A slow Saturday morning is perfect for baking—a little breather from the twists and turns of the week and a moment of self-care and comfort in the kitchen. Even though our two clockwork kids wake up at 6am, the weekends still look different. Without the hustle and bustle of the weekdays, there is time to set intentions in motion for a weekend of joy – at least I hope so!
A good place to start is to choose something simple to bake with. Weighing ingredients, pulling out the food processor, and setting the oven on can be meditative in itself, especially when paired with the perfect podcast and coffee.
One of my easiest cakes comes from Sweden. It’s the Kladdkaka, a cake that almost every Swedish child learns to bake because it relies on pantry baking ingredients and is pretty hard to screw up. The result is a batter that smells like something you’d find in a baking mix box, but results in a wonderfully gooey and fluffy interior.
You can find it in most cafes in Sweden, dusted with powdered sugar and served with a dollop of whipped cream. It’s the ideal comeback cake for the weekend and stays moist for a few days. I also make this as a layer cake, and it works beautifully with a cream cheese frosting to balance out the sweetness. Take this recipe and make it your own.
Another adaptable recipe I revisit on my weekend baking mornings is the one I use for muffins. Eggs and sugar are whipped until fluffy before melted butter, milk and dry ingredients are added, giving you a base mix that can have a whole range of different flavor combinations.
In the version I’m sharing here, I roast strawberries in the oven with some white chocolate, leaving an irresistible gooey, syrupy mix that’s delicious on ice cream but also makes this easy muffin recipe special. Top with an oat streusel crumble mixture and drizzle with white chocolate to make it fancier.
If your baking experience only reaches the dizzying heights of crunchy rice rolls (no judgment here), then you might want to try the peanut butter caramel bars I shared this week.
Servings: 8 Time: 40 mins
100g butter, plus extra for greasing
200 grams of powdered sugar
2 large free range eggs
70g flour, plus more for dusting
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
icing sugar, for dusting
whipped cream for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease and flour a 10-inch removable bottom cake pan and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Remove from heat, add sugar and eggs and mix well. Add the flour, cocoa and vanilla and mix everything together.
3. Pour into the prepared cake pan and place in the oven for 20 minutes. The cake won’t rise dramatically, but you should have a firm top and a gooey center.
4. Serve sliced, dusted with powdered sugar and some whipped cream.
Streusel muffins with roasted strawberries and white chocolate
Makes: 12 muffins Time: 1 hour 10 mins
100g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 large free range eggs
150g powdered sugar
250 g flour, sifted
2 teaspoons of baking soda
For the roasted strawberries & white chocolate:
500g strawberries, halved and peeled
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
75 g plain flour
75 g jumbo rolled oats
75 g light brown sugar
100 g cold butter, cut into pieces
100 g white chocolate, cut into pieces
1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
2. Place the strawberries in a roasting pan and sprinkle with dark brown sugar. Sprinkle the white chocolate over the strawberries. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until the strawberries are reduced and syrupy and the white chocolate is golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
3. For the crumble topping, place the flour, rolled oats, light brown sugar, and butter in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub all the ingredients together until they look like coarse breadcrumbs. Cover and let rest in the refrigerator while the muffins are being prepared.
4. Line a muffin tin with paper cups.
5. In a measuring cup, whisk together the butter, milk, and vanilla seeds and set aside.
6. In a stand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until fluffy.
7. Add the liquid mixture and beat until well combined.
8. Gently fold in the flour until just combined. Stir in the cooled, toasted strawberries and white chocolate until just combined. Be careful not to over-stir the batter so the finished muffins get a nice swirl of strawberries.
9. Carefully spoon the mixture into the paper cups, filling the top. Sprinkle generously with sprinkles and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until risen and lightly browned on top.
10. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. While cooling, pour the white chocolate in a bowl over a small simmering saucepan of water and allow to melt slightly. Drizzle over the cooled muffins and allow to set before serving.
Peanut Butter Caramel Bars
Makes: 12 bars Time: 35 minutes + cooling time
For the filling:
250 g smooth peanut butter
150g powdered sugar
250 ml golden syrup
150 g special K flakes
50 g rice krispies
100 g coconut flakes
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
For the caramel layer:
1 x 397g can of condensed milk
3 tbsp powdered sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
200 grams of milk chocolate
100 grams of white chocolate
50 g salted peanuts, finely chopped
1. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the peanut butter, sugar, and golden syrup until runny and smooth.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the Special K Flakes, Rice Krispies, coconut flakes, and vanilla bean paste until combined. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
3. Pour the mixture into a 2-inch deep casserole dish and spread evenly, pressing down with the back of a spoon.
4. For the caramel topping, place the condensed milk, butter, powdered sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan and melt over medium heat until the powdered sugar has dissolved. Stir frequently so nothing builds up.
5. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and allow the mixture to come to the boil and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently to keep from sticking.
6. The mixture is ready when it has turned a slightly darker golden color and has thickened to a soft fudge texture.
7. Pour the caramel over the rice krispie layer and chill in the fridge.
8. Once set, place the white chocolate in a bowl over a small, simmering saucepan of water and allow to melt slightly. Do the same with the milk chocolate, keeping them separate. Pour over the melted milk chocolate and stir in the white chocolate. Sprinkle some peanuts on top and refrigerate for a few hours until firm.
9. Once ready, cut into bar pieces and serve.
https://www.independent.ie/life/food-drink/recipes/donal-skehans-weekend-bakes-swedish-kladdkaka-roasted-sweet-muffins-and-peanut-butter-caramel-bars-41638640.html Donal Skehan’s weekend pastries: Swedish Kladdkaka, toasted sweet muffins and peanut butter caramel bars