WE have all gone totally bananas for baking.
The most searched for recipe on BBC Good Food is banana bread followed by brownies, scones and lemon drizzle.
But if you are getting bored of classic bakes, Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain has some tricks up her sleeve.
The TV cook said: “With more time at home, we’re all managing to squeeze in even more of our favourite British pastime – baking.
“For me, there’s nothing more fun than taking a traditional recipe and adding an unexpected twist.”
From peanut butter banana bread to back-to-front baked cheesecake, Nadiya shares her alternative recipes.
Peanut honeycomb banana cake
For the honeycomb:
- Butter, for greasing
- 200g caster sugar
- 5 tbsp golden syrup (about 100g)
- 75g roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the cake:
- 100g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 175g soft brown sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 200g mashed banana)
- 225g self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the peanut butter icing:
- 60g unsalted butter
- 60g smooth peanut butter
- 120g icing sugar, sifted 2 tbsp whole milk
- 100g peanut honeycomb (see above), crushed
- Start with the honeycomb, which you need to make a few hours in advance.
- Lightly grease a large baking tray, preferably one with an edge, as once the magic happens this stuff travels! Line with baking paper.
- Put the sugar and golden syrup into a medium pan on a medium heat and allow to cook gently. Have a cup of water handy with a pastry brush in it.
- Occasionally brush down the inner edge of the pan just above the sugar, to wash away any sugar crystals and help stop the mixture crystallizing.
- Once the sugar has melted, turn the heat up just a little and leave the mixture to bubble away, until the whole thing turns a rich amber colour (145-150C on a sugar thermometer).
- As soon as it reaches this stage, add the peanuts and stir through. Now add the bicarbonate of soda and stir it in really well. The mixture will bubble and rise up. Mix well and pour into the prepared tray.
- It will spread of its own accord.
- Set aside and let it cool. This can take a few hours.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Grease the base and sides of a 20cm round loose-bottomed cake tin. Line it with baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat the eggs in a bowl and mix in the mashed banana. Add to the butter and sugar and mix to combine well. Add the flour and baking powder and fold in until you have a smooth batter (as smooth as it can be with lumps of banana in it!). Pour the mixture into the tin and level the surface. Bake for 45-50 minutes.
- Take the cake out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
- For the icing, mix the butter and peanut butter until combined into a smooth paste. Add the icing sugar and milk and whisk until light and fluffy.
- Once the cake is completely cooled, smother it with the peanut butter icing.
- Take 100g of the honeycomb, crush it up roughly and use it to decorate the top.
- In theory that should leave you some spare honeycomb to eat before you even get to the cake.
Back-to-back baked cheesecake
For the cheesecake:
- Butter, for greasing
- 900g full-fat cream cheese
- 200g caster sugar
- 150ml soured cream
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 3 medium eggs, beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
For the honey salted caramel:
- 50g butter
- 170g set honey
- 300ml double cream
- ½ tsp salt
For the tiffin crumble:
- 150g digestives, roughly crushed
- 75g unsalted butter
- 30g demerara sugar
- 50g dark chocolate chips or chunks
- 50g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas mark 3. Grease the base of a 20cm round cake tin (it mustn’t be loose- bottomed, imagine the leakage), and line it with baking paper.
- Put the cream cheese, sugar, soured cream, flour, eggs and vanilla paste into a large bowl and give it all a good mix for a minute or so until it is well combined. You don’t want to mix for too long and incorporate any air.
- Pour the mixture into prepared tin, tap it on the worktop to release any trapped air, then level the surface. Bake on the lower shelf of the oven for one hour.
- As soon as the hour is up, open the oven door, leaving it slightly ajar. Pop a wooden spoon in the door to keep it just open and let heat out slowly. Turn the oven off.
- Don’t take the cheesecake out until the oven is completely cold. This recipe is more about patience than anything else.
- Once the oven is cool, there’s more waiting, I’m afraid. Put the cheesecake into the fridge to chill overnight. Next day, it’s time to make the honey salted caramel.
- Put the butter into a small pan on a medium heat. As soon as it has melted, add the honey and cook on a medium to high heat for ten minutes, until the caramel is a golden brown. If it starts to catch, just turn the heat down slightly.
- After ten minutes, pour in the cream, give it a mix and allow it to just come up to the boil. Take off the heat and stir in the salt. Set aside.
- To make the tiffin crumble, put the biscuits into a zip-lock bag and crush them very roughly.
I like a good mix of big pieces, small bits and lots of crumbs. Empty into a bowl. Melt the butter and pour it onto the biscuits.
