Wednesday 27 February 2013

Soured Cream and Blueberry cake - Hummingbird Bakery

I made this cake for our second meeting of Putney Clandestine Cake Club and have had a couple of email requests to post the recipe. Yes, there is such thing as cake club, you should get involved!
If a hug had a taste it would taste like this cake. I'm no good at describing things so you'll just have to make it and see for yourself. It's a hummingbird bakery recipe that I've been making for years. Its got a golden crunchy crust that contrasts with a sponge that feels like you've just face planted a warm pillow. The bursts of blueberry that dye the sponge in purple, inky patches goes so well with the sour cream icing. I've made a few minor adjustments to the cake, mostly to the icing and I add lemon zest to the cake.
The girls how the blueberries stay suspended in the mix, hopefully you can see from the pic above that the batter is thick enough, like a muffin or scone mix for the berries to stay put.
Do you know why I love this cake so much? Because it yields slightly too much batter for my tin and so I'm left with a few muffins on the side. Soft, fruity, moreish muffins.
You could eat the cake unadorned if you so wish, it would taste just like a giant muffin!
But I prefer to spoon over the sourcream icing so it starts to fall down the sides, in that ever so inviting 'scoop me up with your finger' look!
Blueberry cake - Adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
Preheat oven to 170C fan

350g butter, unsalted, room temp
350g caster sugar
6 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
1 lemon zested
450g plain flour
2 tbsp of baking powder plus 1tsp
270ml soured cream

250g blueberries plus extra to decorate
1 quanitity of cream cheese frosting
(300g icing sugar, 50g unsalted butter, 125g cream cheese)
loosened with 30ml of soured cream and 20ml of lemon juice

25cm ring mould, greased and lined

1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
2.Add eggs, one at a time
3.Beat in vanilla, lemon zest, flour and baking powder
4.Add soured cream and beat until combined, gently stir in blueberries
5.Fill your tin and smooth surface over with a knife
6.Bake for 40-50 mins until the crust is golden brown and the sponge springs back.
7.Leave to cool in the mould for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wired rack, removing the paper. 
8.When the cake is cool, pour the icing mix over the top and sprinkle with blueberries.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Prawn, cucumber and wakame salad

This is my favourite salad in the world. It has depth in the seaweed and dried bonito flakes and a freshness in the crunch of cucumber and juicy prawns all bought together in a sweet, salty and sour dressing.  Today, I didn't bother salting the cucumbers, I just sliced them straight in. I can be impatient, especially when I'm hungry.
I am on a self imposed baking ban this week. So will probably blogging more meals, we can't live off cake alone. 
Having said that, I've got a few posts from before Christmas in Spain I had forgotten to post so Pistachio, lemon and rosewater cake may make an appearance to sweeten things up a little.
Prawn, cucumber and wakame salad
Serves 4 - Recipe by Reiko Hashimoto 

1 large cucumber
1/2 teaspoon salt
10g dried wakame seaweed
100g cooked peeled prawns
2cm piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
10g bonito flakes

55ml rice vinegar
1/2 tsp instant dashi powder
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp grated fresh root ginger

1. Mix all ingredients for dressing together, except for the ginger in a small pan
2. Bring to the boil, for only a minute or so, until the sugar dissolves
3. For the salad, peel and halve cucumber lengthways
4. Scrape out seeds and thinly slice the cucumber on the diagonal
5. Place the cucumber in a small bowl, sprinkle with salt, mix and leave for 15 minutes. 
Place in colander and rinse with cold water, drain, thoroughly and pat dry. 
6. Put the wakame in a bowl of cold water for 5-7 mins to soften. Drain, squeeze out water.
7. Mix everything together and decorate with the bonito flakes.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Blood orange cake

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! How lovely are these blood orange wrappers?! After I made these cakes, I sliced big chunks and wrapped them in the papers for gifts... sharing the love.
Don't worry, you won't find any soppy stuff here, just 'bloody' yummy cake. However lovely it is to be in love, speaking as someone who has spent the last year single after many years of being a couple.. I have really enjoyed getting to know myself this year. Without going into much detail, my year of saying 'yes' has been a really exciting one. Today should have less stress on love and more stress on happiness. I hope you are happy... and if you're not, chin up.. here's some cake. See the little flecks of orange in the sponge?
I find the internet such an inspiring place. When I stumbled upon the 'Cake Hunter' on my tea cake search I didn't realise how happy her blog would make me. This week it has inspired me to join a gym (eek!) and to make blood orange cake. Sophie made the Ottolengi recipe, but I needed to make Gluten Free for my GF friend and fancied using olive oil, in hope that this would taste of the blood oranges and olive oil of Spain.  I was feeling experimental on the weekend so threw something together with inspiration also from smitten kitchen. 
 The leftover pulp from the glaze made a good jam to top the cake.. eating the scraps can be the best bit.
Blood Orange Loaf Cake (makes 2, fortunately) 
4 blood oranges
200g caster sugar
140ml of natural yogurt
3 eggs
160ml extra virgin olive oil (or mix of olive oil and sunflower)
125g Gluten Free flour

60g quick cook polenta
60g ground almonds
2 teaspoons gf baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the glaze - I used 50g of simmered and strained raspberries here to add a little colour. 

