Posted in Baking Day, Recipes

Apple and Blackberry Pudding

Pudding.  There’s something about that word that conjures up comfort.  Something you’ll be hankering as Autumn envelops you bringing darker evenings, cooler air and while you sleep a sprinkling of frost may even be dusting your doorstep.  I can’t get enough of apple in desserts at this time of year; crumbles, tarts and yes oh yes please, pudding.  This would be epic after a long Sunday lunch or an evening of entertainment and something sure to send the recipients over that edge into blissful food coma.

Apple and blackberry pudding

There are some blackberry stragglers still clung to the hedgerows if you get a chance to look or you’ll find them with fruit in the supermarket and those cooking apples are still abundant and inexpensive.  The battery mixture of this almost forms a cake but with all the moistness of the fruit it will never dry into sponginess but will remain sumptuously soft and yielding.  As moist as it already is I do recommend that you take it to the next level and serve with some softly whipped fresh cream.
Apple and blackberry pudding

Apple and Blackberry Pudding : (Serves 9)

You will need:
175g unsalted butter
250ml carton whipping cream
225g caster sugar
3 eggs
400g cooking apples (2 large or 3 medium)
300g plain flour
300g blackberries
Butter to grease the dish
Method:
Preheat the oven to 180oC/Gas Mark 6 and grease a baking/pudding dish 25x25cm with butter.
Heat the butter and cream together in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Leave to cool a little.
Whisk the caster sugar and the eggs together for a few minutes until thick and set aside.
Prepare the fruit by coring, peeling and slicing the apples into rings, and washing the blackberries.
Add the butter and cream mixture to the eggs and sugar mixture, and whisk together.
Gently fold in the sifted flour to make a thick batter.
Pour the mixture into the baking dish and push in the apple rings.
Scatter the blackberries over the top and push some of them down into the batter.
Bake for 45–50 minutes and test the mixture with a skewer – if it comes away clean the cake is cooked.
Great served hot, straight from the oven, with some cream.

Enjoy! Sheila.

Posted in Baking Day, Recipes

Breakfast Muffins

Apple & Raisin Wholemeal Breakfast Muffins
Breakfast Muffin

Look at that.  You can see those chunks of apple peaking out at you can’t you?  Now is the time.  Autumn is here full of its ‘mellow fruitfulness’ and none so mellow as those wind-fallen apples currently waiting to be gathered – but hurry they won’t hang around for long! Cooking apples are at giveaway prices at the moment – I got 6 Irish Bramley Apples for 49c last weekend.  These muffins only needed two of those so I’ve plans to stew some others to put on top of porridge with cinnamon in the mornings – if you haven’t tried that it’s an unreal combination.  Dessert for breakfast.  Nothing like a little sweetness to wake you up and a little hit of warming spice.  If you can’t find ‘mixed-spice’ for these muffins you can just use cinnamon instead.  I do hope you get to try them.

tray of breakfast muffins
Breakfast muffins on wire tray
Makes 12 to 14
You will need:
350g extra coarse whole-wheat flour or any whole-wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
150g light brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling ( or any type sugar)
Good handful of raisins
2 eggs, beaten
200ml natural yoghurt
4 tbsp sunflower oil
2 apples (bramley cooking apples is what i used, other eating apples like pink lady etc. work well too)
Method:
Preheat a fan oven to 160°C.
Line a 12-hole muffin tray with muffin cases.
Mix the flour, baking powder and mixed spice in a bowl, then add the brown sugar and the raisins.
Make a well in the centre and add the beaten eggs, natural yoghurt and sunflower oil.
Mix together with a wooden spoon until just combined.
Peel and core the apples, then cut into small cubes and stir them through the muffin mixture.
Spoon the batter into the cases, crumble a little extra brown sugar on top of each one and bake in the oven for 35 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Enjoy! , Sheila

Posted in Baking Day, Recipes

Black Cherry Gateaux

Mother’s Day is a week away and if you’re stuck for funds a homemade cake is always a welcome and special gift.  Combining chocolate, cherries, liquor and cream makes this a grown-up cake that everyone will enjoy.
chocolate cake
With six children our days and weeks are very busy and time appears to fly by.  It was so lovely to wake up this Sunday morning to a beautiful crisp blue spring sky and the knowledge that I didn’t have to drive anywhere today other than to get supplies for dinner and tomorrow’s school lunches.  Sunday generally either means a huge fry-up brunch and a lighter tea later in the evening or a Sunday roast.  Today was a day for a beef roast and I was also in the mood for baking and we all dug into this delicious Black Cherry Gateaux with extra cream, cherries and syrup for dessert.
chocolate cake
chocolate cake
chocolate cake
chocolate cake
chocolate cake
chocolate cake
chocolate cake

