Let's Bake: Coffee & Walnut Cakes

I love fairy cakes. Most probably because they were the only thing I was capable of baking for a good five years. I thought I'd try something a little more adventurous with this batch, and opted for coffee and walnut. It's a standard fairy cake & butter cream recipe, with just a few tweaks.

Coffee and Walnut Fairy Cakes

You Will Need (for the cakes)

  • 115g unsalted softened butter
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 115g self raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 50g chopped walnut pieces
  • 1.5 tsp of instant coffee, dissolved in 1.5 tsp of boiling water and cooled

You Will Need (for the buttercream)

  • 65g soft unsalted butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cold, strong coffee

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180. Add butter, sugar, eggs and milk into mixing bowl. Sift in the flour and baking powder into the bowl, then add in the coffee.
  2. Beat with an electric mixer or a wooden spoon until the mixture is light and smooth.
  3. Add in your walnuts and give a quick mix.
  4. Spoon mixture into paper cases and bake for around 15 minutes.
  5. Leave to cool before icing.
  6. Now for the icing. Beat your butter until it's a creamy, pale consistency.
  7. Sift in the icing sugar. I like to do this in stages, so that you can make it more/less thick as needed.
  8. Add in your coffee gradually. Too much and your icing will end up too runny.
  9. Ice the top of your cakes, and add on some walnuts for decoration.

Let's Bake: Victoria Sponge

Victoria Sponge is possibly one of the easiest bakes ever, but it's one I always struggle to perfect. A couple of weeks ago I treated myself to a stand mixer, and thought I'd test it out with a nice simple recipe.

Victoria Sponge Recipe

You Will Need - For the Sponge

  • 180g Soft butter at room temperature
  • 180g Caster Sugar
  • 180g Self Raising Flour
  • 1/2tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp warm tap water

For the filling (Vanilla Buttercream and Jam)

  • 65g Unsalted Soft Butter
  • 200g Icing Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract 
  • Jam of your choice.

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°
  2. Put your soft butter into a mixing bowl and beat until a creamy texture.
  3. Gradually beat in the sugar a little bit at a time.
  4. Put the eggs and vanilla into a small bow/jug and bet with a fork until mixed. Gradually add this to your butter and sugar mix. 
  5. Sift your flower into the mixture and fold in. Then add in your warm water. After I've done this for a bit, I like to use my stand mix to make sure it's well and truly mixed.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly between two cake tins. Make sure they're greased and lined with baking paper.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Once it's the infamous 'golden brown', leave to cool. Under no circumstances should you ice until it's cooled!
  8. Now onto the filling. Take your butter and beat until a smooth, creamy consistency (much like the previous butter step). Sift your icing sugar into the bowl and add your milk and vanilla. Beat until very smooth and thick. My stand mixer worked wonders for this. 
  9. Spread your buttercream on one of the cake halves, and spread your choice of jam on the other. I intended to go for raspberry, but accidentally picked up strawberry. I'd definitely recommend raspberry though, as the sharpness cuts through the sweetness of the buttercream.
  10. Once assembled, sprinkle icing sugar on the top, and you're all set!

I didn't get quite the rise I wanted this time, but it sure did taste good! 

Let's Bake: Fruit Scones

I've had quite a bit of spare time on my hands lately, so I decided to put it to good use and practice my baking skills. I'm a big fan of cake, and biscuits and anything that can make your kitchen akin to the GBBO tent. One of the easiest recipes I've come across lately is these scones.

Fruit scone recipe

I actually found this recipe in my Great British Bake Off: Book of Baking recipe book, and thought it would be a nice easy one to share here.

Fruit Scones (Makes around 9)

You Will Need:

  • 250g Self Raising Flour
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 50g Butter, Chilled & Diced
  • 100ml Buttermilk
  • 1 Egg
  • 50g Sultanas (if they take your fancy, if not feel free to leave or substitute)
  • A good pinch of salt
  • Something to cut them out with, I used a small glass, 6cm cutters are advised.
  • Baking tray & greaseproof paper

Method  

  1. Preheat your oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas Mark 7
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift in the flour, sugar and salt.
  3. Make sure your butter is diced and add it into the mixture.
  4. Using your finger tips, rub together the flour mixture and the butter, until the mixture looks like fine crumbs, and there are no lumps of butter. You can give the bowl a good shake to make sure. If you're going for the fruity option, now is the time to add in your sultanas. 
  5. In a separate bowl add your buttermilk and egg and mix together. 
  6. Add this to your dry mix, and stir in with a 'round bladed' knife. You want to make it fairly soft, but not too wet or sticky. If it's a little too dry then you can add a tiny bit more buttermilk until it's the right consistency. Make sure to use a light hand and don't overwork it!
  7. Lightly flour your worktop and turn the dough out onto it. Knead for a few seconds to bring the dough together. Get some flour on your fingertips and pat the dough out to around 3cm thick. Start cutting out your circles until you're out of dough.
  8. Place onto baking tray slightly apart. Add a light dusting of flour and bake for around 12 minutes, or until golden brown. 
  9. Leave to cool on a wire rack before eating. Basically, don't burn your tongue.
  10. Voila!

Update! I tried them today with a handful of blueberries in place of the sultanas and they were fantastic.

Serving suggestions include:

  1. Eat them all before anyone else gets home.
  2. Offer them around to show everyone your baking skills (don't let slip that they're super easy).
  3. Enjoy warm from the oven, with a nice cup of tea in an 'instagrammable' cup.

I went with option three and they're delicious!