Monday 30 May 2011

MM5 - Brown Sugar Chocolate Cake

This is the second of my 'things to do with a tin of condensed milk' mini series. The first can be found here - double chocolate blueberry cookies. It's also resurrecting a series I started a very long time ago, 'Marked and Made' - things that have, for one reason or another, been languishing on the 'to bake' list for far too long. I guess it's just my way of acknowledging having finally made them. Interestingly, I don't actually make all that much that I've bookmarked - I seem to be far more influenced by things that I've seen recently and I suppose that if I haven't made something pretty soon after I've seen it, the chances are it'll have to wait far longer than I ever expect.

This brown sugar chocolate cake is a case in point. Dan Lepard first published the recipe for it in November 2005 - five and a half years ago..... even I hadn't realised it had been that long! I think I also avoided making it because there had been an extensive discussion on Dan's message boards about people who had had spectacular failures with this cake. I hate a failure, and often won't give something a go if I think it won't turn out well. But Dan's careful step-by-step photo guide gave me more confidence and when it was successful, people raved about it. I was still a little nervous though.

I decided that I would use half and half self raising and plain flour, and a very scant tsp of baking powder. I left the cake for 50 minutes initially, which I think has slightly overcooked it, and I was slightly worried that the top would taste burnt as it looked very dark. As you can see from the picture above, my cake had obviously risen too much in the oven, and had already collapsed back on itself by the time I took it out of the oven. Thankfully, it didn't sink any more while it was cooling, so I ended up with a flat, but not sunken cake. Given the history of the recipe I wasn't expecting peaks or massive rising, so I was a happy bunny indeed!

And what made me even happier was the divine taste of this cake. The 'burnt' top I thought I saw, wasn't burnt at all, for which I was very thankful! The first thing to say is that it is extremely delicate, but I'm sure that actually this is part of what makes the cake so delicious. It is a moist, chocolatey, melt in the mouth loaf with a beautiful soft crumb and I wouldn't hesitate to make it again. Next time I think I'll use all plain flour. Suelle at Mainly Baking has also made this recently (which was another prod to my memory that I ought to make it) and wasn't 100% about it, having made a couple of changes but I thought my relatively unchanged version was truly delicious. I think it would be great with vanilla icecream and a chocolate pouring sauce too, but it was fabulous at tea break time. My colleagues were really pleased with it too - I gave it to some colleagues who rarely get my baking these days and they were very happy!!!

Sunday 29 May 2011

Forever Nigella 5 - Moonblushed tomato and goat's cheese salad

I think I'm sneaking this one in just in time..... again. I always plan to be more organised, but then somehow, time seems to run away with me and before I know it it's the end of the month, deadline day and I still haven't submitted my entry. This month the theme is salad, which is unfortunate given the weather we've been having. I suppose casserole as a theme in May just wouldn't have seemed right in the northern hemisphere! This month's Forever Nigella, founded by Sarah at Maisoncupcake, is being hosted by Dom at Belleau Kitchen.

My salad is based on one given by Nigella in Nigella Express. I only purchased this book fairly recently and although I've bookmarked many recipes in it, I've yet to actually make any of them. Whilst flicking through my many Nigella books in search of salad, I spied Nigella's moonblush tomatoes and although the weather isn't playing nicely at the moment, we do at least have the first of the new season's tomatoes to play with. The recipe is followed by one for moonblush tomato and goat's cheese salad, which is what I have adapted here.

I didn't much fancy green leaves so left those out and my goats cheese is a firm one rather than soft. I also didn't moonblush my tomatoes - not organised enough, but I was roasting lots of things so added some tomatoes too. I have to confess though, that I wasn't really a big fan of the thyme on the tomatoes. I might use oregano next time. The goats cheese I used was Inglewhite which wasn't too strong and goaty. It paired nicely with the tomatoes.

In the background of the photos you can see the soda bread I made to accompany the salad. It was absolutely divine - recipe to follow!

Saturday 28 May 2011

The Fairy Hobmother and a weighty issue

The Fairy Hobmother (aka Ian from Appliances Online) has been very busy recently, appearing on many blogs granting wishes. I left a comment on a post by Jacqueline over at Tinned Tomatoes, very cheekily asking for a new cooker!!! Well, although Appliances Online, who sell cookers (link removed at request of Appliances Online 22/09/13) and other white goods, couldn't quite run to a cooker (which I wasn't expecting in the slightest) I was very pleased to have my other wish granted, and am now the owner of a shiny new set of kitchen scales.

