Cake Recipes

Flour mill

Gingerbread

Gingerbread
Ingredients

250ml soured cream (or use whole milk with the juice of half a lemon added)
175 g molasses sugar

150ml black treacle
2 medium eggs
125 g butter
175 g plain flour
75 g wholewheat flour
2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsps ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt

Method

In a large mixing bowl, make the soured milk by adding the juice of half a lemon to the milk. Allow it to thicken and curdle.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the sugar and black treacle. Stir gently until all is melded together in the pan and looking black and lustrous.
Beat the eggs quickly into the slightly cooled soured milk and stir the black treacle mixture into the milk.
In another bowl mix the flours, spices, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients a little at a time.

​Chop into small pieces 1-2 pieces of stem ginger from a jar (I used Fortnum and Mason’s stem ginger in syrup).
The batter you now have will be quite runny.
Pour the batter into a lined cake tin.
Bake in a preheated oven (170 c 150 c fan/gas mark 3-4 for 30-40 minutes.
When the cake is cooked remove it from the tin and allow to cool on a cake rack. When completely cool sprinkle with some sprinkling sugar.
Serve with double cream and more chopped ginger.
Store in a cake tin.

Scones

cakes_scones

Scones are quintessentially English and part of British culinary history. References to them date back to the early c16th. This isn't surprising as they are one of the delights of culinary alchemy. Take some flour, baking powder, butter, sugar - add some milk - and like magic you can create a treat for tea. 

In addition, everyone can discuss whether one should say ‘scon’ or ‘scone’ and whether to put the jam on first (Cornwall) or the cream on first (Devon). But beware if you are invited for tea at Buckingham Palace: it’s “jam first”.

So a baking delight, an ice-breaker - and a totally customisable treat if you serve your guests with a selection of jams and creams (crème fraîche is a very tasty alternative to clotted cream).

Ingredients

500 g plain white flour (fine, 00-type, or a soft cake and pastry flour)
25 g baking powder
Large pinch salt
150 g cold butter diced
100 g golden caster sugar
225-250 ml semi-skimmed milk

Milk to glaze

Method

Preheat an oven to 180°C/360°F/gas mark 4/5

Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the diced butter and rub it into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar then stir in the milk adding it a bit at a time (different flours absorb liquid differently) until the ingredients come together to form a dough. Cover with a clean cloth and, if you have time, leave to rest for 30 minutes. If not, you can go immediately to the next stage.

On a lightly-floured surface, bring the mix together into a ball, flatten into a disc and then press out using a rolling pin to a thickness of 2-3 cm. Take a sharp 5 cm cutter, dip it into flour and cut out rounds. Place them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. If you place the scones close together, this will encourage them to rise!

Using a pastry brush, glaze the tops of the scones with the milk. Don’t glaze the sides as this will prevent them from rising as much.

Place in a hot oven for 10-15 minutes until the scones are risen and golden brown. Cool on a cooling rack. Scones are best eaten on the same day that you bake them as they don’t keep well.

You can freeze them but after defrosting, give them a couple of minutes in a medium oven to refresh them before eating.

Flour mill

Mince Pies with Sweet Chestnut Flour Pastry

If you don't have access to chestnut flour, you'll find a recipe for all-butter sweet shortbread crust below.

best mince pies

Mincemeat for pies

Ingredients

1 kg mixed dried fruit
175 g fresh suet or lard, grated
250 g dark muscovado sugar or brown sugar
2 oranges, zest and juice
2 lemons, zest and juice
6 pieces of stem ginger, chopped (optional)
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg, grated
2 cooking apples, cored and finely diced
6 tbsp armagnac or brandy


Method

Put the dried fruit, suet, sugar, orange juice and zest and lemon juice and zest, all the spices and chopped apples into a large bowl and stir well.
Add the armagnac or brandy and stir well.
Cover and leave in a cool place for 24-48 hours. Stir the mixture thoroughly again.
Fill sterilised ja​​​​rs with the uncooked mincemeat and store in a cool place until required.
The uncooked mincemeat will keep for up to a year.
This quantity will make several jars for you to store.

Sweet Chestnut Pastry for Mince Pies

Ingredients

150 g soft cake and pastry flour
50 g chestnut flour
50 g butter, grated
50 g lard, grated
1 egg yolk mixed with 3 tbs ice cold water
A pinch of salt

Method

Sieve the flour, add the diced, cold butter and rub in using your fingers. A light touch makes for a light pastry.
Mix in the egg/water mix and bring all the ingredients together using your hand shaped like a claw.
Wrap in greaseproof paper and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
After this time, bring out of the fridge and leave for 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
Lightly dust a pastry board and rolling pin and roll out the pastry (begin by pressing the rolling pin into the pastry to help it along and then start rolling).
Turn the pastry 45 degrees after every couple of rolls until the pastry is 2-3 mm thick
Take your fluted or plain pastry cutter. The pastry cutter should be very slightly larger than the pie tin holes.
Press out your bases and line each lightly-greased pie hole with a pastry base.
Re-roll out the pastry and press out the stars, one for the top of each pie.
Fill with each pie with mincemeat - 1.5 teaspoons per hole (don't overfill).
Brush a little milk on to each star using a pastry brush and place on top of the mincemeat.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Leave to cool before lifting the pies from the tin. Dust with icing sugar and serve with double cream.

