It’s rare for us to make cakes the traditional way any more; creaming together butter and sugar, beating in the eggs and folding in the dry ingredients by hand is not only time-consuming but tiring on the arms too. Instead, for the last several years we’ve mixed most cake batters directly in our food processor, which has a permanent home on the kitchen work surface.

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The ingredients are tipped into the bowl, sometimes all together as in my favourite banana cake recipe, sometimes in two or three batches. The blade is very sharp so a few seconds blending is usually all it takes to bring everything together into a batter. Sometimes we need to remove the lid and scrape the sides down once, before a final quick pulse to finish.

The batter is then poured or spooned straight into the cake tin(s) and baked.

Easy peasy and very quick!

Challenged to create a few Brazilian recipes that make good use of my new Magimix 4200 XL, Pete and I made these tasty individual orange and lime cakes, more commonly made as a single larger cake. My previous post was an equally easy recipe for Brazilian Brigadeiro Chocolate Bonbons. For the basic cake batter recipe, we used a recipe by Marian Blazes, an American who has lived and travelled extensively in South America. As it was such a success for the Marzipan Cakes we made over Easter, we made individual cakes rather than one big one, and skipped the glaze altogether.

These are delightful little cakes with a refreshing and vibrant hit of citrus and, as Marian has found, very versatile – you could serve them for breakfast, elevenses, as a packed lunch treat or for afternoon tea.

Usually known as bolo de laranja, orange cake is apparently a popular cake in Brazil. I really like Marian’s combination of orange and lime, and wanted to reflect the use of two citrus fruits in the name. My friend Rosana helped me with translations.

 

Little Orange & Lime Cakes from Brazil | Bolinhos de Laranja e Limão

Makes 10 to 15 individual cakes, depending on size

Ingredients
2 oranges
1 lime
3 eggs (we used large eggs)
60 ml vegetable oil
125 grams butter, melted
300 grams plain white flour
100 grams ground almonds
350 grams sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
0.5 teaspoon salt

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 °C (fan).
  • Liberally butter your muffin tins and then sprinkle a little flour over the buttered surfaces.
  • Zest the lime and the oranges.
  • Peel and section the orange, discarding the skin, pitch and membranes between segments. (You could candy the peel if you wish).
  • Juice the lime.
  • Place zest, orange flesh and lime juice into the food processor bowl and blend briefly until smooth.
  • Add the eggs, vegetable oil and melted butter to the processor and blend again until well mixed.
  • Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and ground almonds to the processor and blend until the batter is smooth. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend again briefly, if necessary.

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  • Spoon or pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your muffin tins. The smaller cakes took 25 minutes, the larger ones needed another 5 minutes.
  • Test using a skewer (it should come out clean) or press the surface lightly (it should spring back).

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  • When nicely risen, golden brown on top and cooked through, remove from the oven and leave to cool for several minutes in the tins.

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  • Remove from the tins and allow to cool fully on a wire rack.

Whatever time of day you choose to eat these bright little cakes, I hope you enjoy them!

Our new Magimix 4200 XL is very similar to our older 5200 – the key differences for us are the XL, which denotes the extra wide feed tube, and a slightly smaller footprint. The 4200 XL also comes with a BlenderMix attachment for smoothies and batters, which we’ve yet to try. Like the 5200, it comes with large, medium and mini bowls, a very sharp blade, an egg whisk attachment, a dough hook attachment and a couple of slicing and grating discs.

Other Brazilian recipes which make use of a food processor:

Pão o de Queijo (cheese bread) and Churrasco steak with salsa and rice
Cucumber Caipirinha Cocktail

Kavey Eats received a Magimix 4200 XL from Magimix.

 

During the long Easter weekend, my friend Lisa made almond cake, using a Nigella Lawson recipe featuring marzipan as a key ingredient. How fabulous does that sound? She cunningly poured the batter into a muffin mould to make individual cakes instead of one large cake.

I loved both the sound of the recipe and Lisa’s idea for miniature cakes, so on Easter Sunday, Pete and I followed suit.

We decided to halve the amounts. I also took note of Lisa’s feedback that the recipe produces a really wet and sloppy batter and we reduced the eggs by a third. The batter was perfect.

