Chocolate Honeycomb Birthday Cake

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I do still exist! So does my baking πŸ™‚ and this time I have a funny story. When I was walking to work with this cake in a box to assemble later, I had the honeycomb in a plastic container on top of the box. It was 6am, pitch black, wind in a full blown gale. And what did I do? I walked past the windiest place I know in my city.

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And proceeded to watch as the box of honeycomb blew from my reach and onto the ground 5 metres away. After a split second of hope when the box didn’t open, it blew another metre and burst into a glorious explosion of caramelised sugar shards and that was that. The box and honeycomb blew into the distance and I could only laugh at my stupidity.

Two weeks ago I woke up and my first thought was ‘oh my gosh, I have a baking blog!’

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Yes, I forgot, completely 😦 I’m sure we all do that from time to time. Like we forget the keys or our passwords to how many ever accounts we seem to accumulate!

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Anyway, this cake was made as one of my first proper cake orders in a while for a ‘crunchie bar’ lover. It’s chocolate cake filled with honey buttercream (was meant to be filled with honey comb too but sadly my second batch hadn’t set when I was assembling) and topped with hokey pokey squiggles cookies, and honey comb and chocolate shards.
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I couldn’t find my nice piping tip a ziplock bag had to do. Any way, it turned out to be a very large cake indeed, with added height thanks to the toppings. Here’s roughly how to make it:

Chocolate Honeycomb Birthday Cake
Make 1.5 times this chocolate cake recipe here, making three layers
Make a batch of this honey comb
For the butter cream, whip 150g softened butter, 3 cups icing sugar, 3 Tbsp honey and 1 Tbsp (or more if needed) milk until light and super fluffy.

To assemble, spread butter cream on top of all the layers and stack them, then pipe some leftover buttercream around the top and arrange hokey pokey squiggles, honey comb shards and chocolate shards around the top. Voila! Makes a big cake….

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Lemon Meringue Layer Cake

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This cake was vegan before I slathered it with Italian meringue and stuffed it with Lemon Curd. Thankfully you can now easily make vegan meringue at home, so everyone can enjoy the delights of a lemon-meringue concoction πŸ™‚

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It was tart, sweet, with a rich crumb and… I couldn’t think of a joke to do with the ‘tart, sweet and rich’ comment so perhaps you will have to imagine your own, I’m a little tired today πŸ˜€

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I tried to do an ombre effect in the icing but I didn’t have food colouring and only used some leftover curd. It just thinned out the icing so it wasn’t very successful, so hopefully I will have another opportunity to try it again πŸ™‚

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It makes a damn big cake, so maybe half the recipe if you are baking for the sake of it πŸ™‚

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Lemon Meringue Gateau
Ingredients:
Cake:
3 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
3 tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp vinegar
6 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 1/2 cups water
Curd:
1 1/3 cups lemon juice
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp lemon zest
Italian Meringue:
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
3 egg whites

Instructions:
We begin with the lemon curd filling! Over low heat, mix the sugar and lemon juice until dissolved. When it has reduced slightly, mix in the egg yolks and lemon zest, and continue to stir over low heat until thickened further. When the curd coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a line (or a smiley face!) without the curd filling it back in. Pour into a bowl or container and cool completely, then chill in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease two 20cm diameter cake tins.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda and lemon zest until combined. Make a well in the centre and pour in the lemon juice, vinegar and oil. Pour the water on top and whisk or mix until there are no lumps left. Pour, divided as evenly as possible, into the tins and bake for about 25 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool in the tins.

Before you make the icing, you need to have everything ready! Cut the cakes into two layers and spread some lemon curd in between. Place the bottom layer on your cake serving plate or stand.

For the meringue, place your egg whites in a super clean bowl, either separate or as part of your mixer. Now in a saucepan, gently heat the sugar and water until 118 degrees Celsius, making sure there are no sugar crystals on the sides. When almost at the right temperature, start to whisk the egg whites until frothy. When the sugar syrup is ready to go, beat the egg whites on high and incorporate the sugar syrup in a thin stream at the side of the bowl. Continue to whip on high for a few more minutes until cooled. On top of the first layer of cake, spread a layer of meringue and place the other layer on top.

