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snacks

Baking

Salted Caramel Blackberry Cake

salted caramel blackberry cake with yogurt

I love blackberries,they have just the right sweetness and are a delicious combination of raspberry and blueberry flavours – two of my favourite berries. But, they have always been hard to buy as well as super expensive here in Ottawa. So, I was super excited to to find them frozen in my local grocery store. So exciting! Fresh blackberries also don’t last very long, so having access to frozen berries is fantastic.

This Salted Caramel Blackberry Cake is a delicious rich cake overflowing with jammy blackberries and rich caramel notes from the brown sugar and salted caramel chips. As it’s also made with ricotta cheese, it’s an excellent snack cake to be served with either your favourite hot beverage or layered in a glass with yogurt and more blackberries.

Blackberries are also super healthy. They are high in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C.

salted caramel blackberry cake

This cake bakes up really well and quickly, and smells divine in the oven.

salted caramel blackberry cake with yogurt

Cake, yogurt, berries…triple yum!!!

salted caramel blackberry cake

Add extra berries on top if you like. It makes for a beautiful presentation.

salted caramel blackberry cake

It’s so rich with ricotta cheese and jammy blackberries – it would be good enough for breakfast with yogurt and more berries! Or pack it up for lunch…pack an extra slice for a friend, make someone’s day extra special!

salted caramel blackberry cake

This cake slices up very well, has a good crumb, lots of berry flavour and a few nice hits of salted caramel sweetness!

salted caramel blackberry cake with yogurt

So so so good! Try cutting up some cubes of cake and pile on some delicious yogurt and extra berries. Yum!

Salted Caramel Blackberry Cake

Print Recipe
Serves: 10-12 Cooking Time: 50-60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel chips
  • 1 1/4 cup blackberries

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2

Line the bottom of a 9" round cake tin.

3

Lightly grease the sides of the cake pan.

4

Whisk flour, brown sugar and baking powder together.

5

Mix together the eggs, ricotta cheese, vanilla and melted butter.

6

Add dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients.

7

Lightly stir in about 3/4 cup of blackberries.

8

Pour the batter into the cake pan.

9

Sprinkle the remaining blackberries on top of the cake.

10

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes.

slightly adapted from epicurious.com

 

Baking

Chocolate and Ginger Welsh Cakes Recipe

traditional welsh cakes

I absolutely love Welsh Cakes: their delicate taste and subtle sweetness. They are the perfect treat to have with tea or coffee.

The first time I ever had them was many years ago during my first visit to Wales with my friend Bonnie during our year long adventure. We visited Bonnie’s Aunts, The Bettys (they were both named Betty) who lived in a small village near Swansea on a hilly street (though maybe that’s a given in Wales….I remember all of the streets being hilly) lined with row houses – each one a different colour.

The Bettys put out a proper tea for us everyday around 4 pm. A table laden with cheese and crackers, cakes, bread and butter, fruit and devonshire cream, tea and of course, welsh cakes. I had never had welsh cakes before, but during our stay, I just couldn’t get enough of them.

chocolate and ginger welsh cakes

Welsh cakes are a cross between a scone and a cookie but cooked like a pancake in a hot skillet on top of the stove and are divine. They are slightly crisp on the outside but tender and crumbly inside. Welsh Cakes are made with flour, baking powder, sugar, butter, egg, milk. The traditional cakes are loaded with currants and sprinkled with sugar and are subtly sweet and delicate.

chocolate and ginger welsh cakes

Welsh cakes (or pice ar y maen – cakes on the stone, in welsh) are so fast to whip up. They take, at the most, an hour from start to finish. They are fantastic for the beginner baker as they are so simple to make. And they have ‘homemade’ written all over them, as I can’t imagine too many bakeshops spending time cooking these up on a stovetop individually.

