Baking

Dairy-Free Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread

cinnamon swirl pumpkin bread

Who’s up for Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread! This bread has everything: subtle spicy sweetness rolled inside a delicious pumpkin enhanced bread with a really good crumb. It is delicious on it’s own or toasted and spread with cinnamon butter.

cinnamon swirl pumpkin bread

I always make pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and then wonder why I don’t cook with pumpkin more often. Pumpkin is fantastic in so many baked goods. It has a beautiful colour and texture. And it is the perfect vehicle for all those delicious baking spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

This Dairy-Free Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread is made with coconut milk, so it’s a dairy-free dessert. Whether you eat dairy products or not, you will not miss them in this sumptious loaf.

This bread has two rises in it, so it’ll take a few hours before it comes out of the oven. But a lot of that time is inactive, just waiting for those busy yeast cells to multiply and plump our dough up. So, while the bread is doing both of it’s rises, you could do some other fun stuff like read a chapter in a book, do some gardening, or go for a nice long walk.  However you spend your day, you will definitely have a feeling of satisfaction when this lovely Dairy-Free Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread comes out of the oven.

Not only do I love the taste of pumpkin, I just love the look of them: big, orange globes that come in so many shapes and sizes. Pumpkins are super fun to grow. As they grow on a meandering low-trailing vine, you don’t necessarily need a separate, huge garden to grow them. They can wind their way through your flower garden, too.  We grew some a few years ago, in a small veggie garden we created in our backyard. It was super fun. Our kids really enjoyed watching the pumpkins grow throughout the summer. Our pumpkins didn’t get super big, but by the end of October we had six pumpkins that we drew faces on for Hallowe’en. How fun is that!!!!

cinnamon swirl pumpkin bread

This loaf is perfect as it is, but if you wanted extra sweetness, you could add a drizzle of icing over the top of the loaf.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bread

Print Recipe
Serves: 12-16 Cooking Time: 40-60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • Cinnamon Filling
  • water
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger

Instructions

1

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.

2

After the yeast is frothy, add the milk, egg, pumpkin, oil, 2 cups of flour, brown sugar, salt, and spices to the yeast mixture.

3

Stir by hand or use an electric mixer and mix for about one minute.

4

Using a dough hook, add remaining flour in small increments. The end result should be a dough that is just slightly sticky.

5

Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let rise until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

6

After the dough has doubled in size, roll into a 9" X 18" rectangle.

7

Rub the water over your hands and then over the surface of the dough.

8

Sprinkle the spice and sugar mixture over top of the dough, covering the entire surface.

9

Beginning at the short side, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seams to close. You may have to use some water to seal the seams closed.

10

Place the dough, seam side down, in a buttered bread pan.

11

Cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Place in a warm area and let rise until almost doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

12

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 45 minutes until golden brown on top.

13

Let cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Then remove from pan and let cool.

Recipe is adapted from Karma Per Diem’s Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Yeast Bread

Baking

Apricot Cherry Oat Bara Brith Loaf Recipe

apricot cherry oat bara brith

Bara Brith is a lovely Welsh snacking cake. It is quick to prepare but very hearty. Bara Brith means speckled bread in Welsh.  It is a delicately sweet loaf that is loaded with dried fruits that soak in strong tea overnight. I have added a bit of rum to the tea to smooth out those black tea tannin flavours. The rum is optional, but it really brings together the tea and dried fruit flavours very well.  But, by all means, leave out the rum, if you must. It is completely optional.

I have added in loads of extra flavour components to really make the flavours of this Apricot Cherry Oat Bara Brith pop! There is maple syrup, marmalade, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger as well as demerara brown sugar and dried fruit. The aromas coming from the oven are to die for!

 

apricot cherry oat bara brith

Bara Brith has been made in Wales for over one hundred years and was traditionally eaten on St. David’s Day or Christmas day, thickly sliced and slathered in butter. It has fallen from popularity in the last ten years and therefore some major supermarkets have removed it from their shelves. Traditional Bara Brith is made with currants. In this recipe I have used a combination of dried apricots and dried cherries which go really well together. And the oats add a lovely texture to this baked treat.

This Apricot Cherry Oat Bara Brith makes a lovely addition to packed lunches. It is also excellent with morning coffee or your afternoon tea. Not bad with your favourite program or movie after dinner either.

 

apricot cherry oat bara brith

Next time you are in the mood to bake a sweet treat for your family, try this Apricot Cherry Oat Bara Brith. It’s really hits the spot.

Apricot Cherry Oat Bara Brith

Print Recipe
Serves: 8-10 Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 75 g dried cherries
  • 175 g dried apricots
  • 250 mL of strong black tea
  • 2 Tbsp rum
  • 100 g butter, melted
  • 2 T marmalade
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 g medium sized oats
  • 100 grams whole wheat flour
  • 250 g white flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 175 grams demerara sugar
  • 2 T maple surup
  • 2 T milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger

Instructions

1

Soak the dried fruit in the strong black tea and rum (optional) in a bowl overnight.

