MoneyMagpie

May 13

10 quick and easy cakes you can make now

How often do I buy a cake?

Hardly ever – I make my own, although I don’t really attempt the fancy, highly-decorated, shaped-like-a-princess children’s birthday cakes – I leave that to Mr Waitrose. But for all other everyday, cut-and-come again cakes, I get the pinny on. Incidentally I see that Melrose and Morgan’s Lemon Drizzle Cake is £6.95 (!) at Ocado. Flour and sugar cost pence, so this is one item we shouldn’t really be spending a lot on.

Here are my 10 easiest cakes you can make.

 

1. condensed milk cake

Condensed Milk Cake

Ingredients: (serves 8)

  • 50g butter
  • 390g tin condensed milk
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g plain flour (I use gluten free)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • choc chips (optional, to decorate)

Method:

  1. Mix everything together well (except choc chips).
  2. Bake 30 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius.
  3. Check for doneness – a little wobble is lovely but not too much (as in life, eh?). Give it an extra 5-10 minutes in the oven if needed.
  4. Take out and sprinkle the choc chips over the piping hot cake – they will melt and stick onto the surface.
  5. Serve warm or chilled with creme fraiche or ice cream (homemade banana in my photo).

Note: you do need all 3 eggs to set all this liquid.

 

2. Beetroot Choc Cake

Beetroot Choc Cake, photo: Sarah Lockett

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 125g butter or marj
  • 115g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g plain flour (I use gluten-free)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 raw beetroots, peeled and grated
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom or cinnamon (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Line a 25cm spring-form round cake tin with greaseproof paper (or a pre-pleated liner, as I do).
  3. Wash and peel the beetroot over the sink (doing it on a board stains the wood).
  4. Grate the beetroot in a food processor (I had to cut it into smaller pieces to fit down the tube).
  5. Mix room-temperature butter with the sugar in a mixer or by hand.
  6. Add eggs, flour, baking powder, cocoa, and vanilla plus cardamom/cinnamon (if using).
  7. Mix in the beetroot.
  8. Tip in the cake mix and smooth the surface.
  9. Bake 40 minutes.
  10. Test to see if it’s done before taking out – if it’s too squishy, give it an extra 5 minutes.
  11. Cool in the tin, then turn out and

Serving: serve warm or cold with creme fraiche, cream, yoghurt or custard.

 

3. Fresh ginger & cranberry cake

Fresh Ginger & Cranberry Cake, photo: Sarah Lockett

Ingredients: (serves 8-10)

  • 300g dried sweetened cranberries
  • 250g alcohol (I used a mix of advocaat and red wine!)
  • 75g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely diced
  • 125g butter or marj (I use Benecol buttery)
  • 125g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175g flour (I use gluten free)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground mace*

Method

  1. Steep the cranberries and ginger in the booze for 24-48hrs.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Mix the butter, sugar and eggs in a food processor, or by hand with a wooden spoon.
  3. Mix in the flour, spices, baking powder and vanilla.
  4. Stir through the booze-soaked fruit/ginger.
  5. Line a loaf tin with a baking paper liner, or greaseproof paper.
  6. Transfer the mix to the tin, smoothing the top.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes. The rule is: when you can smell the cake throughout the house, it’s ready!
  8. When ready, turn out and slice.

Serving: It’s lovely warm as a dessert with cream, creme fraiche or custard (if my Dad is visiting) or cold as a cake. Or, as I say, for breakfast!

* the spices are optional and can be varied e.g. nutmeg, but not ground ginger or cloves here, as you already have the fresh ginger, and that would make it a bit too medicinal.

 

4. Frozen strawberry cake

Frozen Strawberry Cake, photo: Sarah Lockett

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 125 butter or marj (are we still calling it marj?)
  • 250g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (these spices are advisory – nutmeg, mace etc work well, or leave out)
  • 2 tbsp pearl socker (tiny Swedish sugar lumps – optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. In a mixer (or bowl) cream the room-temperature butter and sugar together, add the eggs and mix further.
  2. Then add the flour, baking powder and flavourings. Mix well.
  3. Line a 25-28cm round springform cake tin with greaseproof paper/baking parchment (or a ready made greaseproof liner) and spoon in half the cake mix.
  4. Spread over the bottom, then tip the strawberries over.
  5. Blob over the rest of the cake mix and sprinkle with pearl socker (optional).
  6. Bake at least 35 minutes – check to see how watery it is because the fruit will release a lot of juice. The high sugar content combines with this to make a sweet syrup, and gives a fudgey texture but ONLY if you cook it long enough. If it needs 45 minutes, so be it.

