The Big Veggie Pledge…

March sees the big veg pledge taking place and given that both men in the house are vegetarians, and I am eating a veggie diet 90% of the time I thought I’d sign up and go totally veggie for the month… Give me your support and I’ll share our recipes in return! I’ll be making the most of my weekly Abel and Cole veg box during March and hope to find some new recipes to inspire us all with and fill our bellies.

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Love Cake (Vanilla and Raspberry Heart Shaped Cake)

We only exchange cards in our household to mark commercialisation of love day, but we’d also run out of cake today so I decided to bake something yummy to welcome my man home after a busy week working away on t’other side of the Pennines… This went down a treat. The soft, sharp raspberries contrasted nicely with the sweeter vanilla scented cake. The boy also appreciated licking out the cake mix bowl after breakfast, win!

For a heart shaped cake that serves 8-10 and also makes 7 cupcakes you need:
For the cake
4 eggs
8oz self raising flour
8oz vitalite
8oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
A handful of frozen raspberries

For the icing/topping
1 pack red fondant icing
6oz icing sugar
3oz vitalite
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Seedless raspberry jam

Begin by mixing the vitalite and sugar in a food mixer for 10 mins until light and fluffy.

Slow the speed of the mixer and add the eggs one at a time, alternating with a spoonful of the flour. Once all the eggs are added, incorporate the rest of the flour and the vanilla extract.

Pour into a greased heart shaped tin until it’s 2/3 filled. Poke about 8-10 raspberries into the batter, evenly spacing them out.

Meanwhile put the rest of the batter into cupcake cases in a tin and add one raspberry to each in the middle.

Bake in a 180 degree oven till done – the cupcakes will take 12-15 mins and the heart cake about 20-25.

Leave to cool and make the icing. Mix the vitalite slowly in with the icing sugar and vanilla paste until throughly mixed. Increase the speed and mix on high for about 10 mins. This gives a lovely light texture to the icing once it’s set. Roll out the fondant and cut/stamp into whatever shapes you want.

Once the cakes are cooled, pipe a swirl of icing onto the top of each cup cake and top with a heart stamped out of the red fondant. For the heart cake, slice in half and fill with jam and some of the buttercream. Use the red of the buttercream to decorate the top of the cake as you wish. Be as slushy or restrained as you like 😉 Happy Valentines 🙂

Norweigan Cinnamon Buns

I meant to blog this recipe over the weekend for a friend but was too tired, so apologies Diane for the delay!

These are really so simple to make. But they taste amazing and are very rewarding therefore to make and scoff. Be patient – the rising phase can take longer than you think if the dough is in a cold place, but it’s worth the wait.

This is a slight variation of Nigella’s cinnamon buns on p322 of her Domestic Goddess book.

For about 20-24 buns you need:
For the buns
700g plain flour
100g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
21g (3 sachets) of fast action dried yeast
100g butter
400ml milk
2 eggs

For the filling
150g soft butter
150g caster sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the topping

1 egg, beaten
1-2 tbsp demerara sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon

Begin by making the dough. Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. I do all this in my food mixer with the dough hook but you can do it by hand just as easily. Meanwhile melt the butter and add to the eggs and milk. Mix thoroughly then mix into the flour mixture. This makes a VERY wet dough but don’t be tempted to add more flour or the buns will have a very dense and close texture and what you want is all the magic yeast to do it’s thang and make lots of air bubbles for light and airy dough. If you mix and knead by hand, oil your hand first!

Once combined, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until soft and elastic. Then cover the bowl (removing any dough hook if done by machine) with cling film and leave to rise for 25-60 mins until doubled in size.

Whilst the dough is rising, make the filling. Mix the soft butter with the sugar and cinnamon into a yummy smelling paste. Line a 33cm x 24cm baking tin with greaseproof paper.

When the dough has risen, tip it out on to a lightly floured surface and cut off 1/3. Pull into a rectangle the size of the tin and use this smaller piece of dough to line the bottom of the tin to form the base of the finished buns.

Pull the remaining dough into a rectangle again the same size as the tin. It’s easier to shape it by hand than roll because it’s such a wet sticky dough. Don’t worry if you get messy doing this bit!

Spread the cinnamon butter over the dough and then roll up like a swiss roll. Cut into 20-24 slices and place then in the tin onto the pre- dough lined base.

Brush the buns with beaten egg then sprinkle over the sugar and remaining cinnamon. Leave the buns to puff up a bit for 15 mins whilst you preheat the oven to 210 degrees.

Bake for 20-30 mins until the buns are risen and golden. Try not to let them catch too much, but a little colour is fine. Lift out of the tin and leave to cool slightly before tucking in with a lovely cup of real coffee. Utter decadence and deliciousness 🙂