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6.29.2012

Free From Friday - Date & Cinnamon Cake (Egg Free)


Salam Alaikum sisters & Hi to all my readers,

This delicious date and cinnamon cake is anything but dry, which is what most of us associate with egg free cakes/biscuits.

The dates are the secret in this cake as they add sticky sweetness, which also means the cake remains moist and rest assured it won't be around long enough to dry out. 

The pink fondant was purely to give it a bit of umph! even the best tasting cake can look unappealing being one shade of brown! Next time i make this tasty treat i won't be adding the fondant unless a request comes from dh or son for blue or green fondant lol because seriously the flavour speaks for itself.

Recipe adapted from Treat & Trick
Makes: 1 x 20cm round cake
which is around 6-10 servings depending on how you ration sweet goods in your household

Ingredients
1.5 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup water

1 cap full of rose water (optional)
60g  butter
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped dry dates
1 tsp cinnamon


Method
  1. Preheat oven 180C/160C (Fan)/350F/Gas Mark 4, grease and flour a 20cm spring form baking pan.
  2. Sieve flour, baking powder and cinnamon together in a medium size bowl
  3. Place water, butter and dates in a saucepan. Heat the mixture on medium heat until butter has melted. Turn off heat then add rose water, if using.
  4. Stir in brown sugar, stir well until it dissolves, while still warm mix in the rest of your dry ingredients from step 2, combine until well incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake for 22-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. Let sit in the pan for 10-20 minutes, transfer onto rack to cool

If you want to go ahead and decorate your cake as i did, you will need

250-300grams fondant icing sugar
10-15ml cold water
X amount of food colouring OPTIONAL (depends what shade you want to achieve and type of colouring your using, i used a colour paste so a little bit went a loooong bright way!)
Handful of flaked almond (can toast these but i forgot) to scatter on top of the fondant

  1. Place fondat icing sugar in a pan with 10ml water along with food colouring (go steady, remember you can always add more but you can't take away!)
  2. Turn on heat to low and stir together until the icing is a thick consistency that still runs off the spoon.
  3. Pour onto the center of your cake and watch as the icing glides over and sometimes down the sides of your cake.
  4. Whilst the fondant hasn't set scatter flaked almonds on top.
Enjoy!


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6.26.2012

Top Tip Tuesday - Cupcake Decorating Tutorial Video

Check out Lizzy's video, learn how to decorate your cupcakes like a pro / student baker! Also, i recommend you check out Lizzy's your cup of cake blog for regular baking inspiration.

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6.24.2012

Pistachio Cupcakes With Chocolate Rose Buttercream


I will keep this post short but sweet, inshAllah.
I recently made a promise to myself, that I would leave off baking cupcakes for a while…..yeh er promises are made to be broken right?! Maybe I should have named this blog 'sugar rush' or' sugar high' as no one could possibly go away from here without being on or wanting to be on one!

Less so when you have to face removing pistachios from their shells, my least favourite task of this bake.
I recently bought an oven thermometer,  today i discovered my electric fan oven is running 20 ˚C-30 ˚C hotter than normal, so I reduced my oven temperature accordingly which in turn resulted in super light and fluffy cupcakes! An oven thermometer is really worth investing a few £/$ in, especially when you bake regularly. I used to think to myself, really can oven temperature make such a big difference, wouldn’t what you bake just bake faster? But honestly baking at the right temperature makes a hug a difference on how your cakes rise and the overall texture, you certainly won’t regret purchasing an oven thermometer, now onto the recipe.
Recipe


Makes 10
Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
120g unsalted butter, softened
160g caster sugar
1tsp rosewater
2 large eggs, room temperature
200g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2tbsp milk or water
50g chopped pistachios, toasted
For the buttercream:
150g unsalted butter, softened
300g icing sugar
160g bittersweet / plain chocolate, melted
2tbsp milk or water
1tsp rosewater
Method
  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 160 ˚C (fan)/180˚C/350˚F/gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with only 10 cases.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder together in a large, clean bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate large, clean bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the rosewater.
  4. Fold in half the sifted flour, then the milk/water, then the rest of the flour, gently folding well to combine after each addition.
  5. Gently fold in the pistachios.
  6. Spoon the cupcake mixture into the cupcake cases and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and place on wire racks to cool completely.
  1. For the buttercream: Melt the chocolate over a bain marie or short bursts in the microwave, leave to cool to room temperature.
  2. In a large, clean bowl cream the butter, then gradually add and stir in the sugar until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the cooled melted chocolate, rosewater and milk/water.
  4. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes using a piping bag and then, garnish with crushed pistachios.
This cake flavor combination works well but I didn’t get much rosewater coming through, maybe next time I will use more rosewater in the cake batter.
Another idea would be to use white chocolate instead of plain, as chocolate can sometimes take over the show and even more so when your over generous on the buttercream.