2

Next day: Preheat oven to 350 F. degrees

3

Drain the dried fruit mixture.

4

Mix together the melted butter and marmalade. When this mixture is cool, add in the two eggs.

5

Mix together the flour, oats, baking powder and brown sugar and spices.

6

Add the butter, marmalade, egg mixture to the flour. Add in the milk and maple syrup.

7

The batter should be able to drop from a spoon. If it is too thick, add in more milk.

8

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

9

Pour batter into a prepared loaf pan.

10

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. If the top starts to over brown before the cake is done, cover the top of the cake with tin foil and continue baking until a cake tester comes out clean.

11

Cool cake in the pan for about 5-10 minutes. Then remove onto a rack.

12

Wait until the cake is cold before cutting. About 1-2 hours.

13

Serve as is or with butter.

14

Enjoy!

Baking

Lancashire Maple-Oat Parkin Cake for a Late Summer Evening

lancashire maple-oat parkin cake

 

With the days getting cooler, especially the evenings, I start thinking more about baking. This Lancashire Maple-Oat  Parkin Cake is a fantastic late summer bake with it’s ginger, treacle and maple syrup flavours.

A few weeks ago, my Scottish cousin, Anne, sent me a lovely little vintage Trex Cookery cookbook. She knows that I love cooking and baking and spotted this booklet in a vintage shop. The first recipe that I spotted was the Lancashire Parkin and knew straight away that would be the first recipe to try. Lancashire Parkin checked all the boxes for me for a lovely bake: oats, syrup, ginger and demerara sugar.  She also sent me a beautiful cake tin with a lovely photo of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to store my cake in.

Lancashire Parkin is a Northern England Version of gingerbread. It is a sticky, moisty lightly spiced cake. It originated in Yorkshire, but is also popular in Lancashire, which is just to the west. No one seems to know where the name Parkin comes from.

Parkin cake is traditionally eaten in England on Bonfire Night, November 5th. Bonfire Night celebrates the epic failure of Guy Fawkes, a Yorkshire man, who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.

lancashire maple-oat parkin cake

Parkin Cake is a moist chewy cake due to the addition of oats. This cake also always contains sweeteners such as molasses,  black treacle or golden syrup, and light or dark brown sugar. I added maple syrup to my Lancashire Maple-Oat Parkin Cake, to reflect my Canadian roots.

Don’t be tempted by the divine aromas of the cake after it has come out of the oven. After it is cold, wrap it up and store it for 3 days. You will be happy you did!

Enjoy!

Lancashire Maple-Oat Parkin Cake for an Autumn Evening

Print Recipe
Serves: 12-16 Cooking Time: 40-60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 225 grams flour
  • 225 brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 22 grams medium oats
  • 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
  • 225 grams melted butter
  • 225 grams golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Prepare 9 inch by 12 inch baking tray with parchment paper.

2

Melt the liquid ingredients together (butter, golden syrup and maple syrup). Let cool to room temperature, about ten minutes.

3

Mix the milk and eggs together and whisk until the eggs are incorporated into the milk.

4

Mix the dry ingredients together.

5

Add melted mixture and egg mixture to dry ingredients. Stir until all the ingredients are mixed together well.

6

Pour into baking dish.

7

Bake for about 60-90 minutes. It should be a nice golden colour on top when done. And a cake tester should come out clean.

8

Let cool in the pan for about 1-2 hours, until cool. Then turn out onto a cake rack until cold.

9

Once cold, wrap in plastic wrap or place in a plastic container and store for about 3 days.

10

Slice and enjoy!

 

Baking

Japanese Matcha White Chocolate Cake for a Summer Picnic

matcha and white chocolate cake with green tea

Awhile ago I bought some matcha powder from The World of Teas here in Ottawa. There were so many things that I wanted to make with it, smoothies, ice cream, lattes and this cake. My son bought me this amazing cookbook for Christmas two years ago: Tokyo Cult Recipes by Maori Murota and inside was an easy recipe for Matcha Cake.

ingredients for matcha and white chocolate cake

Matcha powder, for those of you who don’t know,  is made from finely ground green tea. There are many varieties of matcha powder to buy, depending on whether you want to cook with it, or drink it. I used Culinary Matcha Powder, which is excellent for baking cakes and cookies, as well as using in smoothies and Matcha Lattes. It’s also a bit cheaper than some of the other matcha powders available purely for drinking.

Have you ever baked with matcha powder before? Well, this was my first time and all I can say is, Wow! Matcha powder is so fun to bake with! It’s like a little pinch of magic. In it’s packaging, it is dry, dusty and green….

matcha and white chocolate cake

…but once you add butter, sugar, flour etc. the flavour and aroma of the green tea really pops! And when the cake is baking in the oven, the aroma is just delicious.

