Because A Friday Treat is the Perfect Way to End the Week!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Cherry Crumble Cake

In my house, a secret war is ongoing. It’s a war that is potentially the most passive aggressive in history and one that I am currently losing. It’s the war of the fridge space.

Now when I moved in March, I had the whole house to myself for a month, but did I hog all the space in the fridge and elsewhere? No, I was good and nice and left plenty of space because I knew a couple of other people would be moving in soon. So then my housemates moved in and not only did they fill every single space left in the entire house, they also started muscling in on the equal portion of space that I was occupying – how rude! Literally, now it’s at the point that if I run out of something that lives in the fridge, I have to replace it immediately or else it gets filled with something stupid like a wine bottle full of water (???). Its super frustrating and is basically taking over my life in terms of things I’m annoyed about. Anyway, rant over! I’m just telling myself that I’ve only got a month and a half left in this house and then I’m free!! 

So onto this week’s recipe, cherry crumble cake! I know last week I said it would be cherry and dark chocolate but I decided while writing it this week that I’d maybe overused chocolate over the past few weeks – you can have too much of a good thing! So it’s just cherries and cake and crumble – delicious.

I’ve made a cake which was similar to this in the past but that recipe used blueberries and pecans. It was a great recipe and really delicious so it inspired me quite a lot with this cake. I’ve made a few adaptations – I’ve used a different crumble recipe for the topping, cherries and almonds rather than pecans and changed a few of the quantities – and it all works. It’s another great everyday tea cake, with the crumble topping just making it that tiny bit more special.

Some final tips before you get started: 
  • I used tinned, pitted cherries for this recipe. Usually when I bake with cherries I use frozen ones, however yesterday I couldn’t find any in the shops so I had a go with tinned. They worked fine so I would say go with your preference – fresh, frozen or tinned. Obviously fresh are better but they also cost a fortune and you have to get the pips of them – I’m too lazy for this!
  • To prepare your loaf tin, I suggest greasing and flouring the tin as well as placing a long strip of greaseproof paper along the base, with overhangs at each end so the cake can be easily lifted out. 
Cherry Crumble Cake
For the Crumble Topping:
60g Plain Flour
25g Unsalted Butter  (chilled)
25g Caster Sugar
¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
20g Sliced Almonds

For the Cake:
190g Unsalted Butter (softened)
190g Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
200g Plain Flour
1tsp. Baking Powder
¼ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Cinnamon
30ml Whole Milk
200g Pitted Cherries (roughly chopped)

1)      Preheat the oven to 170◦C, grease, flour and line your loaf tin. Begin by making your crumble. In a small bowl, rub together the butter and flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the caster sugar, ground cinnamon and sliced almonds. Place to one side.
2)      In a large bowl or freestanding mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually, a little at a time, add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar mixing well after each addition.
3)      In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Gradually add this dry mix to the wet mixture in three stages, stirring well each time. After the second addition, add the milk and combine. Once the mixture is completely smooth, add half of the chopped cherries and stir to evenly distribute throughout. Pour into your prepared loaf tin and add the remaining cherries to the top of the mixture. Top these cherries with the crumble mixture and lightly press down with the back of a spoon. Bake in a preheated oven for 60mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
4)      Leave to cool completely in the tin before removing and cutting into slices. Enjoy!

Friday, 15 June 2012

My Version of Rocky Road

I’ll admit, this week I haven’t been particularly original or exciting but I have been fun – what’s more fun than grabbing a load of confectionary and snacks, smothering them in chocolate and squishing them into bars of rocky road? I can tell you – not much. Although it’s not something that necessarily requires a recipe and most people probably have their own version, but here’s mine and it’s pretty delicious and Treat Friday my opinion anyway!

This week has been fairly boring for me with this being my first day off work since last week’s Treat Friday. Adding to that I’ve spent the week attempting to be super healthy in order to try and detoxify my body from all the cake and trifle I had during the birthday celebrations last week. Now I’m heading away for the weekend though and I’ll probably eat and drink rubbish again and have to start the process all over again next week...fine!

Now onto the Rocky Road, I have to admit that it’s not something that I particularly have a great love for. I don’t dislike it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not something I’d necessarily choose given a choice of cakes or bars. I’ve made it a couple of times though, the first time being by request for my younger sister when she finished her exams several years ago. This particular time, I followed a recipe from one of my favourite cook books was a monster. Literally, this stuff had 2kg of chocolate in the recipe and that was just the tip of the iceberg. It was huge and sickly and of such scale that it looked like you could probably build a house with the brick sized portions. Anyway, lesson learned – any recipe that uses more confectionary than you’d otherwise eat in a year, should be generally avoided.

