Baking Amy

A year of baking disasters and triumphs

Raspberry Yoghurt Cake

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This weeks recipe came from Baking with Blondie. Instead of using fresh strawberries I used frozen raspberries, because I had a box of them living in my freezer for I don’t know how long. It made a lovely cake that my husband thought tasted like a muffin, and indeed it kind of does. This is the texture I always strive to get when I make muffins but never seem able to achieve. The only thing that disappoints me about this cake is its colour. I don’t know why its such a dark brown colour on the outside or how I prevent that from happening. Is this a sign that it was in too long, or the bundt tin was too thin, or was the oven too hot? I have no idea so I think I should do some research and see if |I can improve upon this next time.

Recipe

  • 225g butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tblsp lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 227g vanilla Greek yoghurt
  • 300g frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup icing sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C
  2. Mix together 2 1/4 cups flour, bicarb, salt and lemon zest
  3. Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time then add 1 tblsp of lemon juice
  4. Alternate beating in the flour and yogurt until just incorporated
  5. Toss the raspberries into the remaining 1/4 cup flour and mix in gently
  6. Pour the batter into a well greased bundt tin and bake for 60 mins, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean
  7. Allow to cool for 20 mins before turning out onto a wire rack
  8. Once completely cooled whisk together the icing sugar and 2 tblsp lemon juice and drizzle over the cake

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It looked good when it came out of the oven but the top stuck to the tin when I turned it out. Something else I need to look into: how do I stop cakes sticking in a bundt tin? Obviously my method of butter and flour didn’t work too well.

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I managed to reunite the top with the rest of the cake and once iced you could barely tell I’d had a minor disaster.

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Even though this cake was pretty moist I am wondering if I did leave it in too long. After 60 minutes I could still see some raw batter so I left it in for an extra 10 minutes. maybe that was a mistake. Hmmm…

Next week I think I will move away from cakes and either make a tart or some cup cakes.

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Chocolate Banana Zucchini Bread

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At last, a triumph!! This week I wanted to use up some of the ripe bananas in my freezer. Every time I have a banana that is starting to turn brown, I throw it in the freezer with the intention of making something with it one day. I currently have around 20 bananas in my freezer, so it was time to use them, but I also had a zucchini in the fridge that wasn’t going to last much longer. After trawling the internet, I managed to find a few banana and zucchini recipes and settled on this Banana Zucchini Pudding Cake, only problem was, I had no idea what instant pudding mix was, or if we can get it in Australia. It didn’t matter anyway, because it doesn’t sound like something I would normally eat, so I was going to omit it from the recipe and hope for the best. Then at the last minute, I changed my mind and decided to make this Chocolate Banana Zucchini Bread instead. I’m not much of a chocolate fan but I’ve had a bar of dark chocolate in my pantry for about 12 months, so time it was used.

Recipe

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60g butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup freshly pureed zucchini
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 170 C then grease and flour a loaf pan
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together
  3. Beat the sugar and butter together, add the egg and beat again
  4. Add the pureed zucchini (my mixture curdled at this point, hardly surprising because its so wet but I wonder if adding puree slowly would have prevented this) beat, then add the mashed banana and beat again
  5. Next, add a third of the dry ingredients at a time and beat in between each addition
  6. Fold through the chocolate chips (I didn’t have any so I chopped up a bar of chocolate instead)
  7. Pour into loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean
  8. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack

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From my recent over baking disasters, I was determined to get this one right, it looked done, it smelled done, now to keep my fingers crossed and hope that it was done and didn’t stick to the pan.

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I did it!!! No over baking today, this Chocolate Banana Zucchini Bread is very moist and has a lovely, strong banana and chocolate taste. You would never suspect zucchini was in there. Its nice eaten when its still warm as you get chunks of molten chocolate, and I’m sure its just as good when its cooled down, I will find out later, as mine is still warm!

Thank you Frugal Foodie Mama for the recipe!

