Vegan Scones

These vegan, English-style scones are tall, fluffy and easy to make. Perfect for tea-time with jam & dairy-free whipped cream. Can you make vegan scones? Whilst traditionally, scones are made using animal products like butter, milk/yoghurt and eggs…

These vegan, English-style scones are tall, fluffy and easy to make. Perfect for tea-time with jam & dairy-free whipped cream. Can you make vegan scones? Whilst traditionally, scones are made using animal products like butter, milk/yoghurt and eggs, it’s easily possible to make them out of vegan alternatives! The most important part is to use …

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Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

Using mashed potatoes in the dough of these cinnamon rolls creates a SUPER fluffy texture and helps the buns stay softer and moister for longer. They’ll still be best on the day they’re baked but are still delicious on the following days, e…

Using mashed potatoes in the dough of these cinnamon rolls creates a SUPER fluffy texture and helps the buns stay softer and moister for longer. They’ll still be best on the day they’re baked but are still delicious on the following days, especially when warmed back up in the oven for 10 minutes. Using mashed …

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Self-Raising Flour Banana Bread (Vegan) – Baking Basics

If you’ve ever thought ‘can you use self-raising flour for banana bread?’ then this is the recipe for you! It has been specifically developed using self-raising flour to produce the best vegan banana bread ever. The recipe is very sim…

If you’ve ever thought ‘can you use self-raising flour for banana bread?’ then this is the recipe for you! It has been specifically developed using self-raising flour to produce the best vegan banana bread ever. The recipe is very simple to make as it doesn’t need any egg replacers or dairy substitutes so you probably already have all the ingredients you need in the cupboard. This banana bread is super moist and soft with a lightly sweet flavour. Self-Raising Flour Banana Bread Recipe Video for how to make self-raising flour banana bread Ingredients for self-raising flour banana bread explained Overripe bananas: you want bananas which are nice and ripe for this recipe as this will give you the best flavour & sweetness. They should be a bit soft with either spotty skin or fully blackened skin. You can either use fresh, ripe bananas or frozen, defrosted bananas. I usually let my bananas get super ripe and then I freeze them whole! To use them for baking I just take them out of the freezer, put them in the oven for 5-10 minutes to defrost a bit and then I peel them and squeeze out the inner flesh. The mashed banana […]

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How to make self-raising flour – Baking Basics

Self-raising flour (a.k.a. self-rising flour in the US) is a common ingredient in English baking recipes, typically used for scones, pancakes and Victoria sponge cakes. It is simply a pre-mixed combination of raising agents and flour so that you don’t need to add baking powder or bicarbonate of soda to your recipe. Here I’ve provided an alternative to shop-bought self-raising flour which you can make using 2 simple ingredients: plain flour and baking powder How much baking powder do you need to make 100g self-raising flour? The ratio for self-raising flour is that for every 75g plain white flour you must add 1 tsp (4g) baking powder. As 1 tsp of baking powder = 4g, mixing it into 75g of flour gives you 79g of ‘self-raising flour’. This can make calculating quantities for your recipe a bit tricky so, to make things simpler for your conversions, I’ve calculated that to make 100g of self-raising flour you must combine 95g plain white flour and 1 ¼ tsp (5g) baking powder Shop-bought self-raising flour vs. DIY self-raising flour I tested a small batch of a standard Victoria sponge cake recipe using my homemade replacement flour mix vs. shop bought. I used all […]

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A bowl with homemade self-raising flour substitute, a sieve, some baking powder in a jar and a tub of plain flour

Self-raising flour (a.k.a. self-rising flour in the US) is a common ingredient in English baking recipes, typically used for scones, pancakes and Victoria sponge cakes. It is simply a pre-mixed combination of raising agents and flour so that you don’t need to add baking powder or bicarbonate of soda to your recipe.

Here I’ve provided an alternative to shop-bought self-raising flour which you can make using 2 simple ingredients: plain flour and baking powder

How to make self-raising flour

How to make self-raising flour

Yield: 100 g
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

How to make DIY self-raising flour from baking powder and plain white flour.

Ingredients

To make 100g self-raising flour

  • 95 g plain white flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 1 ¼ tsp (5g) baking powder

OR To make 1 cup (US) self-raising flour:

  • 116 g (1 cup minus 1 ½ tsp) plain white flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 1 ½ tsp (6g) baking powder

Instructions

  1. Place the flour into a metal sieve (strainer) set over a bowl. Add the baking powder on top and sift both together into the bowl.

