Tag Archives: baking

Raspberry Limoncello Cake with Mascarpone

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Raspberry Limoncello Cake with Mascarpone
Are you tired of everything pumpkin yet? I have to admit I am getting there.  As much as I love seasonal baking once in a while I just have to break the mould and do something different. The days are usually dark and dreary in the long autumn months in England and we all crave sunshine to brighten our days and give us much needed Vitamin D.  Alas, that is not in the cards for this island dweller.  Luckily the Italians have it in abundance, so they gathered and bottled it for us less fortunate people  in the form of Limoncello.
My friend was having a baby shower which seemed like a perfect opportunity to try out my new bundt pan and to use up that tub of mascarpone I randomly picked up at the store. The life of a food blogger I tell ya! We often buy things with no firm plan or a recipe knowing that when the inspiration strikes we better be ready!

In this case, inspiration struck me late at night – when my mind was too tired to apply better judgement – causing me to bake not one cake but TWO! That’s right you are in for a treat, my friends. One recipe – two cakes. What could be better?

Raspberry Limoncello Bundt CakeIngredients: (For the cake)

  • Flour, sifted-2 cups
  • Sugar- 3/4 cups
  • Baking powder- 1 1/2 tsp.
  • Baking Soda- 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt- 1/2 tsp.
  • Greek yogurt, plain- 1 cup
  • Milk-1/2 cup
  • Vegetable oil- 1/4 cup
  • Eggs- 2 large
  • Vanilla extract- 1 tsp.
  • Limoncello- 1/4 cup
  • Raspberries, fresh or frozen- 1 cup

Ingredients: ( For Mascarpone Frosting)

  • Mascarpone- 300 gr/ 1 cup
  • Whipping Cream/Double Cream- 150 ml/2/3 cup
  • Icing Sugar- 1/4 cup
  • Limoncello- 2 tbsp.
  • White Chocolate, melted for drizzling on top- 50 gr

Method: For the Bundt cake.

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease your bundt pan. I like to use a pastry brush dipped in oil to brush all the little crevices of the bundt pan to make sure nothing sticks and then lightly dust it with flour.

In large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a smaller bowl whisk yogurt, milk, oil, vanilla extract, limoncello and eggs.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine until blended, then gently fold in raspberries.

Pour the mixture into the bundt pan, it shouldn’t be more than 2/3 full and bake for 60-65 minutes until the cake tester comes out clean. Cool until safe to touch and remove from the pan. Cool completely and dust with some icing sugar.Raspberry Limoncello Cake

Let’s be honest, baking is tricky and one little ingredient can throw off the entire recipe. So when I stumble upon a recipe I love I am very eager to use it in different ways. Why not elevate an every day bundt to a show stopping dessert! All you need is mascarpone. 🙂
Method: For Raspberry Limoncello Cake with Mascarpone

Follow the instructions above for the bundt cake. Pour your prepared mixture into a 9″ pan and bake in the preheated to 350F/180C  oven for 40 minutes.  I would strongly urge you to not just rely on baking times provided by  recipes as oven temperatures vary. Instead, always test your cake for doneness with a cake tester or a tooth pick (I use a long metal skewer).

Cool your cake and remove from the pan. When your cake is completely cooled split it in two layers. (My trick for getting two even layers is scoring the outside of the cake with a sharp knife first, then wrapping a thick thread around the cake so it goes inside the slit and then pulling two ends of the thread while crossing them over each other. It works perfectly every time).

Now let’s make the frosting. I have to say this Mascarpone Frosting is one of my favourites. It’s no fail and as easy as a regular whipped cream frosting but since it’s more stable so if you want to pipe fancy design you can.

Mascarpone Frosting:

In a large bowl whip together your mascapone, whipping cream, icing sugar and limoncello until firm peaks form but don’t overbeat. It usually comes together in 5 minutes.

Fill your layer cake with mascarpone frosting and decorate the top with drizzled white chocolate and slices of lemon.

