Tag Archives: Cake

Cheese & spinach cake

After giving my first savoury cake a whirl I vowed to keep my creative juices flowing and give a spinach and cheese recipe a go – that I did!

I simply exchanged the prunes, goats cheese and pistachio nuts for a healthy handful (or two) of grated mature cheddar and a bag of roughly chopped (washed) fresh spinach. The results were better than I could possibly have dreamed of and lasted a meager 24hrs! Although I originally set out to bake a loaf cake, there was a little batter left over which went into muffin cases which turned out to be a revelation – giving me handbag size snacks at no extra hassle!

At first glance this may seem like a healthy recipe, but I’m under no illusion that the cake batter and the large quantity cheese hidden amongst the spinach tip it over into the ‘treat’ category…especially as I took a liking to toasting the loaf and smothering it in butter [although it can catch quite easily due to the fat content so be sure to watch it like a hawk!]. Now my challenge is going to be staying creative and not just throwing this little beauty together on repeat!

DSCF8521Cheddar Cheese & Fresh Spinach.

DSCF8530 modifiedReady for baking – 180°C, 45mins. 

DSCF8534 modifiedReady for baking – 180°C, 20mins.

DSCF8539Ready to indulge – best served toasted with butter! 

Recipe adapted from my previous post:
250g/9oz plain flour
15g/½oz baking powder
250g vintage cheddar
125g fresh spinach
4 free-range eggs
150ml/5fl oz olive oil
100ml/3½fl oz milk
50g/1¾oz plain yoghurt
1 tsp salt
pinch black pepper 


Savoury Cake, Who’d Have Thought it?…

I consider myself somewhat of a cake connoisseur, but savoury cakes had been completely off my radar until seeing this pistachio, goats cheese and prune cake. Ingredients in hand I proceeded with an open mind…

Even now, as I write this, I’m unsure of my verdict. Perhaps because I have nothing to compare it to, or maybe because it simply didn’t tailor to my sweet tooth. I have no complaints around the ingredients used and the sponge was lovely and moist, but over all it didn’t excite me! In all honesty, I was probably eating away looking forward to getting to the ‘bits’ in the sponge rather than enjoying the cake as a whole.

I’m yet to give up on the idea though…next stop:

  • Adding more nuts, cheese and fruit to the batter;
  • Seasoning the batter more; and/or
  • Adapting the recipe to accommodate cheddar and spinach.

1. Lovely ingredients.

2. Lovely ingredients chopped.

3. Batter, done.

4. Bake, 180°C [60min] until a skewer is removed clean.

5. Slice and enjoy.

Recipe followed from BBC Food.

Chocolate Passion [Fruit] Torte.

Heston Blumenthal intrigues me, I definitely wouldn’t say no to indulging in the tasting menu at his restaurant, The Fat Duck. This menu consists of things such as snail porridge, “sound of the sea” (served with an iPod for accompanying sounds), mock turtle soup and many other weird and wonderful creations. He’s a huge fan of dry ice and several other techniques which make his cooking far from doable in the home. However, a recent TV series attempted to bring some of his techniques down to earth. His chocolate gateaux stole my imagination…

From as young as I can remember, chocolate torte has been a treat and one of my favourites – my parents used to hold parties on New Years Day and in the summer, during which each family would bring something for the table, the result was, without fail, a feast to rival no other. One family could always be relied upon to bring a chocolate torte, The Mills’. It got devoured promptly and I had to wait 6 or so months for the next to appear within my reach. But now I’m 23, the kitchen’s all my own and, to my delight, chocolate torte isn’t beyond my skill set.

So, down to business…I swapped in the shortbread base and loved the idea of infusing the cream with passion fruit, but I’m sorry Heston, the popping candy wasn’t a good shout and I’m not splashing out on a paint gun purely to coat my creations in a fine chocolate shell. I will just have to cross my fingers and hope my guests don’t hold it against me. [They didn’t].

1. Blitz up the shortbread biscuits and mix in the melted butter, before pressing into a small cake tin and placing in the oven [160°C] until just browning. Allow to  cool.

2. While melting the chocolate in a bain-marie with the salt, warm through the cream with the pulp of the passion fruit in another pan (without allowing it to boil).

3. When the chocolate’s fully melted and the cream has been near simmering for a good few minutes, sieve out the passion fruit pulp, and  combine gently.

4. Stir in the fresh custard before pouring the chocolate mixture over the biscuit base and allowing to chill.

5. Serve up at room temperature. (I sprinkled with edible glitter, although the picture doesn’t really do it justice). It was demolished in 24hours, a new record, even for the chocolate torte of my small-town memories!

