Carrot Cake Traybake

Just in time for Easter, I’m serving you a piece of my favourite carrot cake traybake. This delightful cake is full of delicious flavour from cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and it’s covered with a rich homemade cream cheese frosting. This recipe will be a real treat for all carrot cake lovers out there! 

What’s your favourite cake? If you asked me that exact question my list would probably be endless. I really do honestly love any kind of cake and I believe there’s definitely a cake perfect for every occasion.

Since it’s Easter week and you might need a last minute Easter bake to make today or over the weekend, I decided I would share my go-to easy carrot cake recipe again with updated photographs.

Ever since I baked these Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting I’ve had my mind set on adapting the recipe into a traybake. The first time I shared this carrot cake recipe, I baked it as a layer cake, however how delicious it was I decided the original recipe needed to be made easier.

Traybake’s are perfect for times when you just don’t have the energy to put a lot of effort into decorating a cake. They’re super easy to make and the decoration can be kept as minimal as you want. I find layer cakes too much of a faff, but traybake’s are so much easier to decorate and style up, so if you’re of the same opinion as me then I hope you’ll love my take on a classic carrot cake.

To make my carrot cake extra special I like to add ground cinnamon, ginger and freshly grated nutmeg. Sometimes I also add orange zest and chopped walnuts – I’ve included these in the recipe incase you feel like adding those in too. If you don’t want to add walnuts you can swap them for a different nut like pecans or even leave them out and replace with raisins.

Carrot cake is extremely adaptable so you can pick and chose whatever add-ins you want in your cake and truly make it your own!

The cake is dairy-free, however for a dairy-free frosting/icing you could swap the cream cheese frosting for a drizzle icing. Try adding some of the juice from a lemon or orange and whisk the juice into icing sugar to create a drizzle icing that’s perfect for decorating your traybake.

To decorate my carrot cake, once the cake has completely cooled I use a serrated knife and slice the cake into 12 neat bars/squares and pipe the cream cheese frosting on the top of each piece of cake. I was kindly gifted a box of cake decorating goodies from the lovely team over at Cake Angels and I thought it would be fun to decorate my cake with the cute Carrot Wait for Cake sugar decorations and the Rainbow Sprinkles – how fun do these look?

(Serves 12-15)

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake Traybake:

150g dark or light brown sugar

150g caster or granulated sugar

300ml sunflower or vegetable oil

3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

300g plain flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated is recommended)

300g carrots, peeled and grated – weigh to ensure this is correct

100g nuts (pecans or walnuts), chopped into small pieces (optional)

Zest from 1-2 oranges (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting: 

100g butter, softened

100g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

300g full-fat cream cheese, softened – I leave mine out at room temperature for an hour to soften

Method:

  1. To make the carrot cake traybake: Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33cm) tin with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugars, oil and eggs until smooth.
  3. In another bowl sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture a little at a time and whisk until completely incorporated.
  4. Now fold through the grated carrot, chopped walnuts and orange zest (if using). Spread the cake batter out into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is well risen and a cake tester when inserted into the centre comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining.
  5. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then carefully transport to a wire rack and allow to cool completely to room temperature.
  6. To make the cream cheese frosting: Cream the softened butter in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes to soften. Now add the sifted icing sugar and vanilla and starting on a low speed mix to combine. Continue to cream for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  7. Once creamed add the softened cream cheese. Turn the mixer up and whisk on high speed for another 1-2 minutes or until the frosting is creamy, thick and smooth. You need to use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment to make sure the frosting reaches the correct consistency.
  8. Spread the top of the cake with the cream cheese frosting or cut the cake into squares and spread the top of each piece with the frosting or pipe the frosting on the top of each piece of cake. Further decorate with chopped nuts or sprinkles as desired. The cake will store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 3 days, but if you’re not consuming it right away then I recommend refrigerating the cake.

Recipe Notes:

  • The weight of the carrots is based on weighing the carrots after they have been peeled and topped and tailed.
  • When adding the spices, I like to add a heaping teaspoon of each spice. This is down to personal preference as I really love the flavour the spices add to the cake.
  • This cake serves 12 generous portions or up to 15 smaller pieces.

More Easter recipe inspiration!

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Traybake

Easter Chocolate Nest Cakes

Enjoy!

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Vegan Banana Bread

This easy and simple banana bread is a delightfully good vegan treat that uses everyday ingredients and tastes like it’s been made in a bakery! Vegans and non-vegans alike will rave about this recipe. 

 

I’m finally back after a bit of time off over the festive season with my first recipe of 2020 and I guarantee that you’ll go bananas for it!

