Cake of the Month: Raspberry Butterscotch

I’m always impressed when people can decide on favourites. Favourite album, favorite film and so on. In a world so full of amazing stuff, how do they do that? For example, if you asked me what my favourite book was; I could perhaps break it down by genre and time period, and give you a list from each one. But an overall best book ever? No chance.

Which of course, brings us to cake. Oh, yes it does. So many great cakes to choose from, how could you possibly choose one?

You may or may not know that I spend an inordinate amount of time on Twitter. You meet some interesting people, it’s not all crazy trolls. One of these interesting people suggested raspberry and butterscotch as a flavour combination. I wasn’t sure to begin with but it really worked. After a couple of ice-cream experiments it was time to try a cake, and oh boy! It must be one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Definitely in the top five, at least…

While raspberries aren’t a very autumnal fruit, there are some in the shops still, and you could always use frozen berries.

Butterscotch is basically caramel made with brown instead of white sugar. If you feel confident making your own caramel then do, but remember it’s harder to tell when it’s ready because it’s brown already. You can make an educated guess, or use a sugar thermometer. Otherwise, buy a jar of butterscotch sauce.

Raspberry and Butterscotch Cake serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 180g soft butter
  • 120g brown sugar
  • 90g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 240g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp each of baking powder and bicarbonate of soda
  • 140ml buttermilk
  • 100g raspberries

For the butterscotch sauce:

  • 100g brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 30g butter
  • 150ml double cream
  • (Or a jar from the shop)

For the filling:

  • 1/2 jar of good quality raspberry jam
  • 90g butter
  • 180g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp butterscotch sauce

Method:

Grease and line two round sandwich cake tins. Preheat the oven to 180c/160 fan/gas mark 3

1. Beat together the butter, brown, and golden sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

2. Sieve the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl and mix well. Beat in the butter milk and raspberries, it doesn’t matter if the raspberries break into small pieces.

3. Divide the mixture between the cake tins and bake for around 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 15 minutes, then remove from the tins and finish cooling on a wire rack.

4. In the meantime, make the butterscotch sauce. Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until dissolved.

5. Turn up the heat to medium. DO NOT STIR AFTER THIS POINT. Allow the butterscotch to come to the boil, and let it simmer for 2 minutes until it becomes caramel (it may take slightly more or less time than this, I’m afraid you’ll just have to use your judgement).

6. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the butter and cream. Leave to cool, stirring occasionally.

7. Make the buttercream. It’s easiest to do this with an electric whisk or small hand blender, if you have one. Sieve the icing sugar to remove lumps. Add the butter and butterscotch sauce and blend till smooth.

8. Assemble the cake. Spread the top of one of the cakes with raspberry jam. Spread the underside of the other cake with the buttercream, and sandwich them together.

9. Liberally spread the top of the cake with butterscotch sauce.

10. Enjoy!

A Walk in the Black Forest

Do you remember a couple of years ago, I made a post about what a marvellous bit of kit a deep sided tray bake/roasting tin was? I hope you were paying attention because we’re about to put it to use!

I was doing a bit of research, on Black Forest gateau and nostalgia, and was rather surprised. Apparently it was the desert beloved of ’90s kids’. Well, I thought it was the party dessert beloved of 80s kids; and I daresay 70s kids might have something to say about that! We all have fond memories of a frozen gateau of some kind being whipped out on special occasions.

Schwarzwalder kirsch torte was invented in the first part of the 20th century and named after the alcohol, not the mountain range. Personally, I’ve never understood why it has such a devoted following. But, I’ve never tasted the real thing, and have never been keen on frozen gateaux with soggy crumbs and mushy fruit.

First of all I wanted to have a go at making the real thing, but it seemed a bit of a faff, lots of steps and advanced techniques ( I can do it, I just don’t want to); so, instead here’s a homage to Black Forest gateau that anyone with a roasting tin and a whisk can make in a matter of minutes. You can use cherries in syrup, tinned cherries or even cherry pie filling if that’s all you can get. The cherry liqueur is optional, but does improve the flavour.