Raspberry Limoncello Cake with Mascarpone FrostingRaspberry Limoncello Cake with Mascarpone Frosting I can’t even begin describe how fresh and delicious this cake tastes! Soft and buttery cake dotted with bright red raspberries and then that limoncello frosting. A dream. Try it. Have a tea party.Then tell me all about it.
Raspberry Limoncello Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

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Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins

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Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
‘Tis the season for every kind of pumpkin flavoured treat to make an appearance. Great news for everyone but is there really a recipe worth sharing that hasn’t been done before??
I’ve thought long and hard as I love bringing you things new and fresh. Here is the result. Moist and flavourful pumpkin muffins with Cornish toffee and sprinkled with honeycomb pieces. I’ve never baked anything with honeycomb before but when I saw it at a shop I was immediately inspired. Growing up, the only way I ever ate pumpkin was pumpkin roasted with honey. Naturally, combining pumpkin and honey in a muffin just screamed childhood to me! Then I added caramel flavoured toffee…just for fun. Can you see all the toffee bits in there?

I didn’t know what to expect but what I got was a crackled muffin top because honeycomb melted and seeped into the muffins and toffee studded bottom!Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
AMAZING!
Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
They are so so so tasty I can’t stop eating them! I said “I” but what is meant is that my kids can’t stop eating them. 😉

Ingredients: ( Makes 3 dozen/36 muffins)

  • 4 1/2 c. flour
  • Baking Powder-3 tsp.
  • Baking Soda-2 tsp.
  • Salt- 1 1/2 tsp.
  • Cinnamon-3 tsp.
  • Pumpkin Spice (nutmeg, cloves, ginger)- 1 tsp.
  • Oil-2 cups
  • Demerara Sugar- 2 1/2 cups
  • Eggs- 6 large
  • Pumpkin puree- 28 oz (1 large can or use your own like I did)
  • Cornish Toffee- 1/2 cup/100 gr
  • Honeycomb pieces-1/2 cup/100gr

Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 325F/150C. Line your muffin tin with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl (remember it’s a very big recipe) combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin spice.  Use a stand mixer if you have one or a hand mixer.

3. Add oil, sugar,  eggs, pumpkin puree  and toffee and mix well. Fill your muffin cups 2/3 full and sprinkle with honeycomb pieces. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Repeat. Twice.

Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
Can you imagine the aroma that wafts through your house while you are baking three batches of muffins? Indescribable.
Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins

Sour Cherry and Dark Chocolate Granola Cookies

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Cherry and Dark Chocolate Granola Cookies “What can we have for a snack?”, my children say as soon as they step in the house after a day at school. Although they have a cooked lunch there they are absolutely ravenous when they get home. It’s this awkward time of the day, it’s still a bit early for dinner yet their appetites are so big they are not easily satisfied with a piece of fruit anymore. Of course, they ask if we have any biscuits at home…erm English for “cookies”. I am not a fan of giving them cookies for snacks, it just doesn’t sit right with me. However, if I make my own and put all kinds of healthy things in them and control sugar amount I might be okay with the idea and they will be thrilled.

Lo and behold- a protein and other nutrients packed cookie this mom approves. Good and healthy granola ingredients baked into a cookie form and  jazzed up with a little bit of dark chocolate, which let’s face it, has many positive benefits for our bodies and spirits. They are chockfull of old-fashioned rolled oats and dried sour cherries sweetened with raw Demerara/Turbinado sugar that has more minerals and nutrients than regular white sugar and has a natural caramel flavour. Bonus!

Sour Cherry and Dark Chocolate Granola Cookies

Sour Cherry and Dark Chocolate Granola Cookies

Ingredients:

  • Wholewheat or All Purpose Flour- 2 cups
  • Old Fashioned Rolled Oats (not quick or instant)- 2 cups
  • Baking Soda- 1 tsp.
  • Baking Powder- 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt- 1/2 tsp.
  • Demerara Sugar-1  1/4 cup
  • Butter- 1 cup/250 gr
  • Eggs- 2 large
  • Vanilla- 1 tsp.
  • Dark  Chocolate Chips or Chunks- 1/3 cup
  • Dried Sour Cherries- 1/3 cup
  • Walnuts or any other nuts (optional)- 1/3 cup

Method:

Preheat your oven to 350 F/180 C. Line your baking trays with parchment paper.

Mix first 5 ingredients- flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Beat butter and sugar until blended, add eggs and vanilla, continue beating for 2-3 more minutes. You can use electric mixer or an old fashioned wooden spoon. Both work like magic.