This year I’m partaking in Veganuary, for the 31 days of this month (at least) I’m going entirely vegan and I’m eating a completely plant-based diet. So far I’ve been really enjoying veganism. Before going vegan I’d been vegetarian for a while and wanted a new challenge to take on.

My sister has gone vegan too and as a family we’ve all been thoroughly enjoying sitting down at the end of the day to devour a vegan feast each night for dinner. This is actually the first time in ages I’ve felt super excited about baking/cooking, for a while I’d felt uninspired but going vegan has encouraged me to really think about what exactly I’m eating and where it’s sourced from.

I also wanted to set myself the goal of sharing more vegan recipes on my blog as I only have a few on here and want to expand the collection. I’ve worked hard in my kitchen at home to bake some vegan treats. Whether you’re following a vegan lifestyle, cannot eat dairy/eggs or simply just want to try some vegan food, then I hope you’ll like the recipes I will be sharing.

I’ve trialled this banana bread recipe out a couple of times as I wanted it to be perfect before posting on here. Every time I’ve baked it, it’s disappeared within a couple of days and as soon as the last slice has been eaten, I’ve been craving it all over again!

This vegan banana bread uses no out of the ordinary ingredients that are sometimes found in vegan bakes. You’ll just need overripe bananas, sugar (either caster/granulated or brown sugar), oil, vanilla extract, non-dairy milk (I use soya), apple cider vinegar, flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. The soya milk was literally the only ingredient I had to go out and buy to make this recipe, but since going vegan my fridge is now full of plant milk!

My taste testers all agreed that this vegan banana bread is identical in taste and texture to my classic banana bread recipe – dare I say it that I think this version is even better! I’ve adapted this recipe slightly from Betty Crocker’s Vegan Banana Bread recipe and highly recommend you give it a try if you’re as crazy for banana bread as I am.

Mix the recipe up as much as you want by adding extra ingredients such as chopped nuts (hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts) or even some good quality dark chocolate.

Also, if you like spices in your bakes, try stirring a touch of ground cinnamon or mixed spice into the batter.

I have one successful vegan sweet recipe ticked off my list, now on to the next!

Ingredients:

60ml (1/4 cup) unsweetened plant milk – I like using soya milk

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3 overripe bananas – you’ll want the skin to be spotty and turning black

200g (1 cup) sugar – you can use a mix of caster/granulated or dark/light brown sugar

120ml (1/2 cup) oil – you can use coconut, canola/vegetable or even melted vegan butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

240g (2 cups) all-purpose/plain flour

3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Line a 900g / 2lb loaf tin with parchment paper, leaving some paper overhanging the edges of the tin so you can lift the banana bread out easily once it’s baked. Set the tin aside for later. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
  2. In a small bowl or jug, add the soya milk and apple cider vinegar, stir and leave it for 5 minutes – this helps the cake to rise.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas until they’re smooth. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract and the milk/vinegar mixture and beat until smooth and completely combined. Now sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt over the top of the other ingredients and gently fold until no lumps of flour remain – be careful not to over mix the batter.
  4. Transfer the batter into the tin and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a cake tester when inserted into the centre comes out clean without any uncooked batter attached to the cake tester. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove the banana bread from the tin and leave it to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Once the banana bread has cooled to room temperature, slice it up and enjoy. The banana bread will keep stored in an airtight container for up to one week. The banana bread is delicious served as it is or spread with vegan butter, chocolate hazelnut spread or peanut butter.

Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Homemade pumpkin cake filled with cosy spiced flavour is both easy and quick to make. Decorated with a vanilla cream cheese frosting and dusted with extra cinnamon, this cake is a quintessential autumn treat. 

Autumn is well and truly here now with the arrival of the cooler weather and darker evenings. We’ve said goodbye to summer and now we’re all looking for comforting, cosy and warming recipes. I’ve already been indulging in lots of my favourite autumnal recipes and I always look forward to the start of a new season.

I love all seasons, but spring/summer are my personal favourites. In summer we’re eating lighter meals that aren’t too heavy, whereas in the autumn and winter months it’s all about devouring (savoury and sweet) pies, stews and indulgent desserts and puddings – I’m certainly not complaining about the last part…

A recipe I think is just perfect for autumn is this pumpkin cake and if you’re a lover of carrot cake then this cake will hit the spot for you! I really enjoy cakes that are full of spices, so much so that I shared this Spice Loaf Cake recipe earlier this year and after sharing that recipe I wanted to make a pumpkin spice traybake for my blog.

Compared to carrot cake this pumpkin version is SO much easier and quicker to prepare, no peeling and grating carrots and best of all it takes a matter of minutes to rustle up and have in your oven baking!