The resulting cakes were utterly delicious, with a beautiful even texture. They were also very easy to make, since all the ingredients are simply combined using a food processor. They stored well in an airtight box for a few days so they would be a great choice when you need a quick make-ahead recipe for sweet treats.

IMG_20140420_121428 Individual Marzipan Cakes
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Individual Marzipan Cakes

Adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe
Makes 4-6 depending on your moulds

Ingredients
125 grams unsalted butter
125 grams marzipan (almond paste)
75 grams caster sugar
2-3 drops teaspoon almond extract
2-3 drops of vanilla extract
2 large eggs
75 grams self-raising flour

Method

  • Preheat oven to 160°C (fan).
  • Liberally butter and flour the muffin mould and set to one side.
  • Cube the butter and marzipan, and either leave out of fridge for an hour or use the microwave to soften a little.
  • Place butter, marzipan and caster sugar into a food processor (with the blade attachment) and process until smooth.
  • Add the almond extract and vanilla bean paste and blitz again, briefly.
  • Add the eggs and process until properly combined.
  • Add the flour and process again until you have a smooth cake batter.
  • Pour batter into muffin mould. We have a bendy rubber spatula that is perfect for making sure no batter is wasted.
  • Bake for half an hour, but start checking after 25 minutes. When the cake looks golden and cooked, check using a fine skewer. If it comes out cleanish, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin before turning out and cooling further on a wire rack.

The cakes are tasty served straight away, but develop an added moistness after a day and store well for up to a week.

Nigella suggests serving with raspberries, pureed or stewed apples or creme fraiche and toasted flaked almonds but we thought they were wonderful just as they were.

 

Also, please join me in wishing my lovely Pete and the gorgeous Lisa a very happy birthday, today!

 

Last month I attended the very first Cake & Bake Show, held in Earl’s Court Brompton Hall over a September weekend.

Thanks in large part to The Great British Bake Off, there’s a renewed interest in baking throughout the UK, and indeed both Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood were the star names at the show. Alongside them were many other celebrities of the baking world including Tom Herbert, Richard Bertinet, Paul A Young, Peggy Porschen and many GBBO contestants, past and present.

Tickets sold out weeks before the show and the show was expanded too, taking on extra space and putting on extra talks and classes. Visitors browsed and shopped from a large number of stalls selling equipment and (mostly) sweet treats and attended talks, demonstrations and classes.

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It wasn’t all plain sailing, however, and I’m sure the feedback already received will be put to good use improving next year’s show.

The vast majority of exhibitors were in the cake decorating and sugar craft category, with very few selling items of interest to those of us who love baking (bread and sweet treats) but aren’t into decorating. And there weren’t as many stalls selling cakes and bread to buy and take home as I had expected.

Crowds were enormous and, at busy times of the day, it was virtually impossible to approach many of the stalls without waiting several minutes to creep gradually closer to each one.

Queues for toilets and on-site refreshments were enormous and slow moving, and I heard that supplies ran out too. These services are both provided by the venue rather than the show organisers, but need to be taken into account when planning for next year.

Classroom events, for which visitors purchased additional tickets, were held in open theatres, and there were discontented rumblings from those who paid money for a bench seat within the roped area, only to realise that other show visitors were able to afford just as good, if not better views, from outside the ropes.

All that said, it was a pleasure to see how strong the interest is in a show on cakes and baking, and I’m hopeful that next year’s event will be bigger and better, with much more attention paid to the baking side of the equation.

Kavey Eats attended the The Cake & Bake Show as a guest of the organisers.

 

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The design of the Leon cookery books isn’t for everyone; I’ve seen some comments from those who don’t take to the look of the books at all. But I love the vibrant, light-hearted, quirky, personal and fun-loving approach that is epitomised in the styling and flicking through any of the Leon books always makes me smile.

Book 3, Leon: Baking & Puddings, full of sweet and baked treats, is more of a step away from what the restaurant is best known for. As is always the way with the Leon team, the book turns to friends and family members for inspiration and recipes.

The one we chose to make was Petra’s Honey Bread, a recipe from Leon founder Henry Dimbleby’s mother-in-law. Described as a “tea bread”, it’s basically a loaf cake that is perfect for anytime snacking.

