Olive Oil and Grape Cake Recipe

I was recently lucky enough to be sent some delicious punnets of grapes to try from The Grape Artisan, who supplies artisan grapes to Marks and Spencer Food. As well as sending the grapes, they also included a couple of recipes to try (and a bag for when I go and buy more soon hehe).

The recipe card for this delicious cake said to use their Sable grapes, but I had already used those in my ROASTED GRAPES RECIPE.

I decided to use their Sapphire grapes for this cake. They do taste differently to the Sable but I figured any grapes would work, although red or black would look more appetising. The packaging for the Sapphire grapes states

“Exquisitely sweet and deliciously juicy, Sapphire grapes showcase our most outstanding red grapes.”

I can confirm they are both very sweet and very juicy! If I had to pick a favourite grape from the 4 varieties I was sent, this is marginally the one I would choose. The sweet sweet juice is the nectar of the gods.

Back to the recipe. I have to be honest, I was a little bit dubious about how good this would taste. I have seen other recipes in the past for various olive oil cakes, but had always been put off making them because of the oil. Olive oil has such a strong taste, I thought it would overpower any other flavour and be quite unpleasant. I decided to give it a go though, and I’m so glad I did! This recipe produces a beautifully light cake with a delicate lemon and grape taste. You really can’t taste the oil at all! The cake is very easy to make, and is a perfect teatime treat.

The Grape Artisan has very kindly let me share the recipe with you, so here it is for you to enjoy. A couple of tips from my experience of baking it… don’t worry if it looks like the middle is rising into a dome that looks like it might erupt; it does sink down to a normal level! And if it looks like all your grapes have disappeared to the edge of the cake, add a couple more to the centre for the last 5 minutes of baking. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. I will definitely make this again and again. Happy baking!

 

OLIVE OIL AND GRAPE CAKE

125 g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

100 g caster sugar

2 large eggs

100 ml olive oil

3 tbsp milk

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

300 g seedless Sable grapes (or any variety of seedless black or red grapes)

icing sugar, to dust

creme fraiche, to serve

 

  • Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. Grease and line a deep 20cm cake tin.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs for 3 minutes, using an electric hand mixer at high speed. The mixture will go pale and increase in volume.
  • Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium, and add the olive oil, milk and lemon zest. Mix well.
  • Turn the mixer to it’s lowest speed setting and add the dry ingredients to the mixture. Do not over mix at this stage. Just mix until all of the ingredients are combined and the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into your prepared cake tin, and scatter half of the grapes over the top.
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes. Scatter the rest of the grapes over the cake, and bake for a further 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack, sprinkle with a thin dusting of icing sugar and then serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.

 

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Prosecco and Strawberry Cake Kit – A Stunning New Recipe from BakedIn

As you will know by now I am a HUGE fan of BakedIn, a wonderful company who produce baking kits so that anyone can bake scrumptious cakes at home. All of their kits contain the dry ingredients you need for the recipe already weighed out for you for convenience. Many of them also contain equipment you will need so that you can bake, even if you don’t own a cake tin!

BakedIn are always coming up with new amazing recipes, and I was beyond excited when I saw they had introduced a new range of extra-indulgent cake kits with a bit of an alcohol theme. The first in the range is the sensational Prosecco and Strawberry Cake Kit.

I knew I had to try this so rushed to order it straight away. It certainly won’t be the last time I order it either!

The kit comes complete with all the dry ingredients needed, a 200ml bottle of Prosecco (real prosecco… not just flavouring!!!), 4 disposable cake tins with baking paper pre-cut for each tin, a skewer to test when the cakes are ready, a butter measure guide, a cake board to serve your cake on, and the recipe card telling you exactly how to make it, all wrapped up in pretty pink tissue paper. All you need to provide yourself is butter, eggs, a splash of milk, and fresh strawberries.

I’ve blurred out the recipe on the picture above in fairness to BakedIn.

BakedIn cake kits are nothing like packet mixes, even though the dry ingredients are in packets. Packet mix cakes are often packed with added ingredients and preservatives to give them a long shelf life, and can result in artificial aftertastes. BakedIn kits are purely the dry ingredients needed, such as flour or sugar. Sometimes if a stage of the recipe requires 3 dry ingredients to be added together, BakedIn weighs them and packs them together for convenience. Nothing extra is added though. They use only top quality ingredients, such as locally produced flour, and finest Belgian chocolate. Packet mixes often just tell you to stir in some oil or an egg and the mix is ready to bake. To me, that is nothing like proper baking. BakedIn kits have a recipe to follow and the methods are just like ones you would see in recipe books. This makes them great for anyone with a love of baking already, or who wants to learn how to bake.

Naked cakes (cakes which are left uncovered rather than iced) are very on-trend right now with their classy elegant appearance. Even more beautiful though, in my opinion, are the semi-naked cakes… cakes which have a very thin coating of buttercream which lets the sponge still show through.

