burnt toast

Tag: cake

Pumpkin Bread

a slice of pumpkin bread

You were almost hoping this would really be a bread recipe, right? Just a bit of bread dough with a bit of pumpkin puree folded in, yay, some healthy stuff for once. Are you kidding? Everything is healthy. It just depends on your attitude towards it, and in what quantities you consume it. Bring on the cake. Guilt? I don’t even know guilt feels like. Is it edible? Whatever, lets go back to pumpkin bread shall we? Why do people call cake in the shape of a loaf “bread”? Is it to calm their conscience? Back home, in a land far far away, also known as Switzerland, we call them loaf-shaped things Cake. The round ones are called Kuchen, and if they have some sort of custardy whipped component, they go over into the Torte realm. That’s a bit of trivia you can totally stun people with at the next dinner party. Bam!

In other words, this is a deliciously aromatic, sweetly spiced pumpkin bread. Great on its own, toasted, or with a smear of sour cream. Because you’re worth it baby.

pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread

¼ large jap pumpkin, seeds and skin removed, chopped into 2cm pieces

1 Tbsp butter

2 cups/300g plain flour

1 cup/220g caster sugar

3 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 tsp salt

220g butter, melted

1 Tbsp golden syrup (or maple syrup or molasses if you don’t have any)

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 egg

Chuck the pumpkin onto a lined baking dish, dot over the butter and bake in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes at 200°C or until soft. Remove from the oven and cool. Once it’s cool enough to touch, whizz it to a smooth puree in your food processor. You will need one cup/250ml of this. Do something imaginative with the rest, or just eat it. Whatever mood hits you first.

Lower the oven temperature to 180°C. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt.

In another bowl, possibly the one you melted the butter in, stir together the butter, golden syrup and vanilla. Whisk in the egg, then add the cup of pumpkin puree.

Pour the liquid pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and gently combine. Don’t over mix it – it’s fine if you have a few bits of flour lurking about. The process is basically the same as that of a muffin. Spoon into a prepared loaf tin and bake it for about 1 hour, until a skewer inserted comes out clean and the top is nice and golden. Mind, our oven is extremely temperamental, so just keep an eye on your little loaf and periodically check after 50 minutes.

Banana Bread.

banana bread slice

Banana bread. The end.

I feel that encompasses pretty much everything to be honest. I was going to leave it at that, but then I remembered that I should perhaps add a tablespoon of publicity and a couple of pinches of justification, because, well, this is banana bread. I wouldn’t dare say that my recipe is better than your grandma’s, oh no. However, it does solve all your dilemmas about having to wait till those bananas are ripe, because lets be honest, I only ever buy bananas when I want to bake them in something, and I want to bake it now, and for some reason it is near impossible to find any black-splotched ones at the supermarché. And I can’t wait, I won’t. I want banana bread and I want it now, with a dollop of sour cream, in my mouth, yes. La solution? Slice those suckers and fry them in some butter with a sprinkling of sugar, until they’re golden and sticky. And then wack them in together with some browned butter – because everything tastes better with browned butter – and banana bready ingredients, and you will be rewarded for those good intentions, yes sir. Double caramelized goodness. And your housemates will love you.

a bite of banana bread

The Banana Bread

250g unsalted butter

2 bananas, sliced into ½ cm rounds

2 Tbsp caster sugar

2 cups/300g plain flour

1 cup/220g caster sugar

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp salt

¾ cup/180g sour cream

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 30 cm loaf tin with baking paper. In a large frypan, melt the butter and cook on a low heat until it turns a nice nutty brown. Remove from the heat and cool. Transfer into a jug but for 2 Tbsp – you’ll need this to fry your bananas in. Using the same frypan (less dishes to wash) and lay them out in the pan in a single layer. Fry them on a low heat for about 1-2 minutes, then sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp of sugar and turn them. Once all the slices have caramelized to a nice golden colour, they’re done. Transfer to a plate and give them a mash. It’s up to you how smooth you want it. I personally hate chunks. Anyway. Let the banana mash cool while you get on with the flour. Combine it with the sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a big bowl. Now go get your jug with the cooled butter, and whisk in the banana, sour cream, egg and vanilla. Pour into the flour mixture and similar to a muffin batter, only stir as few times as necessary. The mixture will be very thick, so it will be easy to scoop into the prepared baking tin. Smooth the top and transfer into the oven, and bake yo baby for 1 hour. Check on it every 15 minutes to see if it’s browning too quickly – if yes, cover the top with some tin foil. Once it’s done, take it out of the oven and cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then transfer it onto a wire rack to cool completely. Or not. I reckon you should cut off an end bit, because it’s the best bit really, and watch out, it’s quite crumbly when warm, and then eat it with guiltless pleasure.

Carrot Cake

So what are you, a cake or a biscuit person? This is pretty vital for our relationship, so be honest, okay. It’s like the dog or cat question. This will either deepen our friendship or make it disappear in a puff of orange smoke. Yes orange. I’m a cake person, through and through. But if I’m really honest, I’m actually an icing person. Cream cheese icing. Hells yeah. It’s the most important part of the cake.

I don’t care much for chocolate cake, unless it’s in brownie form. Cake needs to be fluffy and moist – none of that airy dry, crap, but also not too moist, because then it will become extremely heavy, like those vegan gluten-free sugar free bricks you find at the health food shop. Carrot cake is not supposed to be health food. It’s supposed to be cake, it says it in the name. Also, there is no way you will find raisins in my carrot cake, they just ruin it. And this cake is best for breakfast. Or lunchtime with champagne. Because carrot cake, my friend, is awesome, and it doesn’t need a special occasion.

The Best Carrot Cake

This recipe is adapted from Leila Lindholm’s cookbook, „Backen mit Leila“. Fabulous book, you should get it.

150g softened unsalted butter

240g caster sugar

3 eggs

2 pinches of salt

1 ½ tsp vanilla essence

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground cardamom

½ tsp ground ginger

180g plain flour

3 tsp baking powder

300g finely grated carrots ( about 2 ½ large ones)

100g roughly chopped walnuts

70g softened unsalted butter

320g Philadelphia cream cheese

1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 lime, finely grated rind and juice from one half

100g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 150°C degrees. Line a 24cm baking tin with baking paper and set aside.

In a big bowl, beat the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat in salt, essence and spices. Add the flour and the baking powder and mix well. Beat in the carrots, then the walnuts.

Spread into the tin. The batter will be nice and thick thus easy to spread. Let it bake for 55 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let it cool.

In the meantime, beat the butter and the cream cheese fort he icing. Add the vanilla, the lime and the icing sugar and beat until fluffy.

When the cake has cooled, spread the icing over the cake. Get a knife and cut yourself a piece, you’ve deserved it.

By the way I’m a cat person, albeit a strange one. See, some cats don’t like me. And sometimes, very very rarely, I have been known to like dogs. But only if they tapdance.

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