An Autumn Baking Day
– Redcurrant Fairy Cakes with Raspberries –
Sunday morning, colder than normal and darker than I had expected, I crept downstairs to don my wellies and make my way to the hen hut……it had been raining in the night and the grass was soggy and wet underfoot, whilst large droplets fell with weird “plopping” sound on my head, as I made my way down to the bottom of the garden where my chickens reside in a “des res” stone hen hut. I passed the old quince tree, boughs heavy with golden orbs of perfumed fruit…..I could hear my “girls” clucking and cackling to be out, and as soon as I opened the old wooden door, there was a flurry of feathers as they all flew out, with indignation etched on their faces at the late hour of release, it was AFTER eight o’clock and they are usually liberated by seven o’clock. Making my way back to the warmth of the kitchen and the singing of a kettle, I plotted and pondered on what I would do today…..my suitcase had been unpacked, and my kitchen had been “reclaimed” as my own, after my husband’s messy exploits over the last two weeks. But, first, a cup of tea in bed before I decide what I will do today……
…..back in the kitchen an hour later, after a long “lie-in” and a lazy Sunday book reading session, I decided; today would be a Baking Day, and cakes and bakes would be made, as well as a big pot of stew for lunch. I also decided to try to fit in a chutney recipe, time permitting, as there was an abundance of figs, as well as apples and pears, and I have a lovely old recipe for Apple, Fig and Pear Chutney with Cardamom…..so, vegetables were peeled and diced, and flour was sifted and weighed…..and frozen fruit was defrosted for my Redcurrant Fairy Cakes, with one teensy weensy change, I had to use raspberries as I had no redcurrants!
About a month ago, Baking Mad sent the basic ingredients to make these wee cakes, the recipe for Redcurrant Fairy Cakes can be found on the Baking Mad site here: Redcurrant Fairy Cakes made with Billington’s Unrefined Sugar. The challenge was to make some cakes using one of Billington’s unrefined sugars; not all brown sugars are the same: many are only brown on the outside; underneath they are really refined white sugar which has been coated to add colour and some flavour. Billington’s sugars are different. They are unrefined so the sugars are very simply produced with the aim of locking in, rather than refining out the natural molasses of the sugar cane. It is this difference that gives unrefined sugar its superior flavour and natural colour, and I PREFER cooking with unrefined sugars wherever possible. The recipe for the Redcurrant Fairy Cakes uses Billington’s Light Muscovado Sugar, which, is the world’s finest light brown soft sugar, with a warm honey colour and creamy fudge flavour. It has a richness and depth of flavour which is unmatched by refined light soft brown sugar. Perfect for cakes, biscuits, toffee sauce and savoury dishes.
I opted to make these cakes as I had redcurrants in the garden, as well as the freezer, and they were made and devoured almost straight away, as well as being photographed too…..but, one of my camera memory cards has had an error message recently, and when I came to upload the photos, there were none to be found, so these cakes JUST had to be made again, but with raspberries! Oh what a CHORE to make these delightful cakes and sample them AGAIN!
Billington’s sugar has shed its old-fashioned packaging too, and the sugar I received was clad in a new jacket, with all the salient details about unrefined sugar printed on the back of every package.…..I was also sent a small sample of a “competitors” sugar, and I had to blind taste it, a teaspoon of each…..I have no idea who the competitor was, but their sample sugar did not have the same “toffee” flavours, nor was it as smooth and rich as the lovely Billington’s Light Muscovado Sugar I received for my cake recipe.
But back to my baking and my cakes…..as you can see by the photos, using a light muscovado sugar gives these fairy cakes a wonderful golden hue, and the taste is rich and indulgent; the redcurrants were a fabulous pairing when I used them in the cakes a few weeks ago, but the raspberries were just as good, with the same tangy flavour to cut through the toffee like taste of the cakes. The recipe is simple and the icing is just lush, as you blend fruit with the golden icing sugar for a super pink and tangy topping……I also added a few sprinkles of red sugar for an extra flourish!
I recommend this easy recipe, as well as using an unrefined sugar for that extra depth of flavour, and raspberries are JUST as good as redcurrants too, and I bet blackberries would also be fab in these cakes……or cherries! I DID manage to make my chutney by the way, and a BIG pot of seasonal veggie stew, some bread and a lovely big fruity tray-bake, all of the recipes will be posted on my blog over the next week or so, along with some new (and old) quince recipes…….that’s it for today – I still have lots of news to share with you, as well as lovely new giveaway and more 5:2 recipes ideas too…..have a wonderfully cosy and warm Sunday evening, and see you later, Karen.
Disclaimer: I was sent some sugar and flour to make these cakes, as part of Baking Mad’s Billington’s Unrefined Sugar Challenge; all opinions are my own and I was not paid to post this article. Karen S Burns-Booth
(I used the same amount of raspberries in place of the redcurrants)
Coming soon……..Quince, Walnuts, Apples & Pears, Seasonal Suppers, Stews, Cakes and Tray Bakes…..and a LOVELY new Giveaway, as well as FBC notes, an Interflora Workshop and what I was doing at Rick Stein’s Cookery School in Cornwall!
