Tag Archives: Cake

Recipe: Halloween Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Frosting

Every year I carve a pumpkin at Halloween and every year without fail I’ve guiltily tipped the insides of the pumpkin into the compost bin. I tell a lie, one year we did try and make something but it was so inedible we tipped that straight in the bin. 

This afternoon as my son and I sat around the kitchen table carving the pumpkin and scooping out the gloopy insides, I felt really bad about tipping the pumpkin innards into the bin, so I decided to try and bake a pumpkin cake of our own. 

I consider myself to be a bit of a safe baker, I can do 100 variations of sponge cake but anything more complicated I’ve always shied away from for fear of failure. I sat at the kitchen table and puzzled over what to do, in the end I came up with a slightly experimental recipe for a pumpkin cake and a hope that it would work, it did and it was delicious.

pumpkin cake

This pumpkin cake recipe does make quite a lot of cake batter and there was enough to make one decent sized cake and 12 yummy cupcakes. We used the flesh, the firm pale bit, not the slimy gloopy bit. We cut our chunks of the flesh and grated them. We found we had 300g or so, though I think if you found yourself with more pumpkin than that, then the recipe is quite forgiving and would accommodate another 100g or so with no problems.

The pumpkin kind of melts into the cake when it’s cooked and you’d never, ever know what the spooky surprise in your cake really is. I suspect if you wanted to make this cake outside of pumpkin carving season a grated butternut squash would work just as well.

pumpkin cake

pumpkin cake
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Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Icing

If you've carved your pumpkin and you don't know what to do with the leftover flesh, here's a cracking recipe for a cake which you can decorate as Halloweeny as you want.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8
Author Jane Arschavir

Ingredients

For the cake...

  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 200g butter or margarine
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp mixed spice, ground
  • 5 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 300g pumpkin flesh, grated
  • splash of orange juice if the latter needs loosening

For the frosting...

  • 80g unsalted butter, soft
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 4 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 200g cream cheese

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 190.

  2. Cream the golden caster sugar and butter together.  Once light and fluffy stir in the beaten eggs, mixed spice and cinnamon. Add to bicarb of soda, salt and sifted flour and fold in until the batter is smooth. If the batter seems a little stiff add a splash of fresh orange juice to loosen it. Stir in the grated pumpkin.

  3. Put a dessert spoon of the batter in 12 cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

  4. With the remainder of the batter, pour into a lined 8 inch cake tin. For ease I used one of the paper cake tin liners you can buy and my tin was quite deep (4 inches). Bake this cake in the oven for 50 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cake inside for a further 10 minutes, then remove and cool on the rack.

To make the frosting...

  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together until smooth, add the cinnamon and stir thoroughly. Beat in the cream cheese until the mixture is well combined. Put in the fridge to firm up for 20 minutes.

  2. Once your cakes are cool they can be iced, you can either pipe on the frosting or smooth it on with a knife, decorate however you want, I sprinkled some spooky sprinkles on top of mine.

The result was a surprisingly light pumpkin cake, full of autumnal spice and not at all pumpkiny. I urge you not to tip your pumpkin innards in the bin, but to try this instead. You won’t regret it. I promise!

pumpkin cake

Casa Costello

Ma’amy Dodger Cake – A Royal Bake Fit For A Queen

The Queen is celebrating her 90th Birthday with a National Party on June 12th, and to help with the celebrations, I took part in a competition to bake something #FitForAQueen with Kitchenways.

I baked a deliciously light sponge cake filled with lovely purple (the royal colour) mulled wine jam. I’d like to think the Queen would approve of my simple but very yummy cake which I’ve called my “Ma’amy Dodger Cake”; a nod to the fact that a) there’s jam in it and b) when you call the Queen ‘Ma’am’ it’s meant to be pronounced ‘mam’.

