Tag Archives: cakes

Very Sticky Brownies #baking #vegan

This recipe has been marked in the cookbook for ages as one to try, but I didn’t and I don’t know why! Perhaps it’s the name, it’s a recipe by Ella Mills which she calls ‘Raw Brownies’ which does not do them justice. Simple to make, no baking involved, and impossible to stop nibbling. They are very rich, so perhaps mark out portions slightly smaller than your usual brownies!

In the list of ingredients, the syrup is included as optional. However I found my mixture was crumbly so added 1½ tbsp of agave syrup until it became sticky. This probably depends on your dates, be sure to use dates from the fresh fruit section rather than the longlife dried version found in the baking aisle which are not sticky enough.

Makes 10-15 normal sized brownies
140g pecans
400g Medjool dates, pitted
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
2 tbsp maple syrup, honey or agave syrup [optional]

Place the nuts in your food processor and pulse until they become gritty.

Add the pitted dates, cacao and blend. Now decide if you want to add syrup, or need to add syrup if the mixture is a little crumbly. Pulse until the mixture sticks to the back of a spoon and gathers into a large ball.

Spread the mixture on a clean baking tray, no need to grease it first. Spread it out evenly, I found this quantity used less than half the space of the baking tray. Place the tray [above right] in the freezer for one hour. Remove the tray from the freezer [above], cut into bars, and place in an airtight plastic box. Store this in the fridge.

What I will do differently next time:
Add a few drops of vanilla essence
Substitute almonds for the pecans
Use maple syrup instead of agave syrup
Mark out the portions before the tray goes into the freezer

If you like this,try:-
Gluten-free cherry cake 
A sweet and sour cranberry cake
Peanut butter biscuits 

5 to remember
el polvo de cacao crudo – the raw cacao powder
los dátiles Medjool – the Medjool dates
deshuesado – pitted
imposible dejar de mordisquear – impossible to stop nibbling
hermético – airtight


This recipe is from ‘Deliciously Ella’ by Ella Mills

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Very sticky brownies #Recipe by @DeliciouslyElla #baking #vegan https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2A8 via @Spanish_Valley 

Citrus cake

If you have a few sorry-looking satsumas or lemons languishing in the fruit bowl, then this is the cake recipe for you. It can be made with any combination of citrus fruit, the recipe adapts its sweetness according to the type of citrus used. And as it uses ground almonds, and no flour or raising agent, it is naturally gluten-free. About 270g citrus fruit, your choice [2 small oranges; 1 grapefruit; 3 lemons; or 1 orange, 1 lemon, 1 lime]
6 eggs, separated
250-350g depending on your choice of citrus [for an orange, 250g; for a mixture, 300g; for either all lemons, or limes or grapefruit, 350g]
300g ground almonds
a handful of flaked almonds

Put the whole unpeeled fruit into a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover. Put a small sheet of baking parchment on top of the water, pop the lid on, and place the pan over a gentle heat for 1½ to 2 hours until completely soft [the time depends on the size of the fruit]. Leave to cool completely. We did this the night before.

Heat the oven to 160°C/180°C non-fan]. Grease and line a deep 23cm round cake tin.

Drain the cold fruit. Cut off any woody ends, chop the skin and flesh into small pieces. Rub through a sieve/fine-mesh strainer to remove any pips then transfer to a food processor and blitz to a purée. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and mousse-like [you can use the same whisk]. Whisk the fruit pulp and ground almonds into the egg yolk mixture. Next, fold in the egg whites.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin, level the top and scatter with a few flaked almonds.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely before turning the cake out.

This recipe is from Too Good to Waste by Victoria Class [UK: Nourish]

If you like this, try these:-
A Silky, Dense Chocolate Cake
A Sweet and Sour Cranberry Cake
Cupboard Cake

5 to remember
los cítricos – the citrus fruit
una toronja – a grapefruit
la pulpa – the pulp
la yema de huevo – the egg yolk
la clara de huevo – the egg white

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Cake: start with a whole orange & a whole lime #Recipe by @victoria_glass #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-21k

Cupboard cake

I think of this as my cupboard cake as the afternoon I first made it, my sole motivation was cake. I didn’t want to go out to buy ingredients, which discounted fruit cake as I had run out of sultanas and raisins. I spent a pleasurable half an hour leafing through various cookbooks before I found this Mary Berry recipe. She calls it her ‘Cherry and Almond Traybake’. But in our house, my name has stuck.

225g glacé cherries
275g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
225g soft margarine
225g caster sugar
finely grated rind of 2 lemons
75g ground almonds
5 eggs
25g flaked almonds Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Grease and base line a 30x23cm roasting tin with greased greaseproof paper.

Cut each cherry into quarters, put into a sieve and rinse under running water to remove the sticky goo. Drain well and dry thoroughly on kitchen paper. If you skip this step, your cherries will sink in the baked cake.

