Lemon, white chocolate and coconut blondies

Does anything say summer is coming more than delicious zesty lemon curd? Nope, thought not!

I was feeling the joys of spring the other day and, with a small jar of lemon curd to use up, decided to have a look back through Pinterest to find a suitable recipe to use it in.

As soon as I saw these lemon-vanilla dream bars from Mainly Baking, which I pinned a year and a half ago, I knew they were ‘the one’.

I did a bit of googling to see if I could find the original recipe, and although I didn’t manage that I did find a variation which used a coconut flavoured white chocolate, which then led to me adding desiccated coconut into the mix.

Although the flavour of the coconut wasn’t especially strong, it was noticeable and I thought it added a nice bite to the blondes. The lemon curd is swirled in so you get little pockets of zesty deliciousness, and the chunks of white chocolate add a nice texture contrast.

I was a fan of these, and so were all my taste testers at work – my boss even gave them a ‘wow’, and he’s not the biggest cake fan.

We_Should_Cocoa_V3

These bars are summery and lovely, and I would highly recommend you make them. They’re also perfect for March’s We Should Cocoa challenge, hosted by I’d Much Bake Than… who chose coconut as the theme.

Enjoy!

Lemon, white chocolate and coconut blondies (adapted from Mainly Baking)

  • 225g white chocolate, chopped
  • 85g butter
  • 50g sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 30g desiccated coconut
  • 80g plain flour
  • 75g white chocolate
  • 165g lemon curd

Start by heating the 225g white chocolate and butter in a bowl of a saucepan of barely simmering water. White chocolate needs to be melted slowly over a low heat, so don’t rush this bit! Once melted, remove from the heat and beat in the sugar, eggs and vanilla bean paste. Fold in the coconut, then sift in the flour and fold again. Finally, stir in the white chocolate chips and then spread the mixture into an 8×8″ square tin, lined with baking paper.

Spoon the lemon curd in little dollops over the top of the cake batter, then gently swirl with a butter knife or skewer, making sure not to over-mix – you want there to be little pockets of lemon curd in the baked blondies. Bake at 180 degrees (160 fan) for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is turning golden and the blondies are just firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin, then slice into squares and serve.

Lemon poppyseed meringue cupcakes

I love lemon curd. Nothing is better than biting into a cake, tart or pie and getting smacked around the face by a big zing of lemon – right?!

Part of the reason I was so disappointed with the lemon meringue torta I had at Pizza Express recently was that earlier in the week I’d been making my own lemon curd for these cupcakes, and, without wanting to sound too arrogant, the bland version they used jut couldn’t come close to it.

These cupcakes were for a friend’s birthday, and combine the best of both (lemon) worlds; lemon poppyseed cake and lemon meringue pie.

I wanted to bake something that was relatively light, as somewhat of an antidote to all the heavy Christmas food and stodgy winter puddings that having been wreaking havoc with my waistline over the past few months.

Not that I can exactly claim these are healthy, but they are light in flavour and texture, and the meringue frosting is certainly a little less bad for you than a buttercream or cream cheese icing would be.

They went down well with everyone who sampled them, and although the meringue would have looked better if I’d had a blowtorch to finish it overall I was still very happy with how these turned out.

Lemon poppyseed meringue cupcakes (adapted from BBC Good Food and Baking Mad)

  • 150g self raising flour
  • 120g caster sugar
  • zest of a large lemon
  • 1tbsp poppy seeds, toasted
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 65g natural yoghurt
  • 120g butter, melted

Sift together the flour and sugar and stir in the lemon zest and poppyseeds. Beat the eggs and whisk in the natural yoghurt and melted butter, then add this to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Divide between 9 large cupcake cases and bake at 180 degrees (160 fan) for 20-25 minutes, or until risen and springy (but still quite light in colour).

For the filling and icing:

Once the cupcakes are cool, cut a hole in the centre of each and fill with 1 tsp of lemon curd, then replace the bits you’ve cut out so the top is level again. Heat the caster sugar in a saucepan with 25ml water. For the best results, use a sugar thermometer and take it off the heat when it reaches 230 degrees fahrenheit.