I also love the effervescent shade of green. If you love green tea, then you will really enjoy this bake-up. This Japanese Matcha White Chocolate Cake is the perfect summery bake. The soothing sweet white chocolate is the perfect match for earthy and grassy notes of green tea. It’s just what you need for a summertime bake.

matcha and chocolate cake with green tea
Besides the great aroma and taste of this cake, I also just love that I can bake a green cake and you will too,

Japanese Matcha White Chocolate Cake for a Summer Picnic

Print Recipe
Serves: 12 Cooking Time: 40-60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 150 grams butter, softened
  • 150 grams sugar
  • 100 grams all-purpose flour
  • 50 grams spelt flour
  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 70 grams white chocolate chips

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit.

2

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Or alternately, coat loaf pan with some softened butter, and then sprinkle flour on top. Shake out excess.

3

Beat the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes until very very pale and very fluffy.

4

Add in the eggs, one at a time. Beat the mixture in between each egg addition.

5

Sift the flour, baking powder and matcha powder.

6

Mix the dry ingredients into the butter sugar mixture either on very low on your mixer or with a wooden spoon or spatula.

7

Stir in the white chocolate chips.

8

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

9

Bake in the oven for 40-60 minutes.

10

Remove from oven when cake tester comes out clean.

11

Let cool in tin for about 10 minutes. Then remove and let cool on a rack.

12

Slice into approximately 12 slices.

 

 

Baking

Focaccia Bread with Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Focaccia Bread with sea salt and black pepper on a plate with butter and knife and drink

The first time that I had focaccia bread was at a little sandwich shop in downtown Toronto. It was so delicious:  chewy, warm, fragrant with olive oil drizzled on top and crunchy with salt and rosemary.

Years later Ifinally learned to bake it myself, after I had bought Antonio Carlucci’s Italian Feast cookbook.The back cover of his cookbook shows four variations of focaccia bread, each one as delectable ss the next.

I don’t know why I waited so long to bake sme, as Focaccia bread is very simple to make. It only has one rise so there is minimal kneading, and it is baked flat  on a cookie tray – so no shaping! And in the summertime, we bake ours on a pizza stone on the barbeque, so you don’t even need to turn on the oven.

Focaccia Bread with sea salt and black pepper on a plate with butter knife and drink

Focaccia bread is delicious eaten plain at dinnertime, or you can use it for sandwiches.  You can also make killer breakfast sandwiches with a simple omelette nestled inbetween two soft warm slices of focaccia.

This bread is delicious at room temperature, but I love it when it’s soft and warm. To warm the focaccia, simply wrap some slices in tin foil and put in the oven on low for about ten minutes, or inside the barbeque for 3-5 minutes.

Focaccia is an excellent starter bread for beginners. This bread bakes up very fast and when baked on the barbecue has a lovely smokiness to it. Baking bread on the barbecue means you can bake anytime of the year.  And the crust is simply amazing; crunchy, hot, smoky. Yum!

Focaccia makes great picnic food. It pairs well with sliced meats, cheese, tomatoes, roasted red peppers and other pickled vegetables. And makes fantastic picnic food.

Sometimes on a hot summer night, we’ll just pack up all our picnic foods and lay them out in the backyard. A picnic in your backyard: nothing could be simpler.

Focaccia Bread with Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 15 - 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the Dough
  • 500 g (1 1/4 lb) strong white plain flour
  • 15 grams fresh yeast or 7 grams dry
  • 300 ml lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 g sea salt
  • For the Topping
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper (or chopped onions rosemary or other herbs)

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 475 deg F (with pizza stone) or preheat BBQ with pizza stone

2

Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Once yeast has bubbled up, add to flour along with the rest of the water, oil and salt. Mix everything together and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy. You can do this in your kitchen mixer with the dough hook.

3

Put the dough in a bowl that has been slightly oiled with olive oil. Place a damp cloth over top and leave it for one hour until double in size.

4

Knead the dough again after an hour to knock out any bubbles. Flatten the dough until it is an oval shape and about 1" thick. To create indentations, press your knuckles into the dough several times, keeping the indentations about 1 inch apart. Spread about half the olive oil over the dough. Sprinkle on the toppings. Leave to rise again for about 30 minutes, then pop in the hot oven or BBQ for about 15 minutes until the base sounds hollow when tapped, or when the bottom and top are a nice golden colour.

Adapted from Antonio Carlucci’s cookbook, Italian Feasts.

Baking

Egyptian Basbousa Cake Recipe

egyptian basbousa cake on plate

Many years ago, my best friend Bonnie and I took off from Canada for a year long travel adventure. We had planned and saved for our trip for many years; we cut out travel stories from the newspaper and collected travel tips from friends. Bonnie and I were only 19 years old but we were ready for a big adventure.

It was a beautiful spring day when we landed in London, England.  We spent a few weeks in that lovely old city before continuing our travels through the United Kingdom, Europe and into northern Africa as well.

Europe is a fascinating place to travel at any age, but when you’re 19, it’s magical. We enjoyed all the art museums, comfortable, punctual trains, and the beautiful old buildings but my favourite part was the food:  Austrian coffee, italian pizza and gelato in little cups, french croissants, greek baklava and egyptian falafels: all were breathtaking.