#FitForAQueen

To find out how to make my Ma’amy Dodger Cake, read my recipe below…

Ma'amy Dodger Cake - A Royal Bake #FitForAQueen
Serves 16
A classic Victoria Sponge layered with Mulled Wine Jam and Chantilly Cream. Meet my Ma'amy Dodger Cake - A Royal Bake #FitForAQueen
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
345 calories
35 g
124 g
21 g
5 g
13 g
92 g
35 g
20 g
1 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
92g
Servings
16
Amount Per Serving
Calories 345
Calories from Fat 186
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21g
33%
Saturated Fat 13g
64%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 124mg
41%
Sodium 35mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 35g
12%
Dietary Fiber 1g
2%
Sugars 20g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A
14%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
5%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 300g caster sugar
  2. 300g softened butter
  3. 6 eggs, beaten
  4. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 3 tbsp milk
  6. 300g self-raising flour
  7. 1.5 tsp baking powder
For the filling
  1. 1/2 Jar Mackays Christmas Preserve (mulled wine jam)
  2. 200ml double cream
  3. 1 level tablespoon of icing sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Heat your fan oven to 190c. Butter three 20cm sandwich tins. In a large bowl, beat your butter and sugar together until fluffy (I used a hand mixer). Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and combine, then add the flour and baking powder and mix together until you have a smooth batter.
  2. Divide the mixture equally between the three tins, you can weigh them to make sure they're fairly equal if you'd like. Bake in your pre-heated oven for around 20 mins until golden and they're cooked. Remove from the tins and leave to cool on a cooling rack.
  3. To make the Chantilly cream, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. I used my hand mixer for this and it took just a few minutes.
  4. To assemble the cake, choose the most attractive of the three sponge cakes and save that one to go on the top. You may need to cut the top of some of your layers to make them flatter so they sit more comfortably on each other. Put the bottom layer on your serving plate or cake board. Put a teaspoon of jam on the plate and put your bottom layer on that. It will help it stick to the board. Cover that first layer with your jam and put the second layer on top. Gently press the layers together. Top your second layer with the cream and put your top layer on top, sprinkle with icing sugar or decorate as you wish.
Notes
  1. The cream is fresh so the cake will need to be eaten fairly quickly or refrigerated. If you want to keep it for a few days it might be best to not have the cream in between layers, maybe kept in the fridge to indulgently dollop on the side.
beta
calories
345
fat
21g
protein
5g
carbs
35g
more
HodgePodgeDays http://hodgepodgedays.co.uk/
My Ma’my Dodger Cake would make the prefect addition to a celebratory street party or a refined afternoon tea round at Buckingham Palace. It’s so quick and easy to make, it’ll leave you plenty of time to make a few plates of cucumber sandwiches and mix up a jug or two of Pimms for the party!

Ma'amy Dodger Cake - A Royal Bake #FitForAQueen

I’ve served mine on my new (royal) purple cake carrier from Kitchenways. It’s perfect for picnics and for keeping flies and other unwanted things off your bakes if you’re dining out. It’s also fairly indestructible if dropped and large enough for my super-sized Ma’amy Dodge cake to sit on comfortably. 

Will you be baking a cake with your family to celebrate the Queen’s birthday? What will you bake that is #FitForAQueen?

#FitForAQueen

I have to say, this sponge recipe is absolutely magic, I use it as the base for all my sponge cake bakes now, from butterfly cakes, cupcakes, sponge puddings and good old Victoria sponges, it’s light every single time. I can’t fault it.

Note: I was sent the cake carrier from Kitchenways in return for this post. All images, opinions and content are my own.

My top five best bakes (for Christmas)

I was chatting about baking to a mum in the playground yesterday, we discovered a shared love of fairly unusual continental recipes, the kind Paul and Mary would give to Bake Off contestants to try and baffle them into submission. It got me thinking about some of my favourite things I’ve baked and blogged, so I thought I’d choose my top five best bakes and give them another airing.

I promise you they’re all easy, I lack the patience, time and skill to do anything too fancy and time consuming; but they’re all delicious. 

Lebkuchen Cake 

Traditionally a moreish soft biscuit, I decided to attempt a German Lebkuchen Cake with considerable success. The recipe is easier than it looks to make and the results are truly scrumptious!

Lebkuchen Cake

Joulutorttu

Traditionally Joulutorttu are made with puff pastry and a special Finnish prune jam. However I made mine with a Christmas preserve, but it does need a good firm set jam. Try plum or prune conserve for authenticity. They look a bit tricky to make, but it’s ready-roll puff pastry and jam and  a bit of arty twisting of the pastry.

Joulutorttu

Birnenpfannkuchen

Birnenpfannkuchen is a German Pear & Ginger Pancake. This is a brilliant store cupboard standby, and a real family favourite when you need a quick pud. It’s a bit like a fruity toad in the hole, only better!