While the syrup is heating, whisk the egg white until stiff peaks start to form, then once the syrup reaches the right heat slowly pour it in down the side of the bowl, while you have the mixer running. Keep whisking until the bowl, and the meringue, completely cools. Then you can spoon the meringue into a piping bag to frost the cupcakes. At this point, if you have a blow torch you should absolutely use it, but if you don’t you can do what I did and either put them back in the oven on a low heat for a more cooked meringue, or blast them under the grill for brown tops and a marshmallowy inside. Both ways are good!

tea time treats

As these cupcakes star egg yolks in the curd and egg whites in the meringue, I think they’re perfect for this month’s Tea Time Treats, hosted for the first time by Jane at the Hedge Combers. Eggs is the theme, and as much as I love them scrambled, poached or in an omelette, in cakes they’re even better…

Almost healthy carrot cake

Almost healthy carrot cake

Carrot cake is definitely one of my favourite cakes (despite not being able to comprehend why anyone could like it up until the age of about 20).

Moist yet light in texture, richly flavoured with a subtle blend of spices and a little sweetness coming through from the carrot, studded with either deliciously sweet bursts of dried fruit or the crunch of nuts, and finished with my favourite topping, cream cheese icing – what’s not to like?

Well, unfortunately there is one thing – the calorie and fat content. Healthy it may sound, but traditional carrot cake recipes have equal amounts of sugar and oil which kind of balance out any goodness coming from the carrots, and cream cheese icing just can’t be done low-cal.

My go-to carrot cake recipe is great, but I wanted to have a go at making a lightened up version that wouldn’t contain half a day’s calories in a single slice. I was also inspired by the arrival of my Riverford veg box, which was a lovely follow on from the lunch at Riverford Field Kitchen I attended a few weeks ago.

Usually costing £12.95 for what they call a small box of all organic, seasonal produce, I thought it was great value. Mine contained a cauliflower, two broccolis, a punned of chestnut mushrooms, a giant butternut squash, about 8 onions, a sack of potatoes – and lots of carrots.

So how did I lighten up my carrot cake? Well to start with, I used the classic Jedi mind trick of changing the shape of the cake from a two-tiered round to a one-layer square, meaning you can cut yourself a bigger slice, without actually eating as much. I made 2/3 the amount of cake, but cut it into the same number of pieces – obvious, right?

I then switched the vegetable oil, which would have been 1,800 calories, for a combination of low-fat creme fraiche, semi-skimmed milk and melted light butter spread, which came in at just 425 calories.

Instead of full fat cream cheese icing, I made a lemon flavoured whipped white chocolate ganache, made with more low fat creme fraiche – perfectly rich and creamy with a bit of a tang, but almost half the calories (790) of the original (1,500).

Using an 8×8″ tin and cutting it into 12 bars, each slice of cake had 255 calories. The original version, cut into 12 slices, would have been 635 calories, so it’s safe to say that this recipe is quite a bit of an improvement, and it lost nothing in taste or texture.

I quite often try to lighten up recipes where I can (although sometimes pure indulgence is the only thing that will do) – does anyone else have any top tips? Let me know!

Lighter carrot cake (adapted from here, original recipe from Breakfast by the Sea)

  • 200g carrots, grated
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 75g light butter spread (I used Clover Light), melted
  • 75g low fat creme fraiche (I used Weightwatchers)
  • 50ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 40g sultanas

For the icing

  • 100g white chocolate
  • 50g low fat creme fraiche
  • 50g lemon curd

Whisk the sugar, melted butter, creme fraiche, milk eggs and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl, then stir in the grated carrots. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarb and spices, then fold into the mixture. Finally, stir in the sultanas and pour into an 8×8″ square greased and lined baking tin. Bake at 170 degrees for 45 minutes – 1 hour, checking to make sure it’s risen, springy to the touch and a skewer comes out clean.

To make the icing, finely chop the chocolate and place in a small heatproof bowl. Heat the creme fraiche in a saucepan until almost boiling, then pour it over the white chocolate (don’t worry if the creme fraiche splits, it will come back together again later) and stir until the chocolate has completely melted.

Place the small bowl inside a larger bowl, half filled with cold water, being careful not to get any water into the chocolate. Using an electric whisk, whisk the mixture until it starts to cool and whips up into medium peaks. Fold in the lemon curd, then either spread on top of the cake straight away or chill in the fridge if you want it a little bit thicker.

Cut into bars and serve, guilt free!

Lemon blueberry cake

Lemon Blueberry Cake

The inspiration for this cake came from a Clandestine Cake Club event I was hoping to attend, but ended up being postponed to a date I couldn’t make – I had already made the sponge before I found out so I thought I might as well carry on and bring it into work instead!

