Posts Tagged ‘Wholemeal Flour’

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A Big Bundt-Up

November 19, 2011

For the past two years I have baked on National Bundt Day in America. Inspired by Mary, the Food Librarian I, along with many others who follow her blog have celebrated this, my favourite type of cake, on the 15th November along. My enjoyment of baking this kind of cake pales into insignificance when compared to Mary’s dedication. For three years she has baked a bundt a day for the month leading up to the 15th. That’s 90 Bundts people. This year saw the spectacular Jello Bundt, the slightly freaky Doll Bundt and also the Tomato Soup Bundt – have a look at her site on the link above to see her collection of recipes.

Last year Mary sent a badge to all those who baked along with her, even kindly posting one out to me here in the UK, I would’ve baked again this year anyway, but confess that the thought of another badge spurred me on especially as I have misplaced this one.

There are tentative plans forming that may enable me to sell my wares so test recipes are taking up much of my baking time. I recently made Blueberry & Coriander muffins which where a great success, so I decided to try this flavour combo in Bundt form. I took the Lemon, Yoghurt Anything Cake from Smitten Kitchen to use as the base recipe. This is a cake I’ve cooked numerous times before as both a loaf and doubled to Bundt size, I’ve made it a couple of times with blueberries too. I added 3 teaspoons of dried coriander and some lime zest – coriander lime being firm friends, I also planned a lime glaze.

As I said, I have made a cake very similar to this before, in this tin even. But …. well ….

I perhaps could’ve take more out of the 10 cup pan (I made a small loaf too, no photos of this as I was too preocupied with the disaster above) but it didn’t overflow, just rose above the lip of the tin. I greased and dusted the tin with flour, as always. I put some batter into the base of the tin before mixing the blueberries into the rest of the batter to help prevent the berries from sticking.

And yet ….

Even once I extricated the disaster from the tin it was obvious it wasn’t cooked properly. I toyed with the idea of using a cookie cutter to rescue parts of the cake, but it was never going to taste pleasant. I couldn’t even taste the coriander.

I feel like I’ve had too many sticking disasters recently and it’s so disheartening. On Tuesday I felt like stepping away from my Bundt tins and sticking (no pun intended) to those tins that can be easily lined.

But then I wouldn’t be in with a chance of getting my badge or feel part of the Bundt-fest.

So I made this.

The base recipe is from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks site, a wonderful blog filled with inspiring photography and recipes. I have both of her books and  regularly look to her for inspiration when planning meals. I do love a banana cake and have been researching and testing recipes to potentially sell, this one was on my list to try as it uses olive oil, dark muscovado sugar and part wholemeal flour. I liked the look of this one as it doesn’t have much sugar in it so isn’t too sweet, especially as I decided to swap the  chopped chocolate for chopped toasted walnuts. I often put lemon in my banana cakes and also added in a mix of spices (cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg) along with the vanilla to add warmth and depth.

I stood for a while surveying my tin options and, decision made, tentatively spooned the batter into the pan. It baked evenly and was done in about 35 minutes. Fearful of the turning out process I photographed the cake still in its tin, the use of dark muscovado sugar adds a lovely darkness to the crumb. Ten minutes cooling time and I turned the tin onto the cooling rack, and felt that wonderful sensation of the cake slipping easily, neatly and in one piece out of the tin.

The glaze is a mix of dark muscovado sugar, icing sugar and lemon juice, the sharpness of the lemon combined with the richness of the muscovado sugar in both the cake and the glaze lift the flavour of the banana which is still noticeable as the cake itself really isn’t that sweet. I like the crunch and earthiness of the walnuts in there, but I’m sure the original suggestion of chocolate would be just as delicious.

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Short & Sweet

November 4, 2011

I have been baking almost exclusively from Dan Lepard’s ‘Short & Sweet’ since it arrived a few weeks ago. A comprehensive compilation of recipes from choux to pita; muffins to meringues and tarts to tapenade dinner rolls. The ‘tips & techniques’ at the start of each  chapter – whilst present in any decent baking book – I’ve found more enlightening than usual. For example pointing out that ripe bananas are alkaline and may need the addition of more baking powder to stop the finished cakes turning out on the heavy side (noted Mr Lepard).

Dan writes a weekly column ‘How to Bake’ for the Saturday Guardian magazine. A regular cut-out-and-keep for me, my collection of his recipes are tucked between the pages of other baking books, and now they will have a place of their own. What I’m particularly pleased about is that the book isn’t just a collection of the recipes already available online and, as was recently pointed out in another review – the book stays open at the page required making life just a little easier.

