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All posts for the month April, 2014

The Cake That Almost Wasn’t

Published April 23, 2014 by Storm

I missed 2 weeks of my recipe challenge, back to it this week though with…

Somerset apple, honey and pecan cake

I needed to bake a birthday cake, I should have baked a birthday cake a week earlier but we were still eating simnel cake. I happened to have a glut of apples in the kitchen so this tasty sounding treat looked perfect on paper. The recipe is from Vegetarian Recipes From The West Country, which was a gift from a family member in Cornwall.

It was slightly more interesting to make than the chocolate cake I originally planned to bake; a topping had to be made first and set aside, but didn’t seem difficult. At least, it didn’t seem difficult until the very end of baking! I had foolhardily trusted the recipe for cooking times, and after cooling in the tin for the recommended time the cake did seem done, this proved not to be my smartest move. When I came to turn the cake out it looked more like a soggy sandcastle disaster than a cake! The outer inch and a half was cooked all round but the middle was like quicksand, the whole cake started gently sinking through the cooling rack.

After a moment of dismay I decided to mount a rescue operation. I transferred the cake, topping and all, to a casserole dish, broke up the bigger chunks of cooked cake and mixed everything up before putting it back in the oven. Surprisingly, it turned out not just edible but tasty. I was disappointed to lose the beauty of the original cake but at least it wasn’t going to waste.

3 out of 5 for ease of baking: there are places the cooking instructions could be more clearly laid out (the oven temperature is hiding in the last paragraph) and the cooking time was woefully under stated.

4 out of 5 for flavour: if it tasted good with some over done bits after my rescue operation it should be delicious if I get it right next time.

Spaghetti Squash and a Sample of Simnel

Published April 1, 2014 by Storm

Baked Squash with Parmesan Goats’ Cheese

This is the closest to cheating at my own challenge I’ve come since I started in January. I have been baking squashes since a friend introduced me to cheese topped baked butternut squash when I was eighteen. This week’s recipe just about counted as a new dish as, on the rare occasion I’ve been able to buy them, I’ve always baked my spaghetti squashes with a stuffing; for this recipe you bake the squash on it’s own then season with a herb butter and top with grated cheese. 

I wanted to try something new with spaghetti squash, really I did. The problem was I worked in reverse this week. Up until now I’ve chosen a recipe then raided my store cupboards and shopped for the ingredients. This week I got excited about squash and bought one, confident that I would find spaghetti squash recipes in abundance in my library, and then discovered that of all my books only Vegetarian Classics Simple Dishes for Every Occasion had even one recipe for me to try.

I was slightly surprised by the seemingly short cooking time given but I assumed that it was because the squash wasn’t bursting with stuffing. Towards the end of the cooking time recommended I concluded that my doubts were in fact well founded and I gave my squash an extra twenty minutes. It was edible but still a little crisper than I would prefer. I still like spaghetti squash but I’ll go back to cooking them my way.

4 out of 5 for ease of cooking.

3 out of 5 for flavour (I made a poor choice of cheese though).

Simnel Cake

A couple of weeks ago I baked a Simnel Cake to a recipe from Vegetarian Cooking Through The Year. On Sunday I added the marzipan ready for us to enjoy a sweet treat. Adding the marzipan did provide some mild stress! I obviously made my marzipan eggs a little on the small side as, when I tried to brown them under the grill as instructed, two of them softened too much and dropped through the rack and into the base of the grill pan. The errant eggs were retrieved and all eleven made it onto the top of the cake.

We like this cake. I really like this cake. It reminds me of my Gran’s cakes, though I can’t put my finger on exactly what makes it like one of hers. I think we’ll be having a Simnel Cake for Laetare Sunday every year from now on.

This also gets 4 out of 5 for ease of cooking.

4.5 out of 5 for flavour.

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