Tag Archives: cakes

Walnuts: from tree to cake

We are so lucky here to have so many walnut trees that, in a good year, they produce more nuts than we can eat. That said, last year we got none. I get a kick each time I make a dish using our own walnuts, knowing they went from tree… walnut tree 21-5-14… to baby walnut… baby walnut 8-5-14… to nuts… 15 walnuts… to kernels which I can cook with. walnut - close-up 21-5-14This walnut teabread is another reliable cake recipe from Mary Berry. It keeps well, it freezes well, and it eats well! cake - cut into 21-5-14100g granulated sugar
175g golden syrup [I accidently used a maple-flavoured version, which I didn’t realise I’d bought, but it tasted just as good]
200ml milk
50g sultanas
225g self-raising flour [in our case, a valuable drum of Homepride bought from Iceland on the coast, what a treat!]
1 tsp baking powder
50 walnuts, roughly chopped
1 egg, beaten [I used two of Pablo’s small eggs]

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Lightly grease, then base line a 2lb [900g] loaf tin with greased greaseproof paper or baking parchment. cake tin - lined 21-5-14Measure the sugar, syrup, milk and sultanas into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool. milk in jug 21-5-14in pan - syrup, sugar & sultanas 21-5-14in pan - milk, syrup, sugar & sultanas 21-5-14Measure the flour and baking powder into a bowl. flour drum 21-5-14a teaspoon of baking powder 21-5-14add flour to baking powder 21-5-14Roughly chop the walnuts, I used a mezaluna which I find very easy to use. Add the nuts to the flour. mezaluna 21-5-14add walnuts to flour 21-5-14Add the cooled syrup mixture to the dry ingredients with the beaten egg, and stir well until the mixture is smooth. eggs in bowl 21-5-14add syrup mix and eggs to flour 21-5-14Pour into the prepared loaf tin. cake tin - ready to go into oven 21-5-14Bake in the pre-heated oven for 50-60 minutes or until firm to the touch. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean. After 30 minutes, cover the top loosely with foil if the cake is becoming too brown.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Serve buttered. This is a dense, sticky cake, best with rich unsalted butter. plateful 21-5-145 to remember
confiable – reliable
el jarabe – the syrup
de arce – of maple
un pincho – a skewer
el papel de aluminio – the baking foil

If you like this, try:-
Fragrant Pineapple Cake
Perfect Pear Cake
Cupboard Cake

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:
Walnut teabread: from tree to cake #Recipe by #MaryBerry #Spain http://wp.me/p3dYp6-10V

Fragrant pineapple cake

I don’t think I have ever put pineapple in a cake. I have eaten pineapple upside-down cake a couple of times, but long ago. sticky spoon 1-6-14This cake is a triumph, made when the pineapple in the fruit bowl was smelling over-ripe and we didn’t have enough time to eat it. So it seemed obvious to put the fruit into a cake, using a Nigel Slater recipe. cake - close-up1 1-6-14pineapple - piece of 1-6-14150g butter
150g sugar
A whole pineapple
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 walnuts - chopped 1-6-14Set the oven at 180°C. Grease and line a square 20cm cake tin, about 6cm deep, with parchment paper. cake tin - lined 1-6-14To prepare the pineapple, take a large sharp knife and cut off the top and bottom. Sit the pineapple on its end on the cutting board, and from the top take off a slice of skin, curving the knife at the bottom. Don’t go too deep as you don’t want to lose flesh. Once you have gone around the fruit, turn it upside down and take off any remaining bits of skin, and also nick out the remaining bits of stalk one at a time with the tip of your knife. The centre of a pineapple is tough, so cut thick slices from the core and throw the core away. Then chop the remaining slices into chunks.

Beat 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. cake mix - add flour 1-6-14Sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl, stirring to mix, fold them gently into the butter mixture. cake mix - add ground almonds 1-6-14cake mix - add walnuts 1-6-14Fold 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. Place the pieces of pineapple evenly into the cake mixture, they will sink during cooking so this is not an artistic process. cake tin - ready to go into oven 1-6-14Bake for 40-45 minutes, test with a skewer, if the skewer comes out clean the cake is done.

Remove 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. cake tin - just out of oven 1-6-14cake - close-up2 1-6-145 to remember
fragrante – fragrant
una piña – a pineapple
el corazón – the core
un rabillo – a stalk [of fruit]
la punta del cuchillo – the tip of the knife

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


This is an adaptation of a Nigel Slater cake recipe.
‘The Kitchen Diaries’ by Nigel Slater [UK: Fourth Estate]

If you like this, try these:-
Perfect Pear Cake
Lemon & Thyme Cake
An Italian Cake of Spanish Apples

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Impossible to resist: fragrant pineapple cake #Recipe by @NigelSlater #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-11S


Damp almond and lemon cake

I know the name of this cake is a bit odd – its Nigella Lawson’s cake not mine – but please try it. I am an almond fan, just as well with all the almond trees we have here, we’ve never been short of an almond or two. baking tin - cake removed 20-5-14cake - cut into 21-5-14The combination of creamy almond and sharp lemon works well. The word ‘damp’ in the title comes from the fact that there is hardly any flour in the cake, so it is moist. In fact when I went to the cupboard there was so little flour in the flour box that I thought I would have to postpone my plans, but 50g really is just a couple of spoonfuls. plateful 21-5-14225g soft unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
50g plain flour
225g ground almonds
½ tsp almond essence [which I didn’t have, so I substituted vanilla essence]
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons lemon - juiced 20-5-14lemon - zest grated 20-5-14Grease a 21-23cm Springform cake tin [I used an old butter paper] and line the bottom. baking tin - grease with butter paper 20-5-14parchment paper - red ring 20-5-14Roll out your baking parchment, take the loose bottom of the tin and place it on the paper. Draw a ring around the tin, and cut out.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

