Archive for the ‘Cakes’ Category

My First Rhubarb

October 23, 2011

A few months ago, in the depths of Tassie Winter, a friend from Ravelry (whom I had never met) gave me 3 Rhubarb crowns. For nothing! I adore gardeners (and knitters!). I promptly planted them in my free garden bed (the busy-ness of my last semester at uni made planting a Winter crop impossible), mulched deeply with composting leaves, and waited.

 

Fast forward to October. Spring is well underway, the daffodils have come & gone, the lawn needs mowing endlessly, and my Rhubarb – it has leaves!!

And leaf stalks. Bright juicy red leaf stalks. I started looking up recipes, and decided on Rhubarb Crumble, but all the recipes I found wanted 6 cups of Rhubarb to serve 8 people! Since its only me that will probably end up eating it, I didn’t want to get fat on 8 servings of Rhubarb Crumble. So I looked at a few different recipes, and added a couple of rosy Corella pears:

 

And added the chopped Rhubarb:

 

 

And then I loosely followed Elise’s recipe for Rhubarb Crumble.
Unfortunately I forgot to take any in-progress photos…. And then the finished product wasn’t awesome to look at, so I didn’t take any photos of that either. But! Look at my gorgeous Rhubarb! It is so red on the outside, but I was surprised to find it bright green on the inside! Its just like Christmas, and very photogenic:

 

I do however have some tips for my fellow bakers who decide they want to make some Rhubarb Crumble of your own:

1. Use a fairly deep baking dish

Use a baking dish deep enough to provide a pretty substantial layer of fruit, but additionally you really want to put lots of crumble on the top too!

2. Don’t dilute the Rhubarb

As much as I like pears, I really wished I had kept the Rhubarb unadulterated for this dish. I really craved that tart yet sweet Rhubarb flavour, but this also means I will need to wait even longer before I can harvest enough of my Rhubarb for a whole dish of crumble.

3. Don’t leave the house…

Yes, I admit it, I left my oven unattended. I had a craving for ice cream with my crumble, and had to go to the shops to buy some. Pair that with getting distracted at a new Japanese restaurant for a takeaway Bento box, and my crumble was in the oven for probably 10 minutes too long. It wasn’t burnt, and still tasted delicious, but the hardened syrup around the edges made the dish very difficult to clean!

4. Take a sniff

Another unexpected feature of Rhubarb was the smell! As I cut the fresh Rhubarb stalks the smell got stronger & stronger, and I couldn’t get enough of it! It smells a bit like custard and caramel, but not quite, a bit hard to describe. You’ll just have to cut up some Rhubarb and see for yourselves!

 

And there you have it. Stay tuned for my next Rhubarb adventure!

Scones on a Monday Afternoon

December 1, 2008

scones2

I had the day off today and felt kind of lazy after having a busy morning…so I looked through my trusty Perfect Cookbook and thought I would make some scones. This is another recipe that uses (mostly) basic ingredients, with the addition of freash cream & lemon juice.

You will need:

3 & 1/2 Cups Self-Raising Flour

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Tablespoon Caster Sugar (I think I used a bit more then that though!)

60 Grams Butter

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1 Cup Milk

2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice

1 Egg

Extra milk for brushing

Method:


Preheat fan-forced oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper, and you’ll need to prepare a lightly floured surface to knead on after you’ve mixed the dough.

Sift flour & baking powder together, and mix in sugar & salt. Add butter & rub in until it’s all little balls (I used the electric mixer but the flour went everywhere, your fingertips would probably be better).

In another bowl, add the lemon juice to the milk. Add the egg & the flour/butter/sugar mixture, and mix gently (again, I used my electric mixer, but a wooden spoon would have been better). Tip dough out onto yout floured surface, and knead lightly until dough is smooth. Flatten out (I just used my hands, but use a rolling pin if you want to) to 2-3 cms, and cut out rounds with a cookie cutter. Place a few inches apart on the baking trays, brush with milk, and bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown. My mixture made 12.5 scones.

Serve with fresh chantilly cream & raspberry jam, or butter & honey, or ginger marmalade, lazy afternoon sun & pretty pottery. Speaking of pretty pottery, here is a new purchase of mine, along with some Christmas decorations I have been making this week:

decorations

The small plate in the top photo also goes with the cup & saucer. Pretty huh?? It’s from an antique store! My first forray into antique-ing.

Well that’s all for today, hope everyone had a happy Monday!

Lemon Cupcakes

November 17, 2008

cupcakes

I tried another recipe from The Perfect Cookbook by David Herbert today, Cupcakes. The recipe for the actual cupcakes is quite plain, so I adapted the recipe to make it a bit more interesting. Here is my amended version:

You will need:

1 & 1/2 cups Self Raising flour

125g butter, softened

3/4 cup Caster Sugar

1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence

2 eggs

1/2 cup Milk

Zest of two large lemons

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and prepare 2 muffin trays with patty pans.

Sift flour into a mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat with an electric mixer until smooth (I found the butter needs to be very soft otherwise the lumps won’t come out).

Spoon mixture into prepared patty pans. I found that about two thirds full gives nice rounded cupcakes. Let cool completely before icing.