 

 

 

I have now twice made the savoury choux pastry recipe and Black Olive Gourgeres (mini choux bites with thyme, garlic, parmesan and kalamata olives – divine). A chance to revisit the choux first attempted at River Cottage and to hone those skills. The gourgeres are a fantastic pre dinner party nibble as they can be made ahead and reheated easily before serving. They’re messy buggers to spoon onto a baking tray (line that tray with parchment) but they don’t need to be too uniform in shape as the their rough edges crisp up and add wonderful crunch.

 

 

 

The savoury choux paste with added parmesan and a hint of mace along with the cayenne (top spice tip from River Cottage – try it) was easier to work with although my quenelle-ing skills need a fair amount of work. I was able to try out my theory that a filling of horseradish creme fraiche would go well with the spicy buns. I can confirm it does make a lovely pairing; the light and crispy pastry, warm with gentle heat from the spices and parmesan compliments the smooth zingy and firey mixture of creme fraiche (I used low fat)  and horseradish (the English Provender Co makes a great substitute for the fresh stuff) lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Make your mixture and chill in the fridge before piping into the cooled buns. A great mixture that goes wonderfully well with beef or smoked fish too. Top tip of my own – remember to warn guests that the buns are filled. Chances are they will be eaten with glass in one hand and the eater’s focus on conversation – the spilling potential would seem to be moderately high.

 

 

 

From the sweeter end of the recipe selection I made the Brown Sugar Chocolate Cake for a neighbours birthday. A fine crumbed cake containing condensed milk it’s better for a day left well wrapped but pretty damn tasty straight away if it calls to you from the kitchen.

 

 

 

Another day found me looking at the collection of dried fruits in my baking cupboard. First off was a Cinnamon Honey Fruit Cake which I baked in a tray, all the better for portioning to share out (a suggestion made by Dan that I can confirm works well). This too benefits from sitting for a day or two and I really would leave it if you can, a far moister cake awaits you if you can resist. I used a mixture of prunes, figs and apricots as well as adding 100g of whole blanched almonds, which in the tray form didn’t have the opportunity to sink – mind you the batter is thick enough with chopped fruit that they should stay suspended even in a deep tin. The discovery of a nut adds delightful texture and interest to the bites of cake.

 

 

 

For me though the star of the show so far has been the Marrakesh Express Loaf Cake. Containing coffee, lots of walnuts and sesame seeds, rich sticky dates and pomegranate I felt sure I would enjoy it, but the layers of taste are amazing. Like a complex perfume it has a deep earthiness from the coffee and walnuts surrounded by the sweet dates and then the syrupy top notes of the pomegranate syrup float around your mouth. Dan says that treacle could substitute for the pomegranate syrup but I can’t believe the flavours would then dance around your palate in quite the same way. The syrup is worth getting if you can, a little goes a long way and if you enjoy middle easter food or follow the Ottolenghi column adjacent to Dan’s in the Guardian then you will find plenty of uses for it.

 

 

 

The recipe states half wholemeal or spelt flour and half hemp flour – I just used all wholemeal and it turned out fine, although I might just have to get me some spelt and hemp and see if the flavours can be any better.

 

 

 

There is still so much to try in the book and I know from last year that the Caramel Christmas Cake is a winner and sure to make another outing, or four, this year.

 

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Autumn Apples

October 8, 2010

The Sticky Marmalade Tea Loaf from my previous post used up the jar of marmalade that had been mocking me from the fridge shelf. So I promptly went out and bought another one – because you can’t not have marmalade in the house can you? I am aware of the contradiction but should state that unopened jars in the cupboard do not elicit the same anxieties as open ones housed in the fridge – am I revealing too many neuroses in one post here?

I’m glad I did replenish my stock though, because my new copy of Nigel Slater’s Tender V2 arrived and one of the first recipes I flagged was his Apple and Marmalade Cake. I had been given an enormous bag of apples harvested from a colleagues tree so the ingredient gods were smiling on me that day.

I have made this cake again since, doubling the ingredients and making many small loaves as I wanted to give them away to neighbours – it works just as well.

