Writing about some of my favourite cake recipes at the end of every April has become a sort of tradition here on C&T. It’s my birthday later on in the week so it’s kind of themed, at least for me! It started a few month after the birth of this blog, when people started asking me about the cake or cakes (because yes, there were times when I made more than one) I usually make for the day. I try to vary as much as possible, but I can happily say that more often than not there’s always a copious amount of chocolate involved.
So I promised you a second cake recipe today and I wasn’t going to back down. A promise is a promise. I confess that it wasn’t a difficult task for me, especially this week. I’ll be having a break for my birthday this weekend and as per tradition I am baking a double treat: two cakes or any two sweet other things for that matter. Forget the pitiful attempt at making this sponge way back when I was still new at this blogging thing. This is the recipe you want, and which I will repeat tomorrow.
You might call me obsessed, and you would be right. I mean, I don’t even know how many lemon cakes you can find in this blog. Lemons are and will always remain one of my favourite ingredients. I never tire of their taste and smell. If I were to close my eyes while plunging my face in a bag of those lovely yellow fruit, I would immediately be transported to somewhere in the Mediterranean.
Spring has not quite arrived in the UK. I’m not going to say anything else about this – I’m really afraid I might jinx it, but I must post this before the weather becomes warmer. Two weeks ago it snowed here. OK. Stop. But in case you’re wondering, that’s why we’re still drinking mulled wine in April.
In general I think it’s best to go for a fruity full-bodied red, but this depends on personal taste. If you like to drink the wine you choose on its own, then you will like it when it’s mulled. This is J’s simple recipe which always worked for us. The roles were reversed this time: he was by the stove, I was taking the photos. Except the one with the glasses. (Was going to forget that! He wouldn’t have minded but I said it for the sake of completeness.) I don’t really need to say this but If you’re in Malta, forget about this until December!
We started to use this recipe with these quantities while in Michigan; that’s why I have also given cup measures. The equivalent ml measures are an approximation, but still valid. A slight variation will not make much of a difference here.
- 2 cups/500ml water
- ½ cup/100g caster sugar
- 1 stick cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- 2 small star anise
- 2 large oranges, cut in slices
- 1 bottle of red wine
Place the water, caster sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and star anise in a deep pot, on medium heat, bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat. Steep the sliced oranges into the syrup mixture for around 15 minutes. Pour in 1 bottle of red wine (the deeper, the better).
Reheat the wine and fruity syrup mixture, but do not boil. Strain the wine, using a sieve and serve hot.
The recipe is here, ready for the cold weather, whenever that hits you! You guys in Oz – are you next? Enjoy.
I was taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But let’s be honest: how many times do we get bored with the same cereal day in day out? Countless are those times when I throw my hands in the air and simply give up! Too many times for my liking. Worse case scenario? One cup of coffee and that’s it. Not good enough. More often than not, whenever I can, I eat breakfast later in the day – I just cannot take it at 6 or 7 in the morning. So guilty as charged.
Even though I’m always up for a good English breakfast especially on holiday, I’m always looking for recipes which can be adapted or used as good options for everyday. People tell me that breakfast is the last thing on their minds at home, but when on holiday it’s the first thing they think about. Does this ring a bell? To me it certainly does.
If you look for breakfast recipes in this blog you won’t find many, but J’s pancake recipe is great for weekends, when we may have more time to potter about in the kitchen. However preparing pancakes everyday isn’t my cup of tea. So the following could be an option for you once in a while because you can prepare them a day or two before and keep them in a cool, dry place. If not they will go mouldy (it happened to me), but if you store them correctly they will keep for two to three days. These breakfast muffins are taken from Nigella Bites with minor variations. They are very easy to conjure up.
- 80g unsalted butter, softened and slightly cooled
- 250g self-raising flour
- 25g ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 80g caster sugar
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- 100ml milk
- 1 egg
Line a muffin tray with paper and preheat the oven to 200ºC/395ºF/Gas Mark 6.
In a large bowl mix flour, ground almonds, baking powder, sugar and the zest of an orange.
In a smaller bowl or a jug whisk the orange juice, milk, egg and the cooled softened butter together.
Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients folding it gradually until you have a lumpy muffin mixture. Don’t worry; this is how it should be.
Divide the mixture into your muffin cases. Mine yielded 11. Bake for 20 minutes and when cool enough to handle place the muffins onto a wire rack. These are best eaten while they are still warm, but they are still good if you choose to leave some for the next day! I would comfortable eat them with unsalted butter, marmalade or jam, or perhaps even top them with some glaze or icing. I’m really getting hungry now.
So, who’s up for a spot of baking? I am. Enjoy!