Measure all the remaining ingredients [excluding cherries and flaked almonds] into a large bowl and beat well for one minute to mix thoroughly.

Lightly fold in the cherries. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin, level the top, and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes or until well-risen, golden brown. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out. Remove the paper and finish cooling on a wire rack.

My cake is a gluten-free version of this recipe so instead of the self-raising flour, I substituted 275g gluten-free self-raising flour and 2 tsp of gluten-free baking powder.

If you like this, try:-
A cake to make on a cool afternoon
An apple and cinnamon cake
White chocolate and cranberry flapjack

5 to remember
las cerezas glacé – the glacé cherries
agradable – pleasurable
media hora – half an hour
en el centro – into the centre
la motivacion – the motivation



This recipe is from Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book’ [UK: BBC]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Cupboard cake: easy, quick & very tasty #Spain #Recipe by #MaryBerry via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Zh


An easy iced cake

Glace cherries are one of those childhood things which, for me, takes me straight back to the kitchen and ‘helping’ my mother make cakes. They are sickly things really, but I loved them. The redness? The stickiness? The fact that they were a treat and not considered appropriate for an everyday cake?

This cake by Mary Berry satisfies my need for glace cherries on a wet Sunday when I fancy cake. It is pretty foolproof in that all the ingredients go into a large bowl at the same time for mixing.

Makes 1 x 2lb loaf [900g]
75g glace cherries
3 extra large eggs [I used 4 large eggs]
175g self-raising flour [I used gluten free plain flour plus 2 tsps gluten free baking powder]
100g soft margarine
100g light muscovado sugar
100g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
150g sultanas
For the icing:-
100g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp water
2 ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped loaf-tin-linedPre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Lightly grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with greased greaseproof paper.
First, prepare the cherries. Quarter, wash and thoroughly dry on kitchen paper.

Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and then measure in the remaining cake ingredients including the cherries. Beat well until the mixture is smooth.

Turn into the prepared tin, level the top, and bang the tin on the worktop to eliminate bubbles. ready-to-go-into-ovenBake in the pre-heated oven for about 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown, firm to the touch, and shrinking away from the sides of the tin. It is cooked if a fine skewer, inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes then turn it out and cool completely on a wire rack.

Once the cake is cold, it is ready to be iced. Measure the sifted icing sugar into a bowl. In a small pan, heat the apricot jam and water until mixed [do not overheat]. Pour the jam onto the icing sugar and mix to a smooth texture. Spoon over the top of the cake. Decorate with a sprinkle of chopped apricots down the centre of the cake.

Fancy another cake? Try making these:-
An apple and cinnamon cake
Peanut butter biscuits
An Italian cake of Spanish apples

5 to remember
tamizado/a – sifted
la mermelada – the jam
no sobrecalentar – do not overheat
una textura suave – a smooth texture
los albaricoques picados – the chopped apricots

mary berry's ultimate cake book 20-1-14


This recipe is from ‘Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book’ by Mary Berry [UK: BBC Books]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
An easy iced #cake with apricots & cherries #recipe via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1Wf


An English cake in Spain

This wonderful lemony cake is not Spanish at all, I was given the recipe by an English cake-baking friend and had to try it with our Spanish lemon curd. The fact that it combines two of my favourite things – lemon curd, and almonds – makes it a regular in our house when friends visit. It does look rather indulgent and as it is best kept in the fridge, it gets eaten very quickly. I used our own lemon curd, but shop-bought will do the job just as well. piece-of-cakelemon-zestFor the cake:-
225g butter
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
½ tsp almond extract [or vanilla extract]
Finely grated rind of 1 ½ lemons
75g plain flour [we used gluten-free]
150g ground almonds
1½ tsp baking powder [we used gluten-free]
For the icing:-
200g mascarpone
100ml whipping cream [we used nata para montar]
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon curd [plus more for spreading]
Handful of lightly toasted flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 170F. Lightly butter two round 8 inch cake tins. pablos-eggsmixing
First, prepare the wet ingredients. Beat the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, almond extract, and lemon rind.
Next, prepare the dry ingredients. Into a separate bowl, sift the flour. Stir in the ground almonds and baking powder until thoroughly combined. adding-eggs-to-dry-mixtureNow add the dry ingredients to the wet, folding in.
Spoon the mixture equally into the two tins, and level the tops. ready-to-go-into-the-ovenBake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden, and just coming away from the sides of the tins. just-out-of-the-ovenLeave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then remove from the tins and leave to cool on a cooling rack.
To make the icing, simply beat together all the icing ingredients. icing-close-upSpread the top of one cake with lemon curd, and half the icing. Place the second cake on top, and spread the rest of the icing on top. Swirl a little more lemon curd through the icing. Sprinkle the top with lightly toasted flaked almonds. almonds-on-top

If you want to bake another cake, try one of these:-
A cake to make on a cool afternoon… cherry cake
A sweet and sour cranberry cake
Oh so sticky… chocolate flapjack

5 to remember
la receta – the recipe
indulgente – indulgent
como bien – just as well
el extraco de almendra – almond extract
un tazón – a bowl


I’m not sure whose recipe this is, but the most reliable cake book we use is ‘Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book’ [UK: BBC Books]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
An indulgent English cake in #Spain #recipe via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1RB


A cake to make on a cool afternoon

This is the sort of cake I like to make: all the ingredients go into one bowl at the same time, a quick stir, pour it in the cake tin and pop it in the oven. That’s it.

