Tag: woman and home

Time to get spicy with this Pumpkin Cake recipe

Pumpkin cake recipe

So go on then. How many times have you carved a pumpkin and don’t even bother to scoop out the insides? We’ve all done it but this year – like last, I scooped out enough to feed a small army and that was with just one daughterling. The other one didn’t even get her’s carved! Teenagers! So we have a whopper of a pumpkin to use and it’s the second week in November. So, I did what every good cake blogger does. I baked!

Pumpkin cake

Every year I give my mum the pumpkin flesh as she makes killer chutney with it but this year I made a cake and still had plenty left over to share. This pumpkin cake is really moist and quite heavy. It’s a slow bake cake and is the kind you could use to stack for a tiered cake. Perfect for an October wedding cake maybe? Think of it as a carrot cake made with pumpkin. It’s topped with a cream cheese frosting – the recipe for which I got from Jane Curran, the food editor on Woman&Home. It’s the only cream cheese frosting recipe I use. It can’t be beaten. It also lasts a long time. Once decorated we were still eating this cake a week later and it was fine.

 

Pumpkin Cake recipe

Pumpkin Cake recipe

  • 30ml rum
  • 50ml water
  • 200g sultanas
  • 350g plain flour
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 300g unsalted butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 medium eggs
  • juice and zest of 1 ½ oranges
  • 350g shredded pumpkin
    Sugar syrup
  • Juice from ½ orange
  • 30ml water
  • 60g caster sugar
    Cream Cheese frosting
  • full fat cream cheese
  • icing sugar
  1. Place the rum and water and sultanas in a sealable container and leave for at least an hour - overnight is best.
  2. Line and grease an 8" cake tin and pre-heat the oven to 160ºC(140ºC fan)
  3. Melt the butter over a low heat and add to the sugars. Mix well. Add the lightly beaten eggs.
  4. In a separate bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients. Fold into the wet ingredients.
  5. Add half the orange juice and all of the zest, vanilla extract, pumpkin and soaked sultanas with their flavouring to the mixture and combine.
  6. Spoon into the cake tin
  7. Bake for 2 hours or until a skewer comes out of the cake clean.
    To make the sugar syrup
  1. Heat the water and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat till it is all dissolved.
  2. Add the orange juice then simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Set aside to cool then brush over the whole cake as soon as it leaves the oven. Leave the cake to cool completely.
    To make the frosting
  1. Place the cream cheese and icing sugar together and mix well.
  2. Use a pallette knife to spread the frosting over the completely cooled cake. You can do just the top or all around the sides too.
http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/2016/11/11/time-to-get-spicy-with-a-pumpkin-cake-recipe/

Pumpkin cake recipe

So whether you bake this now or save the recipe for next halloween (you can print it off – just see the link above the recipe ingredients) it’s a keeper that’s for sure!

What do you do with your pumpkins? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below and feel free to share your recipe with the CakesBakesAndCookies crowd!

EmmaMT x

p.s. Happy Birthday Bot. xxxx

Meet the expert: Jane Curran, Editor of Feel Good Food

Jane curran FEELGOODPICJane Curran is the Editor of Feel Good Food Magazine and the Food Editor on Woman and Home. I’ve known Jane for about 10 years now. I can’t believe it’s that long but it’s true. She came to work at Woman and Home while I was on maternity leave with Beau. I was lucky enough to sit opposite her at the magazine’s offices and let me tell you as a baker sitting opposite the food editor is a GOOD thing! Apart from the fact that she would need dishes to be ‘taste tested’, she is a font of all knowledge and I used to grill her all the time! I was lucky enough to be able to interview Jane at this busy time of year.

 

How did you get into cooking and baking? 

Because my Mum could burn water and was an atrocious cook! Then I went to France when I was ten and fell in love with great food.

Who inspires you most in the cooking arena and why?

Probably Simon Hopkinson whose accuracy, attention to detail and sheer brilliance as a (former) chef and writer makes me think I can achieve anything. He also rekindles my love of classic French food. But I also admire Yotam Ottolenghi for his fabulous flavour combinations.

What’s your favorite cook/ baking book?

There are many but I love Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries  I and II. Great cook books are as much for me about the writing as they are about the food.

