Tag Archives: Bread

Banana & Rum Cake


This Banana and Rum cake was made in the spirit of celebrating Fairtrade fortnight, not a gratuitous effort on my part to introduce rum into all aspects of my life.

Banana and Rum Cake (adapted from A Pastry Affair)

(yields a 9 x 5 inch loaf)


115g unsalted butter
150g granulated brown sugar plus a bit more sprinkling on the top
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large ripe bananas, mashed and 1 sliced for decoration
125g plain flour
120g whole wheat flour
1tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
120 ml dark rum or spiced rum (whatever your preference is, I used Sailor Jerry)


1) Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line your loaf pan with greaseproof paper.

2) In a mixing bowl, crean together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk (or by hand if you’re feeling strong) till light and fluffy.

3) One at a time beat in the eggs, ensuring to mix well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla and mashed bananas, mix well.

4) Mix in the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

5) Finally, add the rum, incorporate fully. Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan, place a line a sliced banana pieces down the centre of the pan (it will move when the bread splits) and sprinkle with brown sugar. Place in the middle of the oven for 50 minutes. Check with a toothpick/knife after this amount of time to see if it comes out clean, if not cook for a further 5-10 minutes.

6) Remove from the oven, leave to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Store well (if it lasts that long)



The pastry affair has an abundance of other banana bread recipes I’m eager to try. Banana bread is a common go to recipe due to the simplicity of the ingredients and the fact its pretty much fool proof. Next time I’ll have a bash at the Coconut Pineapple Banana Bread. I’m also really intrigued by Belleau Kitchen’s Salted Caramel Upside Down Banana Cake, it’s simply beautiful!


Sourdough Update and a month of treats.

So my sourdough consumption has slowed down somewhat as dissertation and uni work has taken over my life. But the new addition to my baking cupboard, a banneton proving basket, is making my loaves look beautiful (even if I haven’t quite cracked the right crumb texture yet) I’ll keep you informed of my progress, in the meantime I will be spending my procrastination time searching bakery bits for more bread making accoutrements.



This semester ‘Cake Dates’ have been replaced with ‘Sunday Brunch Dates’, where myself and my flatmate sample the delights of Edinburgh’s finest establishments, thought I’d share a few snaps of what these places have to offer, as well as few other home-made treats and café experiences.

From left to right: Grapefruit Meringue Pie from ‘Lovecrumb’, a organic sausage sandwich and the best brown sauce I’ve ever had from ‘Earthy ‘at Causeway Side (the picture underneath is of some of the organic produce on sale at the market there), a slice of Victoria Sponge to celebrate Edinburgh Baking Society’s First Birthday, A midnight snack with my flatmates- a slice of Coffee Cake and  Gin & Tonic at ‘Bee’s Edinburgh’, home-made Olive and Spinach Pizza, French Toast and Bacon (a hell of a brunch) at ‘The Haven’ in Leith and finally some mini Victoria Sponges made by my flatmate Lizy (http://lizybakes.blogspot.co.uk)!


Starter news (day three and four)

My two successful days in the world of starters must have gone to my head because I royally cocked up my third. In a state of tiredness following a 6am five hour train journey to Edinburgh (clutching my starter, affectionately known as Garth, the whole time) I misread Dan Lepard’s instructions and made the (hopefully) common mistake of misreading ‘tsp’ for ‘tbsp’. So Garth the starter was massively overfed. However, rather than start all over again I have decided to persevere with Garth, and today (day four) he is looking exactly the way he is meant to. So maybe my mistake was more of a cheeky blunder than the mammoth cock up I had previously described it as.

Day Three. 

Dan Lepard says that by day three the raisins will have stated to break down and you will have started to notice a light, coffee coloured ring around the area in which they sit. He also says that there will be the odd pinhole of fermentation on the surface. All of which Garth had pre-train jostling, but the photograph does show some of these signs.



So to proceed with Dan’s method on day three you must…


100g water and 20 degrees

4 rounded tsp strong white flour

4 rounded tsp rye flour


1) Add the water, stir well to combine.