Serving: Serve with creme fraiche to cut through the sweetness, or plain yoghurt.

One for the family (the kids and husband fell on it). This turns out really fudgy and creamy, fruity and delicious, plus more puddingy and squidgier than ordinary cake.

 

5. Booziest cake ever

Boozy Fruit Cake, photo: Sarah Lockett

Ingredients (serves 8-10)

  • 450g mixed dried fruit (or dried cranberries, sultanas, chopped dried apricots etc)
  • 150ml whisky/spirits
  • 100ml fruit juice (I used pear)
  • 125g butter or marj (room temperature)
  • 125g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 mace and/or grated nutmeg

Method

  1. 1-2 days before you want to bake the cake, put the fruit in a bowl/measuring jug and pour over the booze+juice.
  2. Stir and leave to macerate/soak for 24-48hrs.
  3. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl/food processor and add the eggs, vanilla, spices and flour, plus baking powder.
  5. Stir in the dried fruit and its boozy juice.
  6. Pile into a greased/lined 18cm cake tin and bake 1 hr and 10mins at 150 degrees Celsius. Check it’s done by inserting a knife – it should come out clean  with a haze of moisture on. If not, keep giving it 5 minutes more till it’s ready.
  7. Cool completely in the tin and then turn out.

Serving: Serve warm with creme fraiche/cream or cold with cheese, or just a cuppa.

Tip: I think cakes with dried fruit in are usually dry if you don’t soak the fruit first – because the fruit sucks moisture out of the mixture. So, hence the soaking.

 

6 .Kladdkaka

10 quick and easy cakes you can make now

Ingredients (makes 8-10 slices)

  • 100g butter (I used Benecol buttery)
  • 250g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixer or by hand (the original Swedish recipe calls for melting these two together, which gives an even stickier result).
  3. Add the eggs and mix, then the rest of the ingredients (if using an electric mixer, have the speed on slow when you add the cocoa and flour otherwise you’ll be wearing it – a fine dusting of cocoa on every surface is no fun to clean up).
  4. Pour into a greaseproof-paper-lined 25cm round cake tin (I use the ready-cut, pleated greaseproof liners).
  5. Bake for 15 minutes then check how liquid it is – it may need a few more minutes only.
  6. Don’t make my mistake of overcooking it – then it’s horrible, dry and hard.
  7. Cool to room temperature

Serving: serve with creme fraiche or ice cream and raspberries, if liked.

I guarantee once you’ve made this, you’ll make it time and again. Kids love it, husbands love it, anyone with a sweet tooth will love it. It’s always gone the day I make it. Never mind waiting till teatime.

 

7. Toffee pear fudge almond cake

10 quick and easy cakes you can make now

I made a batch of fudge recently which didn’t really set – but it melted into a lovely toffee topping for a pear cake (or you could do it with apples, peaches, plums etc). Just as I was about to put it in the oven, I thought of sprinkling over some chopped nuts, so the fudge would caramelise into a sort of fudgy nut brittle on the top. However, I didn’t have any chopped nuts, only ground almonds. So I figured this would work just as well. In the end it formed a crispy, sweet, cakey crust, which was delicious!

Ingredients (makes 8 slices)

  • 125g butter (or Benecol buttery)
  • 125g soft light brown sugar (or any sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g flour (I used half-and-half wholemeal wheat flour and Doves Farm gluten-free flour)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp each ground ginger, cardamon, cinnamon and ground cloves (use some or all of these spices, as you like)
  • 75ml milk
  • 2 pears, cored and quartered, then cut each quarter into 3
  • 4 tbsp unset fudge (or commercial soft-set fudge, chopped)
  • 2 tbsp ground almonds (or chopped nuts, or flaked almonds)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Grease and line a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper (or use the pre-cut, pre-folded ones you can buy, as I did).
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together.
  4. Add the eggs and mix in.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder, spices and milk, and beat for another minute until well combined (or you can do all this in a mixer, as I did).
  6. Pour into the lined cake tin and jiggle it until it’s flat on top.
  7. Lay the pear slices in a nice whirly pattern and spoon over the fudge.
  8. Sprinkle over the ground almonds (or nuts)
  9. Bake 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

Serving: cream, creme fraiche or custard.

