Tag Archives: cake

Carrot cake with dates and pecans

12 Jul

Carrot cake with dates and pecans (photograph by Tasha Seccombe)

Somehow I always feel a bit less guilty when indulging in carrot cake instead of chocolate cake, or any other cake for that matter. The carrots, raisins, dates and pecan nuts surely are very good for my health, I’d tell myself. And also, cream cheese icing must be full of calcium and general “dairy goodness”. Well, I suppose the happiness that a slice of carrot cake brings, far exceeds the kilojoules. 😉

So here is my recipe for a delicious, chunky, nutty, moist carrot cake, filled with the fruity goodness of raisins and dates. I top it with a rich cream cheese icing – almost the same that I use for my lemon and poppy seed cake – so versatile and utterly scrumptious.

This cake is even better on the second and third day, as it absorbs some of the wetness of the icing over time. Serve on it’s own, or with a dollop of freshly whipped cream (my Mother’s indulgent way).

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 375 ml (315 g) caster sugar
  • 250 ml vegetable oil
  • 500 ml (280 g) cake flour
  • 10 ml (2 t) baking powder
  • 2,5 ml (1/2 t) salt
  • 5 ml (1 t) fine cinnamon
  • 5 ml (1 t) fine ginger
  • 2,5 ml (1/2 t) fine nutmeg
  • 2,5 ml baking soda
  • 750 ml (375) grated carrot
  • 125 ml seedless raisins
  • 50 g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
  • 125 ml finely chopped dried dates  (about 10-12 dried dates)

Ingredients for cream cheese icing:

  • 230 g cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 100 g butter (at room temperature)
  • 500 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • 50 g pecan nuts, chopped (to garnish on top)

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add oil and mix well.
  4. Sift dry ingredients together, then fold into wet mixture with a metal spoon.
  5. Now fold in raisins, dates, pecans and carrots.
  6. Pour batter into 2 x 20 cm lined cake tins, then bake for 35-40 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven, then let it stand in the tins for about 15 minutes before turning out. Cool completely before icing.
  8. For icing: beat cream cheese and butter together until very light and creamy – about 10 minutes. Add icing sugar and vanilla and beat for a further 2 minutes until smooth and lump free. Spread on first layer, top with second layer, then ice the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with chopped pecan nuts.

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius & Tasha Seccombe.

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Glazed lemon and coconut loaf

11 May

Zesty lemon & coconut loaf with a lemon glaze

My second Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday – our beautiful daughter is 1 and a half years old. My husband will be returning from Johannesburg on Sunday morning and we have decided to spend the day at home, treating the three of us to the most delicious tea-time, lunch and dinner treats. For morning tea we will be having this fabulous zesty lemon & coconut loaf, topped with a sharp, sweet lemon glaze. It is light and fluffy, yet moist, and is perfect with a comforting cup of rooibos tea. I used Sasko Quick Treats Vanilla Flavoured Muffin Mix as a basis for the loaf – it takes all of the effort out of baking!

The rest of our menu is already planned: it involves proper Greek Lamb Moussaka for lunch, cheddar scones with clotted cream and raspberry jam for afternoon tea, and spinach & feta soup for dinner. I can’t wait to treat the 2 most special people in my life…

Ingredients for loaf:

  • 1 x packet Sasko Quick Treats Vanilla Flavoured Muffin Mix
  • 140 ml vegetable oil
  • 120 ml milk
  • 2 XL eggs
  • grated rinds of 2 large lemons
  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Ingredients for glaze:

  • 60 ml icing sugar
  • 1 and a half teaspoon lemon juice

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix oil, milk and eggs well using a whisk or electric beaters. Add muffin mix and whisk for 1 minute.
  3. Add lemon rinds, coconut and lemon juice, then fold in with a metal spoon. Pour batter into a greased loaf tin (+- 20 x 10 x 7 cm) and bake for 50-60 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  4. Turn out on a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  5. Make glaze: mix icing sugar and lemon juice together, then drizzle on cooled loaf. Serve at room temperature with tea.
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Donna Hay’s chocolate buttermilk layer cake

9 May

Donna Hay’s chocolate buttermilk layer cake (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

The food team at The Pretty Blog have recently started talking about sharing our ultimate classic recipes, starting with 3 of the best chocolate cakes. That means not only me, but also Nicola (the editor) and Tasha (the photographer) have baked their favourite chocolate cakes! All 3 cakes were DELICIOUS, really moist, and really luxurious. Check out Nicola and Tasha’s recipes here.

Donna Hay’s chocolate buttermilk layer cake:

The reason that I love this cake so much, is that it is really moist and dense – the recipe does not include any baking powder, but rather buttermilk and a small amount of baking soda. It delivers big time on the wow factor as well! I double the recipe for maximum height and effect, and it’s always a hit. The chocolate cream cheese icing is also ultra smooth and almost tastes like a rich chocolate mousse.