 

Wholemeal Apple and Marmalade Cake

Nigel Slater

220g butter at room temperature
210g light muscavado sugar
4 eggs
250 g wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
200g (peeled & cored weight) apples chopped into pieces less than 1cm
100g sultanas or raisins (I used a mixture of both)
125g Marmalade
Zest of an orange
Demerara sugar for sprinkling on the top
Pre heat oven to 160C and crease and line a 20cm cake tin.
Combine flour, cinnamon and baking powder
In a separate bowl combine the marmalade, raisins and/or sultanas, apples and zest
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add the beaten eggs, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary
fold in the flour followed by the fruit and marmalade mixture
scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and sprinkle with Demerara sugar
bake for 1 hr 15 mins (my double recipe made 5 small loaves which I baked for 45-45 mins)

I have also used the apples to make Deb’s Wholewheat Apple Muffins which I first tried last year . I was disappointed last time, but the addition of mixed spice added the depth that I think was missing previously (I reduced the cinnamon to 1/2 a teaspoon and added a teaspoon of mixed spice) I also made sure that the apple pieces were a little smaller, more suited to a muffin. Make sure you fill the muffin cases well, these do not rise that much in the oven so you need to be generous with the batter.

I have found more use for the many apples gifted to me including an apple and date chutney that is currently maturing before I can review it, and an apple and gingerbread cupcake that I will share with you shortly. I have my eye on an apple and courgette cake from Tender (courgettes currently earmarked for my morning porridge though) and of course,  apples and autumn also mean it’s nearly time to make my mincemeat in time for mince pies!

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Many Muffins

June 9, 2010

I’m enjoying this recent spate of muffin baking I’m on. As much as I adore my Kitchen Aid there’s something to be said for the ease with which a batch of muffins can be brought together. I also seem to be braver when it come to adapting recipes, something about the end result being distributed amongst 24 paper cases rather than the trepidation of all those ingredients going into the one bundt tin. The reduced baking time can be a bonus (although doesn’t quite leave enough time to clean the bathroom -thank god for portable kitchen timers) as is the reduced cooling time and the fact that they’re perfect for easy distribution. All of which mean that there’s time to whip up a batch before work in the morning rather than having to wait until the weekend in order to allow enough time for prepping, baking and cooling.

For a basic, and adaptable, muffin recipe I found this from Joy of Baking. I was going to play around, but then remembered the packs of blueberries in the freezer and used them straight off. The feedback was great and I really can’t stress how quick and easy it is. The important thing about making muffins is not to over mix the dry ingredients into the wet. A full explanation of why can be found on the link above, but 10-15 ‘stirs’ should be enough to incorporate the flour, you may still have the odd dry clump and streaks of flour, don’t worry!

I recently adapted Dorie’s Carrot Spice Muffins recipe to good effect, I think, starting with substituting courgettes for the carrots (I do love my courgettes). I worried, as I was counting out those ten to fifteen stirs, that there perhaps weren’t quite enough raisins or walnuts in the batter mix. But, the muffins were delightful with some bites delivering a nutty crunch, another the sweet taste of dried fruit with the hint of spice and moistness from the courgettes throughout.





Courgette Spice Muffins
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Carrot Spice Muffin Recipe

Makes 24 muffins

300g plain flour
300g wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp salt
120g light muscavado sugar (or light brown)
150g caster sugar
1 1/3 cup oil
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated courgettes
50g raisins
50 sultanas
75g chopped walnuts
zest of a large orange

Preheat oven 190C
Grease or line muffin tins

Mix flours, spices, bicarb and baking powder in a large bowl
Add sugars, mixing so there are no lumps
In a large mixing bowl or jug whisk together eggs, oil, buttermilk, vanilla and orange zest
Add in the grated courgette and combine well
Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined, do not over mix, the mixture will be lumpy and there may still be traces of flour visible
Fold in the dried fruit and nuts and fill each muffin case nearly full
Bake for 20 minutes, transfer the tins to a cooling rack for 15 mins before removing the cases from the tins and allowing to cool completely

We’ve been really lucky recently with the weather, a recent glorious weekend coincided with the local monthly farmers market. I stocked up on rhubarb so I could make more compote for my breakfast. Another recent obsession, I don’t have a recipe as such, just chop, add to large pan with juice and zest of orange, vanilla pod, couple of chunks of ginger and some sugar. How much sugar? I like my rhubarb sharp, especially as I usually combine it with yoghurt and the sweet early British strawberries that are to be found right now. Clotilde from Chocolate and Zucchini recommend using 10% of the net weight of rhubarb used which sounds like a good tip. Cook the whole lot for 15 mins. Remove ginger and refrigerate when cool – delicious.

But back to the baking. As with any seasonal ingredient the blogs are filled with recipes meaning inspiration isn’t hard to find. As usual I was overwhelmed by choice but in the end I adapted the Rhubarb Strawberry Pecan Loaf from Smitten and it was divine. The only problem was the muffins that I set aside to take into work on Monday morning were so moist they bordered on mushy. They still tasted divine but these are definitely ones best eaten on the day they’re baked. There are a couple of comments on the original recipe about the moistness of the loaf and I can’t imagine how you would slice it, but the muffins meant this wasn’t a problem.