Whilst this cake is scrumptious on its own, my favourite part of this recipe is still the incredible frosting that tops it. For me, no frosting pairs better with pumpkin cake than cream cheese frosting does.

My cream cheese frosting is rich and smooth, it’s not too sweet and pipes wonderfully – this is a recipe I learnt while studying at culinary school and it’s totally fail-proof if you follow the instructions closely and take your time while preparing it.

This truly is one of my family’s favourite cakes, it’s always a huge hit with everyone and goes down a storm (it’s definitely something to do with the amazing cream cheese frosting)! Perfect for an autumn treat, serve the cake at Halloween parties this week, take along to a firework display on Bonfire Night or for any readers celebrating Thanksgiving in the States next month, this could be your showstopper dessert to serve on the special day!

(Serves 12-20)

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Cake:

4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

350g caster sugar

240ml vegetable oil

425g (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin

300g plain flour

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting: 

100g butter (salted or unsalted), softened

100g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

300g full-fat cream cheese, softened – I leave mine out at room temperature for an hour to soften

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33cm) tin with parchment paper.
  2. To make the cake: In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil and canned pumpkin until well combined. Now over the top of bowl sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and mix until all the ingredients are completely incorporated.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin and smooth the top over evenly with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake – my cake took around 35 minutes before I was happy with it being baked all the way through. Now leave the cake to cool in the tin completely before preparing the frosting.
  4. To make the cream cheese frosting: Cream the softened butter in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes to soften. Now add the sifted icing sugar and vanilla and starting on a low speed mix to combine. Continue to cream for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Once creamed add the softened cream cheese. Turn the mixer up and whisk on high speed for another 1-2 minutes or until the frosting is creamy, thick and smooth. You need to use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment to make sure the frosting reaches the correct consistency.
  6. Decorate the cake as desired, either spread the top of the cake with the cream cheese frosting or slice the cake up into pieces and pipe the top of each piece with the frosting.
  7. This cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days – without the cream cheese frosting the cake itself will last for up 5 days. We prefer ours chilled and eaten straight from the fridge, but it’s also great served at room temperature.

Similar recipes to try!

Spice Loaf Cake

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Enjoy!

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Spice Loaf Cake (AD – Gifted)

 This moist spice loaf cake is a new family favourite and a wonderful alternative dessert to enjoy over Easter.

I was kindly sent a few of Freshly Spiced’s spice blends to bake with. I wasn’t contracted to write a blog post and all views and opinions are my own.

Happy Friday! I have the perfect weekend bake with this deliciously moist and flavour-packed Spice Loaf Cake.

The lovely people over at Freshly Spiced recently got in contact with me and offered me the chance to try out some of their spice blends in my baking.

With Easter less than a month away now, I’m on the lookout for some new desserts I can serve for my friends and family for when we meet. At this time of year spices are often used in bakes like traditional hot cross buns, I love the aroma the hot cross buns but I’m not overly keen on dried fruit. This loaf cake combines all the delicious spices found in hot cross buns minus the fruit.

I started to brainstorm recipes and remembered spotting a nice cake in SWEET by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh and thought that would be a great bake to showcase Freshly Spiced’s Sweet Spice Blend.

Freshly Spice’s Sweet Spice Blend is an aromatic combination of 9 ingredients (brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, mace, allspice berries and rose petals).

It offers a different take on a mixed spice and creates a unique Middle Eastern mixed spice with hints of Turkish and Indian inspiration. The spice blends all come already toasted, which means these spices will have more of an intense flavour.

The spice blends I received were 100% vegan and gluten-free, which is reassuring if you have certain allergies or an intolerance.

I’m working my way through the Sweet Spice Blend that I used in this cake recipe and cannot wait to try the Turkish Drinking Spice Blend, which I’m looking forward to adding to hot chocolate and I’m excited to taste the Sweet Treat Spice Blend too by mixing that into my morning porridge.

I paired a slice of this loaf cake with Greek yoghurt and fresh blackberries and raspberries, but I also thoroughly enjoyed it just buttered. Either way it’s going to make a fabulous breakfast, afternoon treat or dessert. This cake reminded me of cakes I’ve had before in Cyprus and takes me back to one of my favourite travel destinations.

