Lil Lemon Poppyseed Cakes 1

Lil’ Lemon Poppyseed Cakes

Lil Lemon Poppyseed Cakes 1

I have a whole heap of egg whites lying around at the moment. The freezer’s full of them, the fridge has about 5 containers, each carefully labelled up with number of whites and the date. Despite loving meringue a lot, I had to find another use for them!! (As an aside, I did try macarons, but I’m going to make those a few more times as they’re far from photogenic at the moment!). The reason for so many whites? The ice cream maker we were given as a wedding present! Loooooooove it. So awesome and much easier to use than I thought it would be. But this isn’t about ice cream – I’ll save that for another day (when I’ve mastered the art of taking photos fast enough that the ice cream is still frozen and not a strange looking puddle). This is about little lemony wonders that are light and a little springy but still moist and cakey. Really yum, in short! And, most importantly, use egg whites.

Lil Lemon Poppyseed Cakes 2

The original recipe puts the mix into a large ring mould. But I’d just purchased the cutest of mini moulds so decided to test out how well it worked in miniature. Plus everyone knows that cake tastes better when it’s dainty. Actually, that’s a lie – I’m a firm believer in HUGE slices of cream cheese-laden carrot cake, but it’s nice to pretend I’m lady like once in a whil

I would bet this cake mix would work well in almost any cake tin – just adjust the baking times accordingly. I’d also think this would work with oranges or limes too, so there’s plenty of flexibility to experiment as you wish. Just whatever you do don’t forget the glaze and icing – super easy but it transforms these little bites from a perfectly nice cake to a moist, flavourful treat with just the right citrussy punch.

Lil Lemon Poppyseed Cakes 3

Enjoy! Rosy x

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

55g unsalted butter, room temp
190g caster sugar
grated zest 1 lemon
10g poppy seeds plus extra to decorate
110ml whole milk
160g plain flour
1 1/3 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
2 egg whites

Lemon Syrup
juice and zest of 1 lemon
50g caster sugar

Lemon Glaze
juice of 1 lemon
250g icing sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 170C/325F. Prepare your chosen tin – I just lightly greased my silicon moulds but regular tins should be greased and dusted with flour. The original recipe calls for a ring mould which looks so pretty in their pics!

Put the butter, sugar, lemon zest and poppy seeds in a stand mixer and beat until well incorporated. Slowly add the milk and beat well – it might look a little split but not to worry, it’ll turn out fine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture in about 3 batches and give a quick beat to make sure it’s all incorporated and nice and fluffy.

Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold (using a metal spoon or rubber spatula, NOT a wooden spoon) into the cake mixture. Fold carefully until just mixed – you don’t want to loose too much air.

Spoon into the tin(s) and smooth. Bake until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed. Little cakes, about 15-18mins. The ring mould apparently takes 30mins.

Lemon Syrup
While the cake is baking, pop the lemon juice, zest, sugar and 100ml water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over a low heat. Raise the heat and reduce by half, until a thin syrup consistency is achieved. When the cakes are out of the oven and still hot, pour over the tops. I poked a few holes in the cakes with a skewer to help the absorption along a bit. Leave to cool slightly before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Lemon Glaze
Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar in a small bowl until smooth. It should be thick but pourable – add a little water if it’s too thick or a little sugar if too thin until the correct consistency is achieved. When the cake is cool, place on the serving plate and pour the glaze over, allowing to run down the side. Finish with a light sprinkling of poppy seeds.

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Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Ah, it’s definitely autumn now – wet, windy and freakin’ freezing! But when the lighting is right and the weather hits that perfect mix of chilly and fresh, crisp and clear, I realise just how much I love autumn. I mean, who in the food world doesn’t?! The incredible produce all around and the replacement of green salads with rich stews, burnished fruit pies and comforting soups.