I haven't had a lot of luck with kitchen scales. I have a set where one of the legs has come loose, which bizarrely enough still weighs things accurately. I also have a set which seem to eat batteries, and then continues to refuse to work, and finally a set where there appears to be no external problem at all, but a 250g packet of butter weighs about 500g..... hmmmm, successful cakes this will not make. The set I recently recieved from the Fairy Hobmother are to replace yet another set where you have to press firmly (actually you have to squeeze and jab at the right time in just the right place) for the scales to come on at all, which is a bit rubbish really. Here's hoping this shiny new set are the answers to my weighty issues...

If you would like the Fairy Hobmother to visit you, leave a comment below, preferably with contact details if they aren't obvious on your blog! I know that the Fairy Hobmother has given out Amazon certificates too, so presumably being abroad doesn't exclude you.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Double chocolate blueberry cookies

Sorry about the lack of activity round here. I've got lots and lots to post but have been unexpectedly without internet access for the past few days - I was staying in a hotel that I'd expected to have wi-fi and had been planning to catch up on some posting, but there was no wi-fi, so obviously no posting! Never mind, I'll try and make up for it now. Starting with 101 uses of a tin of condensed milk. Well, perhaps not quite. When I made these caramel muffins I not only found Carnation Caramel, but tins of condensed milk too, my cupboards truly are a voyage of discovery sometimes!

A recipe in the current issue of the Sainsbury's magazine (June 2011) had caught my eye, and required 2 tbsp of condensed milk. Obviously it's not ideal to open a can for just 2tbsp (unless you want to risk eating the rest just as it is....) so this post is the first of a mini series using condensed milk. Onto the recipe...

Double chocolate cookies
125g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 tbsp condensed milk
125g self raising flour, sifted
50g cocoa powder, sifted *
100g plain/white chocolate, cut into chunks or 50g each dark chocolate and dried blueberries
* I think I used slightly less cocoa, because 50g is an awful lot, and then just added a little more flour to substitute. I think I used about 30g cocoa powder.

- Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2. Line a couple of baking trays with parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the condensed milk and then add the flour and cocoa and mix. Stir in the chocolate and blueberries.
- Roll into 12 walnut sized pieces (I got about 25) spacing well apart on the baking tray. Flatten slightly then bake for about 25 minutes** (I did 20 and they were overdone) until firm at the edges but soft in the middle.
- Leave to cool for a few minutes before transfering to a wire rack to cool completely.

**Gas 2 seemed very cool, so I used gas 3 and baked for 20 minutes. I forgot that because the recipe was only supposed to make 12, so mine were effectively half the size, that they'd need less time anyway. They weren't burnt, but they were definitely overdone - lovely cookies, but too crispy. 
Originally from Sainsbury's magazine, June 2011.

These were nice cookies, but as I say, I definitely overcooked them, and they deserve another chance. I do like the combo of dried blueberries and chocolate. I used quite big chunks of chocolate rather than choc chips, and it was nice to hit a big lump of chocolate; I bet they'd be great warm, or dipped in coffee! They aren't as good as the world peace cookies though! Other flavour variations suggested in the recipe are: White chocolate and cranberry, Zingy ginger and lemon, Maple syrup pecan, Oats and honey, Cherry and flaked almond and Toffee fudge chunk. I quite fancy trying them with maple syrup and cranberry, in a combination of the flavours they suggest!

Saturday 21 May 2011

Orange sandwich cake - Random recipes #4 Just desserts

I've been meaning to join in with Dom's random recipe challenge since he first announced it a few months ago, but for various reasons haven't managed it. This month, however, I was determined that I would make the recipe before the deadline. And, by happy chance the theme for this month is 'Just desserts' - perfect for my blog!

I've been having a bit of a tidy up recently and decided that instead of having all my recipe books scattered around the house, I would move them all into one bookcase. The trouble being, of course, that I don't have a bookcase big enough for all of them. So a trip to blue and yellow hell, sorry IKEA, was in order (actually, I don't mind IKEA, you just have to pick the right time to go). And so after much huffing and puffing (do you know how much flat pack bookcases weigh???) I have ended up with these. Plus a couple of bruises to tell me that it's a really bad idea to pretend you're stronger than you are and try to up-end said flatpack using your thigh as a fulcrum. Ouch.