Notes

  • Make sure you're using level teaspoons
  • 1 tsp = 5ml

If using volume measurements for the flour, use the spoon & sweep method to measure: fluff up the flour first, spoon flour into the cup until it is above the rim then and sweep the excess away with the back of a knife. Do not tap/shake the cup nor press the flour into the cup.

How much baking powder do you need to make 100g self-raising flour?

The ratio for self-raising flour is that for every 75g plain white flour you must add 1 tsp (4g) baking powder.

As 1 tsp of baking powder = 4g, mixing it into 75g of flour gives you 79g of ‘self-raising flour’. This can make calculating quantities for your recipe a bit tricky so, to make things simpler for your conversions, I’ve calculated that to make 100g of self-raising flour you must combine 95g plain white flour and 1 ¼ tsp (5g) baking powder

Shop-bought self-raising flour vs. DIY self-raising flour

Cross sections of two small cakes using homemade self-raising flour and shop-bought self-raising flour
LEFT: cake made with DIY self-raising flour. RIGHT: cake made with shop-bought self-raising flour

I tested a small batch of a standard Victoria sponge cake recipe using my homemade replacement flour mix vs. shop bought. I used all the same ingredients (apart from the flour, of course) and baked the mini cakes in the same oven at the same time. You can see that they look pretty similar in rise, crumb structure and colour. There was no difference in flavour either.

Why use self-raising flour?

  • The advantage of it is that if you bake infrequently, you won’t need to buy raising agents separately so you can save some money and some cupboard space. The flour and raising agents are also pre-mixed for you so you don’t have to worry about the raising agent incorporating properly into your other dry ingredients.
  • The disadvantage is that you don’t have the same level of control over the rise of your bakes as self-raising flour has a standardised level of ‘rise’ it produces. Because of this, you can only use self-raising flour in recipes which specifically call for its use. I usually don’t bake with self-raising flour as it takes up too much room in my pantry so I prefer to just have plain flour (which is more versatile than self-raising) and baking powder to hand and mix up a DIY self-raising flour when needed.

What is in self-raising flour?

Typically in the UK, self-raising flour contains plain white flour (usually with a low protein content i.e. ‘soft wheat’) with chemical raising agents mixed in. In most cases, the raising agents used are a mixture of monocalcium-phosphate (an acid) with sodium bicarbonate (an alkali) which will react together in a neutralisation reaction in the presence of liquid, producing carbon dioxide gas. This gas is what produces the bubbles needed to make cakes and biscuits rise.

What happens if I use plain flour instead of self-raising?

If a recipe calls for self-raising flour it is doing so because it is relying on the raising agents in that flour to make the baked good ‘rise’. If you use plain flour instead and don’t add any raising agents you will most likely end up with a very flat, dense bake! However, if you add baking powder to your flour in the proportions given above you won’t have that issue.

What is self-raising flour used for?

Mainly sweet baking recipes where the raising agent is needed to provide lift e.g. Victoria sponge cake, scones, Scotch pancakes, biscuits. It is also used in some flatbread recipes. However, it shouldn’t really be used in recipes where yeast is included as the yeast is meant to provide the ‘rise’, not the flour.

Does self-raising flour go off?

Self-raising flour can expire due to the raising agents within becoming inactive. This doesn’t make it unsafe to consume but it does mean that your baked good won’t rise. This is why I like to make my DIY self-raising flour just before I’m about to bake something – that way if I know that my baking powder is a bit old, I can test it before mixing it into my flour. ‘Testing’ your baking powder just involves mixing it with some white vinegar and seeing if it fizzes. If it does, you’re good to go. If not, the baking powder is expired and you’ll have to throw it away is it will no longer be useful. You can also check the expiry date given on your baking powder packaging as this should tell you if it’s super old (and thus likely to be expired!).

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can see your beautiful creation & reshare in my stories!

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How to Make Buttermilk (4 Easy Substitutes)

Did you forget to pick up buttermilk at the store? Once you know 4 easy methods for how to make buttermilk, you’ll be able to whip up a quick and easy substitute in just a few minutes. Do you ever just get a dessert craving and have to make something right then? Obviously I’m a …

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Did you forget to pick up buttermilk at the store? Once you know 4 easy methods for how to make buttermilk, you’ll be able to whip up a quick and easy substitute in just a few minutes.

homemade buttermilk substitute comes together in 5 minutes and requires only 2 ingredients. Skip the grocery store and make your own!

Do you ever just get a dessert craving and have to make something right then?

Obviously I’m a little baking obsessed, so it shouldn’t surprise you that I will often decide to make something randomly. 

