Never let it be said that I fail to keep my powder dry. Here’s a post I’ve just found from August 2012 that has yet to see the light of day on my blog – until now.
Not a grand cake for CTs birthday, but a nice simple one that would travel well and his mother would enjoy. The day after his birthday CT was leaving to visit her for a few days and given that we were going to spend his actual birthday out and about I didn’t think there would be much room left for cake anyway. With an organic lemon in need of using up and some home made lemon curd, it had to be some sort of lemon cake. When I did a search on Eat Your Books for lemon and chocolate, a recipe for lemon drizzle with chocolate chunks came up from G&Bs Unwrapped. Brilliant, I would make the lemon cake, swirl through some lemon curd rather than adding chocolate and make a chocolate topping instead.
This is how I made:
Lemon Cake with Chocolate Icing
- Creamed 125g unsalted butter and 125g cardamom sugar (caster) until light and fluffy.
- Grated in the zest of one large organic lemon and creamed some more.
- Beat in 2 large eggs, one by one.
- Sifted in 150g flour (half wholemeal, half white) and 1 heaped tsp of baking powder.
- Added 1 tbsp of milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice and stirred gently until just incorporated.
- Spooned into a 2lb loaf mould and baked at 180C for 40 minutes until well risen and a toothpick inserted into the middle came out more or less clean.
- Turned out onto a rack to cool.
- Simmered 25g caster sugar with 25ml water for a couple of minutes.
- Allowed to cool a little, then stirred in 40g of chopped milk chocolate (G&B 35%).
- Stirred until smooth, then added 5g unsalted butter.
- When cool but still just about runny, poured this over the cake.
- Decorated with yellow sugar strands.
I was right, we were so full from lunch, we only managed a small slice each when we got home. The cake was delicious though and my concern that lemon wouldn’t go desperately well with chocolate was unfounded. It tasted just like Madeira cake and because I’d forgotten to add the lemon curd, it wasn’t too lemony.
Despite a really busy week at work I managed to take the day off. In true botanist style, CT chose to spend the day visiting gardens and nurseries in and around the English Riveria – in other words, across the border and into Devon. Amazingly it didn’t rain and we had a lovely day. We had lunch at The Combe Sellers, a pub restaurant right on the banks of the River Teign. The food was really good and the setting was lovely. As well as a celebratory glass of Pimms, we finished up with a sharing dessert platter which was responsible for us only managing a sliver of cake when we got home!
It just so happens that this month’s Love Cake theme over at JibberJabberUK is Feeling Fruity. So this lemon cake is winging its way in that direction.
I do like Nigel Slater, I like his style of cooking and I like his writing. I don’t, however, make many of his recipes because I generally operate freestyle when it comes to every day cooking. But when Sue of A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate and Janice of Farmersgirl Kitchen started #dishofthemonth, a new monthly challenge to cook Nigel’s recipes, it seemed like a good time to find out what chocolate recipes he might have up his sleeve.
Having received a basket of Brazilian limes back along, I needed to start using them. This really wasn’t an issue as I do have a particular penchant for limes. One of the first things I made was based on the recipe for Lime and Coconut Cake from one of my favourite baking books, Cakes by Pam Corbin. Coconut and lime are a natural pairing and I think the flavours work to remind us over here in dear old Blighty that there is a tropical paradise somewhere. Adding a note of cardamom just seemed like a good idea at the time, although I was debating using ginger instead. Of course I had to get a little white chocolate in and I did. Pam’s recipe is a gluten free one, but as I didn’t need to do that, I went for low gluten rather than no gluten.
This is how I made:
Lime, Coconut and Cardamom Loaf Cake
- Creamed 175g unsalted butter (left on the heater for half an hour to soften) with 175g cardamom (caster) sugar until pale and airy.
- Grated in the zest of three well scrubbed limes and creamed some more.
- Beat in 3 duck eggs, one by one.
- Sifted in 125g flour (75g wholemeal spelt, 25g coconut flour, 25g white) with 1 tsp baking powder.
- Stirred this into the mixture as gently as possible.
