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Cover: Make your cake…and eat it

May, 2012

30May 12

Banana Bread

Banana BreadWe buy and eat a LOT of bananas at my home, but no matter how hard we try, we never seem to be able to eat them all before they start to turn brown and mushy.  Some people claim to like them that way, but I’m definitely not one of them!  So what better solution to the mushy banana problem than making banana bread!?

 

The loaf is a breeze to prepare and the result, frankly, is out of this world!  The outer crust seems to somehow soak up a higher sugar content and turns into a sweet and crunchy delight, while the inside stays incredibly moist and chewy and almost melts on your tongue.  Plus, it’s made out of bananas, so it can’t be too fattening! At least that’s what I like to tell myself as I wolf down my third piece…

The bananas don’t necessarily have to be brown and mushy for this recipe to work, but they do have to be fully ripe.  Green ones will definitely ruin the effect.  Your best bet is to do like me and buy lots of yellow bananas to eat alone or in blueberry and banana smoothies, but whenever the extras start to go bad, you’ve got the perfect excuse to make yourself a (relatively) healthy dessert!  The loaf freezes very well too, so go ahead and double or triple the recipe and stick the extras in the freezer for later.

Ingredients:

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 185g flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC.
  2. Butter and flour a 21cm x 10cm loaf pan.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas into the sugar with a fork or potato masher.
  4. Add the egg and mix well.
  5. Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
  6. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture and mix well.
  7. Pour the mixture into the buttered and floured loaf pan.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes or until a fork inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 4

Difficulty: Easy

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22May 12

Upside-Down Maple Cake

Upside-down Maple cakeIf you thought that maple syrup was only good for drizzling over your pancakes, then get ready for this one!  This upside-down maple cake is chock-full of scrumptious maple syrup and rich double cream, and while it may not be the best thing for your waistline, it’ll definitely get your taste buds tingling and your stomach rumbling as you wait for it to bake!

The hardest part of making an upside-down cake is turning it over.  Make sure you separate the cake well from the edges before flipping and shake the pan a little to help loosen it from the bottom.  If you want to play it extra safe, you can try greasing the pan before adding the ingredients.  This shouldn’t be necessary, however, as the maple syrup forms a natural barrier between the cake and the pan.

When you get a little practice with the flip, try this apple tarte tatin.

If you want to make the presentation even fancier, try sprinkling some pecan halves or chopped walnuts on top before serving.  Good luck and good baking!

Ingredients:                                        

  • 250ml pure maple syrup
  • 2tbsps butter, softened
  • 3tbsps granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, well beaten
  • 125g sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2tsps baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 125ml whole milk
  • 250ml double cream
  • 20g icing sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. Heat the syrup to boiling and pour it into a 15cm by 25cm, 5cm deep glass baking dish.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy.
  4. Beat the egg into the creamed butter.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
  6. Sift into the butter mixture a third at a time, alternating with additions of milk.
  7. Pour the batter onto the hot maple syrup.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes.
  10. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake and then flip it out onto a hot platter.
  11. Sprinkle the icing sugar over the cake.
  12. Cut into portions and serve with the double cream, lightly whipped if you prefer.

Prep Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time:  25-30 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:  Medium

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18May 12

Apple Crumble

Apple crumbleIf you’re anything like me, you’ve probably always got lots of apples in the kitchen at the point of going bad.  As far as I’m concerned, this is a good thing, as it gives me the perfect excuse to bake them into something even yummier.  The great thing about most apple-based desserts is that they’re very easy to make and require little time and effort to prepare.  And this apple crumble recipe is probably the easiest of them all! I also recommend a sliced apple cake. You know what they say: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”

There’s a lot of debate about exactly which variety of apple is the best for cooking; some prefer Gala, while others swear by Granny Smith or Gravenstein.   Personally, I think the point is moot, as the absolute best way to make the perfect cooked apple dessert is to mix as many different kinds as possible together for a full-on taste explosion and a different nuance in every bite!  So go ahead, grab 6 different apples and start peeling!

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 6 cooking  apples (or any apples will do)
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 2tsp unsalted butter, melted

For the crumble:

  • 4tsp unsalted butter
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 65g all-purpose flour
  • 125ml rolled oats

Instructions:

For the filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC.
  2. Peel and slice apples and lay them on the bottom of a non-stick or greased baking dish.
  3. Mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples.
  4. Pour the melted butter over the apples.

For the crumble:

  1. Blend the butter into the brown sugar.
  2. Mix together the flour and rolled oats in a separate bowl.
  3. Add the flour and rolled oats to the butter and sugar and mix well.
  4. Spoon this mixture onto the apples.
  5. Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Uncover and bake for another 35 minutes or until the crust is golden and the apples are tender.
  7. Best served warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Prep Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time:  50 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty:  Easy

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07May 12

Apple Cake

Apple CakeThis  apple cake recipe is delicious warm from the oven, but also makes for a good breakfast the next day. You can serve the cake plain or add a scoop of whipped cream, crème fraîche or ice cream for extra enjoyment, or you could even drizzle some caramel sauce or condensed milk over the top.

You can use any type of apples in season. Personally, I like to use a mixture of different varieties of apples. The recipe calls for 4, so why not use 4 different kinds? The cake will taste a little bit different every time, but that’s really the great thing about it!   The cake can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. (Also try this apple tart tatin recipe.)

Ingredients:

  • 300g plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 250g chopped walnuts
  • 6 eggs
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 apples, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced (about 1 litre)
  • 1 litre vanilla ice cream

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC.
  2. Line a 23cm circular pan with baking parchment. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. In an electric mixer set on medium speed, mix the eggs, 300g granulated sugar, the oil, lemon juice, lemon rind and vanilla.
  5. On low speed, add the flour and baking powder. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth.
  6. Pour the apples and walnuts into the batter and mix well.
  7. When all blended together, gently fold the batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Smooth it out so that it lies evenly, with no apples peeking out from the top.
  9. Next, top and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar.
  10. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
  11. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on wire cooling rack. Make sure that the cake is very cool before you remove it from the pan.
  12. Discard the baking parchment and serve, preferably with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  65 minutes

Serves:  10

Difficulty:  Medium

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03May 12

Orange and Plum Cake

Orange and plum cakeThis tender orange and plum cake goes great with a cup of tea, and some my family members have even been known to eat it for breakfast when they think I’m not looking!  The tartness of the dried plums contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the orange, and the lack of frosting makes it just perfect for dipping in milk or tea or whatever your beverage of choice happens to be. (Not a fan of oranges? Try this apple and plum pudding.)

For a truly decadent taste experience, try it with a glass of Baileys or Kahlua.  You can dip a slice right in your glass if you want, or else do as I do: heat the liqueur for a few seconds in the microwave and drizzle over the sponge. Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 115g plus 3 tablespoons  butter, softened
  • 125g icing sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 95g cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Grated rind of 1 orange
  • 1 medium orange, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 250g dried plums, coarsely chopped
  • Icing sugar for dusting

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Line a bread pan with baking parchment and set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and icing sugar until blended.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.
  6. Add the vanilla extract.
  7. On low speed, gradually add the flour, baking powder and orange rind. Mix just until blended.
  8. Stir in the orange pieces and plums.
  9. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven.
  11. Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and continue cooling cake on wire rack until cool.
  12.  Remove and discard the baking parchment.
  13.  Dust the top of the cooled cake with icing sugar.
  14.  Store the cake at room temperature, wrapped in aluminium foil or clingfilm.
  15.  Can be frozen for later use.

Prep Time:  20 minutes

Cooking Time:  55 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:  Easy

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