100g orange juice 50g lemon juice 
100g caster sugar
(simmer the above for a few minutes until sugar has dissolved and the liquid thickens to a maple syrup consistency)

1. Zest the oranges and add zest to sugar
2. Supreme 3 of the oranges by slicing the top and bottoms off and then slice away the peel with the first layer of skin. Now you'll be able to see clearly where to cut. Catch the juices for the oranges, squeeze out the top and bottoms and add the juice of a lemon and other orange until you have 150ml of liquid. The remaining liquid, add to your yogurt.
3. Use half your segments, flaked up to add to your cake mix and reserve half for decoration.
4. Mix your yogurt, sugar, oil thoroughly and then add dry ingredients. Pour into two lined loaf tins and bake at 170fan oven for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, check they are cooked through. 
5. Once the cakes have come out the oven, brush with the warmed syrup, repeatedly. Reserving half. 
6. Reduce the syrup a little and pour onto cakes once they have cooled for 20 mins or so. (little trick for you there) 
Serve with more yogurt and orange segments.
 I hope you do something lovely tonight. I've got beers chilling for a girly night of gossip, takeaway pizza and naughty, calorific pie. Further afield, one of my friends is heartbroken and another is very ill, I so wish I could send hugs. 
If you need a quick fix idea, why don't you make sugar biscuits or shortbread (easiest and tastiest things ever) If you have no time to ice them, make them into pretty shapes or stamp out a message, I did this one out of leftover dough. From me, to you, with love x

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Rhubarb and custard tart

I love baking with Josh. It's a messy, sticky and giggly affair. When the oven's switched off we sit down to eat the results with a cup of tea (he has a small cup) and we chat about his future and how he wants to be a cowboy or Michael Jackson when he grows up. I tried to explain that one was unlikely and the latter, impossible, but that is what playing is we played cowboys. 
 When the weather is bleak, a bit of rhubarb brightens the day.. to the shops!
Josh makes the crème patissière.. and eats half the bowl before the pastry is ready..
Recipe at end of post, but here are some step-by-step pics
 Oh and the toys got a play..
 Our tart was fierce, I actually love this pic. Perhaps Josh could be an artist?!  

Josh and Milli's Rhubarb and custard (kind of) tart
1/2 pack of Jus Rol Puff pastry
3 sticks of rhubarb
2 tbsp sugar for sprinkling
60ml of orange juice and a big splash of grand Marnier
crème patissière (Bourke St Bakery)
250ml whole/ss milk
1 vanilla bean, deseeded
50g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
15g all purpose flour
We added 50g of ground almonds to the creme pat once cooled for that frangipane taste but you don't have to.

1. Preheat oven to 200C

Make crème patissière 
2.Pop your egg yolks in a bowl and whisk in the sugar a little at a time, now whisk in the flour.
3.Heat the milk and vanilla seeds to just below boiling point. Now slowly whisk in the hot milk, pouring it through a seive. Leave to cool on the side.
4.Pop rhubarb in the oven, sprinkled with a little sugar and orange juice and optional Grand Marnier, you can cover it with some paper/foil and it will take 10-15 minutes to cook through.
5.Roll out the block of pastry (or used ready rolled) and cut into half lengthways once the pastry is 5mm thick
6. Score a thin border 1cm thick around the inside of the rectangle and pop in a preheated oven at 200C for 10 minutes or until the border has puffed up. 
7. Take out the pastry and brush the sides with milk. 
8. Spoon on the crème patissière (mixed with almonds if you choose) and then layer on your rhubarb, you will not use all the mix.
9.Return to the oven at 180C for 20 minutes or until the pastry has puffed and golden. 

note-  had a little rhubarb and c.pat left over so made a few small tarts on the side.

Sunday 10 February 2013

Pear Macarons with Blackberry and Bitter chocolate ganache

As a bit of a sciencephobe, I don't want to get too involved with the art of the perfect macaron. Thing is, to fund a Laduree Macaron habit, I'd have to do something illegal and it's crazy when you think the ingredients aren't expensive.
I used a pear flavouring concentrate thingy for the macarons and a homemade blackberry syrup for the ganache.
They taste gorgeous, have the super shiny top that cracks and gives way to that chewy middle but I definitely tapped the hell out these poor things to ensure no bubbles and therefore I can only guess that's why the tops are flat. It seems like I always sacrifice one element for another. Here is the video and recipe I used (I try a different recipe every time) I think the girl explains it all rather clearly. If you have any tips to pass my way please do! 
The only tip I would pass on would be not to make them on a wet/humid day.

Thursday 7 February 2013

Jewellery Box Cake


When I make a cake for an order, I place the lid carefully on the box and all I can do is cross my fingers that the recipient will be pleased with it. When making them for friends you get to see their faces light up and it's a lovely feeling. My friend Coll isn't just a best friend, she is a SUPER best friend with super powers. 
We met in the first week of uni at rugby trials and she explained the rules to me, thrilled she lived in the same halls, we lived together for 3 years. Without friends like Coll (and others) I don't know how I would have got through last year. It's the small things that make friendship so amazing; bringing me up a beer on her way out to a night out because I am stuck inside with a cake order or bringing me hangover cures on a Sunday when I'm suffering, eek!
So, the cake. We both share a love of all things kitsch. Love a bit of Hello Kitty, love a bit of tat. So I thought a jewellery box of trinkets would be cute. Everything was made of icing/edible but the mirror. The two gold rings are the rings that Coll gave me for my Birthday. I know you can't keep a cake, so I made the rose out of flower paste so there was something for keeps.