Recipe adapted from How to Cook Like Heston.

200g Shortbread biscuits
30g Unsalted butter [melted]
300g Whipping cream
1Pinch Salt
6 Passion fruits [pulped]
100g Custard [fresh]
200g Dark chocolate
50g Milk chocolate

Richmond Tea Rooms, M1 3HZ.

I went to the Richmond Tea Rooms many months ago and have been back several times since. It’s tucked away near Canal Street and, although you wouldn’t guess it from its location, it’s a lovely little tea room – quirky and cosy. What’s more they laid on the best afternoon tea I’ve indulged in to-date. They come highly recommend by me, whether you want the full works or just a slice of freshly baked cake and a pot of tea. I would, however, avoid the mains and let them stick to what they’re good at.

On my last visit I had a nosey around The Lodge, the bar at the back of Richmond Tea Rooms, apparently you’re welcome to sit in there during the day should you desire somewhere a little less kitsch to eat your cake, although I’m keen to kick-back and relax in there with a stiff drink in my hand. The Lodge is designed a lot more with the evening in mind, but is equally as inviting as the tea room, the decor’s moody with a dark-wood bar, open fire and deep brown leather lending itself to an evening of chit-chat with a scotch on the rocks or some moonshine. (Apparently they do a mean cocktail too…)

I’ll be back soon, without a doubt.

The Richmond Afternoon Tea

Ginger Beer Loaf.

You can’t beat an ice-cold glass of ginger beer on a warm summers day, nor can you beat an all-in-one-bowl-and-whisk ginger beer (syrup sponge) cake when a few friends are over for the weekend!

With thanks to a dear friend of mine, whose cake baking skills were on hand during this bake : )

 1. Dry ingredients, sieved.

 2. Add the star ingredient.

 3. Add wet ingredients.

 4. Whisk together.

 5. Pour into a greased tin and sprinkle on dark brown sugar .

 6. Bake at 160°C for about an hour (until a knife is removed clean) allow to cool before enjoying a fabulously moist gingery sponge!

Recipe taken from here.

260g Plain flour
170g Caster sugar
1.5 tsp Ground ginger
1 tsp Baking powder
0.75 tsps Cinnamon
170ml Ginger beer
80ml Vegetable oil
260ml Golden syrup
3 eggs
2 tsp Dark brown sugar (to finish)

Summer in Take-away Box

I rarely throw anything out…hence why I have a cupboard full of washed and stacked containers which once held a quick and tasty fix from those ‘nothing-in-the-fridge’ nights. If I’m honest, they probably take up more room than my plates do!

What better way to put them to good use than to fill them with summer treats to help me get through long days sat indoors at a desk!

I even froze a couple of my Summer Strawberry Cakes which defrost after a few hours in my bag keeping them fresh, what more could a girl ask for to brighten up a dull day?

Every Season’s Cake Season.

…If only it felt a little more like strawberry season. The past few weeks in Manchester have been scattered with rain and blue sky has been visible little and not-so-often.

There’s nothing like the taste of strawberries and the smell of buttery baking to get you back in the summary mood though.

I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen (a phenomenal cooking blog), it looked so quick-yet-effective that I had to give it a go. I added a bit of polenta to the mix and halved the recipe – I have to show restraint at the weighing stage, as once I have freshly baked cakes sitting around all will-power goes out the window!

 1. Wash.

 2. Chop and de-stalk.

3. Flour, polenta, baking powder, salt.

4. Cream butter and sugar together.

5. Mix the egg, milk and vanilla essence into the creamed butter and sugar.

6. Beat the dry ingredients in with the milk mixture until combined. Pour the mixture into greased tins – my mixture filled four 4″ tins.

7. Add the strawberries…

8. …and a little sugar.

9. Bake – 5mins at 160°C, followed by 25mins at 180°C.

10. Beautiful served warm with vanilla ice-cream. AND if served with a sprinkling of icing sugar and fresh fruit this cake becomes easily justifiable for breakfast!

Although I’m not at all disappointed with the finished product, if I was to make the recipe again I’d probably add the zest and juice of a lemon to the batter and be more generous with the sprinkling of sugar to make it a little more interesting.

43 g Unsalted butter (room temp)
47 g Plain flour
38 g Polenta
.75 tps Baking powder
.25 tps Salt
100 g Granulated sugar , PLUS a little extra for sprinkling
1 medium egg
59 ml milk
.5 tps Vanilla extract
200 g Strawberries