Over the course of twelve months, we sampled many delicious dishes and sweets. And my cooking at home is still influenced by that trip so many years ago. This year, while happily remembering our travels, I made one of our favourites sweets from our trip: Egyptian Basbousa Cake. We sampled many slices of Basbousa Cake while we travelled from Cairo to Luxor and to Hurghada on the Red Sea.

Basbousa Cake is a very popular dessert in the middle east. Many countries in this region make their own variation: Revani from Northern Greece, Ravani from Southern Greece and Hareesa from Jordan, the Maghreb and Alexandria. The names may be different, but the cakes are very similar.

egyptian basbousa cake with a bowl of semolina, a lemon and a jar of honey on a wooden table

Egyptian Basbousa Cake is super easy to make as it only requires a few basic pantry ingredients.  It is traditionally made  with semolina and has a surprising wheaty aroma and taste. I have also made it with cream of wheat cereal, and while it has a coarser texture, I still really like it.

Basbousa is luxuriously sweet, with a cold lemon-scented sugar/honey syrup poured over the hot-from-the-oven cake. This technique also makes the cake super moist.  Because it is a very moist cake, it doesn’t slice as neatly as other cakes, but is so so delicious. A traditional finishing touch to the cake is to place whole almonds in the centre of each slice.

egyptian basbousa cake in a tin

This cake will keep for serveral days. It is excellent with tea or coffee. It would also be an excellent addition to an afternoon picnic on the beach. If you want to ramp this cake up a notch, served it with a dollop thick whipped cream.

Egyptian Basbousa Cake

Egyptian Basboussa Cake

Print Recipe
Serves: 16 Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups semolina (you can also use cream of wheat cereal)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup of yogurt
  • syrup
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2

Grease a baking pan 9 X 9 inches.

3

Whip the butter and sugar until well blended and a pale yellow colour.

4

Add the eggs one at a time.

5

In a separate bowl, mix the semolina and baking powder and soda.

6

Add dry mixture and yogurt to butter/sugar mix, alternating between the dry mix and the yogurt.

7

Pour into greased pan.

8

Bake in oven for 30 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean and the cake is slightly golden on top.

9

While the cake is baking, you can make the syrup. Combine all of the ingredients in a small pot. Bring to a boil, stirring lots to help dissolve the sugar. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Then pour the syrup into a heat resistant bowl or very large measuring cup. Place the bowl in cold water to cool down the syrup. You could also place the container with the syrup in the freezer until the cake comes out of the oven.

10

Once the cake has come out of the oven, pour the syrup over the hot cake, until it is all soaked up. You may not need all of it, but you will be surprised how much it soaks up. Let the cake cool in the pan until cold.

recipe is slightly adapted from Tess Mallos The Complete Middle East Cookbook

Baking

Pirozhki Meat Stuffed Buns Recipe

5 pirohzki buns

I absolutely love pirozhki buns! Pirozhki buns are bread dough stuffed with a variety of savoury fillings. They are popular in Russia and the Ukraine. This Pirohzki recipe is filled with seasoned ground beef and cheddar cheese. You can also make  vegetarian pirohzki filled with cabbage, mushrooms, onions or chopped hard boiled egg.

two pirohzki buns

A few years ago, my parent’s neighbour mentioned how he loved to make homemade buns stuffed with meat and cheese. He would freeze them and then pack them up for lunch on a workday. I had never heard of that idea but loved it right away.

Last week, I baked up some meat filled buns for my husband’s lunch and he couldn’t have been happier. After he polished off my first batch, he said, “When are you making more?”.

pirozhki bun

The dough for these pirohzki is made with sour cream. I love the tart and creamy flavour it imparts. You could also use regular bread dough without sour cream. Or pastry dough or puff pastry if you want something flaky.  Personally, I love that fresh bread taste, as opposed to pastry.

The seasoned ground beef and cubes of cheddar cheese wrapped inside the rich bread dough tastes amazing! Almost like a hamburger without the toppings – but better! My pirozhki were about six inches long, which is great for a packed lunch. You can also make them smaller if you wanted to serve them with soup.

As I researched  pirohzki I discovered many similar buns from around the world. Greece makes a deep fried version called pirouskia.  In Iran, pirashki is sweet and filled with custard. Estonia makes pirukad which has a meat and chopped hard boiled egg filling. In Finland, karelian pastries (open-faced egg tarts) are very popular and eaten for breakfast. And in Japan they fill their savoury buns with curry. They all sound amazing to me!

