Blueberry Lemon Drizzle Loaf

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What’s better than blueberries? Nothing. What’s better than lemon drizzle cake? Nothing. Combine them? YES PLEASE THANK YOU.

Anyone that says they don’t like lemon cake is lying, and if they are being serious (wth) then they haven’t tasted this cake. I will convert you. I can promise you that m’friend. This cake is fluffy, sweet, tart, moist (thank you drizzle) and sticky (thank you glaze – oh yes, there is GLAZE too)

Yep, this is one exciting cake.

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I do understand why some people don’t enjoy lemon flavoured desserts. The tart flavour of lemon isn’t to everyone’s taste and that’s totally cool, no-one is judging (I am).

But the blueberries in this cake are a blessing. The little sweet bursts throughout the cake take the edge off of the bite in the lemon and give you a mellow combination of both flavours.

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And the cake isn’t even the half of it. Not only is there drizzle, but there is also glaze.

The drizzle is made from the juice of two lemons, the zest of one and some sugar. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, the pre-made syrupy lemon juice gets poured all over the top of the cake, allowing it to seep into the sponge as it cools… Does it get better than that?

YES. Then there’s glaze. Confectioner’s sugar and more lemon juice. This gets drizzled into the centre of the cake when it’s cooled down, ooooozing over the sides creating a crunchy, sticky topping.

What.

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This cake is the perfect way to say “goodbye” to summer. Blueberries are going out of season, so the packets are getting smaller and smaller in the supermarkets (which is depressing) and so this is their final HOORAH! The bright, vibrant taste of this loaf will give you a cheery farewell to the sun in preparation for the fall. Damn, baking can get deep…

Although this cake is a slow cooker (it took 85 minutes in my oven) and is best left to stand overnight, it is well worth the wait, you won’t be disappointed.

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And here’s the recipe:

  • 2 cups of plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 (heaping) cup blueberries (washed, obvs)
  • Zest of half a lemon

For the drizzle:

  • 2 lemons, the zest of 1, juice of both
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Begin by preheating your oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350°F, then grease and line a loaf pan with grease-proof paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating the batter with a whisk in between each addition.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and the salt. Add half of the combined dry ingredients to the butter/egg batter with a 1/4 cup of the milk. Once just combined, add in the other half of the dry ingredients and the remaining 1/2 cup of the milk. This promotes a smooth batter (if you combines everything simultaneously, you could get lump… lumpy cake… yum)

In a small bowl, toss the blueberries in 2 tablespoons of plain (all-purpose) flour then add to the batter, folding in gently until just incorporated. Transfer the mixture to your prepared loaf pan and bake in the centre of the oven for 85 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. While that bakes away, make the drizzle!

In a medium sized bowl, zest 1 on the lemons, then add the juice of both lemons. Stir in the sugar until it has dissolved and the syrup is ever so slightly thicker. Cover your drizzle and leave it until the cake is ready.

Once the cake is out of the oven, immediately poke tiny holes into the top of the cake with a toothpick. Spoon your pre-made drizzle all over the sponge slowly, allowing it to seep into the cake with each spoon. Allow the cake to cool completely then transfer the loaf from the pan to a wire rack. Combine 1/2 cup confectioners sugar with the juice of 1 lemon until  it’s just runny. Once the cake has cooled, drizzle the glaze all over the top of the cake, allowing it to trickle down the sides of your loaf.

It’s best left to stand over-night, but you can just tuck in and enjoy immediately 😉

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Chocolate Orange Zebra Cake

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Guys guys guys guys exam period is almost over (WOO!). I have one Business Studies exam left (which I am bricking) and then it is OVER for year 12. I can honestly say that this has been the hardest school year of my life. I look back at last May (in year 11) when I was complaining about how difficult GCSE’s were… yeah, well, A-Level exams are the devil-incarnate. I swear.

So, generally, I’m staying neutral about how I’ve done. I refuse to believe I’ve failed, but I also refuse to believe I’ve done inexplicably well. The moral of the story is, I refuse to get my hopes up either way.

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Not only have exams been stressing me out, but this blog is something else. Never before have I ever thought to myself “What in the world do I bake next?? Omg, if I bake this, will the internet people like it?? Is it pretty enough?!?” while baking. And I don’t think anyone fully appreciates how difficult writing is aswell. I just… I don’t know… why is life so hard?! 

Okay, let’s talk about cake.

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I’ve seen millions of recipes for zebra cake, and, let’s get real, this is one sexy cake. Considering how difficult everything is right now, I need something pretty in my life, and this did the trick.

