Recipe for Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Thank you to Linds at Pixie Hall Cakes for this fabulously seasonal recipe for Rhubarb Crumble Cake…

 

I love this time of year as there are lots of tasty things coming into season. I try to bake with seasonal ingredients as it means that everything is super tasty if it’s at its peak and also, it means that recipes are special if they’re only available at a certain time of year. I have a customer who keeps asking me about a certain apple cake I made in the autumn and whether I have it with me. I don’t. It’ll be back next autumn. You’ve got to leave people wanting more!

So this month I have used one of my favourite ingredients and it’s now in season and available all over the place (in case it’s not growing in your garden). It’s rhubarb! I know it’s a bit old fashioned but it’s super tasty and really quite versatile. It’s delicious in a pie (my mum makes an amazing rhubarb meringue pie which might be a recipe for another post) and makes a perfect crumble. I use the crumble idea to make a crumble cake which I think is a perfect combination! The rhubarb is paired with almond and vanilla for a subtle sweetness and a crumble topping is added to the cake before baking. The top goes crisp and crunchy while the cake is tender, moist and studded with tart rhubarb. It really is delicious!

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Ingredients:

For the topping:

1tbsp cold butter

2tbsp self raising flour

1tbsp Demerara sugar

2tbsp chopped almonds

 

For the cake:

100g butter

200g sugar

3 eggs

100g plain yogurt

1tsp vanilla extract

1/2tsp almond extract

200g self raising flour

225g rhubarb, trimmed and finely sliced

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C then grease and line an 8 inch round pan.

To make the topping, put the butter and flour in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir the sugar and almonds through the mixture and set aside.

To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition.

Add the yogurt along with the vanilla and almond extracts into the bowl and continue beating until smooth.

Fold the flour carefully into the batter until it is combined, then gently stir though most of the rhubarb.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, scatter with remaining rhubarb and then sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the top.

Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean and the top of the cake springs back when gently pressed.

Allow to cool in the tin before transferring to a serving plate. This is (unsurprisingly) delicious served with custard or vanilla ice cream.

 

Linds Bestwicke runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.

Photographs by Keith Osborn Photography

 

Get juicing with Mal Harradine

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Mal Harradine

Juicing is a tasty and easy way to get your five a day,

says TV presenter and food writer Mal Harradine.

 

The days of twisting half an orange on a plastic juicer and being rewarded with a thimble full of juice for all your efforts have thankfully long gone.

The new generation of electric juicers whizz up delicious concoctions in seconds with little mess – and the machines are easy to clean.

Tower Vitablend in Cream

With more and more emphasis being placed on healthy eating, juicing is an easy way to help you get your five a day, plus, you know exactly what is going in – just pure, fresh ingredients and only natural sugars.

There are many juicers available, so the key is to decide on your budget and what you need from your machine before you go shopping.

Mal’s Tips

1.  Encourage children to make their own concoctions and they will soon be eating fruit and vegetables they might not touch otherwise.

2.  Leave the skins on your fruit and veggies where you can, as this is where many of the important nutrients are contained.

3.  Experiment with different combinations and find your favourites – you will be amazed at what tastes good.

Iced carrot & apple juice

For a refreshing drink packed full of vitamins and goodness, pour the juice over ice cubes or put in the juice and take to school, work or the gym so it’s still chilled when you are ready to drink!

3 carrots, washed

2 apples

1 orange, peeled

Ice cubes

 

Recipe for Apple and Date Slice

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If you are still sticking to your new year’s resolution of trying to eat healthier, then this recipe for a healthier treat from Pixie Hall Cakes is for you.

So here we are in 2015! I hope you have all recovered from the festive season and things are getting back to normal. I’m sure some of you will have resolved to get healthier this year and the last thing you want to think about is cake. Sorry. As someone who spends their time making all things chocolatey, sugary and sweet; I get a lot of hate at this time of year. People are convinced that I’m out to scupper their new healthy regimes and I promise, I’m not. I just believe that a healthy diet can still include cake. Just not a whole cake and not everyday. It’s all about moderation.

