Saturday, 15 August 2015

Cinnamon Swirl Sour Cream Cake

This is one of those cakes that I tend to put in the category "plain cakes" which sounds a bit negative and unexciting but really isn't. It's just one of those simple cakes that are very easy to put together but even easier to eat. No layers, no icing, no decoration, just a straightforward one-tin bake.

I found the recipe when searching for inspiration for some leftover sour cream and discovered it in one of my Books for Cooks recipe books (compilations of recipes from the shop of the same name).

The cake itself is just a plain sponge, although sour cream is added to the usual ingredients, but the cake is well and truly brought to life by the layers of chocolatey, cinnamony nuts and raisins in the middle. No one flavour stands out; instead you have a lovely hint of the various ingredients mixed up in the slightly crunchy, slightly chewy layers. This is the sort of cake that is as perfect after dinner with ice cream as it is as an afternoon treat. P, who isn't keen on anything too sweet, really liked this one.

Cinnamon Swirl Sour Cream Cake
(adapted from Books for Cooks Favourite Recipes 7, 8 & 9)

For the mix
100g/3 1/2 oz walnuts or pecans
4 tbsp raisins
1tbsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
175g/6oz dark brown sugar

For the cake
250g/8oz plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
125g/4oz butter, softened
225g/7 1/2 oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
250ml/8 fl oz sour cream

1) Heat the oven to 180c/350f. Grease and line a 24cm/9 inch cake tin.

2) To make the spice mix, put the nuts and raisins in a blender and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the cinnamon, cocoa and sugar.

3) Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with each one.

4) Add one third of the flour to the mix and fold in then add and fold in one third of the sour cream. Alternate with the remaining ingredients until all mixed in.

5) Spread one third of the cake mix over the bottom of the cake tin then sprinkle with half the spice mix. Carefully add another third of the cake mix by dropping spoonfuls over the spice mix and carefully spreading it with the back of a spoon. Repeat with the remaining cake and spice mix, ending with a later of cake. Rap the tin on a hard surface a few times to remove any air bubbles.

6) Bake for 1 hour or until the cake has begun to come away from the sides of the tin and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before turning out.

Serves 8

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Bury St Edmunds Clandestine Cake Club - Saturday 25th July

This month we returned to The Cadogan Arms in Ingham, just outside Bury St Edmunds, for our July Clandestine Cake Club meet. As ever it was a great venue for us and the staff were very helpful and welcoming.

Our theme this month was "A Taste of Summer" and we had some really delicious cakes to share...

Hannah's Strawberry Sponge Cake

Sophie's Lemon Meringue Cake

Amy's Honey Cake

Kate's Pimms Cake

Sara's Persian Love Cake

Trish's Lemon Layer Cake

Rene's White Chocolate & Raspberry Cake

My Dark & Stormy Cake

Thanks again to The Cadogan for for being such great hosts. For details of events near you have a look at the website here.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Bury St Edmunds Clandestine Cake Club - Saturday 6th June

This month the Bury St Edmunds Clandestine Cake Club returned to the cosy surroundings of Oakes Barn in the centre of town. Their function room tucked away upstairs under the eves is the perfect setting for us.

This month the theme was Nigella vs Mary vs Delia with members invited to bring any cake by one of those three national baking treasures. Each of them were represented in our selection of cakes but in the end Mary was the winner with four of her cakes on the table, closely followed by Nigella with three and Delia coming in last with just one.

Here's what we had to share...

Sophie - Nigella's Honey Cake

Chrissi - Mary Berry's Chocolate/Orange Cake

Lynda - Mary Berry's Tiramisu Cake

Kate - Mary Berry's Coffee & Vanilla Layer Cake

Megan - Mary Berry's Sacher Torte

Sara - Delia's Iced Lemon Layer Cake

Katherine - Nigella's Lemon Syrup Loaf Cake

Me - Nigella's Chocolate Malteser Cake

Thanks again to the staff at Oakes Barn for being so helpful and welcoming. For details of upcoming events have a look at the website here.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Clandestine Cake Club - Saturday 18th April 2015

A couple of weeks ago the Bury St Edmunds Clandestine Cake Club returned to a great venue just a short distance from the centre of town. The Six Bells can be found in Horringer, just a short distance from the gates of Ickworth Park and is a fantastic place for lunch or dinner (their £10 lunch offer is an absolute bargain considering the quality of the food).

This visit was all about cake though and as well as the venue, I'd kept the theme a secret until just a few days before the event. This time, members were asked to bake a cake using just ingredients they had in their cupboards, so no choosing a recipe and then stocking up like usual! I made sure I kept to the brief as well and it was actually quite fun digging around in the cupboards and then searching for a recipe that fitted the bill.

There was just a small group of us this time but everyone did very well and we had a lovely selection of cakes to choose from...