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6.21.2012

Giant Lemon Cupcake - First Attempt


This was my first attempt at a GIANT lemon cupcake. It didn't all go according to plan but i'm sure there will be a next time to perfect my cupcake creation, maybe EID inshaAllah.
So here is what went wrong:-
  •  I undercooked the top of the giant cupcake even i tested it with a scewer and it came out clean! This was evident when i tried releasing it from the silicone mould, it didn't come out in one piece and was mushy in the center.
  • The filling insert that fits on top of the base popped up at one side during the baking process, result - filling cavity wasn't directly in the center/ uneven border.

Next time i must remember to:-
  •  Bake the top/lid of the cupcake for an extra 5 minutes and leave it to cool 80% in the mould before releasing.
  • Make sure the filling insert is properly secured on top of  the base before baking.

I kinda used this cake as a canvas to practice my buttercream roses using the wilton 1M tip, they would have looked more 3D/ realistic if piped onto the lid, inshaAllah some other time (sighs)

I would prefer the filling insert to be deeper so that the cake to filling ratio would be more balanced however all in all this oversized, zesty, lemon cupcake filled with whipped cream and a layer of sliced strawberries was really tasty you know i would say that, as i'm a sucker for anything using my favourite coloured fruit.

The recipe for the cake & buttercream can be found here, i used about 150ml whipped double cream and 4 small strawberries, sliced for the filling.

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6.19.2012

Date & Almond Loaf Cake

Collage

I wanted to use up the remaining almonds i add left sat in the fridge from when i made my bakewell tart and i'd also been wanting to use my new loaf pan so this cake is what i came up with.

loosely adapted from insing

Ingredients
Butter, unsalted & softened - 150 grams
Caster Sugar - 120 grams
Self-raising flour - 120 grams
Eggs, medium size - 3
Dates, dry/preserved, stoned and chopped - 80 grams
Rose water (Orange Blossom would work too) - 1 tablespoon
Water - 3 1/2 tablespoon
Vanilla, seeds only - 1 teaspoon
Almonds, ground - 45 grams
Almonds, flaked - 60 grams

Syrup of choice for soaking (optional), i used homemade vanilla rose syrup - 1 ladel

Equipment: 10 x 30cm loaf pan, stand mixer with paddle/beater attachment or equivalent i.e. bowl & wooden spoon, palette knife, tablespoon, teaspoon, greaseproof baking paper, selection of bowls.

Method
Pre-heat oven to 350F/180ْC/160C (fan)/Gas mark 4 and grease and line bottom of 10cm x 30cm loaf pan, set aside.

Weigh out & measure all ingredients, Cut dates and spoon rose water and water over them. Set aside covered for 10 minutes.

Remove seeds from vanilla pod, add to butter and sugar then beat together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well in between each addition.
Fold in dry dates, ground almonds and flour.

Pour into greased loaf pan, scatter almond flakes (i missed this step and added them with all the other dry ingredients above....ooooops!)

Bake cake on middle shelf of oven for 30 minutes or until skewer inserted in the centre of cake comes out clean.
Remove from oven, Prick cake all over using skewer and whilst still hot drizzle over no more than 1 ladel of syrup if using, leave in pan to cool completely.

The cake if you choose to soak in syrup is best eaten the day after you make it, this gives the syrup chance to penetrate but in my house cake can't be left till the next day and don't be alarmed when the cake doesn't rise anywhere near the top of the loaf pan it's not supposed to....well at least i hope it's not because i really loved this rather dense loaf cake, alhamduillah.