Add dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture and mix well, now add dried cherries and chocolate chips and walnuts if using. At this point I just get right in there with both hands as I find mixing a cookie dough with a spoon nearly impossible but if you mastered it go for it!

Scoop each cookie with a spoon, using 1/4 cup of dough and drop it on your baking tray spacing them 2″ apart as the cookies will get bigger as they bake. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes.

Sour Cherry and Dark Chocolate Granola Cookies
The cookies come out soft and chewy straight from the oven, the aroma in the house creates an atmosphere nothing short of a domestic bliss and perfection. (I wish I could bottle it in and release it on those days when rooms are not getting tidied and homework is not getting done. :-)) Dried cherry in combination with dark chocolate is a heavenly twist on the traditional oatmeal raisin. My kids were mighty impressed!
Sour Cherry and Dark Chocolate Granola Cookies

Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle

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Apple Spice Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle
Don’t you think autumn is the ideal time to bake? There is plenty of fruit that’s been just harvested but the temperature is not scorching hot anymore which makes a warm oven is quite welcome. Especially when it is a cheaper substitute for central heating!

This cake is my take on a well-beloved zucchini loaf except instead of zucchini I am using shredded apples. They add the same amount of moisture to the cake and so much more aroma and flavour! Just look at the raw material I was working with!

Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle
You are going to fall in love with this cake because it has the familiar taste of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves we so crave in the fall and the little extras like streusel top and salted caramel drizzle take it to the next level. I also lightned up the cake by using only 1/2 cup of oil and a reduced amount of sugar. I’ve used Demerara sugar, which has more nutrients and minerals than regular white sugar, it’s light brown, raw and has a natural caramel flavour that hasn’t been refined out!Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle
Ingredients:

For the Cake

  • Apples- 4 medium (3 cups shredded)
  • Sugar ( I used Demerara/Turbinado sugar)-11/4 cup
  • Oil-1/2 cup
  • Eggs-4 large
  • Flour-3 cups
  • Baking soda- 2 tsp.
  • Baking powder-1/2 tsp.
  • Salt-1 tsp.
  • Cinnamon- 1 tsp.
  • Mixed Spice- 1/2 tsp.
  • Nutmeg- 1/4 tsp.

For the Streusel Topping

  • Flour-5 1/2 tbsp.
  • Sugar (Demerara/Turbinado)-5 tbsp.
  • Cinnamon- 1/4 tsp.
  • Mixed Spice- 1/4 tsp.
  • Nutmeg- 1/4 tsp.
  • Butter, slightly softened- 3 tbsp.
  • Walnuts (chopped)- 1/4 cup

Salted Caramel Drizzle ( I used pre-made Marks and Spencer brand)-2-3 tbs.

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C

2. Grease the bottom only but not the sides of a 9″ round pan. Springform pan works the best as it makes it easier to remove the cake after it’s been baked.  Shred the apples with skin on and mix together with sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients (cake ingredients only). Pour the batter into your pan and smooth the top.

3. Mix together the streusel ingredients in a small bowl with a fork or use your hands.  The streusel won’t be crumbly but will have the consistency of a cookie batter. Pinch of small bits and cover the surface of the cake.

4. Bake for 60 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.

5. Let cool for 30 minutes, then loosen the sides of the cake and remove it from the pan. Drizzle with pre-made salted caramel in any way your imagination allows. (If you caramel sauce is a bit stiff put it in the microwave for 30 seconds, that should help to get it runny and only use a good quality brand you trust. :-))

Even though this cake is incredibly soft and flavourful, the best part of it is the crunchy streusel top drenched in caramel. Pure indulgence!

Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle

Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Caramel Drizzle

Raspberry Almond Muffins

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Raspberry Almond Muffins
I woke up this morning to the sound of the rain, not a terrible thing I suppose if you can stay dry and cozy inside. There is was another thing though that kept my mood gloomy. Brad was leaving for a work trip to Sri Lanka and we have a long history of being away from each other through the years due to travelling. The longest one was 9 months during our engagement. He spent it in Nepal and I lived in the Philippines. To this days it was a wonderful and the most dreadful year of my life.