How did you come to be at Woman & Home / Feel Good Food ?

I had worked for the Editorial Director years before as her food editor, so when the vacancy came up she gave me a ring! We launched FGF together 6 years ago.

How long have you worked at FGF?

We launched it as a one-off magazine for Christmas 2006 and it did so well we just kept going! Now we produce six a year.

What does your job entail?

The whole package from recipe development, design concepts, photography, content and commissioning extra features such as table inspiration or gadgets. And being my own PR and marketing machine!

What’s the best part of your job?

Working as a small team to bring out the best and most beautiful magazine we can.

What’s the worst part of your job?

Anything which involves admin!

What recipe should we be making from the latest issue of FGF?

Make the cover recipe – it’s super simple, delicious and looks great – how food should be. (EmmaMT here- this recipe is will be in the very next post! Check it out)

Have you had any big baking disasters?

I did “lose” a rich and sticky chocolate cake which slid off its base to the floor on the way to the table. And failed 3 times to make a simple Victoria sponge in the test kitchen until I finally realised that a freelancer had put plain flour in the self-raising flour container…Oh and I tried to make macaroons on a boiling hot day – the humidity just made them collapse when they came out of the oven!

Will you be cooking this Christmas?

We are 12 this year and are round at my sister’s house – she has a huge table. I am doing the starter (gravadlax with home made rye soda bread), the cheese (actually that’s Harry, my husband’s job as he is the expert) and pudding (traditional Christmas pud plus a frozen chocolate and mocha parfait with salted praline). I am leaving the turkey to her!

Where’s your favorite place to go out to eat?

This does change on a regular basis but as a treat, it’s currently Trullo in Highbury which is the most fantastic Italian restaurant. We have never had a bad meal there, the staff and service are faultless – their food is what Italian food should be; the simplest but the best ingredients put together with care and love.

What kitchen gadget could you not live without and why?

I would have to say my Santoku knife – without a great knife I just can’t chop!

What’s your favorite dinner party meal and dessert?

Hard question for such a greedy person, but possibly spaghetti alla vongole for a starter or main and a classic lemon tart with raspberries and passion fruit cream.

What’s your guilty food pleasure? 

Heinz tomato soup with loads of grated Cheddar in it – my poorly comfort food!

Are you a Tea or coffee drinker? 

Both. I am a Nespresso addict in the morning then my addiction moves on to Twining’s Earl Grey tea after 11am.

Check out Jane’s White Chocolate cheesecake recipe in the next blog post. It’s perfect for Christmas as she says!

Twitter and the horse birthday cake

Horse birthday cake
Sometimes when I  look back at the cakes I’ve done, I can’t believe how many I’ve made. Today when I was looking through my cake pictures trying to decide which one to write about I found this horse cake I did for the Editor of Elle magazine.

I should back track a little first.  I first got into Twitter after a much needed lesson from the Web team at Woman and Home magazine! I sat directly behind the lovely web girls and would listen to them all day talking about who was saying what and I got hooked. I followed who they followed and one day, just as I was about to start planning my Christmas interior features – which was my craziest time, we saw that the editor of Elle magazine (the only non home interest title I subscribed to and completely love I might add) had put out a tweet asking where she could get a cake made for her daughter’s birthday in the shape of a horse. Now although I was getting quite confident at decorating and shaping a cake, a horse really would be a huge challenge. I mean the head would have to stand up and stick out without toppling over! And I had already said that I wouldn’t do anymore cakes till after the Christmas issue was finished.

 A friend, who is also a huge Elle magazine fan said “You can’t pass up an opportunity like this” and messaged the editor directly saying how I made cakes and to see my Flickr pics. The editor got in touch and the rest as they say is history. Lorraine Candy told me about her daughter’s love of the horse she rode at her riding lessons called Megastar and we arranged a date for delivery.

Around this time there were back to back episodes of ‘Ace of Cakes‘ on TV, which I was totally hooked on. One of the cakes they made had to be top heavy and to overcome the problem they used a combination of Rice Krispies and melted Mars bars. You simply mix the two together and they become a mouldable and edible shape. So I had my answer to the horse’s head problem. I only wish I had taken step photos of it to show you, but this was before I started blogging.