I hope you enjoy these as much as we have. If you experiment with a different filling – let me know. There are so many variations to try. Pirozhki are so versatile!

pirozhki meat filled buns

Pirozhki Meat Stuffed Buns Recipe

Print Recipe
Serves: 16 Cooking Time: 15-20

Ingredients

  • Dough
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (480 grams)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (113)
  • 1/4 cup softened butter (57)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp active yeast (or 1 package)
  • Filling
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 250 grams ground beef
  • 170 grams cubed cheddar cheese
  • 1 large egg mixed with 1 tbsp water to spread on dough

Instructions

1

Dough: Proof yeast in water for 5 minutes. Add flour, salt, sugar, sour cream, soft butter and eggs to mixing bowl. Using dough hook, mix until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

2

Rub olive oil in a separate medium sized bowl and place dough in bowl. Let dough sit for about 90 minutes, until puffed up. It does not need to be double in bulk.

3

For Filling: heat oil in pan, add onion and garlic cloves. Saute until onions are soft and garlic is fragrant. Add chilli powder, salt and pepper and mix in. Add ground beef and cook until no longer pink.

4

Place beef mixture in a bowl and let cool until room temperature. Then stir in cheese. You can make this filling ahead of time and store it in the fridge until ready to use.

5

Divide the dough into 16 equal sized pieces. This is easiest if you have a scale. Each piece of dough should weight about 2 oz or 55-57 grams each. If you do not have a scale, just try to make sure each bun is close to the same size. (A tip to get similar sized dough balls: flatten dough slightly, and then divide dough in half, then divide each half in half so that you have four equal sized pieces of dough. Divide each piece in half again, and now you'll have 8 pieces. Divide each of the 8 pieces in half to get 16.)

6

Shape each piece of dough into a nice ball shape. Place on a parchment lined baking tray, cover with a clean tea towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

7

Flatten each piece of dough into a 5 inch oval shape. Brush the surface with the egg wash. Scoop up about 2 tablespoons of filling and place it in the centre. Pull the dough over the filling and seal the opposite edges.

8

Place on baking sheet and let it rest for one hour, until slightly puffy.

9

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, about 10-15 minutes before the end of the rise. Brush the egg wash over the buns.

10

Bake the buns for 15-20 minutes, until they are a nice golden brown. Don't worry if some of the seams come undone. Remove from oven and place on wire rack for about 15 minutes before eating.

11

Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator when thoroughly cooled. You can eat these hot or at room temperature.

12

Pirozhki can also be frozen for up to one month. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour Stuffed Buns

 

Baking

Lemon-Elderflower Savarin Cake

lemon elderflower savarin cake

With the big Royal Wedding coming up, it’s hard to ignore the ongoings of the Royal Family. Especially when you have a British Mum.

My Mum always had something to say about the Royal Family when we were growing up. I can remember her commenting on many big royal events: the death of the Queen Mum, the retirement of the Royal Britannia, anything to do with Wallis Simpson or King Edward VIII (My Mum told she she cried and cried when King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936)  or trips around the world by Queen Elizabeth. My Mum was the expert on all things royal in our house!

So, it’s no surprise that I have inherited my mum’s interest in this fascinating family. I will be watching the ceremony this Saturday and wishing my Mum was around to watch it with me.  I will certainly enjoy the music, admire the Bride’s dress and try and spot the most unusual fascinator, but,  like most foodies, it’s the cake that I’m particularly interested in. I’ve seen some photos of Royal Wedding Cakes in the past and they are utterly stunning.

I read in the news a few weeks ago, that the bride had chosen a lemon elderflower cake as their wedding cake. So, to celebrate this auspicious occasion, I wanted to bake a cake with those same flavours. But I didn’t want an after dinner cake, per se: layered and smothered in buttercream frosting. I wanted a cake that Canadians could nibble on alongside tea or coffee while they watch the wedding. There will be much to ooh and aah over such as, the bride’s gown, Queen Elizabeth’s outfit as well as the gorgeous music,

I chose a Savarin cake, because cakes soaked in a sweet syrup after baking are some of my favorites. This cake pairs exceptionally well with fresh fruit and a dairy topping which is so perfect for mid-morning noshing.

lemon elderflower savarin cake

Savarin Cake is interesting because it is made with yeast and not with baking powder or baking soda.

 

lemon elderflower savarin cake

The batter is left to rise first in the mixing bowl and then transferred into the cake pan where it is left to rise 3/4 of the way up the pan.

 

Lemon Elderflower Savarin Cake

The batter is baked in a greased bundt or savarin cake pan in a medium hot oven for about 30 minutes, until a light golden brown.

lemon elderflower savarin cake
When the pan has cooled down a little, turn the cake out onto a cake rack, with a plate underneath. Pour the sugar syrup over the cake.

 

lemon elderflower savarin cake

I filled my Lemon-Elderflower Savarin Cake with whipped yogurt and cream topped with  fresh blueberries and strawberries. It’s delicious anytime of day!

While Savarin cake is not British, it does have an interesting history behind it. FOllow the  links at the end of this post for more informatiin about this delicious cake.

The Royal Wedding will take place on May 19th at t St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Click on the link below to read up on this very interesting relic.

Enjoy the event! I’m sure it’s going to be fun!