And this has glace cherries… a favourite of mine since childhood. a glace cherrycake, cutMakes one 20cm cake

200g glace cherries
275g gluten-free self-raising flour
75g ground almonds
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
225g soft margarine
225g caster sugar
4 eggs eggshellsPre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. Lightly grease and, using greased greaseproof paper, base line a 20cm deep round cake tin

Cut each cherry into quarters, put in a sieve and rinse under running water. Allow to drain, then dry thoroughly on kitchen paper. cherries, rinsedMeasure all remaining ingredients into a large bow, beat well for one minute to mix thoroughly. This can be done by hand or in a mixer. in the mixerDust the cherries with a little flour to stop them sticking together, then lightly fold the cherries into the cake mix. ready to go into the ovenTurn into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake for about 1½ to 1¾ hours, or until a skewer comes out clean. just out of the ovenLeave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Turn out, and leave to cool on a wire rack. plateful5 to remember
un revuelo rápida – a quick stir
las cerezas glace – the glace cherries
en curatos – into quarters
la superficie – the surface
dejar enfriar – leave to cool

Want to make something else sweet? Try these:-
Canela apple cake
A sweet and sour cranberry cake
Oh so sticky… chocolate flapjack

mary berry's ultimate cake book 20-1-14


This is our gluten-free version of the English Cherry Cake recipe from Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book’ [UK: BBC Books]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A cake to make on a cool afternoon #Recipe by #MaryBerry via @Spanish_Valley #baking http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1LR

Fruit bowl cake

We were about to go away for a couple of weeks and had a dilemma: more eggs than we could eat, some hard nectarines in the fruit bowl which just would not soften, and the first of our own apricots picked too soon and also hard. The answer: you guess it… make a cake! Given its provenance, this is now known in our house as the Fruit Bowl Cake. mixing the cake - fork in the bowl 2-6-14
cake - close-up 2-6-14
150g butter
150g sugar
Nectarines and apricots
3 large eggs [or 4 of Pablo’s]
75g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
100g ground almonds
50g shelled walnuts or almonds, chopped roughly walnut - close-up 2-6-14Set the oven at 180°C. Grease and line a square 20cm cake tin, about 6cm deep, with parchment paper.cake tin - lined 2-6-14First prepare the fruit. With a small sharp knife, remove the skin from the nectarines and apricots. Then carefully slice the flesh from the stone. Cut into even-sized chunks. nectarines and apricots - prepared 2-6-14Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, I always mix my cakes by hand as it seems easier. Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat gently, then add bit by bit to the butter mixture. Sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl, stirring to mix, fold them gently into the butter mixture. Fold in the ground almonds, then the nuts.

Scrape the mixture into the cake tin, give the tin a firm tap on the counter to help the mixture settle and get rid of air bubbles. spooning the cake mix into the tin 2-6-14Place the pieces of nectarine and apricot evenly into the cake mixture, alternating the type of fruit to alternate the flavour. They will sink during cooking so don’t worry about making a pretty pattern. cake tin - ready to go into oven 2-6-14Bake for 40-45 minutes, test with a skewer, if the skewer comes out clean the cake is done. cake tin - just out of the oven 2-6-14cake - on the cooling rack 2-6-14Remove the cake from the oven and set the tin on a cooling rack. Once the cake is cold, remove from the tin and peel off the paper. As it contains fruit, this cake is best kept in the fridge in a plastic box. It also freezes well. As a whole cake is too much for us, I either cut it in half and freeze, or cut into slices and freeze two at a time.

To wrap for freezing, I first wrap it in a large sheet of greaseproof paper. Then a layer of foil. freezing - in paper 2-6-14freezing - in foil 2-6-14Finally I put it into a freezer bag, suck out the air with a straw, and tie with a freezer tie. freezing - in bags 2-6-14Wrapped securely like this, and without air in the bag, the cake keeps exceptionally well in the freezer and when defrosted tastes like fresh. Imagine… nectarine and apricot cake, in the middle of winter!

5 to remember
envolver – to wrap
en capas – in layers
una bolsa de congelar – a freezer bag
una pajita – a straw [drinking]
congelar – to freeze

fig cake - cover The Kitchen Diaries 12-7-13


‘The Kitchen Diaries’ by Nigel Slater