All-Butter Sweet Shortcrust Pastry for Mince Pies

Ingredients

200 g cake and pastry flour
100 g cold butter, grated
25 g icing sugar
1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tbs ice cold water
A pinch of salt

Method

Sieve the flour, add the grated cold butter and rub in using your fingers. A light touch makes for a light pastry.
Add the sugar and stir in.
Mix in the egg/water mix add to the flour and bring all the ingredients together using your hand shaped like a claw. Bring together to form a ball and flatten into a round.
Wrap in greaseproof paper and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
After this time, bring out of the fridge and leave for 5 minutes.
Lightly dust a pastry board and rolling pin and roll out the pastry (begin by pressing the rolling pin into the pastry).
Turn the pastry 45 degrees after every couple of rolls until the pastry is 2-3 mm thick
Use to line your pie tin.

wheatsheaf

Bara Brith

This is a very simple and tasty fruit cake from Wales called Bara Brith which literally means “mottled bread”. 

There are two traditional recipes for this, one which uses yeast and and the other which does not. The first is more like a bread and the second more like a cake. Both are delicious sliced and served with plenty of butter.

The following recipe is the yeast-free version so it’s very quick. But the day before you make it the fruit needs be to soaked in tea. This adds flavour and makes the cake beautifully moist.

Ingredients

400 g dried mixed fruit 
300 ml or 1⁄2 pint warm black tea
150 g muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
1 tsp mixed spice 
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
250 g self-raising flour 
1 egg, beaten

Method

In a large bowl, soak the fruit in strained tea and leave overnight.
Next day, preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F/Gas mark 4/5 .
Grease a large 900g/2lb loaf tin, and line the bottom with baking parchment (sticking it to the sides with little dabs of butter).
Mix the remaining ingredients into the fruit mixture and beat well.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 1-1.1/2  hours, or until a cocktail stick inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then place on a cooling rack. Remove the baking parchment. Serve with cold butter.
Wrap in foil to keep moist and place in a cake tin. This cake keeps extremely well.


wheatsheaf

Hot Cross buns

The origins of hot cross buns go way back to at least medieval times. They are traditionally marked with a cross to symbolise the resurrection of Christ. The cross is also has its roots in pagan tradition, made with the intention of warding off evil spirits. Along with chocolate eggs, they are an important symbol of Easter.

As children we used to sing a little song: "Hot cross buns. Hot cross buns. One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns! If you have no daughters, give them to your sons. One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns!"

These little buns have an important place in the modern world. Who can resist a toasted hot cross bun with a cup of tea, while snuggling down on the sofa to watch a James Bond film or read a good book? 

Not me!

Ingredients

Step 1
15 g fresh yeast (or 7g dried yeast)
50 g strong white bread flour
10g golden caster sugar 
50 ml semi-skimmed milk

Step 2
2 large eggs
200 ml
 milk (semi-skimmed or whole)
40 g golden caster sugar
60 g unsalted butter, melted
450 g strong white bread flour

8 g salt
100 g dried mixed fruit
1 tsp (4 g) mixed spice for a mild flavour (or 2 tsps if you like your buns spicy)
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Step 3
For the crosses:

100 g plain flour 
100 ml water

Step 4
For the glaze:

50 g apricot preserve
20 ml water

Method

Step 1
Heat all the milk (50 ml + 200 ml from both Steps 1 and 2) in a pan until lukewarm (90 - 100ºF / 32-38ºC). Mix the fresh yeast with 50 ml of the warm milk, 10 g sugar and 50 g flour in a bowl. Let this stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or so, until the mixture is bubbly and foaming. If using dried yeast, follow the instructions on the packet.

Step 2
Mix the eggs, the rest of the sugar and milk and stir well. Add this to the yeast mixture along with the melted butter. Stir well.

In another bowl mix 450 g flour, salt, dried fruit and the spices. Make a well in the middle and pour in the wet ingredients. Bring the sticky mixture together. If necessary, add a small amount of additional flour until you have a nice malleable dough. Tip out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead until amalgamated (around 8-10 minutes). Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with a clean, damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for about 1.5 hours, or until doubled in size. 

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6

Once the dough has risen, gently tip it out onto a lightly-floured surface. Knead lightly to remove the air from the dough. Divide into 12 pieces each weighting 80 g (I got a baker's dozen out of my dough). Shape into balls, flatten slightly and place on a baking tray, lined with baking paper. Cover with a light and clean damp cloth and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Taking a lame (if you have one) or a very sharp knife, cut a cross into each ball. Glaze the buns with a little milk mixed with a splash of water. Cover again and leave to rise for a further 15 minutes. During this time the crosses will open up.

Step 3
To make the crosses, mix the plain flour and water in a bowl. Prepare a piping bag with a small round nozzle. Fill with the paste and pipe into the crosses in the buns.

Bake in a preheated over for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and cool on a wire rack with a sheet of baking paper beneath it. 

Step 4
Gently heat the apricot preserve and water. Sieve to remove any lumps and then using a pastry brush, glaze each bun. Leave to cool completely. Cut in half and toast, or freeze until needed.