Now, that being said, I have a healthier recipe for you this month. Please note I say healthiER and not healthy. There is still sugar and butter in this cake and though it is in more modest quantities than a chocolate cake it is definitely there. I still wouldn’t recommend eating the whole thing in one sitting but you shouldn’t feel guilty about enjoying a slice or 2.

My mum used to make a version of these date and apple slices when we were kids. They’re perfect for tucking into lunch boxes or for enjoying with a cup of tea mid morning (as I am doing while I write this). The mixture comes together really quickly with the use of a food processor but if you don’t have one, it’s easy to make by hand.

The wholemeal flour adds a delicious, nutty texture and flavour that you just can’t get with a refined flour and is a welcome addition. There is no sugar added to the filling so the flavour of the apples shines through and the sticky dates add a lovely chewy texture and toffee sweetness. There’s a certain simple charm to the flavours here and there wasn’t much that I changed from the ones my mum made all those years ago.

Recipe for Date and Apple Slice

Recipe for Apple and Date Slice

Ingredients

For the shortcake:

200g wholemeal flour

100g plain flour

Pinch of salt

150g butter, cubed

100g caster sugar

1 egg, beaten

2tbsp milk

 

For the filling:

2 large eating apples

1 tbsp lemon juice

100g dried dates

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 23cm square tin with baking parchment.

If you’re making these by hand:

Place the flours and salt into a large bowl and stir together, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Stir in the sugar, egg and milk until it forms a dough.

If you’re using a food processor:

Put the flours, salt, sugar and butter into the mixer and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and milk and pulse again until a dough is formed.

Knead the dough briefly on a lightly floured surface and cut in half. Press half the mixture into the base of the tin using you fingers and make sure it is even.

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples and place them into a bowl with the lemon juice. Chop the dates (I find it easiest to use scissors) into the bowl and mix together until well coated with the juice.

Spread the apples and dates over the shortcake base in an even layer. Crumble the rest of the shortcake dough over the top of the apples and gently press down. It doesn’t matter if there is some filling showing through the gaps but try and press the dough together so it holds when you slice it up later.

Bake the slices or 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool in the tin. Slice into 9 or 12 and enjoy!

 

Linds Bestwicke runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.

Photographs by Keith Osborn Photography

Recipe for Halloween Pinata Cookies

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This week’s guest blog is a spooooky recipe for Halloween Pinata Cookies from Pixie Hall Cakes

Halloween Pinata Cookies

I can’t quite believe that it’s October already. I also feel that I’ve been saying this every month since March. This year is disappearing before my eyes and I’m not sure I’m ready!

October for me is all about spooky. I love the dark nights that autumn brings and the chill in the air that means that winter is lurking just around the corner. I’ve been checking out all the skulls and spiders and creepy crawly things adorning the shops at the moment and I’m basically in my element. If I could have this stuff up in my house all year round, I would. Actually, I sort of do. I’m pretty sure about 75% of my belongings have skulls on them!

Aldiss asked me to pick something kid friendly and Halloween inspired for this month’s recipe and I was more than happy to oblige! I’ve been trawling Pinterest looking at all the amazing Halloween treats and wishing there were another 5 hours in each day so I could make one of each and have a super tasty Halloween party. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible so I opted for one of the latest baking trends doing the rounds at the moment and that is piñata cookies. They are really easy to make and so effective. Kids love finding the little surprises inside their cookies and can easily help with making them.

Halloween Pinata Cookies

The dough is a basic sugar cookie, it’s important to chill it thoroughly so that the cookies don’t spread during baking, that way you know your cookies will fit together. These can be made in any shapes you like but I chose some classic Halloween pumpkins and skulls for a spooky treat!

When filling the cookies, you want to choose something small enough to fit in the gap created by the middle cookie. I chose some bright blue bubblegum Millions and some tiny Halloween sprinkles made up of bats and pumpkins. Again, choose whatever you like and that will fit. There are so many options available that you can customise these to whatever theme you wish.

Halloween Pinata Cookies

On to the recipe:

Ingredients:

220g butter, softened
170g sugar
1tsp vanilla
1 egg
400g plain flour
¼ tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
To decorate:
Food colouring
Small sweets or sprinkles of your choice
Black writing icing

Method:
In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, soda and salt to combine. Add the flour mixture a third at a time to the butter mixture, stirring thoroughly between each addition.
Divide the mixture into 2 (or however many colours you are using) and add a few drops of food colouring if appropriate (I used orange for the pumpkins). Knead the colour through the mixture until evenly distributed.
Wrap each piece of dough in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.