Rhubarb Strawberry Pecan Muffins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 24 Muffins

230g Light muscavado sugar (or light brown sugar)
117g oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
187g plain flour
187g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
450g chopped rhubarb
345g sliced strawberries
75g chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 180C
Grease or line muffin tins

Beat together sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla and buttermilk
Combine flours, bicarb and salt
Add dry to wet and stir until just combined
Fold in fruit and nuts and distribute between the muffin cases
Bake for 15 – 18 mins
Transfer tins to cooling rack and leave to cool in the tins for 15 mins before transferring the cases to the rack to cool completely

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An Abundance of Bundts

May 12, 2010
How I love my Bundt tins.


To begin with I coveted these tins of beauty and mystery from afar via my laptop and all the food blogs – most of which are American – that I somewhat obsessively check daily. There was something so tantalising about them, cake in a brand new form, akin to seeing recipes familiar yet strange in their use of zucchini and arugula (an I still don’t understand the different forms of cocoa powder you can get in the US, nor which is the version we have here, but I have mastered converting from cup measures, once managed to make my own ‘cake flour’ and have grasped that a ‘stick’ of butter weighs 112g). Then I saw one for sale in Lakeland and discovered how amazing the cakes contained within these tins can be; both to bake and to eat. Versatile, simple, yet their presentation punches well above their weight. Plus (and this is a massive bonus for one not gifted with a delicate touch) their design negates the need for icing – even if a recipe calls for a glaze or ganache, perhaps a dusting of icing sugar, it can be drizzled over in a haphazard manner and most of the time it’s not needed at all. The beauty of these cakes lies in the flavour that can be packed into those beautifully designed tins.

Have I convinced you yet to go out and invest in one? If not, then just remember that most Bundt recipes can be divided into two 9×5 loaf tins.

Since that initial Lakeland tin my collection has grown, so much so that I’ve just arranged for extra shelving to be put up in my increasingly cluttered kitchen, lest the current cabinets detach from the wall under their collective weight (although the uncontrollable baking recipe book fetish may pose more of a risk).

Family and friends are grateful, not only for there now to be an entry under the heading ‘hobby’ with which to aid their gift buying, but also as recipients of the finished products. Everyone’s a winner, from the dairies that provide the many cartons of buttermilk I get through in a month, via the supermarkets that provide the rest of the ingredients, to the neighbours, friends and colleagues who receive their share of the finished goods, to Weight Watchers et al who probably owe a week or two subscriptions to the products of my insomniac Sundays. Bundts even allow me my guiltiest pleasure – their cracked and domed tops, fresh from the oven can be tested and tasted whilst warm as this will soon become the hidden base. I tell you, there’s little that these tins can’t do – including helping you to make your Sunday Roast.

My recent obsession has been baking with bananas. I’ve discovered a couple of local shops that sell perfectly ripened bananas reduced in price as they’re too perfectly ripe for most consumers, but for a baker they’re just perfect. Supermarket bought bananas can take weeks to reach this stage so I’ve taken to walking round these various shops on a Saturday collecting fruit bursting with flavour (and occasionally out of their skins – I always take a plastic bag with me now) in order to bake on a Sunday morning. I’ve tried several recipes over the weeks and I think my adaptation from Dorie Greenspan’s Classic Banana Bundt recipe is not at all bad. I’m not sure when you can claim a recipe as your own, there are plenty of additions and a couple of substitutions in this recipe, but she certainly gave me the start I needed. I’ve added spices, reduced the sugar, swapped some of the flour for wholemeal and, of course, used buttermilk. This last Sunday morning was spent with this bread’s latest incarnation prompted by the gift of some amazing miniature tins – how great are these?

I can’t tell you the fun I had, the only problem was trying to choose which of my neighbours would get which shape and size cake. I hope you enjoy this recipe, and I really hope you get to try baking Bundt soon.

Banana Bread

(adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s recipe in ‘Baking From My Home to Yours)

 



225g butter
100g light muscavado sugar
150g caster sugar
450g (approx 4-5) mashed, very ripe bananas
Squeeze of lemon juice
225g wholemeal flour
225g plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk ( I use one 284ml carton)

Preheat oven to 180C, grease tin(s) and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
Whisk together dry ingredients in a bowl
Mash bananas and squeeze over a little lemon juice
Beat together sugars and butter till light and fluffy – about 5 minutes with a stand mixer on medium high speed.
Beat in vanilla and eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary
Reduce mixer speed to low and add the banana (batter may curdle, don’t worry), then half the dry ingredients followed by the buttermilk then the remaining dry ingredients.
Once incorporated scrape into tin(s) and smooth the top(s) and place in the oven.