(Serves 10-12)

Ingredients:

180g butter (salted or unsalted), softened

160g dark brown sugar

160g light brown sugar

Zest from one large orange

3 large free-range eggs

120g sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon mixed spice – I used Freshly Spiced’s Sweet Spice Blend

220g plain flour

3/4 teaspoon salt (only add a pinch if using salted butter)

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or malt vinegar)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C / 170°C Fan / 375°F / Gas Mark 5. Grease a 900g/2lb loaf tin and line with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Place the butter, sugar and orange zest in a large mixing bowl. Cream until lightened and smooth, you don’t want to aerate the cake too much.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sour cream and vanilla and whisk again until combined.
  4. Sift the mixed spice, flour and salt together into a separate bowl and set aside.
  5. Add the dry ingredients a third at a time along with a third of the egg and sour cream mixture and mix until completely incorporated.
  6. Stir the bicarbonate of soda with the vinegar in a small bowl – it will fizz up a little. Add this mixture to the cake batter and mix until combined. Transfer the cake batter into the loaf tin and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack and leave it to cool completely before slicing.
  8. The cake will keep stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes:

  • I used just light brown sugar in my cake, I have written the recipe down as it is in the cookbook using both dark and light brown sugar.
  • This recipe states that the cake should take roughly 50-55 minutes to bake, however mine took about 15 minutes longer – all ovens are different, but this might be not be the case for you.
  • I recommend to leave this cake overnight before slicing as the flavour will intensify.
  • The cake itself is delicious served plain, spread with a generous helping of butter, with Greek yoghurt or with a scoop of ice cream and fresh berries.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Traybake

Easy and simple chocolate traybake is a great cake for parties and all kinds of celebrations. Moist chocolate sponge cake is topped with a dark chocolate ganache icing and can be decorated with your favourite chocolate and sprinkles. 

Last month I shared my Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes and I’m back this time with a super easy and delicious chocolate traybake.

I just love chocolate cake and will always find one way or another to fulfil my chocolate fix!

This is an amazing cake recipe you want to have in your back pocket ready for celebrations. It’s the kind of cake that’ll go down a storm at birthday parties and a get-together with family and friends.

I guarantee you that this traybake will disappear instantly upon slicing!

I have lots of chocolate cakes and cupcakes on my blog already, but there’s certainly room for more. I baked and shared this Chocolate Fudge Cake all the way back in 2015 and that cake is completely different to this traybake as it’s super dense and fudge-like. Whereas this traybake has a light and airy texture.

It’s up to you on how you decorate your traybake and because it’s nearly Easter I chose to decorate mine with mini eggs, colourful sugar-coated chocolates and mini milk and white chocolate chips. It’s colourful and fun and this cake really does taste as impressive as it looks!

I’m excited to bake this traybake again as there is so many ways to decorate it and it can be adapted for any occasion!

(Serves 15-20)

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cake: 

75g cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

200ml boiling water

4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

370g light brown sugar

180ml vegetable oil

200g self-raising flour, sifted

Chocolate Ganache: 

150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces – approx. 50% cocoa solids

2 tablespoons golden syrup

2 tablespoons double cream

Method:

  1. To make the cake: In a small bowl whisk together the cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water. Mix until combined and then set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 23cm x 30cm baking tin that’s at least 4cm deep with baking parchment.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and oil until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate mixture to this and whisk again until incorporated. Finally, add flour and whisk until mixed fully.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin. Bake for 30-40 minutes (my cake took 30 minutes exactly) or until a cake tester when inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Once the cake is baked, leave it to cool in the cake tin completely.
  5. To make the ganache: Place the dark chocolate, golden syrup and double cream in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Continue to stir until you have a glossy ganache.
  6. Spread the ganache on top of the cake – it will be a thin layer and as the cake is very rich this amount is just right. Decorate the cake with chocolate and or sprinkles. Leave the cake to set at room temperature for a couple of hours before slicing into squares. The traybake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Recipe from Annie Bell’s Baking Bible

More incredible chocolate recipes to bake next!

Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Triple Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake (Torta alla Gianduia)

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Hazelnut Cake (Torta alla Gianduia)

Flourless chocolate hazelnut cake – this Italian cake originates in Piedmont, a region in North-Western Italy known for its hazelnuts. This gluten-free cake is a chocolate lovers dream dessert

Christmas is now less than two weeks away and if you’re anything like me and want to be organised regarding food this cake will be perfect for an alternative pudding this Christmas Day.

As much as Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year, I’m not the greatest fan of traditional Christmas food. I don’t have the typical Christmas roast dinner as I’m vegetarian and because I’ve never enjoyed mince pies, Christmas cake or pudding that means Christmas Day dessert is usually a creation involving chocolate in some form or another.

Some years we have a yule log, however this year we fancied a change and decided on this classic Piedmontese cake, Torta alla Gianduia.

This torte is simply divine and it has an incredible soft, truffle cake texture that’s simply too hard to resist.

