Thursday, 20 August 2015

Raspberry & Yoghurt Cake

I cannot tell you how happy I am that I decided to bake this cake! It's not often that I find a cake that I really love and would bake over and over again. Once upon a (not-so-long-ago) time I'd only enjoy eating the icing and dwell over the lingering cake beneath. Alas, I have found my love of cake with this fruity, cream cheese frosted beauty. Its quite a dense cake, but very moist. I suspect this is due to the yoghurt? I'm not sure what whipping the egg white really did for this cake but I would do it again despite my lack of faith in the method. I am, after all, just a home baker. This recipe was indeed a Pinterest find and although I was somewhat skeptical of Pinterest after many disappointing bakes, this recipe has reignited my love for the online pin board. 

I found it really difficult to do anything at all really for the first few months of motherhood but it's most definitely getting easier, especially when I'm not worrying about "has she fed enough?", "am I making enough milk?", "has she slept long enough?", or "has she had enough wet nappies". It feels good to do normal things, like bake. And, I hope that Baby N will love to bake with me as she grows. Its such a special thing! 

A few things to follow religiously which I did not:
1 - Allow the cake to cool completely before attempting to decorate. This is really important. it you don't wait the warm cake will malt the icing and the top layer will slide all over the place!
2 - Place the cream cheese buttercream in the fridge to allow it to firm up a little before frosting. 
3 - Take the butter out of the fridge well in advance to allow to warm to room temp.

On to the recipe...

This makes enough for 2 x 6 inch cakes, perfectly proportioned to layer. If you want to make a bigger cake (2 x 8 or 9 inch) just double the recipe. 

Adapted from Kitchen Trial & Error

  • 3 1/2 tbsp butter, room temp
  • 1/2 C caster sugar
  • 2 small eggs, separated (If doubling the recipe, use 3 normal sized eggs)
  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C natural (Greek) yoghurt
  • 1/2 C frozen raspberries
For the frosting
  • 125g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 115g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 C icing sugar 
  • zest & juice of 2 meyer lemons
  1. Preheat your oven to 175C (165C fan assisted). Line 2x6 inch cake pans with baking paper. I usually put a sheet in, indent the round edges, then cut with scissors. Set aside.
  2. Place the egg whites in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk until medium to stiff peaks form. You can use a stand mixer for this but you may want to keep that clean for the cake batter unless you have 2 attachment bowls.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in 1 egg yolk at a time, mixing between each addition. Sift over the dry ingredients and stir until just combined (It should still look rather dry).
  4. Add the yoghurt and mix to combine. Fold in the raspberries followed by the whipped egg whites. Do this carefully so that you don't knock too much air out of the whites.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared tins. 
  6. Bake for 20-25 mins depending on your oven. If you have doubled the recipe for a larger cake, bake for 25-30 mins. The cake is done once a skewer comes out clean and the top bounces back up after being lightly pressed. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese ad butter together until smooth. Add the lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine. 
  8. Add the icing sugar and carefully beat together. If you have a stand mixer, let it mix for about 5-10 minutes to make the frosting extra light and fluffy. Chill the icing slightly to thicken before decorating your cake. *Note, in the photos the icing was not chilled hence the cascading frosting. If you like this look, please feel free to leave your frosting at room temp until your ready to frost the cake. 
I have eaten half of this cake alone in less than 24 hours as afternoon tea, dessert & breakfast. Thats how good it is. 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Banana Muffins

We had some overripe bananas looking a little sad so i put them to good use and made Banana Muffins. My usual go-to recipe for black skinned bananas is Banana Cake but on this particular day, muffins were on my mind. Easy to eat without having to worry about washing tea plates or slicing a cake. These are exceptionally delicious with a more than generous smear of butter and a hot cup of tea. They age pretty well and enjoyed best on the second day. The moisture from the banana creates the most delicious sticky glaze on top of the muffin.

Being a new Mummy I have come to make myself an opportunist, so when Baby N fell asleep I crept downstairs, baby monitor in hand, to start the bake. Alas, half way through meausuring the wet ingredients Baby N awoke crying and very sensitive. She seems to know as soon as I leave the room, no matter how deeply asleep! So we finished the muffins off together with her snuggled into my chest and me with one hand to bake, commentating for the entertainment of my little doll.

These muffins turned out beautifully, perhaps because they were truely made with love of the mother/daughter kind.

Banana Muffins
Adapted from All Recipes

  • 1 1/2 C plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 C white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 C butter melted
  1. Preheat your oven to 175/165C (fan-assisted) and line 2 6x hole muffin/cupcake trays with liners. Mash the banana and melt the butter if you haven't already done so.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder & baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Mix and add the salt. Set aside.
  3. In another larger mixing bowl (or freestanding mixer), combine the egg, mashed banana and cooled melted butter. Once incorporated, add the dry ingredients and fold gently to combine. Take care to ensure you DO NOT over-mix the wet and dry ingredients together as this will result in dry muffins. 
  4. Use an icecream scoop to divide the mixture into the lined tins. 
  5. Bake for 15-25 minutes depending on the size. Mini-muffins will require much less time (about 10-12 mins) while my cupcake size muffins took around 18minutes. They are cooked once the top is light golden brown and the top bounces back after gently being pressed. 
  6. Eat warm from the oven or cooled with a smear of butter.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Macaron Guide

A few notes on Macarons -
If anyone is interested in attempting these delicious morsels, I strongly advise using the Italian Method. I know the French method seems easier but you will more than likely be successful in your first try using the Italian method as it is consistent. I would also INSIST on using an electric scale to measure out all of the ingredients and follow the recipe to the T. You will need a candy thermometer, a free standing mixer as well as disposable piping bags. Here is the a few links I used in my research. 

MACARON PHOTO TUTORIAL - Lilian from Beyond Umami is also great to answer any questions you may have. Her photos of descriptions are also great and helped me a lot in my Macaron research process.

You can do it!