Now, I’m not a soup person. Not at all. After a rather unfortunate incident about 5 years ago which meant I had to live off nothing but soup for 2 weeks (tip of the day – cycling with a pen in your mouth is a bad idea) I find it hard to get excited about it. With one or two exceptions, I just don’t do soup. The two exceptions? Jerusalem artichoke soup and this soup. Jerusalem artichokes aren’t in season yet but when they are, I’ll share as it’s a winner. This one epitomises autumn in a bowl. Just heaven. And, by total coincidence, it’s super healthy! Yum…

Rosy xx

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sage leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp thyme leaves, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced
2 carrots, chopped
1 large leek, sliced
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 celery sticks, diced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 pints vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Toss the butternut squash in 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Season with a little salt and pepper and roast in the oven for about 25 minutes until soft and caramelised around the edges (that’s where all the flavour is).

While the squash is roasting, heat the remaining tbsp oil in a large heavy based saucepan. Fry the onions, leeks, carrots, celery and potatoes for about 5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and fry for about a minute, being careful not to let it burn. Add the herbs and spices and fry for another minute or so. Add the stock and the roasted squash and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 30 mins until all the vegetable are soft. Let cool a little and blitz with a handheld blender (or regular blender or food processor) until the desired level of chunkiness has been achieved. Can be served with a drizzle of cream, a little olive oil, a sprinkling of herbs or even some crumbled up bacon. Tastes even better when left for a day or so!

Oh, and of course, don’t forget the bread…

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Spiced Apple Cake

Erm, yeah, so it’s been a while since I did one of these post malarkies! Oops… Life kinda got in the way there. Speaking of which… We got married!

I can highly recommend it – we had the best day and were so lucky to have so many of our friends there to celebrate with us. We also moved! Here’s a pic of the new ‘hood.

Looks like we live in the country, right? Well… We cheated – we moved south of the river to a stunning part of London called Richmond. Just about the prettiest place within the M25. And it’s still on the underground (so within the civilised world) but with parks and wildlife and stuff. Squirrels! And deer!

And I baked! And you should bake too. Seriously, go to the nearest supermarket/farmer’s market/member of your family’s house with an obliging tree and get some apples – you really really want to bake this. It’s made our flat smell like Christmas and I can’t tell you how excited that’s made me! Only 8 weeks to go…  Granted, there’s a small amount of hassle with the apple puree making, but it’s super easy and I could eat the stuff neat. Apart from that (and hey, you could just buy pre-made puree. I won’t tell a soul, I promise) it’s a breeze to make and is sooooo moist and tasty. Amazing with or without the icing but hey, I’ve never been one to turn down a perfectly good opportunity to slather a cake with cream cheese icing…

Rosy x

Spiced Apple Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

260g Plain Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
115g unsalted butter at room temp
218g light brown sugar (I didn’t have any to hand so I used about 160g dark brown and topped up with caster sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
365g unsweetened apple sauce

Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Line a cupcake pan with liners or grease a 9″ square pan*.

First, whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl. Then place the butter and sugar in a stand mixer and beat until paler in colour and fluffy, around 3 mins (or use a hand mixer or good old elbow grease).

Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then beat in the apple sauce and vanilla. On low speed, add the flour mix until just combined, careful not to overmix. Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake for 15-18 mins, until springy to the touch and a cocktail stick comes out clean.

Cool completely before icing.

*You could probably use almost any shape of pan you fancy for this – I used a large canele mould as I’ve just bought one and couldn’t resist, but this would work in a circular pan too. Or even a bundt pan – the recipe would probably need to be tripled for that.

Cream Cheese Icing
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter at room temperature
125g cream cheese

In a stand mixer beat the butter and icing sugar together. Add the cream cheese and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Chill thoroughly if you want to pipe it or just spread straight onto the cakes if you can’t wait that long!

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Valentine’s Chocolate Mousse

Mmmm, chocolate mousse… Rich, creamy and deeply chocolately – perfect for Valetine’s Day dessert! How about topping with a cloud of whipped cream and raspberries?
With shortbread hearts of course…

Ooo, how about upping the cute factor with a mini heart? Perfect!
Or why not go the whole way to out and out indulgence and layer the mousse with flourless chocolate cake?
Utter decadence! Now if anyone can singlehandedly polish that off alone I’ll be very impressed! Many thanks to Spike for such a perfect pick for today! For the recipe just hop on over here and don’t forget to check out the other bakers.

Rosy xx

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