Whether it’s Fresh Strawberry Bread, Moist Banana Cake, or The Best Chocolate Cake, there’s nothing more disappointing than getting halfway into making a recipe and realizing that I’m out of buttermilk.

It’s even worse when it happens after I have put on my comfy clothes for the evening and do NOT want to go to the store.

Luckily, I’ve got a few quick and easy buttermilk substitute tricks in my back pocket just for times like this. Once you know how to make this tangy baking staple, you’ll be able to whip up any number of baked goods on the fly no matter what you have in your fridge!

(more…)

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Easy Scones – Baking Basics

A classic scone is the perfect tea-time snack (and a classic in the UK!), served with clotted cream (or salted butter, as I prefer) and jam. These little delights are a kind of quickbread (similar to soda bread) so rely on a chemical raising agent, not…

A classic scone is the perfect tea-time snack (and a classic in the UK!), served with clotted cream (or salted butter, as I prefer) and jam. These little delights are a kind of quickbread (similar to soda bread) so rely on a chemical raising agent, not yeast, and come together extremely quickly. From Mary Berry …

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Egg Substitutes – for vegan recipes & baking

This post has been updated as of August 2021 A lot of the time when developing vegan baking recipes, I prefer to start with a standard recipe and make plant-based substitutions. One of the main things I find myself experimenting with are different vega…

This post has been updated as of August 2021 A lot of the time when developing vegan baking recipes, I prefer to start with a standard recipe and make plant-based substitutions. One of the main things I find myself experimenting with are different vegan egg substitutes. Have you ever wondered what ingredients could be used as an egg substitute in baking? and which of those substitutes work best in different situations? Below you’ll find quite a comprehensive list of common ingredients you can use instead of eggs, how much to use to replace 1 egg & which applications each one is best for. Eggs have many properties which we use in cooking & baking (binding, aeration/rise, spongey texture, creaminess, thickening, browning, stabilisation) so each substitution provided usually covers some but not all of those properties – hence needing different substitutes for different recipes. Even if you’re not vegan or allergic to eggs I think it’s useful to know a few of these substitutes for if you’re ever in a situation where you don’t have/can’t get eggs. You can pin the graphic above (or even save it) for future reference! Baking soda + vinegar Ground flaxseed Chia seeds Mashed banana, applesauce, […]

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Blueberry Muffins – Baking Basics

My mum (who’s American) was the blueberry muffin baker in our house. She’d sometimes make that internet-famous ‘Jordan Marsh from scratch’ recipe for weekend breakfasts and – between the 4 of us – the whole dozen would inevitably be gone by Sunday afternoon. She taught me how to make them as well and through my own trials and internet reading, I’ve come up with my best blueberry muffin: soft & fluffy (not tough), not too sweet & packed with blueberries but not soggy!!! I’ve got a few secret ingredients up my sleeve too which make these taste SO blueberry-y (almost like a Starbucks muffin?!). Lastly, they’ve gotta have the crunchy cinnamon-sugar on top (DUH!) – fun fact, that’s the reason my site is called Top with Cinnamon – it’s because I loved the cinnamon topping on blueberry muffins (and coffee) so much. My secret ingredients for these blueberry muffins: This muffin recipe contains all the usual suspects – plain flour, butter, eggs & granulated sugar. I use baking powder & soda to leaven them but you can just use self-raising flour instead if that’s what you’ve got. I make them without vanilla extract as I find it redundant when using […]

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a halved bluebery muffin

My mum (who’s American) was the blueberry muffin baker in our house. She’d sometimes make that internet-famous ‘Jordan Marsh from scratch’ recipe for weekend breakfasts and – between the 4 of us – the whole dozen would inevitably be gone by Sunday afternoon. She taught me how to make them as well and through my own trials and internet reading, I’ve come up with my best blueberry muffin: soft & fluffy (not tough), not too sweet & packed with blueberries but not soggy!!!

I’ve got a few secret ingredients up my sleeve too which make these taste SO blueberry-y (almost like a Starbucks muffin?!). Lastly, they’ve gotta have the crunchy cinnamon-sugar on top (DUH!) – fun fact, that’s the reason my site is called Top with Cinnamon – it’s because I loved the cinnamon topping on blueberry muffins (and coffee) so much.

a halved blueberry muffin on a plate and some whole blueberry muffins on the side

My secret ingredients for these blueberry muffins:

This muffin recipe contains all the usual suspects – plain flour, butter, eggs & granulated sugar. I use baking powder & soda to leaven them but you can just use self-raising flour instead if that’s what you’ve got. I make them without vanilla extract as I find it redundant when using my secret flavour boosting ingredients (however if you’re not adding the secret ingredients, you can whack 1 tsp of vanilla extract in the batter!).

