March 22, 2017

MARGARITA DRIZZLE CAKE

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I made this cake for a boozy themed CCC event last year.  The basic ingredients for a margarita are lime juice and tequila so you get the gist of this cake.

I adapted a recipe for a lemon drizzle Bundt cake I’d used before and simply exchanged the lemon for lime and tequila.  It worked very well and turned out of the tin beautifully, giving lovely sharp lines.  This is such a good cake tin, the “heritage” design from Nordic Ware, a mixture of fun, frivolity and elegance all rolled into one.  The first time I set eyes on it, in the very blog that the lemon cake recipe comes from, I knew I had to have one.  It was a good investment, as a tin like this can turn an ordinary cake into a showstopper, with or without any kind of icing.  Just a sprinkling of icing sugar is really all that’s needed, if anything.

Ingredients

225g softened unsalted butter, or spreadable butter

400g caster sugar

1 tsp salt

4 large eggs

2 tsp baking powder

350g plain flour

175ml milk

3 tblsp tequila

zest of 2 limes

For the drizzle

juice of 2 limes

1 tbslp tequila

150g icing sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160° fan.  Butter and flour a Bundt tin.

Beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. 

Stir in the flour, salt and baking powder, alternating with the liquids, and mix until smooth.  Add the lime zest and combine thoroughly.

Spoon carefully into the tin, pushing the mixture into the nooks and crannies, and smooth the top.

Bake for about an hour, until done.  Cool in the tin for ten minutes before carefully turning out onto a wire rack.

To make the drizzle, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix in the lime juice and tequila.  While the cake is still warm, pierce all over with a fine skewer and spoon the drizzle over so that it soaks in.

Serves 16 plus.

March 13, 2017

DORSET APPLE CAKE

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This is another cake in my search for the perfect apple cake.  It comes from a book by Paul Hollywood called “British Baking”

The instructions say to make the cake in a 20cm square tin but I wanted a round cake which raised an interesting question.  If the instructions are for a square tin, what size should you use if you change to a round tin, and vice versa?

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There is a clue in Paul Hollywood’s recipe as he says to use a 20cm square or 22cm round tin.  I did a little research and found a simple rule that works best if you think of tin sizes in inches rather than centimetres.

If you imagine a square tin of say 9” and put a round 9” tin next to it you will see that the round tin could fit inside the square tin, leaving the corners empty.  In other words, the surface area and therefore the volume of a square tin is bigger than that of the same size round tin.  It’s obvious when you think about it.

So, in order to have a tin of about the same volume you have to go up a size in a round tin and vice versa.  For an 8” square tin use a 9” round tin.  For an 8” round tin use a 7” square tin.  And so on.

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Back to the cake itself.  The rubbing in method was easy and quick to make but the final mixture was a bit stiff so I added a good splash of extra milk to make it workable and to get it into the tin. 

This was a good cake.  It was, if anything, not quite as moist as I would have liked.  I attribute this to the variety of apples.  They were some kind of dessert apple but I can’t now remember which exactly and in any case I find French apple varieties very confusing.  One day I will no doubt be more familiar with them but for now it’s pot luck when I buy them in the supermarket.

The original ingredients say two dessert apples and one Bramley, which would of course reduce to mush and therefore presumably make the cake more moist.  I used three of the same dessert apples as you never see Bramleys in French shops, and they remained very firm.  This was good in the sense that there were distinct apple slices in the cake but not so good for adding moisture, or so I guess.

Anyway, I think it’s my favourite apple cake so far.  Next time I would add a little apple compote to compensate for the lack of a mushy Bramley and I would bake it in a slightly smaller tin to make a deeper cake. 

We are inching closer to the perfect apple cake recipe I think!

Ingredients

200g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp ground cinnamon

100g cold unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

2 dessert apples

1 small Bramley or cooking apple

2 eggs

60ml milk

1 tblsp demerara sugar for sprinkling

Method

Preheat the oven to 180° C / 160° fan / gas mk 4.  Butter and line a 20cm square or 22cm round tin.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and rub in the butter to fine breadcrumbs.

Peel and thinly slice the apples and add to the flour with the caster sugar, stir until combined.

Beat the eggs with the milk and add to the mixture, stir until combined.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin, sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top and bake for 40-50 minutes until done.  Cool slightly then turn out to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Cuts into 9 generous squares or slices.