- Added 50g desiccated coconut and mixed gently again.
- Added 50g chopped white chocolate.
- Spooned into a 2 lb loaf mould (which I put inside a loaf tin to stop it bowing out) and baked at 180C for 45 minutes.
- Whilst cake was cooking, juiced the 3 limes and added 60g cardamom sugar. Left to dissolve, stirring occasionally.
- As soon as the cake was out of the oven, spooned the lime juice over the cake, then left in the mould to cool.
The cake was utterly scrumptious, zesty and moist with a lovely chewy texture from the coconut and little caramel bites from the white chocolate; it was definitely a notch up from a standard lemon drizzle. Because it was so moist, it tasted just as good several days down the line as it did when it was freshly baked.
I’m sending this cake over to Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/ Luv for his Made with Love Mondays, a weekly challenge where anything can be made, but it needs to be made from scratch.
Lovely CT bought me two books for Christmas, one was The Dessert Deli by Laura Amos, a book full of luscious and decedent desserts and the other was the acclaimed Scandilicious Baking by Signe Johansen, cook and fellow food blogger. I was particularly thrilled by the latter as I’ve heard much about Scandinavian baking, but actually know very little about it.
With the theme for Tea Time Treats being zesty citrus this month and the theme for One Ingredient being oranges, I was keen to make some sort of marmalade cake. I had a look on Eat Your Books and came up with a number of delicious and suitable recipes, but before going ahead, I thought I’d just check my new acquisition (not yet added to EYB). I have to say, I wasn’t very hopeful as marmalade is not something I associate with Scandinavia, but I was wrong. Signe had a recipe for a chocolate and orange marmalade loaf cake. That was the one for me, or at least the one I was going to adapt. As well as a jar of marmalade that needed using up, I also had half a small jar of the lemon marmalade I made just before Christmas – I fancied a St Clements Marmalade Cake. I’d also got it into my head that cardamom would pair very nicely with marmalade. Actually, I knew it did, due to the success of the nonnettes I made this time last year. So I omitted both the coffee and vanilla stated and added some ground cardamom instead.
This is how I did it:
- Spooned 100 ml Seville orange marmalade and 100 ml lemon marmalade into a small bowl.
- Juiced one large orange and stirred this into the marmalade.
- Melted 100g salted butter and 200g runny honey in a pan over gentle heat, then left to cool slightly.
- Sifted 200g flour (100g wholemeal, 80g white, 20g buckwheat) into a large bowl with 2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp rock salt.
- Sifted in 50g ground almonds and 50g cocoa powder.
- Ground the seeds from 2 cardamom pods in a pestle and mortar and added this to the mix.
- Made a well in the centre and poured in the butter and started to mix.
- Added 2 medium eggs, mixing them in one by one, working outwards from the middle.
- Added 2 tbsp yogurt and continued to mix.
- Added half of the marmalade mixture and stirred until all incorporated.
- Finally, stirred in 100 ml of warm water.
- Poured the mixture into a 2 lb loaf mould and baked at 180C for 40 minutes.
- Whilst still hot, pricked the cake all over with a skewer and poured the remaining marmalade mixture over the top.
- Left to cool, then turned out onto a plate to serve.
This was my first introduction to Scandinavian baking and it won’t be my last; we both really enjoyed this cake. My photographs have by no means done it justice and I was a little disappointed with the holes, but it was moist with a sticky top or as CT described it (not very diplomatically I thought) “reassuringly pudding like”. Pudding like it may be, but its restrained sweetness means it probably won’t be as popular with the children. The cardamom flavour did as I hoped and complemented the citrussy tang and bitterness of the marmalade. It gained the seal of approval from my mother, who is a little hard to please when it comes to cakes.
Earlier in the year, the more than occasional baker made an apple cake using Wensleydale cheese with added cranberries. Well, I was intrigued by this and her description had me bookmarking the recipe immediately. As with most of the recipes I bookmark, it’s taken me some time to try it out, but try it out I eventually did. The Wensleydale I used was one studded with cherries. With my recent discovery that chocolate and cheese go very well together I also added some chocolate, but this could of course be left out if it is deemed to be overkill.
