Category Archives: Fruit Cakes

The Multi-Tasking Cake: Amaretti and Apricot Cake

Sometimes you want a cake to celebrate a special occasion  and sometimes you need a dessert at the end of a celebratory meal – so why not make something that covers all bases? This Amaretti and Apricot cake fulfilled both tasks at a recent family celebration, and the leftovers made an excellent accompaniment to brunch the following morning!

This cake is moist and sweet, and with the addition of some stewed fruit, maybe some cream or even a dollop of vanilla ice cream, is transformed into something heavenly to end a meal with. It also feeds about ten people, so is perfect for a large gathering. Best of all, it is a really easy cake to make!

This recipe is adapted from http://www.bbcgoodfood.co.uk

INGREDIENTS: 200g butter or Stork (I used the latter as this cake needed to be dairy-free), 200g caster sugar, 200g self raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 4 large eggs, 1tsp almond essence, 410g can of apricot halves, 120g amaretti biscuits (for anyone else wanting to make this dairy free, check the ingredients of the amaretti biscuits – some include milk powder but good ones shouldn’t).

All the things you need for this pudding/cake - its quite simple really!

All the things you need for this pudding/cake – its quite simple really!

  • Heat the oven to 160 (fan) and butter and line a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
  • Cream the butter and sugar and then mix in the flour and baking powder. It will be quite thick at this stage.
  • Add in the eggs one at a time. I suggest breaking them into a smaller bowl first, just to make sure you don’t get a dud one!
  • Add the almond essence and mix it all quite hard – it should be smooth and creamy and a bit fluffy.
  • Take a quarter of the mixture and set it aside.
  • Drain the apricots and chop them up roughly, then add them to the larger portion of cake batter.
  • Bash the amaretti biscuits into chunky pieces. Add 1/4 of the pieces to the apricot batter.
  • Put the apricot batter into the tin and smooth over. Pop it in the oven for 25 minutes.
The first layer of cake ready for the oven

The first layer of cake ready for the oven

  • While the cake is in the oven, add half of the remaining crushed amaretti biscuits to the remaining portion of batter.
  • When the cake has had 25 minutes in the oven, take it out and quickly spread the remainder of the batter over the top. It is easiest to dollop on blobs of the mixture and then work them together. Do this quickly though so that the cake doesn’t sink.
  • Sprinkle the remaining amaretti crumbs on top of the cake and pop back in the oven for another 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
The finished cake/dessert!

The finished cake/dessert!

Your finished cake should be two-tone, with a lighter crust from the late addition of the second batch of batter. The top layer had an almond-y crunch and the bottom layer is full of moist fruit.

This was such a winner I think it is going to become a dinner party staple!

Some alternative ideas could include:

  • For more of a pudding feel, save half the apricots and pop the whole halves on the top with the second batch of batter so that they form little igloos on the top of the cake.
  • Toast some almonds and sprinkle them over the top
  • Sprinkle the top with a mixture of icing sugar and gold glitter for a real wow-factor effect.

I hope you enjoy this little gem of a recipe!

Its nearly Christmas folks, so I’ll try and get in a recipe for the holiday season before the end of the year – if anyone has any requests let me know!

Bake well my friends,

BB x

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That Autumnal Feeling: Pear, Chocolate and Nut Cake

Good evening lovely readers!

Today has made me feel really ready for autumn – a long wet dog walk followed by some steaming tomato soup to warm up! This was followed by an afternoon of clearing out the baking cupboard, which turned up an abundance of nuts that needing using up. So using a recipe from the BBC GoodFood magazine, and adapting it to what was in the kitchen cupboards, here’s a nice seasonal cake that packs a punch of autumn-y flavours.

I have two things to apologise for. Firstly, although this cake is lovely and moist and will keep for a few days because of all the nuts, it does have rather a lot of ingredients though so you will need to be prepared! Secondly, I discovered Instagram this week (behind the times I know!) so the blog is getting even more retro!

Here’s what you need…..

All the things you’ll need for a nice pear cake

INGREDIENTS: 250g melted butter, 250g caster sugar, 100g self raising flour, 50g plain flour, 100g ground almonds, 1tsp baking powder, 2tsp mixed spice, 1tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 200g mixed chop nuts (I used 50g each of walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios all whizzed up in the food processor), 100g chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips, 3 large eggs, 1tsp almond extract, a tin of pears, butterscotch chips (optional).

  • Heat the oven to 160 (fan oven) and butter and line a 23cm loose based cake tin (this is really important because this is a slow bake and will burn at the edges without lining the tin).
  • Mix the sugar, flours, ground almonds, baking powder and spices in a bowl, then add in most of the nuts (leave a few tablespoons aside for topping the cake later) and the chopped chocolate.
  • In another bowl, whisk the eggs, almond extract and melted butter until it thickens and foams.

 

Wet and dry ingredients in two bowls – ready for some mixing!

  • Tip the wet ingredients into the dry and stir together. At this point I got a bit excited about all the things that could go into this cake and threw in a handful of butterscotch chips, but these are an added extra only and not vital.
  • Chop the pears into chunks and fold through the cake mixture. You can use fresh pears if you want, but the ones in the tin are very soft and add a good moist texture to the cake. So if you are going to use fresh pears, make sure they are really ripe.

Ready to bake!

  • Pop the mixture into a tin and bake for 45 minutes. Then cover the tin with tinfoil and bake for another 30 minutes.
  • Take out the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then turn out onto a rack.

It should look golden but not too coloured….

Lovely and golden – cooled and ready for icing!

Once its cooled, you’re ready for icing.

INGREDIENTS: You’ll need 200g chocolate (I used 150g milk and 50g dark), a 300ml pot of sour cream and the leftover nuts.

  • Melt the chocolate slowly – I did it in bursts in the microwave but you can do it in a bowl over a pan of water if you prefer.
  • Mix the sour cream into the chocolate and beat until smooth.
  • Then pop the bowl of icing into the fridge until it thickens up enough to spread without flying everywhere. I was too impatient so my icing was a little runny. You could even leave it in the fridge overnight and spread it the next day.
  • Once iced, just sprinkle with the remaining nuts, et voila!

The finished product! Rich and full of flavour.

As well as being a great teatime treat, this would make a great dessert. In fact, that’s what we had for pudding this evening – still warm with runny icing and a blob of natural yoghurt….

A slice of cake heaven…

So rather than being sad at the passing of summer (did it even make an appearance?!), let us celebrate the start of autumn!

Happy baking my friends,

BB x