Sunday, 9 December 2012

Floods, a powdery dusting of snow and Mary Berry's Hokey Pokey coffee cake

Days seem to zoom past, weekends too.  It rained and the flood defence went up at the end of the village. The main street into town flooded. The post wasn't collected or delivered and people canoed down the high street into town. It took poor H, two and a half hours to get home from work each day...(wading not canoeing.) But the water subsided, and out of the blue it snowed...just one lovely powdery dusting, and the postman returned with a surprise parcel from one of my sisters, lovely old vintage bag and book for cosy Christmas reading, nice long letter too.

In-between we squeezed one Friday night trip to town for Light Night,  and a Saturday afternoon shopping in Abingdon with reindeers, Morris Men, Punch and Judy, Carol singing, what looked like a a Hog roast and all the fun of the fair. Unusual mixture of traditional things. Oh and watched this again with H who   hasn't seen it before, I'd forgotton how lovely and quirky it is...and now want to decorate an undersea room.

Busy days like these, I am thankful for easy recipes like fish cakes made with Japanese Panko crumb,  and whatever the fridge or store cupboard provided. But am especially grateful for Mary Berry's all-in-one cake recipes. You genuinely just put everything in one big bowl, mix it up, put it in a baking pan and then bake it. I think I've tried all of her all-in-one recipes over the last couple of weeks. The last two being Carrot Cake  and Hokey Pokey Coffee Cake. Not the best photos, slightly over cooked pak choi and sunken carrot cake...I opened the oven door too soon, but the Hokey Pokey was fine and they were all scrumptious and soon there'll be time to bake leisurely, and slowly cook sumptuous meals.

To make Mary Berry's Hokey Pokey Coffee Cake you will need:
  • 225g/8oz butter or alternative
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar. (I used a cup of Maple syrup instead)
  • 225g/8oz Self Raising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp of Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee mixed with 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 75g/3oz chopped walnuts
Walnut praline
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 50g/2 oz caster sugar
  • 50g/2 oz walnut pieces
For the Butter Icing
  • 75g/3oz softened butter
  • 250g/9oz sifted icing sugar
  • 1 1/2tsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1 1/2 tbspn hot water
  1. Lightly grease  a couple of 8in/20cm baking pans and pre-heat the oven to 160c/325f/gas mark 3.
  2. Place all the above ingredients in a large bowl and beat together until combined. Divide the mixture into the two pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown, well risen and beginning to shrink away from the side of the baking tins.
  3. Allow to cool in the tins for a few minutes and then remove and turn onto a wire cake rack to cool. 
To make the praline:
  1. Put the water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar turns nut brown.
  2. Turn off the heat straight away. Stir in the nuts and pour the mixture onto an oiled baking tray. 
  3. Leave to cool. 
  4. When cooled break up into rough pieces. Keeping the best pieces to decorate the top, chop up the remainder to add to the icing in the middle of the cake.
To make the butter icing:
  1. Put all the ingredients for the butter icing into a bowl and mix until blended.
To put the cake together, choose the one with the best top and keep to one side. Turn the other one up-side-down and spread with half the butter icing and the chopped praline. Place the second cake on top and ice with the remaining icing, then decorate with the praline pieces.

I didn't make the butter icing as I have an aversion to it since making a chocolate log at school that was smothered with chocolate butter icing and eating more than my fair share of it.  But we love the Mary Berry recipe for chocolate icing on her Chocolate and Vanilla marble loaf so I adapted that using an ounce of melted butter, instant coffee dissolved in hot water a  little milk and icing sugar. It makes a lovely shiny icing that's not too rich. 

I think it might be the maple syrup cake next...

How was your weekend?

joining amanda for hers


  1. Visiting from Amanda's blog. That's about how much snow we got here in Denver. So much for our "snowstorm"

    1. Thanks for coming over Flyingien.

      We still might all have a white Chrismas yet...

      Have a super week

  2. I have seen the terrible flooding on the Weather Channel and wondered if you were being effected. I am glad to hear all is better now, and you got snow! I am so envious. Sounds like you received some fun mail, that always makes for a good day.
    I like the sound of the coffee cake and will be making one here tomorrow. I think I'll sub pecans since that is what I have in the freezer.

    1. We are very fortunate to be in a little dry oasis Tracey. A lot of work has been done on the flood defence recently and it seems to be working, so the village remained dry this time. But the other side of the barrier was like a lake and the allotments an ice rink now. ( I just wrote icing rink! think I've got cakes on the brain!) Lots of people will have lost their winter vegetable harvest...but thankfully no-one was hurt and I don't think that much damage was done to houses this time.

      IOh the coffee cake sounds scrumptious with pecan'll have to let us know how it turns out.

      Happy baking day.

  3. all just so christmassy and pretty... I ADORE the eskimo plate... that is a thing of beauty x

  4. You have been so busy and I love that plate!!! Sorry about the flooding, I hope the dusting of snow was nicer to look at than all the rain. Here's to life slowing down a bit so you can knit on that lovely project :)

    1. I a little kid when it comes to snow Karen...I just love it. The sky is very heavy grey/white...I'm sure that we will have more snow will be a perfect day to bake the christmas cake...a bit of knitting too hopefully. I'm so far behind with everything this year, but so looking forward to everything.


  5. So sorry about all the flooding. H's trek home sounds like quite an arduous adventure! Of course, yummy food probably was the prize. Your meals always look so good. And the presentation too (love the plate). Is that you in the two photos?? What a fun bustling evening. It looks like a feast for the eyes and nose.

    1. Thanks Heather. I know poor thing she was exhausted when she got home and it meant getting up even earlier in the morning than the usual 6.30, such long days...fortunately it didn't last very long...although I think more rain is forecast for later in the week, but at the moment if just looks like it's going to snow. (I hope so!)

      Thanks for the comments about the food too...I'm not so good on presentation. I always think it's the taste that counts and if it looks good it's a bonus...I'd never get on Master Chef...

      Oh yes it is me in the photo's...they are a bit dark but it was a bit too cold to hang around for any more...

  6. i love an easy cake recipe! and holy moly on the flooding! nothing beats a surprise package. :)

  7. What a yummy looking cake, and one I can eat too! Thanks for the maple syrup change! The lights look lovely. We really need to get out on a light tour sometime soon!

  8. wow! so busy and such good eats (as always). i might give your coffee cake recipe a try...been looking for something new to add to the repertoire.

  9. asll those busy night scenes, looks so cosy. I really miss London at this time of the year!

  10. Hi Deb, I've been so slack and haven't been visiting blogger lately, but happy to be catching up on your wonderful blog! The cake sounds scrumptious! (But isn't that 3 bowls????) :-)

  11. Hi Rel, so good to hear from you. Blogs can eat up an awful lot of time so I'm not surprised. Oh and thanks.

    Thanks for pointing out about the three bowls...I should clarify. The all-in-one is more to do with the processes. No creaming together of butter and sugar and then folding in flour or seperating yolk and white and whisking but everything gets plopped in, and one big mix and it's ready to put in the pan. The icing and praline take extra time but her cakes are so scrummy that even you don't have time to ice them they are delicious as they are. The recipe that has gone down the best recently is her ginger treacle one with stem ginger...If you are a ginger fan you'll love it.

    Happy holidays Rel...I'm just coming over to check yours now.