When the dough is chilled, take one piece from the fridge and knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and pliable. Try not to overwork the mixture.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to around 3mm thickness before cutting out your shapes with your chosen cutters. Remember: Each finished cookie will take 3 cut outs to complete so make sure you count out enough. Place the cookies on to trays lined with baking parchment.

Using a sharp knife, cut a hole in the centre of a third of the cookies, these will form the hole in the centre that you put your sprinkles/sweets in. You need to make it big enough for your sweets without stretching the dough. It might be best if the kids don’t help with this step.

Bake the cookies for 7-10 minutes; keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Repeat the process for the other half of the cookie dough.

Once cold, it’s time to assemble the cookies. If you check the photos, they will show you where to place the icing and how to assemble for the next steps.

Take the writing icing and ice a line just inside the edges of one cookie. Place one of the cookies with a hole in on the top and fill the gap with sprinkles. Make sure the sprinkles lie flat otherwise the top cookie won’t fit. Ice another line of frosting and add the top cookie. Decorate the front however you like and serve!

It may seem like a lot of work but actually, these are pretty easy to put together once you’ve got the process sorted. They come together quickly after the cookies are baked and kids will love to help to decorate them too.

Happy Halloween!

 

Linds Hall runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.

Recipe for American Style Pancakes

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This week’s guest blog is a recipe for American Style Pancakes from Pixie Hall Cakes

American Style Pancakes

So here we are again. The kids are back at school after a lovely long, hot summer, there’s a hint of autumn on the breeze as the cool air of the school run brings promises of falling leaves and wet walks. I’ve said it before but I really do love this time of year. The trees are starting to turn gloriously golden and red while the days are still warm. It’s gorgeous.

Before I get into all things apple, spice and pumpkin for the autumn months, I want to pay tribute to the warm summer that still lingers with us. A last hurrah if you will, to the beautiful berries that are coming to the end of their season. Here’s to the lazy weekend mornings with family and friends and the time to make a proper breakfast.

I chose these thick, American style pancakes as they are perfect at this time of year. Topped with the aforementioned berries and a drizzle of maple syrup they are a wonderful mix of sweet, tart and comforting. Of course, I couldn’t possibly limit your topping choices though. Think about chocolate or caramel sauce, bacon and eggs, bananas and cream (though not all at once). The possibilities are endless but the recipe is a good one. An easy to mix, easy to cook recipe with ingredients you may have in your cupboard already. Heat up a good, heavy frying pan or flat griddle and get to work on these impossibly fluffy, just sweet enough beauties and enjoy them with those you love.

 

American Style Pancakes (makes around 16 depending on size)

Ingredients:

330g plain flour

2 tbsp baking powder

1tsp salt

225g sugar

4 eggs, beaten

450ml milk

4 tbsp butter, melted

 

Method:

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

In a jug, combine the eggs, milk and melted butter.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Don’t overmix the batter, it should be a little lumpy.

Heat up your frying pan or griddle over a medium-high heat and, a ladle at a time, cook the pancakes until small bubbles form on the top, flip and then brown the other side. It might take a couple of tries to get the heat and timing down but you’ll get there.

Keep cooked pancakes warm in a low oven and serve with whatever takes your fancy.

 

Linds Hall runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.

Photographs by Keith Osborn Photography

 

 

Recipe for Summer Berry Flan

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This week’s guest blog is a recipe for a delightful Summer Berry Flan from Pixie Hall Cakes

 

I write this post from amongst a sea of paper, ribbon and other crafty accoutrements as I prepare for my wedding! I’m up against it to get everything finished in time to enjoy the day and the week of holiday afterwards, but wanted to make sure you had a recipe for July and as such, I chose something that would fit in at my wedding quite nicely! We’re having a picnic after our ceremony with family and close friends and this little cake would be perfect to share al fresco. Topped with berries at the peak of their season (and therefore their flavour), this cake looks as good as it tastes. Sweet with the sponge and jam, tart with the raspberries and bursting with summer flavours!