Working quickly, dump most of the meringue frosting on the top of the cake and start to spread it down the sides of the cake. I added a little bit of lemon curd to the rest of the frosting and spread it down the bottom of the cake, giving a bit of an ombre effect. This is optional, and for a more intense effect, use food colouring. Otherwise, the frosting becomes too liquid-y.

Leave to set and serve! It’s best eaten on the day it’s made, because the frosting can become sticky. Makes a large cake.

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Earl Grey Sandwich Cookies with Apricot Frosting

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I do love a sandwich cookie πŸ™‚ It’s twice the cookie goodness plus a delicious filling. And all the more flavour possibilities!

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The Earl Grey is quite subtle but compliments the apricot really well. You can always leave it out, or try vanilla seeds instead. These were gifts, packaged in cellophane πŸ˜€

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More recipes to come, so please enjoy.

Earl Grey Sandwich Cookies with Apricot Frosting
Ingredients:
Cookies:
175g butter
125g sugar
1 egg
Zest of one lemon
350g flour
Β½ tsp baking powder
3 Earl Grey teabags
To fill:
75g butter
175g icing sugar
2 Tbsp apricot conserve/jam
Extra jam to fill

Instructions:
Soften the butter and beat with the sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in gently the egg and lemon zest. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and contents of the teabags. Now mix into the butter mixture bit by bit until all combined. If you are using an electric mixer, then you may have to finish it off by hand. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in cling film. Chill from an hour to a few days.
When ready to bake, turn the oven on to preheat to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two baking trays (if you have more than two, go ahead and use them! I had to do two batches of two trays). On a floured surface, roll out the dough (if it’s too hard, pop in into the microwave for a bit, but don’t overdo it!) to about 3-4mm thick. Cut out with your desired cutter and transfer, well-spaced, onto the trays. Bake about 15 minutes until slightly golden on top and the cookies move when lightly nudged. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To fill, make the frosting. Soften the butter and beat with the icing sugar and conserve until light and fluffy. It should also be thick enough to be piped, but not so thick that it won’t come out of a small tip. Pair up the cookies and pipe a ring of about 6 dots on the underside of one of each pair. Go with a little less icing so that if you have too much, you can just go over some of the dots with more later. Otherwise you risk running out! Spoon a wee dot of conserve into the hole made by the dots and sandwich the other cookie in the pair on top. Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 30 cookie sandwiches.

Strawberry Banana Ring Cake with Lemon Frosting

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‘C’ for cake! Also for ‘couldn’t help myself’ as, as you can see, I took a slice of the cake before it was even frosting. Sorry about that.

‘C’ could also stand for ‘confused’ as I forgot to put oil in this cake, but it still turned out really nicely. If you are game, then I would add about 1/2 a cup of olive oil and slightly less water.

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At least the icing is absolutely delicious. It’s quite cool to decorate a cake this way, because you can drape and decorate with almost anything that links to the flavours. Banana chips, fresh strawberries, lemon slices, mint leaves, candied lemon peel, freeze-dried berries…. the list could go on! Here is the recipe, and I hope you have a lovely week πŸ™‚

Banana, Lemon and Strawberry Ring Cake
Ingredients:
Cake:
2&1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Zest of one lemon
3 bananas, mashed
1 punnet/cup strawberries (give or take)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
250mls+ water
Frosting:
75g butter, softened
Zest of one lemon
1 cup+ icing sugar
To decorate:
Geranium leaves/edible flower petals
Kaffir lime leaves
Lemon Zest

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a ring/Bundt tin.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and lemon zest until combined.

Blitz the strawberries until smooth, and mix in a bowl with the bananas, eggs and vanilla essence. Mix VERY gently into the dry ingredients along with the water, until the batter is smooth. If the mixture is too thick, then add a bit more water.

Pour into the tin and bake for an hour, until the a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool in the tin for about 20 mins, then remove and cool on a wire rack.

When cool, beat together the butter, lemon zest and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Spread on top of the cake, then decorate with edible flowers, leaves, lemon zest and maybe some more strawberries.

Makes quite a large cake, and lasts well about 3 days.

