Archive for Baking and Sweet Endings

Scandinavian Apple Cake

Check out this new recipe!  Deliciously comforting apple cake…great with coffee or tea and also as a dessert with, perhaps a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream!  Or if you are really wanting to live dangerously…for breakfast!  For the recipe click the “Recipes” tab at the top of the page.  And as they say on The Great British Bake Off“BAKE”

Scandinavian Apple Cake

Both my hubby and I are of Scandinavian descent, which puts this cake most definitely in our lane!

Makes one 9” Round Cake

3 – 4 medium-size apples
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 cups sifted unbleached flour
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup sour cream

To Finish the Cake:

¼ cup apple jelly, melted
2 Tbsp. toasted sliced almonds

Either coat a 9” springform pan with baking spray or butter the pan & set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350F

Sift flour again with baking powder & salt onto wax paper.

Peel apples; remove cores & cut into 6 wedges; place apple wedges in a large bowl.

Combine butter, sugar, eggs & vanilla in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with electric mixer at medium-high speed, scraping bowl often, for 3 – 5 minutes or until very light & fluffy.

Stir in half the flour mixture along with the sour cream. Add remaining flour, mixing well until batter is smooth; pour into prepared pan. Toss apples with 2 Tbsp. sugar & the cinnamon. Arrange apple wedges on top of cake batter, pushing pieces partly into batter.

Bake for 1 hour & 15 minutes, checking after 60 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen cake around edge with knife; release spring & carefully life off side of pan.

Brush top of cake with melted apple jelly; sprinkle with nuts. Serve warm or cold.

Apple Nut Muffins

Come the fall this is a “must” in my muffin repertoire! It was such a popular muffin at the many coffee-breakfasts I catered in the olden days! If you have apple butter on hand it would be a very nice spread on a muffin.

Makes 10-12 Medium Size Muffins

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Spray the muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray or line with muffin liners.

Topping: (Note: you will probably have more than enough for the muffins, so store in the fridge or freeze for another batch of muffins).

½ cup sugar
¼ cup chopped toasted walnuts
¼ tsp. ground allspiceDSC_5523 nx2
¼ tsp. ground cardamom

For the Muffins:

2 cups unbleached flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. ground allspice
½ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups peeled, grated Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/2 large)
½ cup toasted walnuts

Combine the topping ingredients & set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, remaining 2/3 cups of sugar, ¾ tsp. allspice & ½ tsp. cardamom in large bowl.

Whisk eggs, sour cream & butter in a medium bowl to blend. Mix in the apple; fold into the flour mixture; add the remaining ½ cup nuts.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups (I like to use an ice cream scoop); sprinkle topping over the tops of the muffins & bake until tester inserted into the centre of the muffin in the middle of the pan comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Let muffins cool for a couple of minutes, then remove to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Blueberry Lemon Loaf

It’s well known that I adore the combination of berries with lemon! Here is a lovely quick bread that’s easy to make and darned right delish!  The lemon glaze topping is addictive!

DSC_7905 nx2Makes 1 Loaf

For the Loaf:

1 ½ cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups of sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. grated lemon peel (a microplane does a great job)
½ cup milk (not low-fat)
1 ½ cups fresh blueberries, preferably fresh (thawed & drained frozen berries would also work)

Topping: 3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Butter a 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½” loaf pan or spray with non-stick baking spray.

Whisk together the first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter with 1 cup of sugar in a large bowl until mixture is light & fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition; add the lemon peel. Mix in dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning & ending with dry ingredients. Fold in blueberries; spoon batter into the prepared loaf pan. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown & a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, approximately 1 hour, 15 minutes. (I would check after 1 hour). When loaf tests done remove to a baking rack.

Meanwhile, bring remaining 1/3 cup sugar & lemon juice to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Pierce the top of the hot loaf all over with a toothpick; pour hot lemon mixture over loaf in pan. Cool 30 minutes in the pan on a rack. Turn bread out of the pan & cool completely on the rack.

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Blueberry Pie

Just picked up a box of fresh blueberries from  Gelderman’s Farms so it’s all blue this week! I always prefer to use glass pie plates as they give such a nice crisp crust!

Makes Enough For One 9” Pie

Prepared pie dough for a 2 crust pie; either your favourite crust or see below for the link to to mine!

DSC_7976 nx26 cups fresh blueberries
¾ cup sugar
3 Tbsp. Minit Quick Cooking tapioca
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Pinch of cinnamon
1½ Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into ¼” cubes

2 Tbsp. cream for glazing the pie
1 Tbsp. or two of sugar (opt.)

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Combine the sugar, tapioca & cinnamon in a large bowl; add the blueberries & lemon juice & fold together. Allow the mixture to stand while you roll out the pie dough.