Black Forest Pudding serves at least 6

For the chocolate muffin base:

  • 250g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp of cocoa powder (I like Green & Black’s)
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 8 floz buttermilk (or milk, or natural yoghurt)
  • 3 floz vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp cherry liqueur (if you can’t get any, use juice or syrup from the cherries)

For the sauce and toppings:

  • A jar of cherries in kirsch syrup (or alternative)
  • A bar of dark chocolate
  • A jar of cherry conserve or jam
  • 200ml double/whipping/heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • Cherry liqueur (optional)

Method:

Grease and line your tin. A deep sided tray or roasting tin about 30cm x 20cm will do nicely. Or a square casserole dish, or cake tin, would be fine.

1. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt and cocoa powder, into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar.

2. In a separate, smaller bowl, beat together the egg, oil, buttermilk, and liqueur.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir, NOT beat, with a fork until only just combined. Muffin batter does not need to be smooth and aerated like sponge cake batter.

4. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 180c/160 fan/gas mark 4. It will be firm to the touch, and a knife poked in the middle will come out clean.

5. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then finish cooling on a wire rack.

While it cools down, whip the cream and icing sugar until it’s nice and thick. Chill in the fridge.

6. When the cake has cooled down cut it into chunks. I cut mine into 35 chunks, there’s plenty left to nibble on.

7. Set out your serving dishes. Put a tbsp of syrup/juice/liqueur in the bottom of each dish. Add a heaped teaspoon of cherry conserve to each one and mix well.

8. Using 3 or 4 chunks of cake per person, depending on size and appetite, dip the cut edges in the syrupy jam, and pile into the dish.

9. Top with a generous blob of cream, some grated or chopped chocolate, and some cherries from the jar.

Ice-Cream By Hand

I’m lucky enough to have a super-duper, self freezing ice-cream maker. It’s ace, best kitchen gadget ever, even plays a tune when it’s finished. It took a lot of saving up for though. There are other, less expensive, machines out there, usually the type where you have to put the bowl in the freezer overnight. I used to have one of those, it was fine, but you had to take out one of the freezer drawers to get the bowl in, which was a nuisance.

The good news is, it’s perfectly possible to make ice-cream without anything more complicated than a plastic tub and a fork. Simply follow this incredibly informative infographic:

Please bear in mind that while this method works it will not give you the same results a machine would. The ice crystals will be larger, so the ice-cream will have a grainier texture, with bits of ice in it. It will also set a lot harder, so give it time to soften before serving, or you’ll end up bending the spoon!

The first patent for an ice-cream maker was granted to Nancy Johnson, of Philadelpia, in 1843.

Crumbles

When Buttered Crumbs left home at the tender age of 17, the first recipe I had to call home and ask Old Mother Crumb for was apple crumble.

There’s nothing like a good crumble to invoke feelings of nostalgia, home and comfort. Even better, it’s hard to make a bad crumble (though it does happen) because they’re so wonderfully easy, no fancy equipment or special ingredients required. In fact, it really gets on my nerves when food writers try to add “cheffy” touches to a pudding whose best feature is it’s humbleness.

It’s easy to give in to the “curse of knowledge” and assume that somehow everyone instinctivly knows how to make something so simple. But, of course, they don’t. We all have to start somewhere. Does the world need another crumble recipe? Probably not, but I’m going to give you the benefit of my (quickly counts on fingers) twenty-six years of crumble-making, recipe-tweaking experience; and give you the recipe for the best crumble I, at least, have ever tasted.

It might seem strange and a lot of bother to use a mixture of butter and margarine, but you get a crispier crumble that still has plenty of flavour. All butter can give you a dry crumble that tastes too rich, all margarine and it lacks flavour and sets quite hard. Obviously you can use one or the other if you prefer.

Quinces are quite hard to find these days. Check your local farmers market, ethnic supermarket (they’re much more popular in Eastern Europe), or maybe someone you know has a tree in their garden. You could replace the quince with a large pear if you like.

Apple and Quince Crumble Serves 4-6

  • 3 cooking apples
  • 1 quince (or a large pear)
  • 90g golden granulated sugar
  • 150g (5oz) plain flour
  • 30g (1oz) rolled oats
  • 45g butter
  • 45g margarine (you can use 90g of butter or 90g of marg if you need to)
  • 2tbsp sugar

You’ll also need a casserole dish that holds at least 1lt. Mine measures 25x15x6cm.

