Posts Tagged ‘Oranges’

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Getting Fruity with Hugh

January 5, 2011

The pain of last night’s lack of sleep is still too raw (a long, dull story involving new smoke alarms that are ‘charging’. Loudly). However I did at least have Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall and his Date and Orange Cake recipe from last Saturday’s Guardian to keep me company at 4am this morning, that and my lovely new Microplane zester.

Look at it, isn’t it lovely?

The perfect Christmas gift from my brother and family it made short work of zesting the three oranges that go into this moist cake. The recipe was part of a section in the Guardian last weekend about Christmas left overs. Now, I always have dates and oranges in the house for baking purposes but I did actually have a pack of medjool dates still  in their little paper cases, bought for a Christmas treat that didn’t get eaten.

As one of the commenters on the link above noted, and as I’ve found before with Hugh’s recipes, the butter pooled out of the bottom of the tin. Luckily I had placed the tin on a baking tray so it was caught and I didn’t have to spend time scrubbing away at burnt fat on the base of the oven (that would not have improved my day). I would try reducing the butter, to 250g perhaps, but I also wonder if it’s the nuts in the cake that makes it less absorbent especially as these were pulsed from whole blanched almonds so were coarser than pre-ground almonds – of course that’s still reason to reduce the butter should you wish.

I kept the pieces of dates fairly large as they were deliciously moist but have to confess I had only the smallest of tastes of the finished cake from one small section that had stuck to the base where the parchment had come loose. I took the finished cake into work, let it be known it was in the kitchen, and in no time it was gone.

I was fairly sure, in that post-Christmas time of abstinence a rich cake such as this would’ve been nibbled in thin slivers or shunned entirely leaving me time to taste, but it went before I could cut a slice. It went  down well though. Perhaps if you make it you could let me know what you think?

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It’s a Date

February 24, 2010
Despite early mornings being the best time for me to bake, they’re not necessarily the best time to pick recipes. A certain amount of attention is needed for the basics, like checking you’ve got enough flour and sugar (and of the right type) that the berries you thought you had in the freezer are still in their packet; rather than spilling out and impossibly mixed in the drawer with the ever present escapee frozen peas. All this needs a relatively clear head lest you discover half way through that you’re out of some vital ingredient. It’s also not a good time to decide you’re going to take that loaf recipe and double it to fit a bundt tin and it’s most definitely not the best time to convert those doubled quantities from American cups to metric. Even if I manage all of the above at 5am the chances are something else will slip – like remembering to turn the oven on, or dusting that greased pan with flour.


In order to avoid moments of frustration part way through the baking process I’ve tried recently to plan just a little bit more, spend some time on a Saturday evening looking through my cupboards to check to see what I could bake. Seeing what I actually have in stock and then pick recipes from there, write out all my conversions and notes ready to go when I wake. I don’t go as far as to weigh out the ingredients ready – what if tomorrow morning was the one morning when I actually get to lie in? But I have a plan.


This past Saturday’s peruse of my cupboards revealed several packets of dates and a fruit bowl overstocked with oranges. Leiths offered up a Date and Orange Loaf, I doubled the quantities from those suggested for a 1 1/2 lb tin so I could fill three of my 1lb ones. It’s an easy recipe as everything is added to the date mixture after they’ve been simmered in water. Use a large pan and you can just whack it all in and save on the washing up.


Date and Orange Loaf

Leiths’ Baking Bible


Makes three 1lb loaves


450g chopped dates

250ml water

340g soft dark brown sugar

340g butter

Grated zest of two oranges

2 tbsp orange juice

2 large eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp all spice


Preheat the oven to 170C.

Grease the tins and line the base with baking parchment.

Place dates and water in a large pan and bring to the boil, cover the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add sugar, butter, orange zest and juice and beat well.
Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Add the eggs, beat well and then sift on remaining ingredients.
Bake for 60 – 90 minutes and then allow to cool in the tins for 15 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.



This is a tasty cake, the moistness from the dates and citrus zing make it perfect to eat as it is. It will improve for being wrapped well for 24 hours, and should it last long enough to dry out, I can imagine that a little spread of butter, perhaps to a toasted slice, would be lovely too.


As I’m not capable of buying just one of anything, of not having a back-up or spare, there were still more dates in the cupboard and having not made muffins for awhile I chose the recipe below, swapping walnuts for chocolate chips in order to make mocha muffins.



Mocha Date Muffins

Adapted from Leiths’ Coffee and Date Muffin Recipe


Ingredients for 12 Muffins


140g chopped dates (tip – snip into pieces with kitchen scissors rather than chopping, far easier)

1/2 Tsp bicarbinate of soda

1 tsp instant coffee

150ml boiling water

225g soft light brown sugar

115g melted butter

2 beaten eggs

250g self-raising flour

100g dark chocolate chips


Line your muffin tins with cases, or grease and dust with flour.

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Place dates in a large bowl with coffee and bicarb, pour over the boiling water, stir and leave to soak for 10 minutes.

Add the butter, sugar and eggs into the date mixture, fold in the four until just combined (do not over mix, for light muffins you want it just mixed) and fold in the chocolate chips.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and bake 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Remove muffins from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack (the original recipe suggests covering them with a clean tea towel as they cool to keep the tops soft).


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Early O’Clock

February 9, 2010

The other week I took a couple of days off work, and with nothing much planned other than rest, relaxation and a lie in, I made sure that the eggs and butter were out of the fridge before I went to bed in order for them to be at that all important ‘room temperature’ so I could bake the next morning. I didn’t really anticipate the morning starting at 3am, but when I realised sleep was not going to return, and the lie in was definitely not going to happen, I got up, put apron on, and got started.