I use a couple of secret ingredients which really enhance flavour of the muffins (but which can also be easily replaced, although the substitutes just won’t give as much flavour).

  1. My first flavour enhancer is frozen wild blueberries – I know these are common in America but in the UK I’ve only just discovered them. I’ve seen them in Whole Foods (so only available if you’re in London) but have found out that Picard (a French frozen food brand) sells them on Ocado (the supermarket delivery service). Anyway, wild blueberries are smaller, so you can pack more into each muffin, and they have a more concentrated flavour. If you can’t get them, just go for standard frozen blueberries which will also be delicious.
  2. My second special ingredient is blueberry yoghurt – It’s only a small amount of yoghurt in these (100g) so you don’t get TOO much blueberry flavour but I find that this really is the KEY to adding the most blueberry-y flavour in an easy way. It happens because the yoghurt contains a natural blueberry flavour extract so, when stirred into the batter, it really boosts these muffins to the next level. I’ve used Liberté blueberry yoghurt (it’s a 0% fat one, but works perfectly here) in mine. If you can’t get blueberry yoghurt, go for a plain yoghurt, sour cream or even buttermilk.
  3. My last special ingredient is ground coriander seed – I found this trick via Stella Parks on Serious Eats and also from the River Cottage. The flavour of the coriander seed enhances the flavour compound found in blueberries. That’s some cool food science for ya! If you’re not keen, just leave it out!

Fresh or frozen blueberries – which is better?

I always opt for frozen blueberries when baking muffins. You need to mix them into the batter still frozen (so DON’T thaw them!). I like frozen ones for a few different reasons:

  1. Frozen blueberries are a LOT cheaper in the UK than fresh ones. I know this may not be the case in some places so go with what fits your budget better. You can always freeze the fresh blueberries.
  2. Frozen are great quality all year round. They’re usually harvested in season and then frozen and stored for months so you get a great flavour from them.
  3. They mix into the batter a lot more easily. The frozen bluebs hold up to the mixing motion so they don’t all get smushed when you stir up the batter.

Now all that said, you CAN use fresh blueberries in your muffins. You just need to follow the directions in the heading below.

How do you stop the blueberries bleeding when mixing into the batter?

A lot of the time when you’re stirring blueberries into batter, they’ll ‘bleed’ causing the batter to discolour and turn purpley-blue. You can remedy this by tossing the blueberries in a bit of flour before mixing them in and ALSO by stirring gently. Using frozen blueberries helps too as they’re less likely to squish when stirred. However’ I’ve found that even if they do bleed when mixing, the purple batter will usually revert back to a cake-y colour once baked so don’t panic if your batter turns blue!

How do you stop the blueberries sinking?

A common myth is to toss the blueberries in flour to stop them sinking. This doesn’t actually work, it mainly prevents them bleeding into the batter (see above). To prevent them sinking you need to have a thick batter (like this recipe)! And/or layer your blueberries into the batter instead of mixing them in – to do this, half fill the muffin cups with batter, sprinkle on half the blueberries, top with remaining batter and finally remaining blueberries.

a whole blueberry muffin

Ingredient substitutions

  • If you want to make these with self raising flour: replace the full weight/volume of plain flour with self raising flour. Do not add the baking powder/baking soda.
  • If you want to make these without yoghurt you can use milk (cow’s or non-dairy) with 1 tsp of vinegar added so it can curdle before using it in the batter.
  • If you don’t have frozen blueberries (only fresh): don’t fold the fresh blueberries into the batter – the batter is THICK and if you try this, the fresh blueberries will end up smashed. Instead, half-fill each muffin case with the plain batter. Sprinkle half your blueberries over the batter in the cups. Top with the remaining batter and sprinkle with the remaining blueberries, pressing them down slightly into the muffin batter.
  • If you want to use vegetable oil or coconut oil: instead of the butter, use 100g (3.5 ounces) of melted virgin coconut oil or vegetable oil. You’ll also need to add an extra tablespoon of water to the muffin batter.
  • If you want to use oats: oats can add a nice texture to these muffins. To use them here, replace 60g (1/2 cup) of the plain flour with 40g (1/2 cup) rolled oats.

Are these vegan/can they be veganised?