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Vegan Lemon-Banana Cupcakes


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As promised, more cupcakes! These ones are even vegan πŸ™‚ (Although if you want to put butter in your buttercream, then you do that, you are in charge here). The cupcakes themselves only take a few minutes to get into the oven, and are one bowl too.


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They are quite tropical, and if you want to make them more of a winter after-noon tea fix, then maybe take out the lemon in the cake and add some cocoa instead of zest and juice in the frosting. I’d recommend these if you are, or are baking with, someone who is quite new to all this mixing and measuring and pouring stuff. And if you are a beginner, welcome to the wonderful world of baking, please make yourself quite at home πŸ™‚

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Banana and Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting
Ingredients:
Banana and Lemon Cupcakes
1.5 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup any sugar
Juice of 1.5 lemons
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2 mashed bananas
1/3 cup oil
About 3/4 cup water
Frosting:
3 TbspΒ vegan spread/butter alternative
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
1&1/3 cups icing sugar
1-2 tsp milk
To decorate:
Banana chips
Coconut shavings

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a cupcake tin with patty cases.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and sugar. Make a well in the centre, pour in the lemon juice, vinegar, mashed bananas and oil. Pour over half the water and mix well, adding the rest of the water a bit at a time until you have quite a runny batter (don’t worry if you aren’t 100% sure about the consistency!).

Pour into the patty cases and bake for about 20 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting, soften the butter/spread and mix with the lemon zest, lemon juice and icing sugar until thick and fluffy. This will probably take a few minutes. Add the milk if the frosting is getting a little too thick to mix.

Spoon into a piping bag and pipe swirls onto each of the cupcakes (I didn’t do very generous, rich ones, just enough to make them look pretty πŸ™‚ ) or spread the icing on with a knife; up to you!

Decorate each one with a banana chip and some coconut shavings if desired.

Makes 12, and tastes just as delicious the next day (some even say better…..)

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Have a good week everyone!

Gluten Free Chocolate Mini Cakes with Fresh Wild Mint Frosting

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The beginning of my cupcake mania, to raise money for Syrian Refugees; everyone seems to adore the chocolate and mint combination, and who can blame them? These cupcakes are divine, gluten free, almost dairy free and the perfect size.

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If you don’t feel like decorating with the crystallised mint leaves and having to do them the night before, I’m sure fresh ones will work just fine!Β 

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As the mint is fresh, the frosting does turn a little brown after a few hours so don’t panic; if you want it to be bright green then you could add some colouring or just make the frosting closer to serving πŸ™‚

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Anyway, enjoy and I have lots more cupcake/mini cake recipes coming!

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Gluten Free Chocolate Mini Cakes with Fresh Wild Mint Frosting
Ingredients:
Mini-Cakes:
2 Tbsp cocoa
3 Tbsp hot water
1 cup ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
100ml oil
1/2 cup sugar
Frosting:
6 mint leaves
1 tbsp butter, softened (or vegan spread)
1 tsp milk
1/2 cup icing sugar
To decorate:
About 6 mint leaves
Egg white and caster sugar

Instructions:
The night before, coat the mint leaves in egg white and then sugar. Drape them on a whisk and dry overnight.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius and line or grease a 12-hole cupcake pan.

Mix together the cocoa and hot water. In another bowl, mix the ground almonds and the baking soda.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the cocoa mixture, and gently follow with the ground almond mixture.

Spoon evenly in the cupcake tin and bake for 20 minutes until a skewer comes out with only a few crumbs. Leave to cool.

Now to frost, in a blender, whizz up all the ingredients! Annnd done, now spread some icing on the top of each cupcake and stack them, so you have 6. Add a crystallised mint leaf on top and enjoy πŸ™‚

Makes 6, and they last quite well!

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‘Apple Pie’ Sandwich Cookies

Hello everyone! Hope you’ve been having a good week πŸ™‚

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I’ve been trying to perfect the art of baking for two in my Aunty’s tiny Wellington kitchen πŸ™‚ Sadly I can’t get the photos off my phone at the moment, apologies, so here is a recipe from my last holidays!