Because this cake is flourless that means it’s suitable for anyone following a gluten-free diet. I was a bit skeptical making this cake, it was one of the first times I’d baked a flourless cake but I was extremely happy with how it turned out! My sister who usually dislikes gluten-free bakes even said this was the only gluten-free cake she has ever liked.

The texture is mousse-like and beautifully light and fluffy – it really does melt-in-your-mouth. You’ll have the urge to eat slice after slice of this cake just like I did!

You know this cake is good because it rivals my favourite chocolate fudge cake. I used Nigella Lawson’s recipe from How To Be A Domestic Goddess, but I used the dark chocolate ganache recipe from SWEET by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh. The ganache is rich, glossy, silky and has all the qualities a good chocolate ganache should have.

torta gianduia recipe

This cake is made differently to the usual cake recipes I make and I love that I’ve discovered a brilliant gluten-free chocolate dessert. I know this cake will most definitely be appearing on our table on Christmas Day or Boxing Day, but I also know it’ll be a year-round favourite for parties and other celebrations.

Serve this showstopper cake with pouring/whipped cream or ice cream. I always serve chocolate bakes with fresh raspberries, but you can also eat it with different berries on the side. If you want you can garnish the top of the cake with extra hazelnuts, chopped or whole.

Torta alla Gianduia is a big hit with my taste testers and I’m sure it will be with yours too! If you adore the combination of chocolate and hazelnuts, then this is the cake recipe for you.

(Serves 10-12)

Ingredients:

Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake:

6 large free-range eggs (whites and yolks separated), at room temperature

Small pinch of salt

125g butter (salted or unsalted)

400g chocolate hazelnut spread

1 tablespoon frangelico, rum or water

100g ground hazelnuts (can be substituted with ground almonds)

100g dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

Dark Chocolate Ganache:

200g dark chocolate, chopped into 2cm pieces

200ml double cream

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1 tablespoon butter (salted or unsalted)

Method:

  1. To make the cake: Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 23cm / 9-inch springform cake tin with parchment paper and grease well with extra butter. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry. In another bowl, beat together the softened butter, chocolate hazelnut spread and the frangelico, rum or water (just a tablespoon of whatever one you’re using) – I used water for a non alcoholic version.
  3. Now mix in the ground hazelnuts and the egg yolks. Fold in the melted chocolate, then lighten the mixture with a large dollop of egg white – at this point you can beat the mixture as vigorously as you like. Gently fold in the remaining egg white a third at a time, continuing to fold until no egg white is visible in the cake mixture.
  4. Carefully transport the cake mixture into the cake tin, bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is beginning to come away from the sides and a cake tester when inserted into the centre of the cake comes out completely clean without any uncooked batter attached. Leave the cake to cool in the tin completely.
  5. To make the ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium mixing bowl. Heat the cream and golden syrup in a small saucepan until bubbles just begin to appear on the surface and just before it starts to come up to the boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until mostly melted. Now add the butter and continue to stir until smooth. Directly place a piece of clingfilm on the top of the ganache and leave it at room temperature for about two hours until spreadable.
  6. Decorate the cake by covering the top and sides with the ganache. Decorate the cake with chopped, toasted hazelnuts and serve. Keep the cake stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

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Classic Victoria Sandwich

This traditional sponge cake tastes great decorated with a choice of fillings such as vanilla buttercream, whipped cream, lemon curd or jam. This recipe proves that you needn’t be an experienced baker to make a bakery-worthy cake.

Today I wanted to share a layer cake recipe that’s popular in bakeries, coffee shops and tea rooms.

Victoria sandwich is a classic British recipe and a firm favourite cake for many. It’s a popular cake for celebrations like birthdays and can be as dressed up or down according to the occasion.

Over the last few weeks I’ve lost count of the number of sponge cakes that have been baked in my kitchen. Luckily I don’t mind as sponge cake is my favourite cake and I wanted to make sure this cake was good enough for sharing.

I worried that the recipe was too simple, but sometimes you don’t want to bake anything too elaborate or requires more than a handful of ingredients.

If you feel like adapting the recipe you can add different flavours like fresh lemon, lime or orange zest or fold through some fresh/frozen berries or even some chocolate chips into the cake batter before baking – there are so many derivatives of this basic sponge cake recipe.

Once the cakes are completely baked all the way through, allow them to cool and then decorate as you want. Traditionally the cake has a raspberry jam filling, but strawberry jam or even homemade lemon curd are both delicious alternatives. As well as a curd or jam filling, you can also fill the cake with vanilla buttercream or whipped cream.

However you decide to decorate this cake, I hope you enjoy baking (and eating) it as much as we do!