I was recently sent a few Fairtrade goodies from the Fairtrade Foundation and I was keen to try them out.
This is how I did it:
- Placed 150g unsalted butter in a bowl and left it on our storage heater for an hour to soften (the kitchen has gone into it’s no need for a fridge phase).
- Sifted 175g flour (half white, half wholemeal) into a bowl together with 1 tsp baking powder.
- Peeled, cored and chopped 1 large tart apple (unidentified Cornish variety) and tossed into the flour ensuring all surfaces were coated to prevent browning.
- Chopped 50g of Traidcraft dark chocolate (70%) into chips.
- Crumbled 125g cherry Wensleydale cheese into small bits.
- Creamed the butter with 175g golden caster sugar until it was really pale and fluffy.
- Beat in 2 duck eggs, one by one.
- Folded in the flour and apple, mixing in 3 tbsp milk when the mixture became too stiff.
- Gently stirred in the chocolate and cheese.
- Spooned into a 2lb loaf mould.
- Cored, peeled and sliced a small tart Cornish apple (variety unidentified) and laid over the cake.
- Sprinkled over 1 tbsp demerara sugar and baked at 180C for 45 minutes.
- Allowed to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack and cutting a slice immediately!
The cake looked so tempting with its shiny toffee apple top that I couldn’t wait for it to cool, so I cut a slice whilst still warm. The smell of cheese on toast as I raised it to my lips was slightly disconcerting, but luckily this didn’t put me off. It had a fantastic texture and good flavour, sweet with little bursts of saltiness courtesy of the cheese. As the cake was quite sweet, this worked really well; together with the tart apple and bitter chocolate almost all taste sensations were covered.
I’m submitting this to Jac’s Bookmarked Recipes over at Tinned Tomatoes.
Random recipe maybe in the title of this post, but it’s actually a random ingredient we had to select this month for the Random Recipes challenge over at Belleau Kitchen. CT got the joy of sticking his arm in the cupboard and pulling something out – a half used packet of hemp flour! Hemp is a gorgeous green coloured flour, but it has a slight bitter edge and goes off fairly quickly. The whole point of the challenge was to use up things that tend to hang around at the back of the cupboard unnoticed, so the box was truly ticked on this score.
The next step was to enter hemp flour onto Eat Your Books. Not surprisingly, I only had one result and that was for Dan Lepard’s Marrakesh express loaf cake from Short and Sweet. As there was no chocolate in his recipe, I had to adapt it and what with one thing and another, it got adapted more than I’d originally intended.
This is how I made it:
- Placed a tsp of instant coffee in a large pan and poured 300ml of boiling water over it and stirred until dissolved.
- Added 150g chopped dried dates and left to simmer gently for a few minutes whilst I added some other ingredients.
- Added 130g molasses sugar, 1 tbsp honey and 2 tbsp pomegranate syrup.
- Stirred and removed from the heat.
- Added 75g unsalted butter and 100g Maya Gold (G&B dark orange spiced chocolate) – chopped.
- Grated in the zest of a lemon and then added the lemon juice as I thought the additional tartness would help cut through the richness of the cake.
- Beat in 2 small duck eggs (medium hens eggs).
- Sifted in 150g spelt flour, 75g hemp flour and 2 tsp of baking powder.
- Stirred this in followed by 100g chopped walnuts and 2 tbsp of sesame seeds.
- Poured into a 2lb loaf mould and baked for 45 minutes at 180C when a skewer inserted in the middle came out more or less clean.
The result was a dense but moist cake with a lovely fruity flavour. Overall it was quite tart and worked particularly well spread with a good layer of butter. It was hard to detect the dates specifically, but the walnuts had their usual delightful crunch. I felt I made the right decision not to include further spices, as there was plenty going on already. The hemp flour gave a distinctive nutty flavour, but also had a hint of bitterness about it. So if you happen to get the munchies on the night train to Marrakesh, CT reckons this is the ideal antidote – inadvertantly revealing some of his dark past.