The Prosecco and Strawberry Cake is a semi-naked cake, a stunning showstopper. This cake consists of 4 layers of delicious vanilla sponge, each drizzled with prosecco syrup, which you make using the ingredients provided. The layers are sandwiched together with fresh strawberries and prosecco buttercream, and the whole cake is topped with another layer of the buttercream and covered in white chocolate curls, with strawberries for decoration. It tastes absolutely heavenly. My Other Half even went so far as to say it was the nicest cake he had ever eaten, and he has eaten a lot of cakes! I have to agree though, it is pure indulgence. The sponge is soft and light, the buttercream is fluffy and creamy, and the prosecco taste takes it to another level. The combination of prosecco and strawberries is a winner!

This cake would make a perfect alternative to traditional Christmas cake. I am going to get another one for the Christmas period. It would be ideal for New Year’s Eve celebrations too. In fact it would be perfect for ANY celebration or occasion! It would also make a fantastic gift to give to someone, and they would be extremely lucky to receive it!!!

 

If you would like to buy one of these wonderful kits, CLICK HERE to go to the BakedIn Bake Shop. It costs just £20 which is amazing value when you consider everything you get in the box! You wouldn’t be able to buy a cake like this ready made at that price. It really is brilliant value for money. Go on… treat yourself. You’re worth it 🙂

 

 

The Only Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe You Will Ever Need… Cupcakes or Loaf

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Everybody loves a lemon drizzle cake. No other cake is as refreshing as a tangy lemon drizzle. My partner Del particularly loves it, as does his Mum. I’ve tried lots of different recipes to find the perfect one, and can honestly say no other comes close to Nigella Lawson’s recipe from her ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ book. I made some for Del’s mum a few years ago and she said they were so good she now can’t buy any other lemon cakes from anywhere. They are always guaranteed to put a smile on Del’s face and they are the cake that I am asked to make most of all. One lady told me that she doesn’t normally like lemon cake but she loves these. So what makes Nigella’s recipe so special? Regardless of whether you make it as cupcakes or as a loaf, the cake is so light and fluffy, deliciously tangy but sweet, and completely irresistible.

I recently made this recipe in the Nordic Ware snowflake pan and was over the moon to see it listed as a Stunning Christmas Cake on THIS WEBSITE.

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Yesterday I made it in the Nordic Ware Citrus Loaf pan and a couple of people asked for the recipe, so I thought I would put it on here.

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I wish I had come up with this recipe. It is completely foolproof, very easy to make and turns out perfectly every time. All credit to Nigella for such an amazing recipe! The recipe is for a loaf cake but I love it for cupcakes too so will put instructions for both up. Same ingredients, just different baking times. It makes one loaf cake or 12 muffin-sized cupcakes.

LEMON DRIZZLE CAKE

FOR THE CAKE

125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

175 g caster sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

175 g self raising flour, sifted

pinch of salt

4 tbsp milk

FOR THE SYRUP

juice of one and a half lemons

100 g icing sugar

FOR THE ICING GLAZE

juice of half a lemon

150 g icing sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a loaf tin, or put cupcake cases into a 12 hole muffin tray.
  • Cream together the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and lemon zest and beat in well.
  • Gently fold in the flour and salt until all combined, then add milk. Fold in until smooth.
  • Pour batter into loaf tin, or spoon into cupcake cases. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40-45 minutes for a loaf cake, or 15-20 minutes for cupcakes, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • While the cake is in the oven, prepare the syrup. Put the juice and icing sugar into a small pan and heat gently until the icing sugar has dissolved.
  • As soon as the cake is out of the oven, puncture all over with a skewer or cocktail stick. Pour the syrup over the cake while it is still in the tin. If making cupcakes,spoon 3 or 4 tsps over each cake. Leave the cake in the tin until completely cool.
  • When cool, turn out on to a serving plate. To make the icing glaze, mix the juice and icing sugar until perfectly smooth and white. Drizzle over the cake. Leave to set, then serve and enjoy!

I like to put the icing into a disposable piping bag and snip off a tiny corner and then pipe the icing on. It is very runny but gives a lovely effect and tastes wonderful.

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If making cupcakes with this recipe, there will be a lot of the icing glaze left over unless you put a thick coating on top of each cake! I tend to make 2 batches of the cakes and use the rest of the icing up on the second batch.

If you are making this recipe in a bundt tin, pour a third of the syrup over the cake while it is still in the tin. This obviously means you are pouring it over the bottom but you want most over the top. Turn the cake out of the tin after 15 minutes, and gently spoon the remaining syrup over the top while the cake is still warm, letting it absorb before adding more.

A lot of blogs have this recipe and most say the same thing… perfect every time and you don’t need to change anything about it. I hope you like it as much as we all do!

