Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Banana and Berry Loaf

Apologies for the long absence, September has been a really busy month as I was away celebrating my birthday and moving house in between! I then got a bad chest infection/sore throat which meant no unpacking, no baking or blogging! Anyway I am just about back on my feet so I thought I'd share this recipe with you quickly. I baked this back in August before moving house as I had leftover ingredients to use up. It's a really quick and simple bake and tastes amazing!! I really loved the chocolate chunks with the berries and bananas. 

I'm sending this to the No Waste Food Challenge run by Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. This month it's guest hosted by Mireille from Chef Mireille's East West Realm. I used up leftover fruit and half a bag of chocolate chunks for this recipe.

Similarly it's suitable for Credit Crunch Munch hosted by Sarah from Maison Cupcake for Helen and Camilla.

It's also perfect for the Vegetable Palette hosted by Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen. The September challenge is purple and blues. The blueberries are blue but they look purple after baking! 

Finally to Four Seasons Food hosted by Louisa from Eat Your Veg and co hosted by Anneli from Delicieux. The theme this month is "getting fruity" and there's plenty of fruit in this!

 I like adding chunks of banana rather than completely mashing them up 

 adding sour cream 

 lovely fresh berries 

 leatherwood honey - a really fragrant solid honey from Australia 

 chocolate chunks for extra indulgence


An original recipe by bakingaddict 

220g flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
115g brown sugar
1 tablespoon Leatherwood honey
80mls vegetable oil
2 eggs
125mls sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 bananas, cut into large chunks
blueberries,raspberries and a handful of chocolate chunks (I forgot to weigh the berries but just throw in what you have)

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Whisk the sugar and vegetable oil together then add in the eggs and continue whisking. 
  • Stir in the mashed bananas followed by the sour cream .
  • Gently fold in the berries by hand.
  • Add the flour and baking powder to the mixture.
  • Stir in the honey.
  • Mix briefly being sure not to overmix.
  • Finally stir in the chocolate chunks and pour into a loaf tin. 
  • Bake for approximately 50minutes - 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Check at 45 minutes as you will need to cover the top with foil if it's too brown. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

AlphaBakes Sep 2014

Welcome to September's AlphaBakes. It's a very exciting month for me as it's my birthday month and I am moving house! If you haven't seen last month's round up of P entries on Caroline's blog, do head on over and check them out.

As it's a celebration month for me, I thought it would be nice to share the love so I've lined up an exciting prize for one lucky winner selected at random which is kindly sponsored by DotComGiftShop. It's a set of 6 pantry design spice tins which will brighten up any kitchen. You have to have a valid UK address to be eligible for the prize - please let me know in your email if it's not clear where you are based on your blog.

All you need now is the letter for this month which is ....
Please remember to email your entries to alphabakes@gmail.com by 25th September 2014. A quick reminder of the rules...

1. Post your recipe on your blog and link it to The More than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes, stating the relevant month's host. If you do not have a blog, email us a picture and a brief description of your entry which we will include in the round-up at the end of the month.

2. You can use your own recipe or someone else's recipe. The recipe can be sweet, savoury or a mixture! Anything goes as long as the random letter is predominantly featured in the recipe as one of the main ingredients or flavours or in the name of the bake itself (i .e . not as a garnish , or using 'flour' for the letter F!) You can also republish old posts/recipes but you must include the information for this challenge as stated in these rules.

3. Add the logo to your post and add 'alphabakes' as a label to your post.

4. Email your entries to alphabakes@gmail.com by midnight (GMT) 25th of each month. Please include:
  • Your name (that you want included in the round up or we will use the name of your blog)
  • Your blog post URL
  • Recipe title
  • Photo of recipe (to be included in the round up)5. You can submit as many entries as you like.
5. You can submit as many entries as you like.

6. You do not have to participate every month to join in.

7. You may submit your entry to other challenges as long as it complies with their rules.

8. If you use twitter, please use the tag #alphabakes and mention @bakingaddict and @Caroline_Makes. We will retweet all those that we see.