Anyway, the point of that little story is that all my cookery books are now together and as I've organised them so that dessert books are in one section it was easy to run my finger along the spines and stop, randomly. I chose Cakes Regional and Traditional, by Julie Duff. I have actually baked a couple of other things from this book, and was quite pleased to have picked it, because I know that there are a lot more recipes in there that I want/ought to try. Next to choose the recipe.... flicking through the book with my eyes closed and stopping yielded Orange sandwich cake. I was one happy bunny. No cheating required!!!

A slight problem though. Recipe requires two 6"/15cm cake tins. I own one. Never mind, thought I, I will buy another of the same style from the same shop where I purchased the original. Nowhere to be found. Hmm. Ah well, buy another that seems to be the right size. Or not. See evidence below.

The same size?
Not the same size :-(

So I actually made the recipe in two batches, one cake, bake, second mix, bake. For the record, I used the slightly larger silver tin. Was it worth the palaver? Yes!

Orange sandwich cake
115g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
zest and juice of 1 large orange

175g icing sugar
75g butter
zest of 1 orange
juice of orange

- Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180C. Grease and line two 15cm/6" sandwich tins.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and orange juice, sift over the flour and baking powder. Mix well to combine.
- Zest the orange into the mixture and fold in to mix (I find if I add the zest while using electric beaters it clings to the beaters like a clinging thing, making it not very well distributed in the cake mixture)
- Divide between the two tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until well risen and firm to touch. Mine were done after 20 but very pale, so I left them a little longer.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack.

- For the filling, beat together the softened butter and icing sugar with the zest and juice until very light and fluffy and pale in colour. Electric beaters are an essential in my opinion for this.

- Sandwich the cake with half of the buttercream and spread the remaining buttercream on the top.
- Enjoy!

Serves 8 (but I got 10 smaller pieces out of it quite easily)

So delicious. I do love a light, moist sponge cake sandwiched together with buttery, orangey buttercream. Mmmmm! Perfect for a slice with a cup of coffee to beat the mid afternoon slump! This really was a moist and light cake, and I enjoyed the orange flavour, which came through very well. I think next time I might grate the zest for the buttercream more finely, but other than that, this was a perfect cake, and I love the way it looked so neat, like a cake you'd buy from the WI stall at a craft fair or some such (yes, I am deluded.....)

All gone, just as a good cake should be!

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Chocolate Roulade with Black Forest Buttercream

It is once again time for this month's We Should Cocoa hosted alternately by Chele of Chocolate Teapot and Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog, and after missing a couple due to dislikes and allergies I was thrilled when Chele announced that this months challenge was to be roulades. Actually, that's a slight lie, I was pleased to know that I'd be able to participate, but rather less pleased to be informed that I would be making a roulade.

Let me explain a little..... although necessary in much successful baking and essential in some, eggs are often my nemesis. It's definitely a love/hate relationship, particularly when it comes to either separating them (I can separate, it's just what happens next!) or making cakes that require lots of volume from egg - either whisking whole eggs or egg whites. The only other roulade I have ever attempted to make was many, many years ago and was a chocolate yule log (I've always loved chocolate!). I can't remember whose recipe I used, and I don't recall it cracking irreparably but the verdict delivered by T, as one of the chief tasters will never be forgotten (nor probably forgiven)...

'It's really dense and chewy, this...'

I think he meant it as a compliment. But it really wasn't the desired texture. I could see after baking as the cake sank into itself that it wasn't ever going to be a success (and I think I refused to eat any myself in protest) and those words just confirmed it. So I've never wanted to try again. Which leads us back to the challenge set by Chele this month. A real challenge!

I found a couple of recipes that I quite liked the look of and then adapted them to suit the size of cake tin I had (and if I'm really honest, the amount of ingredients I could bear to waste if it all came to nothing!). Thankfully, as you can see from the top picture, this was a success - I'm not sure that I've mastered the art of eggs, but I'm one little step closer!

Chocolate Roulade with Black Forest Buttercream
3 eggs (at room temperature)
85g light muscovado sugar
60g self raising flour
15g cocoa powder (Green and Blacks)

For the filling
Jar of good quality dark cherry jam (you won't need all of it) 

Chocolate buttercream*
60g chocolate
1tbsp cocoa powder
2tbsp boiling water
90g butter
250g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

* I'm afraid I have shamelessly stolen this buttercream from Kate's Cakes and Bakes, a really lovely blog with some wonderful sweet treats - check it out. She describes this as a chocolate fudge frosting, but mine was more buttercream like - I think I beat it far too much rather than just stirring!

