Monday, 30 June 2014

The Perfect Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ever since I discovered Lemon Drizzle Cakes, I've loved them to bits (bites?). The first recipe I ever tried was Jamie Oliver Nan's Lemon Drizzle Cake. I now know it to be the Lemon Drizzle I least liked. It was too sour, too full of poppy seeds and just too much going on. 

Then I tried the Lemon Drizzle Cake from my favourite recipe site. Now, this is was a Lemon Drizzle I liked. No frills, straight-up, pure lemony goodness with a delectable melt-y icing sugar glaze. I made and fed this recipe to hoards of Hungries who lapped-up every last crumb of it. 

My love for this cake was still going strong when I googled Felicity Cloake's amazing little Perfect blog for Chocolate Cake. Er... what? Chocolate? Where did that come from? Sigh. I was having a craving okay? For a perfect Chocolate Cake, so I went to Felicity and then got distracted instead with the Lemon Drizzle she had made... and I'm still distracted. 

I've made this cake thrice in the space of 2 weeks and I still cannot get enough of it. You know how when you were little, you could stuff yourself silly with your favourite sweet, feel very peculiar after, swear you won't eat so much of it ever again and yet still do when the next opportunity presents itself peculiarity be damned? Well... this is my problem with this cake. I'm addicted.  

To answer Felicity's questions - This IS a big wet sticky kiss of a teatime treat, not a damp squib and YES Lemon is the best-est choice ever!

No fancy photos for this cake. Sorry. It was made with eating in mind, not photography. 

Adapted from Felicity Cloake

175g salted Butter, softened
175g Caster Sugar
2 Lemons, zested and juiced
3 Eggs
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
100g Self-Raising Flour
75g Ground Almonds

5 heaping tablespoons Icing Sugar
1 tablespoon Demerara Sugar 

Preheat the oven at 140 Celsius. Butter, flour and line a 2-pound loaf tin. Whisk the Flour and Almonds together in a bowl and set aside. Zest and juice the Lemons. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream Butter, Sugar and Lemon zest with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add in the Eggs one by one mixing well after each addition. Add in the Vanilla and mix that in. Gently fold in the Flour and Almonds set aside earlier.  

Scrap batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30 - 40 minutes at 150 Celsius or until a skewer poked through the centre comes out clean. While hot, use the skewer to poke holes all over the cake. 

In a small jug combine, the Sugars and Lemon juice to make a runny syrup. Pour over hot cake in spoonfuls waiting for the cake to absorb one lot before adding the next. Let cake cool in the tin before removing onto a platter for serving. 

[The only reason I didn't follow Felicity's recipe to a 't' is because the batter didn't need the Milk; I don't like eggy cakes, so Vanilla is a must; and I happen to like Icing Sugar.]

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The birthday cake that wasn't

Time is a luxury. So sometimes when I'm craving a particular cake but cannot be bothered to go through the whole hog of waiting for butter to soften, creaming, folding, blah blah blah, I love a super-quick-fix cake that takes all of 10 minutes to put together and another twenty or so to bake. In no time, I'll have nice, warm cake on the table to cut slices from every time I pop into the kitchen for something or other (or just for cake!).

I was feeling like this recently and decided to try out a new recipe for one of those marvellous one-bowl-snap-your-fingers-together-and-its-done oil and yoghurt cakes. An Italian version this time (because it uses Extra Virgin Olive Oil instead of vegetable oil) with lots of fragrant freshly grated lemon zest for extra deliciousness using the glass French yoghurt pots I saved from a time when Carrefour was alive and thriving in this country. 

It was also somebody's birthday. Said somebody who lives halfway across the world. I thought it would be nice to bake and eat birthday cake on somebody's behalf. Oh well, why not? I'll take any excuse to eat cake. 

So on the pretext of former and latter, this cake got baked and eaten. I must say I liked this better than the French Yoghurt Cake from last year. This one was all silky, melt-y, moist crumb that I apparently couldn't get quite enough of. 

Adapted from Rachel Eats

3 pots Plain Flour
1 pot Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 pots Caster Sugar
1 pot Greek Yoghurt
3 Eggs
1 heaping teaspoon Baking Powder
The zest of 2 Lemons

Preheat the oven at 140 Celsius. Butter and flour a 6-cup Bundt tin really well.

In a large bowl, whisk together the Plain Flour, Olive Oil, Sugar, Yoghurt, Eggs and Baking Powder. Add in the Lemon zest and whisk vigorously. 

Pour batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until the cake is golden or a skewer poked through comes out clean. 

Allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to complete cooling.

Black Banana Cake

It's not Monday, but it feels like a 'black' day anyway. The sky is dull with swooshes of deep grey interspersed with teeny tiny touches of barely blue. I'm feeling dull and things don't seem very perky at the moment. 

The bananas in the fruit basket didn't look very encouraging either. A little too soft and speckled for eating. So, I rummaged through my stack of recipe books for the usual never-fail Banana Cake. The abundance of bananas however, led me to look for another, and I came across a rather interesting looking Black Banana Cake from dear old Nigel. 

It promised to be a sweet, hazelnut-ty, banana-ey, chocolate chip speckled delight - a sort-of Nutella-crossed banana cake. Well, it certainly delivered... YUM!

Adapted from Nigel Slater

175g salted Butter, softened
175g Light Brown Sugar
75g Ground Hazelnuts
2 Eggs
175g Self-Raising Flour
2 ripe Bananas
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
175g Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven at 140 Celsius. Butter and line the base and sides of a loaf tin with baking paper.

Cream Butter and Sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.

Add in the Eggs one by one beating well after each addition. Mix in the Vanilla Essence.

With a spatula, gently fold in the Self-Raising Flour and Ground Hazelnuts until just combined. 

Peel and mash the Bananas roughly. Fold this into the batter gently and finally add the Chocolate Chips.

Scrape batter into the prepared tin and bake for at 150 Celsius for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer poked through the centre of the cake comes out clean. 

Leave the cake in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.