9. Have fun! :)

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Apple, Plum and Almond Crumble Cake

My colleague brought in a huge basket of plums to work from her garden. We ate some of it but there was so many left I decided I'd take some home and bake something with it. I started thinking about flavour combinations and in the end decided on this apple, plum and almond crumble cake. The cake was declared one of the best bakes of the year. 

The cake is lightly spiced with chunks of apple which added a lovely freshness to the cake. The crumble topping added a lovely layer of texture and flavour with the ground almonds and oats. The plums were tart but still retained their shape and moisture after baking and paired well with the toasted almond flakes. The cake is delicious on its own but would go well with some custard or cream. 

I'm entering this to several blogging challenges this month. Firstly to the Rix Aga Inspired Recipe Competition where the theme is plums. 

Simple and in Season hosted this month by Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary for Ren from RenBehan.com. It's definitely plum season as these came fresh from my colleague's garden.

Shop Local hosted by Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. This challenge was created to highlight produce from local sources. The plums in this recipe came from a colleague's garden. 

The No Waste Food Challenge which is run by Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. This month, it's guest hosted by Laura from I'd Much Rather Bake Than... The plums were bountiful and would have gone to waste otherwise.

 adding chunks of apple to the batter 

 place the cake batter in the tin 

 top with the crumble 

 arrange the sliced plums on top 

 after baking for about 40 minutes - the middle will still be wobbly 

 add a sprinkle of almond flakes and continue baking until brown 

 fresh from the oven 

 you can see the chunks of apple at the bottom of the cake on the right side 


An original recipe by bakingaddict

For the cake
4 eggs = 259g (use the same amount of butter, flour and sugar) 
259g butter
259g caster sugar
259g self raising flour
2 red apples - peeled, cored and chopped
1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
0.5 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the crumble topping
90g butter
90g plain flour
90g light brown sugar
50g ground almonds
60g oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the topping
Handful of plums - cored and sliced
approximately 35g almond flakes

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  • Sift in the flour and mix well.
  • Stir in the apple chunks by hand and pour into a 23cm round cake tin which has been lined. 
  • Make the crumble topping by rubbing the butter and flour together with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. 
  • Stir in the sugar, ground almonds, oats and ground cinnamon.
  • Pour the crumble topping on top of the cake batter and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Arrange the plum slices on top of the cake.
  • Bake for approximately 40 minutes then remove from the oven - the middle will still be wobbly at this point but the outside of the cake should be cooked.
  • Sprinkle the flaked almonds on top of the cake and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes or until the almonds are toasted and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. 
  • If the almonds brown quickly, cover with foil and continue cooking until the cake is cooked. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Chocolate and Mint Loaf

Remember I mentioned in previous posts about getting goodies from a friend who visited America? I asked for Andes creme de menthe baking chips as I've baked with them previously and they were really tasty so I was really pleased she got me a bag of these. Unfortunately it was one of the hottest days of the year when I received these and we were out for the whole day so these sat baking in the car boot. Unsurprisingly when I got to them they had melted completely so I popped them in the fridge when I got home and it solidifed again but in a giant lump. I didn't want to waste them so I decided to incorporate them into a chocolate and mint loaf cake. I put about 1/2 of the bag into the cake and sprinkled some on top of the cake before baking. I used the remainder to make a minty chocolate ganache to go with the cake. The result was a really moist chocolatey and minty cake with a delicious mint chocolate ganache. You could still taste chunks of the mint chocolate in the cake which was my favourite part. I suspect these would be good in brownies too which was my other option. 

 This is what it looked like after it had melted and then been refrigerated 


For the cake
100 grams plain flour
100 grams caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
20 g cocoa powder
90 g unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
75 ml sour cream
~150g Andes Creme de menthe baking chips + ~25g for the topping

For the ganache
50 mls double cream
~100g Andes Creme de menthe baking chips

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Place all the ingredients for the cake in a stand mixer and mix until smooth. Alternatively mix everything by hand in a large mixing bowl.
  • Pour the cake batter into a loaf tin.
  • Sprinkle the top with Andes creme de menthe baking chips.
  • Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it's almost boiling.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the mint baking chips.
  • Continue stirring until smooth.
  • Pour the ganache over the cake before serving. 