- Preheat the oven to Gas 5/190C. Grease and line a 20x30cm shallow tin with baking parchment.
- Beat the eggs and sugar for about 8-10 minutes until very thick and the beaters leave a trail. (I love my stand mixer!)

Mmm, thick and whippy!

- Sift the flour and cocoa powder onto the mixture and fold in carefully but thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, as below:

Mmm, bubbly!

- Bake for 10-15 minutes until firm.
- Remove from the oven and turn onto a wire rack. When slightly cooler (i.e. you can touch it without burning yourself) roll it up in parchment paper, allowing the parchment to be rolled inside the cake. Allow to cool completely.

- Make the buttercream by melting the chocolate and, separately, dissolving the cocoa in the boiling water. Combine the two.
- Cream the butter and sugar and then add the chocolate mixture and vanilla. Beat until soft and creamy.
- When the roulade is cool, unroll very gently and spread with the buttercream. Then blob on a generous amount of jam. Roll back up and dust with icing sugar.

- Marvel at your amazing creation!!!

Can you tell I was really, disproportionately proud of myself for managing to make this roulade?!? Admittedly it doesn't have the most number of turns that I've ever seen in a roll, but it definitely qualifies and I'm going to boast! It was light and moist and chocolatey, and the sweet buttercream and cherry jam were a yummy filling. Thanks for the challenge Chele!

Monday 16 May 2011

World Peace Cookies

Thank you Celia. Well, I think that's pretty much the most important thing I could say about these fabulous cookies - if it weren't for Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial I would never have made these. I guess I ought to thank Dorie Greenspan too, from whom the recipe originates. Thanks Dorie! I think I vaguely remember her posting about them the first time round, but then when she revisited them recently they somehow seemed to leap out of the computer screen at me. I know food can't really do that, but these might as well have done, and I'm glad!

Chocolate cookies piled up before baking

I decided to follow the recipe exactly as Celia has given it, but instead of making all the cookies chocolate, I went with half of them being chocolate and half being dried cranberry. Although actually, now I think about it, it probably would have been nice to have both cranberries and chocolate chunks in the same cookie. Mmmmm, cranberry and chocolate!


Cranberry cookies waiting to be baked. I love the way the ruby red of the cranberry glistens in the dark cookie dough! All in I think I got about 30 odd cookies. I wish I'd doubled the recipe. For the chocolate ones I massacred a Lindt chocolate bunny and broke it up into fairly chunky pieces. As Celia points out this makes the cookies harder to slice, but they didn't break up too much, and it's worth it to be able to use delicious chocolate rather than supermarket chocolate chips. The cranberry roll was much easier to slice.

They don't spread too much when baked, so you could probably put them closer together than I did if you wanted. As Celia says, they are very delicate and crumbly. They made it into work intact, but only just, pack them carefully. This is possibly the only disadvantage of these gorgeous cookies - they're rich and chocolatey and actually, the crumbly texture makes them delicious and melting to eat. As one of my colleagues said, they're very more-ish. Difficult to eat just the one, two, three.... You won't regret making them!

Sunday 15 May 2011

Banoffee Muffins

I was sorting through my baking cupboard the other day and amongst the (many) ingredients I found that I either wanted or needed to use up was a tin of caramelised condensed milk. OK, in all honesty there were two tins.... what can I say? They must have been on special offer (I am the marketing man's idea of heaven, with suggestible tattooed across my forehead). A while ago, because they both need using up!

So where to turn for inspiration on what to do with the aforementioned caramel? Well, how about the manufacturer's website?! It wouldn't usually occur to me to be so sensible, but I was already aware of the carnation website (probably because they went through a phase of advertising it by posting yummy looking recipes in quite a lot of the cooking magazines I get) so that's where I headed, and after browsing through all of their baking recipes, I decided on the Banoffee Muffin recipe.

I fortunately had the required over-ripe bananas, well, I only had one, but it was a monster with black speckled skin, threatening to overwhelm anyone who entered the kitchen with its sickly sweet pungent banana aroma (I do actually like bananas, just not when they're that ripe). So the muffins were the obvious choice.

I followed the recipe as given apart from baking them for another five minutes or so. And I obviously didn't add the optional pecans, but I imagine they would be nice, and give a welcome crunch to the soft muffin. I had quite a bit of mixture left over, probably almost enough for another muffin. Which was annoying. I couldn't fit any more mixture into the cases and as it was quite a few decided to overflow slightly, so although they don't look very peaked, this isn't because there was a mean amount of mixture.

