Recipe: Mashed Potato and Cinnamon Spudcakes.

Taterly Delicious

Taterly moreish

You read it right, Ogglers: today I’m baking with Mashed Potato.

And you know what? The results are ruddy delicious: not heavy or starchy, but firm – with a gorgeous bite.

Indeed, this is more of a textural thing – you can’t really taste the Tater.

What you will taste, however, is sweet, delicious Cinnamon by the bucketload. And it will BLOW YOUR MIND.

So then. Got some Potato? Fancy something a bit different?

Then what are you waiting for?

BAKE!

Mashed Potato and Cinnamon Spudcakes (makes approx 18)

Ingredients:

  • 260g sugar
  • 200g softened butter/margarine
  • 180g finely mashed (or puréed) potato
  • 260g self raising flour (or 260g plain flour with 2½ tsp baking powder)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • PLUS 350g of your chosen icing

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan assisted) or gas mark 4, and lay your cupcake cases out on however many baking trays you need
  2. Cream sugar, syrup, fat and potato with a wooden spoon (easier to do if the potato’s still warm, though it doesn’t really matter either way)
  3. Add the eggs and beat thoroughly
  4. Fold in the flour and cinnamon, keeping things light and airy
  5. When all the ingredients are fully incorporated, pour the mix into your cupcake cases (to about ¾ full)
  6. Lick the bowl (the batter is AWESOME) – and try not to get salmonella
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. If you prick them with a knife and it comes out clean they’re ready to come out
  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack
  9. In the meantime, prepare whatever icing you see fit (I used a simple vanilla buttercream, but would also recommend something of the cream cheese variety – such as the white chocolate frosting in my favourite Chocolate Berry Cake)
  10. Smear it all over the tops of your cupcakes (but not until they’ve cooled right down)
  11. Gorge (and then gorge some more)

Happy Hogging!

P-H x

Rated: The Oreo Cookie Cookie.

Oreo Cookie Cookie

Context, people. Context

What? This is it. The big one. The game changer.

From here on in, I know exactly how to deal with disappointing Biscuits.

Answer? Bake them into another, tastier Biscuit.

Take the Oreo Cookie – one of my least favourite snacks (as you regular Ogglers know).

Too dry, dusty and bitter on its own, when pressed into a soft Cookie base it suddenly tastes 100% more delicious, all its faults having been muted.

This lesson was taught to me by the folks at CookieShake, Nottingham, to whom I am now eternally grateful.

The combination, you see, was revelatory, resulting in a moist and chewy Cookie with a crunchy creamy centre.

Twas textural titillation at its finest

Where? The CookieShake shop

How Much? 99p per Cookie (BARGAIN)

Rating?

8/10

Just imagine how good it would be with a Custard Cream…

Gothenburg Goodies: The Punschrulle.

The fourth and final part of a Pud-Hog Sweet Series from Sweden

Punschrullar

Grub’s up

What? It’s always nice to end a series on a high, and I can honestly say that the Punschrulle was hands down the tastiest thing I ate in Gothenburg.

It was also the smallest: a thumb-length roll of green Marzipan, with both ends dipped in Dark Chocolate.

I have to admit, at first glance it didn’t entice me, looking rather more larval than lovely (don’t you think?).

As soon as my teeth sank into it, however, I was smitten.

It was the filling which sealed the deal.

Punschrulle

Munched-rulle

Fool that I was, I hadn’t even imagined there would be anything inside, but indeed there was – and it was DIVINE.

In the nicest suprise I’ve had all year, my teeth broke through to a secret stash of Chocolate, Cake Crumbs, finely chopped Nuts and what may well have been a snifter of Rum.

Clearly, this was no bog-standard Marzipan log: it was more like a luminous Truffle – and an awesome one at that,

It was rich; it was soft; it was pretty much velvet in edible form. And, though I tried to prolong the ecstasy of it, all too soon it was gone.

Which brings me to the Punschrulle’s one and only major drawback: it should be at least three times bigger

Where? This traditional treat can be found at various Swedish bakeries – mine was bought from the small chain of bakeries, Cederleüfs & Svenheimers

How Much? 20 kr a piece (about £2)

Rating?

9/10

Marzi-porn

Rated: The Dalston Crunchie Cake.

Gird your loins, Ogglers: things are about to get RUDE

What? Quite possibly the most OBSCENE-looking treat I’ve ever laid eyes on. Sold as a Chocolate and Honeycomb Cake, it’s essentially what happens when a Crunchie Bar and Cake Mix get it on.

Namely: goo galore.