2) Then add the flour and stir well again. Dan says the mixture will look frothy but that is just from the stirring. Cover and leave for another 24 hours.

Day Four.

By now the froth of fermentation should be beginning, but the aroma of acidity should be only slight. Apologies for my photograph it was very dark in my kitchen, but hopefully you can see the fermentation well enough.



100g water at 20 degrees

125g strong white flour


1) Remove and discard three-quarters of the mixture.

2) Add the water and stir well.

3) Strain the mixture in order to get rid of the raisins, pour the strained mixture back into your kilner jar and add the flour and stir well.

4) Cover and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

Bread Christmas Style aka Stollen and a Christmas Round Up.

Christmas starts for me with a mug of Glühwein and a slice of stollen so this year, after a year of bread making,  I decided I should make my own. After much research and deliberation I decided upon a Dan Lepard recipe, I’m obsessed with his guardian website page and his recipes are always easy to follow and informative. Bread is his speciality and his knowledge seemingly knows no bounds, so I felt like I was in safe hands having never attempted to make stollen before. His recipe uses a ten second kneading method which is repeated several times. I was dubious about this at first as the dough was very moist and sticky, but I persevered and the end result was great so I will no longer doubt it in future. The recipe I used yielded two large loaves, which can be frozen and do store well, but you may want to half the recipe if you’re already too full of christmas fare.

Stollen. (adapted from Dan Lepard)



Dan Lepard’s recipe uses the ‘sponge’ method, where the yeast is left to ferment in a separate mixture before being added to the main bulk of the ingredients.

For the Sponge:

50g strong white bread flour IMG_0690
1 tsp caster sugar
2 level tsp easy-blend yeast
100 ml warm milk

For the Dough:

450g strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3/4 tsp salt
50g icing sugar
150g unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
2 tbsp spiced rum
175g warm milk
250g raisins
125g mixed peel
250g golden marzipan
melted butter and icing sugar to finish

For variation you could add other dried fruit in place of raisins, such as dried cranberries or apricots


1) For the sponge; mix together all the ingredients in a bowl, leave to stand in a warm place for 30 minutes, the mixture should be bubbling.


2) Meanwhile, place the flour for the dough in a  wide mixing bowl with the cinnamon, lemon zest, icing sugar and salt. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingers until all the lumps disappear.

3) After the sponge has been left for 30 minutes, beat the egg, rum and warm milk into it and  then pour this into the flour mixture. Add the dried fruit and stir everything together. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 10 mins.


4) After 10 minutes lightly oil the work surface and your hands and gently knead the dough for 10 seconds. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave for another 10 mins. Repeat this light-kneading twice more at 10-min intervals. Once done, leave the dough covered in a warm place for a further 30 mins.

5) Then divide the dough into two pieces and form each in to a ball. On a lightly dusted work surface, roll each ball of dough out into an oval using a rolling pin, roughly 2 cm thick. Take the marzipan, divide it in half, and roll each piece into a sausage the same length as each oval of dough. Place the marzipan along the length of the dough, and then fold the dough in half so that the marzipan is covered. Press gently around where the marzipan is  to seal the marzipan in. Place each stollen on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment, leaving space between each of them so they don’t merge when proving. Place the tray in a carrier bag to create a pocket of warmth and moisture and leave in a warm place for about an hour, or until the stollen have almost doubled in volume. Meanwhile pre-heat your oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

IMG_06956) Bake the loaves on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 mins, reduce the heat to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 and cook for a further 20 mins. Like bread, turn over a tap to see if the loaves are hollow and thus cooked. Remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. While still warm, brush each stollen with melted butter and dredge heavily with icing sugar, then wrap in greaseproof paper and tie with string. Store in a air-tight container. The loaves keep for up to two weeks. If making again I would definitely half the recipe, although I did make a stollen based bread and butter pudding with the second loaf.


