Monday 24 August 2009

Orange drizzle cake

I have serious cake tin envy at the moment - check out these tins at The Caked Crusader, Cherrapeno and Apple and Spice and you'll see what I mean. But I have a new toy of my own, in the shape of this rather lovely bundt tin. Well, it's sold as a Savarin mould, but I can't really discover the difference between the two words. Anyway, it's a cake tin with a funnel in the middle to create a hole once cooked. (When I explained this to T he said 'oh so it's a tin with a hole in it' - and I knew exactly what he meant, (nodding my agreement) but no, as J so rightly pointed out it's a tin with a funnel to create a cake with a hole in it!). Anyway, I was eager to use it, but a little afraid that the resulting cake would stick and refuse to turn out. As you can see below, my fears were groundless, although I did grease the tin very thoroughly with lots of butter, and put a couple of thin strips of baking parchment in it, to help with releasing it.

It seems that bundt cakes are rather more popular in the US than here in the UK, and I had trouble finding a printed recipe that gave me the volume of ingredients required and a cooking time for this type of tin, without being in cups, which I'm not very good at using. (It's partly that if I look at my bag of flour, I have no idea how many cups are left in it, but I can quickly pop it on the scales and find out if I need to buy more or not!). So anyway, I found my calculator and did a quick calculation to work out the area of the tin, taking the funnel into account and then decided I wanted quite a deep cake so decided on a 4 egg mixture. The cooking time was a guess too - I'd normally leave a 4 egg mixture for quite a while, but here there isn't a centre to be undercooked - a definite advantage!

Unwaxed oranges in the fridge decided the flavour of the cake for me, and since I enjoy Nigella's lemon syrup cake so much I wanted to use a syrup like that to add moisture to this cake too.

Orange drizzle cake

200g butter, softened

200g caster sugar

225g self raising flour

4 eggs

1tsp baking powder

zest of 1 large orange

For the syrup

Juice 1 large orange (about 4-5 tbsp)

100g icing sugar


- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Grease a 26cm bundt tin very well with butter.

- Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric whisk until very light and creamy.

- Add the eggs one by one with a little of the flour if the mixture starts to curdle.

- Add the remaining flour, baking powder and orange zest and stir well to combine.

- Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 40 minutes, checking first at 35 minutes.

- The cake is done when a skewer inserted comes out clean and the cake feels springy to the


- While the cake is baking, make the syrup. Heat the orange juice and icing sugar in a small saucepan to dissolve the sugar. I found this needed quite a high heat eventually before the sugar would dissolve.

- When the cake is done, stab holes all over it with a skewer and drizzle the syrup over the top. Allow to cool completely in the tin, as it will be slightly damp from the syrup.

- Turn out, serve and enjoy!!!

This was a very popular cake with all those who sampled it - one comment that made me smile at work was that it was among the best I have made! It was lovely and moist, although I think I would double the syrup ingredients next time, because it was such a large cake that it could have done with more.

Perfect as a breaktime cake, or enjoyed in some of the rare sunshine that made an appearance this weekend as I was enjoying the garden.

Thursday 20 August 2009

Spelt rosemary rolls

It seems that life has been getting in the way of blogging recently. There are lots of things I want to share with you, but I haven't had the chance just yet. I will though, I will! So to start, some simple rolls to enjoy for breakfast each day. Inspired by having spelt flour to use up I decided to make rolls. These are pretty robust little rolls, ideal for a bumpy journey to work each day, they won't get squashed in my bag and arrive in tact to be enjoyed before I start the day. The rosemary was a spur of the moment inclusion (I'd ventured to the top of a little explored cupboard and found a jar of dried rosemary which looked rather forlorn and wanted to use some of it up - a bit of a gamble given that I knew these were for my breakfast, but one I feel paid off).

A simple recipe, and using Dan Lepard's method of kneading the dough - it initially seemed time consuming, but the more I use it, the more I like it. There's no 10 minute knead, rather time develops the gluten in the flour with a little help from you along the way.