The Sponge alone was a dream come true: extra golden, extra moist, and extra tasty – not too dissimilar to Honeycomb, in fact.

It was the Icing, however, which took the whole thing to another dimension.

As far as I could tell, this comprised primarily of numerous Cadbury’s Crunchie Bars that had been melted down and mixed with some sumptuous soft Cream Cheese (occasionally lending the substance a slightly strange tang).

As if that wasn’t enough to excite me, there were even generous shards of Crunchie studded across the top.

The richness of it all was immense – and, cheese-tang aside, transported me to a state of more-or-less babbling incoherence.

By the end, I too was a sticky, wet mess.

Like I said: OBSCENE

Where? The Dalston Superstore, a trendy bar-cum-eatery on the central Hipster Highway (a.k.a. Kingsland High Street)

How Much? £3 for a takeaway slice

Rating?

9/10

I say again: OBSCENE

Rated: Jalebi in London.

IMG_1969

Sweet (toothed) dreams are made of this

What? A glistening, vaguely intestinal-looking concoction, which just happens to be MY ALL-TIME FAVOURITE INDIAN SWEET (see Pud-Hog posts passim).

Made from a Flour and Cornstarch-based batter which is deep-fried and then dunked in tangy, sweet Syrup, it could well be the naughtiest snack to come out of the East (though is possibly still not a match for the unholy Deep-Fried Cheesecake).

Texturally, it’s a Pud-Hog’s dream, and best to be eaten straight out of the pan when its hot crunchy outsides give way to a warm mess of oozing and sugary innards – like a squiggly, thin-shelled cough sweet (without the bitter medicinal tinge).

As for the taste, these things pack some serious sweetness – just what you need to keep going in the midst of a scorching summer.

In India, of course, you’ll find Jalebi sellers all over the place, with a decent-sized bag of the good stuff sold for 10 or 20 pence.

Outside of India, however, fresh Jalebi can be pretty hard to come by (though given the rate I can chomp my way through them, it’s probably for the best).

The one you can see in the picture above was my first sighting in months, and was made on the premises of a Middle Eastern-style bakery in London. It certainly looked the part, and tasted almost as good as the ones I first fell in love with.

Almost, I say, but not quite.

Allowed to cool down on the shelf of the shop, they weren’t exactly the riot of heat and goo that I was hankering after. For that, I guess I’ll just have to go back to India.

What a shame: for this Pud-Hog, at least, West London’s so much easier to reach…

Where? My Jalebi was bought from Tavazo, Ealing Broadway – who even allowed me a sample before I committed.

How Much? £8.50 per kilo – or 90 pence for about 6 pieces

Rating?

7/10

It’s good, but it’s not quite right

Recipe: Sophie’s Dahl’s Spelt Banana Bread.

Be nice to your Bowel

Remember, Ogglers: always be nice to your Bowel

As body parts go, the bowel might not be the most fashionable of the lot, but let’s face it: we’ve all got one – and it’s integral to the process of ploughing through puddings. If only for that, it’s well worth paying attention to.

See, although this blog is usually more concerned with what enters the body, this month is Bowel Cancer Awareness month. And as someone who lost a close aunt to the disease a couple of years ago, this is one cause that the Pud-Hog can’t ignore.

Maybe you’re already clued up on the subject (as the UK’s second biggest cancer killer, it may well have affected somebody you know or you care about).

But for those of you who don’t know the score, the most important thing to note is that, if caught in time, bowel cancer is generally very treatable.

So, Ogglers. If you pay attention to NOTHING else on this blog, then at least pay attention to the following list from Bowel Cancer UK:

Early warning signs for bowel cancer are

  • Bleeding from the bottom, and/or blood in your poo
  • A change in bowel habit lasting three weeks or more
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness for no obvious reason
  • A pain or lump in your tummy

If you notice any of these things, then for crying out loud, don’t be embarrassed: GO AND TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.

As well as keeping an eye out for changes like this, you can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer with exercise and a healthy diet.

That means cutting down on red or processed meats, eating your 5-a-day, and generally upping your fibre intake.

Thankfully, this risk-reducing doesn’t need to mean abandoning your pudding, as eating – or baking – treats made with whole grains and fibre is one of the ways you can keep things hunky-dory.

You could make your Summer Pudding with brown bread, pack your Flapjacks with oats, nuts and seeds, or substitute normal flour with one of the wholemeal or Spelt varities (like that Ginger Cake I made for my first Bakeroo).

