Chocolate chip buns

I know these are so easy you barely even need a recipe, but if you’re into speedy baking these take 15 minutes to make and another 15 to cook (5 to scoff the lot.)

Great to make with kids too.  So straightforward you might even get them in the oven before they get bored and run off to dismantle the television.

Chocolate chip buns

Makes 12

100g / 4oz self-raising flour
100g / 4oz butter
100g / 4oz caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
large handful of chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 190°C / 375°F / Gas 5.
2. Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the eggs a little at a time and mix in.
4. Fold in the flour and mix thoroughly.
5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
6. Spoon into bun cases and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and springy.

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake

A basic recipe for a simple but very tasty chocolate cake, with chocolate butter cream icing, and chocolate chunks on the top.  Yum.

What could be better as the winter nights draw in but a cup of tea and a slice of cake?

Chocolate cake

serves 12

The cake:
150g / 6oz unsalted butter
150g / 6oz caster sugar
150g / 6oz self-raising flour, sieved
3 eggs
1 rounded tbsp cocoa, blended with 2 tbsps boiling water.

The icing:
200g / 8oz icing sugar
100g / 4oz unsalted butter
1 tsp cocoa
2 tbsp boiling water
chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 3.  Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs a little at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.  Add flour and cocoa and continue to mix (at low speed if using electric beaters.)

Turn into a greased 20cm/8inch tin and bake for 40 minutes.  Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then cool completely on a rack.  Slice in half to get the two halves of your cake.

Next make the icing.  Beat the butter and icing sugar together, adding the cocoa and boiling water as needed to create light, fluffy icing.  When the cake is completely cool, spread the icing over the two cake layers and sandwich together, decorating with chocolate chunks.

With thanks to Nigella Lawson for the Malteser cakes recipe, from which this is adapted.

Carrot cake

This is an absolute blinder of a cake. You’d be forgiven for thinking it had been made by the WI themselves, but of course it’s another Him Indoors special – inspired by a recipe from Good Food magazine. Consequently there are no raisins in this one, you can add some if you like.  He used a loaf tin with a base measurement of 7½ inches (19 cm) by 3½ inches (8.5 cm) for this recipe.

Carrot cake

serves 10

The cake:
juice 1 orange/ 2fl oz orange juice
85g / 3oz wholemeal flour
85g / 3oz self-raising flour
175g / 6oz light soft brown sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger
half tsp salt
125ml / 4fl oz sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
2 eggs, beaten
175g / 6oz carrot (about 2), peeled and coarsely grated
50g / 2oz walnut halves, roughly chopped, plus extra to decorate

The icing:
85g / 3oz Philadelphia (or other soft cheese)
25g / 1oz butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g / 6oz icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. Grease a loaf tin and line with greaseproof paper. Sift together the flours, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt in a large mixing bowl. Pour the oil and eggs into the dry ingredients, mixing well, then fold in the grated carrot, walnuts and orange juice.

Fill the tin and smooth the top. Bake for 1 hour until Delia reckons it’s cooked. Leave to cool for a few minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool properly.

Meanwhile make the icing. Beat the cheese, butter and vanilla extract until smooth. Sift in the icing sugar, mix well, then chill until needed. To decorate, split the cake in half and spread the bottom with half of the icing. Replace the top half, then spread the remaining icing over the top using the back of a fork to make nice swirly shapes. Dot with walnuts to decorate.

Adapted from a recipe by Diane Louttit, originally published in Good Food Magazine

Egg

I am just about to cycle half a mile to the shop to get a proper free range egg.  This is because I am making a cake this afternoon, and I refuse to buy nasty eggs from the corner shop, which are definitely of the battery variety.  It occurs to me that if I was allowed to have chickens in the garden, this probably wouldn’t be necessary.

Plus I wouldn’t then have five other eggs sitting in the fridge door making me feel guilty for not having a plan for them.

This enhances the thought I had over the week-end that we really should move out of London soon, so that we have room for chickens, and a lovely allotment patch style vegetable garden, like wot we dug for Nige yesterday.

Fairy cakes

This is the quickest and easiest cake recipe ever. Little did I know that it’s possible to make cake mix in a food processor. I don’t even have one, but used a hand blender with a jug attachment instead. If you don’t have either, I’ve added ‘by hand’ instructions at the bottom.

Fairy cakes

makes 12

The cakes:
100g / 4oz self-raising flour
100g / 4oz unsalted butter
100g / 4oz caster sugar
2 eggs
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk

The icing:
100g / 4oz icing sugar
50g / 2oz butter
zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6. Put all the ingredients in the food processor except the milk and whizz up until smooth. Pour in the milk and process again until you have an even smoother, flowing batter. Put 12 paper cases into a bun tray and divide the mixture between them. Cook for 10-15 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

Next make the icing. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Cut the butter into dice and beat in. Stir in the lemon zest right at the end.

Then when the cakes are cool comes the fun part. Cut the top off the cakes with a sharp knife and slice in half. Spoon in a little of the icing, and put the two halves of sponge into the icing, until it looks just like a fairy!

If you don’t have a food processor – cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and flour in alternate tablespoons. Use milk to bind it all together, and you won’t need the baking powder.