The theme was to bake a cake inspired by art, and I was planning to recreate Van Gogh’s Starry Night in cake form. I chose lemon and blueberry because I thought the inside would reflect the colours of the icing, plus it’s a combination I love anyway.

I thought a Starry Night cake might be a little OTT for my colleagues, and so instead I had my first go at ‘ombre’ style graduated colour, going from pale yellow in the centre to a bright sunshine yellow at the edge.

For a first attempt I was pretty impressed with how it turned out! I used a lemon buttercream with added white chocolate, which I find makes a better textured icing than regular buttercream and is a lot easier to work with.

The juicy bursting blueberries inside looked and tasted exactly how I imagined. I’m sad I didn’t get to share this cake with everyone at Cake Club, but it’s a recipe I would definitely make again, and an icing technique I look forward to experimenting with more.

Lemon Blueberry Cake (adapted from Domestic Adventure)

  • 150g butter
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 210g plain flour
  • 20g cornflour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 150ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 200g blueberries, fresh or frozen

For the icing:

  • 75g butter
  • 225g icing sugar
  • 50g white chocolate, melted
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • Yellow gel food colouring

Start by beating the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy – because there’s quite a high ratio of sugar to butter I found I needed to add a splash of the milk to bring it together but you might not find that necessary. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, then the lemon zest and juice. Sift together the flour, cornflour powder and add to the mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk, so it’s – flour, milk, flour, milk, flour.

Whisk the egg whites until they stand in peaks, then fold into the cake mix a third at a time. Make sure no white bits are left but be careful not to overmix. Finally fold the blueberries through the batter and spread into a greased and lined 8″ round cake tin, and bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour at 170 degrees, or until nicely golden, springy and a skewer comes out clean.

To make the icing, beat the butter to soften, then add the icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and juice, then the melted white chocolate. If you’re not icing the cake straight away, leave the icing covered on the worktop – if you put it in the fridge it will set too hard because of the chocolate.

Spread a thin layer of icing all over the cake to crumb-coat, then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.

To create the graduated colour effect, start by spreading a small circle of uncoloured icing in the centre on top of the cake. Add a little yellow food colouring to the remaining icing until it’s a shade or two darker, then spread a ring of icing overlapping the inner circle. Add a little more yellow colouring, then spread another circle – repeat, going a shade or two darker each time, until you reach the edge of the cake and it’s a nice bright yellow. Use the leftover icing to cover the sides of the cake, then transfer to a serving plate and cut into nice big wedges!

Blueberry buckle

I’ve been wanting to make this cake for absolutely ages – so long that the pony actually thought I had made it because I’d talked about it so much.

I was put off to start with by the price of blueberries, but they’ve gone down a bit recently so I finally felt like it wouldn’t be ridiculously indulgent to throw 450g of them into a cake.

Mine definitely doesn’t look as good as the original, I think maybe because my butter was too soft for the streusel so it sort of melted into the cake, but taste-wise it definitely didn’t disappoint.

I guess it’s kind of like a blueberry muffin in cake form, but much moister and with a much higher (better!) ratio of blueberries to sponge.

Warmed up a little it was especially delicious – I’m really sad that it’s all been eaten now so definitely one to make again!

Blueberry Buckle (recipe from Laura’s Sweet Spot)

Streusel:

  • 60g plain flour
  • 65g light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 55g unsalted butter, cubed

Cake:

  • 180g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 140g unsalted butter, softened
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 450g blueberries

To make the streusel, stir together the flour,sugar, cinnamon and salt and rub in the butter until it forms a breadcrumb-like texture and starts to clump together.

For the cake, beat together the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add in the lemon juice and eggs, one at a time, then sieve in the flour and baking powder and fold until just combined. Fold in the blueberries, then spread into a 9″ round greased and lined tin. It might be a bit hard to spread evenly because there are so many blueberries, but it will even out as it bakes.

Sprinkle the streusel over the top in rough lumps, then bake at 180 degrees for about an hour, or until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before removing from the tin and serving.

Lemon drizzle loaf

Sometimes, the simplest things are the best.

Don’t get me wrong, I love experimenting with flavour combinations, icing, cake decorations and way over the top creations, but sometimes simple can be just as delicious.

A perfect example is the classic lemon drizzle loaf.

When I decided I wanted to make one, I looked around a while for a recipe, but then realised that the beauty of a lemon drizzle is in it’s simplicity, and a fancy recipe really wasn’t necessary.

 

I went for a basic egg weight sponge, with plenty of zesty lemon, with lemon juice and sugar for the drizzle – couldn’t be easier!

