This is the cake I made to take with me to feed the people who came along to listen to me talk about the difference that fresh milling your flour can make to your bread and cakes at Ludlow Food Festival a couple of weeks ago. I took my KOMO table top mill with me along with a selection of grains grown organically at Green Acres Farm just up the road from me in Shifnal, Shropshire and some that you can buy from Bakerybits. It is getting easier to buy grain from a farmer not too far away from you, so if you fancy buying a flour mill there are more and more options for sourcing a wide variety of grain. Take a look at UK Grain Lab’s page for a list of farmers that want to sell direct to you.
You don’t need to mill your flour just before using it though. I have used spelt grain this time but it works well with any wheat grain that you have and it will also work great with any wholemeal flour that you can get your hands on. Spelt is a lovely flour to bake with and I have been using it in place of plain flour in recipes for a few years now. You can get Doves Farm wholemeal spelt from most supermarkets these days. There are also lots of opportunities to buy it online.
If you want to learn more about freshly milling your flour you can read about it here on my Veg Patch Kitchen page or come along to one of my classes.
This cake is beautifully light and gorgeously lemony.
225g soft unsalted butter, 225g caster sugar Zest of 1 lemon 4 eggs, 225g spelt or plain wholemeal flour 1 tsp baking powder
For the drizzle: Zest of 1 lemon Juice of 2 lemons 85g caster sugar
Method Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 6, or use the baking oven of the 4 oven Aga. Grease or line a 2lb loaf tin.
Place the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and whisk until fluffy and light. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well between each addition. Sieve the flour and the baking powder over the mixture, making sure you add any bran left in the sieve. Use a large spoon to carefully fold the flour into the mixture.
Place the batter into the tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 45-60 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Whilst the cake is cooking mix the ingredients for the drizzle together. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven make holes all over the cake and spoon the drizzle mixture all over. Leave in the tin for ten minutes and then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
We are off to a friend’s straight after school tonight so I have made these brownies to take with us for a treat. I have also asked one of the students attending Sunday’s bread making course for cake requests and brownies are at the top of her cake list. It made sense then, to trial these and cook again on Saturday, ready for Sunday.
They are an adaptation of Ruby Tandoh’s excellent Salted Milk Chocolate Brownies from The Guardian Cook section published on 7 February this year. I can’t resist fiddling with recipes so I have added peanut butter, used dark chocolate instead of milk and used half and half of caster sugar and soft dark brown sugar. I have also swapped the plain flour with wholemeal spelt.
When I made Ruby’s brownies the first time, (with just a few changes), it became quite clear that by sprinkling sea salt on the top of these beauties just makes them even more tempting and addictive.
If you have a fancy for a gooey, deeply chocolatey, salty and nutty cake (and who wouldn’t?) get your teeth wrapped around one (or two, or three) of these.
Makes 9 brownies
175g unsalted butter
150g dark chocolate
50g cocoa powder
100g caster sugar
100g soft dark brown sugar
50g wholemeal spelt flour
¼ tsp fine salt
About 100g crunchy peanut butter
Sea salt flakes
Melt the chocolate and the butter together in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir in the cocoa powder. Leave to cool slightly.
Whisk the sugars with the eggs in a large bowl until the mixture is thick and doubled in volume.
Pour the chocolate mixture onto the egg mixture and fold carefully together until well mixed. Add the flour and the salt and fold in. Pour the batter into a foil lined 20cm square cake tin. Drop blobs of peanut butter into the batter and swirl with a skewer. Sprinkle the sea salt flakes over the top.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 for 25-30 minutes or in the Aga’s baking oven with the rack set on the bottom rung for 20 minutes until the brownie is crusted on top but still has a bit of a wobble. It should be undercooked so that when it cools it is fudge and dense in texture with a crust.
As we were shopping yesterday I spotted how reasonably priced a large punnet of blueberries was and couldn’t resist. I had some on my yoghurt for my first breakfast (this usually takes place at about 6 it, it was a bit later this morning) and then on some porridge for my second breakfast (usually about 9.30-10ish). I know I am greedy. I felt the need, this afternoon, to make muffins with them. I have made 24 small muffins and I will freeze most of them and pull out a couple each day to put into the girls’ lunchbox. They will either eat them or they won’t. I will find out when it comes to emptying their lunch box. Be assured though that just because my girls may leave them languishing in their lunch box doesn’t mean that they aren’t delicious, because they are.
