VANILLA AND CHOCOLATE MARBLE CAKE

 

imageLately I have been letting my other pursuits take over my free time and my passion for baking?……hmmm, not really. I look back on the past month and I have baked atleast thrice (relatively lesser than I did in Mumbai) So the conclusion I come to is that I have been lazy and not putting it down on my blog. So this morning I woke with a firm resolve to shelve the patchwork runner I am working on, the most trying and absolutely pointless book that I am reading so that I can discuss it at a book club (that’s a discussion for another day!) and get to work on my blog. So the morning started with a few clicks of the the cakes (yes 2 cakes) I made last evening and you will notice that they both look similar but nonetheless different in taste and composition. I must mention out here that I have been baking for the last one month without a weighing scale. I eye balled a cheesecake and the 2 cakes yesterday were a combination of eyeballing and cup measurements, which I rarely do. Just when I shoved the tins into the oven, the doorbell rang and my new weighing scale was delivered. Hah!! Looks like someone up there is testing my patience and love for baking.

So why 2 tea cakes?? Its my husbands Birthday week. Every year I ask him with the same enthusiasm “Which cake do I bake for your birthday?”, with a hope in my heart and a prayer on my lips that he will ask for a gooey, yummy, dripping with chocolate something. Nooo, that’s not what he wants. He wants tea cakes. My monster teen looks at him with his “come-on-are-you-serious” look and pips in “who has sponge cake for his birthday?” we do every year in September (LOL). So I decided to bake 2 cakes, ofcourse tea time cakes with a chocolate element . The Vanilla Chocolate Marble cake and Banana Chocolate swirl cake with a streusel topping. Hopefully that would satisfy both the men.

The marble cake has been adapted from Rum scented Marble cake from Epicurious. I have made it plenty of times and I can’t deny that its been wonderful, so chocolatey that the white vanilla cake is lost. The marbling always turned out muddy with just a few grains of white, I might as well have made a chocolate cake. So this time I reduced the chocolate batter to half and did not put a knife through the cake to marble it. The chocolate forms a ripple through the cake. There are 2 distinct flavours in the cake – an orange scented white sponge and a very gooey, rich vein of oozy chocolate running through it.

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Tonight I intend to turn it into a dessert with a dollop of fresh cream and drizzle of melted chocolate. Monster teen must know that his Mom isn’t so boring after all!

RECIPE

VANILLA AND CHOCOLATE MARBLE CAKE

Base Batter

1 1/3 cup all-purpose Flour

¾ cup Sugar

1 teaspoon Baking powder

Pinch of salt

175 grams Butter, softened

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

3-4 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Chocolate batter

50 grams dark/ bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon cream

¼ teaspoon coffee granules (instant is fine)

¼ teaspoon baking soda

  • Pre Heat the oven to 160o C. Grease and line an 8 inch baking tin.
  • In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients-flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Give it a stir. Add in the butter and mix on low speed until the mixture is a smooth heavy paste. About 1-2 minutes.
  • Whisk the eggs with a fork in a medium bowl, add in the orange juice and vanilla and mix well. Add the egg mixture to the batter in 3 parts, whisking well for a minute after each addition. Scrape the side of the bowl after you complete mixing.
  • For the Chocolate Batter- combine the cream, coffee and baking soda and add it to the melted chocolate, stir well to dissolve the baking soda. Add ¼ cup of the base batter to the chocolate mixture and stir well to combine.
  • Spoon the 1/3 rd base batter on the base of the prepared tin. With a teaspoon drop the chocolate batter in concentric circles on the base batter. Spoon on another layer of the base batter and continue spooning some chocolate batter over it. Once done, gently run a butter knife or a tooth-pick around the tin in S-shape. Do not over mix, r you will end up with a muddy looking cake. I refrained from running a knife and baked the cake as is.
  • Bake in a pre heat oven for 42 minutes (approx), or remove when the centre of the cake feels firm to touch.
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BANANA AND CHOCOLATE SWIRL CAKE

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Banana cake or bread has been an on-off favourite of ours for many years now. I have given it a very healthy avatar (click here) and lately it was starting to become oh so Ho-Hum that my teen son refused it as a pre workout snack unless I cut down on the fancy stuff, namely bananas, dates, oats and wheat flour. In the face of such strong revolt I had no choice but to give my Healthy Banana Nut cake a makeover. So I decided to take heed of the free advice and cut down on the banana, add in a chocolate element and topped it with crunchy nuts, oats and honey mix. A dash of cinnamon ofcourse heightened its oomph factor.