If you enjoy reading about food history, here is some interesting information on Savarin Cakes.

history of savarin cakes

More on Savarins and Babas

Brillat-Savarin

St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle

Lemon Elderflower Savarin Cake with Fresh Fruit and Maple Whipped Yogurt and Cream Topping

Print Recipe
Serves: 16 Cooking Time: 35

Ingredients

  • For the cake:
  • 350 grams white flour
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 10 grams active yeast
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 eggs
  • 180 grams butter, very soft, in large cubes
  • zest of one lemon
  • for the syrup
  • 300 grams sugar
  • 150 ml water
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 100 ml St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • for the topping
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup (can also use honey, agave syrup or treacle)
  • fresh fruit

Instructions

1

Proof the yeast in 2 tbsp water.

2

Mix the flour and sugar together.

3

Mix the eggs, then add the lemon juice. Add in the yeast.

4

Add this egg mixture into the flour and sugar and mix until combined.

5

Add in the softened cubes of butter, one piece at a time, until the butter is fully incorporated.

6

Add the lemon zest and stir until incorporated.

7

Cover bowl with cling wrap and let sit for one hour to rise.

8

Grease bundt or savarin pan.

9

Spoon batter into pan. Let sit for 45-60 minutes until risen 3/4 of the way up the pan.

10

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

11

Place pan in oven and bake for 25-35 minutes until a light golden brown.

12

When pan has cooled slightly, turn cake upside down. Pour 3/4 of the sugar syrup into the empty cake pan, then place baked cake back into syrup filled pan. Leave for 3-4 minutes.

13

Carefully, turn cake out of cake pan onto wire rack and place on top of a plate. Leave cake to cool completely, letting syrup drip through onto the plate.

14

When the cake has cooled completely, place it on the plate to soak up any remaining syrup.

15

For the Topping: In a mixer bowl, add 1 cup of greek yogurt, 3/4 cup of whipping cream, 3 tablespoons of maple syrup. Turn mixer to medium high and whip until desired consistency is formed.

16

Fill centre of cake with topping and pile fresh fruit on top.

17

Enjoy!

recipe adapted slightly from Paul Hollywood’s Savarin Cake

dairy topping adapted slightly from Serious Eats

Baking

Bakewell Tart

bakewell tart with flowers

Bakewell Tart is not very well known outside of Britain. I had never heard of it, until I found this recipe in my Mum’s recipe card box.

Bakewell Tarts originate from the small village of Bakewell, Derbyshire. Bakewell Tarts are made from short crust pastry covered with a layer of jam (usually raspberry), filled with frangipane and then iced on top. The Bakewell Tart can be covered in icing or just have a drizzle. This depends on how sweet you would like your tart.

short crust pastry
The short crust pastry is rolled to a thickness of about 4 mm. This is thickness of a British one pound coin or two Canadian $2 coins.

short crust pastry

After the pastry is placed in the fluted pan, it is placed in the refrigerator to keep it cold before baking.

short crust pastry

The bottom layer of a Bakewell Tart is a short crust pastry. This pastry is first baked on it’s own filled with pie weights or dry beans. This weighs down the pastry so it keeps it’s shape and doesn’t bubble up. After it’s been in the oven for a bit with the pie weights, it is baked solo for about 5 minutes to dry out the bottom.

 

bakewell tart recipe

I found this recipe for Bakewell Tart in my mom’s recipe box a couple of years ago. Yet, I can’t ever recall her making it.

I imagine she found this recipe somewhere after she moved to Canada and it reminded her of back home in Birmingham, England. Perhaps Bakewell Tart reminded her of a summer holiday to Derbyshire with her Dad and sister .

While I can’t recall my mom ever baking this treat for our family, I’m sure that my Mum would have baked it atleast once for my Dad. She would have wanted to share that part of her life in Britain with him. Whatever the history of this recipe, and even though she never baked it for the family, Bakewell Tart will always remind me of my mom and her longing for England and her hopes and dreams of a happy life in Canada.

 

bakewell tart

The cooled short crust pastry is spread with raspberry jam, filled with frangipane then baked in the oven until set and golden.

bakewell tart with flowers

bouquet of flowers

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Love you!

Bakewell Tart

Print Recipe
Serves: 10 Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • for the jam
  • 250 grams raspberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 22 g sugar
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • for the sweet shortcrust pastry
  • 225 g plain flour
  • finely grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 150 g butter, diced and cold
  • 25 g icing sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • For the filling
  • 150 g butter, soft
  • 150 g sugar
  • 150 g ground almonds
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • for the icing
  • 300 grams icing sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • food colouring gel

Instructions

1

Jam: Add raspberries, sugar and lemon juice to a pot. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 12 minutes until thickened.

2

Place in refrigerator to firm up.

3

Pastry: Add the flour to a medium sized bowl, add the diced cold butter and rub together with your fingertips until it resembles find breadcrumbs. Add in the icing sugar. Mix the egg and ice cold water together and add to bowl. Mix until a soft dough is formed.