As I was about to search for recipes I noticed that Choclette has made some very delicious blueberry and lemon cupcakes with an outrageously purple icing, which you must take a look at.
These muffins are ones that even I can eat without feeling guilty, as they are made with spelt flour. This new diet that I have undertaken has really pointed out to me how rubbish I am at excluding foods in my diet. I have been quite strict about not eating bread for the past two weeks, so that I cut down my consumption of wheat. Then this morning we popped into a café and I found myself eating a scone. Honestly, I am rubbish. I found this my being rubbish at food exclusion out when I was pregnant. At the time pregnant women were advised to not eat peanuts. I thought I had done a really good job of this until I thought about all the bowls of Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes and Snickers bars I had eaten. Honestly, I am rubbish!
So here is the recipe for the muffins that the girls will be eating (or not) for their lunches.
150g white spelt flour
70g wholemeal spelt flour
120g soft brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
220g melted butter
3 eggs, beaten
100ml greek yoghurt
2 tablespoons of demerara sugar and 1 tsp ground cinnamon mixed together
Mix the flours, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl. until thoroughly mixed.
In another large bowl mix together the eggs, melted butter and yogurt until well mixed. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and give a quick mix. Don’t be overzealous in the mixing, just enough to combine the ingredients. This will keep the muffins light. Add the blueberries and stir in gently.
Blob spoonfuls of the mixture into 24 cupcake cases or 12 muffin cases, sprinkle each one with a little of the demerara sugar mixture and bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or the middle of the Aga’s baking oven for 15 minutes. Leave in the tin for a minute or two, then cool completely on wire racks.
My four year old and I have just made these. A very good friday afternoon treat. They are chewy and distinctly almondy and definitely chocolatey. I think next time I make them I might add a few drops of almond extract instead of the vanilla extract to really draw out the almond taste.
Makes about 10-12, depending on how generous you are with the spoonfuls.
40g good quality chocolate, melted, to drizzle over the top
Melt the butter in a small pan. Place the sugars in a bowl. Pour the melted butter over the sugars and mix well. Add the egg and the vanilla extract and mix again. Tip in the flour, almonds, cocoa and baking powder and mix again. It will be quite sloppy. Place spoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. These cookies spread a lot so leave plenty of space between them. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 for 8-10 minutes. Leave on the tin for a few minutes to harden and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle with the melted chocolate.
Quite a lot has been happening in this household lately and I felt in need of some serious comfort and restorative baking. These biscuits are an adaptation of my chocolate, oat and almond cookies that I posted some time ago. This time spelt flour comes into play and gives the biscuit a delicious crumb.
My eldest is now off from school for the summer and so we baked these together, the three of us, piled up at the worktop. I was very happy indeed when she shouted “Yippee, this is fun, and I am not at school this time”. A reference, I have no doubt, to the fact that since she started school she usually comes home to something that her younger sister and I have baked together, but the three of us haven’t had much time in the kitchen together lately.
Making these biscuits went a little way to righting that wrong.
Makes about 12 large biscuits.
100g softened butter
100g soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g plain flour
50g spelt flour
50g ground almonds
25g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
100g good quality dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
Preheat the oven to 180°c, gas mark 4, or use the baking oven of a three or four oven Aga.
Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy and light. Add the egg and the vanilla extract and beat well. With a large metal spoon stir in the flours, baking powder, almonds and cocoa powder.
Place heaped dessertspoonfuls of the mixture onto lightly greased baking sheets and cook in the centre of the oven for 12-14 minutes. Take out of the oven and leave to cool for a minute or two before lifting onto a wire tray. They are delicious eaten still warm from the oven but they taste good the next day too, should you have any left.
I love to cook. I spend a lot of my time baking and cooking, or thinking about baking and cooking. I use this little corner of the internet to share my recipes. I hope that they inspire you to cook one or two of them. I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment or visit my Contact Page to drop me an email. Kath
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