It’s also pretty easy (you’ll be glad to hear). The recipe is an all in one method which produces a soft, vanilla sponge with a dense enough texture for it to hold the fruit and jam without getting soggy. You can use whatever fruit you like here. I opted for summer berries but it would be delicious with peaches or nectarines, more exotic fruit like pineapple or mango (dried off on a bit of kitchen roll to prevent getting a soggy cake) or even with apple sauce in place of the jam and topped off with big ripe blackberries.

The cake does require a little carving, I’d advise you do that with a frozen (or even chilled) cake to make it easier.  Use a small, serrated knife and small strokes to maintain control. You’re basically creating a cake tray/bowl with a lip around the edge to hold the fruit filling.  If you don’t want to carve the cake, slice it in half and fill in with the berries and jam.

 

Summer Berry FlanSummer Berry Flan

Ingredients:

150g Corn Flour
70g Plain Flour
2 tsps Baking Powder
200g Sugar
Pinch of Salt
125g Butter, melted
4 eggs
4 tbsp Jam (I used a seedless strawberry jam)
Mixed berries to top

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C.  Grease and line a 23cm, round cake tin.

In a bowl, combine the cornflour, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Whisk together until evenly distributed.

Add the eggs and butter and whisk until smooth, be careful not to overbeat the mixture.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool completely before placing it in the freezer or fridge for 30-60 minutes.

Using a small, serrated knife, make a cut in the cake about 1.5cm from the edge, all the way around. It helps to do this at a 45 degree angle as it makes it easier to pull the cake away. Make another cut around, straight down another 1.5cm in and pull the loosened cake out (it should be a triangular shape). Use the knife to cut away the remaining cake in the middle to create a lip around the edge with a base of cake underneath (like a traditional flan shape).

Spoon the jam into the centre of the cake and spread it out. Arrange your chosen fruit on top and serve!

 

Linds runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.

Photographs by Keith Osborn Photography

 

 

Father’s Day Chocolate Cookies Recipe

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This week’s guest blog is a recipe for some Father’s Day inspired Chocolate Cookies from Pixie Hall Cakes

 

It’s definitely feeling warmer outside. I’ve broken out my shorts from their winter in the back of the cupboard, dug my flip flops out from under a slew of winter boots and dragged my sunglasses out from the bottom of a long forgotten handbag. It’s lovely.

I’ve been thinking about posting some more experimental recipes here. I’ve wanted to post some “free from” recipes as I know there are lots of people who can’t eat certain things. I thought I should start with something simple and gluten free to get you used to the idea.

With Fathers Day around the corner, I chose a chocolate cookie.  My dad loves a homemade cookie with a cup of tea or coffee and, as chief taste tester of Pixie Hall treats, he has confirmed that these are 100% dad approved.

Chocolate Cookies

These cookies don’t require any special ingredients to make them gluten free. It can be off putting to find a gluten free recipe that calls for 5 different kinds of exotic flour or ingredients you’ve never heard of. These are tasty and can be knocked up in half an hour. It may sound weird that the recipe doesn’t have any flour or butter but it definitely works. Trust me! You’ll end up with a crispy, crunchy, super chocolate cookie that’s perfect with a cuppa. You don’t have to be following a gluten free diet to enjoy these cookies.

 

Ingredients:

200g Milk Chocolate Chips

200g Dark Chocolate Chips

300g Icing Sugar

45g Cocoa Powder

1½ tsp Vanilla Extract

2 Egg Whites

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 160C and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the chocolate chips, icing sugar and cocoa powder together.

In a cup or small bowl, briefly whisk the egg whites and vanilla together until combined. We’re not looking to incorporate air into the egg whites, we just want them to combine with the vanilla and break down slightly.

Pour the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and stir thoroughly until combined.  It will take a bit of work to get all of the sugar and cocoa combined with the egg whites but persevere, it will work.

Using a small scoop or a tablespoon, place the cookies onto the baking tray spacing well apart to allow them to spread while baking. Depending on the size of your trays, you might need to bake the cookies in a couple of batches so just fit them on the trays as you can.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until crisp. Don’t overbake them (they burn quickly!)

Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Enjoy!

 

Linds runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.

Photographs by Keith Osborn Photography