This time last year – 7th October 2011:
Love Food, Hate Waste, Leftover Legends aka Bubble and Squeak Lamb Hash
Joanne Pilborough says
making these tomorrow
Brilliant, with redcurrants or raspberries?
Nazima Franglais Kitchen says
Oh Karen these look divine. A lovely colour too. And what a good idea to post teasers of all the stuff to come. Lovely! Nice seeing you the other day x
Lovely to see you too Nazima, and I just thought it would be nice to share a few photos of what’s to come……Karen 🙂
Jude A Trifle Rushed says
Your fairy cakes look so pretty, and I think blackberries would work well too. Your husband (and the hens) must be glad to have you home, looking forward to reading your forthcoming posts (even if I haven’t the time to comment mid-week!) Jude x
I know you are SOOO busy Jude, so just take it easy, and relax when you can….I am going to try these cakes with blackberries next time…..they will be great I a sure! Karen
Oh they do look good. You always manage to make even the smallest of cakes, pretty and appealing.
Thanks Jac! Also made a No Croutons Required recipe too…..so I am ON the ball this month!
These little cakes are so pretty and also am looking forward to reading about your time spent with Mr.Stein in Cornwall . Bet you are enjoying the slightly slower pace in France in preparation for your next visit to the UK. Oh and well done for reaching no.1 on Ebuzzing…..wow! xx
Thanks Laura, never thought I would be number one in ebuzzing which such a strong crowd of bloggers! Karen
Laura loves cakes says
Yum…fruity cakes are my favourite! Using the muscovado must have given these a really nice flavour too…I might have to give them a go! 🙂
Thanks Laura, these cakes were really delicious! Karen
Wow, these look so delicious! I’m definitely going to have to give them a try! Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Thanks so much Mary, they are LOVELY little cakes, and easy to make too!
A beautiful description of your early morning chicken escapade. I do adore autumn so much and it must be so pretty down en France. These cakes look such a treat too, all that gooey raspberry juice pouring out and I love your over generous icing technique!… I love muscovado too and sometimes if I’m feeling blue I have a teaspoon in my tea or coffee just to add that wonderful flavour. Lovely post xx
Thanks Dom…..I am a BIG autumn lover too, it is my favourite season by far, and I enjoy all the seasonal baking and cooking that comes with it too! Karen
Lucy, Vanilla Frost says
These look lovely Karen, and I’m looking forward to the veggie stew too. It’s just the weather for it!
Thanks Lucy! The stew recipe will follow very soon……and this morning, I awoke to autumn mists!
Javelin Warrior says
These little cakes are so beautiful and I love the intense color from the berries – I’d take a plate of these, Karen! I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution as always). Thanks for continuing to inspire me with your creations…
THANKS so much JW! As ever, I am always honoured when one of my recipes/images is show cased on your fabulous FFF! Karen
Rachel K says
My local market stall is selling off the last of his raspberries very very cheaply and I was wondering over the weekend what to do with them (I think I have made enough jam this year!) Now I know. Cheers me dear!
BTW Karen, if I haven’t said this before, I do soooo look forward to seeing you posts and the beautiful photography. An absolute treat 🙂
Aw thanks so much Rachel, it is always lovely to hear that my posts/recipes/photos please…..and as for raspberries, yes, no more jam, make cakes instead! Karen
These look so amazing!
Karen Booth says
Thanks very much! Karen
Shonaigh Mudie says
What beautiful little cakes and the flavours really appeal to me. Redcurrants are gorgeous, like beads remember picking them from my dads garden as a child. So happy to have found your vibrant and fantastic blog. Real sucker for food blogs and enjoying looking through this.
Karen Booth says
Thank YOU Shonaigh, for your lovely comments, you have made my day! I see from the comments box that you also have a blog, I shall pop over to see you later! Karen
Digital Diva (Ally) says
I absolutely LOVE the look of these. Now I’m not on a 5:2 fast day, I can look at these properly without it causing me pain 😉
Karen Booth says
Have you stopped the 5:2 diet Ally? Have you lost the weight you want or just want a break? Thanks for your lovely comments! Karen
Sarah Ballantyne says
What a fantastic recipe to try out with my daughter. She loves apple and banana cakes and is always asking to make cakes with different fruit. She loves raspberries and it makes pink cakes – perfect!
Fiona Matters says
I just love the look of these fairy cakes. I have a little bit of a soft spot for pink things! Getting girly in my old age I think. Shared on twitter.
Maya Russell says
We usually get loads of redcurrants – I’ll look back for this recipe as your cakes look divine!
Maya Russell says
And shared on Twitter as @maisietoo – https://twitter.com/maisietoo/status/311364200406597632