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Posts Tagged ‘cake’

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Fancy High Tea For A Fancy Lady.

It was The Most Ladylike Lady’s birthday a couple of months ago, and due to an unfortunate alignment with her Mother’s Day, family birthdays, family holidays and more commitments, the little group of ladies we’re part of (The Most Ladylike Lady, The Editor-in-Waiting, Molly’s Mum and your humble writer) didn’t get together to celebrate until ~ 2 months later.

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Pretty punctuation.

But I have to say: we may not do it immediately, but when we do celebrate: we go a little all out. You might even say: we bring the fancy.

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It all started with a couple of flowers, and a cake…

And then…

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Then…there were a couple of flowers, and two cakes!

And THEN:

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Then…there were a couple of flowers, two cakes, a platter of sandwiches and a bowl of just warm scones plus champagne all round.

Yes: we bring the fancy. So apart from cleaning, arranging flowers and making the Women’s Weekly Rose & Almond Syrup Cake (from their Indulgent Cakes book):

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Rose & Almond Syrup cake meet Dear Reader. Dear Reader meet Rose & Almond Syrup cake. Now that the introductions are over, Dear Reader you missed a deluxe cake.

And frantically cleaning, polishing, vacuuming and arranging flowers (I do confess: I invite people over as an enforced regime of tidying my house, and to justify occasionally splurging on cut flowers):

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Flower arranging, recycled bottle style.

I assembled two variations on the Cream Victoria sponge, that I adapted from a Cocktail Recipe book.

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Slacker Sponge Close Up!

And this recipe is so simple, I am almost embarrassed to call it a recipe.

Technique and Ingredients

  • 2 slabs shop bought sponge cake
  • Raspberry Jam (I recommend Bonne Maman)
  • Leftover Creme Fraiche
  • Lemon Icing (Try Martha Stewart’s Lemon Drizzle): if you have icing sugar mix and a lemon: you can make this.
  • One fresh raspberry (or other berry) per portion

Lets start by talking about portions, the recipe I found calls for you to cut little circles of sponge and then turn them into a sandwich. The reservation I had about this is wastage: for every 4 perfect circles, you’d have this weird bit with 4 circular divots cut out of it.

See: weird bits with divots in them

My parsimonious and economical Australian grandmother, who grew up during the depression, did not bring me up to cut circles of sponge and leave behind perfectly cake. Oh no: Nana definitely did not bring me up that way. There will be no cake wastage in this household.

Solution: cut the two slabs of sponge into perfectly matched rectangles. I would have gone squares, but I was worried about crumblage at the edges (new word: crumblage). And crumblage means wasted cake. And you know what Nana would say about cake wastage!

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Sponge glorious sponge…

Then for half of the sponge pairs, slather over a generous layer of raspberry jam. For the other half of the pairs: a generous layer of raspberry jam and a generous layer of creme fraiche (it’s like a French Queen Victoria Sponge).

Drizzle lemon icing over both, and top with a fresh berry. Et voila: on one platter, you have two variations of a sponge!

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More pretties

FYI: the sandwiches were egg and spring onion, and chicken, walnut and apricot. They were delish, I will see if the Editor-In-Waiting will let me share the recipes. And I will try and get both the recipe and technique of the perfect scone out of Molly’s Mum. She can take 3 ingredients and turn out sconderful wonder, I take the same three ingredients and turn out…little pellets of hard.

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Hello good looking

This was actually supposed to be Almond Cake with Rosewater Syrup, but you need 2 cups of almond meal and I had 1/2 cup of almond meal and 1 1/2 cups of hazelnut meal in my freezer, so Almond and Hazelnut Cake with Rosewater Syrup it was.

The cake is dense, moist and flavoursome. The hazelnut meal becomes a bit of a hero, while if you make it only with almond meal the nutty flavour is more subtle.

Next time I make it, I will withhold the berries, use hazelnut  and almond meal in equal portions and make a chocolate sygar syrup sauce to drizzle on –  I think that would be quite nice because the hazelnut will hold its own. And hazelnut and chocolate is a match made in heaven, for me anyway.

Ingredients

  • 125g butter (softened)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cups hazelnut meal
  • 1 cup SR flour
  • 2 cups fresh/frozen berries (if frozen: defrost and reserve the juices)

Rosewater syrup:

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tsp rosewater

Preheat oven to 160°C.

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in bowl until light and creamy (NB – at this point I learnt a valuable and slightly messy lesson about the importance and utility of softening butter to do this). Add eggs, beat well. Fold through milk, nut meals and flour.

Put into cake tin and bake for 1hr 20 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out with nothing on it, if you poke it in the cake. Allow to cool.

Place sugar and water into a saucepan over low heat and stir without boiling. Use a brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals from the edges of the pan. When the sugar is dissolved completely, increase the heat and boil for 10 miutes or until a thick surup. Stir in the rosewater and any of the juices left from the defrosted berries (to make it pretty and pink coloured).

Decorate cake with berries and pour over half the syrup. Leave to absorb for about 20 minutes.

At this point, if you have a friend doing your dishes…make sure they realise you need to keep the remaining syrup and they don’t pour it out and wash the pan. Yes, this can happen.

To serve: slice the cake, drizzle with remaining syrup and add a dollop of thick cream.

 

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Recipe: Ginger cake

This cake mix came about by accident when I realised I had run out of golden syrup and only had one teaspoon of powdered ginger, but still wanted to make a ginger cake for a baby shower the next day.

Lashings of ginger cake all round

It’s very lovely and strongly gingery – thanks to the diced ginger and treacle which does give a stronger enhancement and colouring than golden syprup.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp self raising flour
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 2 tsp dried diced ginger
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp treacle
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 mL whipping cream
  • 1-2tbsp icing sugar

Add flour, eggs, sugar and milk to a bowl and mix well. Melt butter and add ginger (powdered and dried) and treacle, mix thoroughly and then add to bowl. I found the treacle/butter mix coated the saucepan I used to melt them in quite heavily, so I used a teensy bit of water to wash it down and also added to the bowl.

Mix thoroughly and put in a cake tin and bake for 30 min at 180°C. I used a square cake tin and then cut the cake in half to make layers, you might want to use a loaf tin or somesuch.

Take cake out of the oven and cool.

When the cake is cooled, whip cream until firm and sieve the icing sugar into it. Stir through well.

Cut the cake into layers, however you achieved it, and then spread cream mix onto top of one layer and place the other layer on top. Dust cake with icing sugar to serve.

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