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.