Once you have lined the bottom of the pie plate with the rolled out crust, add the blueberry filling, place the top crust over, trim & crimp the edges to your liking, cut vents into the top of the pie to allow steam to escape during baking. Brush the crust with cream & sprinkle with sugar if desired.

Place the pie onto a baking sheet & bake for approximately 45 minutes, checking after 35 minutes. If the pie is browning too quickly, loosely lay a piece of foil over the pie and continue baking until the filling is bubbly and the crust is browned.

Place the pie on a baking rack to cool completely. Serve with ice cream if desired or a combination of lightly whipped cream & either sour cream or mascarpone!

For the recipe to my pie crust, click here.

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English Treacle Tart

Who knew? Whenever I would hear or read about this tart I would get all shivery thinking it would be unbearably sweet! One day, not long after returning from a trip to London, England, throwing caution to the wind, I decided to try & make one. It’s lovely! Nice & lemony & not overly sweet! The lattice top looks so beautiful & shiny & bakery shop like!

Pastry Ingredients:

9 oz. unbleached flour
4 ½ oz. cold butter, cut into cubes + extra for greasing pan
Approx. 3 Tbsp. ice water

Filling Ingredients:

14 oz. Lyle’s golden syrup
5 ½ oz. fine, freshly made white breadcrumbs + extra in case filling is too loose
2 lemons, zest & juice (1 – 2 Tbsp. rind & 4 – 6 Tbsp. juice)
Egg wash: 1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. cold water

Make The Pastry:

Measure the flour into the bowl of a food processor; add the cold butter & process, using on/off turns until it resembles fine breadcrumbs; add the ice water while the machine is running, just until the dough begins to clump. Add a bit more ice water if necessary. Remove from the processor; form into a fall then flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for approximately 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Put a heavy baking tray in the oven to heat up. Grease a deep 7” fluted loose-bottomed fluted flan tin with butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Remove about 6oz. of the pastry from the main ball & set aside for the lattice top. Roll the rest of the pastry out thinly on a lightly floured work surface & line the prepared flan tin with the pastry, pressing into the sides. . Prick the base & sides all over with a fork to stop the pastry rising up during baking. Place in the fridge. Place the reserved pastry for the lattice top on a piece of baking parchment & roll out thinly to approximately 8 ½”. Brush the pastry with egg wash & set aside to chill in the fridge (the parchment makes it easier to move the pastry around). Do not cut into strips at this time. Do not egg wash the strips once they are on the tart as it will drip into the treacle filling.

Make The Filling:

Heat the syrup gently in a large pan but do not boil. Once melted, add the breadcrumbs, lemon juice & lemon zest to the syrup. You can add less lemon if you would prefer a less citrus taste but I think the lemon sets off the filling beautifully & takes away an overly sweet taste. If the mixture looks too runny, add a few more breadcrumbs. It will not be a stiff mixture. Cool the mixture before pouring into the pastry lined tin & level the surface if necessary.

Place a baking tray in the hot oven.

Remove the reserved pastry from the fridge & cut into ½” long strips. Make sure they are all longer than the edges of the tart tin. Now brush egg wash on the edges only of the pastry shell & begin to make the woven lattice by laying a few strips one way on top of the tart, leaving the strips hanging over the edge of the tin. Folding back every other strip to the middle of the tart, begin laying down strips of pastry, under & over to create the lattice pattern. Once the lattice is in place, use the tin edge to cut off the excess strips by pressing down with your hands, creating a neat finish. Lattice does take a bit of time but the result looks wonderful. My Mom never made a rhubarb pie without a lattice top!

Place your treacle tart onto the pre-heated baking tray in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes until the pastry has started to colour; reduce the heat to 350 F. If at this stage the lattice seems to be getting too dark brown, lay a  piece of tin foil over the tart. Bake for a further 25 – 30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown & the filling is set. Remove the tart from the oven & leave on a baking rack to firm up. Serve warm or cold. I really like this served room temperature with clotted cream or a mixture of sour cream & whipped cream beaten together until it holds it shape but is not stiff.

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A Really Good Coffee Cake

I just made this coffee cake again, it’s my go to recipe. The sour cream gives the cake a nice crumb. Can hardly wait to make a cup of coffee and have a slice. It freezes very well too!

DSC_2614 nx2Cinnamon-Nut Topping (recipe below)

2 ¼ cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. each baking soda & salt
¾ cup butter (6 oz.) butter, room temperature
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream, room temperature

Cinnamon-Nut Topping

½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Spray a 9” tube pan with cooking spray. Or if you prefer, butter & flour the pan. Set aside.

Combine the nuts, cinnamon & brown sugar & set aside.