The bases will bake in 35 minutes and will need 30 minutes to cool them before decorating.
Black Cherry Gateaux.
You will need:
For The Cake You Will Need:
2 tbsp cocoa powder
5 tbsp hot water
200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
For Decorating:
1 tin black cherries
100ml kirsch or creme de cassis (I use the latter)
125g caster sugar
150ml whipping cream
2 bars chocolate 70% cocoa solids
Icing sugar for dusting.
Method:
Preheat the fan oven to 170C.  Grease two round 8 or 9cm cake tins with some butter and line the base of each with a round of parchment paper.
Mix the cocoa powder with warm water to make a thick chocolatey paste and leave to cool.
Mix the flour and baking powder together and set aside.
Use an electric mixer to soften the butter and then add the caster sugar and beat well.
Add one egg to the mix then some flour and continue doing so until all eggs and flour/baking powder are added and mixed.
Finally mix in the chocolatey paste then divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, (test with a skewer to see if baked)
Remove cakes from tins and allow to cool on a wire rack before decorating.
To Decorate:
While the cake are baking strain the liquid from the cherries into a saucepan and mix in the caster sugar and the liquor.
Mix well and bring to the boil and simmer for around 5 minutes until reduced by about half and thickening to a nice syrupy consistency.
Pour the syrup into a jug and allow it to cool.
Whip the cream.
Once the cakes are completely cool break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl in the microwave for a minute or two mixing well to make a nice chocolate sauce.
Once the cake has completely cooled top one of the cakes with a good dollop of cream and scatter the cherries on top.
Pour over a generous drizzling of the cherry sauce then top with the second cake.
Pour over most of the melted chocolate, top with a few cherries and then dust lightly with a little icing sugar.  Serve with extra cream and syrup.
Enjoy!
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Baking Day

Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake

September is probably my favourite month of the year and not just because it is when my birthday falls. It’s the beginning of the new school year, a time when many people decide to take courses, a time to buy a new notebook and write out a plan. The days are still bright and it is a time of abundant harvest. Hedgerows are heaving now and it’s the last chance to forage and gather juicy, ripe blackberries.

lackberry & Apple Jam by Denis Kiely

For a number of years my husband has become a seasonal blackberry and apple jam maker. The berries are picked by his Uncle Paddy and stored for collection by his mother Kitty. He called to her a couple of days ago and indulged in her delicious blackberry pie before collecting his blackberries for jam making.

Kitty's Blackberry Pie
Kitty’s Blackberry Pie

Blackberries are rinsed and joined by chopped up cooking apple and caster sugar in a large saucepan where they simmer and bubble together merrily until he decides it is time. Jars of every shape and size are gathered and sterilized and he then proudly dispenses his jam. How lovely to see these richly filled jars lined up and glistening like the deepest jewels.

The jam will be used as a straightforward jam of course but we will also use it bulked up with more apple to make pies and crumbles. I couldn’t wait to test it out and today I used it to make this deliciously moist Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake. It cuts beautifully and is perfect with a cup of tea… and while you’re waiting for the tea to brew you could vote for Gimme The Recipe to reach to Irish Blog Awards 2015 Finals – go on, go on, go on, go on, go on.

The vibrancy of the mixture is so beautiful it’s almost a shame to cook it.

Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake Mixture

I hope your September is going well for you and that you’ll get to enjoy all that Autumn’s harvests have to offer.

Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake Baked

Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake Sliced

Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake Slice

Blackberry & Apple Loaf Cake

You will need:
75g unsalted butter plus extra to grease loaf tin
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
250g self-raising flour
1 jar (350g approx.) thick-set blackberry & apple jam
Method:
Preheat a fan oven to 180C
Grease a loaf tin with butter and line the base with a long piece of baking paper.
Cream together the butter and caster sugar with an electric mixer.
Then beat in half the beaten egg and half the flour followed by the remaining egg and flour.
The mixture is quite heavy and thick so use a wooden spoon to stir in the blackberry & apple jam until evenly distributed.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the hot oven for 40 minutes.
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and to cool fully (if you can wait) until cutting as it will cut better.
Enjoy!
‘Til next time, Sheila.

Posted in Baking Day, Recipes

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Cake
Why not make your next weekend special for no reason other than you deserve to have some delicious cake every now and then.  I like to sneak some chopped raspberries into the cake mixture for extra moistness and we all fight to lick the icing bowl and spoons.  While you really ought not to eat raw cake mixture I always do and beaters and spatulas become lollipops.  The cake mixture contains a full bar of chocolate as does the rich chocolate butter icing making this a very chocolatey chocolate cake.
While the pictures below are very similar, I couldn’t choose between them or leave any out, after all one can never have enough cake.

Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Cake

You will need:
150g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate
200g caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
12 raspberries for cake mix
Raspberries to decorate
Blueberries to decorate
Chocolate icing (see below), fresh cream and raspberry jam to decorate
You will need – for Rich Chocolate Butter Icing:
100g dark chocolate (70%)
250g icing sugar
25g unsalted butter (approximately 1 heaped tbsp.)
3 tbsp hot water

Method for Chocolate Cake:
Preheat the fan oven to 170oC/Gas mark 5.
Grease and line two round cake tins (20cm or 8”) with a little butter and parchment paper.
Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar together.
Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and mix in with the butter and sugar.
Sift the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl and set aside.
Beat the eggs in a bowl and add about a third to the butter and sugar mix followed by about a third of the flour. Continue adding the egg and flour alternating until all are added. Mix in 12 roughly chopped raspberries and mix well.
Divide the mixture between the two cake tins.
Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes, testing with a skewer to see if baked, if any wet mixture clings to the skewer return to the oven for a further 5 minutes and test again.
Allow the cakes to cool for ten minutes or so before removing from tins to cool on wire rack tray before icing.

Method for Rich Chocolate Butter Icing :
100g dark chocolate (70%)
250g icing sugar
25g unsalted butter (approximately 1 heaped tbsp.)
3 tbsp hot water
Break up the chocolate into a bowl and microwave it on low power for 1 to 2 minutes until melted.
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the melted chocolate.
Add the butter and hot water and beat well with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Keep beating as you add in the hot water to make a smooth icing.

Layer some raspberry jam and freshly whipped cream to sandwich the cake together.
Pour the chocolate butter icing over the top and use a spatula to smooth over and down the sides of the cake.
Decorate with fresh berries.
Chocolate Cake

Indulge & Enjoy.
‘Til next time, Sheila