Tip: Hot, bubbling sugar is VERY HOT so leave to cool for a few minutes before serving or leave to cool completely in the tin before turning out to serve as a teatime cake.

 

8. Bacon chocolate brownies

Brownie with bacon pieces on

Ingredients (makes 8-10 portions)

  • 175g bacon, copped into 1cm dice
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 150g Benecol buttery (or butter if heart attacks are no object)
  • 250g soft light brown sugar (or any sugar)
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 150g plain flour (or half-and-half gluten free flour and wholemeal)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 50g milk chocolate, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Fry the bacon in a large saucepan until almost crisp.
  3. Meanwhile grease and line a 25cm square or oblong baking tin.
  4. Then add golden syrup to the bacon and stir for a minute or two.
  5. Take off the heat.
  6. Put an insulating layer (a folded teatowel or pan holder) onto your weighing scales and place the saucepan on top (you don’t want to melt your scales, if they’re plastic like mine).
  7. Add the butter, sugar, cocoa, flour(s), baking powder and stir well.
  8. Break in the eggs and mix well (you can beat them together beforehand but that’s more washing up).
  9. Finally stir in the chopped chocolate.
  10. Pile the whole lot into the baking tin and bake for 20 minutes, plus a bit more if it needs it. But remember it’s supposed to be fudgey.
  11. Cool in the tin and then cut into squares (or scoop out with a spoon if it’s as gooey as mine was).
  12. Serve on its own or with creme fraiche, cream, ice cream, fresh raspberries and a coulis or custard.

 

9. Lemon potato cheesecake

10 quick and easy cakes you can make now

Not as bad as it sounds! At a recent gathering, no-one could believe it could taste nice, so I had to dig out said cheesecake and give a bit to my guests to try. The verdict : no, it didn’t taste of potato but there was “a savoury” note to it. Personally I think it tastes like an ordinary baked lemon cheesecake, with slightly less fat (the potato bulks it out without needing any high fat cream cheese). Also, it’s good for using up leftover mashed potato. So = no waste.

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 300g digestives
  • 100g butter, melted or warm room temperature
  • 200g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 25g Parmesan or other hard cheese (not blue cheese or Brie-type)
  • 250g yoghurt
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 150g mashed potato

Method

  1. Pre heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  2. Break up the biscuits roughly into a food processor and add the butter. Blitz until they resemble wet sand.
  3. Tip into a loose bottomed cake tin about 25cm diameter (lined with greaseproof paper if you like).
  4. Press down with the back of a spoon, going neatly up about 5cm round the sides too.
  5. Blitz all the other ingredients in the food processor (no need to wash it out) and pour onto the biscuit base.
  6. Bake 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the filling still has a bit of what Nigella calls “inner thigh wobble”.
  7. Switch off the oven and leave to cool in there, or whip it out if you need the oven for something else.

Serving: with a few berries, creme fraiche or cream.

 

10. Date and pecan gluten-free loaf

Date and pecan loaf cake

Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 125g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g gluten-free flour (or wheat flour if you are not bothered about gluten free)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (gluten free for the strict)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 balls stem ginger in syrup, chopped
  • 250g pitted dates, chopped
  • 100g pecan nuts, chopped or halved if you like
  • 100-150ml milk

Method

  1. Put the ingredients, one by one, in a big bowl and mix, starting by softening and beating the butter and sugar – and then incorporating the eggs one by one.
  2. Add everything else and stir together until well mixed.
  3. Tip into a loaf tin lined with greaseproof paper, or just greased and floured if you like.
  4. Bake 180 degrees celsius for 30-40 minutes, checking that the top doesn’t burn and that a knife comes out clean when plunged carefully into the middle.

Serving: Eat warm with cream, custard or Greek yoghurt – or have it cold, sliced as a tea loaf with a cuppa.

Tip: use greaseproof tin liners – they are a revelation. Never again will you struggle with a flapping greaseproof roll, trying to cut it to size.

 

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