(Serves 10)

Ingredients:

Cake Batter: 

225g (8 ounces) butter (salted or unsalted), softened – I leave mine out at room temperature overnight to ensure it’s soft enough

225g (8 ounces) caster or granulated sugar

4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

225g (8 ounces) self-raising flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons milk or water

Decoration/Filling:

3-4 tablespoons raspberry or strawberry jam (try not to use too much otherwise it might spill out)

Half batch vanilla buttercream recipe or 150ml double cream, for whipping (both optional)

Icing sugar, for dusting

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C / 170°C Fan / 375°F / Gas Mark 5. Line the base of two 20cm / 8-inch cake tins with parchment paper and grease the sides of the tin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together for about 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition – if the mixture looks curdled, add a bit of the flour. Next mix through the vanilla extract.
  4. Now gently fold through the flour and mix until no lumps of flour remain. Add enough water/milk to loosen the cake batter slightly (I added 4 tablespoons of water to my cake batter. We’ve found adding water instead of milk produces a lighter cake).
  5. Evenly divide the cake batter between the cake tins, leave a small dip in the centre of each cake to encourage even rising.
  6. Bake the cakes for 20-30 minutes (it takes around 25 minutes in my oven) or until the tops have turned a light golden colour and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of one of the cakes. Only test one cake as this will become the base layer and the other cake will be the top layer on show.
  7. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then carefully run a knife around the sides of the tin and release the cakes from their tins. Peel the parchment paper carefully off the base of each cake and leave the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack, base side down.
  8. Once cool, fill the cake with raspberry jam and sandwich the two cake halves together. Dust the top with icing sugar and serve. The cake will keep at room temperature covered for up to 3 days. Generally this cake only lasts a day or so in our house!

Enjoy!

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Lemon Loaf Cake

Welcome spring with this zesty lemon loaf cake that’s similar to pound cake with its buttery taste and texture. This classy cake will make you want to skip dinner and go straight to dessert! 

I love cake and I love knowing even more that there’s a cake for every holiday or season. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate and mint, Christmas is all about candy canes and peppermint everything or gingerbread, whereas in spring and summer we celebrate all the gorgeous fresh berries and fruit that are bountiful.

This year I decided to prepare in advance for Easter and planned to bake a simple lemon cake to welcome the first day of spring in a few days time. This cake is fresh, zingy and will transport your taste buds straight into the new season. You may have figured out my love for anything lemon from my previous recipe for lemon herb rice? Since I shared a savoury recipe showcasing lemon it was now time for something sweet.

Back last summer I shared a buttermilk lemon cake that was slightly different from the one I’m sharing today because that recipe had buttermilk added the batter to keep it moist and the cake was drizzled with a simple lemon sugar icing. This time I thought it would be a nice change to bake the cake in a loaf tin as you traditionally do when you’re making pound cake. This cake is made in the same way but instead of a lemon sugar icing it just has a lemon glaze soaked into the cake whilst it’s still warm and fresh from the oven.

Another thing I kept the same as I did when I made my lemon buttermilk cake is that I made my own homemade lemon sugar. Using your fingertips you’ll rub the sugar and zest together until fragrant. Doing this enables the natural oils in the lemon to be released and your cake will have a stronger and more intense lemon flavour. This is a step I will always go to the extra effort to do as you can definitely taste the difference.

My family love serving this beautiful cake with Greek yoghurt and fresh raspberries. Eating cake with yoghurt takes my sister and I back to our childhood as this is something we would always do with leftover birthday cake for breakfast. Cake for breakfast is the absolute best!

If you prefer you can serve the cake with ice cream, pouring or whipped cream instead and top with berries or fruit of your choice. You could also try warming a slice of cake in the microwave, when it’s warm it gets all extra buttery and gooey.

(Serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

Lemon Cake:

230g (1 cup/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

250g (1 and 1/4 cups) caster or granulated sugar

2 tablespoons lemon zest – approx. 4 lemons

4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

210g (1 and 1/2 cups) plain/all-purpose or cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Lemon Glaze: 