 

RECIPE

BANANA AND CHOCOLATE SWIRL CAKE WITH CRUNCHY TOPPING

140 grams plain flour

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

140 grams castor sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 large banana mashed (you can use 2 for a more pronounced banana taste)

¼ cup mixed nuts chopped roughly (almonds, cashews pistachios)

(*divide into ½)

85ml milk

Chocolate Swirl

30 grams dark/ bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

1 tablespoon cream

¼ teaspoon coffee granules (instant is fine)

¼ teaspoon baking soda

Topping

½ the mixed nuts from above *

2 tblspns oats

2 tblspns honey

1 tablspn melted butter

 

  • Pre heat oven to 180o C. Grease and base line an 8 inch baking tin
  • In a large bowl beat together the sugar and butter until light. Add in the egg, vanilla, cinnamon. Beat to mix well.
  • Add half the nuts, banana and mix.
  • Sift the flour with the baking powder. Add it in 3 parts alternating with the milk and beating between each addition.
  • For the Chocolate Batter- combine the cream, coffee and baking soda and add it to the melted chocolate, stir well to dissolve the baking soda. Add ¼ cup of the banana base batter to the chocolate mixture and stir well to combine.
  • Spoon half the banana batter and top it with blobs of chocolate batter. Continue this process until both the batters are exhausted.
  • Mix the ingredients for the crunchy topping and sprinkle it evenly over the top, gently pressing down with damp fingers.
  • Bake in a pre heated oven for 30-35 minutes. If the top starts browning mid way then turn down the oven temperature to 180. Insert a toothpick to see if the cake is done.

 

 

  • Pre heat oven to 180o C. Grease and base line an 8 inch baking tin
  • In a large bowl beat together the sugar and butter until light. Add in the egg, vanilla, cinnamon. Beat to mix well.
  • Add half the nuts, banana and mix.
  • Sift the flour with the baking powder. Add it in 3 parts alternating with the milk and beating between each addition.
  • For the Chocolate Batter- combine the cream, coffee and baking soda and add it to the melted chocolate, stir well to dissolve the baking soda. Add ¼ cup of the banana base batter to the chocolate mixture and stir well to combine.
  • Spoon half the banana batter and top it with blobs of chocolate batter. Continue this process until both the batters are exhausted.
  • Mix the ingredients for the crunchy topping and sprinkle it evenly over the top, gently pressing down with damp fingers.
  • Bake in a pre heated oven for 30-35 minutes. If the top starts browning mid way then turn down the oven temperature to 180. Insert a toothpick to see if the cake is done.

 

PS: I mixed a tablespoon of the chocolate batter with the topping to add stickiness and flavour.

ORANGE ALMOND CAKE

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Hey, I didn’t realise I had reached my one year mark and it was time for celebration. What do you say when your blog is a year old, “birthday”, “anniversary”,”Happy Blogday”, “Many Bloggy Returns”??? (LOL!!)

Last year seems like a light year away. My struggles with just setting up the blog….OMG the goof-ups and the frustrating hours trying to find my way around. Oh the terminology got me all wired up, wicked widgets, Sidey bars, felt like Whipping the Admin, and kicking the categories into outer space and de-Linking from the keyboard forever. I was so close to giving up and when I went through some blogs and saw the content I was brought closer to binging on a whole cake! How was I to keep up with the Jones. The passion for baking and chronicling my adventures was too deeply seeded and there was no way I was going to give in to mere technicalities. I trudged along and I can see myself today, charged, happy, unstoppable and hoping to leave behind a Food-print that I hope someone somewhere will walk on or discover.

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So now let’s get on with the sweet present and celebrate. Orange Almond Cake is a Jewish creation baked during Passover. I first came across it on a food show “Food Safari” and I had to make it so I went googling. This recipe is adapted from a blog which is a delightful mix of two better halves coming together to blog about their personal passions…he cooks, She Sews.

image I have modified it a little to suit my tastes and altered the method to Jill Dupleix’s who suggests whipping the egg whites separately to make the cake lighter. It’s a pretty straight forward cake, eggs, almonds, no flour, no butter (Yippee!!), but what intrigued me was the way the orange is incorporated. It made so much sense. The whole orange is boiled for an hour and a half, to soften it and remove the bitterness. Then pureed, it looked like orange nectar. The moist boiled fruit gives the cake an almost puddingish texture. If you over-bake it, worry not it will yet turn out moist. The taste is to die for, it’s like eating an orange candy pudding. But make no mistake it is definitely a cake. It’s just so sweet, moist and lush that you can’t decide if it’s a pudding, a candy or a cake.

