Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mini Lime-Syrup Sponges

I don't know why I don't recommend this cake often enough to my clients. My records showed that the last time I baked this cake for a client was a year ago! It's always lemon, lemon, and more lemon cakes.... The texture for this sponge is very much like my Moist Lemon and Lemon Poppyseed Cake. Light, soft, moist and very delightful. Ms Lawson uses the same recipe for the drenched Lemon-Syrup Cake by the way. Since I was  to bake for a client yesterday for a small wedding cake (see Purple & White Hantaran Cake), I decided to do this cake. For one, it's brushed with boiled Lime syrup and that'll help keep fondant cakes moist for a couple of days. Fondant (sugar paste) dries out cakes. The cake is to be picked up on Thursday for a Saturday wedding, so it has to stay moist and yummy at the same time until Saturday! Don't be taken back by the use of limes. We have limes in abundance here and they aren't as tart as the lemons, much cheaper, too. Tangy but not tart. So, that makes the cake palatable.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cheese, Onions and Potato Pies

It was one of those nights when I was at loss for a dinner idea and wasn't keen on eating out either. I had some bangers in the freezer but did not have enough potatoes for mash. So, I decided to use the potatoes for a couple of accompanying pies with the bangers. Pies, despite them being the yummiest "fast food", there's nothing fast about them except in the speed they enter your mouth. They involve a lot of fiddly prep work especially if they're small pies. Nevertheless, I love this recipe....separately. The pie crust is short as expected but rivals the new Hot Water Pastry I learnt from Donna Hay a couple of days earlier. And the potato filling - yum x 100. I prepared the filling while the dough was resting. After rolling out the dough, I stole a tablespoon of the cold filling and it was the best potato salad I've ever had! The cubes of boiled potatoes were completely flavoured by the two cheeses I used - Red Leicester and (very) Mature Cheddar bound by 3 tablespoons of cream, fresh chopped onions and parsley. Yes, I did tweak the original recipe but not on purpose. The creme fraiche I had in the fridge had gone bad, so I used the pouring cream I had. I did not have any spring onions and since my family never had any trouble with chopped up raw onions (we're Asians), that was used instead. You can taste every flavour in the filling when it's cold. Once baked, the flavours were muted. The pies were fine with the bangers and HP, but not exceptional. It was a good carbo accompaniment though but personally, not pie on its own. Pie filling however, which I have now christened the Double Cheese Potato Salad, is excellent on its own.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Coca-Cola Cake

Hmmm...what can I say about this cake? Rather what the kids said about this cake...."Huh? Coca-Cola cake? Where's the Coke?". That's what I thought, too. Don't get me wrong, love the texture of this cake. As usual, Nigella aced in this bit of the creation. It was absolutely soft and moist, not dense at all. But flavour-wise, it lacked big time. Couldn't taste any distinct Coke flavour (no, I didn't use Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Light) nor the chocolate (used Valhorna cocoa). Just, plain. Yes, even the icing didn't help. Royal icing as usual is very sweet and it didn't complement the cake at all. Just, plain AND sweet now. Maybe Coca-Cola isn't what it used to be anymore? Missing the secret feel-good ingredient?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fresh Gingerbread With(out) Lemon Icing

Another melt-and-mix kind of cake and awfully easy if you have all the ingredients at hand. I was a little apprehensive when it came to baking this. One, there was too much of a good thing in its ingredient list. Especially in the sweetener department. Though the recipe didn't call for white sugar, I got a bit concerned as I had to tip in nearly the whole tin of golden syrup and a bottle of molasses (I had this in hand, so replaced the treacle) after the muscovado sugar! Secondly, the whole runny batter business always gets me worried. I know I should have complete faith in Nigella's recipes by now as they've not failed me so far in terms of the finished product. But, fears like these comes second nature after many years of runny batter=soggy, dense cakes!! Nevertheless, the whole process went on without a glitch and popped the roasting tray into the oven for about 45 minutes. Kids went "phieeeuuuww" when it came out of the oven. Let's just say the smell of the molasses over-powered the whole gingerbread. I suppose treacle would have been a little lighter. But the texture and taste of this gingerbread was divine. Perfectly soft and light, yet moist. Very good tea cake but not something you can have slice after slice. A bit much. Perhaps a good slather of zingy lemon icing would have done the trick?