100g (1/2 cup) caster or granulated sugar

60ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with parchment paper and set aside. Toss the sugar and lemon zest into a large mixing bowl. Using your fingertips rub the sugar and zest together for a minute or two until the sugar smells fragrant. Add the softened butter and beat until creamy and smooth.
  2. Next add the eggs one at a time and mix well in between each addition. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix through. Don’t be concerned at this point if the mixture looks curdled and like it’s going wrong, once you add the dry ingredients it’ll resemble more of a cake batter.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) on top of the wet mixture and then gently fold through until you have a smooth batter. Be careful not to mix the batter too much.
  4. Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared loaf tin. Bake for 15 minutes. Now reduce the oven temperature to 170°C / 150° Fan / 325°F / Gas Mark 3. Carry on baking the cake for a further 35-45 minutes (turning around halfway through) or until a cake tester when inserted into the centre of the cake comes out completely clean without any uncooked batter remaining. After a total of 60 minutes baking mine took a further 15 minutes to finishing fully baking so my cake was in the oven for a total of 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes – much longer than the original recipe suggested).
  5. Once the cake is completely baked through remove it from the oven and set the tin over a wire rack. Meanwhile make the lemon glaze by combining the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring this mixture up to the boil and then once it’s boiling turn the heat down to low and allow it to simmer for about 2-3 minutes until thick and syrupy.
  6. Allow the cake to sit for 10 minutes then remove it from the tin. Using a toothpick poke holes all over the top and sides of the cake and brush the lemon glaze over all the cake. Leave the cake to cool to room temperature before serving. The cake will store at room temperature wrapped in clingfilm/plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to 3 days – it may last for longer but in my house cake only seems to last more than a few days!

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Lately I’ve been absolutely loving my new kitchenware from Leila’s General Store. I love this denim apron with its cute pineapple design and I’m also enjoying baking using my silicone spatula. If you like the look of these items you can get a 20% discount using the code “whatjessicabaked” (excluding electronics and gift cards). This discount code is valid until 23rd of April on leilasgeneralstore.com!

Enjoy!

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Lemon Drizzle Cake

Luscious lemon drizzle cake. Fluffy buttermilk sponge cake soaked with a lemon sugar syrup and drizzled with tangy lemon icing. Lemon dessert lovers, this cake recipe is for you! 

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Lemon drizzle cake is a British classic. I’ve grown up enjoying this cake and it holds a special place in my heart. The cake is very popular here where it’s sold at most bakeries, tearooms and is commonly found on many afternoon tea menus. As much as I love this cake there are many recipes out there that are a tad bit lacklustre. I’ve tried a good few and often found them too dry or simply lacking a real lemon flavour punch. But this recipe is the exact opposite. It’s fresh, summery, lemony and lip-smacking good!

You know a bake is going to be good when the recipe starts with a whole big block of butter. I have a few secrets of how to make the best lemon drizzle cake. Firstly, I like to add just a touch of buttermilk to my cake batter. The tanginess from the buttermilk works really well with the lemon flavour and it helps keep the cake moist and fluffy for several days.

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Another way I make my lemon drizzle cake differently, is I make my own lemon sugar. I’ve always liked vanilla or cinnamon sugar, but I would definitely say lemon sugar is my favourite out of the three. The sugar is super easy to make, all you have to do is rub the sugar and grated lemon zest with your fingertips. Doing this helps release the natural oil from the lemon and it really enhances the lemon flavour in your finished bake.

I’ve made this cake twice within the last week. With the first I thought I would freeze a few slices ready for when I fancied a piece of cake, but let’s just say those few slices of cake soon disappeared from the freezer and found their way onto my plate… 😉

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This gorgeous cake is delicious served with a scoop or two of ice cream, clotted cream, yoghurt and fresh berries  

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Joseph Joseph

Making this cake also gave me the opportunity to test out the latest Joseph Joseph samples from their new range. I have always been a fan of the Joseph Joseph kitchenware. I particularly like the Shake It™ which comes with an integrated rocking handle and this cleverly stimulates the process of tapping the sieve with your other hand. I used it to sift the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder) into my cake and also to sift the icing sugar when I made my drizzle icing to decorate the cake. Whiskle™ which isn’t just your ordinary whisk as it has a silicone bowl scraper attached, which helps make sure you get every single bit of the batter into your cake tin and it also helps save time on washing up! The Fin™ works in the same way as it makes sure you can get every last bit of your cake batter into the cake tin so there no wastage. The Glaze™ can be used to brush the lemon sugar syrup over the cake, but I’m also looking forward to using it when I make homemade pastry or even for brushing vegetables or meat with oil before roasting.

