Acorn Cakelets

I LOVE Nordic Ware cake pans! They are so well made and come in a multitude of different designs. My favourites are the Fall Harvest collection as they are designed for people who love Autumn!

Acorn cakelet pan

I’ve found them in Homesense and of course, on Amazon and I’ve collected a few of them over the years. The only trouble I have, (perfectionist that I am), is the little holes you get when you bake the cakes, spoiling the detail. I have experimented with various recipes, starting with the one that comes with the pan, meticulously brushing all the little nooks with butter, banging tins before they go into the oven but still seeing those annoying little holes!

Acorn cakelet pan1

As far as preparing the tin goes, I have buttered, buttered and floured and used cake release spray and can honestly say the best result came from using none of them! I really do think you have to have faith in the non-stick. I definitely have less holes when I don’t use anything. I think the butter can gather in the little crevices and then when the cakes bake, the butter creates steam and you can get little holes.

I also pipe the mixture in, that way you can really make sure the batter fills the little details from the bottom up.

As you will see from these photos, there are still some troublesome holes present, but mostly, they have come out smooth. I am still working on the perfect, hole-free recipe!

Acorn Cakelet collection

Below are three different flavours, all based on the same original recipe and each one is enough to fill the pan twice. Chocolate, Maple Spice and Spiced Pumpkin. My family liked the chocolate ones the best.

They are the perfect little snack and can be decorated with a glaze, sprinkles, or sandwiched together with a spiced buttercream.

Acorn Cakelets

Chocolate Acorn Cakelets

Ingredients:
125g plain/all-purpose flour
65g cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1.5tsp cinnamon
0.5tsp ground cloves
0.5tsp ground ginger
120ml whole milk
85g pure maple syrup
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp coffee extract
115g butter at room temperature
75g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F

Sieve the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and spices together in a bowl.

Combine the milk, maple syrup, vanilla and coffee extract in a small bowl and stir together.

Beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. I use my stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment.

Beat in the eggs a little at a time and then with the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and alternate with the liquid mixture until everything is combined.

If you add the milk mixture straight to the eggs, it will curdle horribly. However, it will come back when you add the flour, so don’t worry. Mix on low speed until the mixture is smooth, but don’t over-mix as the cakelets will become tough.

Pile the batter into a piping bag. I use disposable ones and just cut a little hole in the bottom. Pipe around a tablespoon of mixture into each hole so that it is around ¾ full. Pipe the batter so the holes are filled from the bottom up to try and avoid holes in your little acorns.

Give the pan a rap on the worktop – I don’t know if this really helps expel air but every little helps!

Bake for around 12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cakes cool for 10 minutes or until you can see them springing back from the cavities. Turn out onto a cooling rack to fully cool if you are decorating, or you can serve them warm with coffee.

Chocolate acorn cakelet

Maple Spice Acorn Cakelets

Ingredients:
190g plain/all-purpose flour
0.5tsp baking powder
0.5tsp salt
2tsp cinnamon
0.5tsp ground cloves
0.5tsp ground ginger
120ml whole milk
85g pure maple syrup
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp maple extract
115g butter at room temperature
50g soft brown sugar
20g dark brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F

Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together in a bowl.

Combine the milk, maple syrup, vanilla and maple extract in a small bowl and stir together.

Beat the butter and sugars together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs a little at a time and then with the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and alternate with the liquid mixture until everything is combined.

Pile the batter into a piping bag and just cut a little hole in the bottom. Pipe around a tablespoon of mixture into each hole so that it is around ¾ full and bang the pan to level the batter and expel any air.

Bake for around 12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cakes cool for 10 minutes or until you can see them springing back from the cavities. Turn out onto a cooling rack.

Maple acorn cakelet

Spiced Pumpkin Acorn Cakelets

Ingredients:
200g plain/all-purpose flour
200g pumpkin puree
0.5tsp baking powder
0.5tsp salt
2tsp cinnamon
0.5tsp ground cloves
0.5tsp ground ginger
0.25tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1tsp vanilla extract
115g butter at room temperature
80g soft brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F

Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together in a bowl.

Beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs a little at a time and then beat in the pumpkin.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until everything is combined.