Whilst this muffin recipe isn’t vegan (it contains eggs & dairy) you can easily veganise it. Replace the butter with melted vegan block butter. Replace the yoghurt with a soy-based, dairy-free yoghurt. Replace the eggs with 2 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 6 tbsp hot water, mixed in a small bowl and left until gelatinous, before adding to the batter.

Storing/freezing blueberry muffins:

You can store blueberry muffins at room temperature overnight – they’ll last like this for up to 4 days. Just keep them in an airtight tupperware box and they’ll stay moist & delicious. You can even warm them up in the oven (180C/350F for 5 minutes) or microwave if you prefer.

As for freezing them, just pop them into a resealable sandwich bag and freeze for up to 3 months. You’ll want to let them defrost at room temperature overnight before eating, though.

Other muffin recipes:

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

Yield: 9 muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

These blueberry muffins couldn't get any easier! A simple batter to mix up by hand to make moist & fluffy muffins, packed with blueberry flavour (just like Starbucks!).

Ingredients

  • 230g (2 cups minus 1 tbsp) plain white flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 160g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1/2 tsp fine table salt
  • 115g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 100g (1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp) blueberry yoghurt (or plain yoghurt if you can't get blueberry)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200g (1 3/4 cups) frozen blueberries, preferably wild

Sugar topping:

  • 2 tbsp caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) fan. Line a standard muffin tin with 9 paper muffin liners.
  2. Place the flour, sugar, coriander seed, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Stir with a whisk to combine.
  3. Pour in the melted butter and stir with the whisk until the mixture becomes too clumpy to stir. Then use your fingertips to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a sandy mixture with a crumbly texture (try to break up any large clumps of mixture).
  4. In a medium bowl whisk the yoghurt, water and eggs together until smooth. Pour this into the crumbly mixture in your large bowl. Stir together well until combined (try to make sure there are no large clumps of the sandy mixture remaining). The batter should be quite thick!
  5. Add the frozen blueberries and fold into the batter. They will most likely bleed and make the batter turn purple but this is absolutely fine! Just try not to smash up the blueberries as you fold.
  6. Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Mix the caster sugar & ground cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture over the top of each muffin. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cracked on top - a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin should come out without any batter attached to it (but will probably have some blueberry juice on there).
  7. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before eating.
  8. To store: keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days. To freeze, pop into a resealable sandwich bag and freeze for up to 4 months, letting them defrost overnight at room temp before eating.

Notes

No butter? use 100g vegetable oil or melted coconut oil instead and add an extra tablespoon of water to the batter

No baking powder/soda? Use self-raising flour instead of the plain flour

No yoghurt? Use buttermilk or sour cream instead. If you don't have those either, use an equal amount of milk mixed with 1 tsp vinegar and let it sit until curdled before adding to the batter.

Vegan: use melted vegan butter, use a soy-based yoghurt & use 2 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 6 tbsp hot water instead of the eggs.

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Blueberry Muffins – Baking Basics appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

Millionaire’s Shortbread – Baking Basics

I remember being in primary school and checking a baking book out of the library – once home I photocopied a bunch of recipes from it, one of which was for Millionaire’s shortbread (also known as caramel slice in some parts of the world). It was something I’d had the shop-bought version of (in those clamshell plastic tubs!) and LOVED but had never made before. Now that I had a recipe for a homemade version there was no turning back! My brother and I made it many times – it’s such an easy bake and really requires minimal effort. They’re also VERY rich (hence why they’re called ‘Millionaire’s shortbread) so I often only need one square to satisfy my sweet tooth. Recipes for millionaire’s shortbread are usually pretty similar. I think the BBC /Nigella /Jamie Oliver versions all have the same components with very similar ingredients. A shortbread base, a caramel filling made using sweetened condensed milk from a tin, and a plain chocolate topping. Some versions use golden syrup in the filling (I make it without) to prevent the sugar from crystallising. I’ve tweaked the recipe here and there to make my best version which is what I’m posting […]

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a stack of millionaire's shortbread

I remember being in primary school and checking a baking book out of the library – once home I photocopied a bunch of recipes from it, one of which was for Millionaire’s shortbread (also known as caramel slice in some parts of the world). It was something I’d had the shop-bought version of (in those clamshell plastic tubs!) and LOVED but had never made before. Now that I had a recipe for a homemade version there was no turning back! My brother and I made it many times – it’s such an easy bake and really requires minimal effort. They’re also VERY rich (hence why they’re called ‘Millionaire’s shortbread) so I often only need one square to satisfy my sweet tooth.

overhead shot of squares of millionaire's shortbread with marbled chocolate

Recipes for millionaire’s shortbread are usually pretty similar. I think the BBC /Nigella /Jamie Oliver versions all have the same components with very similar ingredients. A shortbread base, a caramel filling made using sweetened condensed milk from a tin, and a plain chocolate topping. Some versions use golden syrup in the filling (I make it without) to prevent the sugar from crystallising. I’ve tweaked the recipe here and there to make my best version which is what I’m posting today!

