TWENTY SUPER EASY BAKES
I like baking but I’m not great at it. Sorry, let me rephrase that…. I love eating cake and so I’ve learned to make a few simple ones. I’ll sometimes even go and look for new recipes but they must be, and I stress this, they must be easy. If I want fancy cakes I’ll go buy one.
If there’s a cake I go to again and again, it’s the humble clafoutis. It’s a simple pancake batter seasoned to your liking and poured over fruit and then baked. It takes 5 minutes to make about 30 to bake (depending on your oven) and it’s a hit everytime. It’s not the prettiest but who care about the way it looks when you’re faceplanting a warm cake? I have several versions of it on the blog. My most basic recipe is for the pear and vanilla clafoutis, I love it as it’s gentle, and undemanding. The apricot and saffron clafoutis is the king of my summer and is one of my top tree desserts, there is sweetness and sharpness and the saffron gives it a great earthiness. You can dress it up or down and play with textures and flavours, you can even make it seasonal like the last one I made:
Another killer custard based cake, is the traditional French flan. I bloody love that cake, especially straight from the fridge. You can have it in a pastry case, or you can rough it up and have just the custard, which is what I prefer, but I am an animal.
Walking away from custard but staying with the pudding vibe, you could try my saffron rice pudding, it is rich and will warm you up and stick to your ribs.
I’m sure you’ve noticed a theme, in that I like my sweets and cake of the french variety. So here I am again with a bit more tradition. Have you ever had chouquettes? They are ubiquious to french children, your mam might buy you 100g and you eat them slowly as you walk to the park for your quatre-heure (post school snack). It is something I miss fiercely and always have when I go back to France, but sometimes I just make them.
Talking of traditional, this galette des rois is meant to be eaten from mid December to mid January but I like to make it all year round. It’s so easy and you eat it warm when it’s out of the oven long enough that it won’t burn the roof of your mouth.
Moving on to fluffier cakes, I don’t know about you, but I enjoy a good muffin, I do find them weirdly more delicious in loaf form. Maybe they cook somewhat differently and are less dry? I’m not sure, but I think they’re better this way. The raspberry and pear muffin loaf is always a success but if you want something sharper maybe the raspberry and blackberry muffin cake is more up your street. But my top one so far is this caramel and apple muffin cake. It is so good.
Yes, to more olive oil and yoghurt in cakes, it’s very continental, but again so am I.
It’s rhubarb season just now and this old fashioned rhubarb cake is fierce interesting and so very tasty. I love it with a bit of creme fraiche on the side. Any excuse for creme fraiche mind!
This is my version of a Victoria sponge, and in fact apart from the cream and strawberries, it really is nothing like a Victoria sponge. It is however super satisfying and ridiculously easy to put together.
This amazing looking Eclair Cake by the incomparable Carolina Gelen. She is a joy to follow online and her recipes are always interesting and mostly easy. This might be a wee bit more fuss than the other cakes in this post but is no doubt worth it!
Nigella’s Almond and Orange Blossom cake is a regular in my kitchen and never disappoints. Much like her Mother In Law’s Madeira Cake as it happens. Basically, most of Nigella’s cakes are approachable and can be made with little ingredients and even less confidence. I bloody love that woman.
Donna Hennessy remains my favourite food blogger in Ireland (although I wish she would publish more often), her recipes are always fun and easy to follow with lots of tips along the way. I’m mad about this Strawberries, Cookies and Cream Fridge cake. Although I admit to using shortbread biscuits instead of cookies because I can’t leave well enough alone…
While this traditional french Pain D’Epices is super easy to put together, it is certainly more challenging in terms of flavour and may not be to everyone’s taste, but it reminds me of my childhood and I love it with a passion. My local honey is a welcome addition to this recipe and really works well with it.
I wouldn’t be French if I didn’t give you at least one tart, so here it is, the easiest of them all and hardly a recipe at all but still utterly satisfying and fun to make.
And finally, this gluten-free chocolate cake is my most requested cake. If there is an occasion, if there is no occasion, you can be guaranteed, I’ll get the look, the nudge, the nod, the family wants the cake and I suspect so will you. To try it is to adopt it!