Ingredients:

Lemon Cake:

250g unsalted butter or margarine, softened

250g caster sugar

Zest from 2 large lemons

4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

275g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

100ml buttermilk

Juice of 1 large lemon

Lemon Sugar Syrup:

150g caster sugar

Juice of 1 large lemon

50ml water

Lemon Drizzle Icing: 

100g icing (confectioners’) sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice (add more less depending on your preferred consistency)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin with butter and parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl combine the sugar and lemon zest. Using your fingertips, rub the sugar and zest together until combined.
  3. In a large mixing bowl beat together the softened butter/margarine with the lemon sugar until creamy and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. Make sure you scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are getting incorporated.
  5. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and beat again until just a few lumps of flour remain. Finally, add the buttermilk and lemon juice and mix again until they’re combined into the batter fully.
  6. Spoon the batter into the cake tin and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake the cake for 50 minutes or until a cake tester when inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining. All ovens are different so the cake may need 5-10 minutes longer in the oven. If the cake is colouring too much cover the top with a piece of tin/aluminium foil.
  7. Once the cake is baked completely, leave it on the side to cool for a few minutes. Meanwhile, make the lemon sugar syrup. Heat the sugar, lemon juice and water in a small saucepan. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Once dissolved, take off the heat. Poke holes all over the cake using a skewer, then pour the hot lemon sugar syrup all over the top of the cake. This step must be done when the cake is still warm. Now leave the cake to cool completely, then once cool remove from the tin.
  8. Make the lemon drizzle icing by sifting the icing sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and mix until you have a thick, runny icing. Adjust the consistency to your preferred liking with less or more lemon juice. Drizzle the cake with the icing.

Recipe Notes:

  • The cake will keep for up to 1 week stored in an airtight container.
  • The drizzle icing is optional, but I think it really makes this cake!
  • This lemon drizzle cake is delicious served on its own, but we especially love it with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream, clotted cream, some yoghurt and fresh berries.

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Enjoy!

jess

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Apple Crumb Cake

Classic Apple Crumb Cake. Layers of fluffy vanilla cake, cinnamon sugar apples and crumbly streusel topping. 

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Happy Monday everyone! And happy November! I can’t believe this time next month we’ll all be getting ready for Christmas. Don’t you feel like this year has just flown by? I am excited to share lots of festive bakes this December on the blog. To be honest I think I’ve been planning all my Christmas recipes since the summer! Anyone else guilty of doing this? 😉

Today I’m sharing this gorgeous apple crumb cake. It would be perfect paired with hot mug of coffee or tea to warm you up on a chilly autumn or winter day.

The reason I decided to bake this apple crumb cake is because my grandparents kindly gave me an entire box full of apples from a relative’s apple tree (the perks of being a food blogger!), and I promised to bake something in return.

When I started brainstorming some possible recipes to use the apples in, two autumnal bakes in particular sprung straight to mind. Apple cake and apple crumble are two firm favourite desserts of my family. This apple crumb cake combines the two desserts and is everything a great crumb cake should be. The best part about this cake is the generous thick streusel topping. So if you’re like me and really like streusel, I know you’ll enjoy this recipe a lot!

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Prior to baking the cake I tossed the sliced apples in cinnamon and sugar. The cinnamon adds a warm spiced flavour and makes this cake perfect for the time of year. Brilliant served at room temperature, but I really think it would also be great served warm with a scoop vanilla ice cream, clotted cream or custard. Talk about indulgence!

Oh and don’t forget to drizzle over caramel or toffee sauce! The sauce takes this cake over the top! Slice it up and enjoy for breakfast or dessert, if you’re looking for a new autumn-inspired cake recipe, then look no further! Give this cake a try, you’re going to love it.

(Serves 10-12)

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cake:

4 eating apples (such as Granny Smith for the best texture)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

200g (7 ounces) unsalted butter or margarine, softened

275g (10 ounces) caster sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 free-range eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten

300g plain flour (all-purpose), sifted

Crumb Topping:

125g (4 ounces) plain flour

50g (2 ounces) light or dark brown sugar

60g (2 and 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (140 fan), Gas Mark 3. Grease the sides and base of a 20.5cm springform or loose-bottomed cake tin liberally with butter.
  2. Peel and core the apples, then cut into 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) slices. Place the apple slices in a bowl and toss together with the cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of the weighed out sugar. Set aside.
  3. To make the cake: Cream the butter, remaining sugar and vanilla until fluffy and pale in colour. Gradually add the beaten egg bit by bit, whisking well after each addition. Add the flour and fold through until combined. The mixture will be very thick, just be careful not to over mix.
  4. Spread the cake batter out into the prepared cake tin. Now layer the apple slices evenly across the top. Press them down very slightly into the cake batter – discard any remaining juices the sliced apples have released.
  5. To make the crumb topping: Combine all the ingredients listed (melted butter, brown sugar and flour), and mix with a spatula or spoon until the mixture resembles large, damp crumbs. Scatter the crumbs over the top of the cake.
  6. Bake for 1½ – 1¾ hours, or until cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.
  7. Once fully baked, allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then remove from tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Recipe adapted from here

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This is the autumn dessert you’ve all been waiting for! Enjoy!

jess

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