I’ve even got a lil video below so you can see step-by-step how to make it ?

How to make crumbly shortbread for the base:

My shortbread base includes ground almonds – they are optional as you can swap out for rice flour/plain flour, but they do help the shortbread base stay nice and crumbly. They also have a nice buttery note to them and, unlike rice flour, don’t add a gritty texture.

Can you make millionaire’s shortbread without condensed milk?

Usually the caramel is made with sweetened condensed milk cooked with sugar and butter until it caramelises and thickens. For my filling, I simply swap the condensed milk for tinned carnation caramel (a.k.a. dulce de leche) instead. This tinned caramel is actually made from sweetened condensed milk so it’s essentially the same thing but it’s pre-caramelised for you! I like using the pre-made carnation caramel instead of sweetened condensed milk as I think it (1) has a deeper flavour, (2) it doesn’t seem to burn as easily as plain sweetened condensed milk does (3) it seems that post-pandemic, sweetened condensed milk is often out of stock in my supermarket whereas the carnation caramel is plentiful! You can’t just use the caramel straight from the tin though as it won’t set properly so you do have to cook it with sugar & butter to get it to thicken up.

All that said, you can use sweetened condensed milk here instead of the tinned caramel if that’s all you can get. It will work just as well but you might have to cook it for longer to get the right consistency AND you’ll have to be more careful that it doesn’t burn.

How do you thicken the caramel?

The caramel & butter & sugar are cooked on the stove in a pot, stirring often to melt everything together and thicken things up. This happens because the heat causes the mixture to boil, releasing some of the water in the ingredients as steam. It takes around 7 to 10 minutes of cooking over a medium-low heat to get this effect. You have to be careful as you thicken the mixture though as the high sugar content means it’s likely to burn easily – this can be prevented by stirring often (and scraping the base and corners of the pan with a silicone spatula). Bare in mind that the caramel will also thicken & harden as it cools in the fridge so it will seem thinner when it’s hot.

Why is my caramel too thin?

The caramel will be too thin if you haven’t cooked it for long enough on the stove. To test whether you’ve cooked the caramel for long enough, I like to use a simple trick. I place a small plate in the freezer before I start making the caramel. Once the caramel is looking darker and thicker than before I remove the plate from the freezer and place a little blob of hot caramel onto it. I set the plate aside for a minute or two so the caramel can cool down. Once cool to the touch, I run my finger through the blob. If the caramel is correctly cooked, the line will remain in the caramel. If it needs to be cooked for longer, the caramel will start to run back together, filling in the line.

a side shot of a square of millionaire's shortbread

What type of chocolate should you use?

I quite like a dark chocolate for the topping as it really helps to balance out the sweetness of the other ingredients. A 70% or even 80% are great but go with what you know you like. For this batch, I swirled on a bit of white chocolate into the dark for decoration but that’s totally optional.

How to cut Millionaire’s shortbread neatly:

I have a kitchen blowtorch which I use to gently warm a sharp knife before cutting into the shortbread. This helps to create the neatest edge as it melts through the chocolate and caramel as you apply pressure, meaning the chocolate wont crack or cause the caramel to squash out! If you don’t want to mess around with a blowtorch, you can fill a jug with boiling water and pop your knife blade in there for a minute or so. Wipe the blade dry before using it as it’ll be wet! With both these methods be careful not to touch the blade while you cut as it’ll be very hot. Also, wipe the blade with a piece of kitchen roll between cuts to ensure the knife is clean & dry.

Can you put it in the fridge or freezer?

I recommend storing the cut squares in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll ensure they keep for longer (up to 1 week!) and will stop the chocolate/caramel getting all melty. You can freeze these too – cut them into squares and pop into a resealable sandwich bag for up to 1 month. Let them defrost at room temp before eating.

Other bar recipes:

Millonaire's Shortbread

Millonaire's Shortbread

Yield: 16 squares
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

A British classic traybake, so easy & perfect for bakesales! Made with tinned carnation caramel (dulce de leche) or sweetened condensed milk on a crumbly shortbread base with a snappy dark chocolate topping.