I was really surprised by how the honey and lemon zest combined to create a flavour that was reminiscent of ginger bread, though we’d added no spices at all to the mix.

Henry suggests serving the cake thinly sliced and buttered. We had it plain, which was excellent, and with thickly spread salted Isigny butter – heaven!

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We learned during and after making the recipe that there are two errors in it. The first is simply that one of the ingredients is not mentioned in the instructions, though we easily decided where to insert it. The second is that the volume of water should be 150 ml rather than the 250 ml stated. We used all 250 ml and, although the cake batter was quite a runny one, the cake came out very well. However a friend mentioned that she’s made the recipe three times without success, and this may well be why.

I was worried that our experience might suggest a lack of accuracy in other recipes in the book, but have been assured by the lovely Henry Dimbleby that, as far as they are aware, this recipe is the only one with mistakes in it. If you have discovered any others please let me know, and drop a note to the folks at Leon too.

 

Petra’s Honey Bread

Ingredients
225 grams plain flour
115 grams caster sugar
115 grams honey
150 ml hot water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
zest of 1 lemon

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 160 C.
  • Butter a 450 gram/ 1 lb loaf tin and line with baking paper.
  • Mix together the flour and sugar in a large bowl.

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  • In a small pan melt together the honey and the water. Remove from the heat.
  • Add the lemon zest and bicarbonate of soda to the honey water mixture and stir.

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  • Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

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  • Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes.
  • Remove from the tin and allow to cool.

LeonPetrasHoneyBread-0192 LeonHoneyBread-0195

This was an absolutely delicious recipe, and one we’ll make again.

 

Charles Campion‘s Banana Cake is a recipe I copied across to my blog from a post that originally appeared on a food chat board, or in my general online diary, or was sent via email… or in one of the many places I shared my food experiences before I finally realised I was “stealth-blogging” and set up Kavey Eats!

It’s such a good recipe I always intended to go back and add photos the next time I made it… but, although I’ve enjoyed making and eating it so many times since, I never have.

My talented-photographer-friend Matt Gibson made it recently and showed me his gorgeous photos. My brain started to tick tock tick tock and I discarded the plan to simply slot his photos into that old post, and asked him to guest blog it afresh instead.

Sharing the same recipe on a blog twice might be odd but Matt’s lack of food processor means he’s brought some new advice to the recipe, not to mention his confirmation that it’s a doddle even for novice or nervous bakers.

Over to Matt:


One evening, a week before Christmas, I peered into my fruit bowl. My three remaining bananas stared forlornly back at me. Over-ripe and — based on evidence from the two I’d already eaten — also rather bruised underneath. What to do?

Twitter to the rescue. “Got a banana bread recipe” I asked. “Only this one I’ve found is American, and I have no idea how many bananas there are in two-and-one-third cups.”

Auntie Kavey responded instantly, pointing me at her Charles Campion’s Banana Cake page. Not only did it sound easy — always a bonus for an inexperienced baker like me — but it called for three medium-sized bananas, exactly what I needed to make use of.

So, I dived in, stymied briefly by the local Co-Operative supermarket having run out of both eggs *and* caster sugar (hint, Co-Op: more people than normal are probably baking stuff in the week before Christmas.)

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Another minor speed-bump in my road was the first instruction in the recipe, “Measure all ingredients straight into your food processor and whizz into smooth batter,” which rather assumes you own something as fancy as a food processor. Still, at least I’ve got an electric whisk. Instead of boshing it all together I cubed the butter, which I figured would be the difficult-to-mix bit, and rubbed it into the sifted flour and sugar until I had a breadcrumb-like consistency. Then I added everything else, roughly mixing as I went. Finally I took up my electric whisk and zizzed the mixture to a nice smooth batter.

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And that was the hard work done, really. I poured the mix into my greased, floured loaf-tin. Pausing only briefly to check I was neither very young, very old, nor pregnant, I took my life in my hands and tasted a wooden spoon’s scraping’s-worth of the cake mix that had clung on in the bowl. Niiiice. So, all the signs were good.

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I popped the loaf tin straight into my pre-heated oven, did the washing-up, and went to post some “before” photos on Twitter. This is the 21st century, after all; if you’ve not tweeted about it, it hasn’t happened.