 

RECIPE

ORANGE ALMOND CAKE

1 medium/small Orange

3 eggs, separated

100 grams Caster sugar

100 grams Almonds, skinned and lightly roasted

¾ teaspoon Baking powder

 

  • Line a springform tin (7″ diameter) with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper and the sides of the tin. Preheat oven to 180oBoil the orange for 1-1 ¼ hour. Top up the water when the level reduces. Remove from the water. Let it cool. Cut it open. Remove seeds. Puree with a hand blender and set aside
  • Grind the almonds with a tablespoon of sugar to a fine powder or as fine as you can it.
  • Whip the egg whites to soft peaks in a clean glass bowl. Set aside.(In order to save washing up I prefer to whisk the egg whites first)
  • In another medium sized bowl, with the same beaters as the ones you used for the egg whites, beat together egg yolks and remaining caster sugar until light. Add in the orange and almonds and baking powder and beat until its one smooth mixture.
  • To the cake mix add a heaped serving spoonful of egg whites and whisk in to lighten the mixture. Add the remaining egg whites in 2 batches and fold in gently with a spatula.
  • Pour cake mix into the lined and oiled spring form tin 7’ in diameter and bake the cake at 180o C for approximately 25-30 minutes until the cake has browned and a skewer inserted in the centre has a few crumbs sticking to it.
  • Tips:
  • If the cake browns too fast, cover with a tin foil.
  • Cool the cake and unmould it carefully if you are not using a springform cake tin. Mine cracked right down the middle.
  • The cake keeps well in the refrigerator for atleast a week. Just give it a few minutes to thaw. Serve it by itself or as a dessert with a dollop of fresh cream and honey.

LE DIABOLO- THE SUPERIOR CHOCOLATE CAKE

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This post is long overdue. Its been a month of cookies, cakes, bars and a few failed projects. On the positive note my anniversary cake has been a big hit and was lapped up in two sittings. I had no time to decorate it and the boys had no patience to wait for it to be covered in chocolate clay or ganache (not that it needs any more additions!) I couldn’t hold them and myself off any longer, so we unleashed ourselves on my heart shaped anniversary cake sans the frosting, the roses or the ribbons and enjoyed it just the same.

I must mention here that I have been on a mission to teach myself how to decorate a cake and make it look pretty. This futile exercise in cosmetics has been going on for a few years now and at the end of it all I throw up my hands in frustration, chuck the fondant, chocolate clay into the bin….only to get back and bind myself up, in thick fondant and chocolate clay all over again. This year I resolved to try making chocolate clay and went after the recipe like a woman possessed. I made dark chocolate and white chocolate clay. The end result was a slab of hard rock that wouldn’t budge but would do the job of a murder weapon or a meat mallet quite well!! (LOL)😄

I did manage to get a few roses from the dark chocolate but the white chocolate clay remained stubborn and stiff refusing to give in to my desperate kneading and massages. I must also clarify that it has nothing to do with the recipes, it has to be something to do with my mindset or the reluctant vibe that I give off when planning a beautification project. Until I get the science of clay making right I will keep looking enviously at the lovely pictures on other blogs.

I must apologise for photographing only part of my heart shaped cake. We got so caught up in the taste and dense beauty of this beautiful patisserie that photography wasn’t on my agenda, until my teen jerked his head out of his plate and screamed, spewing cake bits and vanilla ice-cream all over the table “Mom, the blog”. I looked at the half eaten heart with a broken heart and quickly halted the party, whipped out my ipad and clicked the left-overs. Don’t get put off by the pics, I promise you this half eaten heart holds a lot of promise and no one will notice or ever critic you for the lack of fuss and frills. It is immensely chocolatey, with a melting texture and just needs an accompaniment of whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream or just enjoy it as is. Thank God your taste buds have no eyes!! 😆😆

RECIPE

LE DIABOLO- THE SUPERIOR CHOCOLATE CAKE

150 grams bittersweet chocolate, chopped

150 grams unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract

3 eggs separated

115 grams Caster Sugar

50 grams ground almonds

40 grams plain flour, sifted

½ teaspoon salt (scant)

  • Preheat oven to 190o C. Grease and line with parchment paper an 8-9 inch springform cake tin. An ordinary tin will do just as well.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter together over a double boiler, careful not to overheat. Once most of the chocolate has melted get it off the heat and stir the remaining bits and they will melt.
  • In a medium bowl beat the egg yolks with 70 grams of sugar until pale and thick. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture followed by the almonds, flour and salt.
  • In a squeaky clean bowl, whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks, add in the remaining sugar and whip until the whites are stiff.
  • Fold a large spoonful of the egg whites in the chocolate mixture to lighten it and then fold in the remaining whites.
  • Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre shows moist crumbs. The cake will rise and a crust will form on the top. Let the cake cool in the tin placed on a wire rack. Press down the cake before removing from the tin.
  • Serve with a dollop of fresh cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 10.