They taste best the day they are made or the day after. If you don’t think you will eat them all up within the first 24 hours, you could cut some out and freeze them uncooked until you are ready to cook some more.

chocolate and ginger welsh cakes

I always make Traditional Welsh Cakes with currants and white sugar sprinkled on top, but this time I tried a new variation with dark chocolate and chopped crystallized ginger with demerara sugar sprinkled over the cakes when they were still warm. Eaten warm from the skillet, the dark chocolate inside is slightly molten and the ginger is soft and lightly scented. My family loved both.

traditional welsh cakes

Welsh cakes were originally baked for miners to carry in their pockets down into the mines. A hearty snack and a taste of home while they were working in the cold, dark mines down below. Try popping one into a loved ones lunch to brighten their day.

chocolate and ginger welsh cakes

Here are a few variations that are made around Wales as well as in other places.

Jam Split: Popular in South Wales, the cakes are split open and spread with jam inside.

Apple Dragon: Add some grated apple to the mixture to make your cakes more moist.

The Newport Lovely: These are made by the men of Newport for their girlfriends as a wedding gift or engagement gift.

Mynydd Cymreig (Welsh Mountain): These are made in North Wales with two times the amount of baking powder in them, for loftier cakes.

The Kiwi Cake: Welsh cakes have been made in New Zealand for many years, they just call them Kiwi Cakes.

If you try a different variation, let me know. Enjoy!

Chocolate and Ginger Welsh Cakes

Print Recipe
Serves: 15-18 Cooking Time: 10-12 minutes

Ingredients

  • 250 grams white unbleached flour
  • 120 grams butter, cold, diced
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 55 grams white sugar
  • 45 grams cyrstallized ginger, chopped fine
  • 25 grams dark chocolate chips
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tbsp strong coffee
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom

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 ginger and chocolate chips.

4

Mix in the egg.

5

Add coffee 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 demerara 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.

Baking

Classic Cream Scones with Orange and Cranberry Recipe

orange cranberry scones on rack

Scones are my favourite go-to treat ever. I love them with tea for a morning snack, in the afternoon with a mug of hot cocoa as well as in the evening spread with jam. This recipe of Classic Cream Scones with Orange and Cranberry is certainly not a low-fat scone, and as it’s made with ample cream and butter you don’t really need to spread it with more butter. Add a dollop of jam if you want to amp up the sweetness.

These scones come together very fast. As such, they make a particularly perfect gift for any occasion. They would be the ideal thing to make for a new mom with a newborn, a neighbour who needs cheering up, a bake sale at your local church or school, or a fundraiser for flood relief, or a sports team. They make an excellent thank you gift for a neighbour who has been collecting your mail, shovelled your driveway after a big snowstorm, or cut your grass when you couldn’t get to it.

orange cranberry scones on a baking pan

I baked a few dozen of these scones last November for my son’s high school Craft Fair. They sold out within a couple of hours. Many people came back to my table to tell me how amazing they were. I made a few different variations but the Cranberry Orange Scones were the most popular. You could also make cinnamon and raisin, chocolate chip or chopped ginger. I’ll make some more variations in the future and post the recipes.

orange cranberry scones with jam on a cutting board with thank you card

Classic Cream Scones with Orange and Cranberry

Print Recipe
Serves: 8 Cooking Time: 12-15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (10 ounces all-purpose flour)
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces and chilled
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Instructions

1

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2

Put dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse 3-5 pulses. Add cubes of butter and orange zest. Pulse until butter-flour mixture is blended together like bread crumbs, it's ok to have a few larger pieces.

3

Pour into mixing bowl and add dried cranberries and stir until cranberries are coated in flour, separate any stuck together. Stir in cream until a nice dough starts to form.

4

Place dough and any unmixed ingredients onto table and knead the dough until it all comes together to a nice somewhat smooth dough. Flatten out into a circle, trying to keep edges smooth, until it has a 9 inch diameter.

5

Cut the disc into 8 triangles and place each triangle on parchment paper, about 2 inches apart.

6

Bake for 5 minutes, then turn pan in oven; bake for another five minutes or so, until nicely golden on top.

7

Remove from oven and place tray on a rack. Let scones cool for 5 minutes or so on tray, then remove from tray and place on rack. You can eat them warm or at room temperature. Store in a cool dark place 2-3 days. You can also freeze the scones for about one month.

Recipe via Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book.

pink rose flower

ombre pink rose in my garden