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About forty-five minutes later I was walking past my kitchen door and had to stop and stick my head in and inhale the lovely banana-ey bready smell that was coming from the oven. Another fifteen minutes and I was pulling open the oven, crossing my fingers, and manhandling the loaf tin onto the kitchen worktop with two strategically-positioned tea towels (I know, I know. “Oven gloves” has been just above “food processor” on my kitchen equipment shopping list for about eight years now.)

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It looked good. Dark-to-golden brown, with a nice light sponginess showing through the split that had formed on the top. After a few minutes, I gently tried to slide the loaf out, but it felt a bit too wobbly and was clinging to the sides, so I tried to practise some patience and left it to cool in its tin for a while. Once it wasn’t so hot, it slid out more easily, and kept its nice loaf shape as I rolled it onto the cooling rack, though the gooey bottom did sink a millimetre or so into the rack as it settled densely down.

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After my disaster with Nigella’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake, which stayed entirely liquid in the middle when I made it, I was a little scared to finally start slicing into my banana cake, but my fears were unfounded. It was a little gooey at the bottom, but pleasantly so, and the rest was a lovely moist cake with a delicious light crust on top and at the edges (the end parts were my personal favourite.) The banana flavour was good, and I hadn’t overdone the vanilla, despite my worries.

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All in all, this was a fantastic recipe, easy for the baking beginner, even if you’re only armed with a £4.99 electric whisk from Argos that smells a bit like a Scalextric car when it’s running. You’ll never let over-ripe bananas go to waste again.

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My beginner’s tips:

* “a few drops” of vanilla essence is just under a quarter of a teaspoonful.
* Wait until the loaf’s cooled a bit before you try to de-tin it.
* Don’t shop for cake ingredients in the Co-Op just before Christmas.


Here’s the recipe again with my original notes below. ~ Kavey

Gooey Delicious Banana Cake

Ingredients
175 grams caster sugar
225 grams white self-raising flour
100 grams unsalted butter (I always use lightly salted actually)
3 tablespoons fresh milk (I used fully skimmed as that’s what we buy)
2 large fresh eggs
3 medium sized, very ripe bananas
A few drops vanilla essence

Method

  • Preheat oven to 185 C (adjust down for fan ovens).
  • Measure all ingredients straight into your food processor and whizz into smooth batter.
  • Butter a large loaf tin well, then throw in some flour, tap and turn the tin to coat the flour over all surfaces and then tap out any excess into the bin/ sink.
  • Pour the batter into the tin.
  • Bake for an hour.

Note: Campion says “Because we are looking for a soggy end product, the old-faithful test of sticking in a skewer and withdrawing it clean is not appropriate. With practice you’ll simply need to glance at it to tell. In the meantime, because of the style of cake we’re trying to achieve, there’s a wide margin of error to make things easier.”

Note: If it helps, I find the cake rises delightfully and the top turns a lovely rich chocolatey brown (darker than golden brown) and also usually splits, like a lemon drizzle cake.

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All images by Matt Gibson.

Sep 202010
 

I first visited Liberty’s ground floor Tea room with Kate from Lahloo Tea. I already wrote all about Kate’s marvellous teas; if you haven’t tried them already, you really should!

The memory of Liberty’s incredible fruit loaf cake was so strong and so alluring that I had to return for another helping; it was just as good as I remembered.

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Pete opted for a fairy cake and we both enjoyed a cuppa.

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But the star of the visit, for me, was that fruit loaf cake. The interior is moist, but not overly so, with juicy raisins and a simple flavour. The crust is slightly crispy, slightly chewy and a little dense. Goodness, it’s such a perfect balance, I am salivating just trying to describe it to you!

So what are the chances of my persuading the Liberty chef responsible for this utter delight to share his or her recipe with me? Do you think they’re the kind of place that jealously guard their in-house recipes or might they be warm and fluffy sharers?

I shall rustle up the courage to contact them and find out!

In the meantime, if you have a particularly good tried and tested recipe for fruit loaf cake to share, I’d be grateful!

 

When I heard that Divine had launched a new 85% dark chocolate bar I immediately started thinking about recipes I could use it in.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a surprisingly good eating bar – despite the high cocoa content it’s neither unpleasantly bitter nor overly crumbly (due to reduced fat content).

But I really wanted to cook with it.