For one large Bundt bake for 64 – 70 minutes, but be sure to check after 20 minutes or so to see if the top is browning too quickly, if it is, cover the top loosely with foil. For the mini Bundt pans I baked for 25-30 and the teeny and tiny loaf tins, 20 -25 mins.

 

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Early Morning Sunshine

May 1, 2010


The glorious weather of late April has mostly vanished, unsurprisingly, in time for the bank holiday weekend. But I can let you into a little secret … if you wake just before dawn – open your eyes as the birds are starting to stir and the sky begins to lighten – then by the time you are sat with that first coffee of the morning and are awake enough to appreciate it – the sun will be shining in a gloriously clear sky. Chances are it will be gone by 8am when most are rousing themselves for the start of the long weekend, but one of the compensations of waking so early every morning is seeing that early morning sun. No matter how wet and windy the recent days have turned out to be I have had some early alone time with the sun which goes a long way to lifting low spirits.

Another highlight of my day has been checking on my seeds. My previous attempts at ‘gardening’ usually extend only as far as placing bought pots of blooming hydrangeas around my garden, enjoying their mop-headed beauty before butchering them at the end of the season with the secateurs, a pruning from which they never quite recover. My small garden is littered with lopsided, near-corpses from previous years. To date the thing I am most proud of in my garden is not killing the poppy and christmas rose that were already established when I moved in ten years ago. I have, however, been seduced by the BBC2 series ‘Edible Garden’ something about the programme made growing my own veg, from seed, seem possible. Whilst part of the attraction of the half hour slot is coveting Alys Fowler’s beautiful garden – and wondering why I can’t manage to pull off the wearing of wellington boots in quite the same way – the big draw for me is the flexibility she conveys in how and what you can grow in a limited space. By choosing the right varieties, or just harvesting early, the smallest of spaces will hopefully provide some ingredients for my kitchen.

One thing I knew I wanted to grow was courgettes, I hope for a glut so I can bake with them, grate and add to my porridge, I’m also hoping for beetroot – again for the baking possibilities. There are radish which I hope to nibble on and I am hopeful for dwarf beans and kale. All have germinated so far, other than the beetroot which are being a little shy and the chili seeds. There’s still time. It’s all quite exciting.

So, early Saturday morning, with the earliest morning sun shining on my my seeds, me feeling so proud (and more than a little grateful that the cat hasn’t watered the trays too) I aimed for the perfect morning by baking. I had bookmarked an Orange Marmalade Tea Cake back in February from Deeba’s blog ‘Passionate about Baking’ which is one of my favourite sites. Her photo’s are stunning and whilst I couldn’t hope to recreate most of what she does in terms of presentation and styling I had all the ingredients for this cake.

I made made a few changes to the recipe Deeba lists, which she herself had adapted, I used half wholemeal flour and reduced the sugar as well as adding a little ginger. I also doubled the quantities listed for a loaf cake as I had plenty of courgettes and went with muffins for easier distribution (and less washing up). Deeba used some, no doubt stunning, homemade bitter orange marmalade and the run of the mill jar I had handy could’ve done with being a bit tarter, perhaps some additional zest would’ve added a bit more zing. If you’re going to make this and buy marmalade specifically for it I would go for a sharper variety with decent chunks of orange rind, I might even make again with a smattering of stem ginger. As they are below they are so light, with each bite offering a slightly different taste or texture due to the distribution of the orange, walnuts and chocolate chips. In honour of the hour when these were baked I have rechristened them…


Sunshine Muffins

Makes 16 muffins or 2 5″ x 9″ Loaves

262g plain flour
262g wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp vanilla extract
500g grated courgettes (approx 4 small)
1 cup / 375g marmalade (approx one jar)
250g caster sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 cup toasted and chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 175C and line muffin tins with papers
Mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt and spices.
Mix all the other ingredients, except the walnuts, in a large bowl until combined , making sure there are no large lumps of marmalade.
Sift the dry ingredients into the wet
Stir in the walnuts then fill the muffin cases to just over 3/4 full each (I used a 1/4 cup measure, the muffins don’t rise that much)
Bake for 25 minutes until the tops are starting to brown and are firm to the touch, or until a skewer comes out clean.


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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.