Consider my version the scaled-down, no industrial but still delicious version. Of course, feel free to substitute the additions I’ve made with your preferences but I’d suggest sticking with similar quantities.

No tips this week – look out next week for my dark chocolate and sour cherry loaf cake!

Rocky Road
200g Milk Chocolate (broken into small chunks)
200g Dark Chocolate (broken into small chunks)
1 tbsp. Golden Syrup
75g Mini Marshmallows
75g Digestive Biscuits (broken up)
75g Honeycomb
50g Salted Peanuts
200g White Chocolate (broken into small chunks)

9inch Square Cake Pan

1)      Line the cake pan with tin foil and lightly grease with butter. Melt together the golden syrup, milk and dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.
2)      While the chocolate and syrup is melting, combine the marshmallows, biscuits, honeycomb and salted peanuts together in a large bowl. When the chocolate and syrup are fully melted, pour over the dry ingredients and stir until evenly combined.
3)      Tip this into the prepared pan and press down until fairly even. Again in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, melt the white chocolate. Pour this melted white chocolate over the top of the rocky road. Leave or chill until fully set before slicing into bars.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies

Well, it’s been another busy and fun filled week in my life, made even better by the fact that it was my birthday on Wednesday! All very exciting, for obvious reasons, but made even more so by travelling home to my parents’ house to spend it there. It was only the second time I’ve visited since March so it was really fun to see all the family and finally get some baked goods that I didn’t bake myself! I broke with tradition this year and requested my sisters make me a birthday trifle rather than cake. I did this largely because I have cake reasonably frequently doing this blog and because I ultimately love trifle! And this wasn’t just some ordinary trifle, it was a raspberry and white chocolate trifle....three words; white chocolate custard. Yum. So that was delicious and I ate close to my own weight in it seeing as I think that’s what you’re supposed to do on your own birthday.

Now though I’m back home and back in the kitchen with some white chocolate and cranberry cookies. If I’m honest, with all the fun and games of the past week I had a moment of...’oh yeah, it’s Friday tomorrow’ and had no idea what to make. So I started flicking through my recipe books and came across several cookie recipes and a white chocolate and cranberry cookie recipe in particular. Up to this point, I’ve avoided using a cookie recipe for Treat Friday largely because it’s a bit boring and most people have a favourite cookie recipe they use anyway. Well obviously I’ve given in, but I’ve tried to make it a bit more fun with some cranberries thrown in rather than just plain old chocolate. I did want to put macadamia nuts in too to make them fancier, unfortunately the supermarket didn’t have any – how uncooperative!

These cookies are very nice regardless and also very easy. The quantities in this recipe made 25 smallish cookies for me but you can make them as large as you want to! So enjoy your treat Friday, I unfortunately won’t be partaking this week due to the vast quantities of treats (trifle) I’ve already had this week. Roll on next Friday!

Some final tips before you get started:
  • To keep these cookies nice and round, briefly roll each piece of dough into a ball before you place it on your baking sheet. They’ll cook down to an (almost) perfectly round shape.
  • Make sure each piece of cookie dough is a couple of inches away from those around it. This dough will spread and if not they’ll cook together, you’ll have to cut them apart and you end up with square cookies. The horror!
  • For me, 12 minutes is the perfect baking time when making the smallish versions of these cookies. The dough balls I made were about the size of a walnut and 12 minutes in the oven left them slightly crunchy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. If you prefer yours softer, I’d have a go at cooking them for 10 minutes. If you like them crunchier, I’d leave them in for 15 minutes – just make sure they don’t burn!

Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies

140g Unsalted Butter (softened)
80g Caster Sugar
80g Soft Light Brown Sugar
1 Egg
½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
200g Plain Flour
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
½ tsp. Bicarbonate of Soda
100g Dried Cranberries
100g White Chocolate Chips

2 x Baking Sheets

1)      Preheat the oven to 170◦C, line the baking sheets with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and both of the sugars until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg and the vanilla extract, stirring between each addition until well combined.
2)      Sift the plain flour, salt, ground cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl and stir until just combined. Add the dried cranberries and white chocolate chips, stir until evenly distributed.
3)      Take heaped teaspoons of dough and roll into balls, place onto the prepared baking sheets leaving a couple of inches between each ball of dough. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.
4)      When slightly golden brown, remove from the oven and leave to cool on the sheets. Enjoy!