- Leave to cool for about ten minutes, while you take the cheesecake out of the fridge and turn it out on to a serving plate.
- Add the sugar, chocolate and hazelnuts to the buttery biscuit chunks.
Reheat the caramel if it has cooled too much, and pour over the cheesecake.
- Now for the back-to-front bit.
- Put the tiffin mixture on top of the cheesecake, but not in any neat fashion or packed tightly – just
piled on top in peaks and troughs.
- For any of you who have had past cheesecakes fly across the table from the sheer brute force of fighting to cut a tight biscuit base, you are welcome!
Freezethe results and other tips
- FREEZE YOUR BAKES: Baking in bulk doesn’t mean you have to eat everything at once – although it can be tempting. You can freeze an unfrosted cake or scones to keep for another day when you have sweet cravings.
- SOFTEN BUTTER: You can pop straight-from-the-fridge rock-hard butter in the microwave but there’s always the risk it will melt entirely. My trick is to pour boiling water into a cup then empty it. I place the warm cup on top of the butter to let it soften gently.
- TEMPERATURE MATTERS: Always check your oven is preheated and set to the right temperature. This might sound obvious but you won’t believe how many people (myself included) get this wrong.
- GREASE UP: There’s nothing worse than baking a cake perfectly then realising you can’t get it out of the tin. Make sure you use greaseproof paper to line any bakes to ensure they survive de-tinning in one piece.
- START SMALL: If you are new to baking I would recommend trying something simple, like brownies, using a timer and following the instructions to the letter. Once you’ve got the hang of the basics, you can then start to be more adventurous.
- HAVE FUN: Baking is a great way to keep the kids amused on a quiet day – especially when you’re spending a lot of time indoors. I love getting the kids involved and they can often suggest new things to try out to.
Preserved lemon traybake
(Makes 12 squares)
For the cake:
- 225g unsalted butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 275g self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 4 large eggs
- 4 tbsp whole milk
- 1 lemon, zest only
- For the topping:
- 2 preserved lemons
- 1 x 170g tin of evaporated milk
- Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas mark 3. Grease and line a 30cm x 23cm traybake tin.
- Put the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, milk and zest into a mixing bowl and mix on a high speed for two minutes, until you have a smooth, shiny batter.
- Pour it into the prepared tin and level the top. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
- Discard any pips from the preserved lemons, then blitz with the evaporated milk and pass through a sieve.
- While the cake is still hot, spread the salty lemony milk all over it, so it can be absorbed.
- After 15 minutes, remove the cake from the tin and it is ready to slice.
- This can be eaten cold, but is best warm.
- The cake freezes well – just wrap it in foil and then tightly in cling film
Cheese scones with chive butter
For the scones:
- 175g self-raising flour
- 50g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
- ¼ tsp onion salt
- 55g unsalted butter
- 25g Red Leicester, grated
- 150ml whole milk, plus extra for glazing
- For the chive butter:
- 80g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp rock salt
- 20g chives, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/gas mark 7. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Put the flours, onion salt and butter into a bowl. Rub the butter in with your fingertips until it has mixed in well and created a breadcrumb consistency.
- Add the cheese and mix. Make a well in the centre and add the milk. Mix with a palette knife, then use your hands to bring the dough together. Be careful not to knead or the dough will become tough.
- Dust your worktop with flour and push the dough out to a thickness of about 2cm. Using a 5cm cutter, using one downward motion, cut out the scones and lay them on the tray. Bring the offcuts together, being careful not to knead.
- Cut out as many circles as you can until you run out of dough.
- Brush the tops with milk and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the scones are golden and well risen.
- To make the chive butter, mix the softened butter with the salt and chives. Lay out a piece of cling film and tip out the butter on to it.
- Tease the cling film so the butter makes a sausage shape. Wrap and twist the ends, then refrigerate and serve in slices with the scones.
- 275g unsalted butter, softened
- 375g caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 75g cocoa powder
- 100g self-raising flour
- 100g dark chocolate chips
- 100g seedless raspberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas mark 4.
- Grease and line a 30 x 23 x 4cm baking tin.
- Put the butter, sugar, eggs, cocoa powder and self-raising flour in a stand mixer, and mix on medium for two minutes.
- This will take around five minutes with a handheld mixer.
- Now add the chocolate chips and mix them through using a spatula.
- Pour the mixture into the tin and spread it out evenly using a spatula, making sure to poke it into all the corners.
- Now dot teaspoons of jam all over the brownie mixture, making sure there are gaps between the puddles.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the brownie has a slight crust on top. Leave the brownie to cool in the tin before cutting it into squares to serve.
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