4

Lightly sprinkle your table with a bit of flour. Roll out the dough to a thickness of just under 4 mm (one pound coin or 2 Canadian $2 coins). Place the rolled dough into a fluted tin. Trim dough, but let it still overhang a bit as it will shrink somewhat.

5

Chill for about 30 minutes.

6

Preheat oven to 390 degrees F.

7

Before you put the pastry in the oven, place some non-stick parchment paper over top of the pastry, fill tin with pie weights and bake for 15 minutes. Then, remove the beans and cook by itself for 5 minutes to dry out the bottom.

8

Remove from oven and let cool.

9

Once the pastry has cooled, spread it with four tablespoons of the jam.

10

reduce the oven temperature to 355 degrees F.

11

To make the frangipane, cream the butter and sugar together until nice and fluffy and pale. Add the egg, ground almonds and almond extract. Mix together until everything is incorporated. Spoon or pipe the mixture on top of the jam smoothing the top.

12

Place the tin back in the oven on a tray and bake for 25-35 minutes. The frangipane should be a golden brown. Also, a cake skewer when inserted into the middle of the cake, should come out clean.

13

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin.

14

To remove the cake tin, place the tin on top of something tall and narrow, like a tupperware container. Remove the sides of the tin and then place the Bakewell Tart on a cake platter.

15

To decorate: spoon the white icing all over the top of the tart. Pipe 7 lines of coloured icing across the tart. Drag a toothpick or cocktail stick through the lines to create a feathered look.

slightly adapted from Mary Berry’s Bakewell Tart  from The Great British Bake-Off.

Baking

Tomato Soup Cake

tomato soup cake with coffee mug

A favourite snacking cake when I was growing up was Tomato Soup Cake. My mom would make it for lunches or for an after-school snack.  She got the recipe from my paternal grandmother, after her and my Dad were married so she could bake it for him. Tomato Soup Cake has been around a long time and was a family favourite back when my Dad was growing up on the farm in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

We always loved this cake and never once questioned the name of it. It didn’t taste or smell like tomatoes but was a beautiful rose colour with a spicy aroma. Once, while having lunch at school (which I seldom did), my friends asked what kind of cake I was eating. “Tomato Soup Cake”, I answered. Ooooh! was their negative response. I was in grade 7 and had never imagined that as a response to this delicious cake. But that never deterred me from loving this cake. My friends didn’t know what they were missing. My Mum’s Tomato Soup Cake was rose-hued, warm with spices and sweet with plump raisins. With four always-hungry children in the family and a husband who grew up snacking on this cake on the family farm, my Mum’s baking never lasted long.

Tomato Soup Cake is a fantastic snacking cake and one that you will definitely want to add to your baking repertoire. Perfect for a ‘Retro Party” but also modern in flavour, colour and scent, this delicious cake checks off all the boxes for something easy, quick and yummy to bake up either for afternoon tea with friends, to pop into someone’s lunch kit, or an after dinner dessert. This rose-coloured moist cake, aromatic with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and dotted with plump raisins is just so good. You can serve it with cream cheese icing, but my Mom just served it up plain, or sprinkled with icing sugar. It’s so moist, sweet and heavenly-scented with spices that you really don’t need extra icing. But you could add it if you prefer the extra creamy sweetness.

When I got married, a friend of my mom’s gave me a cake pan, a wooden spoon and her recipe for Tomato Soup Cake. I thought that was the sweetest gift! Now I bake Tomato Soup Cake for my own kids. Everyone in our family loves it.

slice of tomato soup cake

Enjoy!

Tomato Soup Cake

Print Recipe
Serves: 16 Cooking Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 c. shortening
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 10-ounce can condensed tomato soup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup raisins

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2

Mix together the flour, baking powder and spices.

3

Cream the butter, sugar and eggs until fluffy.

4

Mix soup, water and baking soda.

5

Let this mixture sit for a few minutes, then stir into butter/egg/sugar mixture.

6

Stir in dry ingredients and raisins.

7

Spoon batter into a greased 13 X 9 inch pan.

8

Bake 55 minutes or until golden brown.

More reading about Tomato Soup Cake

The History behind Campbell’s Tomato Soup Cake

A Good Little Read from The Kitchn about Tomato Soup Cake

Baking

Simnel Mini Cakes Recipe

simnel cakes on a plate

Easter Sunday dinner is fun to plan because it’s easy to try something new without upsetting anyone. Unlike Christmas when so many traditional favourites are necessary, Easter doesn’t have the same expectations, especially when it comes to dessert. I can’t think of any dessert that our family has at Easter every year.

While our family doesn’t have a traditional dessert at Easter, I love searching through my cookbooks for a recipe that is customary somewhere else. British cookbooks are a great place to start in finding a recipe full of history and tradition.