Ingredients

Shortbread:

  • 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
  • 60g (1/4 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • 200g (1 2/3 cup) plain white flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 150g (1/2 cup + 3 tbsp) unsalted butter, cold, cubed

Caramel:

  • 1 (397g/14 ounce) tin carnation caramel (dulce de leche) OR sweetened condensed milk
  • 100g (7 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt

Chocolate:

  • 150g (5.3 ounces) dark chocolate (I used a 70%), broken into chunks
  • 50g (1.8 ounces) white chocolate, broken into chunks

Instructions

For the shortbread:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking tin with a sling of baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl place all of the shortbread ingredients. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingertips until crumbly. Knead a few times in the bowl to form a cohesive dough.
  3. Crumble up the dough into the lined tin. Use your hands to flatten into an even layer then use the back of a spoon to smooth out.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top.

For the caramel:

  1. Place the caramel (or dulce de leche or sweetened condensed milk) into a medium pot with the butter, sugar and salt.
  2. Heat on medium, stirring often, until the butter has melted. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring often, for 7-10 minutes until the caramel has thickened and darkened. (NB: if using sweetened condensed milk here, it may be necessary to cook for slightly longer to get it to the right colour. You will also have to watch the caramel more closely & stir more often as it is more likely to catch and burn).
  3. Pour the hot caramel over the baked shortbread and spread out into an even layer (an offset spatula works well but you can also use the back of a spoon). Chill for 10 minutes so the caramel can firm up as you prep the chocolate.

For the chocolate top:

  1. Place the dark chocolate and white chocolate into two separate, heatproof bowls. Place each bowl over a pan of simmering water on the stove, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted and then remove the bowls from the pans of water.
  2. Pour most of the melted dark chocolate over the cooled caramel. Spread out into an even layer and then rap the whole tray against the work surface a few times to help the chocolate settle into a smooth layer.
  3. Dollops random blobs and swirls of white chocolate over the dark chocolate. Dollop the remaining dark chocolate on top in random spots. Rap the whole tray against the work surface again a few times to help the chocolate settle. Use a toothpick to swirl the dark and white chocolate together to create a marbled pattern.
  4. Chill for 10-20 minutes until set.

Remove from tin & cut:

  1. To remove from the tin you can either use a kitchen blowtorch to briefly warm the edges of the tin (only if the tin is metal!) which will help melt the chocolate and caramel at the very edges so you can lift out the whole thing with the sling. The other method is to dip a butter knife into boiling water, wipe it dry, then run it around the inside edge of the tin to release the chocolate from the edge of the tin.
  2. Cut into 16 squares using a hot knife (warmed either by running a blowtorch over the blade or by dipping the blade into boiling water & wiping dry) making sure you clean the blade between cuts for the neatest edges.
  3. Store cut bars in an airtight container. I recommend keeping them in the fridge (especially if your kitchen is warm!) for up to 1 week. They're delicious cold from the fridge or at room temp.





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The post Millionaire’s Shortbread – Baking Basics appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

Marble Cake (+ Vegan option) – Baking Basics

Chocolate and vanilla cake batter, swirled together to make a deliciously simple cake! This recipe uses oil and real chocolate for a moist, rich flavour and only needs 2 eggs! (There’s also a vegan option for those who want to make it without butter or eggs). No self-raising flour or caster sugar needed either (just plain flour and granulated sugar) so it’s a quick and simple bake to make. Whoever invented marble cake is a genius, you get the best of both worlds AND they somehow taste better marble together than they do separately? A simple vanilla batter is made and divided into two portions – one portion is left plain and the other is mixed with cocoa powder/chocolate. The two colours of batter are layered into a cake tin (usually a loaf tin or bundt tin) and swirled lightly with a knife – not enough to blend the flavours together, only just so they become entangled with one another so you get a bit of both flavour in each bite. I used to make marble cake with cocoa powder in the batter but since trying it out with real chocolate melted and swirled in, I haven’t gone back. The […]

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sliced marble cake on a plate with a vase

Chocolate and vanilla cake batter, swirled together to make a deliciously simple cake! This recipe uses oil and real chocolate for a moist, rich flavour and only needs 2 eggs! (There’s also a vegan option for those who want to make it without butter or eggs). No self-raising flour or caster sugar needed either (just plain flour and granulated sugar) so it’s a quick and simple bake to make.