Verdict? Well, they had the desired effect of using up the blackening banana and a can of caramelised condensed milk very effectively. They were nice, but I don't think muffins are my favourite form of eating cake really. The tops were nice and soft and gooey, and the crumb was soft and tender, and not too sweet, until you hit a sweet pocket of caramel. I made sure to keep the blobs of caramel quite big, and it worked well as you can see. They were nice, but I wouldn't be desperate to make them again. On the plus side, they were quick and easy enough to make on a weeknight evening to take to work the next day, always a bonus!

Saturday 14 May 2011

Feathered soured cream chocolate cupcakes

No real reason for making these. I had soured cream that needed to be used up, chocolate is a popular default option and I fancied having a try at feathering a decoration, after seeing Katie's beautiful decoration here. These seemed like reasons enough to bake.

I amalgamated a few recipes in books that I looked through to come up with something that suited my ingredients. So these are mine!

This is how I made them....

Feathered soured cream chocolate cupcakes
140g softened butter
100g caster sugar
75g light muscovado sugar
2 eggs
150ml soured cream (a small tub)
175g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

120g chocolate for topping

- Preheat the oven to gas 4/180C.
- Cream the butter and sugars together until light in colour.
- Add the remaining ingredients - flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, eggs, soured cream, vanilla - and beat together until well combined. I'm such a lazy baker!
- Divide the mixture between 12 paper cases in a muffin tin.
- Bake for around 25 minutes until a cake tester/cocktail stick comes out clean and/or the cupcakes feel springy to touch.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack.

I decided to top these with Cadbury's milk chocolate, which is pretty thick when it's melted so it's fairly easy to work with. For the feathering I used Dr Oetker chocolate flavour writing icing and tried both white and dark chocolate flavours. For some weird reason, the white was so much easier to work with than the dark - the dark just didn't want to come out of the tube.

I'm pleased with the way the feathering worked in principle, and will do it again, but I think actually, using the icing was a mistake, and I would have been better using pure melted chocolate. The icing was a little too thick and sturdy to drag properly, whereas I think melted chocolate would have worked better. Ah well, lesson learned for next time.

The cakes themselves were delicious - chocolately and soft and the uniced surface of the cake went a little sticky and soft after a couple of days, really yummy! I'd use this recipe to make cupcakes again - they ended up being a good size too. All round success!

Monday 9 May 2011

Wholemeal loaf with sourdough

When I was making the Mill Loaf the shape you see above was the shape of loaf I was actually aiming for! A good pert, perky loaf, standing to attention, rather than slouching all over the place. Apparently I still need yeast to help me achieve this.

I have blogged about this bread before here and used exactly the same technique as described there. This time I used wholemeal flour rather than wholemeal spelt, but the main difference was the inclusion of a little sourdough ferment. When I made my Mill Loaf, I had a little sourdough culture left over and wondered how much difference it would make to a standard loaf if I were to include it for flavour rather than any raising ability it might have.

I have found that using this type of cooked flour technique (in brief - the loaf is made by pouring 210g boiling water over 75g strong wholemeal flour, leaving to cool to room temp or thereabouts, adding 75g strong wholemeal flour, 150g strong white flour, scant tsp each instant yeast and fine salt, kneading briefly, leaving, kneading and shaping, leave to proof, bake) seems to make the finished loaf somehow sweeter than one made without this step. I'm not sure why this should be, but I wondered how the flavour would change with the sourdough. I had about 80g left from the Mill Loaf and added it to this one.

As I imagined, the loaf behaved very much as it would normally, but the finished product was less sweet and had a slightly more complex flavour. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to add leftover sourdough to a yeasted loaf in the future, and this was certainly a worthwhile experiment. The finished bread was soft and moist with a lovely crumb and crust. Delicious!

Friday 6 May 2011

Buttermilk Oaten Bread

Is it a house brick, or maybe solid porridge? Was it all just a big mistake, or is it actually a loaf of bread? Well, it's defnitely bread, but it also comes under the heading of a big mistake too. Let me elaborate.... the recipe/inspiration for this bread comes from The National Trust Teatime Baking Book, yes, that one again (apparently my new favourite book). However, I had a bit of a mix-up with this one and have 'adapted' (i.e. made a hash of) it so much that I feel I can post the recipe as my own!