If you’re still short of ideas, you can also check out Sharpham Park’s new website – Great British Spelt Recipes – which was launched in conjuction with Bowel Cancer UK in order to get people more clued up on bowel cancer awareness.

I’ve tried out a few of the cakes on there already, and can whole-heartedly recommend the Rhubarb Tart (like a juicy, fruity Frangipane – but better). The Spelt Bran and Raspberry Muffins are pretty darn awesome too…

My stand-out favourite so far, however, has been a recipe donated by Sophie Dahl: an extremely easy – yet beautifully textured – rendition of Spelt Banana Bread.

A version of it is listed below and is well worth having a go at. Sweet, moist, and full of fibre, your bowel and your taste buds will love it.

Spelt Banana Bread (serves 6 for a hearty breakfast or tea)

Click here for the original recipe

Banana Bread

SPELTACULAR

Ingredients:

  • 170g Wholegrain or Bakers Blend Spelt Flour
  • 75g soft butter, plus extra for greasing and serving
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed up
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Grease a 30 x 23-cm/12 x 1- inch bread tin
  2. Pour the mashed bananas into a big mixing bowl. Mix in the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla extract
  3. Add the bicarbonate of soda and salt and mix in the flour last [as thoroughly as you can manage or the bicarb might sit in a lump]. Pour into the prepared tin
  4. Bake for 1 hour [approx – my oven did the job in 50 minutes], remove and cool, then serve in slices with a little butter. [You can also toast it for breakfast, and serve with Natural Yoghurt, Crème Fraîche, or Mascarpone]

Happy Hogging!

P-H x

With thanks to Sophie Dahl and Sharpham Park’s Great British Spelt Recipes campaign – in partnership with Bowel Cancer UK

Rated: Waitrose’s Butterscotch & Pecan Danish Swirl.

Go on, give it a swirl

The Pecan Pud Canon continues

What? An oversized circular Danish, dotted with Pecans and shaped like a windmill.

Though it looks fairly plain and dry in its tin, when warmed in the oven it turns into something quite spectacular: by turns crisp, flaky, buttery, soft, and soggy from hidden reserves of BUTTERSCOTCH SAUCE (*drool*).

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, the Pastry itself is suffused with Cinnamon – clearly, whoever designed it was a genius (or out to reel me in with a dish that contains all my favourite things).

The only thing I took issue with was the recommended serving size: though hardly large, one Swirl is supposed to feed FOUR PEOPLE.

Heck knows who could possibly stop at a quarter – not this Pud-Hog, that’s for sure.

Then again, when it comes to counting calories, even this (apparently ‘four-person’) flake-fest works out healthier than a single Caramel Pecanbon.

When you think of it that way, the idea of having a second slice doesn’t seem nearly as naughty…

Where? From the shelves of your nearest Waitrose (home of the infamous Sugar Mouse Biscuit)

How Much? Currently on offer at £2.32 (normally £3.49)

Rating? 9/10

Go ahead, Ogglers: give it a swirl

Rated: Madame Macaroon’s Fab Florentines.

Florentine

Yes, Ma’am!

What? Believe it or not, you are currently looking at THE most delicious Florentine that this Pud-Hog’s ever eaten.

As far as luxury biscuits go, it ticked all the boxes and then some: a generous dose of Almonds, juicy Glacé Cherries, scraps of moist Mixed Peel, and a very decent slathering of Chocolate.

The best thing about it by far, however, was the texture: crispy where it mattered as well as super chewy.

Overall, it seemed more like a Cookie than the harder, toffee-like Florentines made by bakeries such as Fudges – and was, in my view, all the better for it.

Impossible to leave alone, I took mine out of its bag for a taste, then found I just couldn’t stop

Where? Track one down at Madame Macaroon’s stall, loitering in various London locations every Sunday (check the M.M. website and Twitter for details)

How Much? Just ONE of your English pounds (bargain!)

Rating?

9/10

Madame Macaroon? More like Queen Florentine

Recipe: The Dark Chocolate, Berry & White Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake.

Putting the 'goo' in 'damn good'

Putting the ‘goo’ in ‘damn good’

I do not exaggerate, Ogglers, when I say that this is THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE I think I’ve ever had – and all thanks to my pal Mimi (she of the Cinnabon Substitute).

Adapted from a few different recipes that have been expertly fused together, it was made for me as a belated birthday present – and was extremely well received.

With a sponge not unlike a Chocolate Fudge Brownie (moist and slightly chewy at the edges), plus a filling so creamy and perfect it hurts (the berries! The cream cheese! The chocolate!) , I defy you to bake one and leave it alone.