Birnenpfannkuchen

Cinnamon & Raisin Shortbread

I originally created this shortbread recipe in 2013 in celebration of the Great British Bake Off and it’s still popular today. Cinnamon and raisin are a great combination and this lovely crumbly shortbread is a great bake.

shortbread

Microwave Jam Sponge Pudding

I’ve always hated the thought of “baking” in the microwave, but I’ve cracked it with this delicious sponge pudding. From mixing bowl to table in under ten minutes – perfect for busy families.

jam sponge

So that’s my little round up of my five best bakes. What would you have in your top five?

Baking with Beechs Fine Chocolates Plus Review

There are grim scenes in our house at the moment. Husband and I are trying the 5:2 diet which basically means for two days a week we forgo any food based joy and eat dust, lettuce and dust. Anyway it’s starting to work which is a great thing, especially for my endurance event in training husband. The 5:2 diet does mean that for five whole, blissful days each week we can eat whatever we want (though seven trifles in a sitting is frowned upon apparently). It was with some considerable delight (and woe, they arrived on a fast day) that we received a selection of Beechs Fine Chocolates to try in time for Easter.

Beechs Chocolates

We were sent two of their many flavours of chocolate thins, mint and ginger as well as some chocolate fondant bunnies for the small boy to have for Easter.

Beechs Chocolates

The thins are lovely thin disks of  chocolate, meant for after dinner but actually eaten before, during and after our dinner because they were amazing. Husband is a real lover of mint chocolate and he was blown away by them, saying they were seriously good (praise indeed from him). He tried the ginger and said they were the best ginger chocolates he’s ever had.

I loved both the mint and the ginger, they packed just the right amount of flavour and would be perfect for offering around with coffee after a lovely dinner with friends.

Each packet contains 20 thins and costs £4.99 a box, the chocolate is very rich and unless you’re a glutton (looks at hubs) then one or two thins are plenty to satisfy any chocolate craving. I always find that with good quality dark chocolate a little goes a long way, which is great if you’re trying to drop a couple of pounds.

There are four different kinds of thins available from Beechs Chocolates, these are Milk Chocolate Anglesey Sea Salt Thins, Dark Chocolate After Dinner Ginger Thins, Dark Chocolate After Dinner Mint Thins and Dark Chocolate Lime & Chilli Thins.

We were sent two boxes of  the Beechs Chocolates Bunny Family for the small boy to try. These are priced at £2.99 a box and contain ten different chocolate bunnies filled with fondant, though you can also get caramel bunnies too.

The bunnies were very popular, seriously cute and a nice chocolate nibble, the bunny shapes make them perfect for an Easter treat. The small boy loved them and somehow we managed to make the box last a couple of days, but only because I managed to hide them.

On Friday afternoons the small boy and I like to bake something, usually a cake to offer any visitors over the weekend. We decided to make a chocolate sponge cake and as an experiment we added some Beechs Chocolates Ginger Thins to the cake, it was delicious, so I’ve decided to share the recipe.

Beechs Chocolate

Chocolate & Ginger Sponge Cake

Ingredients:
4oz sugar
4oz butter or margarine (I used stork)
2 eggs
4oz self raising flour
2 dessert spoons of chocolate powder
3 Beechs Chocolate Ginger Thins
splash of milk if needed

Method:
1. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Stir in the eggs.
2. Add the chocolate powder and combine, then sift in the flour and stir through. If the cake batter is too thick (which it might be a little) add a drop of milk until it is the right consistency.
3. Put mixture into a lined loaf tin and put the thins half way into the cake at regular intervals (see picture).
4. Bake in pre-heated oven at 190 degrees for 30 minutes.
5. Leave to cool and then try not to eat it all in one go.

It’s utterly delicious on its own, but would be lovely slightly warm with a scoop of ice cream. The chocolate thins impart a deliciously subtle flavour of ginger into the cake. Definitely something we’ll be baking again.

Beechs Fine Chocolates get the thumbs up from us, I’ll be looking out for them in the future, they’re seriously delicious British made chocolates, perfect for after dinner and equally great to bake with, and what’s more hard to please hubs loves them.

Note: We were sent a selection of chocolate thins and bunnies from Beechs Chocolates free of charge for review purposes, all images and opinions are our own.