So I’ve been pretty bad with blogging this festive season, bad internet coupled with busy christmas plans has lead to a neglecting my duties. So here’s a cheeky photo montage of christmas baking and general foodie-ness. Highlights include the two Christmas Puddings  made earlier in december, puff pastry mince pies, my new gorgeous anthropologie measuring spoons, chocolate orange star biscuits, turkey pie, my new le creuset pestle and mortar, Moran family pickles, red onion and cheddar soda bread and stollen bread and butter pudding.


Winter Warmers- Roasted Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup with Red Onion and Cheddar Soda bread

Winter is well and truly upon us, and as the days get shorter and colder there’s nothing better than hot soup and home made bread. Soup is a student’s best friend, myself and my flatmates have soup for at least one meal a week. Making your own soup is often cheaper than buying supermarket alternatives, and gives you the freedom to experiment. It’s pretty fool-proof, get some vegetables, add stock et voila…soup. Roasted pepper soup is one of my staples, roasting your vegetables gives the flavour extra depth and the addition of sweet potato makes for a thicker texture.

Roasted Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup


5 red, orange or yellow peppers, deseeded and cut into rough, thick, slices.

1 red onion, sliced

3 cloves of garlic

1tsp dried oregano

1tsp chilli powder

150g dried red lentils

2tbsp olive oil

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed.

1 litre vegetable stock.

salt and pepper to taste


1) Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6, place the peppers, red onion and garlic into a large roasting tin, pour over the olive oil and stir to ensure it covers all the vegetables. Sprinkle over the dried oregano and season well. Roast in the oven for 25-20 minutes.

2) Once roasted place in a large saucepan with the cubed sweet potato, lentils and vegetable stock, bring to a fast boil then reduce the heat to simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes until the sweet potato has cooked.

3) Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly (if you blitz it straight away you run the risk of scalding hot soup being flung into your face, not fun) Once cooled slightly, blitz with a hand-held mixer until smooth. Stir in the chilli powder and season to taste. Return to the heat and heat but do not boil. Serve hot.

Red Onion and Cheddar Soda Bread

Soda bread is extremely versatile not to mention quick and simple to make. It’s stodgy, moist and, unlike most breads, contains no yeast (hence why it is so quick to make). An Irish favourite that relies on the reaction between baking powder and buttermilk to form bubbles of carbon dioxide to give it its rise. I used one of Paul Hollywood’s recipes for a twist on the original plain recipe, although I have to admit I added more cheddar than he recommends as I am a dairy fiend. I’m not going to do his recipe the injustice of rewriting, so here’s it word for word.

(makes two loaves)


500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour, and extra for dusting

1 1/2 tsp salt

300ml/ 1/2 pint of buttermilk (I just used natural yoghurt and 2 tbsp of lemon juice)

30g/1 oz caster sugar

25g/3 oz butter, softened

20g/1/4oz baking powder

1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped

75g/3oz strong cheddar cheese, grated


1)Preheat the oven to 220c/gas mark 7. Place a baking tray in the oven.

2)Put all the ingredients except the onion and cheese in a food mixer and, using a paddle blade and medium speed, blend together for two minutes. Alternatively, put into a bowl and mix well by hand for 5 minutes. Add the onion and cheese and incorporate, either by hand or in the mixer (don’t overmix), into the dough.

3) Divide the dough into two pieces and tip out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape each piece into a ball, then flatten each with your hand so they are approximately 5cm/2cm inches thick. Cut a deep cross into each, dust with a little flour and put on to the hot baking tray.

4) Bake for 30 minutes, then serve warm.


This track has nothing to do with anything mentioned in this recipe, surprisingly there are very few songs about soup or sweet potatoes, but its a great song none-the-less, so enjoy..

Tiger Bread Rolls

Tiger bread, or giraffe bread as I probably should refer to it as, is one of my favourite things, ever. I’ve only made it once or twice before, it’s relatively easy. Although, I don’t think I applied a thick enough layer of paste on this batch of rolls, they still turned out okay.