Slices of marble cake on a marble background

Whoever invented marble cake is a genius, you get the best of both worlds AND they somehow taste better marble together than they do separately? A simple vanilla batter is made and divided into two portions – one portion is left plain and the other is mixed with cocoa powder/chocolate. The two colours of batter are layered into a cake tin (usually a loaf tin or bundt tin) and swirled lightly with a knife – not enough to blend the flavours together, only just so they become entangled with one another so you get a bit of both flavour in each bite. I used to make marble cake with cocoa powder in the batter but since trying it out with real chocolate melted and swirled in, I haven’t gone back. The flavour is so much better when using melted choc here and, as the cake is so simple in its flavouring, I think it’s worth the extra bit of effort.

marble cake sliced on a plate

I use the reverse creaming method for this batter which means the dry ingredients are mixed with the fat first, and then the liquid ingredients are stirred in to get a smooth batter. I find this provides a nicely even, buttery crumb which is protected somewhat against overmixing so leads to a nicely spongey, moist cake. This is because the fat coats the flour granules somewhat preventing them from forming a gluten network once the liquids are added which in turn means you can mix this batter a little more aggressivly than you would a standard cake batter.

I’ve also tested this cake with vegan substitutions of vegan butter (block & tub margarine will both work – as long as they aren’t low fat). For the eggs I replaced them with blended silken tofu which I find works well in these denser cakey applications!

Marble Cake

Marble Cake

Yield: 1 (2lb) loaf

A chocolate and vanilla marble cake (Marmor kuchen) - so moist thanks to the use of oil and cornflour! There's also a vegan (egg free, dairy free) variation.

Ingredients

  • 110g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 185g (1 1/2 cups) plain white flour (all purpose flour)
  • 20g (2 tbsp) cornflour (cornstarch), see notes for substitutes
  • 1/2 tsp fine table salt
  • 65g (2.25 ounces) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
  • 220g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 165g (2/3 cup) cow's milk, soy milk or oat milk
  • 30g (2 tbsp) vegetable oil or neutral oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 medium UK eggs (large US eggs)
  • 1 tsp vinegar (see notes) or lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp brewed coffee or water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) convection. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with a sling of baking paper and set aside.
  2. Place the butter into a medium pot and set over a medium-low heat. Allow to melt completely then remove from the heat.
  3. As the butter is melting, place the flour, cornflour and salt in a medium bowl and stir together to combine.
  4. Pour the hot melted butter into the flour mixture and stir together until you get a sandy, slightly bobbly mixture. Add the sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix together well. I like to use my fingertips here to rub all the ingredients together to ensure they're all mixed and to try to break up any large lumps.
  5. Take the pot (which should still be hot) you were using for melting the butter and place the chocolate into it, off the heat. Set aside and allow the residual heat of the pot to melt the chocolate. If it hasn't fully melted after ~5 minutes, place it over a low heat and stir until fully melted then remove from the heat. Set aside - we will come back to this later.
  6. Place the milk, oil, vanilla, eggs and vinegar into a jug or small bowl and whisk together - using a fork is fine. Pour this bit by bit into the sandy flour/butter mixture, stirring together between additions (using a whisk or large fork here helps) until all the liquid has been added and the batter is mostly smooth (there may be a few lumps here & there which is fine). It's okay to mix this batter a bit more than a standard cake batter so don't be afraid to give it a good mix with the whisk.
  7. Pour 300g (1 cup) of the batter into the pot of melted chocolate (OFF THE HEAT). Add the coffee (or water) and stir together - this is your chocolate batter! The batter which is left in the bowl is your vanilla batter.
  8. Layer the chocolate batter and vanilla batter into the lined loaf tin, alternating between the two flavours (I like to do this in 6 layers i.e. 3 layers of each flavour). You can also use a butter knife to gently swirl the batter together a few times - don't go overboard here or it'll just mix the batters rather than marbling them.
  9. Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes, covering with foil in the final 10 minutes if the cake is looking too brown. A toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
  10. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before tipping out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, slice and enjoy!

Notes

- No cornflour? Use 20g (2 tbsp) of extra plain white flour here instead.

- Vinegar: use a neutral vinegar here, e.g. apple cider, white wine, distilled, malt, rice vinegar. DON'T use something flavoured like balsamic/sherry/red wine vinegar.

- Vegan (egg/dairy-free) version: instead of the eggs use 100g (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) of blended silken tofu. In place of the butter use a vegan block margarine or tub margarine (NOT low fat). Use a non-dairy milk. Ensure the chocolate you're using is dairy free.

Have you made this recipe?
I’d love to see how it went! Tag me on instagram @izyhossack and hashtag it #topwithcinnamon so I can have a look & reshare in my stories!

The post Marble Cake (+ Vegan option) – Baking Basics appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.