Sift flour & measure flour; sift again with baking powder, baking soda & salt. Cream butter & sugar well in an electric stand mixer or with a hand held electric mixer. The mixture will be light & fluffy & not grainy. This can take up to 5 minutes or more, depending on the softness of the butter. Add the eggs & vanilla, beating until light & fluffy. Add flour mixture in three portions alternating with the sour cream, combining after each addition. Put 1/3rd of the Cinnamon-Nut mixture in the baking pan. Spread half the batter on top. Using a dessert spoon, make a shallow well in the batter. Top with the remaining Cinnamon-Nut topping; spread the remaining batter over the cinnamon-nut topping. Bake the cake for 40 – 50 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer to see if it is baked. The skewer should come out clean & there should be no batter on the skewer. Remove cake from the oven & cool on a baking rack for 20 minutes. Loosen around edge of pan & tube; invert onto a baking rack. Let cool. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

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Cranberry White Chocolate Cake

This cake just screams Christmas season; chocolate, cranberries and orange. Perfect with a cup of coffee! And…you can make it ahead and tuck into the freezer.

DSC_5956 nx2Makes a 9” Tube or Bundt Cake

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
3 Tbsp. orange juice
1 Tbsp. grated orange rind (a micro-plane is an excellent tool for this)
2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
6 oz. good quality white chocolate, chopped into ¼” pieces


3 oz. good quality white chocolate
2 Tbsp. orange juice

Make The Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease & flour the cake pan (or use non-stick cooking spray).

Beat the butter & sugars on medium-low speed, with an electric mixer until fluffy; beat in the eggs, orange juice & rind. Beat in the flour & baking powder. Fold in the cranberries & chopped chocolate. Place the batter into the prepared pan & bake for 60 – 70 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes then turn onto a cooling rack. Cool to room temperature.

Make The Glaze:

Melt the white chocolate & orange juice over low heat or in a microwave on medium for approximately 1 ½ minutes. Whisk until smooth; allow the glaze to cool for 5 minutes or so, then drizzle over the cake.

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Dates Stuffed With Mascarpone And Walnuts

Makes 8 Servings

I am so fortunate to have neighbours who like to try things I make. I made these dates a couple of years ago when we got together for dinner over the Christmas holidays. WE LOVED THEM! I now make these special treats every December!  How can you go wront with mascarpone anyway?

12 or more shelled whole walnuts
½ cup mascarpone cheese
½ cup ricotta cheese, (I recommend Scardillo Italian Style Genuina, it is lovely, creamy & not grainy)
6 Tbsp. berry sugar
2 Tbsp. good brandy or grappa
24 Medjool dates

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the shelled walnuts onto a baking sheet & toast 8 -10 minutes. Cool.


Combine the mascarpone & ricotta cheese in a medium sized bowl with the sugar & brandy or grappa, using a hand-held mixer.

Divide each walnut in half along its seam.

Slit the dates vertically down one side with a sharp knife, without cutting through the other side. Remove the pit. Fill each date with a teaspoon or so of the mascarpone mixture (you can use a piping bag, it seems a little easier). Add a walnut half to each date & gently close them up a little. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

Buon appettito!


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Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Saturday mornings in late October and November means a trip to Nat Bailey Farmer’s Market in search of seasonal fruits and vegetables. The colours are awesome! With the backdrop of the Coast Mountains on occasion receiving a snowfall, it’s simply gorgeous!  I have always poached pears in white wine, but decided to change things up by poaching them in red wine.  The results…delicious on their own or with ice-cream or a dollop of mascarpone or clotted cream! I used Red Sensation pears but Bosc would work equally well and I used a Sangiovese red wine. Use a decent drinkable red for the best results.  The recipe can easily be divided in half for 4 servings…but the cold leftover pears are fantastic!

dsc_5814-nx2Makes 8 Servings

8 pears, Bosc are a good choice
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup sugar
½ cup honey
1 ½ cups red wine
1 vanilla bean or ½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 whole cloves
3 – 4 black peppercorns

Peel the pears, cut in half lengthwise, remove the cores (I recommend using a melon baller, works great), and trim any bits at the blossom end. You can keep the stems on if you like. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise & scrape out the seeds & place the pod & seeds into the pot along with the lemon juice, sugar, honey, red wine, cloves & peppercorns.

Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat; add the pears, lower the heat to simmer, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove lid, carefully turn the pears over, replace the lid, continue to simmer for approximately 5 more minutes or until the pears are just tender. Remove the pears to a shallow glass dish; bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium & simmer until slightly syrupy. Pour the mixture over the pears & cool. When room temperature, cover & chill for a minimum of 4 hours or until the next day. Serve 2 pear halves per person with some of the red wine syrup spooned over top.

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