Next week I’ll be making a yoghurt cake as I bought a tub for the pudding cake I was planning to make. If you have any yogurt cake recipes please send them my way!

Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake

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This cake would have been wonderful…if I hadn’t over baked it!

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I decided to try out my home grown rhubarb this week. I love rhubarb, its a funny plant and I find most people say they hate it, even though they have no idea what it tastes like. I remember dipping it in sugar and eating it raw when I was young, but when we stopped growing it in the garden I stopped eating it, and over time thought I disliked it. Many years later I decided to try it again and I’m glad I did!

I’ve made puddings with rhubarb before but I wanted to try something new this week. I had decided to make a rhubarb-strawberry pudding cake but after I had bought all the ingredients I changed my mind, I wasn’t in the mood for pudding any more and this strawberry and rhubarb coffee cake from Allrecipes.com seemed like a winner.

I pretty much stuck to the recipe, the only changes I made was that I used fresh strawberries instead of frozen and added two tablespoons of water to the filling mixture just to help the sugar dissolve. The other change I made was that I had to make it in a 20 cm round, loose bottom cake tin as I didn’t have a 9 x 13 inch tin.

Filling:

  • 135 g caster sugar
  • 45 g corn flour
  • 245 g chopped rhubarb (about two large stalks or three small ones)
  • 250 g fresh strawberries halved
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cake:

  • 375 g plain flour
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking   powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 225 g cold butter chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 60 g plain flour
  • 55 g cold butter chopped

It was really very simple (follow these directions) and each component was tasting and looking good. I couldn’t stop myself from sticking my finger in the rhubarb and strawberry filling, it was so delicious. I was a little worried that my cake tin was a bit too small and I contemplated making two cakes, but as there didn’t seem to be much cake batter I decided against it. However, once I’d finished layering in the batter, filling and topping I really didn’t have much room left for it too rise. Oh well, too late now. I stuck a baking tray underneath the cake tin just in case it did over flow.

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The recipe said too cook it at 175 degrees C for 45-50 minutes. I reduced the heat to 160 degrees as I have a fan forced oven (not sure if I should have done this or not). After 45 minutes I checked it and the centre seemed to be uncooked so I stuck it back in for another 15 minutes. I then poked the skewer in a few more times and the centre still seemed raw. I decided, as it was a loose bottom tin, to try and take the ring off so I could have a look at the sponge. Hmm, bad idea, I had a feeling the whole thing was going to fall apart so I quickly put the ring back on and cooked it for another 15 minutes and also turned the temperature up by about 10 degrees, because I had other things to do and I was getting impatient. The cake then started to smell like it was burning. It still didn’t seem quite done in the middle but with all that filling and the topping it was really hard to tell whether it was cooked or not. Turns out that I probably shouldn’t have put it in for the last 15 minutes. Never mind, the flavours are still great and the thick crumbly topping is awesome!

If I make this cake again, I will use the correct size cake tin, but I probably won’t have one so instead I will do the following:

  •  Bake for 45-60 mins at 160 degrees C
  •  As the filling sinks as the cake cooks, put 3/4 of the cake batter into the bottom of the pan, then the filling then the remaining 1/4 cake batter (this may not cover all of the filling) and then the topping
  •  Don’t spread the filling to the edges, leave a 1-2 cm border to try to prevent the filling from exploding all around the edges
  •  More filling wouldn’t go amiss as it seems to disappear as the cake cooks, but then I really would need a bigger cake tin.

In summary, this cake has wonderful flavours and should be made. My boys and husband ate it all so it couldn’t have been that bad. I think as my cake is a little dry around the edges it would be nice to warm the left overs up in the microwave slightly and pore over some custard. Mmmmm.