I’d also been wanting to cook with the Billington’s sugars I’d had in the store cupboard for a few months,

The recipe I chose is Nigella Lawson’s dense chocolate loaf cake. Simple, reliable and absolutely delicious, I have to say that it’s even more of a winner when made with Divine 85% chocolate and Billington’s dark muscovado sugar.

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I took some into work and, as well as the normal cakeitude (cake gratitude) – which would probably come my way even if I took in a shop-bought mediocrity – I received some proper glowing compliments.

A number of people showed real interest in the recipe, keen on the rich chocolate hit and curious about what gave it that deep caramel flavour (the unrefined dark muscovado sugar). I was even asked whether I might consider bringing some in every day!

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Nigella’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake (Using Divine 85% Dark Chocolate & Billington’s Dark Muscovado Sugar)

Ingredients
225 grams soft unsalted butter
375 grams Billington’s dark muscovado sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100 grams Divine 85% dark chocolate, melted
200 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
250 ml boiling water

23 x 13 x 7 cm loaf tin

Notes:
I’m pretty sure we used lightly salted butter, that’s what’s usually in my fridge.
The original recipe calls for “best dark chocolate” which I would imagine is commonly interpreted as 70%.

Method

  • Preheat oven to 190 degrees/ gas mark 5.
  • Grease and line the loaf tin. (Nigella adds that lining the tin is very important as this is a “very damp cake” but as we used silicone loaf moulds, we just buttered and floured generously.)
  • Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the flour.
  • Cream the butter and sugar then add the eggs and vanilla extract, beating in well.
  • Fold in the melted and slightly cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but not to overbeat. (Nigella advises that you want the ingredients well combined, not a light airy mass.)
  • Gently add the flour (and bicarb) alternatively, spoon by spoon, with the boiling water until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter.
  • Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Turn the oven down to 170 degrees/ gas mark 3 and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
  • The cake will still be a bit squidgy inside so an inserted cake-tester or skewer won’t come out completely clean.
  • Place the loaf tin on a rack and leave to cool completely before turning out.
  • Nigella also mentions that she often leaves the cake for a day or so as, like gingerbread, it improves. She also points out that the cake often sags in the middle as it’s dense and damp.

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This is Charles Campion’s recipe for a really, really gooey banana cake. I know it could do with a photo; I’ll try and remember to take/ add one next time I make it! I first made it several months ago and it’s so easy and tasty I now make it quite often. It also proved very popular when I took some in for a work cake bake sale (for charity) and I was ordered, in no uncertain terms, to ensure that I made some more for the subsequent sales over the next few weeks!

Best way to describe the texture is to compare it to a chocolate brownie, where there’s a layer at the very bottom that’s not quite cooked through, it’s still doughy and even more moist than the rest, which has cooked through to become proper cake.

If you want to avoid that, I guess you could leave it in the oven longer, but I love that aspect so I always do it exactly like that.

Ingredients:
175 grams caster sugar
225 grams white self-raising flour
100 grams unsalted butter (I always use lightly salted actually)
3 tablespoons fresh milk (I used fully skimmed as that’s what we buy)
2 large fresh eggs
3 medium sized, very ripe bananas (today I used 5 wee ones instead, in the past I’ve used 2 enormous ones)
A few drops vanilla essence

Method:
Measure all ingredients straight into your food processor and whizz into smooth batter.
Preheat oven to 185 degrees Centrigade.
Butter a large loaf tin well, then throw in some flour, tap and turn the tin to coat the flour over all surfaces and then tap out any excess into the bin/ sink.
Pour the batter into the tin.
Bake for an hour.
DONE!

PS Campion says “Because we are looking for a soggy end product, the old-faithful test of sticking in a skewer and withdrawing it clean is not appropriate. With practice you’ll simply need to glance at it to tell. In the meantime, because of the style of cake we’re trying to achieve, there’s a wide margin of error to make things easier.”

PPS If it helps, I find the cake rises delightfully and the top turns a lovely rich chocolatey brown (darker than golden brown) and also usually splits, like a lemon drizzle cake. Should have taken a photo but it’s all sliced up now, to take into work.

PPS The book is called Fifty Recipes To Stake Your Life On and is one of the few cookery books with no photographs in it that I rate highly.

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