Sunday, 25 July 2010

Tea Time!

I'm not entirely certain why I found myself with such a craving for scones over the past few days. It may have something to do with the fact that ever since I came back to Chicago I've been on a massive baking rampage, or perhaps that I've been away from the UK for over two weeks and I was beginning to doubt my own english...ness. In any case, I made them and they're well, splendid. Perfect with a little clotted cream* and raspberry jam to make a perfect cream tea, or just a bit of butter. And a cup of tea. But that goes without mentioning, of course.

*for all yank readers who haven't a clue what clotted cream is, have a look here

Raisin Scones

2 cups/8 oz/225 g flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp/1 oz/25 g butter
2 tbsp/1 oz/25 g brown sugar
1/2 cup/2 1/2 oz/75 g raisins or sultanas
2/3 cup/1/4 pint/120 ml milk

1. Preheat the oven to 425 ºF/220 ºC/Gas mark 7. Lightly flour a baking sheet. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.

2. Add the butter to the bowl and gently rub into the flour mix until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the brown sugar and the raisins. Then, stir in just enough milk to make a spongy, light dough (you may not use up all the milk).

3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll to 1 inch thick. Stamp out small pieces with a floured cutter.

4. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with milk. Bake for 7-10 minutes, until the scones are well-risen and golden brown.

makes 16

Thursday, 15 July 2010

A Taste of What's to Come

Everyone should have something that only they can make, or at least, out of all their friends and family, they can make it the best. All Americans know about red velvet cupcakes, they're an americana classic, but to English people they're still a novelty. That's why I'm in two minds about posting my recipe for red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting on this blog. The magic will be gone. They'll all start making them themselves. Then what will I be best at?!

 red velvet cupcakes 1

Plus, I've promised to make a giant red velvet cake for a friend's 21st that's coming up. I'd better wait at least until after that to divulge any secrets.

Anyway, to keep you interested, here are a couple of pics of what may or may not be to come...

red velvet cupcakes 2

red velvet cupcakes 3

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Blueberry Crumb Cake

Whenever I go to Starbucks (whether it be in the US, UK, France OR Spain) one of the tasty treats I always have is the blueberry muffin, with the delicious crumby bits on top. I recently found out how to make a cake version from the wonderful blog The English Kitchen. A perfect accompaniment to a coffee or tea.

Blueberry Crumb Cake

2 cups/7 oz/200g flour
1 1/2 cups/10 oz/290 g sugar
2/3 cup/5 1/2 oz/150 g butter
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup/8 fl oz/250 ml milk
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups/7 oz/200g blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC/Gas mark 4. Butter a large nonstick baking pan and set aside.

2. Mix together the flour and sugar. Add the butter and rub in with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine, dry, breadcrumbs. Remove and set aside 3/4 cup of the mixture to use later. To the remainder of the mixture add the salt and baking powder. Beat in the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and milk. Blend together well.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold them into the batter. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly all over the top of the cake. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture on top of the blueberries.

4. Bake for 40-50 mins, until the cake has risen and golden brown among the edges. Be sure that the cake is set in the middle and test with a toothpick or a skewer (if it's done, then it should come out clean). Remove from oven to a wire rack to cool.

Serves 8

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