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Sweet Dough Lemon Loaf

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A few days ago I was given a bag full of home grown lemons so it only seemed right to make something lemony this week. For months I’d been looking at the Sweet Dough Lemon Loaf in the Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home so I decided to give it a go. I’ve never made bread with yeast before so I wasn’t expecting my first effort to be overly successful. I used my stand mixer to make the dough which was so quick and easy (I love this machine after only using it twice!):

The sweet dough after kneading

The sweet dough after kneading

I loved watching it rise, don’t know why I thought it wouldn’t:

It rose!

It rose!

Next job was to roll out the dough and cut it into four equal strips:

Erm, sort of equal strips

Erm, sort of equal strips

Then brush a mixture of melted butter, sugar and lemon zest onto the strips:

Lemon Loaf

Yummy lemony buttery goodness

Then the tricky bit was to pick up each strip and lay them on top of each other and cut into six equal squares:

Sort of square and of equal size

Sort of square and of equal size

Next, place each stack into the loaf tin (I wasn’t sure if my loaf tin was the right size, the recipe asked for a 900g tin and I have no idea what size mine is), with the cut side facing up.

Lemon Loaf

Seemed to fit ok

Then set aside and let it rise again for 30 mins or so:

Lemon Loaf

Looking good (I think)

Next it’s oven time! Now I have a hate-hate relationship with my oven, I can’t stand it, I think its rubbish and I blame it for all my baking disasters. A few months ago I bought an oven thermometer and discovered that it cooks about 40 degrees C under. So I started turning the oven up and going off what the thermometer said, but that didn’t seem to work either as things were now cooking too quickly. Then two days ago I realised that I should be reducing the temperature by about 10% because its a fan assisted oven. So this was the first time giving that a go. My loaf seemed to brown pretty quickly and after 30 mins I took it out (the length of time specified in the recipe). It was a nice even golden brown so according to the recipe it was done! But, it seemed very soft in the middle and a bit doughy. I wasn’t sure what to do so I asked my husband. Big mistake! He went and stuck his big sausage fingers right into the middle and it sank, grr. oh well, never mind, it wasn’t too bad. I ended up sticking it back into the oven for 5 more minutes but took it out again as it was getting a bit too much colour. When it had cooled slightly I “drizzled” (or rather slopped, as the mixture was much too thick for a nice drizzle) the lemon topping over it, which was a mixture of cream cheese, icing sugar, milk, lemon juice and zest. And the result:

Lemon Loaf

Not the prettiest looking loaf

Hmm, didn’t look too appetising and looks nothing like the picture in the book but I couldn’t wait to dig in while it was still warm.

Lemon Loaf

It’s cooked!

Oh my! That lemon topping is amazing! Not sure if it was due to the home grown lemons but that topping has heaps of zing which is just the way I like it. Without the topping this loaf would have been just ok, but with it, I can’t stop eating it!

It is a little dry around the outside so I probably should have taken it out 5 minutes earlier (when I first thought it was ready) but apart from that I am pretty pleased with my first bread making effort.

Next week I think I might make something with either bananas, as I have about 20 in my freezer, or rhubarb, which is growing incredibly well in the garden.

My 2014 baking challenge

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My beautiful new stand mixer :)

My beautiful new Breville Scraper Mixer Pro:)

I like baking and I like cakes and like to thing that I’m pretty good at making them. For Christmas my lovely husband bought me a beautiful stand mixer. Prior to this I was using a hand mixer that conveniently blew up on December 21st. He is convinced that I will hardly use it and it will become another one of those kitchen machines that sits in the cupboard gathering dust. Well, I’m going to prove him wrong! Every week, for the whole of 2014 I will bake something and blog about it. I don’t think my waist line could handle a cake a week so I will mix it up with healthy treats and bread. More often than not I am sure I will be blogging about my many kitchen disasters. While I like to think I’m pretty good at baking, the truth is things often go wrong. But hopefully through this blog and with your help I can learn from my mistakes and entertain you at the same time. I am not sure what my first creation will be yet, but I have a few days to figure it out so watch this space!