Ask me what one of my own favourite baking recipes is and I will answer swiftly with the following. Anything with salted caramel. Celebrate chocolate’s greatest rival (as well as its best friend) with these heaven-scented, gloriously indulgent golden salty and sweet blondies. These are perfect with an espresso after a meal, with creme fraiche, or simply on their own.
This is a blondie to end all blondies. I just love their heavenly sweet, soft and gooey centre – sometimes holding back just isn’t an option.
Salted caramel, peanut & chocolate blondie
Makes 16 squares
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
150g butter, at room temperature
225g soft light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
3 large eggs
120g plain flour
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (I used salted dark chocolate)
125g salted peanuts, roughly chopped
375g ready-made salted caramel sauce (I used Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C, fan 160C, gas 4. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, followed by the flour, chocolate and peanuts. Fold together until combined.
2. Pour half the mixture into a greased, lined 20 x 20cm square brownie tin, then carefully spread 2/3rds of the salted caramel sauce on top. Pour the second half of the cake mixture and finish with dollops of the remaining caramel on top. Using a cocktail stick or similar, create a marble effect by swirling the cake mix and caramel together.
3. Bake for 45 minutes or until there is only the slightest wobble in the centre of the brownie. Place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes or until cool enough to cut in to squares. Delicious served warm with crème fraiche or ice cream, or alternatively serve cold with a cup of tea.
February is also a month that beckons you to bake with rhubarb. The forced variety is my favourite – beautifully pale in colour with long, languid stems topped with shockingly vibrant yellow fronds. It’s gently tart flavour is elegant and softer than rhubarb grown during the warmer weather. I especially like to make sweet puddings with these delights, and in particular, a cheeky nod to a classic partnership; my Rhubarb and Custard crumble cake.
This is both crumble and cake. It’s delightfully moreish with a comforting body (which reminds me of that other king of custard puddings, bread and butter pudding) which perfectly balances with it’s crumbly, nutty crunch topping. I recommend serving it still warm with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Rhubarb & custard crumble cake
Prep 40 minutes
Cook 1 hour 15 minutes
400g rhubarb, chopped in to 3-4cm pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste
100g golden caster sugar
1 orange, zest and 2 tbsp juice
For the crumble top
40g plain flour
2 ½ tbsp demerara sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50g cold butter, cut into squares
60g toasted hazelnuts, chopped
For the cake
125g unsalted butter
175g light soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
175g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125ml ready-made custard
1. Preheat the oven to 180C, fan 160C, gas mark 4. Place the rhubarb, vanilla, sugar, orange zest and juice in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring for 5 minutes, or until soft. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. To make the crumble topping, rub the butter, flour and sugar together (or blitz in a food processor) until it reaches a crumb texture. Stir or blitz in the hazelnuts and oats until combined.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C, fan 160C, gas mark 4. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
4. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, followed by the flour and cinnamon, then beat well. Pour in the custard, then add the cooked rhubarb with 2 tbsp of the juice (reserving the remainder to be used later) and fold until combined.
5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, then sprinkle over the crumble topping, and top with a little extra demerara sugar.
6. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer comes out of the cake clean. If the crumble begins to brown too much, place a sheet of foil over the cake. Meanwhile, in a small pan heat the reserved rhubarb juice. Remove the cake from the oven and drizzle over the surface of the cake whilst warm. Leave to rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from the tin. This can be eaten hot as a dessert or cold as a tea time treat.
Recipe, styling & photography: Natalie Seldon
The above recipes used Lakeland’s new sure-grip, non-stick bakeware. Fail-safe, high quality and at a steal price to boot.