Friday, November 21, 2014

Sticky Toffee Pear and Gingerbread Upside Down Cake Pudding!

She may not win any competitions for prettiest cake but she might win some for taste - especially if you're after a sticky, gooey, gingerbready cake with tooth and lusciousness!

If you follow my blog recipes you will know by now how many times I use my sticky toffee pudding sauce in other recipes - it is just fantastic - very simple, easy to make and it goes with or on almost anything sweet - over ice cream, in actually sticky toffee pudding recipes, over steamed puddings and cakes, in apple pies and gallettes - you name it I bet this sauce will improve it!

So make your sticky toffee sauce first:

2 1/2oz/ heaped 1/4 cup brown sugar 

 1 1/2 oz / 3 tablespoons salted butter 

 2 tablespoons cream or half and half 

1. Put all three ingredients in a pan to melt together, mix and keep mixing whilst letting it bubble a couple of minutes until it gets a bit thick - allow to cool and then pour into a well buttered cake tin - I always use a 6" round so the cake is small in diameter and taller because of it but you can do an 8" and the cake of course will be shallower and may take a shorter time to bake - so beware of that!!

2. Now slice one good firm pear into about 1/4" slices and arrange on top of the sauce in the bottom of the tin:
 For the cake part: please have your ingredients at room temperature and your oven at 350F to start
5 1/5 ozs/ 1 1/4 cups/ 150 g white flour sifted

1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda/baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt 

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

 1 teaspoon cardamom 

2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger root - I was lucky enough to get local Maine ginger and it is gorgeous!

1 egg whisked

2 fluid ounces/ 1/4 cup treacle/molasses 

4 oz/ 1/2 cup/ 125g sugar 

1 fluid ounce/ 1/8 cup  whole milk 

2 1/2 ozs/ 5 tablespoons/60g melted butter 

2oz chopped crystallized ginger 

1/2 a chopped pear
1. Sift all the dry ingredients together (not the pear or ginger) in a medium sized bowl.
2. Mix all the wet ingredients together and blend well.

3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet and mix together til smooth and even.

4. Add the ginger and chopped pear - mix well til evenly distributed.

5. Dollop batter atop pears and sauce and gently smooth until evenly spread in the pan

6. Cover with parchment to prevent the top burning - I didn't do that at the very beginning and I should have done - my cake top got a little burnt as you can see:
7. Bake at 350F for 30 mins and then lower to 325F for about another half an hour, but check at 15 mins (especially if you used an 8" cake pan) until a toothpick comes out of the cake clean - don't push the toothpick to the bottom of the pan or you'll get sauce on it and think the cake is not done.

8. Leave in the pan for about 10 minutes and then flip onto a plate and watch the sauce flow over the cake and pool around - ahhhhh!!!
If you're really lucky - as I was - the pears will be in tact and stay on the cake neatly when you flip it over!
Allow to cool completely, and if it's possible keep to the next day for the ginger flavour to develop - if you can't wait that long wait as long as you can before devouring!
We had half the day of and the rest the next day - a fair compromise methinks!!
Soft caramelly pears, sticky gooey top to the cake and a toothsome cake gingerbread body - just aching to be eaten with a nice hot cuppa!!!

And may I introduce you to my little buddy Ginger - doesn't this look like a little clown like creature with eyes closed and little eyelashes - such a character - it was hard to eat but I managed!!
Well HAPPY BAKING my friends - please let me know if you make this - it would be a good Thanksgiving dessert - very seasonally appropriate.

You can post your pics on my FACEBOOK PAGE - I'd love to see your cakes!

Thanks, Patricia

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

I wasn't quite expecting this much snow!

So there I was  going to bed round 3am - for I truly am a night owl - on November 1st watching a flake or two falling gaily from the sky amidst rain and sleet and checking the weather forecast which was saying 5 to 8 inches of snow the next day thinking maybe they were wrong. Nope - it appears, as you can see from my pictures, that I was the one who was wrong. I awoke next morning to see a blizzard in full swing ready to turn into a maelstrom of wild winds and accumulating heavy, wet, snowman snow! Luckily I had fired up my camera just before the power went off at noonish November 2nd only to return two days later with the internet not coming on for another 12 hours. It was wild but awfully pretty and very The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe-y.

Here's the storm gearing up:
 and in full swing...
Before the storm began I was worried these last 2 of a very meagre crops of apples wouldn't make it through....
- I should have worried about the trees themselves - two of which lost large limbs but are still standing old and proud. We were lucky as we saw when we drove into town, so many limbs were down and the clean up is still continuing.
The day after the storm was bright and sunny and almost balmy. 
the roads were perfectly clear and it was so strange to see so many trees still with leaves and colour against the snow
Luckily we had our sturdy old wood stove to keep us warm and toasty, she heated the house and provided a way to cook for the couple of days we were without power.
Maybe winter is already over?