traybakes & more

retro recipes for the modern baker

Ginger Cake

The festive season is well and truly upon us here at Traybakes HQ. The tree is up and covered in an array of ornaments, bought and homemade, and there are even a few presents underneath (Little Miss Traybakes has been very well behaved and isn’t shaking hers too much!). We’ve had our first snowfall and first sledding expedition. We’re introducing more Americans to the wonders of a good homemade mince pie and while we’re waiting for the Christmas cake to be iced, we’ve been enjoying this rich, spiced Ginger Cake.

Now, I like my ginger cake to have a lot of ginger in it, so I use 4 big teaspoons of ground ginger as well as a few other spices. Feel free to cut back the gingeryness if you prefer your spice levels a little more subtle.

Although there is quite a long list of ingredients, this is a relatively simple bake. Take the wet ingredients and mix into the dry for a few minutes, pour into the tin and bake. And you don’t even need to worry about taking your butter out of the fridge in advance to soften because the butter is melted. And I regularly forget to take the butter out of the fridge in advance! (If you want another easy cake that uses melted butter then try this recipe for Lemon Butter Cake, it’s a winner!)

Ingredients

6 oz/170g/1½ cups plain flour (all-purpose flour)

½ tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda

2 oz/55g/½ cup ground almonds (almond flour)

3-4 large tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground allspice

4 oz/110g/½ cup dark brown sugar

2 tbsp treacle (molasses)

2 tbsp golden syrup (try honey or maple syrup if you can’t find it)

3 oz/85g/¾ stick butter

4 fl oz/125ml/½ cup buttermilk

2 eggs

Method

1. Preheat oven to 325F/160C and line a 2lb loaf tin.

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan with the treacle, golden syrup and sugar.

3. Sift the flour, baking soda, spices and almonds into a bowl.

4. Add the melted butter & sugar mixture to the dry ingredients, with the well beaten eggs and the buttermilk.

5. Beat the batter for approximately 5 minutes until well mixed. I use my stand mixer for this, but you could also use an electric hand mixer or, if your arm muscles are up to it, a wooden spoon or whisk.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 40-45 minutes.

7. Leave to cool in the tin. Slice and enjoy!

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Pineapple Coconut Slice

Pastry, jam, pineapple and coconut. It all sounds like a pretty good combination of flavors. And you’d be right! This Pineapple Coconut Slice has a layer of pastry topped with jam (I went for raspberry), pineapple pieces (tinned works great) and then a coconutty mixture, which turns beautifully golden after it’s been baked.

Yes, you have to make pastry for this, but it’s really not that tricky and you’re covering it with lots of toppings, so don’t worry too much about it. And the coconut mixture is quite stiff, so you have to scatter it over the top and press it down a bit, but it all works out in the end, and a little piece of pineapple peeking thought the coconut here and there gives a glimpse of what’s to come!

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Treacle Scones

Scones are a big part of Northern Irish baking. To be honest, scones are popular on both sides of the Atlantic, although the American variety do tend to be bigger. These Treacle Scones are a nice variation on a plain scone (recipe here). They are a little sweet and the treacle adds a lovely depth of flavor and color. Best served with a slathering of butter and your favorite jam.

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Chocolate Peanut Mallow Krispies

Rice Krispies (or any puffed rice cereal you choose) feature heavily in Northern Irish traybake baking. I have several recipes on the blog already that use Rice Krispies with toffee, Mars Bars and even dates and ginger. This week, it’s that classic combination of chocolate and peanut butter in these Chocolate Peanut Mallow Krispies.

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No-Bake Chocolate Mint Slice

It’s another classic flavor combination this week with this no-bake chocolate mint slice. There are already a couple of chocolate and mint traybakes on the blog, including one of my most popular recipes the Mint Aero Traybake, but the joy of this recipe is that it’s likely you already have all the ingredients you need for this and can rustle it up quickly, when the need for a minty slice calls!

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Date Slices

Dates are a firm favourite in the Traybakes’ household and there is usually a packet of Medjool dates in the fridge for on-the-go sweet snacking. I’ve already got one date traybake recipe in the archives and there are several more recipes for traybakes and breads/cakes still to come. And now we have this recipe for Date Slices. We like dates!

This latest traybake is another simple recipe.  Dates, oats, flour, sugar, butter. Then you have a tin full of Date Slices! These make a perfect teatime or even lunchbox treat – chewy, sticky, sweet and oaty. Yum!

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Mallow Squares

Chocolate! Marshmallow! Weetabix?! Yes, you did read that correctly. These Mallow Squares have Weetabix in the base. Mixed with some sugar and coconut, of course, I’m not going to try to pretend that these are some sort of breakfast food!

I guess it shouldn’t be all that surprising that there are traybakes out there with Weetabix in them, I have used Cornflakes (here) and Rice Krispies (here) before and I’m sure I’ve got a few recipes somewhere that use All-Bran. Breakfast cereals are a staple ingredient in the traditional traybake world!

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Chocolate Orange Slice

Chocolate Orange Slice.  Another one of those classic combinations. Often found together in cakes and biscuits (I’m not going to start a debate on whether a Jaffa Cake is a cake or a biscuit, so let’s just leave it there…) and also in that traditional Christmas treat – the Chocolate Orange!

This no-bake traybake brings together a classic chocolate fridge cake or tiffin (or whatever you choose to call it) with a smooth orange buttercream. Using cocoa powder makes the biscuit layer dark and chocolatey, but then the orange buttercream balances it out nicely. And then you’re left with, well…a few crumbs, considering the speed at which these disappeared in our house!

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Neapolitan Squares

Although not exactly the same as Neapolitan ice cream, the three layers on this Neapolitan Squares traybake look similar enough to earn the name!

It turns out that Neapolitan ice cream was originally available in a variety of flavours and then the chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry combination took over as these were most popular in the USA at the time.

While there isn’t chocolate or vanilla in this Neapolitan Squares traybake, it has a digestive/graham cracker base, a sticky coconut middle and a pink-hued strawberry buttercream topping!

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No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake Bars

No-bake lemon cheesecake bars. This is a proper, old-school, retro recipe, made with cream cheese, evaporated milk and lemon jelly (or jello, for my US readers). See, I told you it was properly retro!

But, you know what, it still tastes good. And it’s quick and easy to make. So it’s perfect for a simple summer dessert.

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