Once the head was shaped and had set hard in the fridge I covered it with brown sugarpaste icing and smoothed it all over. The cake was cut into a horses body shape and the head was  secured into position then the whole thing was covered in the tan coloured icing. Megastar is a Palomino so the cake would be a lovely light colour. I would have hated to make a black horse. People in general don’t like to eat a black cake!

The legs were shaped from solid sugarpaste and were secured to the body with a little royal icing. The mane and tail were also made of thin strips of sugarpaste.

For the cake board I decided to make it a green field, complete with pretty flowers so  Megastar looked like she was resting.

In all I was pretty pleased with this cake. I could imagine being very happy to have it as an eight year old girl. The horse looked friendly and was just the right size. When I delivered it I found out that Megastar belonged to Noel Gallagher! Which was just the icing on the cake! (sorry- I couldn’t help myself)

EmmaMT

A Rainbow cake for Dahlia (a.k.a. the tallest cake I’ve ever made!)

Rainbow cakeAs I write this post (now last Saturday night) I have absolutely no internet connection. Nothing! Nada! Zip! Not a squat! And it’s not just my router that’s not working at home, my mobile is kerput too! So I have been web free for 5days. It’s at times like this that you realise how much you use the web, sit on facebook and miss your cake blog. Luckily, I have had plenty to keep me busy and away from my Mac.

Firstly I have made two life size snowmen for a Christmas press launch. They took hours and hours of paper mache, painting, covering in wadding and then covering in fake snow! Needless to say that when I got to the part of the week where I got to do baking I was happy!

The Rainbow cake

This cake was my birthday present for a very special little girl. She’s the daughter of my good friend Theoda and she’s too scrumptious for words! Theoda and I worked together on Woman and Home magazine and we shared one too many cupcakes, so I know how much she likes cake! She is also one of my biggest supporters of everything I do. ( Love you Fou!)

Theoda, Peter and the birthday girl. X

Anyway, when Theoda asked if I would make Dahlia’s 1st birthday cake I was honored. I mean I really wanted to make it but sometimes you have to wait to be asked – so that you don’t step on anyone’s toes. Theoda knew exactly what she wanted… Dahlia's on the Rainbow cake It had to have Dahlia’s on the top- obviously as that’s her daughters name. I made these with small circle cutters and then squidged each piece into place with my finger, adding more and more petals in a circle, layering up as I went. I wished that I had seen the flowers from Theoda’s garden (below) as I would have created this style flower instead. How beautiful are these? You can see why Dahlia was given such a beautiful name. Dahlias

A few years ago I made a mini wedding cake inspired by a Mich Turner cake with a bow on the front, which Theoda really liked, I recreated that on the front of the cake with ‘modern’ swags. At each swag was a button, holding it in place.Sugarpaste buttons and swags

As you can see the cake board was a strong pink colour and was dotted with more buttons made from sugarpaste and it was finished off with a cute spot ribbon. Jane Means ribbons are my favorite. They’re the best around and she has such a great selection.Buttons on cake

The pièce de résistance came when Theoda cut the first slice. Inside the tall cake were six layers of Madeira cake, each layer in a darker pink colour than the one below it. There was tons of buttercream inside, to keep it straight and in between each layer. It looked great when cut and whats more each slice could feed a small army. The cake was huge!