The texture of the loaf was exactly what I wanted, and the drizzle a nice crisp contrast, which as the pony put it “tastes like pancakes” and the cake off beautifully.

I will definitely be making this again – simple, summery, delicious!

Lemon drizzle loaf

Cuts into about 10 slices

  • 3 large eggs
  • 190g caster sugar
  • 190g butter
  • 190g self raising flour
  • zest of 2 lemons, juice of 1
For the drizzle
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 100g caster sugar

Start by cracking the eggs into a jug and weighing them – the weight of the eggs dictates the weight of all the other ingredients. Mine came to 190g, which is why all the other ingredients are 190g.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then gradually add in the eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice. It’s ok if it looks like it might curdle, just sift in the flour and fold to combine and it will be fine. Pour the mix into a 2lb loaf tin, lined with baking paper, and bake at 180 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

While the cake is cooking, mix together the lemon juice and sugar for the drizzle. As soon as the cake is out of the oven, poke all over with a skewer then pour the drizzle on top. Leave to cool completely, then turn out of the tin and cut into slices to serve.

Coconut and lemon cream sandwich cake

With the gorgeous weather we’ve had this past week, baking with winter flavours has been out – bright, light, summery baking was needed to see in the spring.

This coconut and lemon cream sandwich cake fits the bill perfectly with two of my favourite fresh flavours combined in a simple but tasty cake.

The only downside of this cake was that I went a little over the top with the filling – after a 20 minute drive to work it had all spilled out the sides and needed quite a bit of a tidy before it was fit to be seen!

Another reason I loved this cake was that I got to use my new cake plate and dome that I was given for my birthday for the first time  – finally I can present my baking in something slightly nicer than a tupperware tub!

Coconut and lemon cream sandwich cake (my own recipe)

Cuts into 8 big slices

  • 225g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 75g desiccated coconut
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 3-4 tbsp lemon curd (I made mine following the Pink Whisk’s recipe)
  • 150ml double cream

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the lime zest and juice and coconut. Sift in the flour and baking powder and lightly fold into the mixture. Divide between two greased and lined 8″ round cake tins, and bake at 180 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until risen and golden and a skewer comes out clean.

Leave the cake to cool, then spread the lemon curd on top of one half. Whip the cream until it holds its shape, then spread on top of the lemon curd. Top with the second sponge, then dust with icing sugar to serve.

100 posts, a new look, and a lemon ginger cheesecake

I only started this blog as a way of keeping track of what I’d baked, so I’ve kind of surprised myself by reaching 100 posts, in just under a year (and I can’t even begin to think about how much money I must have spent on ingredients to have baked 100 things…)

Rather than celebrating with a cake (I’ll save that for my first blogiversary next month), I decided to treat the hungy hinny to a bit of a revamp, with a new look which I hope makes it a bit simpler and easier to read.

I’m also planning to move from hungryhinny.wordpress.com to just hungryhinny.com – hopefully that won’t destroy the links to all the previous posts…

On to the tasty stuff, I made this cheesecake last weekend as a bit of a pre-birthday treat to myself – for once ignoring everything the pony likes and making something just for me.

Not that I got to eat very much of it, the combined efforts of the pony and my step dad’s gigantic appetites meant that in the end I only got one slice. Saving my waistline I suppose…

Cheesecake, lemon and ginger are three of my favourite things, and as I suspected they go very well together – I will definitely be making this again!

Ginger biscuit base, not-too-sweet lemony cheesecake and tangy lemon curd glaze – the pictures seriously do not do this cheesecake justice, I promise you!

Lemon and ginger cheesecake (loosely based on Angela Nilsen’s Ultimate New York Cheesecake):

Serves 12 normal people, or 2 very hungry men

  • 200g gingernut biscuits
  • 35g butter, melted
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 600g light cream cheese
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3tbsp cornflour
  • zest and juice of 3 lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g creme fraiche
  • 2tbsp lemon curd

Blitz the biscuits in a food processor with the ground ginger until they form fine crumbs, then gradually add in the melted butter until the mixture looks like wet sand (every time I make cheesecake the amount of butter I need changes, so you may need a little more or a little less). Press the biscuit mixture into a greased 9″ springform tin, and chill in the fridge while you make the filling.

Beat the cream cheese until smooth, then gradually add in the caster sugar and cornflour. Add the lemon zest and juice, then the eggs, beating all the time and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Finally, stir in the creme fraiche and pour into the tin on top of the biscuit base.

Bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 110 and bake for a further hour, or until set but with a wobble.

My top tip for avoiding a cracked top is to have a baking tray with boiling water in the bottom of the oven to create steam, but have it one shelf below your cheesecake so there’s no danger of water leaking in and turning the base soggy.

Leave to cool in the oven with the heat turned off overnight. When cool, chill in the fridge until completely cold.

To make the lemon curd glaze, stir in a little boiling water to loosen, just enough to make the curd pourable. I used the Pink Whisk’s lemon curd recipe, which is foolproof! Remove the cheesecake from the tin and slide onto a serving plate, then pour the glaze on top and leave in the fridge until ready to serve.

Frankfurter Kranz

So as I mentioned in my previous post, the theme of this month’s Cornwall Clandestine Cake Club was ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’, and I decided to make a Frankfurter Kranz.

It took quite a lot of research to decide on a cake which was authentically German enough but also would look good – I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make a one-layer streusel cake look very attractive!

When I found this I went out and bought a bundt tin especially (which now I feel I have to make good use of, so be prepared for lots of bundt cakes in the future!) and started working out how I’d make the cake.

It’s not totally traditional, as I didn’t have any rum and couldn’t bring myself to use 6 egg yolks to make a German buttercream, but I think it’s close enough to count!

Frankfurter Kranz (adapting this recipe for the cake, with this recipe for buttercream)

For the sponge:

  • 200g butter
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 220g plain flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • zest of 1 lemon and juice of half a lemon

Thoroughly grease a 10″ bundt cake – I’m yet to master the art of getting the cake out easily. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add in the eggs one at a time, adding in a little of the flour if it looks like it might curdle. Beat in the lemon zest and juice, then sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in until just combined. Spread the mixture into the tin and bake for about an hour at 180 degrees, or until golden and springy.

For the buttercream:

  • 170g softened butter
  • 420g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • juice of 1 lemon

Beat the butter for a minute to soften, then add in half of the sugar and the milk and beat again. When it’s well mixed, add the rest of the sugar, lemon and vanilla and keep beating for 3 or 4 minutes until really light and fluffy.

For the almond praline:

  • 90g flaked almonds
  • 200g sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp butter

Spread the butter evenly over a baking tray and set aside. Heat the sugar and water gently until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil. When it reaches 115 degrees C (soft ball stage) add in the almonds, and keep on the heat, stiring, until the syrup caramelizes. Quickly pour it onto the buttered tray, then once it has cooled either smash up with a rolling pin or blitz in a food blender until it’s in small pieces, but not crumbs.

To assemble the cake

  • 3tbsp blackcurrant jam
  • 8 coloured marzipan balls

Once the cake has cooled, slice into 3 layers. Spread the bottom and middle layers with the jam, then with some of the buttercream, and reassemble. Use a thin layer of buttercream to crumb-coat, then spread the rest over the cake evenly. Arrange the marzipan balls on top, then cover the rest of the cake in the almond praline.

This cake took me 2 days to make, but I’m sure if you don’t have the inconvenience of a job it could be done a lot quicker!

Lemon Bars

Lemon bars have been on my to-bake list for a while now, and what better occasion to make them for than a sunny (ha!) summer barbecue.

I had quite a few recipes bookmarked, but went for this one as they’re described as ‘perfect’…

As you can see from the pictures, these turned out nothing like the originals, in looks at least.

I cooked the shortbread for a lot longer as it wasn’t browning, and I couldn’t really work out if the filling was cooked or not, which I think led to it boiling a bit around the edges, and looking a bit messy.

Taste wise though, these were amazing – if you’re the kind of person who can happily eat lemon curd straight from the jar, then these are for you.

Tangy lemon, sweet sugar, and a bit of crunch to hold it all together – not perfect but pretty damn tasty!

Lemon bars (recipe courtesy of Baking Bites):

Crust:

  • 1 and a half cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup butter
Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor until it comes together as breadcrumbs. Press down into 9×9″ foil lined baking tin (I find using the bottom of a measuring cup works well for this). Bake at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden.
Filling:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 and a third cups caster sugar
  • juice of 6 lemons
Whisk all the ingredients together, then pour onto the base as soon as it comes out of the oven. Put back in the oven and bake for a until set. The original recipe states 20 minutes, but I probably left it for closer to 30. Having never made lemon bars before I still don’t really know what’s correct! Dust liberally with icing sugar before serving.