In order to snap out my misery I decided I needed to keep busy while the kids were at school. I thought it would be a pleasant surprise for them to walk into the house that smelled of warm and fragrant muffins- amazingly fluffy muffins filled with raspberries, the last remnant of the summer!

Raspberry Almond MuffinsRaspberry Almond Muffins
Ingredients: { Makes 12}

  • Flour- 2 cups
  • Sugar- 3/4 cup
  • Baking powder-1 1/2 tsp.
  • Baking soda- 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt-1/2 tsp.
  • Sour Cream- 1 cup ( I used reduced fat)
  • Milk- 1/2 cup
  • Vegetable oil- 1/4 cup
  • Almond extract (or use vanilla if you don’t like almond)- 1/2 tsp.
  • Eggs- 2 large
  • Raspberries (fresh or frozen)- 1 cup
  • Sliced Almonds- 1-2 tbsp.

Method:

Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Line your muffin pan with paper liners.

In large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a smaller bowl whisk sour cream, milk, oil, almond extract and eggs.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine until blended, then gently fold in raspberries.

Divide the batter among 12 muffin cups and sprinkle sliced almonds on top. Bake for 20 minutes, test with a toothpick for doneness, it should come out clean. {I also dusted them with a tinge of powdered sugar once they cooled a bit}. Yum!

These muffins are truly gorgeous. My son said that “raspberries make them very refreshing”. 🙂 I just love how children express themselves!

Raspberry Almond Muffins
Being busy definitely helped so it’s fair to expect a lot more baking in the next two weeks.

The recipe was adapted from  “The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook”.

Crumb Apricot Cheesecake

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Crumb Apricot Cheesecake
Do you have a recipe you’ve made so many times you know it by heart? Better yet, was that recipe passed on to you by your momma? The one I am about to share with you is one of those recipes. The first time I made it I was in my early teens and since then I’ve made it hundreds of times…literally. It was my mom and my “go to recipe” when there was only about half an hour between a phone call and guests appearing on our doorsteps.  We made it so many times we used every kind of fruit filling possible. I thought we exhausted all the options but I was wrong.

Last Saturday morning I woke up with a strong urge to bake and I knew I was craving something Slavic. 🙂 That’s right it’s a thing. I made a dash to the closest Polish shop and picked up a pound of farmer’s cheese. It was a good start. When I grabbed the closest to me cookbook an old, marked with food stains piece of paper fell out. I grinned widely when I picked it up. The precious sheet of paper contained a collection of our family’s favourite recipes typed up by my mom and sent to me when I left for college in America. Bingo! That’s exactly what I needed.

Crumb Apricot Cheesecake
If you follow my blog you’d know that when it comes to recipes nothing is sacred to me. I love to change things up and what started out as my mom’s favourite recipe became highly experimental at some point of the process. Needless to say, I was beyond pleased when I cut into it (after hours of waiting for it to cool) and found out the risk payed off!
What my mom and I always made was essentially a seasonal fruit encased in rich and buttery pastry but somehow I ended up with a fruit cheesecake with a buttery crust and almond crumb topping. Pure luxury.
Crumb Apricot Cheesecake
Have I convinced you that you too need it in your life?

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • Flour-2 1/2cups
  • Butter- 1 cup/250 gr.
  • Sugar- 1 cup
  • Egg- 1
  • Baking powder-1/2 tsp

For the filling:

  • Apricots- 12
  • Farmer’s Cheese (Tvorog)/Cream Cheese- 500 gr/16 oz
  • Eggs -2
  • Sugar- 1 cup
  • Semolina- 2 tbsp.
  • Vanilla bean/Vanilla extract- seeds from 1 vanilla bean/ 1 tsp.
  • Ground Almonds ( for the topping)- 1/4 cup

Method:

In the food processor combine flour, cold butter, sugar and baking powder, pulse until the  mixture resembles fine bread crumbs, add the egg and pulse until just combined.  (This could also be easily done in a regular bowl with a pastry blender.) Take the pastry out of the food processor, it will be soft.  Pinch off 1/3 of the pastry, wrap it in a plastic wrap and put in the freezer. Wrap the rest in the plastic wrap as well and put this portion in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Crumb Apricot Cheesecake

Now let’s take care of the filling.  Cut your apricots in half and pit them. Set aside. (I also planned to use the red and black currants at first but then changed my mind and that is why they are in the picture.)