Monday, 25 August 2014

SRC: Healthy Raspberry Bars

It's the 4th Monday of the month which can only mean one thing.... It's Secret Recipe Club Group D Reveal day! I love the Secret Recipe Club and look forward to reveal day every month. The concept is simple - each blog is assigned another blog in secret and the idea is that you choose a recipe to make from your secret blog and reveal it on the same day. It's a great way to discover new blogs and exciting recipes. 

This month my assignment is Without Adornment written by Bean. Her favourite hobbies are baking/cooking and photography, both of which she showcases on her blog. She is gluten intolerant and loves to experiment with vegan baking so her blog is a treasure trove of gluten free/dairy free/vegan recipes. I know more and more people with gluten intolerance and food allergies so this was a good opportunity to experiment with recipes and to bake outside my comfort zone. 

I had a real nosey round her blog and I do encourage you to pop over and say hi. She writes a beautiful blog with lovely accompanying pictures. I shortlisted a few recipes to try and in the end went with this raspberry bar as it sounded good and I had some fresh raspberries to hand. Her recipe is a gluten and refined sugar free vegan bar. I've made some adjustments as I did not have all the ingredients to hand so mine is not quite gluten free but it's dairy free with minimal refined sugar. I was really pleased that mine turned out almost exactly the same as Bean's. It tastes like a crumble and the sweetened, spiced tart raspberries are the perfect filling. These would be great for lunch boxes or picnics.

 flour and oat mix 

 adding coconut oil 

 looks like a crumble mixture 

 mix the raspberries with honey and spices 

 press more than half of the flour mixture onto a traybake tin 

 add a layer of raspberries 

 top with the remaining flour mixture 


Recipe adapted from Without Adornment

55g ground almonds
80 g brown rice flour
100g oats
55g wholemeal flour
100g spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder 
50g dark brown sugar
100g coconut oil
450g fresh raspberries
4 - 5 tablespoons honey (adjust to taste) 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • In a large bowl, mix the ground almonds, brown rice flour, oats, wholemeal flour, spelt flour, sugar and baking powder.
  • Add the coconut oil and rub into the flour mixture with your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the honey, spices and raspberries together. 
  • Spray a traybake tin with non stick spray. Press more than half the flour mixture into the tin and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  • Spoon the raspberry layer on top and finish with the remaining crumble mix.
  • Bake for approximately 30 - 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into squares.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Marmalade Chocolate Croissant Pudding

There was an opened pack of stale croissants at work sometime ago that was about to be binned. It was only a few days old and I thought it would be a shame to waste it, perhaps I can make something with it. I love bread and butter pudding and have not had one for a long time. So I decided to turn these stale croissants into marmalade chocolate croissant pudding. It's really simple and a great way to use up stale croissants/brioche or bread.

I sliced the croissants in half and spread a thick layer of dark marmalade on each side. I placed them marmalade side up in a dish and sprinkled some dark chocolate chunks on top.Then I soaked it in the custard mixture for about 30 minutes before baking. The result was amazing. The buttery croissant combined with tangy marmalade and hints of dark chocolate was absolutely divine. The eggy custard held it all together and even though we were completely full after dinner, we managed a hefty portion as it was just so good. I'm tempted to buy fresh croissants and leave them for a few days just to make this again!

I'm entering this to the No Waste Food Challenge as I used up leftover croissants for this recipe. This month it's hosted by Laura from I'd Much Rather Bake Than... on behalf of Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

 spread marmalade on croissants which have been sliced in half 

 sprinkle over some dark chocolate chunks 

 soak in custard 

 fresh from the oven 


3 stale croissants, sliced in half 
150mls double cream
75mls milk
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons caster sugar 
Dark marmalade 
50g dark chocolate chunks

  • Place the cream and milk in a pan and bring to a boil. 
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. 
  • Pour the cooled cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking as you go.
  • Prepare the croissants as shown.
  • Pour the custard mixture over the croissants and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes or until soft. 
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown.