Carrot Loaf Cake

Carrot cake is the best of all the cakes. (In my opinion, at least!) This loaf cake recipe is quick, easy, and most importantly – tasty!

This recipe takes around 20mins to prepare and 1 hour 15mins to bake.

Ingredients (makes 1 loaf)

  • Vegetable oil (140ml)
  • 2 eggs
  • Light brown sugar (200g)
  • Grated carrots (300g)
  • Raisins (100g)
  • Self raising flour (180g)
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp mixed spice

Icing ingredients

  • Cream cheese (180g)
  • Butter (40g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Icing sugar (200g)
  • Zest of one lemon and one orange

Making the mixture

  1. Set the oven to 150degC (fan).
  2. First, line a standard sized loaf tin with grease proof paper and give a quick rub with a drop of oil.
  3. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Grate the carrots.
  5. Add the oil, brown sugar, carrots and raisins into the mixing bowl and mix to combine.
  6. Sift the self raising flour into the bowl, followed by the salt, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice into the bowl.
  7. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and place in the oven for approximately 1hr 15 minutes.
  9. Check that a skewer comes out clean and transfer to a wire rack to cool. (Keep it in the tin for the first 10 minutes before turning out onto the rack)

Prepare the icing

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter together in a bowl using a metal spoon.
  2. Add the vanilla essence and half the grated zests.
  3. Sift the icing sugar and mix until the icing is smooth.
  4. Spread the icing over the cooled cake.
  5. Top with the remaining lemon zest

Make sure you store the cake somewhere cool to prevent the cream cheese icing from running or spoiling.

To be fair, it probably won’t hang around long enough to spoil – everyone will be after a slice!

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Banana Bread

Banana bread is the perfect autumnal recipe for cosy evenings at home!

This recipe takes around 20mins to prepare and 1 hours to bake.

Ingredients (makes 1 loaf)

  • Margarine (100g)
  • Caster sugar (100g)
  • Self raising flour (225g)
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 to 4 bananas (depends on size!)
  • 2tsp mixed spice

Making the mixture

  1. Set the oven to 150degC (fan).
  2. First, grease a standard sized loaf tin using a slither of margarine.
  3. Measure out the margarine and caster sugar into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Cream the marg and sugar together using the back of a spoon.
  5. Next, sieve the flour into the mixing bowl, followed by the baking powder and a pinch of salt.
  6. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly until completely combined. The mixture will be slightly stiff (don’t worry!)
  7. Place the bananas into a plastic bowl and mash with a fork until mushy.
  8. Beat the mashed banana into the cake batter, allowing plenty of air into the mixture, and ensuring that the banana is evenly distributed throughout.
  9. Add the mixed spice and stir well.
  10. Pour mixture into the tin & bake for approximately 1 hour until well risen and firm to the touch.

Finishing Touches

  1. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
  2. Once cooled, cut into slices and serve.

(I recommend a large cup of tea as an accompaniment x x )

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Malteser Slice

One of my mum’s recipes… this has been super popular in our house for at least 25 years! It really never disappoints!

This recipe takes around 20mins to prepare and 3 hours to set.

Ingredients (makes 1 tray)

  • Margarine (115g)
  • Golden Syrup (3 table spoons)
  • Milk chocolate (255g)
  • White chocolate (450g)
  • Digestive biscuits (225g)
  • Maltesers (225g)

Prepping the base

  1. Measure out the margarine, syrup and milk chocolate into a Pyrex mixing bowl.
  2. Set up a “bain-marie” (that’s some boiling water in a saucepan with a glass bowl sitting on top!)
  3. Allow the chocolate mix to melt, stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, crush the digestive biscuits in a food bag with a rolling pin.
  5. Lightly crush your Maltesers in a second food bag – make sure there’s a mixture of well crushed and barely crushed Maltesers.
  6. Once the chocolate has melted, add the crushed digestive biscuits to the mixing bowl and stir.
  7. Add 3/4 of the crushed Maltesers and stir once more.
  8. Lightly grease a high edged baking tray.

Completing your Malteser slice

  1. Pack your chocolatey biscuit base into the baking tray. Level and smooth the mixture as best as you can.
  2. Set up a second bain-marie with your white chocolate, mixing occasionally.
  3. Once the chocolate has fully melted, carefully pour over your biscuit base.
  4. Smooth out your white chocolate and sprinkle the remaining crushed Malteser pieces over the top of the chocolate.
  5. Transfer to the fridge to set for a couple of hours.
  6. Once set, cut into (large!) portions before serving and devouring!

This recipe is perfect for parties, bake sales and picnics! (And is so easy to make!)

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Colossal Cookie

What’s better than cookies?….. uh, COLOSSAL cookies!

These cookies are fudgey and gooey, like a warm brownie. They would make an ideal desert for a casual kid-friendly dinner party.

This recipe takes around 8mins to prep and 25mins to bake.

Ingredients (Makes 1 very large cookie)

  • Baking margarine (200g)
  • Dark Brown sugar (230g)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Plain flour (275g)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g sultanas
  • 2 large handfuls of mini marshmallows!

Making the cookie batter

  1. Measure out your sugar and butter into a large mixing bowl
  2. Combine the butter and the sugar by creaming and beating them together using the back of a spoon. They should be fully blended with no signs of unmixed sugar or lumps of butter.
  3. Separate the yolks from the eggs.
  4. Add in the two yolks and vanilla to the mixture, then stir.
  5. Add the flour and baking powder into the bowl.
  6. Stir until it forms a stiff mixture.
  7. Add the sultanas and mix once more.
  8. Add in marshmallows and then stir for a final time!

Baking

  1. Next, prep your frying pan (make sure it is oven safe first!) by adding some margarine to a paper towel or section of grease-proof paper and rubbing evenly across the surface of the frying pan.
  2. Set your oven to 160degC (temp may vary for each oven)
  3. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on how gooey you would like your cookie.
  4. Leave to stand for at least 5 minutes, ideally 10, before serving

This bake is my version of a BBC good food recipe. The original can be found here; https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/giantcookie

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Butternut squash muffin-cakes

img_0448This is one of my favourite experiments. They’re a bit of a cross between a cake and muffin – with the butternut squash keeping everything moist. Preparing the butternut squash is a bit labour intensive – stick with it though, I promise it’ll come good!

This recipe takes around 20mins to prep and 25mins to bake.

Ingredients (makes 12)

  • Sunflower oil (175ml)
  • Muscovado sugar (175g)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Butternut squash (1 small, or 1/2 a large squash)
  • Sultanas (100g)
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Self raising flour (200g)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Prep the butternut squash

  1. Line a muffin tray with 12 paper cases.
  2. Peel the outer skin away with a vegetable peeler and then grate the butternut squash (this may feel like it’s taking forever, but is totally worth it).

Combine the mixture & bake

  1. Set your oven to 180degC (temp may vary for each oven)
  2. Pour the oil into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Next, add the sugar, eggs and vanilla.,
  4. Beat together (I like to use a metal spoon)
  5. Add the grated butternut squash and sultanas.
  6. Beat together (again, still using a metal spoon).
  7. Stir in the mixed spice, cinnamon, flour and bicarbonate of soda.
  8. Spoon into the paper cases using a teaspoon and then tap the tray to settle the mixture.
  9. Bake for 25mins until firm and springy!
  10. Transfer the muffin-cakes onto a wire rack to cool before eating.

These cakes are moreish. You have been warned.

Remember, baking doesn’t have to be difficult, it can be Easydoughsy.

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What’s the fastest cake?

img_0359-1SCONE!

In all seriousness, scones are actually one of the best super-quick, low-effort bakes.

This recipe is the same one I’ve been using since I was around 8 years old. However, I do like to mix it up now and again by adding sultanas, cherries, or by substituting the dairy ingredients for non dairy alternatives – creating tasty vegan scones.

It takes around 10mins to prep and 12-15mins to bake.

Ingredients (Makes 6 medium scones)

  • Flour (225g)
  • Caster Sugar (25g)
  • Baking margarine (55g)
  • Milk (150ml) (this recipe works equally well with coconut milk as a vegan alternative – and it gives a lovely coconut undertone to the scones)
  • A pinch of salt

 Making the dough

(No wooden spoon required!)