I had oranges and buttermilk to use which provided a guide for the recipe search and I’d spent a little time at the weekend looking through my books and converting recipes from cups and sticks to grams (the most important part of my prep recently as it’s always a little too much for my mathematically challenged brain first thing in the morning – or even the middle of the night). The Orange Ricotta Pound Cake from Cake Keeper Cakes caught my eye as a good showcase for the rose bundt tin. I swapped the ricotta for buttermilk, but increased the butter from 168g to 220g in order to compensate for the reduced fat. I used wholemeal flour and once again reduced the sugar content. I also added a bag of dried cranberries as I’d had my eye on a couple of orange and cranberry loaf cakes recently an they seem to be paired frequently. I think all of that messing around might have been a little too much. It needed more … flavour. By using wholemeal flour and in reducing both the sugar and fat content there was too much taken away, wholemeal flour can also be quite bitter and a bit of additional sweetness might have balanced this. The texture was also affected it was a dense cake, again I’m not sure whether the culprit is the flour or fat – possibly both. I think using plain flour would’ve made a big difference, perhaps half and half? I would also add a touch more citrus, as I said previously the oranges I’ve been using recently haven’t had much of a zing to them. The cranberries were a nice touch, they hold their form so well and the little zing of sharpness when you bite into on is lovely.

Orange Buttermilk Pound Cake

Based very loosely on a recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes

Cake

450g flour (I used wholemeal)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarb

1 tsp salt

220g butter

270g sugar

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

3 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

zest of two oranges

Glaze

1/2 cup orange marmalade

2 tsp water

Preheat oven 165C, grease bundt tin and dust with flour.

Beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping side of bowl periodically

Add eggs one at a time, scrape bowl again

Add zest, juice and vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl

Add one third of flour mixture to mixing bowl with mixer on low speed, followed by half the buttermilk, another third of the flour, buttermilk and last of flour mixing well after each addition and not forgetting to scrape the bowl

Fold in cranberries

Place batter into tin, bake until golden brown approx 1 hour 10 minutes

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely

Once cool make the glaze by stirring water and marmalade in a saucepan over a low heat until the marmalade melts then brush the glaze over the cake

Second on the list was a whole-wheat honey nut cake again from Cake Keeper Cakes (I really can’t recommend this book enough). I wanted to make another cake that has a layer of filling running through it, in a more suitable tin than the rose bundt that I used for the Cardamom Cake. I reduced the sugar again but the layer of honey running through with the nuts and the caramel glaze added plenty of additional sweetness. It was a favourite of a few of the tasters.

Whole-wheat and Honey Nut Bundt Cake

Cake Keeper Cakes

Filling

75g flour

28g softened butter

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/4 cups walnuts or pecans coarsely chopped (I used walnuts)

1/2 cup honey

Cake

1 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

300g whole-wheat flour (original recipe 200g plain flour, 100g whole-wheat)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarb

1/2 tsp salt

112g butter

150g light brown sugar (reduced from 175g)

Glaze

56g granulated sugar

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Grease bundt tin and dust with flour

Preheat oven to 180C

Make the filling by combining the flour, butter and cinnamon in a bowl until crumbly then add the nuts and honey.

Whist together buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs

Combine cake dry ingredients

Beat together butter and sugar in mixer or with electric whisk on medium high speed for 5 minutes

Lower the speed on the mixer, add one third of flour mixture to mixing bowl with mixer on low speed, followed by half the buttermilk mixture, another third of the flour, buttermilk and last of flour mixing well after each addition and not forgetting to scrape the bowl

Beat on high for one minute

Scrape half the batter into the prepared pan, spoon the filling as evenly as possibly over the base layer then add the rest of the batter, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Bake for 50 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely

Make the Glaze by bringing the sugar, honey and buttermilk to boil in a small pan, reduce the heat and cook for 7 – 9 minutes until caramel coloured, stirring occasionally

Remove from the heat, stir in vanilla and allow to cool for 10 minutes before pouring over the cake letting the glaze drip down the sides

Allow to cool for about half an hour before serving

Lest the sunflower tin feel left out I also made the Pumpkin Spice Cake that I’ve made previously, I wanted to play around a bit with the spices – basically by being more generous with them all which I think worked, it can take it – and it also took care of the last of the buttermilk.

My sister paid an impromptu visit later that day, so I knew that between her, my dad and various neighbours and colleagues I could easily offload todays output – so I carried on.

Finally I made a Pumpkin and Ginger Spice Cake from Katrina of She’s in the Kitchen. Now this is just lovely, I’ve had several requests for the recipe and will definitely make it again – the original is for ‘Texas’ muffins which I had to google and discovered that they’re just very large muffin tins, some of which I happened to have (probably the result of yet another compulsive Lakeland shopping trip). Katrina suggests that this recipe will make two 8” cakes or one 8” and six muffins. I used a bundt tin and also got six muffins.

Pumpkin and Ginger Cake/Muffins

Adapted from Katrina’s recipe – She’s in the Kitchen

1 tin of pumpkin puree

275g soft brown sugar (reduced from 2 cups/350g)

225g melted butter

4 eggs

1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (Katrina suggests cider or apple juice)

525g flour (wholemeal)

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp bicarb

1 tsp salt

4 1/2 tsp cinnamon

4 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cloves

1 1/2 cups crystalised ginger, chopped

1 cup currants (optional, but I still have loads left from Christmas and so added them)

Mix together the melted butter, pumpkin and sugar

Add eggs and mix well

Add fruit juice

Sift together the dry ingredients and then and to wet mix

Fold in the ginger and currants

Fill the pans/muffin cases half full and bake the cake for 40 minutes for the cake and 25 for the muffins at 180C.