Posts Tagged ‘Baking’

Beyond hot chocolate: Chocolate and Cherry Marshmallows


In Edinburgh a wonderful thing has happened: a shop dedicated entirely to artisan marshmallows has opened. That’s right – marshmallows. Not the nasty little pink and white blobs of who-knows-what only fit to be melted in a fire, oh no! These are what marshmallows should be: springy, like the inside of a good meringue, and melt-in-the-mouth. The Key Lime Pie marshmallows are a particular favourite of mine 🙂

So, I got to thinking: just how difficult is it to make a marshmallow? Honestly, I had absolutely no idea how you would even start! Fortunately Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall came to the rescue with this recipe in The Guardian. And you know what, it really was very simple! I varied the recipe by adding cherry concentrate to the gelatin mixture, and adding some cocoa to the sugar/corn flour rolling mixture. Simple!

In the words of one on my friends: “It tastes like an angel just pooped in mouth”. I’ll just leave you with that mental image, shall I…?


THE Summer cake: Nectarine and Coconut Yogurt Cake


Last night was the first time in an absolute age where I’ve simultaneously felt like baking and have had the time to do so – so, of course, I made the most of it! It’s recess time at work, and so there are only a few of us brave souls in the office, and very very little work to keep us going. So since today is ‘hump day’, I thought a cake would be a nice way to ward off the recess blues 🙂

Since my last actual baking installment (as opposed to the regular Foodie Penpals posts) I’ve been to South America, and my partner and I have bought a house – and started redecorating the kitchen! I’m so excited about the kitchen re-do as it is tiny and unattractive, but hopefully with the addition of shelves and fresh paint it will look a lot better on a reasonably small budget. I may do an off-topic kitchen-refurb related post soon.

Nectarines are in season here (looooovee nectarines) but so often they go very soft far too quickly, and I ended up with a few sad looking specimens in the fruit bowl. These were co-opted for the baking effort, as was a load of dried coconut lingering at the back of the cupboard.

I was delighted with the results – it was light, tasty and pretty, and my colleagues loved it. I’ll be making another one for the pending flat-warming party at the weekend 🙂

Nectarine and Coconut Yogurt Cake

  • 180g butter, at room temperature
  • 215g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 225g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 55g (3/4 cup) shredded coconut
  • 175g ctn vanilla yoghurt
  • 4 nectarines, halved, stone removed, thinly sliced
  • 25g (1/3 cup) shredded coconut, extra
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Release the base of a 24cm (base measurement) springform pan. Invert. Secure back into the pan. Line the base and side with non-stick baking paper. Process the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, coconut and yoghurt in a food processor until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan.

  2. Arrange the nectarine on top of the cake. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes. Top with the extra coconut. Bake for a further 5 minutes or until the coconut is light golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

It’s been a while…

It's been a while...

It’s been ages since I’ve posted, or really baked all that much! I’m planning my big come back as I type, but in the meantime, here’s a picture of the Lemon and Ginger Layer Cake I made for my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary 🙂

To GBBO or not to GBBO, that is the question…

Applications for the Great British Bake Off season 5 are now being taken – do I, or don’t I…?

Tres Leche Redux: The Rum Edition



So by popular request I had a second go at this cake, which I made in my last post butthis time I added a bit of rum to the milk syrup mix and added sliced mango as decoration – and it was even better than the last one I made!

Tres Leche Cake (or the most calorific thing I have ever made…)


I kid you not, I think this is the possibly the most calorific cake I have ever made. And I regret not one bite of it! It is moist, with a springy but substantial mouth-feel, and rich without being heavy. I’d serve this as a pudding rather than an afternoon tea treat, with a little bit of additional cream. Not the traditional version, but utterly gorgeous 🙂


Three Milk (Tres Leches) Cake
1 cup white sugar
5 eggs – yolks and white separated
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup (or one small can) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup evaporated milk 
A sprinkling of desicated coconut

Mixed berries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch baking dish.

Beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of sugar until light in colour and double in volume. Mix in milk, vanilla, flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In a small bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining ¼ cup sugar. Beat until firm but not dry. Folk egg whites gently into egg yolk batter mixture. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Cook cake completely; place on a serving plate. Use a 2 prong meat fork or skewer to puncture entire surface of cake. 

Mix together sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and ¼ cup of the whipping cream. Slowly pour the milk mixture over the cake until absorbed. Take your time and wait between applications so the milk doesn’t run over the sides. The cake really will absorb all the milk.

When all the milk has been absorbed, and the cake is fully cooled, store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve sprinkle with coconut and cover in sliced and whole berries and serve chilled. 

A cake from the cupboard: Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake with Cinnamon Cream-cheese Icing



(Unfortunately I had to re-use a picture of a previous cake, which looks very similar, as I completely forgot to take a picture of the Chocolate and Hazelnut cake – sorry!)

What do you do with half a small jar of hazelnut butter which is coming up on it’s use-by? It’s lovely stuff, but unbelievably rich! It was a bit pricey, even at 50% off, and I was absolutely determined that I was not going to waste it – and an appropriate cake-making opportunity arose in the departure of a lovely colleague. 

Hazelnut butter isn’t something I’ve seen used much in baking, maybe as a result of the cost, but it’s a great ingredient – full flavour, luxurious texture and utterly indulgent. And as far as possible, I wanted to use up ingredients I happened to have in the cupboard/fridge. I took a basic chocolate cake recipe, and adapted it to suit. In the end, all I needed to buy was the icing sugar 🙂

Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake with Cinnamon Cream-cheese Frosting

4tbs Hazelnut butter
250g butter, at room temperature
250g light muscovado sugar
½ tsp salt
100g cocoa powder
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
250ml milk

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 oz cream cheese (reduced fat is fine), at room temperature
2 cups Icing sugar, sifted
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Grease and line the bases of 2 x 20cm springform cake tins with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) 350F / gas 4. Cream together the butter and sugar with ½ tsp salt until light and fluffy.

2. Sift together the cocoa, flour and baking powder. Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time and beat until well combined, then fold in half the dry ingredients followed by the hazelnut butter. Fold in the rest, followed by enough milk to give a soft dropping consistency. Divide between the two tins and bake for about 25–30 minutes until firm in the centre.

3. Allow to cool completely on a rack, then make the frosting. Beat all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Put one of the cakes on a serving plate and spread a third of the icing on top. Place the second on top, then spread the rest of the icing over it.

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