Black Forest Hot Chocolate Bundt Cake

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I have 2 addictions in life… Nordic Ware bundt tins and the Costa Coffee Festive menu drinks, in particular the Black Forest Hot Chocolate. The Nordic Ware addiction is an all year long one, but sadly the Costa Coffee one is limited to one month a year when the Festive menu appears. Or at least it was! Tassimo coffee machines were selling ridiculously cheaply in the Black Friday sales online a few months ago so we bought one. As soon as my sister found out, she went online and bought me the exact syrups that Costa use in my favourite drink so I could make them at home too! (She bought me the rose one too as everyone knows I adore rose in all forms… flower, scent, and flavour). She even bought me the bottle pourer as well to make drizzling the cherry syrup easier!

Anyway I’m waffling. In case you’ve never tried one this is what the Black Forest Hot Chocolate looks like:

Picture courtesy of Costa

A delicious hot chocolate mixed with blackberry syrup, topped with slightly sweetened fresh cream, drizzled with a yummy cherry sauce and chocolate curls sprinkled on top to finish. Sheer indulgent heaven! I was making one at home and the idea came to me to make a cake version of it! I had the syrups so started planning. I decided to make it as a bundt and thought a flat-topped tin would be best so that I could pipe cream on top, so I made it in the Star shaped tin. Until now THIS has been my favourite bundt recipe that I have created, but I have to admit the Black Forest one has knocked it off top spot for me.

I was asked once why I use buttermilk in my bundts whereas other people use yoghurt. It is just personal preference. Both serve the same purpose but I always have buttermilk in the fridge. Buttermilk, like yoghurt, reacts with bicarbonate of soda, causing harmless carbon dioxide gas. This gas helps bakes to rise and makes them light and fluffy. I use it in scones all the time for that reason too. Enough science, here’s the recipe. It looks like a huge list of ingredients but most of it is store cupboard essentials.

BLACK FOREST HOT CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE

FOR THE CAKE:

250 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

190 g golden caster sugar

190 g soft light brown sugar

340 g plain flour

half level tsp bicarbonate of soda

half level tsp salt

1 level tsp baking powder

25 g cocoa powder

4 large eggs, beaten

200 ml buttermilk

200 g milk chocolate (or a combination of dark and milk chocolate), broken into pieces

8 tbsp (120 ml) Monin blackberry syrup

FOR THE DECORATION:

250 ml fresh double cream

1 level tbsp icing sugar

Monin Cherry syrup

extra chocolate

  • Grease a 10-12 cup bundt tin well with Cake Release, or melted butter and flour. (Or you could try this in normal cake tins). Preheat the oven to 170C.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy.
  • Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, and leave until almost completely melted, stirring once or twice. Remove from the heat and stir until totally smooth. Leave to cool slightly.
  • In another bowl, sieve together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa). I like to quickly mix with a spoon after sieving cocoa and flour together to make sure it is thoroughly combined and there are no white powders left.
  • In a large jug mix the wet ingredients together (beaten eggs, buttermilk, melted chocolate and blackberry syrup).
  • Add half of the wet ingredient mixture to the butter and sugar and beat well until combined. Add half of the dry ingredient mixture and gently fold in with a large spoon or spatula. Fold in the last half of the wet ingredients, followed by the remaining dry ingredient mixture until completely combined. (This was the perfect amount of blackberry syrup flavour for me and tasted the same as how Costa serve it. However, taste a bit of the mixture and if you like it stronger add an extra tbsp of syrup now).
  • Pour into your prepared tin until no higher than three quarters full, then place in the centre of the oven and bake for around 50 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. (Don’t worry if the top has cracked, it will be on the bottom when served). Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • When it is completely cool, place on to a serving plate.Whisk together the cream and icing sugar until it forms very soft peaks. (When you pipe cream it thickens rapidly in the piping bag so don’t over-whisk it now). Spoon into a piping bag and pipe on to the top of your bundt however you prefer. I just did simple rosettes. Nothing fancy. Pipe more around the bottom as well. (If your bundt tin design allows, pipe extra cream around the sides too).
  • Drizzle Monin cherry syrup all over the cream letting it come down the sides too. Use a potato peeler to make curls of chocolate (just “peel” down the side of a row of chocolate) and sprinkle them on top to finish. Or you can crumble a Flake on top.

And there you have the cake version of the famous drink. Obviously it is EXTREMELY calorific so probably best just to make it for special occasions!!! My Other Half ate 2 slices straight after each other, and said it tastes just like the drink. My son polished off a slice in record time too and said it was delicious. I put a picture of it on Twitter and have to admit I was overwhelmed by the response to it, so I hope you like it as much as we do.

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Obviously as there is fresh cream on top, this cake needs to be stored in the fridge. Remove it for a while before serving so the cream isn’t too cold. It is best eaten on the same day as cakes in fridges tend to go hard quickly. Or you could make the cake and only put the cream and decorations on individual slices when you serve them. That way you can keep the cake in an airtight container.

The best place to buy Monin syrups is from Next Day Coffee. You can find the blackberry syrup HERE and the cherry one HERE. If you want the bottle pourer for easier drizzling of the cherry one on top, that can be found HERE.

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I have contacted Costa and asked if they would mind me making cake versions of more of their best-loved drinks, so this one will be the first in a series. Let me know in the comments what your favourites ones are 🙂