Pipe around a tablespoon of mixture into each hole so that it is around ¾ full and bang the pan to level the batter and expel any air.

Bake for around 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. I found the pumpkin ones took a little longer than the others to be fully baked.

Let cakes cool for 10 minutes or until you can see them springing back from the cavities. Turn out onto a cooling rack.

Pumpkin acorn cakelet

Rainbow Chard, Goats Cheese and Mushroom Pie

I picked up some very nice looking rainbow chard this morning.  It’s not a vegetable I often buy, although I do often have the baby stems in prepared bags of salad.  I decided that it would be good with the field mushrooms I also bought, together with some goats cheese.

Swiss chard

This is a very quick pie that makes the most of the autumn produce available right now and uses ready bought puff pastry. The cheese really brings it all together and the finished pie makes for a very nice meat-free lunch or supper dish with salad.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie1

Ingredients:
1 bunch of fresh rainbow chard, washed
2 onions, halved and sliced
1 punnet of field mushrooms
1tbs mixed fresh herbs, I used thyme, rosemary and one sage leaf, all finely chopped
1 small goats cheese
50g Gruyere cheese – grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3tbs double cream
1tsp Dijon mustard
1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry
1 knob of butter with a little olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method:
Prepare the onions by halving and slicing them.  Strip the leaves from the stems of the chard and chop the stems fairly small.  Tear the leaves.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie

Heat the butter and oil in a pan and add the onions and herbs.  Cook on a medium heat for a couple of minutes with a pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.  Add in the chard stems and cook together until softened and translucent.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie3

Slice the mushrooms and add to the onions and chard, cook until golden, before adding in the chard leaves to wilt down.

When the leaves have wilted, stir in the mustard and cream and remove from the heat.

Stir in the grated gruyere cheese off the heat and leave to cool before assembling the pie.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie6

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a non stick liner.

Place the pasty sheet onto the lined baking and cut in half.

In the centre of one half of the pastry, pile the filling, leaving a border of around 2cm. Dot with the crumbled goats cheese and brush the border with beaten egg.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie2

For the other half, I have cut out little holes, but you can just cut steam holes.  Place the second half directly over the filling and crimp the edges together with a fork.  Brush the top with the beaten egg.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie4

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until crisp, golden and completely cooked through.  Leave to cool a little before serving with salad and a nice glass of chilled white wine.

Apple and Blackberry Cobbler

The weather is getting cooler and the nights are starting to draw in, thoughts are turning to recipes baked with seasonal fruit and spices.

Apples and blackberries are a classic combination and I often make apple and blackberry pies and crumbles.  For a change, this is a cobbler and uses buttermilk and melted butter in the ‘cobbles’ which makes the topping very tender and moist.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler2

The sweet fruit and spices all baked together makes the kitchen smell wonderful.  The finished cobbler has sweet, juicy fruit on the bottom and the gently spiced topping is soft on the inside and a little crusty and golden on the top.  It’s the perfect alternative to a crumble or a pie and really easy to make.

Although the temptation is to dive straight in the finished pudding, it’s best to leave it to cool a little before serving as the filling is incredibly hot straight from the oven.

Filling:
3-4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 punnet of sweet blackberries, washed
Juice of half a lemon
150g brown sugar
1tsp cinnamon
A pinch of ground cloves
1tbs cornflour

Topping:
250g self-raising flour
150g butter, melted
240g buttermilk
100g sugar
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp cinnamon
A little melted butter for brushing

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F and butter a baking dish

Place the sliced apples, spices, cornflour, lemon juice and sugar in a pan and heat gently.  When the sugar has melted and the juices thickened a little, place into a bowl and gently stir in the blackberries.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler

Place into the buttered dish and prepare the topping.

For the topping, place the flour, salt, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and mix together.  Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter and buttermilk.  Stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler1

Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, or two spoons, drop spoonfuls of the batter over the fruit and top with a little extra brown sugar.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler3

Bake for 40-45 minutes until the cobbler is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cobbles comes out clean.  When the cobbler is removed from the oven and still hot, brush the top with a little melted butter.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler5

This is best served warm and is good with ice cream, custard, whipped cream, or just on its own.  It’s also good cold the next day.

Apple Blackberry Cobbler4