We have a new T.O.B Cook!

Once upon a time I had a good job. A great job. And I had great friends working with me. I still have the friends, it’s just the job that went by the wayside.

One of those friends is Lolly who was always there to sort everything out – she was the one who listened to me trying to run over my phone in my desperate attempt to get shot of the dreadful thing and get another…. she has listened to me shriek in disbelief at the tortures inflicted on me by computers… she has rescued me from all sorts of things and made sure that all was well in my world.

And what did I give her? A potato ricer. It just goes to show what a brilliant person and cook she is that she loved it!

And now the lovely Lolly is reading my blog…..

She decided to make the Blueberry Yoghurt Cake

Doesn’t that make your heart skip a beat?

That truly is one beautiful cake! I don’t think I have seen a more beautiful one.

And she decided to try No Knead Bread….

That’s her bread in progress – and it is a testament to her skill as a baker that as soon as it was ready to eat, her parents and her beloved ate it!

I shall get Lolly to tell you more, but until them, look at her pictures and drool at her cake!  

October 2010

Autumn is here as is the apple crop. We have all been trying to do as much as we can with the huge haul of apples and the lovely Lolly is no exception.

We both love cake baking and Laura and I have been working on delicious cakes using apples. One thing we found on our searches was that apple butter or stewed apples can reduce the need for fat in a cake and anything that can make cake almost a health food is good for us!

  Lolly had emailed me one morning and we were talking about the potential for cake ” I was having a look at your blog and came across the recipe for the Apple Cake that you made with Apple Butter, and some chopped up apple pieces. I have 3 smallish apples left from my bounty, as well as a small Tupperware box of stewed apple and I wondered if you thought it would work if I made it like this….

Peel and core my 3 remaining apples, mix with juice of ½ lemon.

Put 250ml greek yogurt in a bowl and add 200g golden caster sugar, 60 ml veg oil, 2 eggs and the seeds from one of your wonderful vanilla pods and gently mix

In another bowl put 300g plain flour, 1 ½ tsp baking powder, ½ tsp bicarb, and then instead of the apple butter, two heaped dessert spoonfuls of stewed apple and a tsp of cinnamon.

Mix through and add dry ingredients and chopped apple.

 Do you think that this would work, or do you think I should also add a little bit of butter for a bit of fat?”

Look at that! I think you could say that it worked!

Lolly says ”  Well I made it! I think that I put too much of something in, perhaps flour as the cake is a little dense. However, that hasn’t stopped it from being devoured by everyone at work so it must taste alright!!! I also made a small heart shaped one for Giles…!”

I think that is how it should be for a cake that is best eaten with tea or coffee – somehow, light and fluffycakes belong more with afternoon dainty teas. This is the sort of cake that is perfect for a mid morning break, say. Nothing too sticky… nothing too airy, just a perfect slice to have with a hot drink.

Well done, Lolly… and I bet Giles loved his heart shaped cake!

Blueberry yoghurt cake

 I am back at work again, in an office with people I have worked with before. It’s good to work together and I am enjoying myself, even with the large amount of work that we have to get through. There’s laughter and friendliness and they have made me so welcome … so what better way to show them I appreciate them than to bake a cake? We could all have a slice with our coffee or tea and share it with anyone else who comes into our office. (And  maybe I could fatten them up a bit? They are all very slender and I am getting very stout. I need to even things up a bit)

As I am in the middle of the Great Greek Yoghurt Experiment I could make a cake involving yoghurt! I once had a marvellous recipe for a cake that involved either sour cream or yoghurt and blueberries but I had  let a friend have my copy and it has disappeared for good now. Drat. Let that be a lesson to you – if you ever find a really great recipe, make sure you don’t let someone have your only copy.

I had to start searching for something similar and found something on one of my favourite blogs, Chocolate & Zucchini, a recipe for a Blueberry Yoghurt Cake. In fact, it wasn’t that similar but it sounded good. Well, it had blueberries in it so it was vaguely similar to the other cake…..this was going to be a light, not overly sugary or sticky cake. Just something that would go well with a cup of tea. There’s a place for over indulgent cakes and sitting at our desks probably isn’t it. A plain cake, as my Granny would call it. Light and moist with blueberries popping up throughout to give a little sharpness and a light crunchy topping of sugar…. that should work for our elevenses.

Get your cake tin ready – I am using a springform lined with those brilliant paper liners. Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees

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Then, ingredients  –  yoghurt – about 250 ml (that was most of these two pots and the rest could be eaten later…. 😉 )

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200g of sugar

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2 eggs

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80 ml of sunflower oil

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1 teaspoon pure vanilla paste extract

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A sloosh of cognac… the recipe said rum but we didn’t have any, so it was either cognac or gin. As I feel gin is necessary as a medicinal measure every now and then, I thought I would use the cognac.

I’d have to use cognac.

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That had to be combined gently – no furious beating.

In the meantime, in a bowl, combine

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2 cups – (which actually weighed out as 300 g) of plain flour. (I like to use the Italian ’00’ flour as it is ground extra fine and makes beautifully fine and light cakes and smooth sauces as well as marvellous pasta)

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and  1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda.

Make sure they are well mixed together then add that to the cake batter.

Again, don’t over stir it.

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Next, frozen blueberries – just before you pour the cake mixture into the cake tin, throw a handful or so of the frozen berries in (if you don’t like blueberries try raspberries)

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Then put it all into the cake tin and put that into your oven.

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Thirty five minutes or so later, have a look  – is it browning nicely?

Does a skewer come out clean? If not then put it back in for a few more minutes

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And so… we have a cake.

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Most of it was taken to work, and none of it came home. Make of that what you will.

Well, make it, will you?