Monday, 25 February 2013

Pear and ginger pudding

Puddings make the world go round. Or, they do in our house at least. My boyfriend can't go far without pudding after his dinner. This pear and ginger sponge pudding is simple but very taste, and good for budgets.

4oz butter
4oz caster sugar
4oz self-raising flour
2 eggs
1 tin pear halves
1/2 crystallised ginger piece

Cream together the butter and sugar until,pale and fluffy.
Beat the eggs, then stir into the mixture.
Sieve the flour and add to mixture.
Meanwhile, drain the pear halves, and arrange on the bottom of a suitable ovenproof dish.
Chop the ginger then sprinkle over the pear halves.
Spoon the sponge mixture over the pears and smooth.
Bake in the oven at 180 degrees (160 fan) for about 40-50 minutes. I think that was how long it took - I took it out after about 30 minutes and it was still batter in the middle, and it seemed to take ages.
Serve with a little cream, if you like.

You could put more ginger in if you like more of a tang, as this amount was quite subtle but worked well.

I would like to enter this into the brilliant Tea Time Treats blog challenge for February, this month hosted by the lovely What Kate Baked.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Home-made jaffa cakes

To go with my jaffa orange drizzle cake for the February Stamford Clandestine Cake Club meeting, I also baked home-made jaffa cakes. These are brilliant, and taste just like the proper ones - everyone is impressed by these, but they're surprisingly simple.

For the cakes:
2 free-range eggs
50g caster sugar
50g plain flour

For the filling:
135g packet orange jelly
1 tbsp orange marmalade 
125ml boiling water
100g good quality dark chocolate

To make the cake layer, place a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in the bowl (I used an electric whisk) until frothy. 
Sieve in the flour and whisk until combined in a thick batter. 
Pour into prepared muffin tins, about half-way - I got 16 out of this amount. 
Bake in the oven, at 180 (160 fan) for about 8-10 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack. 

For the filling, make the jelly using the hot water, and once melted, add the marmalade and stir to melt. Pour into a baking tray so the jelly is all in one thin layer. Leave to cool, and chill in the fridge until set. 
Once set, cut out circles to fit on to the cake layer using a cookie cutter. 
Place the jelly circles on the cake layers. 
Melt the chocolate, and pour over your cake and jelly combos. This can get a bit messy! 
Leave to cool. 

Jaffa cakes. Lovely, and worth the effort for the reaction you'll get off everyone.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Jaffa orange drizzle cake

For this month's Stamford Clandestine Cake Club, I made a jaffa orange drizzle cake. I used a fancy new loaf tin too, which amused me with its 'loaf' wording on the side of the cake when baked.

This cake worked really well - it made quite a large loaf, but was moist, light and fluffy, and the tang of orange with the bite of chocolate on the top was delicious.

140g butter, softened
200g self-raising flour
1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
200g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
6 tbsp milk
finely grated zest 1 large orange

For finishing:
3 tbsp orange juice
100g golden caster sugar
50g dark chocolate

Heat the oven to 180 (160 fan) - gas mark 4. Prepare your loaf tin.
Cream together the butter and sugar until really fluffy and pale.
Add the eggs, which you've beaten first, a bit at a time - add a little flour to prevent it splitting. Add the zest at this point.
Sieve in the flour and baking powder, then add the milk. I thought 6 tablespoons might be too much but I stuck with it (and it worked).
Bake in the oven for about 45 - 50 minutes.

While the cake is baking, gently heat the orange juice with the sugar until it's all dissolved. As soon as you take the cake out of the oven, spoon the sugary juice over the top of the cake while it's still in the tin. Leave to cool a bit before taking it out.

Once cool, melt the chocolate, and drizzle over the top of the cake.

It's like a lemon drizzle, but better.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Cake club - loaf of fun

The fourth meeting of the Stamford Clandestine Cake Club was a roaring success - I'm so proud of our little group. Which isn't so little any more - after a brilliant feature in the Stamford Mercury by member and journalist Kerry, we had an influx of new members. 10 new people came, with the total number of cake at 16 - that's a lot of loaf for your money!

The theme was 'Use Your Loaf' after a discussion at January's meeting about how much we all love loaf cakes. I was impressed at the variety of flavours - I thought we'd end up with 10 lemon drizzles, but surprisingly we had none. Banana was the flavour of the day, with five incarnations of the traditional. We had a controversial savoury offering - cheese and courgette, which I have to admit I didn't try as I don't really like cheese (dare I say it - it has its place, but not in cake for me). My jaffa orange drizzle cake together with home-made jaffa cakes went down a storm, the tropical mango was a favourite of mine, and the chilli chocolate had a heated kick that we loved. The Mars cake, made with 6 Mars bars, certainly satisfied my sweet tooth!

It was great to see so many new faces and hopefully new friendships will be formed. It was brilliant to hear the bakers say they loved the idea of the club as they didn't know how to make friends with new people, and how hard it was to find a local club they were interested in that wasn't during the day, while we're at work.

I know it's just a little cake club, but I'm really proud of it. I love to see how happy people are sharing their cakes, seeing everyone chat with new people that you wouldn't normally meet, and finding the strangest things in common with each other. Cake makes the world go round. I wish I could find a job that was all about cake...

The pile of leftover cakes at the end of the night, even after everyone had filled their 'cake troughs' to take home, was hilarious. I gave the venue, the fabulous William Cecil hotel in Stamford, lots of cake for the staff, which they were over the moon about.

I recommend the venue to anyone - its label is 'quirky luxury' which is right down my street. We held the event in their conservatory, but the restaurant is equally impressive, and I loved the tartan curtains.

I love cake club. You should join in, if there's one near you, or how about becoming an organiser - it's very rewarding. See more about Clandestine Cake Clubs here.