Monday 18 July 2011


I often experiment with different brownie flavours...I try and devise a new one each month for the Farmer's Market to keep things interesting! This was my latest creation...Caramel Popcorn Brownies.  They sold very well...the popcorn is in the mixture as well as on top. One thing I found while playing with the recipe was that it works best to sprinkle the popcorn that decorates the top of the brownie after it comes out of the oven, but while the cake is still hot. This prevents the caramel from scorching...and the warmth of the chocolate means that the popcorn sticks beautifully to the top too...
So, that's one that will be repeated sometime...
Other delights this week included...

Double Almond Tarts...

Fresh Raspberry Shortcakes...the filling was a vanilla mascarpone one...I delivered these in the wind & rain of Saturday morning. They reminded everyone that it is, in fact, Summer!

Also, some old fashioned favourites. My little sister, Lucy, always used to request a Marble Cake for her birthday. I haven't made one for ages...making this one made me wonder why!

It was, as you see, chocolate & pretty...

I filled it with vanilla buttercream...

with more for the top and crumbled milk chocolate flake to decorate. Delish!
The other 'retro' cake I made was really popular about 150 years ago....but rarely seen today. Seed Cake was usually eaten mid morning, with a glass of sherry or madeira wine. In fact, if you visit St John restaurant in London, it still is! The few times I've eaten this cake, I've loved it. So I thought that it was a good time to resurrect it for The Coffee Tree. Mine had a lemon glaze...

and it turned out so beautifully that I thought I should share the recipe with you. It's adapted from the Three-Seed Cake in Sarabeth Levine's beautiful bakery book - so it has US measurements..

Old-Fashioned Caraway Seed Cake

Grease & line a 10" round tin with parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 350f/170c

3 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
2 tsp caraway seeds                       } stir together in a bowl and set aside
1 tbsp baking powder

10 tbsp/1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups superfine (caster) sugar            } Beat at high speed in a stand mixer until light & fluffy in texture
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Separate 4 large, room temperature eggs. Beat the yolks into the butter/sugar mixture one by one, beating well after each addition.

Reducing mixer speed to low, add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg yolks in thirds, alternating additions with 1 cup whole milk. Scrape down bowl to make sure all is fully incorporated.

In a large, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form (I use a hand held electric whisk for this) and fold into the cake mixture using a large metal spoon. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake approx 1 hour until top springs back. I also insert a thin metal skewer into the centre of the cake - if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked! Turn cake out onto a wire cooling rack and invert so that it's the right way up.

For the glaze (best poured on while the cake is still warm/hot as it sets better): combine 2 cups confectioners (icing) sugar in a small bowl with 3 tbsps fresh lemon juice and stir until smooth. Pour over cake and, with a knife, gently smooth over the top...a little dripping down the sides looks beautiful too!

Leave until completely cold, transfer to a plate and EAT!! It keeps  really well for 3/4 days in an airtight tin or container.

Have a wonderful Monday! xx


  1. I wonder how long I'd have to stare at these fantastic creations to get over my cookie/cake lust that has been plaguing me all day. They all look so wonderful. Think today I'd order the double almond tarts--no idea why--you'd think it would be the shortcake or brownies which I've been fantasizing about for hours. One day when I'm baking again I'll try your seed cake. Thanks for the recipe. Oh and popcorn brownies. Wow I just make plain ones and they're plenty for me. I think raspberries would be nice tho as I love them with choc. D Greenspan has an interesting choc brownie like cake covered with dripping caramel and peanuts. Never made it but would like to. In Baking.

    By the way, when I'm making a cake like that with egg whites separately beaten (well I have 2 bowls for my K-A but if I don't want to use them) I whip the whites first, transfer to a clean bowl, then do the yolk beating, then fold in whites. That way you don't have to wash the whisk to do the whites or pull out another mixer. When it comes to laziness I am a gourmet in every sense of the word. ♥

  2. Wow, caramel popcorn brownies!!!
    Everything looks so scrumptious.
    Happy Monday, Rachel, and thank you for the sweet words you leave on my blog! You always brighten my day.

  3. Oh my gosh Rachel you are such a marvelous baker! These creations look amazing and make me drool over my computer screen!!! Smile!! What a gift from God you have been given!! Bless you for using it to it's fullest!!!

    xoxo Gert

  4. Rachel - I'm so happy to see a recipe for one of your cakes. You know how I love your baking and now I'll be able to try one of those creations of yours at home. Thank you for sharing.
    And - oh my! How amazing are those shortcakes!
    Love, Marta.

  5. Dear Rachel, everything looks so delicious, as usual!! What a great idea to add popcorn to the brownies. It must add a very interesting texture when baked inside the brownies! I absolutely love the look of the raspberry shortcakes. Wish I could have one right now!! How nice of you to share your caraway seed cake recipe with us. I've never tasted that before. How would you describe the flavour? Is it similar to another type of seed cake? Sending my love...xoxo

  6. Boy, what can I say, your are the master of sweet confections. Lucky are those who get to eat your sweets. Popcorn brownies are amazing and I love the raspberry shortcakes. Sometime after I get into better shape I will treat myself and try your seed cake. Sending a big hug to my favorite baker. xoxo

  7. Funnily enough I was just thinking about seed cake today. It's ages since I've made one as the young uns are less keen. Will give your recipe a go very soon, it looks just how I imagine seed cake to look. x

  8. Boy I want to try those brownies!

  9. Goodness you've been busy! Always wanted to try a caraway seed cake, they remind me of childhood, the sort of thing my mum used to make.

  10. I love caraway seeds. Will be trying this one, doubt if the kids will like it, they're quite an aquired taste xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  11. Yum! I found you via Susan Branch's blog. Your food looks absolutely delicious!


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