Spelt rosemary rolls
125g wholemeal spelt flour
125g strong white bread flour
scant tsp dried rosemary
175ml warm water
scant tsp each dried yeast (fast acting), sugar and salt

- Place flours, yeast, sugar and salt in a roomy mixing bowl. Mix well to combine. Add the warm water and mix to form a dough, making sure no dry bits are missed. Leave for 10 minutes or so.
- Lightly oil your worksurface and hands (I use sunflower oil for this) and tip the rough dough out onto the surface. Knead briefly, perhaps 15 seconds, or 10-12 folds.
- Return to the bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Repeat this kneading and leaving process 3 times.
- During the third knead, add in the rosemary and knead well to combine, then leave for 30 minutes.
- Shape the dough into rolls. I made eight this time, but they were pretty small.
- Leave until they have risen some more. I would say doubled in size, but I find it hard to tell. I probably leave them about an hour or so.
- Preheat the oven to Gas 6/200C. Bake the rolls for around 20-30 minutes until light golden brown. They will sound slightly hollow when tapped on their bases. I often turn them upside down for the last ten minutes of cooking to get them coloured all over.
- Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Butter and enjoy!

The rosemary flavour was subtle, but definitely added something to the rolls. I'd perhaps add a little more next time if I wanted the flavour to be more pronounced, but these were good. Because the spelt flour doesn't contain as much gluten as normal bread flour, these aren't light and fluffy, they've got a good crust and are slightly chewy - good to know that you've eaten something rather than just breathed in!

Wednesday 5 August 2009

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

I first saw this cake on Smitten Kitchen, where Deb produces the most delicious looking food - I nearly always want to make what she has posted, and I suppose the thing that puts me off most (especially for the baking) is the use of cups rather than grams in measurements. But this cake looked so beautiful that I just had to give it a go, and by chance, Deb had posted metric measurements too so I didn't even have to convert! The original recipe is from Gourmet, a magazine I haven't seen in the UK, but then I haven't really looked for it. I expect it would be available in London or more specialist newsagents in other big cities.

I particularly love the way she describes it as an 'everyday' cake. The thought of cake every day is perfect! And this cake every day would be wonderful! Raspberries are definitely one of my favourite summer berries, and they are just right in this cake, although as noted elsewhere, you could use any other berry you want here.

I have to admit that my cake looks nothing like either Deb's cake, or the original on the Gourmet website, not sure why, but my raspberries all sank to the bottom. The cake didn't cook as quickly as I expected either (more on that later...) so it ended up rather brown on top. As a solution to both the brown, unattractive top, and the lack of raspberry visibility, I decided to serve the cake upside down, which worked well!

Raspberry buttermilk cake (slightly adapted from Gourmet, via Smitten Kitchen)
140g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
56g salted butter, softened
146g caster sugar, plus 1 1/2 tbsp more for sprinkling (but I forgot!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 medium egg
120ml buttermilk (see below)
150g fresh raspberries

- Preheat oven to 200C/Gas 6/400F. Butter and line the base of an 8 inch round tin. The original recipe specifies a 9 inch tin, which is probably partly why mine took much longer to cook. If you are using an 8 inch tin like I did, I would recommend a deeper tin. I used a sandwich tin, and I don't think it was deep enough to support the cake.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and set aside.
- In a larger bowl, beat the butter and 146g sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (about two minutes if your butter is nice and soft) then beat in the vanilla. Add the egg and beat well.
- On a low speed, mix in the flour in three batches, alternating the buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.
- Spoon the batter into a cake pan (mine was quite stiff) and distribute the raspberries over the cake, as in the picture above. Mine are all facing upwards because Deb notes that these ones didn't sink for her, and I quite liked the idea of the look of the cake with raspberries visible. Irrelevant for me though, because mine all sank without trace!!! Sprinkle with the remaining sugar (if you remember, I didn't)
- Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes (although mine took at least 50 minutes, unfortunately I can't remember exactly how long... due to using a smaller tin, and my ingredients being cold rather than room temperature when they went into the oven). The cake should be golden, and a cocktail stick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack.

I didn't have any buttermilk in my fridge, but following Deb's instructions I made my own. 120ml semi-skimmed milk plus a generous tsp lemon juice and leave to stand for about 10 minutes. The milk turned lumpy, which I'm assuming was correct!

When I made this cake, all my ingredients were cold from the fridge (apart from the butter) and I think this might be why my mixture curdled quite badly. I was hoping that adding the flour would bring the mixture back, but it didn't really, and adding the buttermilk certainly didn't help! However, the cake tasted so good that I really don't think that it mattered.

This truly was a delicious cake, and I would definitely make it again. It was light and soft and so moist with sharp and sweet bursts of raspberry. Delicious served with extra raspberries and cream, but equally good with a cup of tea or coffee.

Rapid disappearance of the cake at work confirmed what I thought - one of the better ones I have made, this one barely made it to 11am tea break (so I suppose it must make a good breakfast too!).


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