  1. Measure out your flour and baking margarine into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. Get your hands in and rub the butter and flour between your finger tips and thumb until it looks as though you have a bowl of breadcrumbs.
  4. Next, stick your bowl back onto the scales and measure out your sugar. It’s worthwhile measuring out your milk in a measuring jug at this point too!
  5. Give the sugar a mix (still using your hands!) and then add the milk, a little at a time, until you have a slightly sticky mix.
  6. At this point you can add sultanas, glace cherries etc if you wish.
  7. Throw some extra flour down on a (clean) work-surface.
  8. Transfer your dough onto the floured surface and give it quick roll about. The dough will pick up some of the flour, removing its stickiness. Note: only roll it until the ball of dough looks combined!

Prep and Baking

  1. Next, prep your baking tray – add some margarine to a paper towel or section of grease-proof paper and rub this evenly across your tray.
  2. Set your oven to 220degC (temp may vary for each oven)
  3. Using a rolling pin, roll your dough gently until it is around an inch thick.
  4. Next, use a circular serrated cutter (or the top of a glass if you don’t have a cutter) to cut out your scones.
  5. Place your cut out scones evenly on your pre-greased baking tray.
  6. Using a pastry brush (or a clean finger!), spread a little milk on top of each of your scones. This will give them a lovely deep-coloured crown when they bake.
  7. Pop your tray in the oven for 12-15mins until your scones have risen & the tops are golden brown in colour.
  8. Transfer the cooked scones onto a wire rack to cool before eating.

Let me know how you get on! It may take a couple of tries to get your oven temperature and consistencies correct. Once you’ve got your technique nailed though, you can scale up the quantities to make larger batches.

Remember, baking doesn’t have to be difficult, it can be Easydoughsy.

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Fancy a slice?

Cake is an ice breaker. It’s a little piece of comfort. You could be having ‘one of those days’; you’ve been caught in a sudden downpour of rain whilst running late for the bus and now have frizzy hair and a see-through shirt, plus your boss has just asked you to give a presentation in 20mins on a topic you’re not really sure you totally understand, and you’ve just seen that your ex has posted a photo on Instagram of his super-hot new girlfriend who looks like she’s not eaten a square meal in months, aaand then you’ve unexpectedly started your period and have no tampons in your handbag, so you’ve had to stuff a pile of toilet roll into your pants to get you through ‘till you can go to the shop at lunch time – all the really Earth-shattering stuff which isn’t important, but actually, really is… then someone offers you a slice of cake. And it’s like a big hug on a plate. I mean, I’m aware the answer to the meaning of life may not necessarily be as straightforward as 42, but a slice of cake can provide a moment of solace like nothing else when you hit those little lows.

Comfort isn’t shouted about enough. In fact, it’s almost referred to in a derogatory way; “I’ll go stick on my comfy (read: most-unflattering) pants”, “she’s gotten a bit comfy (read: fat) in her relationship”. But comfort doesn’t have to mean boring, stagnant or lacklustre. It’s about celebrating security and a few moments of joyful wellbeing. I like to feel comfortable in the clothes I wear, but I also want to look good. I want to be healthy, but I also really enjoy having that biscuit or cake. Everything in moderation is my mantra.

I grant that in certain cases we do need to push our own boundaries, face the fear and all of those other go-getting clichés. Without lifting self-imposed limitations or restrictions we would never move forward, for fear of failure. I certainly need pushing out of my comfort zone more than most. I seek comfort and reassurance through the tiniest of rituals and routines which I feel help me get through the day unscathed. Yet, new challenges allow us to grow and develop both our confidence and skills. This is something I am excited to explore. It is still reassuring to me, however, to keep some of those old comforts in the proverbial horizon, just visible out of the corner of our mind’s eye, you know – as back up.

Baking can be a vessel to challenging ourselves. It’s relaxing, sometimes perplexing, often frustrating and allows us to fail in a non-threatening environment. Anyone can bake; any age, any ability, it’s not just a mystical black art for those with too much time on their hands. Like anything, having a go is the key to success. I like to use visual representations to explain my processes and recipes, without the usual accompanying jargon. It’s baking made easy. I hope it’ll inspire you to get in the kitchen and expand your skillset too. Once you’re eating that first homemade cupcake you’ll wonder why you didn’t begin sooner.

So, here on Easydoughsy, I hope to step outside of my own customary boundaries and share with you some of my most favourite recipes, fashion quests, lifestyle and wellbeing discoveries. Whatever the topic, we’ll always keep that comforting slice of cake there in the background. Make sure you follow the Easydoughsy Instagram account and blog here at Easydoughsy.com for regular updates.

Baking doesn’t have to be difficult, it can be Easydoughsy.

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