Ingredients: (makes one medium sized cake with 2 layers, but I double the recipe to make one large cake with 4 layers, baking it in 2 batches)

1 cup (250 ml) water

125 g butter, cubed

1/3 cup (35 g) cocoa powder, sifted

2 cups (300 g) flour, sifted

1 t (5 ml) baking soda, sifted (bicarbonate of soda)

2 cups (440 g) caster sugar

2 eggs

½ cup (125 ml) buttermilk

1 t (5 ml) vanilla essence/extract

For the frosting: (Donna uses 500 g cream cheese, but I found that 250 g is sufficient)

100 g butter, softened

250 g cream cheese at room temperature

2 cups icing sugar, sifted

½ cup (50 g) cocoa powder, sifted

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 C.
  2. Place water, butter and cocoa in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until butter has melted. Remove from heat.
  3. Place flour, baking soda and sugar in a bowl, add the cocoa mixture and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and whisk to combine. Divide mixture between 2 greased and lined 20 cm round cake tins, then bake for 40-45 min or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
  5. Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out on wire racks to cool completely.
  6. For the frosting: place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 6-8 minutes until pale and creamy. Add the icing sugar and cocoa and beat for a further 6-8 minutes until light and fluffy.
  7. To assemble, slice off the round tops of each cake layer to produce 2 smooth, flat layers (I use a long blade sharp knife). Place one layer on a plate, spread with frosting, then put remaining half on top and cover with frosting.

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Pictures: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe.

Nicola, Ilse and Tasha’s ultimate chocolate cakes (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

 

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Raspberry macaroon cake

7 May

Raspberry macaroon cakes, big and small, topped with cream and fresh raspberries

This is a fantastic recipe: it’s a vanilla sponge cake/Hertzoggie/macaroon/pavlova – all in one! The vanilla sponge base is covered with sticky raspberry jam, topped with an almond flavoured coconut macaroon-layer and served with whipped cream and fresh raspberries. I’ll be making it live on Expresso on Tuesday morning around 06h45, so tune in to watch how easy it is to make. I used Sasko’s Quick Treats Vanilla Flavoured Muffin Mix as a basis for the cake.

I baked it in a Le Creuset heart-shaped stoneware casserole, because the dish is such a great Mother’s Day gift. You can give your Mom a beautiful cake, baked inside her new present! Yuppiechef will be giving away this fantastic casserole to one lucky viewer tomorrow morning.

Ingredients: (makes 2 medium-sized cakes, or about 12-18 muffin-sized cakes)

  • 1 x 500g Sasko Quick Treats Vanilla Flavoured Muffin Mix
  • 140ml vegetable oil
  • 120ml milk
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 170g (1/2 cup) raspberry jam (I used Melissa’s Raspberry Jam)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut
  • 1/2 tsp almond essence

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Beat the oil, milk and egg together with electric beaters in a mixing bowl, then add the muffin mixture and beat on low-speed for 1 minute.
  3. Divide batter between 2 greased 20cm round baking dishes/cake tins, or spoon into 12-18 muffin molds, and spread the batter with raspberry jam (or make one medium cake and 6-8 small muffin-sized cakes).
  4. Place egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and whisk until thick and glossy.
  5. Fold in the coconut and almond essence with a metal spoon. Spoon it over the jam.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes (small cakes) or 35-40 minutes (medium cakes) until the meringue on top is turning slightly brown and the cake is cooked through. Tip: place medium and larger cakes on the oven rack below the middle to prevent the top from turning too dark before the cake is done.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before carefully turning out smaller cakes onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Medium and larger cakes to be served straight from the baking dish.

Important tip: For this specific recipe, do not bake the whole cake mixture in one deep dish, the cake will still be raw when the meringue mixture is done. Rather use several smaller baking dishes, and use only a thin layer of cake batter per dish.

Recipe by Katelyn Williams, Creative Director at Expresso Breakfast Show, SABC3.

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Lemon poppy seed cake

11 Apr

Lemon poppy seed cake (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

A lovely long Easter weekend has just gone by. To most of us, that meant eating lots of easter eggs, hot cross buns, proper Sunday roasts and other special treats.

When I was still at school, one of my best friends’ Mom would stock up their pantry with the most amazing array of sweets and chocolates for Easter. My friend would call it a “gold mine”, when the pantry was stocked like that. But sometimes, the pantry was really impressively stocked. I mean really stocked. Filled to the brim with all the chocolate you could imagine, all kinds of easter eggs and bunnies, loads of different chocolates, sweets and candies, savoury snacks, chips – you name it. She would then call it an “oil mine”. We would sleep over at her house and raid the pantry to our heart’s content. Those were the days!

I rarely buy easter eggs anymore, I prefer home-baked grown-up treats like this lemon and poppy seed cake. It is soaked in a lemon & sugar syrup, then covered with rich cream cheese frosting – a truly decadent and deliciously moist cake. The recipe comes from my trusted “Huisgenoot Top 500 Wenresepte” – an absolute classic. I use my own version of cream cheese frosting, the same that I use for icing carrot cakes.