Cream together the butter and sugar until almost white [below]. add the sugar to the butter 20-5-14cream the butter & sugar 20-5-14Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a quarter of the flour after each addition [below]. egg shells 20-5-14add the eggs and flour 20-5-14When all the eggs and flour are thoroughly combined, gently stir in the ground almonds followed by the essence, zest and juice [below]. add the zest, juice & essence 20-5-14This makes a pretty sloppy mixture [below], so don’t worry! sloppy mixture 20-5-14Pour the mixture into the cake tin [below], give it a tap to eliminate bubbles, and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Nigella says this timing is approximate though and warns that she has made the cakes in different ovens when it is ready anything from 50 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes. She advises covering the cake with foil, after 30 minutes in the oven, so the top doesn’t burn. tin - ready to go into oven 20-5-14The cake is ready when the top is firm and a skewer, inserted, comes out cleanish. You want a little dampness, but not goo.

Take the cake out of the oven and let it stand in the tin for five minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack and leave until cool. tin - just out of oven 20-5-14cake cooling on rack 20-5-14Nigella says it is best stored by wrapping in foil, and leaving for a couple of days [if you can!]. Serve sprinkled with a dusting of icing sugar and some fresh berries, raspberries, strawberries or other fresh fruit.

5 to remember
una hincha de [algo] – a fan of [something]
húmedo/a – damp/moist
una frambuesa – raspberry
una fresa – a strawberry
guardar – to store something

How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson 17-4-14


‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ by Nigella Lawson

Crunchy lemony cake

We have a bowlful of lemons at the moment so have been making lots of lemony things: lemon curd, using lemon juice in salad dressing in place of the vinegar etc. So here is a cake which is a combination of lemony sharpness and sugary sweetness. plateful 26-5-14lemon - close-up 26-5-14100g soft margarine
175g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 extra large eggs
4 tablespoons milk
Finely grated rind of a lemon
For the crunchy topping:-
Juice of a lemon
100g caster of granulated sugar

Pre- heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Lightly grease and base line a 7in [18cm] deep round cake tin with greased greaseproof paper. tin - lining the tin scissors 26-5-14Measure all the ingredients for the cake into a large bowl and beat well for about two minutes until smooth and well blended. in the bowl - eggs, sugar, butter 26-5-14in the bowl - mixing the batter 26-5-14Turn the mixture into the prepared cake tin and level the surface. tin - ready to go into the oven 26-5-14Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake has shrunk slightly away from the sides of the tin, and springs back when lightly pressed with a finger.

While the cake is baking, prepare the topping. Measure the lemon juice and sugar into a bowl and stir until blended [below]. lemon syrup - mixing 26-5-14When the cake comes out of the oven, spread the lemon paste over the top while the cake is still hot. Leave in the tin until cold, then turn out and remove the paper. drizzling the syrup on the cake 26-5-14cake - leaving the syrup to set 26-5-14cake on cooling rack - close-up 26-5-145 to remember
en vez de – in place of/instead of
el vinagre – the vinegar
el aliño – the salad dressing
hondo/a – deep [dish]
supremo/a – ultimate

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


‘Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book’ by Mary Berry

Squidgy banana bread

We spend a happy hour sitting on the terrace, enjoying the winter sun, cracking walnuts. walnut - close-up 12-1-14These are stored in an airtight container in the pantry and used for my favourite banana bread [courtesy of Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess]. The rest are stored in their shells. They stay freshest this way: little nuggets of protein waiting to liven up salads and cakes, pasta… they even find their way into stir-fries. Nigella’s divine loaf is impossible to get wrong. banana - close-up 12-1-14This is the cake to make when you have some sorry-looking bananas left in the fruit bowl, the squidgier the better.

100g sultanas
75 ml dark rum
175g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon salt
125g melted unsalted butter [impossible to find this in Spain, salted butter or sunflower margarine works just as well]
150g white sugar
2 large eggs
4 small bananas, very ripe & mashed
60g chopped walnuts [almonds are fine as a substitute]
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the sultanas and rum in a smallish saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover and leave for an hour if you can, or until the sultanas have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain. Melt the butter. butter, melting 12-1-14Preheat the oven to 170ºC/325°F/gas mark 3 and get started on the rest. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well. flour, baking powder & bicarb 12-1-14In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas. With your wooden spoon, stir in the walnuts, drained sultanas and vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. cake mix 12-1-14Scrape into the loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 to 1¼ hours. ready to go into the oven 12-1-14I find my oven requires a piece of foil put on top of the cake for the second half of the baking time. When it’s ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish. just out of the oven 12-1-14Leave in the tin on a rack to cool and eat thickly or thinly sliced, with or without butter, as you prefer. slice of cake 12-1-14This loaf freezes perfectly. There’s no need to buy bananas especially. Whenever you have any bananas going squidgy and black, simply peel and freeze them. My freezer [we have three!] is full of small bags containing 3-4 blackish bananas. Defrosted, they are even squidgier but don’t be put off, as the cake still comes out perfectly. The bananas I used for this cake were still a little firm, and so held their shape better in the finished cake.

5 to remember
hermético/a – airtight
el recipiente – container
la diosa doméstica– the domestic goddess
una pepita – a nugget
la proteína – protein

plum clafoutis - book cover 11-8-13

‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ by Nigella Lawson