Lemon and Lavender Loaf
This is such a simple cake – a variation on the classic lemon drizzle – and it works a treat. It has a wonderful, light texture, a very fresh taste and it looks incredibly pretty – perfect with a cuppa on a sunny afternoon.
You can buy dried, edible lavender from baking suppliers and some supermarkets. Alternatively, if you have lavender growing in your garden, you can use fresh buds and leaves, finely chopped.
For the cake
250g/9oz plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g/4½oz caster sugar
1½ tbsp edible lavender
2 unwaxed lemons, finely grated zest only
2 large free-range eggs
200g/7oz plain, full-fat yoghurt
100g/3½oz unsalted butter, melted
For the lemon drizzle
juice of 2 lemons, strained
2 tbsp icing sugar
For the topping
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp edible lavender
Heat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line a 1kg/2lb 4oz loaf tin (around 10x20cm/4x8in base measurement) with baking parchment.
In a bowl, combine the flour, raising agents, sugar, lavender and lemon zest.
In a jug, beat the eggs with the yoghurt and melted butter. Pour this onto the dry ingredients and, using a spatula, stir until just combined.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and prick it deeply all over with a cocktail stick.
Mix the ingredients for the drizzle together and pour over the hot cake. Sprinkle over the granulated sugar and then the lavender. Leave to cool completely in the tin before slicing.
Chocolate Guinness Cake
- 250ml (9fl oz) Guinness
- 250g (9oz) unsalted butter
- 80g (3oz) cocoa powder
- 400g (14oz) caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 140ml (5fl oz) buttermilk
- 280g (10oz) plain flour
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 50g (1¾oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 300g (10½oz) icing sugar
- 125g (4½oz) full-fat cream cheese (such as Philadelphia)
- Cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)
- one 23cm (9in) diameter spring-form cake tin
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F)/gas mark 3, then line the base of the tin with baking parchment.
2. Pour the Guinness into a saucepan, add the butter and gently heat until it has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the cocoa powder and sugar into the warm liquid. Mix together the eggs, vanilla essence and buttermilk by hand in a jug or bowl, and then add this to the mixture in the pan.
3. Sift together the remaining sponge ingredients into a large bowl or into the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer. Using the mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand-held electric whisk, set on a low speed, pour in the contents of the pan. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are incorporated.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool, and then remove from the tin on to a wire rack, making sure the cake is cold to the touch before you frost it.
5. Using the electric whisk or the freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, mix the butter and icing sugar together until there are no large lumps of butter and it is fully combined with the sugar in a sandy mixture. Add the cream cheese and mix in a low speed, then increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
6. Place the cooled cake on to a plate or cake card and top generously with the cream cheese frosting. The cake can be decorated with a light dusting of cocoa powder.
Chocolate & Caramel Flapjacks
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 55 mins
Equipment: 22cm Square tin
200g soft brown sugar
200g butter, plus extra for greasing
2 tbsp golden syrup
350g whole oats
397g can caramel (we used Carnation Caramel)
200g plain chocolate
1 tbsp unflavoured oil, like sunflower
1. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas
2. Place the sugar, butter and golden syrup together in a saucepan and gently heat until the butter has melted, stirring occasionally. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the oats, mixing thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a lined and lightly greased 22cm square tin, pressing it out evenly using the back of a wooden spoon. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40-45 mins.
2. Allow the mixture to cool in the tin for 10 mins (or for best results, leave to cool completely overnight), then evenly spread over the caramel. There can be discrepancies between the thickness of caramel, and the more you stir the runnier it gets. If it looks too thin pop it into a pan and boil for a few minutes, stirring. Then leave to cool – it should be thicker. Chill until firm.
3. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then stir in the oil and pour over the chilled caramel flapjack base. Let the chocolate set, then cut into squares. Setting chocolate on top of something squidgy can make it difficult to cut, this is why the oil is added.
Strawberry & Chocolate Slices (makes 16)
225g/8 oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g/3.5 oz oz caster sugar
85g/3 oz soft light brown sugar
225g/8 oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
150g/5.5 oz rolled oats
225g/8 oz strawberry jam
100g/3.5 oz plain chocolate chips
25g/1 oz flaked almonds
Note: I used raspberry jam to make it slightly less sweet. I used Stork SB margarine and the cheapest supermarket porridge oats!
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees/gas mark 5. Grease a 30 x 20 cm/12 x 8 inch deep rectangular baking tin and line with baking paper.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the caster sugar and brown sugar and mix well. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the oats.
Press three quarters of the mixture into the base of the prepared tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Spread the jam over the cooked base, then sprinkle over the chocolate chips. Mix the remaining flour mixture with the almonds. Sprinkle evenly over the chocolate chips and press down gently.
Return to the oven and bake for a further 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven, leave to cool in the tin, then cut into slices.
It will be interesting to hear if anyone tries the recipe and how they get on!! It is in an M&S Easy Baking book which contains a lot of similar recipes.