In case anyone hasn’t heard, there is a new series of Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard coming to Channel 4; it started yesterday on 5 March at 12:05 and will run every day for 4 weeks. Each 30 minute episode will feature three members of the public who will come to his cookery school, Cake Boy, to demonstrate their baking skills and take part in a “Bake Off”. Our very own Dom of Belleau Kitchen will be featuring on 15 March.
It’s Random Recipe time again and as a tribute to the birth month of this fabulous event, we have been given the task of picking a recipe from the book we used when we first took part in this challenge. I was mightily pleased about this as I was panicking rather at having to use the Valrhona chocolate book which CT gave me for Christmas. There isn’t a single simple recipe in it – in fact they all look way beyond my capability. Divine by Linda Collister is a much more accessible book. Last year I made butterscotch swirl brownies which were a great success; what would this year bring I wondered?
Although I’d love to enter the Short and Tweet twitter challenge (#shortandtweet) every week, I know this is not feasible, but I am trying to enter it on a monthly basis. You can see the upcoming schedule of bakes here. This week I am not only still on holiday, but one of the chosen recipes is a chocolate cake – errr – no brainer! This has been chosen because of the January austerity measures imposed on our stomachs – it contains only a small amount of fat and sugar using pears as a partial substitute.
As I only had a small (220g) pack of pears left behind by a Japanese visitor, I made approximately half the quantity. It was a bit difficult to half three eggs, but as they weren’t particularly big, I used two and rounded up the other ingredients rather than down to compensate. The only convenient sized mould I had was a loaf tin, so that is what I used. Not having any walnut oil to hand, which I’m sure would have been really good, I used a combination of sunflower and pumpkin seed.
I upped the calories a little, by drizzling on some 37% G&B milk chocolate – or perhaps blobbing is a better description. It’s certainly not as pretty as Dan’s picture in the book. You can see his recipe, originally published in the Guardian, here.
Without giving any clues as to it’s identity, I asked CT what he thought. This was his stream of consciousness whilst tasting “smells of cupcakes from my childhood. Resilient cake, not crumbly but has a springy texture. Not very sweet. Nice, slightly banana flavour, slightly grainy, like oats? Seems like the sort of thing someone from the 1950s, wearing a waistcoat, would be eating with a mug of tea, after a hard days graft in the fields”.
When he found out this was made with pears, he cried, “ahh sclereids” – blooming botanists! Sclereids are, apparently, the grainy bits you get in pears, so he wasn’t too far off the mark with the grainy and fruity associations
We both really liked this cake, both the flavour and texture and it really didn’t need the chocolate on top, although this did make for an, err, interesting look!
After my less than successful strawberry fairy cakes, the next recipe to catch my eye in my not-so-new-now Peyton and Byrne, was this malty chocolate cake. It wasn’t the picture that entrapped me this time – there was no picture, but the word malty. Malt conjures up so many childhood treats. I loved malt extract, except when it was used as a method to hide cod liver oil – yuck! A cup of horlicks was always welcome as was the jar that I would pinch the odd teaspoon out of when no one was looking. And my mother still makes a mean malt loaf. Anyway, I sort of guessed this was going to be a really good cake and thankfully it was. This is what I did:
- Melted 50g 85% dark chocolate with vanilla in a bowl over hot water.
- Creamed 70g dark muscavado sugar and 110g light muscavado with 125g unsalted butter until pale and well incorporated.
- Beat in 1 duck egg.
- Sifted in 140g flour (100g wholemeal, 20g quinoa, 20g white), scant tsp baking powder, 1 heaped tbsp Horlicks and a pinch of salt.
- Stirred this in, followed by the chocolate.
- Mixed in 110ml milk
- Stirred in 65g milk chocolate drops (40%).
- Spooned into a 900g loaf mould and baked at 170C for 35 mins in the first instance. The book said 35-40 mins, but my cake needed another 15 minutes and was still slightly underdone.
- Left to cool, then turned out onto a rack to cool completely.