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Apples and cinnamon are just best friends, right? Apple crumble, apple tart, cinnamon porridge with apples, the all famous apple pie….. and now in cookie form too πŸ˜€

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They aren’t really difficult, they just have three components (which aren’t difficult either!) and they even have an apple filling! Which is just apple and a bit of honey. Mmmm. You could put jam into the middle and make it a linzer torte sandwhich cookie, or even just use apple butter/puree that you already have or have bought πŸ™‚

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The cookies are nice and soft sugar cookies so the filling doesn’t squish out when you bite down…..! Usually I’m a crunchy biscuit kinda gal but I thought I’d honour the northern hemishpere with this one πŸ™‚ Plus apple pie is much celebrated there!

‘Apple Pie’ Sandwich Cookies
Ingredients:
Cinnamon Cookies:
75g butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1&1/4 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
Apple Filling:
1/2 an apple
1 tsp honey
Cinnamon-Apple Frosting:
25g butter, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
->some apple filling from above
Dash of milk

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease or line one baking tray.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gently mix in the egg. Combine 1 cup of flour with the cinnamon (just so you don’t add too much, it depends on the size of the egg!) and add it to the butter mixture a bit at a time. Continue to add until you have a firm dough (at this point you may have to add the extra flour). Roll out until 3-4mm thick and cut into cookies (I used an apple shaped cutter I remembered I had from when I was tiny! You can use any cutter you like). Place on the tray and bake about 10 minutes, until firm and the cookies move when nudged. Cool completely.

Meanwhile you can make the filling! Chop up the apple into tiny little cubes (or grate it and chop finely if you like) and place in a small bowl. Microwave on high for a minute and stir in the honey. Microwave for another minute. The apples should be golden cooked through. Chill.

Now, for the frosting! Beat that butter, icing sugar and cinnamon until smooth and light! Add in a about 2 tsps of the apple filling too.

To assemble, pair up the cookies into similar sized ones (sometimes they get a little morphed). Onto the bottom of one cookie, pipe or spread some frosting, leaving a gap into the middle for the filling. Dollop in about 1/2 a tsp of the apple filling into the hole and place the bottom side of the top cookie on top! Repeat until finished πŸ™‚

Note: I like to frost all the bottom halves of the cookies first so that I can use up all the frosting and have it all even. Up to you!

Makes 16, they last well for 3 days!

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Have a good week everyone! Also yummmm apple pie πŸ™‚
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Sami xx

Chocolate and Liquorice Allsort Birthday Cake

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I imagine my little 13-year-old self was quite pleased with this one, as was my grandfather; it was his birthday cake πŸ™‚
There is nothing quite like a good cake, is there? And when celebration is necessary, cake comes with it hand in hand….birthday cake is probably my favorite thing to bake in the world anyway! I am sure you have fond memories of your own birthday cakes, or perhaps ones that you have made for ones you love.
Or perhaps you make cakes for a living, in which case, I both jealous and incredibly happy for you!
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This is just a nice chocolate cake with whipped chocolate ganache frosting, and than a brocade of liqourice allsorts for decoration; there is no liquorice flavour IN the cake (although I do have a recipe for that, which I am quite excited to try….!). You could easily make it with any other decorations on top, or just leave it plain. I have a photo of it without the candy below the recipe, in case you want to check it out.

Chocolate and Liquorice Allsort Birthday Cake

Cake:
170g butter
1/3 cup castor sugar
1&1/2 cups flour
1&1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp cocoa
Pinch of salt
3 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
Whipped chocolate ganache:
150g milk chocolate
3/4 cup cream
To decorate:
200g liquorice allsorts

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 180Β°C and grease two 20cm diameter cake tins.

Beat together the butter and sugar until smooth, then sift together the flour, salt and cocoa. Beat into the butter with the eggs. Combine until smooth. Add the milk if you think the batter is a bit thick. Divide the batter between the tins and smooth over. Bake for about 15 minutes, and until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove from tins and cool completely.

Melt the chocolate over a pot of simmering water. Turn off the heat and slowly mix in the cream. Leave until cool. Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer and whip high speed, or use a whisk or egg beaters. Beat until light and fluffy.

Level off the top of one of the cakes and spread a bit of icing. Then place the other cake on top. Spread the remaining icing over the cake. Arrange the liquorices allsorts over the cake. Store in an airtight container.