Chrissi's Apple Crumble Cake

Hannah & Ian's Banana Loaf Cake

Sophie's Lime and Coconut Cake

My Ginger Syrup Cake

And finally, Trish's lovely Banana Caramel Cake which, even though there were only five cakes, I somehow managed not to get a photo of! Sorry Trish!

Thanks again to the Six Bells for being such great hosts as always.

If you like to find out about the next Clandestine Cake Club event in your area then take a look here.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Clandestine Cake Club - Saturday 7th March 2015

This month we returned to a favourite venue of the Bury St Edmunds Clandestine Cake Club, The Old Cannon Brewery which you can find tucked away down a side street in the centre of town. As before, their snug at the rear of the restaurant was a perfect spot for us.

Our theme this month was "Cakes around the World" and, as always, we had a fabulous selection to choose from...

Lynda's Amaretto Cream Cake

Rene's German Bienenstich  "Bee Sting Cake", a dense, sticky cake made with almonds and lots of honey.

Christina's Piernik Cake from Poland

I've again managed to miss one of our cakes when taking photos. This particular one was a delicious cake flavoured with spices and honey, sandwiched together with plum jam and covered in chocolate. Lovely!

Sophie's Boston Cream Pie

Kate's Grapefruit & Poppy Seed Cake

Amelia's Cookies & Cream Cake

My German Friendship Cake made with apples and raisins

Chrissie's beautiful French Entremet (pronounced on-tre-may), made with layers of chocolate cake, mousse and pears.

Trish's Lime & Coconut Cake

Thanks again to the The Old Cannon Brewery. For more details of upcoming Clandestine Cake Club events have a look here.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Farfalle with Carbonara and Spring Peas

Well look at that, a recipe that actually does use half a pot of cream!

I found myself with some leftover cream this week so turned to my blog first of all for some inspiration, however there was none to be found! Shameful considering it's name! I've posted about plenty of sweet recipes calling for cream but I was looking for something savoury. Ideally something that could be used to feed the whole family.

Luckily Jamie O came to the rescue with this recipe which turned out to b exactly what I was after. It uses precisely the amount of cream I had left in the fridge and I had pretty much everything else to hand in the fridge and freezer.

As with most of Jamie's recipes, the portion sizes are generous so I cooked a little less pasta than the 455g stated in the recipe. It still seemed a like lot but luckily it went down very well and by the end of the meal it had all been demolished.

The original recipe includes some freshly chopped mint, however I didn't have any in the house and I'm not that keen on it anyway. I didn't feel like the recipe was lacking without but you might want to give it a try if you like fresh mint.

All in all this was a great success. It was very easy to prepare and the simple creamy pasta mixed with salty bacon was a hit with the whole family.

Farfalle with Carbonara and Spring Peas
(adapted from Jamie's Dinners by Jamie Oliver)

14-16oz/400-455g farfalle pasta
1 egg
100ml/3 1/2 fl oz double cream
salt and pepper
12 rashers of pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, roughly sliced
3 handfuls of fresh podded or frozen peas
2 handfuls of freshly grated parmesan cheese

1) Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the pack instructions.

2) Fry the bacon in a large frying pan until golden and crispy

3) Whisk the egg, double cream and some salt and pepper in a bowl.

4) When the pasta is nearly cooked, add the peas for the last couple of minutes.

5) When the pasta is cooked, reserve a cupful of the cooking water then drain in a colander and add to the bacon pan.

6) Add the egg and cream mix to the pasta and stir well to combine. Add the parmesan and check for seasoning. If the sauce seems a little dry add some of the reserved pasta water.

Serves 4

Friday, 6 February 2015

Bury St Edmunds Clandestine Cake Club - 31st January 2015

This month's Clandestine Cake Club saw us meeting at another new and wonderful venue in the heart of Bury St Edmunds. Oakes Barn is a fairly recent addition to the town and can be found tucked away down St Andrews Street South. Wooden beams and floors, and brick walls give it a cosy feel and their upstairs room is a perfect meeting place for local groups.

So this is where we found ourselves last Saturday, with a fantastic array of cakes based on the theme "Out with the with the new". In keeping with the New Year (which feels like months ago now) we had to bake a cake using something new, such as a new recipe or new ingredient.

Let's have a look a what we had to choose from....

My Coffee & Walnut Cake

Rene's Lemon Polenta Cake

Nicola & Ed's Dundee Cake

Nicola & Ed's Blood Orange Pound Cake

Chrissi's White Chocolate & Passion Fruit Cake

Helen's Fruity Tea Loaf

Sophie's Fudgy Raspberry Cake

Kate's Cherry & Pistachio Cake

Megan's Jaffa Cake

Thanks again to Oakes Barn for being such great hosts. For more information about Clandestine Cake Club events near you have a look here.