Method:

Peel, core and slice the apples. Slice them fairly thin so they cook at the same rate as the crumble, too thick and they might still be hard when the topping is cooked.

Cover the base of the casserole dish with half of the sliced apple. Sprinkle one third of the sugar over the fruit.

Thinly slice the quince (or pear) and layer it over the apple. Sprinkle another third of the sugar over the fruit.

Finish with another layer of apple and the rest of the sugar. Set aside while you make the crumble topping.

To make the crumble:

Combine the flour, oats and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and margarine.

Rub the fat into the flour with your fingertips, until it resembles bread crumbs. Seriously. If you can’t imagine what that looks like, see the picture below.

Spread the crumble mix over the fruit. Bake in the oven at 180/160 fan/gas mark 3, for 40 minutes to an hour. The crumble should be golden brown, and you will be able to see the soft fruit bubbling around the edges.

You can serve straight away, but it will be VERY HOT! It’s better to let it cool for 15 mins, or while you make the custard. This amount of crumble will need a pint (600ml) of custard.

It’s generally accepted that crumbles were invented during WW2, when rationing made it difficult get enough ingredients to make a traditional pie.

Ice-cream of the Month – Chocolate Oaty Biscuit

The idea for this ice-cream came to me all of a sudden, when trying to think of biscuits, ice-cream and dairy free foods all at the same time. Something like –

Dairy alternatives-oat milk-oats-Hobnobs-icecream…Eureka!

I’m not sure if I can call it Hobnob flavour, because it doesn’t have the actual biscuits in it (and copyright); but it does take the individual elements and make them into a glorious whole.

Normally¬† I would be extremely sceptical of non-dairy ice-cream, but honestly, this was amazing! If you want to go gluten free, then just use gluten free oats. It you don’t need to be dairy free and can’t get one of the ingredients, then just use regular milk or cream. I guess if you wanted to go vegan you could thicken the custard with cornflour, but the finished product wouldn’t quite have the right taste or texture.

Chocolate Oaty Biscuit Ice-cream

Ingredients:

  • 400ml oat “milk” (I used Innocent brand)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 1tsp cornflour
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 70g golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200ml tub of oat “cream” ( I used Oatly creme fraiche)

For the oat crumble:

  • 100g rolled oats
  • 100g golden syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 40g dark chocolate

Method:

In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour.

Heat the oat milk in a saucepan till almost boiling, then pour over the egg yolks, beating well the whole time.

Turn the heat down. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Stir over a moderate heat with a spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture starts to thicken. Don’t cook for too long or it will curdle.

Remove from heat and stir in the salt, syrup and vanilla. Put the oat cream in a jug and pour the custard in, beating with a fork to combine. Put aside to cool, then chill in the fridge.

To make the oat crumble:

Toast the oats in a large frying pan. This will take around 3 minutes. You want the oats to have a nice nutty, toasty smell but not to be significantly browned.

Remove from heat and stir in the salt and syrup. Return to the heat, stirring quickly, for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and tip the oats onto an oiled baking tray to cool down.

When cool, break into small pieces. Chop the chocolate into small pieces, mix with the oat chunks, and put in the fridge to chill.

When everything is chilled, follow your ice-cream machines instructions, remembering to add two thirds of the oat/chocolate mixture when prompted. Keep the remaining oat crumble to use as a topping.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can put the chilled custard in a tupperware container in the freezer. Every hour, break up the ice crystals with a fork or whisk. When it is almost completely frozen, mix in 2/3 of the oat crumble and leave in the freezer to set.

To serve, remove from freezer and allow to soften for 5-10 minutes before scooping, as it sets quite firmly.

Small Comforts

It’s been a tough year, huh?

In a world of uncertainty, sadness, and chaos, we need small comforts more than ever. Crafts, hobbies, and cooking help to keep us grounded and occupy uncomfortably long and empty hours.

This October, Buttered Crumbs will be bringing you a month of warm, cosy, autumnal escapism. Expect sugar and spice and all things nice; revisiting old favourites, trying new twists, and rediscovering forgotten treats from the past.

So pop the kettle on, wrap yourself in a blanket, and we’ll begin…

Remember Buttered Crumbs is also available in Twitter and Instagram flavours. It would be lovely to hear about your favourite autumn and/or comfort foods, so don’t forget to comment!