Surprisingly, the cake is really easy to make. It’s literally just one batter, divided into two (to make the different flavours) and then spooning the two batters into a baking dish to get the “zebra” pattern. Also, effectively, the two batters are spooning. Ha.

Enough of that, here is the recipe:

  • 300g plain flour (about 2 cups)
  • 130g caster sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 110g light brown muscovado (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 250ml vegatable oil (1 cup)
  • 250ml milk (1 cup)
  • 3 tbsps good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 large orange (zest only)

For the frosting:

  • 90g dark chocolate chips (1/2 cup)
  • 125g unsalted butter (1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp)
  • 140g icing (confectioners) sugar (1 cup plus 1 tbsp)

Preheat your oven to gas mark 4/176°C/350°F. Grease a rectangular baking tin and line it with baking parchment. You might want to leave some overlapping greaseproof that act like handles to lift the cake out of your tin.

In a large bowl, combine your eggs and two sugars and beat until pale and fluffy.

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Add in your milk and your oil and beat together.

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In a separate bowl, sift together your flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat together (don’t over mix it, you’ll end up with zebra bread).

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Separate the batter between two bowls (as evenly as you possibly can). To one batter add the grated zest (and mix together) and to the other add your cocoa powder (mix together).

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Using a tablespoon, dollop two heaped tablespoons of the orange batter into the centre of the pan. Using a different tablespoon, dollop two tablespoons of the chocolate batter into the centre of the orange you just dolloped in. Repeat the “two tablespoons” method in the centre of each dollop, alternating the two batters to achieve the zebra pattern.

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Place the cake in the centre of the oven to bake for 40 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean). Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 30 minutes then lift it out, place it on a wire rack, and allow it to cool completely.

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To make the frosting, melt your chocolate (either on a double boiler or in the microwave in 30 second intervals) and set aside to cool. Soften your butter in a large bowl then add the icing sugar. Beat the two together until combined. Add in the chocolate and fold it in.

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Spoon all of the icing out onto the top of the cake and smoooooooth it out.

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BOOM. A beautiful cake that will cause a stampede to the kitchen.

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Oat and Banana Bundt Cake

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I have a confession to make. Recently, I had an accident with a razor blade that landed me in A&E for 3 hours and with 6 stitches in my finger. It’s achey, and so painful, so I felt like I needed to bake to make myself feel better about the circumstances I am now under.

I have never made anything that’s gluten free (yeah, that’s right, it’s gluten-free!) and so this recipe was a total experiment. Instead of using regular all-purpose flour, I ground up old-fashioned porridge oats (in my dad’s gorgeous new spice grinder) into a fine powder to add to the batter. This “oat flour” gives the cake a b-e-a-utiful light texture as well as an unbelievable and unique flavour.

A lot of people don’t like banana in baked goods (which I don’t fully understand), but the banana in this recipe, I believe, is essential. The oat flour makes the cake more dry than if you were to use normal flour, and so the fudgy, lovelyness of the banana’s is what makes the cake gorgeously moist. The oat flavour isn’t over-powering at all, it is incredibly subtle, but it gives the cake a scrumptious je ne sais quoi?

I am not a fan of letting machines do my baking for me, and usually I’m one of those “if you didn’t use your hands, it isn’t worth jack” people. But, considering the damage done to my poor index, my TEFAL Kitchen Machine was the perfect aid.

Okay, here’s the recipe:

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 150g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g oat flour (made by grinding the oats in a spice grinder)
  • 2 tsps gluten-free baking powder
  • 2 medium ripe bananas

Start by preheating your oven to gas mark 5/190/375. Grease a bundt tin (I used a silicon round one) and set it aside for later usage.

Place your butter into a saucepan and set over a medium heat until it’s all melted. In a large bowl, combine your two sugars and add the melted butter. Beat the two together until well combined. Add your 3 eggs and the vanilla extract; beat again until all is combined. Using a fork, smash up your banana’s (this is a good stress/anger buster) until you’re left with a sloppy mess in a bowl that looks soooooo appetising (it doesn’t, but it tastes good). Add the messy banana to the batter and stir in.

Sift in (it’s tedious, but the lumps in the oat flour will be a nuisance to incorporate, so it’s best) the oat flour and the baking powder then fold everything together. Transfer your batter into your tin and place in the centre of the oven to bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre if the cake comes out clean (bar a few wet crumbs).

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Leave your cake to cool for a little bit then ease it out onto a wire rack to cool completely… or you can eat it straight away… I did.

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