Recipe: Birnenpfannkuchen – German Pear & Ginger Pancake

We’ve been making Apfelpfannkuchen at home for a number of years, it’s a lovely baked apple pancake pudding, a bit like a sweet toad in the hole with fruit. It’s a handy store-cupboard pudding which takes no time at all to prepare and it’s pretty easy on the pocket as well as being delicious.

It occurred to me that it would be good to try making one using pears and ginger instead of the traditional apple and cinnamon. It was only afterwards I discovered that the Germans had beaten me to it and had got there first with the Birnenpfannkuchen, though all of the recipes I could find online were in German, so what you’re looking at here is probably the worlds first Birnenpfannkuchen recipe in English (I take my victories where I can find them).

Any pud that I can prepare with any degree of success must be easy, I’m not a natural when it comes to desserts, so I urge you to give this easy recipe a try. I promise you will not be sorry!

Birnenpfannkuchen

Birnenpfannkuchen – German Pear & Ginger Pancake Recipe

Ingredients:
50g butter
2 teaspoons of oil, I used groundnut
1 tin of pear halves in juice
2 teaspoons ground ginger
75g plain flour
65g sugar, I used golden granulated, but use what you have
3 eggs
150ml semi-skimmed milk
Pinch of salt

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 220C. I used my tarte tatin pan, but if you don’t have one of these a lined cake tin will be fine.
  • Put the butter and oil in the pan and put in the oven to melt for a couple of minutes, once the butter has melted arrange your pear halves in the pan and sprinkle over a teaspoon of ground ginger. Put in the oven to warm through while you do the next bit (tinned pears are already soft, but if using fresh pears cook until they are soft but not collapsing).
  • Meanwhile, tip the flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt, add the sugar and a teaspoon of ground ginger and combine. Add the eggs and milk and whisk thoroughly so it forms a thick batter.
  • Remove the tatin pan with the pears from the oven and quickly pour over the batter. Put the pan back in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, make sure you keep an eye on it towards the end. When it’s cooked your Birnenpfannkuchen should be all puffed up and golden brown like a giant Yorkshire pudding.
  • Once cooked flip it out of the pan, upside down on a plate and serve either hot or cold with cream, ice cream or custard, whatever floats your boat.

Birnenpfannkuchen

If you liked this easy recipe you might like my incredibly easy Joulutorttu recipe (Finnish jam tarts).

Baker Days Letterbox Cakes

Organisationally I’m quite rubbish. I used to be a project manager which forced me to be professionally organised, but at home I was and remain a shambles. This unfortunately means that gift buying is always, always, always done at the very last minute and in a bit of a panic. I was asked to try a Baker Days letterbox cake, which seems like the ideal and personalised solution to my present buying woes.

We were asked to choose a Halloween themed cake which we could personalise with our own words, though you can choose from almost any themed cake imaginable. We liked the spiderweb cake design which we customised with the words “Spooky Creepy Scary Boo!” But you could choose whatever message you wanted. It was really easy to order and was delivered within a few days, though there are various delivery options available depending on how disorganised or organised you are.

Baker Days

Our cake arrived through the letterbox in excellent condition. Tightly packed in a cute keepsake tin and presented in a box with a little packet of party balloons and blowers with a personalised greetings card. Honestly if someone sent me a little personalised cake in the post, cutely presented like this for my birthday or another occasion I’d be delighted, it’s such a lovely looking, thoughtful gift.

We decided to share the cake between us for pudding after Sunday lunch, the cake was enough to cut into four fairly generous pieces or eight smaller bites. The sponge was light and the icing was sweet but not too thick. It was a nice slice of cake. The cake we had was 5 inches in diameter, though larger cakes are available and you can also choose chocolate or fruit cake if you’d prefer. They also make a range of personalised and themed cupcakes which look super-cute.

Baker Days

The letterbox cake starts at £14.99 plus postage and packing, but it includes a greetings card, a keepsake tin and the balloons and blowers. I think it’s a lovely gift to post to someone, especially if you’re always a bit last minute like me. I like that it’s personalised, I like that it’s a little bit of fun, I think it’s a great idea and it’s definitely on my last minute panic present buying list.

Note: I was sent a cake free of charge for review purposes, all images and opinions are my own.