Lemon Icing: (different from the frosting recipe in the book)

Juice of 1 large lemon

About 1 cup of sifted icing sugar

Tiny amount of yellow food colouring (I use Wiltons Colour Pastes)

In a medium bowl, use an electric beater while slowly adding icing sugar to the lemon juice. Keep adding until your desired consistency is reached… For example, if you are going to drizzle the icing over the cupcakes & let it run down the sides, you’ll need a little less sugar. I made my icing a little thicker so I could spread it with a knife onto the top of the cupcake only. This icing has a very lemony flavour, but since there is only a small amount on each cupcake it complements it perfectly (in fact, it is so delicious, that my helper ate all the leftover icing straight out of the bowl!).

And that’s it! I don’t often use self raising flour, but found it worked really well for this recipe. Perfect, light & fluffy cupcakes 🙂

Banana bread. Well, muffins.

November 10, 2008

book

My father somehow got hold of this book and it’s so small, it kind of got lost amongst all the other larger cookbooks we own. But I found it the other day, and started to flip through it. The recipes are all really simple, and so delicious-sounding, but I had to put it aside until my exams were over so I could concentrate on studying. But now they are over! And today, my first real day off since the holidays started (since I had to work all weekend) I sat down and took a serious look through the book. I made a list of all the recipes I wanted to try, and then decided to make the banana bread since I had a couple of bananas in the fruit bowl that were going quite brown. Except when I looked through my cake tin pile I realized I didn’t have an oblong loaf tin that this recipe calls for….I so thought I had one!! I added it to the shopping list & decided to make this recipe into muffins instead. I had to change the recipe a little because I didn’t have any buttermilk, so I just used plain milk, and though I didn’t add any this time, you could add some ground nutmeg or cinnamon to enhance the flavour of the banana.

muffins

You will need:

1 & 1/2 cups Plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

125 grams softened Butter

1 cup Sugar

2 Eggs

2 very ripe Bananas, mashed with a fork

1/2 cup Milk

pinch salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease 5×9″ loaf tin, or a muffin tin (I used patty pans in mine).

Cream butter & sugar together with an electric beater. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the mashed bananas, again beating in well. Start to add the dry ingredients (the original recipe said to sift the flour & baking powder & salt together but I can never be bothered doing that) a little at a time, alternating each addition with a little milk. Beat until well combined.

Spoon mixture into loaf tin or muffin tray. Baking takes 55-60 minutes in the loaf tin, or for muffins about 25 minutes. Test by inserting a metal skewer into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is ready.

muffin

Bananas are really cool. Those little black flecks weren’t in the batter when I made it, but they magically appeared during cooking! I’ve already eaten two muffins, they are so wonderfully moist and the outsides are just a tiny bit crispy….just perfect!

muffin-side

Big thanks to Andrew for lending me his camera for these photos today 🙂

Nut & Chocolate Muffins

October 4, 2008

Another tried & true recipe of mine that I can whip up in 5 minutes.

You will need:

1 & 3/4 Cups plain flour

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup softened butter

1 Cup milk

1/2 Cup sugar

1 Tablespoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 Teaspoon vanilla essence

1 Cup chocolate chips

1/2 Cup crushed nuts

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease muffin pans (alternately, use paper cup cake pans).

Put all ingredients except the last two into a bowl & beat together for a few minutes until well combined. Stir through chocolate chips and crushed nuts. Fill muffin pans 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top of the muffin springs back when pressed.

Try not to burn your fingers in your rush to eat them after baking 😉

This recipe can be adapted in many ways. Instead of chocolate & nuts, use pears & cinnamon, or raspberries & white chocolate, or leave out the sugar & add becon & cheese. The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy 🙂

Spiced Apple Cake

August 31, 2008

I wanted something easy yet delicious to bake on a lazy Sunday afternoon, so I chose an old favourite of mine, an apple cake spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon. Great way to use up a few apples that are past their best, and the recipe can easily be adapted for use with other fruit. I have made this cake with pears before, but I can imagine it would be great with plums, apricots, or peaches, or you could try making it with nuts such as pecans or walnuts. Pecans, what a great idea!! I think I know what I’ll be making next Sunday.

Here are the ingredients:

2-3 Apples, peeled and sliced

250g Plain Flour

1 Teaspoon baking soda

170g Sugar

3 Eggs

120g Softened butter

150mL Milk

1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract

Ground Cinnamon and Nutmeg to taste

Pinch of salt

And, whipped cream to serve with:

Turn on your oven to about 180 degrees Celsius, and grease a medium baking tin.

Throw all ingredients into a bowl (excluding the apples) and beat with an electric mixer until combined. Taste test for cinnamon & nutmeggy-ness, then taste again because its just so good. Half-fill your baking tin with the cake batter. Arrange a layer of apple slices over the whole surface of the batter, and then pour the rest of the batter in. Closely arrange the rest of the apple slices over the surface of the cake (you will find that they spread apart a bit as the cake rises), sprinkle with a little sugar and some cinnamon, and then it’s ready to bake. Bake for 45-60 minutes (I kind of forgot how long I ended up baking mine for!!) let cool and enjoy with whipped cream, late afternoon sun and a hot cup of coffee.