes I’ve done over the past couple of months which have been lingering on the camera. Life has been a bit manic recently!

So, this lovely Lime and Coconut Cake was the second of the bakes which I did for Alex and Becca’s wedding last month (the first of which was the Leon Pecan Pie). Not a lot to add to the story, but the cake was nice enough to write up. 

The only thing I would note is that the ‘crust’ around the side of the cake can go very dark, probably due to the high sugar content in the condensed milk. Probably best to use a reasonably thick loaf tin and/or line it fully with grease-proof paper to minimise this.

Coconut and Lime Cake

175g butter, softened (3/4 cup)

3 large free range eggs, beaten

250g of sweetened condensed milk (scant 200ml or scant 3/5 cup)

40g of desiccated coconut (generous 1/2 cup)

the finely grated zest and juice of one lime

175g of self raising flour (generous 1 1/2 cups)

1 tsp baking powder

For the drizzle icing:
the juice and zest of 1 lime

100g of icing sugar sifted (3/4 cup)

toasted flaked coconut to decorate (I omitted this in my cake)

Preheat the oven to 170*C/ 325*F/ gas mark 3. Butter and base line a 2 pound loaf tin with wax or parchment paper. Set aside.

Place all of the cake ingredients in a bowl. Beat with a hand held electric whisk for several minutes, just until the batter is smooth and pale. Don’t overdo it.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top over.

Bake for about 1 hour, or until risen and a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly in the tin, then lift out to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once cold, whisk together the icing sugar, zest and lime juice to give you a smooth drizzable icin Drizzle this over the cake with a spoon and toss on the toasted coconut flakes. (To toast the coconut flakes, spread it onto a baking sheet and leave in the heat of the oven after you have removed the cake for about 5 to 8 minutes)

This recipe originally came from:

Dr Frankenpudding’s Monster: Apple Pie/Crumble (Preventing food waste)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I hate food waste. Any time some salad lingers just a little too long in fridge, and it’s beyond redemption, I feel hideously guilty. Although it’s not a total loss – Edinburgh City Council now collects kitchen waste for anaerobic digestion, so although I’ve wasted a bit of money, and food which otherwise could have been eaten if I’d been a bit more on the ball, it’s not a total loss – it’ll be turned into liquid fertiliser (which is significantly better for the environment than artificial fertilisers) and biogas for energy. But that’s not an excuse to be wasteful! Ultimately I would like it if the only kitchen waste for recycling we were producing were inedible organics (i.e. orange peel, coffee grounds, tea bags etc etc) So I will endeavour further to use up whatever I can, some of the tougher veg matter can go to the rabbits (yes, we have house rabbits – little monsters whose favourite snack are computer cables…) and the rest will go for composting.

So, in the interests of avoiding food waste, I made a bit of a Frankenpudding!


Basicly, we had a few small eating apples (~8/9) kicking around the fruit bowl which had got to the slightly mealy stage where they’re not all that great for just eating, and had started to go a bit sticky and waxy on the outside. We also had a ball of sweet short-crust pastry in the freezer, left over from when I made the Leon Pecan Pie ( – you could half the quantities in that recipe if you were making from scratch. We didn’t have enough to make a full pie, hence the crumble topping.

Apple Pie/Crumble (Dr Frankenpudding’s Monster) (serves 6 – 8)

Pie base:

  • 0.5 quantities sweet short-crust pastry

Apple filling:

  • 8 or 9 *small* eating apples
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • a handful of sultanas
  • a sprinkle of ground ginger

Crumble Topping:

  • 150g plain flour
  • 125g chilled butter
  • 35g caster sugar
  • 35g brown sugar
  1. Grease a 9″ loose bottom tart case, and heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius
  2. Roll out the pastry until large enough to line the bottom and sides of the tart case with a bit left hanging over the edges, and trim. Place in the fridge for around 30 minutes.
  3. Peel, core and thickly slice the apples, mix with the lime juice, sultanas, sugar and ginger, and set aside.
  4. Put the flour and butter for the crumble topping into a blender, and blend until it reaches a bread-crumb like texture. Add in the sugars. Pour into a bowl and add 1 or 2 tbs of water and mix gently with a fork so larger clumps start to form.
  5. Remove the pie crust from the fridge, add the apple mixture, then top with the crumble mixture (don’t be tempted to press it down!).
  6. Put the pie in the oven for ~30 minutes, or until the topping has gone a golden brown colour. Remove, allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin. Serve with cream/ice cream/custard 🙂

P.s. My friend Neil suggested that my Frankenpudding was lacking sufficient bolts and lightening, so he volunteered to rectify this:

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