March 23, 2022

LIGHT GINGER CAKE


On the day I made the banana, pecan and maple syrup cake from the previous post, I felt obliged to make a ginger cake as well.  Nick doesn't "do" bananas and ginger is his favourite kind of cake.  And in any case, in the midst of storm Eunice and the aftermath of storm Dudley, it was a thoroughly nasty day outside so what better day to bake not one, but two cakes!

It's a Mary Berry recipe called "mild ginger loaf" from her "Fast Cakes" cook book, and I baked it in my small oblong roasting tin rather than a loaf tin.  This produces a slightly flatter cake rather than a tall loaf.  

The recipe calls for 50g stem ginger and there were just two balls of it left in the jar in the fridge.  On weighing it out, 50g turned out to be just 1½ balls so I decided to use the last half of the last ball, along with some of the syrup from the jar, for icing and decoration.

Nick declared the cake a hit.  It was certainly delicately spiced and with a lovely, even crumb.  Definitely a good one for when it's blowing a hoolie and you need an easy to bake, easy to eat, cake to go with your tea or coffee.  I intended to use the last pieces as a pudding with some custard but when I looked in the tin, they had already gone........funny that!

Ingredients

For the cake

100g baking spread (I used Stork)

100g light muscovado sugar

2 tblsp black treacle

225g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground ginger

50g stem ginger, drained and chopped

2 large eggs

For the icing

½ a ball of stem ginger, diced

3 heaped tblsp icing sugar, sieved

ginger syrup from the jar

Method

After chopping the 50g (1½ balls) of stem ginger, preheat the oven to 160° C / 140° fan / gas mk 3.  Grease and line a 900g loaf tin (or small roasting tin) or use a paper liner.

Put the baking spread, sugar and treacle into a medium pan and heat gently until melted.

Put all the other dry ingredients into a medium bowl and stir together.  Add the melted mixter, the chopped ginger and eggs and beat well until thoroughly blended.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake until done, about 45 minutes.

Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

To make the icing, put the icing sugar into a small bowl and mix in enough ginger syrup from the jar to make the consistency of double cream.  Slather or drizzle this over the cooled cake as you prefer and dot with diced bits of the remaining piece of ginger.

Cuts into 8 - 10 squares or slices.

March 3, 2022

BANANA, PECAN AND MAPLE SYRUP CAKE


This is a Be-Ro book recipe that I spotted in a Facebook group fairly recently and wondered why I had never noticed it before.  The reason is that it’s a new recipe in the most recent edition, which I very rarely use, preferring the book before. 

It sounded so good that I just had to try it.  

In the Be-Ro book it is baked in a loaf tin but the person who posted the picture had used a round tin, which I also prefer.  I have found that all recipes for a 2lb (900g) loaf tin bake perfectly well in an 8” (20cm) round tin instead.  You have to keep your eye on the cooking times and check sooner than stated.  Sure enough, my cake was done in exactly one hour which is less than the time in the recipe.  I also thought it was looking brown enough after 35 minutes so covered it loosely with foil.

It was interesting to see the quantity of bananas given by weight.  So many recipes just say "three medium" or "two large" bananas but how large is large?  This one states the weight of unpeeled bananas which is very reassuring.  

It’s a contender for my current favourite banana cake.  It had a lovely texture, a nice glossy top and just the right bananarish flavour.  The dried banana slices became chewy and I was glad I didn’t substitute walnuts for the pecans just because I always have so many windfall walnuts in stock!  A 100g bag is just right for the cake.  There’s no doubt the people at Be-Ro know how to write a good recipe and I preferred it to the other version that I made exactly a year ago, see here.  Sorry, James!

Ingredients 

For the cake

225g self raising flour

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

75g butter (I used Sainsbury's Buttersoft)

110g light soft brown sugar 

2 eggs, beaten 

450g bananas, weighed in their skins (exactly four small bananas)

75g pecans, chopped 

2tblsp maple syrup

For the topping

25g dried banana slices

25g whole pecans

1tblsp maple syrup 

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 160° fan /gas mk 4.  Grease and line the bottom of a 20cm round springform tin (or use a lined 2lb loaf tin).

First make the topping by simply placing all the ingredients in a small bowl and mixing together.  Set aside.  Peel and mash the bananas.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar using a hand held whisk until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs in thirds with a little flour.  

Stir in the remaining flour and the other ingredients and spoon into the tin.  Level the top and spoon the topping ingredients over the top.  Pour over any residual syrup.

Bake for about an hour, covering loosely with foil after 35 minutes.  (The recipe gives a longer time of one and a quarter hours in a loaf tin.)  Cool in the tin.

Cuts into 10-12 slices.

March 1, 2022

ADVERTS


Is it just me or do others find the adverts splattered all over blog posts annoying?  Especially over blogs dedicated to cooking?  Some really nice blogs are blighted by adverts.

This advert appeared in a blog post with a recipe I was interested in.

It’s especially annoying if an advert obscures part of the text, which seems to happen frequently.  In one of the blogs I try to read an advert is always placed over the list of ingredients.  I can get round this by using the "reader view" on my iPad but on other blogs the reader view omits either the ingredients or the method, so that I’m obliged to battle through all the adverts for ear wax removal or oven cleaners to see them.  No thanks!

It’s really annoying if I’m reading on my iPad and accidentally click on an advert which loads something that I have no interest in whatsoever and then have to go about getting rid of it.  More often than not I give up on the blog as well.  Those jumping images and mini video clips are too distracting.

The economics of it are curious.  I wonder how many sales results from these annoying adverts and how much income for the blog?  Presumably quite a lot or nobody would risk losing frustrated readers like me by doing it! 

Oh for the days when if I wanted to buy anything I would get the bus into town and walk down the high street to find it.  Window shopping along the way, popping into the café to enjoy a coffee and an eccles cake before getting the bus back home.  Being constantly bombarded with adverts for stuff I'm never going to need will never compare to that!  Hey ho!