Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lots of Cakes

I do like baking cakes. Not the pretty, delicate type of cake but the more robust, wholesome and nourishing type. The kind of cake you are happy your children to eat when they ask for a snack or a treat.

In fact, I don't mind my children eating cakes and muffins at all, as long as I made them myself. Sounds awfully 1950's but I like to know what is in them and in moderation, something sweet to brighten their day makes me happy too. So I often bake muffins or a cake for a special teddy bear picnic. And, we do all know how to hide vegetables in muffins by now, don't we ????
So here are some special cakes I have made that tick all my boxes

Anna del Conte Apple Cake

The thing that irritates me most about baking is the butter. Waiting for butter to soften drives me nuts in winter. I also do like to reduce the calorie content of my treats if I can get away with it. This moist, delicious cake uses olive oil not as substitute, but in preference to butter. I mean, how clever is that?

120g (4 oz) of sultanas
Freshly brewed tea
500g (1 lb) of apples – about 5 small ones
150ml (scant 2/3 cup) of olive oil
200g (7oz) sugar
2 organic eggs
175g (6 oz) of wholemeal (wholewheat) flour
175g (6 oz) of ‘strong’, Italian ‘00’ flour
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons of bi-carb soda
½ teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of sea salt

"Soak the sultanas in enough tea to cover. I used Orange Pekoe. Set aside to plump for 20 minutes. Peel and core the apples and cut each into small dice.

Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F). Grease and line a 20cm (8 in) springform cake tin.
Beat the oil and sugar together until well amalgamated. Break the eggs into a teacup and add them, bit by bit, beating all the time. You’ll end up with a creamy mixture. Set a sieve over the bowl and sift in the flour, cinnamon, bi-carb soda, baking powder and salt.

Mix to a stiff batter with a metal spoon – I cannot claim to understand the reasoning behind this, but do so as it is often suggested. You don’t want to go upsetting the baking gods. Drain the sultanas well. Fold through the mixture with the diced apple. This is a very stiff mixture and will be visibly studded with fruit.

Scrape into the prepared cake tin, smooth down the top and bake for at least 1 hour – mine took 1 hour and 20 minutes and needed to be topped with foil halfway through to prevent it from burning. Watch it closely and check for doneness with a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake. If it comes away cleanly, your cake is done. "

This recipe was posted on this clever food blog

Next we have a new favorite which was brought to my attention by little my petite gourmande Miss E herself. A mum at school made it for her daughters birthday. If it got the tick of approval of the teacher, it must be good....unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of it, and by the time I had the camera out, the cake was gone. That good. Click on the link for the recipe, I'll post a picture next time I make it. (soon no doubt).

Lumberjack Cake

Another beauty in Autmn is this upside down Pear cake. I also make it in Summer
with ripe peaches and nectarines. The base is the same, you can experiment with a variety of seasonal fruit I guess.

Upside down pear cake

2 Tbs Golden Syrup
3 ripe pears (or enough fruit to cover the base of your baking tin)
1 punnet of blackberries or blueberries (I used frozen)
120g reduced fat margarine
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup self-raising flour
finely grated rind of 1 small orange
2 tbsp low fat milk or as needed for a smooth batter
Heat syrup in a pan till runny, then pour over the base of a 23 inch springform tin. I lined the tin with baking paper to seal the rim. Peel and cut the pears in half and arrange cut side up on the tin. Arrange the berries over the pears.
Beat the margarine, sugar and eggs til light and fluffy. Add flour, orange rind and milk to the sugar mix and spoon over fruit.
Bake for 60min or until golden and risen.
The recipe is from a lovely Heart smart cookbook (can't remember the name), hence the low fat marg and milk. I think it works really well here. The result is a fruity, moist and very pretty cake that never fails to impress....

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