This bread is a non-yeasted soda-type bread, with the slightly unusual step of soaking the oatmeal of the title overnight in the buttermilk of the title. I didn't have the required fine oatmeal, but made do with medium oatmeal, and also didn't have buttermilk, instead substituting a mixture of fat-free Greek style yogurt and milk to make the mixture slacker.

Unfortunately the time between mixing the oatmeal and dairy to soak overnight and finishing the bread the following day was sufficient for me to forget that I'd halved the recipe. So I just stuck in the whole amount of flour as specified in the recipe for two loaves, rather than the one I planned on making. Well, I did wonder why the mixture was so dry - no way could I knead a bowl of crumbs! So I added more milk and eventually it came together. So try it if you want, but heed my warning about recipes with two stages separated by a period of sleep. This is why I don't try any of the more adventurous challenges out there in the blog world, I can't manage simple bread recipes, let alone anything actually complicated!!!

Buttermilk Oaten Bread aka Solid Porridge
Ingredients (as I made it)
100g medium oatmeal
130g fat free greek yogurt
80ml semi-skimmed (2% fat) milk
125g plain white flour (soft, not bread)
125g plain wholemeal flour (soft, not bread)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

- Mix the yogurt, milk and oatmeal together. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, the mixture will be pretty stiff.
- Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180C. Grease and line a baking tray.
- Add the flours, baking powder and salt to the soaked oatmeal, plus extra milk to combine (I didn't measure this, but at a very rough guess 50ml?)
- Knead until smooth.
- Pat out until about 1 1/2 - 2" thick. Place on the baking tray and dust with flour, or sprinkle with oats. To be honest, I mean to sprinkle with oats, but forgot that too. I'd also suggest cutting some slashes in the bread but forgot that. Can you see a theme developing here?
- Bake for 40-50 minutes (I think, the recipe says 35-40 but I definitely left mine longer than that!) until it is golden and sounds hollow when tapped.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool, or serve warm with butter melting onto it... mmmm, butter!

You can see from the picture that this is a really dense bread. I'm sure that a lot of people really wouldn't like it! I, on the other hand, am quite enjoying it! It has a distinctive (pleasant!!!) oaty taste and because it's so dense it really does remind me of solid porridge. I quite like porridge, so this is no bad thing in my books. And because it's bread you can spread it with butter, it's difficult to spread porridge with butter (and no, I haven't tried that!) I think it would make really good toast, or croutons for a salad. It hasn't really turned out the way I expected, but I quite like the finished result as it is, although I may try repeating the recipe more as it was intended at some point!

EDIT: 15th May

This is the bread made as it was supposed to be - with 125g flour in total rather than 250g. I still felt it needed a little extra milk to bring it together. The texture was pretty much identical to the first time I made it, so I didn't go too far wrong there. Nice bread though - to have made it twice so quickly!

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Banana fruit loaf

This is another cake from the same book as the rather delicious Kedleston Marmalade Cake. So although it was a bit of a naughty Christmas self-present at least I've used it more than some of my other books (and yes, two recipes made does constitute more than I've made from the majority of my cookery books, and I'm hanging my head in shame as I admit this!)

I really enjoy making loaves like these. Not too taxing to make, last well in the cake tin and you can just cut off a slice whenever you fancy to accompany a cup of tea or coffee. Unpretentious goodness, I'm always glad to be able to add another fruit loaf cake to my repertoire.

This one is particularly good because you don't need to remember to soak the dried fruit the night before (as with some of the tea loaves I make) but the fruit still seems to plump up during the baking, becoming juicy and delicious.

Banana and Raisin Cake (adapted from The National Trust Teatime Baking Book)
75g softened butter
100g light brown soft sugar
3tbsp/40g honey (mine was crystallised, but started off clear!)
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
225g self raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g raisins

- Preheat the oven to gas 4/180C. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.
- Cream the butter until light and fluffy.
- Add the honey, eggs and bananas and beat well.
- Mix together the flour, spice, bicarb and raisins and fold into banana mixture.
- Mix well then bake for 1-1 1/4 hours until a skewer comes out clean.

From memory, I creamed butter and sugar, added everything else but the raisins, beat until smooth and then folded the raisins in.

This was a delicious, moist cake, with a very subtle hint of banana, a slightly more pronounced spice flavour and juicy, plump raisins in a tasty cake. I'll defnintely add this one to the repertoire and make it again. I think it would be even better spread with a generous amount of butter, preferably one with little salt crystals in it.... Yum!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...