500g strong white flour

7g/one sachet fast action yeast

1tsp salt

300ml lukewarm water

3tbsp sesame oil

for the tiger paste;

1 1/2 tsp fast action yeast

70ml lukewarm water

1 tsp sugar

60g corn flour

1 1/2 tsp olive oil


1) In a large bowl, place the flour, yeast and salt. Ensuring the salt and yeast are at separate ends and do not touch, as the salt will kill the yeast.

2) Mix together the dry ingredients, then add the oil and water to form a sticky dough.

3) Place on an oiled surface and knead for 5-10 minute, until the dough is elastic.

5) Oil a large bowl and place the dough inside, cover with cling-film and leave to prove in a warm place for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

6) To make the paste; combine the corn flour, sugar and yeast, pour in the oil and water and mix to a paste, leave for 15 minutes.

7) Once the dough has doubled in size, place back on to an oiled surface and knock back. Divide into 8 equal bits. Shape into rolls, I use Paul Hollywood’s method of making a claw with your hand and encasing the dough, rolling against the surface to form a smooth ball.

8) Place on an oiled baking tray, leaving space for the rolls to expand. Using a pastry brush, brush a thick layer of the paste on top of the rolls.

9) Cover the rolls , ensuring not to touch the tops as not to remove the paste, the best method is to use two plastic bags, put back into a warm place and prove for a further 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6.

10) Once the rolls have almost doubled in size, bake in the oven for 15-20 mins, until golden brown. To see if they are cooked through, turn one over and knock it, it should sound hollow.

I think these are best served once cooled and with lashings of butter, or alongside some home made soup to keep those winter chills at bay!

Everything-in-the-Cupboard Granary Plaited Loaf


This is called an ‘everything in the cupboard’ loaf as its very adaptable to whatever seeds or herbs you have in your cupboard, and can use any kind of bread flour. I used plain strong white, but wholemeal or seeded would be great. And you can shape it as you wish, I love plaited loaves (apart from 8 strand plaited loaves, damn you Paul Hollywood) they’re a quick way to produce a professional looking loaf.


500g or 1lb bread flour, whatever your preference is, I used strong white.

7g or one sachet of fast action yeast.

1.5 tsp salt

150g mixed seeds, I used sunflower, linseed and poppy seeds.

1tbsp dried rosemary (or any herb of your choice, sage works nicely)

3tbsp of olive oil (preferably extra virgin)

1 egg ( for eggwash before baking)


1) Measure into a large bowl your flour, salt and yeast. Ensuring that the yeast and the salt are on separate sides of the bowl as direct contact will mean the salt will kill the yeast. Add the mixture of seeds and herbs, stir together.

2) Measure the water (some people use 2/3 tap water to 1/3 boiled water, I just use hand hot water from a tap). Make a claw shape with your hand, pour the water into the dry mixture and using your ‘claw’ mix until a dough is formed and all the liquid is used up.

4) Place your dough on a lightly floured surface, try to use as little flour as possible, as this will be worked into the dough, and too much is effectively adding flour to a recipe that has enough and will cause your dough to be dense. Knead for around 5-10 mins until your dough is elastic.

5) Place in an oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

6) You will know your dough is ready to knock back when you press it and it springs back. When this is the case, remove from the bowl and knead for a further 5 minutes, this will remove some of the excess air.

7) Shape your dough to desired shape and place on an oiled baking sheet. If plaiting, diving into three strands, push together the three straight at the top and proceed to plait, when you get to the end combine all the strands and tuck the end under the bread to leave a neat edge. Place on oiled baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 30-40 minutes to prove.

8) Preheat your oven to 220 degrees/gas mark 7.

9) The loaf should almost double in size, and again be springy to touch. Finally using a pastry brush egg-wash your loaf and place in the middle of the oven for 15minutes, after 15 min turn the oven down to 190 degrees/gas mark 5 and cook for another 15 mins. Turn the loaf over and tap to see if it sounds hollow, this will mean its cooked through, if not return to the oven for a few more minutes.