Saturday, 20 August 2011

July Baking

Where on earth is the summer going? I was just thinking the other day it feels like it hasn't even got started yet, and then realised it's almost August Bank Holiday, which means that it's actually nearly over! I've been rather quiet on the blogging front lately, because I've been doing some overtime at work to pay off some of the car that I just bought. But I've still had time for baking, and so I'm just going to round up July in one fell swoop!

I think these were actually all done in the space of a week, when I went on a bit of a baking frenzy. I ended up taking most of them to work to palm off, along with the last of the fruit cake from my Pink Whisk cake decorating course.

1. Chocolate Orange Muffins


I've had this recipe kicking around for a while, I LOVE orange chocolate and it had felt like a while since I'd make anything a bit simpler as I'd been wrestling with birthday cakes and cake decorating, so it was nice to go back to basics. The recipe is online here, I saw it in Good to Know magazine. I used Terry's Chocolate Orange, of course (although that always feels really naughty when it isn't Christmas). I wasn't really sure about the recipe because it didn't contain any butter, and used sunflower oil, but it made for quite a firm texture and they weren't crumbly at all. They were lovely and orangey, too - definitely keeping this recipe for something quick to whip up, maybe in January to use up all the left over choc oranges (not that there's usually many left over, mind). Also, I really need to invest in an ice cream scoop to get the cake mix in the cases, as I ALWAYS get it stuck on the sides especially with these kind of cases.


2. Strawberry & Polenta cupcakes

Ever since I saw these in one of the little BBC 101 recipes books I've been dying to try them as I thought they looked just gorgeous. But I have to admit being a bit scared of polenta, I had never heard of it before. I must have covered every aisle in Tesco as I tried to hunt it down, having no idea what it was or where it would be (probably should have googled before I left the house) but I eventually tracked it down with the pasta. I've no idea whether it was in the right form (I was expecting it to be floury) but the cakes turned out lovely. The icing was absolutely gorgeous and I will definitely be using that again on other cakes and bakes I think. Mine didn't rise as well as the ones in the book which was the only disappointment - and there is also a great excuse to have to eat them all within a day or so as the icing went a bit weird after that (kind of disappeared!). I wish I'd taken more piccies of these, but it was late and we wanted to EAT THEM!

3. Coconut & Lime Drizzle cake

I've had a loaf tin for a while now and this was the recipe I'd had earmarked to try. I've never made a drizzle cake before and I love lemon drizzle, but thought this sounded a bit different so would give it a whirl. We were not disappointed! The cake itself was dead easy to make, basically just bung it in a bowl and beat. The icing was a bit more faffy, but definitely worth it. Also, it just me that thinks coconut milk smells completely disgusting? It was turning me as I was making it! But in the end it tasted delicious, tasted lovely and light and summery, with a zingy shot of lime. I made this again last week but I think I overdid the lime a bit, it made my face crumple up when I ate it! The limey sugary sprinkling is the best bit, Mike was eating the leftovers out of the cup with his fingers!

The recipe isn't online, so here it is:

100g butter, softened 175g SR flour 1tsp baking powder 175g golden caster sugar 2 eggs Half a 400ml can coconut milk finely grated zest of 2 limes

1. Butter and line a 2lb loaf tin. Beat all the ingredients together until combined, tip into the tin and smooth the top.
2. Bake at 180c for 40 mins until golden and firm to the touch.

For the icing and to decorate:
The other half of the can of coconut milk 200g golden caster sugar finely grated zest of 1 lime juice of 3 limes

1. Tip the coconut milk and 150g of the sugar into a pan. Boil for 5 mins or until syrupy (so you can see the bottom of the pan when you stir).
2. Stir in the lime juice and set aside.
3. Mix the remaining sugar and lime zest to a paste, then set aside.
4. Leave the cooked loaf in the tin while you pour over the icing a little at a time - let the cake absorb it before adding more (I stuck holes in mine with a skewer).
5. Cool, then carefully remove from the tin, sprinkle with lime sugar and serve.



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