Monday, 18 June 2012

Waist not want not!

I dont know if everyone else is the same, but in our house, the question that is asked on a daily basis is: "What's for pudding?". As a family, we menu plan every week, but the main focus is always on what baked goodies are going to accompany our meals. Even J asks "what's for pudding?" before he will even entertain eating his lunch or dinner, working out whether or not the usual show down of "If you don't eat your dinner, there will be no pudding" will be worth his time and effort!
So picture the joint look of confusion and, dare I say, anguish when Si and J trundled to the cake cupboard (yes people it is that much of an obsession in our house we do actually have an entire cupboard to house just cake) after dinner to find it bare. It was heart breaking. They both had to share a KitKat and some melon. Needless to say I was made to feel a right villain! Si muttering that he did not understand why there was nothing there and J asking confusedly "No cake? But why?".
The reason is simple, the onslaught of my fab new bakey life is taking its toll on the old waist line!!! Not great! As a result evasive action is needing to be taken, so I am putting the family on a diet for a couple of weeks. Not so much J but definitely me, and if I have to go through it, Si too! There is no reason why I should have to suffer on my own now is there?
So I have done some research and have come up with a couple of bakes that I have amended in order to make them a little more waist friendly, but still delicious. As I have explained we are dedicated followers of cake, so a fortnight of no puddings or cake would be too much like torture.
The first cake that I have amended is a carrot cake (my personal favourite).

275g self raising flour (if you want to be ├╝ber healthy you could use 225g wholemeal flour and 50g self raising flour which is just as delicious. The only reason I don't use it here is that a lot of wholemeal in a diet is not great for J and he gets enough elsewhere)
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
140g soft light brown sugar
50g walnut pieces
1 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
225g carrot coarsley grated
425g crushed pineapple pieces, drained
3tbsp sunflower oil
3 medium eggs

I generally omit the walnuts and replace these with raisins or sultanas due to J and personal taste.

If you MUST have cream cheese frosting, I have come across a slightly healthier alternative from an old magazine I got from my mum.

200g extra light cream cheese
70g icing sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Line a 20cm square tin.
Sift the flour and bicarb in a bowl. Add the sugar and mix well to break up any lumps.
Add the walnuts/raisins, cinnamon, pineapple, and grated carrot.
In another bowl mix the oil and eggs together and add to the flour mixture.
Stir until blended.
Pour into the cake tin and place in the oven for around half an hour/40mind. Test with a skewer to see if cooked.
Leave to cool for 5 mins and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

If you are having the cream cheese frosting, beat the frosting until it is smooth and soft and add the icing sugar and zest. Mix. Be careful not to over mix it. If it appears to be runny, pop it in the fridge to help to thicken it up.

Leave the cake to cool completely and spread the frosting over the top.

A great tip for people who bake a lot of cake and always seem to be trying to "eat up" before the cake goes stale, is to cut the cake into the recommended serving suggestion, so with this cake it would be 12, and keep a couple of slices to one side. Wrap the remaining un-frosted cake in individual portions in cling and foil and label. Pop it in the freezer for up to 3 months and whenever you have a craving for something a little bit cakey, remove from the freezer and allow to defrost. That way you will only ever have cake portioned up ready to go and will also not be tempted to finish the entire cake so "it doesn't go off"!

One thing that I did manage to do was to make some cupcakes with the excess batter. I managed to get a total of 13 cupcakes, a true bakers dozen, out of the excess. It is always a bonus to get extra cake!!

Hopefully Swiss family Bakey will not notice too much of a change in taste and fabulosity in our love of all things puddingy! If this cake is anything to go by, I might actually enjoy this dieting malarkey!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Royal Red Velvet Jub-Olympicness!

Of course everyone in the whole country is now starting to get into the swing of the Jubilee and the progression of the Olympic torch. You could say a certain "Jub-Olympicness" has swept the nation. So not to be outdone here is my patriotic offering. Union Jack Red and Blue Velvet Cake.

The recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery and I doubled the original ingredients to make a round 8" cake.

For the red velvet cake

120g unsalted butter, at room temperature
300g caster sugar
2 eggs
20g cocoa powder
20ml red food colouring and 20ml blue food colouring (though I ended up using a LOT more than this trying to get the right colour)
1tsp vanilla extract
240ml buttermilk
300g plain flour
1tsp salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
3tsp white wine vinegar
For the cream cheese frosting:

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

You'll also need:

2 x 8" round cake tins

The method is quite a long one, but the details can be found below. The only thing I did change was I divided the mixture into two and added the blue food colouring mix to one half along with half of the cocoa powder and the red food colouring to the other half with the other half of the cocoa powder. The original recipe calls for the mixture to be divided into three tins, but I only used 2 and the cakes turned out perfectly.

The only thing I would say is that when the cakes come out of the oven, the blue cake may look a little grey, but once you cut into it, I promise it will look blue. When you are mixing the colour into the cake mix, feel free to add as much colour as you like to get the shade desired.

Happy Jub-Olympics!!!!