Indeed, so bereft was I when I finished my first, I had to make me a second the very next day.

I kid you not.

Anyway, a million thanks to Mimi for curating the recipe – and for letting me share it with you lot via this blog.

Trust me, Ogglers: homemade cakes don’t get much better than this…

The Dark Chocolate, Berry & White Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake (makes a sponge big enough to feed 10 in one go – or 2 over several sittings)

Something to berry your face in

Something to berry your face in

Ingredients:

For the Dark Chocolate Sponge:

  • 125ml cold water
  • 200g broken dark chocolate (the best you can afford)
  • 200g butter
  • 1tbsp dried coffee
  • 85g self raising flour (or 85g plain with ¾ tsp baking powder)
  • 85g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g golden caster sugar (white caster sugar’s fine too, if that’s all you’ve got in your cupboard)
  • 200g brown muscovado sugar (light, preferably)
  • 25g cocoa (or drinking chocolate – though reduce the sugar content by 50g if using the latter)
  • 3 eggs
  • 75ml buttermilk (I used natural yoghurt in its absence – no probs)

For the Berry, White Chocolate & Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 150g softened butter
  • 100g white chocolate
  • A handful of berries for garnishing – if using fresh raspberries, this works out at about 20 or so. Alternatively, you can also use 3 to 4 tbsp of mixed berries (i.e. blackcurrants, blueberries, redcurrants, etc). Whatever you fancy for extra juice and tartness…

Method:

To Make the Sponge:

  1. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C (fan assisted) or Gas Mark 3
  2. Add the coffee to the cold water and stir well
  3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and stir in the buttermilk/natural yoghurt. Put aside for later
  4. Pop the dark chocolate, butter and coffee solution into a saucepan. Warm gently and on a low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to stop the bottom burning
  5. While the chocolate mixture is melting, put the flours, bicarb, sugars and cocoa together in a large bowl, using your hands to stir out the lumps (a spoon will do the same job if you’d rather not get messy)
  6. Add the egg mixture and the melted chocolate mixture to the flour mixture, then stir the whole lot until it’s smooth and runny
  7. Pour into the tin and bake for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes (until a knife comes out clean when poked through the top)
  8. Keep the cake inside the tin for a few minutes, then carefully turn it out on to a wire rack

The cake cannot be iced until it has cooled, so take a break and then get to work on the cream cheese frosting…

To Make the Filling:

  1. Beat the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl until the whole thing is fully blended
  2. Using either a microwave or a saucepan, gently melt the white chocolate.
  3. Stir the melted chocolate into the butter and cream cheese
  4. Sift the icing sugar and beat this in with rest
  5. Try to refrain from eating the lot until the cake is cool (tempting though it might be)

To Assemble:

Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

  1. Using a long, sharp knife, carefully cut the sponge in two, then smear half of the frosting in the middle
  2. Dot this with about three-quarters of your berry rations, scattering them evenly throughout
  3. Pop the upper sponge on top, then cover it with the rest of your icing and berries, hiding any cracks that might have appeared while the sponge was baking
  4. Hey presto: bring out the cake forks!

NB: This is one of those sweet treats that improves after 24 hours or so. However, if you don’t think you’ll be able to eat the lot within a few days, slice up the surplus and freeze it in airtight containers.

When you’re ready to eat, allow at least four hours for your slices to defrost (leaving them out overnight works for me…).

Happy Hogging!

P-H x

Rated: The Rhubarb and Hazelnut Tuffet.

NOT to be sat on

It’s a Tuffet, Jim – but not as we know it

What? Never tasted a Tuffet before?

That’s hardly surprising, given that Tuffet is usually a word for a low seat (of the type perched on by Little Miss Muffet).

Recently, however, Tuffet has started to mean something else; reclaimed by Jacqui of Saucy Puds, in order to name her tasty homemade creations.

These Tuffets are a lot like Muffins, but covered in baked sugar and flat on the top (all the better for sitting on, I suppose).

Made using seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients, the Tuffet I went for was flavoured with Rhubarb and Hazelnuts.

Despite its humble appearence it was truly delicious: moist with Rhubarb strands (but not bitter), and crunchy with chopped and whole Nuts.

A pleasure from start to finish, it tasted like a real Cake of the Earth: golden, light and wonderfully wholesome

Where? The Man and I saw Saucy Puds at Marylebone Farmers Market (not far from the stall with that mutant Manor House Fruit Cake). They’re there on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month

How Much? £1.75 each

Rating?

9/10

Not even the scariest spider could tear me away