spiced nectarine cake

spiced nectarine cake | The Secret Life of Bee

I’ve always loved a spiced cake. My gran used to make a phenomenal upside down apple cake and the cinnamon smell would fill the kitchen and waft through the whole house. It was utterly mesmerizing. She served it with softly whipped cream and it was like my kryptonite. So as an homage to granny I made this cake the other day but thanks to leftovers from another shoot I had a crazy amount of nectarines in the house and voilà!

spiced nectarine cake | The Secret Life of Bee

This cake is awesome because it really has three layers/textures. As you bake it upside down and then flip it you’ve got the nectarine layer which is super moist and buttery, the middle layer which is your perfect sponge like cake and then the base which has a sublime crunchy crust to it.

spiced nectarine cake | The Secret Life of Bee

My only warning to you is make this when you have people around to eat it with you. It’s dangerously addictive and ‘just one more sliver’ turned into cake annihilation. It goes as well with a glass of bubbles as it does with a pot of tea. The mother bear and I made sure we did plenty of taste testing and wine pairing!

Spiced Nectarine Cake 

Ingredients:

  • 60g butter, melted
  • 100g muscavado sugar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 4-5 nectarines
  • 315g all-purpose flour
  • 115g sugar
  • 100g muscavado sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Brush the melted butter around all sides of a 20cm cake tin. Swirl the butter at the bottom of the pan into an even layer. Sprinkle with the muscavado sugar and mixed spice and set aside.

Slice the nectarines into wedges and arrange neatly over the spiced muscavado.

Combine the flour, sugar, muscavado sugar, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl whisk together the softened butter, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Spoon the batter over the nectarines and gently flatten it out whilst trying to keep them in their arranged pattern.

Place in the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a cooling rack with a plate underneath for catching some syrupiness.

Serve with whipped cream or cinnamon ice cream and a drizzle of dulce de leche if you just wanna be naughty.

spiced nectarine cake | The Secret Life of Bee

orange tea cake with Greek yoghurt frosting

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

Pass me a cup of Earl Grey and a slice of this orange tea cake and i’m as happy as Larry. I adore all citrus fruit and have been munching on an excessive amount of Clementines and Navel oranges recently. Granny dearest is also a big fan of the old citrus family but an even bigger fan of the cake family. She requested something to accompany her cup of tea and voilà this orange tea cake happened!

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

I returned from the shops with some bits and bobs for cake making and suddenly realised i’d been so focussed on the cake itself i’d completely forgotten about any form of icing. The cake is rich, sweet and incredibly moist so it needed something that wouldn’t overpower the delicious sponge and it’s zesty flavour. I also wanted a white icing for aesthetic purposes and found myself digging in the fridge for cream. No cream was discovered but the Greek yoghurt looked at me and said, “Hey- I’m creamy and smooth and delicious. Give me a shot at this.”

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

To top off the Greek yoghurt frosting I candied some orange slices in a thyme infused syrup. The smell in your kitchen is reason enough to make this cake with haste. Thyme goes so well with sweet baked goods as well as cocktails. I love adding herbs to desserts and drinks for a kick of flavour, a boost in scent and some colour.

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

I made two cakes pictured here as I wanted to layer them but this recipe makes a single layer cake which is all you really need for a cake like this. You can always go back for a second slice. Obvs. And keep an eye on the orange slices when simmering away in syrup. You want them very tender but not disintegrated! Now get baking and tea making. I can smell the Bergamot orange and happiness in the air.

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

Orange tea cake with Greek yoghurt frosting

makes 1 single layer cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges, zested & juiced
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 160g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 65ml milk
  • 200g flour
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Candied orange slices:

  • 2 oranges, cut into slices
  • 200g sugar
  • 250ml water
  • bunch of fresh thyme

Frosting:

  • 125ml Greek yoghurt
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 1 orange, zested

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Line and grease a 20cm cake tin.

Cream the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix. Pour in the milk, orange juice and orange zest. Mix well.

Finally sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and fold in well without overworking the batter.

Pour into prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cake thoroughly on a cooling rack before icing.

To make the candied orange slices bring the sugar and water to the boil in a small pot. Add the thyme and orange slices and turn down to a simmer for 15 minutes. Using tongs flip the orange slices and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes. Drain and place on some baking paper and in the fridge to firm up.

To make the icing beat all the ingredients together until smooth.

Drizzle the icing over the cake and place in the fridge for the icing to set.

Invite some friends over for an orange infused tea party! You can even keep the theme going and all dress up as Donald Trump!

orange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Beeorange tea cake with greek yoghurt frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

 

vanilla sponge cake with buttercream icing

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

So over one glass four glasses of wine with a friend recently, we got chatting about baking. Specifically baking for the every day home cook. Sometimes it’s great having an amazing, seriously involved recipe that takes you 36 hours to execute and the result is drool-worthy. But other times you just need something convenient and yum without creating Hiroshima in the kitchen.

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

I have never used a cake baking kit before but was so pleasantly surprised at the result. The NOMU Vanilla Cake Kit created a delicious vanilla sponge cake that baked evenly and perfectly. I also liked that the kit required eggs, butter and milk. So you’re using all the good stuff that makes a cake super yummy, except they just make your life easier by measuring all the dry ingredients for you in a perfect ratio.

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

This was a very special cake for a very special bride to be and I could not have been happier that it turned out beautifully and was totally delicious. So find an excuse to bake this cake ASAP and you won’t be disappointed!

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting

*This recipe makes one cake. I used 2 cake kits, doubled the ingredients and made extra icing for the featured cake.

Ingredients:

For the icing:

*The nifty NOMU Baking Kit comes with three clearly marked sachets. One cake mix, one caster sugar and one icing mix sachet.

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

Method:

Preheat oven to 170˚C. Grease 2 x 20cm cake tins.

Using a hand held or stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on high until very pale and fluffy.

Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and milk. Mix.

Finally sift in the cake mix sachet and gently combine until just mixed together.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tins and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before icing.

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

For the icing: 

Beat the butter on high speed until pale and creamy.

Sift in the icing mix and beat until well combined.

Add two squirts of vanilla paste for extra flavour and the beautiful look of little vanilla seeds throughout the icing.

Once the cake is completely cool begin assembly. Place a dollop of icing onto a cake board or cake stand to ‘cement’ down your cake. Place the first layer down and top with a very generous amount of icing and spread evenly to the edges. Place the second layer on top and ice the entire cake with a very thin layer of icing. This is called the crumb coat which glues down stray crumbs so you have a neater and cleaner finish. Place the cake in the fridge for the icing to set.

Remove the cake once the icing has set and proceed with the final layer of icing. For smooth edges use an off-set spatula or palette knife and dip in warm water. Decorate with flowers, glitter, gold dust, mini meringues and lots of LOVE!

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee

Vanilla Sponge Cake with Buttercream Frosting | The Secret Life of Bee