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Top Tip Tuesday - 'Simple' Inverted Sugar Syrup


  • Always add citric acid / lemon juice (the Inverter) along with your sugar and water at the beginning of making your syrup,  it speeds up the whole process of creating your syrup, for the science bit look here
  • Once the syrup has been brought up to boiling point, if you notice any sugar crystals forming around the sides of the pot, use a pastry brush dipped in water to remove them. This will prevent burning and ensure the consistency of the mixture remains smooth.
  • When you have finished reducing down your simple syrup to your desired thickness (remember it will become thicker as it cools) turn off the heat, then always place the lid on top of the pot/saucepan and leave to cool to room temperature, this also prevents crystallization occurring. Transfer to a clean container/jar then place in the fridge if you don't plan to use within say, a week.
  • If all else fails and you forget the above, strain your syrup through a fine sieve to remove sugar crystals, sadly you will loose alot of sugar/syrup and flavour i.e. the vanilla seeds you see in the first photo.
All the above i learned  relearned over the last day and half.... now who said simple syrup was simple lol I've made many a syrup before for Ramadan sweets like basboosa, baklava, i must have been having a forgetful day!

If you want to know how you make an inverted syrup, head on over to LiveStrong

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6.16.2012

Bakewell Tart




Like many a British classic before it, how the Bakwell tart was first concocted no one is 100% sure of. I'm inclined to believe it came about by accident as the following story tells.
In 1820 Mrs. Greaves the landlady of the White Horse Inn, Bakewell Town Invited friends round for dinner. Mrs.Greaves was busy entertaining and asked her inexperienced cook to make a pudding.
The instructions were, mix an egg mixture with a secret ingredient into a pastry case and spread strawberry jam on top. The cook was inexperienced so misunderstood the instructions, poured the egg mixture onto the jam instead, therefore making a tart, not a pudding!
The tart was still served to the guests and as they praised the dish, Mrs Greaves ordered her staff to continue making them that way.
This tart consists of a thin sweet shortcrust pastry base layered with raspberry jam, frangipane and topped with flaked almonds. It is quite simple to make when you organise yourself well I promise! and even though my oven (fan) kindly over browned the top of my tart, it still tasted great.
The recipe i followed can be found here

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6.14.2012

Baguettes



Salam Alaikum / Peace be upon you and Hello my fellow lady bloggers,

Most authentic French baguette recipes I come across on the internet or in my baking books take far longer to make and bake than this one I’m sharing today. My husband being from Algeria, the French influence on the culture and cuisine of his home country is evident even 50 years on from the country’s independence.

Did you know? It is against the law in France to use preservatives in bread. So the baguette is made every day in bakeries across France. In Paris you will often see people especially in the morning, sitting in the park eating this simple yet satisfying staple along with jelly, I wonder if they have yet cottoned on to the peanut butter and jelly/jam flavor combination, me thinks not.

Enjoy these however which way you choose, a personal favourite is to serve them with a lamb stew or soup.

Note to self – next time actually take a photo of the baguette with that nice bowl of soup you made instead you were just to inpatient/hungry.


Ingredients

White Bread Flour - 500grams

Water warm to touch - approximately 325mililitres, depends on your climate

Yeast, fast action dry – 1 x 7g sachet

Salt – 2 teaspoon

Method

1. Place flour in a medium size bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, sprinkle salt evenly over flour, give it a mix with your hand/spoon, or let the mixer do the work for you! Sprinkle yeast evenly over the flour and mix again. Make a well in the centre of your flour, add 1 cup/250 millilitres and mix together adding more water little by little until dough forms then knead by hand for 10 minutes or 5 minutes in your stand mixer. Check if dough is kneaded enough by pressing a floured finger into the smooth dough, the indentation should spring back.

2. Lightly coat a medium size bowl with oil (I used extra virgin olive oil but it’s up to you), place your dough inside the bowl and then turn it over so the top is coated with oil, cover with plastic wrap or a clean, damp tea towel and leave to rise at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until it has nearly doubled in size.

3. Remove dough from bowl and knock back the dough by kneading for a minute or two. Weigh the dough it should be around 800g, whatever the weight divide it by 4 which in this case would give you 4 x 200g balls, leave dough balls to rest for 15 minutes and then shape into baguettes, look to this video i found on how to shape baguettes.

Then place your shaped baguettes onto a fine semolina or cornmeal dusted baking tray, cover and let rise again for at least 20 minutes, meanwhile put a oven safe dish or tin inside your oven and pre-heat to 390°F/ 200°C/ 180°C/ Gas Mark 6. Before baking make 3 slits in the top of baguettes with a knife on angle, add cold water or ice cubes to your oven proof dish that should be hot in the oven so be careful! Bake the baguettes for 15-20 minutes or until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped underneath.

