Saturday, 14 July 2012

Apple Cinnamon Cake

Sometimes a cake I made using someone else's recipe is so delicious I want to share the recipe and even more occasionally I get permission from the publisher to do so :) The apple cinnamon cake is just one such cake and The National Trust is that publisher. This recipe comes from "The National Trust Book of Teatime Recipes" by Jane Pettigrew that was printed in 1991 ( © National Trust/Jane Pettigrew 1991). Sadly it's out of print but fortunately The National Trust does have another book by the same author Good Old Fashioned Cakes and many more wonderful books in their on-line shop. And now on to the recipe I have copied from the book, I'm going to copy it as faithfully as I can so it won't be in my usual format.


Apple Cinnamon Cake

Makes 1 x 8in (20 cm) round cake

7oz (200g) self-raising flour, sifted           5oz (150g) margarine, softened
3oz (75g) caster sugar 1 large egg

2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar 2 tablespoons strawberry or apricot jam

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F, 180°C. Grease and line an 8 in (20 cm) round tin. Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, margarine and unbeaten egg. Using a wooden spoon mix the ingredients gently for about 2 minutes until thoroughly combined. Turn two-thirds of the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth. Lay the apples on top and sprinkle with the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Drop spoonfuls of the remaining cake mixture on top of the apples but do not spread. Place teaspoonfuls of the jam in between the came mixture. bake for 1 hour until golden and firm, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.

Personal notes:
  • It's really really important to line the tin - if you don't the stickiness from the jam that ends up on the lining paper will get on your tin instead and it will be a nightmare to remove. (I found this out the hard way some time ago when making jam tarts)
  • The mix is much much drier than most cake mixes and it needs to be - don't go and add more liquids! (no I didn't but I'm just mentioning this hehe)
  • You will feel that there isn't enough cake mix - this is normal and will pass once the cake is baked.*grin*
  • Use a teaspoon to put the spoonfuls of the remaining cake mix on the top - a tablespoon leaves larger lumps like the one on the right of my cake AND you won't have many spoonfuls to put on the cake.
  • I used strawberry jam on mine, I'm partial to apple/strawberry jam and knew this would be loved by the kids.
  • YES you really, really need to let it cool first! Jam gets VERY hot in the oven and a burnt mouth from hot jam is no fun at all. (yup first hand experience here.. that will teach me not to be impatient when wanting to sample jam tarts)
  • I'm going to try this without cinnamon next time, while it was very good like this the kids asked to try it without next time.
  • Don't allow your kids to eat all the cake in one go.. they won't want dinner!

Norway Loves Fish

I had a lot of trouble deciding which Norway to do. Should I do him with his fish on his head? In his hand? No fish? In the end I chose this one because the expression he had made me laugh.

Finished size: 4 3/4 high x 2 2 1/2 wide, that's about 11,5 x 6,25 cm according to my rulers.
Fabric used: 18 count / 7 squares per cm Aida

Artwork from this comic by humon all I did was convert it to an embroidery pattern and make that.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Summer day camp reward

The kids have spent all week at a summer sports day camp and as a thanks I made the people who had made the week so much fun for the kids cupcakes. There were 40 people working there and about 60 kids so it was really well staffed and they had put a LOT of effort in to make things fun.

I made 4 batches of cupcakes - chocolate, apple cinnamon, strawberry and of course vanilla. The people there were thrilled with the treat :)

I don't think I've mentioned how I make the apple cinnamon cupcakes yet so here goes:
  • One batch of My favourite cake batter made with/omitting:
    • Omit the vanilla flavouring
    • Add 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • Add an additional 5 ml / 1 teaspoon of milk
    • About 50 grams / 2 oz chopped dried apple (this stops the cake from going soggy from the apple juices)
  • If you wish to ice this use:
    • Icing made with lemon juice 
    • Caramel glaze made with: 
      • 125 gr / 1 cup icing sugar
      • 1 - 2 tablespoons of caramel coffee syrup
    •  Half a batch of caramel frosting as found here

Monday, 2 July 2012

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Some of the best things in life are healthy - like this smoothie.  I like my smoothies simple so just go for fruit and yoghurt with a bit of sugar to sweeten the yoghurt, which is needed here as the plain yoghurt here is unsweetened.

All you need is for about 4 large glasses:

  • About 2 pints/a litre of natural low fat yoghurt
  • 3 banana's broken into bits.
  • About a pound of strawberries.
  • Sugar to taste (or sweetening if you can deal with the artificial taste it adds)
Use a kitchen machine or blender to make this. Just put all the ingredients into the machine and turn it on till smooth.

I had a couple of raspberries that needed using up so I threw them in as well - any soft fruit will do really - apples will give a chunkier result unless you finely grate them first.

Queen bumblebee

We have a bumble bee nest in the wall of our house, with the opening of the nest being one of the ventilation holes in the wall by our front door. When I first noticed that we had them I called a bee keeper to see what he recommended as I didn't want to harm them if I didn't have to. As they are bumble bees and harmless he said it was perfectly safe to leave them in place, just to make sure none got through the front door by accident.

When I went to the door earlier I noticed that there was this larger than usual bumble bee coming out of the wall. It sat around a bit and then slowly walked back into the nest then a moment later it came out again, this time with a "helper" so I rushed to get my camera and took a couple of photo's and managed to get out of the way again before it flew off rather unsteadily.