One cake that is beautiful to look at, delicious to eat and fascinating to read up on is Simnel Cake. The word simnel comes from the latin word, “simila” which means fine wheaten flour. Simnel cakes were traditionally made for Mothering Sunday, which has been celebrated in England, on the 4th Sunday of Lent, for atleast 400 years. Traditionally it was a day when families who lived in small villages would go to their “Mother Church”, a larger church in a neighbouring town, instead of going to their local church. Servant girls who worked far away would travel home on this day to visit their families, and would always bring a gift to their mothers.

simnel cakes on a plate

Simnel cakes were popular gifts as they were excellent traveling cakes: dense with dried fruit and sturdy with a marzipan filling and top they were not as delicate as today’s frosted layer cakes. Simnel cakes also tested a daughter’s cooking skills. If the cake was well made it would still be delicious a few weeks later at Easter when Lent was finished. Simnel cakes are recognizable by the 11 marzipan balls on the top to symbolize the 11 apostles (Judas was excluded).

Eventually, Mothering Sunday became less religious and more of a day to give thanks to one’s mother. The 4th Sunday of Lent is now celebrated in England as Mother’s Day and Simnel Cakes have become a popular dessert at Easter.

simnel cakes on a plate

simnel cakes on a plate

I decided to make Simnel Mini Cakes instead of one large cake. They bake up super fast, are easy to serve and if you have any leftovers are fantastic for a lunch box treat. These cakes are dense with ground almonds and studded with dried fruit. The centre of each mini cake has a disc of marzipan that adds to the elegance of these cakes.

Simnel cakes are traditionally decorated with marzipan on top, but I found that a dusting of icing sugar was the perfect as these cakes are sweet, dense and rich just on their own. If you find them too plain for easter, you could put a drizzle of icing on the top with sprinkles or candied flowers. Or you could tie some coloured ribbon around the middle. However you serve them, your dinner guests will love them.

simnel cakes on a plate

simnel cakes on a plate

Happy Easter everyone!

 

Simnel Mini Cakes

Print Recipe
Serves: 14-16 Cooking Time: 30-40

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ pound dried cranberries
  • ¼ pound candied ginger, chopped fine
  • ¼ pound dried apricots, chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup of light flavoured liqueur, such as elderflower, amaretto, grand marnier etc.
  • 2 ounces mixed peel
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1 pack marzipan, 227 grams
  • decorations: candied flowers, thin icing, sprinkles, or ribbon

Instructions

1

Soak dried fruit and lemon peel for 1 hour in liqueur.

2

Line muffin tin with parchment paper or paper cups.

3

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

4

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time.

5

In another bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and ground almonds.

6

Add flour mixture to butter and sugar mixture. Stir until well mixed. Add dried fruit and stir until all the fruit is incorporated.

7

Slice marzipan into discs.

8

Pour half of cake batter into prepared spring form pan. Place marzipan disc in the centre, leaving a ½ inch border around the edges.

9

Spoon the rest of the cake mixture into tins. Only fill about 3/4 full.

10

Place pan in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until done. Knife will still be slightly sticky after it is inserted. The top of the mini cakes will be a nice golden brown.

11

Let the mini cakes cool for ten minutes in pan. Then place cake on a rack and let it cool completely.

12

You can decorate the mini cakes with candied flowers, a drizzle of thin lemon icing (icing sugar + lemon juice) and/or some coloured ribbon.

13

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Baking

Traditional Currant Welsh Cakes

traditional currant welsh cakes

Traditionally, Welsh Cakes are chock full of currants and sprinkled with white cane sugar. I recently posted a recipe for Chocolate and Ginger Welsh Cakes.  But I wanted to post this recipe for the Traditional version, in case anyone wants to try it the way they have always been made in Wales.

Enjoy!

Traditional Welsh Cakes with Currants

Print Recipe
Serves: 12-18 Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 250 grams unbleached white flour
  • 120 grams butter, cold and diced
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 70 grams currants
  • 55 grams sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

1

Stir together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, spices

2

Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs

3

Stir in sugar and currants.

4

Mix in the egg.

5

Add milk until a nice soft dough is formed.

6

Roll out on a tabletop sprinkled with flour.

7

Cut out welsh cakes with any round shape approximately 7.5 to 8 cm in diameter. I used a drinking glass.

8

Heat a skillet on the stovetop on medium heat. Add a very tiny amount of butter.

9

Place a few welsh cakes in pan, with some space surrounding each one. Do not overfill skillet. You need room to flip them over.

10

When the underside is a nice golden colour, flip over and cook the other side.

11

Remove from skillet when both sides are done.

12

Let cool on a baking rack.

13

Sprinkle with sugar. You can do this either in the pan while the second side is cooking, or while they are on the baking rack. Either will work fine

14

Serve warm or room temperature.

Notes

If you want to freeze some welsh cakes for later, you can either freeze some cooked welsh cakes in a ziplock bag. Or you can cut them out and freeze the uncooked cakes. To do this, cut out the welsh cakes, place them on parchment paper on a tray and freeze until firm. Then place them in a ziplock bag or plastic container, layered with parchment paper in between. To cook, simply defrost the cakes and then cook following the instructions above.