Possibly the best cake I have ever made and I think my dedication to cake is well established.
For a few weeks I’ve had a hankering for a honey-scented cake, similar to my quest for a decent honey ice-cream, even though ice-cream and my stomach don’t see eye-to-eye.
Food52’s Baking book delivered. Honey AND pecans, we were onto a winner.
There are steps, there are bowls, just work with it.
Food52 uses a 23cm round springform pan with baking paper that comes up above the join but this sounded like a doomed plan to me so I used a 20cm square tin, which I lined with one piece of baking paper with no joins in it whatsoever (so the caramel can’t escape)
I have just finished my (paid) work and am bracing for school home time. It’s been a mixed bag of a week which saw me in tears last night at the thought of making dinner AGAIN (#everyfuckingnight, I swear to God people, every.fucking.night). Sure, there may have been some hormones involved but let’s just put that day to bed.
These are on the front cover of Food52’s baking book from which I want to bake every single recipe. Hey, maybe that’s a challenge I can set myself? And are so very good.
You need a big baking pan – 33 x 45cm, 13 x 18 inch – so get onto that. You could of course just split the mixture between two smaller ones but as to what size they’d be don’t ask me because, well, numeral.
It makes a lot – 24 large brownies, 36 smaller ones. It uses eight eggs. EIGHT EGGS! When I started cooking as a kid and then with a fair amount of gusto as a teenager I’d show mum a recipe and without fail there’d be an exclamation about how many eggs were in it. Were eggs expensive back then? Was there some sort of price collusion in the 80s I was unaware of? Anyway, it uses eight eggs.
Now, even though in the recipe’s intro it talks about how this is the 35th version of these brownies the recipe creator June Jacobs has created, I still didn’t follow it exactly. Just follow it exactly OK?
School’s back today. We’re on the homestretch to Christmas people. We’re in for a scorching couple of days which somehow seems appropriate.
But let’s take a moment to talk about lunchboxes. There are parts of the world where you don’t need to pack your kids a lunch. CAN YOU IMAGINE!? I hate it with the heat of a thousand suns.
The worst part is trying to not become pray to food brand marketing but once you say no to the snack packs, back off to the muesli bars and no way jose to anything with sugar you’re basically sending your kids to school with twigs and bark.
I know more virtuous people than I who make up batches of things on the weekend, freeze them then pop them in lunchboxes but whenever I’ve done that the kids never eat it. WHAT IS WITH THAT?
Anyway, I made this Smitten Kitchen recipe the other day and three of the four of them ate them. Into high rotation they go!
There was a time in high school we did a lamington drive to raise money for some charity. The organisation we were helping has long left my head but the memory of buying six dozen lamingtons under false names and eating them all myself has not. (See also: bulimia.)
I have banned myself from buying the Woolworths lamington fingers purely because I KNOW I could eat the entire packet. In one sitting. I never have, but the knowledge that I COULD is enough.
This recipe comes from my kitchen bible – Allan Campion & Michele Curtis’s In The Kitchen. I refer to this cookbook more than any other and every single thing I’ve made from it has always worked and been delicious. I’m not sure it’s still in print but if you find a copy grab it.
An iconic Australian cake with sponge rolled in chocolate and coconut.
Author: allconsuming via The Cook's Kitchen
For the cake
½ cup caster sugar
⅔ cup plain flour
For the icing
3 cups icing sugar
½ cup cocoa
¾ cup water
4 cups desiccated coconut
Preheat oven to 180C and line a lamington tin with greaseproof paper and then grease it and dust with flour
Beat the eggs and caster sugar together until very thick and really pale in colour then gently fold in the flour (this is a sponge so go lightly, you don't want to knock out all that air you whipped into the eggs and sugar
Pour into tin, smooth the batter and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden on top
Cool in the tin for a few minutes then lift out and peel off the baking paper. Cool completely
For the icing
Put the icing sugar, cocoa and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, whisking well
Reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes then remove from the heat and cool a little
Now get ready to get messy.
Set up a workstation with the cake cut into squares, then the chocolate sauce, then a wire rack and then a shallow dish holding the coconut and then another wire rack
Dip the sponge in the chocolate until all covered - I use to forks to turn the cake over in the mixture - then put onto the wire rack to let any excess drip off
Roll the pieces in the coconut then onto the final wire rack to dry
I have a go to flourless orange cake which I adore, but the other day had some divine paesanella ricotta hanging around that needed to be used. Seeing as I’m doing the whole no carbs with fat/protein and no refined carbs a nifty little batch of ricotta gnocchi was out of the question (quietly sobs) and I was at a bit of a loss when I came across this Ben O’Donoghue and thought BINGO! It has a smidge of (semolina) flour in it but I was willing to overlook it. I love Ben’s recipes and he was always my favourite in Surfing the Menu. Curtis Stone is just a little to much of a show-pony-pretty-boy for my cooking likes.
‘My’ custard powder pastry recipe and the associated free-form apple pie is his Nan’s and I reckon that’s pretty cool.
So let’s get on with it.
Lemon ricotta cake (in which I used oranges)
Recipe from: At home with Ben, Ben O’Donoghue
6 eggs, separated
250g ground almonds
65g semolina flour
Juice of 3 lemons
Rind of 6 lemons
1/2 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 160C and grease and line a 26cm springform cake tin
Beat the butter and sugar until very pale then add the egg yolks one at a time
Combine the almond meal, semolina, half the lemon zest and half the juice (although when I made it with oranges I added all the zest because I didn’t read the recipe properly. Rookie mistake) and fold into the butter and sugar mixture
Crumble in the ricotta and fold through (Ben appears to leave it in little chunks whereas my ricotta was wetter so was more incorporated)
Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks and then fold through the mixture
Pour into the tin and bake for 40mins or until a skewer comes out clean (I find with flourless cakes the time can vary massively – just persevere and cover with foil if you’re worried the top is getting too dark)
Make a syrup with the remaining juice, zest, 1/2 cup of sugar and a cup of water by bringing it to the boil then reducing by half (I sort of forgot to read this bit and just made a syrup of equal parts sugar and juice)
Pour over the cake and eat until you can eat no more.