A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Tag Archives: pecans

I found the recipe for this cake ages ago on Pinterest, and decided to have it as my birthday cake this year. Honestly, this was the most stressful baking experience I’ve had in ages. So many things went wrong and the cake ended up looking a mess. Here is a picture I managed to snap before I mostly destroyed the cake trying to transfer it off the baking parchment. However, this experience was also a reminder of how rubbish it is to be a perfectionist. Everyone in the office loved the cake.

I rediscovered the awesome combination of caramel, chocolate and pecans, kicked up a notch by salting the caramel. Next time I bake, I will most likely make salty turtle cupcakes or brownies.

Once again this post will be various process pictures. Hopefully I’ll have a better baking experience soon.


  • 2cups (280g) plain flour
  • 1.5cups ( 340g) sugar
  • 1/2cup (60g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (140g) melted butter
  • 1 cup (250g) buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1tbsp baking soda
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh coffee


  • 1 cup (220g) sugar
  • 1 cup (250ml) whole milk
  • 6 tbsp (90g) butter
  • 12oz (350g) dark chocolate
  • 1-2 tsp hot coffee (optional)
  • 1 1/2 pecan halves

Salted caramel

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, salted
  • 1/2 cup double (heavy) cream
  • Extra salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter bottom and sides of three 8- or 9-inch cake pans and line bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Butter the paper; dust pans with unsweetened cocoa powder and set pans aside.
In a small bowl, stir together egg, buttermilk and oil
In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
Slowly add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, beating until combined.

Gradually beat in coffee

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans; layers will appear shallow.

Bake until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean, about 22 to 25 minutes. Remove towire racks for 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pans, then invert cakes on racks. Remove cakes from pans. Peel off paper and cool completely.

Salted caramel

I’ve made caramel twice recently and it has come out slightly greasy, but still tasty. I will look for a new recipe. I used the one from Sally’s Baking Addiction.


In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and milk. Add butter. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add chocolate pieces. Using a wire whisk, stir until smooth. If frosting is too thick or grainy, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly brewed coffee. If necessary, let frosting stand for several minutes before using.


I forgot to toast the pecans, which definitely makes a difference.

This post is reminding me that perfectionism spoils my enjoyment of my cooking as well as my making. This cake tastes fine. Just because it doesn’t look like something that costs £4 a slice shouldn’t diminish that.


I’ve had my eye on the recipe for these delicious pecan and cinnamon cupcakes for a while. Unfortunately I didn’t read the recipe through before embarking as it is more time-consuming than most cupcake recipes, but the result is a very light and fluffy cupcake that is delicately spiced with an occasional pleasing crunch of pecan. Right up my alley. I made them with buttercream frosting but I think they would be even nicer with cream cheese frosting- a little tang rather than just additional sweetness. I thought I would spend a little bit of time on the decoration for once.

With the quantities given below, I got 24 mini cupcakes and six full sized ones. So I reckon 18 full sized cupcakes.


  • 50g (1/2 cup) pecans
  • 190g (3/4 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 215g (1 1/4 cups) caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs- these will be separated
  • 175g (1 1/4 cups) plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt (1/2 tsp if you use unsalted butter)
  • 1/2tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4tsp ground cinnamon
  • 120ml (1/2 cup) whole milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting

  • 60g (1/4 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 400g (2 1/2 cups) icing sugar
  • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  • 120ml (1/2 cup) double cream
  • 4tbsp maple syrup
  • Yellow food colouring


1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line an 18 hole muffin pan with paper cases

2. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 6mins, until they are just beginning to brown at the edges. Allow to cool, then crush in a pestle and mortar.

3. In a large bowl or electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (7-10mins).

4. Add the yolks one at a time, mixing until incorporated.

5. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a mixing bowl, or the bowl of your scale. In a separate jug, combine milk and vanilla.

6. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed sugar and butter in three parts, alternating with the milk mixture. With each addition, scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure an even batter. Remember to begin and end with the dry ingredients.

7. Stir in the crushed pecans.

8. In a spotlessly clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff.

9. Gently fold the egg white into the batter, in three parts.

10. Divide the batter between the paper cases, filling them three quarters.

11. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15mins, until just browning and passing the toothpick test.

12. Allow to cool in the pan for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting.

1. In a medium bowl, beat the butter until soft.

2. Add sugar, vanilla, cream and maple syrup. Beat until smooth and creamy.

3. Put about a quarter of the frosting into a small separate bowl. Add food colouring until you get a really vivid yolk colour.

4. Once the cupcakes are totally cold, spread evenly with the white frosting using a palette knife or offset spatula. Drop about a teaspoon of the yellow frosting on top, a little to one side, for the yolk.


I’ve been really seized by the desire to make things this week. I’m also trying to use up the ingredients in my cupboard as I’m planning to move house soon. I’ve had this recipe for apple, pecan and cinnamon bread pinned for a while, so I decided to try it out.
The method of cutting and stacking the slices of dough is the same as I used in my pumpkin tear and share bread.

I’m pretty happy with it!

Since I’m moving, I’ve decided to keep my magical new mixer safe in its box until I’m in my new place. I quite enjoyed making this bread by hand and I noticed that my kneading technique has improved a lot this year. You only have to do it a few times before you get a ‘feel’ for when the dough is ready to rise.
This a lovely soft enriched white loaf packed with apple, nuts and caramel. It’s gooood. I also learnt something, if you use a American recipe that calls for King Arthur All Purpose Flour, you should substitute strong rather than plain flour. Important.
For the bread

  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, very soft
  • 1/3 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup water, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups strong white flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast- note this is slightly over one sachet

For the filling

  • 3 apples
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 1tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

For the icing

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2-6 tbsp milk

1. Whisk together the butter, milk, water, eggs, and vanilla extract
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast, then add the wet ingredients.
3. Turn out onto a lightly floured or oiled surface. Knead until the dough is smooth, about 5-7 mins. It will be quite soft. If it seems very sticky add a little flour, up to a 1/4 cup
4. Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover.

5. Leave to rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.

6. Just before the hour is up, prepare the filling. Mix the cinnamon into the sugar and thinly slice your apples. Coarsely chop the nuts. Melt the butter.

7. Grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf tin
8. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface. Roll into a 12″ x 20″ rectangle.
9. Spread the melted butter over the top of the dough, using a pastry brush
10. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture over the top, using your hand to press into the butter

11. Add the apples and sprinkle on the nuts.

12. Stack the slices into the greased baking tin. Cram in any filling that has slipped out.

13. Cover the tin and leave to rise for about an hour. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) after 45mins.

14. Bake for 45-55 minutes in the centre of the oven, tenting it with foil after 30 minutes if the loaf is browning too quickly.
15. Remove from oven and transfer loaf to a rack to cool for 15-20 minutes before turning it out of pan to cool completely.

16. Make up the glaze and pour over load while it is still warm.