Pink Rainbow cake

Things I learnt making this cake…

  1. Don’t add the food colouring to the cake mix and keep stirring it as you colour each layer. By the time you get to the strongest colour you’ll have bashed all the air out of the mix (which is what makes it rise) and it will end up being a heavy biscuit of a cake. Instead mix up all the ingredients apart from the flour and separate it into bowls for each layer. Then colour each bowl. Fold in the flour and bake straight away. That way you can see the exact colour difference in each cake and they will all rise and be light and fluffy and delicious.
  2. I did a crumb coating on this cake and used a cake ruler to ensure the sides were as straight and level as I could get them. I then did a top coat of buttercream and again leveled the sides and top with the straight edge. Pop the cake in the fridge in between each buttercream covering so it sets and is easier to handle.
  3. When covering a cake this tall keep your rolled out icing thicker than usual so it has enough give. I left mine at around 1cm thick. Take your time when covering the cake. Smooth the top first, then gently manipulate the sides, working your way down with your hands and then with a smoother. If you start to get a crease at the bottom gently lift the sugarpaste away from the bottom of the cake and smooth it down from the top again. If you do end up with creases use ribbon, flowers or button decorations to hide them. No one will ever know!
  4. I didn’t put a thin cake board in between the cake layers because I made this cake out of Madeira sponge which is a pretty ‘strong’ cake. If I had done more layers, or had used a softer more crumbly sponge I would have popped one under the middle layer with cake supports in the cakes underneath. This will stop the cake from sinking into itself or toppling over.
  5. Make the decorations a week in advance so that they set hard and can be handled. The bow was quite heavy once dry and was attached to the cake with royal icing. It had to be held in place for a minute or so till it was stuck.

EmmaMT

Bex’s Gourmet Brownies.

Gourmet Brownie

I have just had the busiest week ever, shooting five days in a row. (I’ve never done that before!). Add in a 2 hour journey each way, each day and making cakes in the evenings, there was little time for sleep, let alone blogging. I have really missed writing here! So today you’ll get two for the price of one!

Gourmet brownies

Bex (aka Rebecca Smith, deputy food Editor on Delicious magazine and the foodie behind the truefoodie blog) and I used to sit together when we worked at Woman and Home magazine. She has such an amazing knowledge of food it’s fascinating! She can throw a recipe together out of thin air. I so wish I had the knowledge to do that.

One of my favourite of her recipes are these brownies. They’re not just any brownies. They’re Gourmet Brownies! And once you’ve tasted them you’ll understand why. They’re so moist you can’t even cut them into squares without having to clean the knife in between cuts as it gets so glooped up with chocolate heaven.

Top tips

I have made these loads of times. My friend Karen recently invited us round for a gathering and at the end of her email she said “and if you want to bring your brownies that would be great!” But recently I have had a few flops. So by learning from my mistakes here are my top tips on how to make the best brownies:-

  • Make them the night before you want to eat them. They take ages to cool down. I mean hours!
  • Never cut them into squares when they are still hot. Apart from the fact that it’s practically impossible it makes it more difficult, each cut edge will go really crunchy and dry and they’ll be hard rather than moist.
  • When checking to see if brownies are baked to perfection make sure that an inserted skewer comes out clean. Don’t do what I did and take them out of the oven without even checking, then, running late for a family house warming and thinking I’d just cut them up when I got there I popped them in the boot of the car in a cardboard box- still hot in the tin. They were still too hot to cut up when we arrived, so I put them outside in the freezing cold garden to speed up the cooling process while we ate lunch. When I finally got to remove the brownies from the tin and made the first cut they were still all goo inside! No where near baked! Nightmare.
  • Once you have removed the tin from the oven, leave it to cool on a wire rack for around 20 minutes then remove them from the tin (still in the paper) and leave to cool completely on the rack. If you leave them to cool completely in the tin they can dry out too much.

Brownie ingredients

  • 275 g dark chocolate (60% dark chocolate is best)
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs- beaten
  • 200g plain flour
  • ½ tea-spoon vanilla extract
  • 150g milk or white chocolate (optional)
  • Pinch of salt

How to make gourmet brownies

Heat your oven to 180 C, 160 c fan, gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper.

Measure out all the ingredients. This is something I am doing more and more, rather than measuring as I go. It definitely reduces mistakes!

In a large saucepan melt the chocolate and then add the butter and blend them together. Don’t turn your back on the chocolate for a second. It burns really quickly!

Add in the sugar and stir till completely blended

Add the beaten eggs and vanilla essence

Slowly fold in the flour and stir well

You can add any chocolate to these brownies. I tend to grab what I’ve got in my store cupboard and chop it up with a big knife, but chocolate chips work just as well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake for 35-40 minutes then remove to cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack. After that remove the brownies( in the paper)from the tin and leave to cool on the rack until completely cool.


Once cold, slice into squares and get ready to eat!


Pop them in a tin ready to take to your sister in-law’s in plenty of time – only this time completely baked!

enjoy!

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