Ingredients for cake:

  • 250 g butter
  • 350 ml caster sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
  • 450 ml cake flour
  • 10 ml (2 t ) baking powder
  • 2 ml (1/2 t) salt
  • 60 ml (4 T) water
  • 45 ml (3 T) lemon juice
  • 80 ml (1/2 cup) poppy seeds

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Grease a 24 cm ring pan very well (line sides with baking paper if you can).
  2. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Then add lemon rind and beat.
  3. Sift flour and baking powder, then mix water and lemon juice. Now fold in half the dry ingredients, then half the wet ingredients. Repeat with other half of dry and wet until all ingredients are well incorporated. Add poppy seeds and mix well.
  4. Pour in the prepared cake pan and bake 40-45 min or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Ingredients for syrup:

  • 250 ml (1 cup) sugar
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) water
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) lemon juice

Method:

Heat sugar, water and lemon juice until sugar has dissolved, then bring to a boil. Pour over hot cake as soon as it comes from the oven, then let it cool completely in the pan (I leave it overnight).

Ingredients for cream cheese frosting:

  • 175 g plain cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 100 g butter, at room temperature
  • 250 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 5 ml (1 t) vanilla essence

Method:

With electric beaters, beat cream cheese and butter well untill light and fluffy. Now add icing sugar and vanilla and beat untill smooth and creamy. Carefully turn out cooled cake on a platter, cover with icing and sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Pictures: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe.

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Chocolate pumpkin cake

18 Jan

Pumpkin cake topped with a smooth and glossy chocolate icing

Tomorrow morning I will be making my cooking début on live television, whooohoooooo! The lovely people from SABC3 Expresso Breakfast Show and Sasko have invited me to be a regular guest throughout 2012, and I cannot wait to embark on this fantastic new adventure.

I will be cooking a chocolate pumpkin cake from Sasko’s inventive recipe book – an amazingly user-friendly book complete with step-by-step photographs. That makes following the recipe really easy!

Most people haven’t heard of a pumpkin cake before. Don’t worry, me neither! However, I am a huge fan of pumpkin pie and of course the ultimate little pumpkin fritter covered in cinnamon sugar. See the pumpkin cake as the decadent twin of the pumpkin pie: a dense, moist, buttery cake resembling a baked custard crossed with a malva pudding. And to top it all off, it is covered with a rich and smooth chocolate icing. A daringly delicious end result, if I may say so myself.

This cake is moist, dense and deliciously buttery.

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 250 g soft butter/margarine
  • 250 ml castor sugar (200 g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 30 ml apricot jam
  • 500 ml cooked pumpkin, mashed (500 g)
  • 5 ml vanilla essence
  • 125 ml milk
  • 500 ml Sasko Self-Raising Flour (250 g)
  • 5 ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 60 ml custard powder

Ingredients for the icing:

  • 80 g soft butter/margarine
  • 60 ml hot water
  • 500 ml icing sugar (250 g)
  • 60 ml cocoa powder

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Lightly grease and line a 23 cm round cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric beater.
  2. Beat in the eggs, jam, mashed pumpkin, vanilla, and milk.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients together and fold into the pumpkin mixture.
  4. Spoon mixture into the prepared tin and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 55-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. For the icing, sift icing sugar and cocoa together, then mix well with butter and water in a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, untill smooth and glossy.
  7. Spread icing evenly over cake and decorate.

For a truly decadent way of serving this cake, try sprinkling it with chopped nuts (like peanuts or walnuts), and serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream – the German way!

Tip: To make icing with the consistency of a chocolate ganache, like I did in the photograph, I used recently boiled water instead of warm water. Pour/drizzle over cake and decorate.

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Banana and orange yoghurt cake

22 Jul

My almost-disastrous cake that turned out to be heavenly!

The past week hasn’t been my best. It started with my 8 month old daughter falling face first down 3 steps, minutes before I had to drop her with my Mom and leave on a plain to Bloemfontein for a 3 day business trip. It was the first time that I had to leave her for a whole night or more with someone else, and I’ve been preparing myself mentally for that. But I didn’t expect it to begin with a traumatic faceplant! It was just horrible sitting in Bloemfontein, knowing that she needed my familiar face to comfort her. Still, I knew she was in excellent hands, so I just had to wait it out. […]

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Red Velvet Cupcakes: following the craze…

28 Mar

The food world have been crazy about cupcakes for the last few years. There are just so many cupcakes around these days, my eyes hurt. In fact, I’ve been bombarded by cupcake pictures and recipes to such a degree, that I’ve decided to steer clear of it and rather make something else, like a big cake. Or scones. Or any other baked stuff that doesn’t include dainty frilly pearly adorned little round cupcakes. They just seem so girly, and that is one quality that I am not.

That was untill my good friend Suné Rupping brought me a box full of her own red velvet cupcakes. They were freshly baked and perfect. I tried one, and proceeded to finish the whole box that night. Needless to say, I was hooked. […]

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