One last photo because i was in a arty mood the day i made these.



Posterized using picmonkey


   
References used to make this post: French Baguette

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6.13.2012

Coffee & Walnut Cake







Coffee and Walnut cake is a favourite in my home and I hope it will be in yours too, inshAllah


The recipe I took from the bbc for a round cake and by using the cake-o-meter I was able to adapt the recipe to fit my pan shape and size (21cm square), I highly recommend though if you are not wanting a cake deeper than the original recipe then you enter the same pan height as what is in the original recipe even if your pain is bigger. Now you may be asking how did I know the height of the original round cake pan/tin, well I saw it said 18cm springform so I went to Amazon as if i was wanting to buy the pan and found the dimensions….i suppose i could have looked at my 20cm round springform pan in the cupboard as I’m sure they are pretty much all the same, but you know the wonders of technology and I didn’t have to route around my ever growing baking cupboard.


You will wonder at the odd weights of ingredients in my recipe but I have rounded the original figures up or down accordingly to the nearest gram or for example the cake -o-meter said 3.1 eggs = 3 eggs.


Cake




Ingredient
Quantity
Unsalted Butter, room temp
193g
Caster Sugar
193g
Egg
3
Self-raising flour
193g
Baking Powder
1 ½ tsp
Coffee Powder
3 heaped tbsp
Water
150ml
Walnuts
75g plus more for decoration



Icing



Unsalted Butter, room temp
150g
Vegetable shortening
100g
Peanut / Walnut butter
50g
Icing sugar
400g



Method
Heat the oven to 170C/fan 150C/fan 3. Line a deep 21cm square cake tin. Mix up your coffee with warm water and leave to cool. Meanwhile sift flour and baking powder together, set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs alternating with 1tbsp flour to prevent the mix curdling.


Beat in 1 ½ tbsp of the coffee mixture and then add up to another tbsp little by little until the mixture drops easily off the spoon. Keep the rest of the coffee mixture for the icing and even then you will still have some left over.


Stir in the 75g walnuts, snapping them into small pieces as you drop them into the bowl. Spoon into the tin, level the top and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out cleanly (mine cooked in 30mins which means I must invest in an oven thermometer immediately), Cool.


To make the icing, beat the butter, shortening and peanut/walnut butter until soft and then beat in icing sugar followed by the remaining coffee mixture, little by little. Stop when you have a depth of colour and flavour that you like.


Cut the cake into 2 slices horizontally and then sandwich the layers together with some of the icing, you need a reasonably thick layer. Ice the top and sides of the cake with the rest of the icing using a palette knife to smooth as you go (I need to practice this as you see I got it all over the board, I did buy a cake board but it was round and too small so I chose the next best thing a chopping board!  Decorate with walnuts, I went over the top but you can use as many or few as you want and even you could chop them up and sprinkle on the top so it’s less of a chunky mouthful when you have a slice.

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6.12.2012

Watermelon & Rose Water Ice Lollies


Salam Alaikum sisters / Hello everyone,

So this isn't baking but i'm sure you can figure anything sweet i like!
Ice lollies are so quick to make (minus the freezing time) that you will wonder why on earth you haven't been making ice lollies before, I know i felt like that too.

You willl need: Ice lolly mold, Blender or Food Processor

Ingredients

1/3 Watermelon, diced
3/4 tsp Rose Water

Method

  1. Blend watermelon including the seeds but not the green skin, until smooth. Add rose water and blend for another few seconds to distribute rose water evenly.
  2. Fill  ice lolly mold, leaving the smallest gap at the top of each and then pop on your lolly sticks and place in the freezer for 10-12hours.

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6.11.2012

Mini Halal Toad In The Hole


Now you know i will actually go out of my way just to bake using my cupcake/muffin tins!

Toad in the hole - A traditonal english dish usually using pork(Haram/impermissible for muslims to consume) sausages in a Yorkshire pudding batter. Origin of the name is disputed but i think you can guess it's supposed to look like a toad peeking it's head out of a hole! I only managed to have three that even remotely resembled the description, all the rest were engulfed by the rising yorkshire pudding. Tip for next time* Only just cover the sausage with yorkshire pudding batter to ensure the toad poaks out of the whole.

Recipe adapted slightly by using Halal spicy chicken sausages (you could use lamb or beef merguez) and a tiny pinch of salt in the yorkshire pudding batter. Makes 12. Serve with vegetables and gravy.

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