Combine farmer’s cheese or cream cheese, eggs, sugar, semolina and vanilla bean seeds in a large bowl using a hand mixer until smooth or a food processor if you want your farmer’s cheese to be less grainy. ( I processed mine in the food processor for a silky consistency.)

When the pastry is finished chilling take it out of the fridge and roll it out to fit an 9″ springform pan lining the bottom and the sides all the way to the top. Don’t worry if your pastry tears, just take the overhanging pieces and patch up the holes! That pastry is very pliable and forgiving. When your springform pan is lined all the way put it back in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Then take it out of the fridge and fill it with the cheese filling and top with apricots.

Crumb Apricot Cheesecake
Now it’s time to get your crumb topping out of the freezer. In Russia this dessert is called “Tertiy Pirog”, which literally means “Grated Pastry” because the top is being frozen and then grated directly on the filling with a vegetable grater like so.
Crumb Apricot Cheesecake
I decided to toss my crumbs with ground almonds for an extra indulgence. Trim off your overhanging sides and press them gently in to blend with the crumb topping. When the pastry casing bakes it magically all blends together beautifully.

Put it in the preheated oven at 350F/180C and bake for 50 minutes or until golden. Cool it for an hour until cool to the touch and then chill it in the refrigerator for at least 2 more hours to ensure the cheese filling in cooled completely. (Waiting for it was the hardest part for me. :-)) Crumb Apricot CheesecakeDust with additional powdered sugar if desired and enjoy with a cup of tea!
Crumb Apricot CheesecakeCrumb Apricot Cheesecake

Crumbly Scones with Red and Black Currants

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Crumbly Scones with Red and Black Currants
Who in the right mind would turn down a scone? No one. Make it a freshly baked scone with berries and my will power is slim to none. Why am I doing this to myself?
I love to create great food and I love to feed it to my husband and children.
Crumbly Scones with Red and Black Currants
If you share my love for baking and feeding your friends and family here is a simple recipe for you. I have never had too much success with scones, they never seemed to come out as flaky as the recipe promised. Here is what Jamie Oliver says in his book Jamie’s Great Britain,” Brilliant scones are about having confidence to do as little as possible.”

These scones are not picture perfect, they are rustic and scruffy but dang it…they ARE brilliant.
Ingredients:

  • Red and Black Currants (or any other berries you love)-150 gr/1/2 cup
  • Cold Unsalted Butter( cubed)- 150gr/1/2 cup
  • Flour- 500gr/2.5 cups
  • Baking Powder- 2 heaped tsp.
  • Sugar- 2 tbsp.
  • Salt- a pinch
  • Eggs- 2 large
  • Milk- 4 tbsp.
  • Clotted cream and your favourite jam, to serve

Method:

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.

Put your cubes of butter, flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl and rub the ingredients together until the mixture resembles oat flakes.  Make a well in the middle and add eggs and milk.

Crumbly Scones with Red and Black Currants
Mix everything together with a spatula. You should have a soft and dry dough, don’t overmix. If your dough looks messy that’s a good sign. It shouldn’t be smooth if you want flaky, crumbly scones. If your dough is too dry and falling apart add a splash of milk to bring it together.  Add your currants, quickly mix and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes covered with a plastic wrap.
Crumbly Scones with Red and Black Currants
Take the dough out of the fridge and divide into 3 parts. Form each part into a ball and roll it out on a floured surface 2 to 3 cm thick. You can cut out circles using a round pastry cutter or you can take the lazier route-roll out your balls into large circles, transfer them on a baking tray and then just divide each circle into 8 wedges but don’t separate the wedges.
Crumbly Scones with Red and Black Currants
Bake in the oven until golden for 12-15 minutes. ( You can bake them altogether if your oven is large enough or one by one like I did.)
Here is proof to the crumbliness of these beauties.
Crumbly Scones with Red and Black Currants
These scones are not sweet so serve them with clotted cream and your favourite jam. If don’t live in England and your local store doesn’t carry clotted cream, a little bit of butter would also work but will never be a true substitute. Clotted Cream is my favourite English discovery.
Crumbly Scones with Red and Black Currants
Note: This recipe was adapted from “Jamie’s Great Britain” by Jamie Oliver