Lasts forΒ  3 days

Makes 12 slices

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Enjoy your birthday cake endeavours, and the rest of your endeavours for that matter πŸ™‚

Easy Chocolate Cake with Berry Frosting

Part two of the “Yay it’s the end of the year!” cake baking day. Even better, the cake itself is vegan!
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The frosting rosettes were ‘just because’ but if it’s not your style, it’s by no means necessary πŸ™‚ I iced the cake in an odd manner in the way that I frosted the top layer first, to make sure I had enough frosting for the rosettes, then did the filling, but you can do it as you wish! Any berries would go nicely, boysenberries and blueberries would give a purple colour and just strawberries would make it a lighter pink.
Anyway, here is the recipe. It’s quite a light cake and I would add about 1/4 cup more sugar next time.
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Easy Chocolate Cake with Berry Frosting
Ingredients:
Cake:
260g flour
10g cocoa
1&1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup brown sugar
Β½ cup neutral oil
4 tsp vinegar
1&1/3 cup water
Frosting and Filling:
200g frozen mixed berries
20g honey
75g butter
150g icing sugar

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two 22cm diameter circle cake tins with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and sugar. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil, vinegar and water, then mix until combined. Divide evenly between the tins and bake for 35 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, make the berry coulis. Heat the berries and the honey over low heat until thick. Leave to cool and then chill until needed.
When ready to frost, strain about 1/3 of the coulis so it is seedless. Soften the butter and whip until pale, then add the icing sugar bit by bit until combined (I did this with an electric mixer), adding a bit of the strained coulis when it gets too thick. When light and fluffy and thick enough to pipe, spread enough frosting on the layer of cake that will be the top layer, so that there is a nice and smooth layer for the top. Spoon about half of what is left into a piping bag with a star tip and pipe a border of frosting on the top layer. Add as much coulis as you like to the rest of the frosting (not too much or the frosting turns a funny texture) then spread it onto the top of the other cake layer. If you have any coulis left, you can spread this on top of the filling. Now place the top cake layer on top of the bottom one, creating a two layered cake with a nice pink filling. Store in an airtight container. Lasts a few days when uniced, the cake keeps well.

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I am looking forward to fresh berries in summer πŸ™‚

Maple Spiced Banana Cake with Maple and Cinnamon Laced Frosting

When the end of the year approaches, so does celebration of all our hard work…. and what does celebration call for? Cake!
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When my little brother caught me sprinkling cinnamon on some apples the other day, he said “Are you turning American?”. Perplexed, I told him no, but asked why he would think so.
“Because Americans put cinnamon on everything!”
Well, whether or not this is true, I don’t see any reason why not. Cinnamon is a superfood, afterall, and marries quite well indeed with maple syrup and bananas.
Voila! The inspiration for this cake!
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Banana cakes are easy (as long as you use the right tin to bake them in, I’ve had that disaster before and it was not pretty…. so please, use a ring tin for this πŸ™‚ )!
I am sure you have time to whip one up, especially if there are some bananas sitting neglected in the fruit bowl. But even if you don’t have time, even just thinking about making one could be nice πŸ™‚

Here is the recipe!

Maple Spiced Banana Cake with Maple and Cinnamon Laced Frosting
Ingredients:
Cake:
150g plain flour
50g whole wheat flour
1&1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
80g brown sugar
Β½ tsp ground cinnamon
275g mashed banana (I used about 3 small)
25g maple syrup
2 eggs
125ml plain oil
Frosting:
75g butter
35g maple syrup
150g icing sugar
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
20mls milk

Instructions:
Grease a ring cake tin with oil or butter and preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
In a large bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda and baking powder until well combined. In another bowl, mix together the banana, maple syrup, eggs and oil, then fold into the dry ingredients until combined. Pour into the tin, spread evenly and bake about 40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool half an hour, unmould and cool completely on a wire rack.
When ready to frost, soften the butter and beat with the maple syrup until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and cinnamon a bit at a time until combined, adding a bit of milk if it is too thick. It should be nice and billowy and like maple/spice scented cloud! Ice the cake, and sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
Makes one large ring cake, which lasts a few days when stored in an airtight container.

I hope you have the loveliest of weeks and take some time to relax! You deserve it, remember!
Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚
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