22 Oct 2015

Banana Cake with Salted Caramel Icing

Banana Cake with Salted Caramel Icing

I've just arrived back from a Western Mediterranean cruise on the fabulous Celebrity Eclipse. If you'd like to take a peek, my instagram has a few photographs of the food and drink you can expect on this amazing ship. I'm still full to the brim with food, so this cake was one I made before I went away on my holiday.

Anyway, back to normality and a posting I wrote a few weeks ago but never posted..........

I've always loved cake and am definitely not one of the converted through watching #GBBO - it's been a lifelong love.

So onto the recipe, I've adapted Mary Berry's banana and lemon drizzle cake, messed about with it (sorry Mary) and came up with this delicious cake!

To achieve a light banana cake the only way is Stork SB (or alternative brand) and blackened bananas.  I've tried using all butter, or half butter and half Stork SB but it's still too heavy. I'm a fan of any one bowl mix and you can have this recipe in the tins in super quick time.

My filling may appear to be a little skinny but hubby doesn't like too much buttercream and as soon as dulce de leche meets buttercream it's very rich.

Banana Cake

You will need: 2 x 20cm round cake tins base and sides lined

For the cake:
175g Stork SB
175g Caster Sugar
3 eggs
300g self-raising flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons milk at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Icing:
175g unsalted butter, softened
350g sifted icing sugar
2 tsp dulce de leche

To decorate:
Dulce de leche
pinch of seasalt

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix for a couple of minutes with an electric mixer.
3. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two tins and level the top.
4. Bake for approximately 35 minutes until golden and risen.
5. Place the cake tins on a cooling rack and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
6. Remove the tins and place on the rack.
7. For the icing: Sift the icing sugar into the bowl of a mixer, add the softened butter, 2 teaspoons of Dulce de leche and a pinch of seasalt. Mix for 6 minutes until soft and fluffy.
8. Coat one of the sponges with half the buttercream, top with the other sponge. Spread the remaining buttercream evenly over the top sponge.
9. To decorate: Take a small icing nozzle and place into a piping bag. Place a couple of tablespoons of Dulce de leche into the icing bag and pipe thin lines evenly across the buttercream.
10.Can be frozen to stage 7.

4 Oct 2015

Summer Berries Pavlova Recipe

The finished summer berry pavlova

It's been a wonderful sunny weekend here in the West Midlands and on Saturday I went to Bridgnorth in Shropshire to buy what will possibly be the last of the late summer berries. We had a barbecue today and pavlova makes the perfect end to any meal.

There are quite a few meringue recipes on Kitchen Delights blog which is mainly because I use up any egg whites that I've frozen for a rainy day and more importantly meringue is one of our favourite desserts.

Summer Berries Pavlova

My favourite recipe for pavlova is by the super talented Alastair Hendy. His isn't a conventional method but gives a no fail meringue, on cooling the case cracks beautifully to give loads of character to the meringue. You will also be rewarded with a wonderful deep soft marshmallow layer within, the outer is delicately crisp. Should none of this appeal and if you must have the perfect meringue just leave in the oven overnight to cool but it won't have the soft marshmallow centre....

You will need:  either a hand whisk or a stand mixer and a large baking tray lined with parchment paper. Draw a 20cm circle on one side of the baking paper then turn the paper over.

4 large egg whites
120g caster sugar
110g icing sugar, sifted
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp vinegar

To decorate:
150ml whipping cream
4 tbsp natural yogurt
½ tsp vanilla extract
selection of berries

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C or 130°C Fan.
2. Add the egg whites and caster sugar to the bowl of a mixer. Whisk until thickened and firm this can take some time but keep on going. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until thick and shiny, about 4 minutes.

Whisking egg whites and caster sugar

3. Blob the mixture inside the circle on the baking tray.  Shape making a dip in the centre for the filling.

Shaped pavlova ready for the oven

4. Reduce the oven temperature to 140°C or Fan 120°C. Bake for 70 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and leave the pavlova to cool on the baking paper.

The finished pavlova case

5. Whip the cream until soft peaks, add the yogurt and whisk again.
6. Remove the cooled meringue carefully to a large serving plate. Decorate with fresh and frozen berries.

A snapshot of a decorated pavlova

More meringue ideas:
Strawberry and Redcurrant Pavlova
Chocolate and Vanilla Berry Pavlova
Traybake  Meringue with Pears, Chocolate and Cream
Meringue Roulade with Elderflower Infused Strawberries