 

 

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP LOAF

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Pumpkin and chocolate chips and wheat flour cake…if you recited this combination a few years back I would roll my eyes and walk away. Not anymore. Yes, its not only possible but it’s a tasty and very happy possibility.

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I am always trying to be one up on my teenager, getting him to taste and try out different combinations, sneaking in greens and veges trying to blend them into the background, so this was one more attempt at cheating. By now he is resigned to his fate and my eccentric ways, but I love the way he feigns surprise and awe when I reveal the monster in our midst.

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Pumpkin soup is a fabulous pre-dinner snack with a dash of cream and loads of lemon squirted in, but a pumpkin cake? He couldn’t guess it, it was so good and chocolate chips are a fabulous addition to this spicy, sweet, delicate cake that has a luxurious texture and is a great accompaniment to a cup of tea or a treat in the sandwich box.

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The recipe is adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction and I have made a few nicks and cuts (if you know me by now, you aren’t surprised J). I have added wheat flour and made fresh pumpkin puree. The pumpkin puree should be like a potato mash and not runny.  Don’t overdo the spices. Nutmeg when just right can lend a subtle flavour but a generous dose of it leaves a bitter after taste. The same goes for cinnamon.

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Initially I thought of adding raisins but the chocolate chips were too tempting and I couldn’t resist the tiny mountains of pure luxury and gooeyness. I also used honey for some part of the sugar and as a result there was a “puddingish stickiness” to the cake, which is already finger licking good.

The pumpkin is not obvious but its sweet fruitiness adds flavour and depth to the cake. It lends a beautiful orange hue to the cake. With chocolate chips, cinnamon, honey on your side, I recommend that you cheat all you want and no one will be any wiser!!

RECIPE

Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Loaf

Ingredients:

120grms Whole wheat flour

 100 grms all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

150 grms honey

80 grms brown sugar

300 grms pumpkin puree

80 ml melted butter ( you can use sunflower/canola oil)

1/4 cup (60ml) orange juice

Grated rind of one orange

100 grms semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C (350F) degrees. Grease 9×5 inch loaf pan or 2 6×2 inch pans.
  • Sift together the flours, baking soda, salt and the spice powders. Add the orange rind to the the mixture, mix all the dry ingredients well and keep them aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, honey, brown sugar together until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin, melted ]] butter and orange juice. Pour these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix together using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon.  Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes ( for a big loaf) and 40 minutes for 2 smaller ones. When done the cake will be firm to touch, cracked on the top and a skewer inserted in the centre wll be clean with only a few small moist crumbs. If the top browns too fast cover it lightly with a piece of aluminum foil.
  • Allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing and slicing.

For the Pumpkin Puree:

350 grms pumpkin will yield 300 grms puree.

Peel and chop the pumpkin into dice sized cubes. Put it in a steal container or box with a tight lid and pressure cook for 15-20 mins. Alternatively. You can cook it with a  cup of water on low heat till soft and squashy and the till the water dries out. Smash it to a smooth paste and use.

MAWA CAKES

MAWA CAKES (Milk Cakes) image This week I dare to delve into my rich Parsi heritage and unearth a recipe which will be a hit in any kitchen. I come from a miniscule community that has settled in India since the 1500s-Parsis or Zorastrians or Bawas (called lovingly throughout the world). We are known for our great love of food, more food, and all food and drink…. The Parsis originally from Iran escaped on a boat, to avoid religious persecution. They landed on the western shores of India and soon became an integral part of their adopted country. Hence many recipes which are part of the Parsi cuisine have an Irani, Arabic influence and Indian too. Almost all Parsi food is meant for hardcore carnivores and it’s blasphemous to be a “veggy Parsi” (me for example). The food is spice laden, rich and comfortingly heavy. No guest goes home from a Parsi household complaining, except for a vegetarian! Many recipes that I prepare on a day to day basis are watered down versions of what my mother or grandma would have made, less oil, no red meat and lesser spice. Very few recipes I follow are written, they have been passed down by the talkative women in my family who couldn’t stop boasting about their culinary skills (Thank Heavens!!). That was their version of blogging, I guess. (LOL) imageBaking and cakes is not a part of Parsi culture but is influenced by the British who ruled India for over a century. The Paris of my Grandmother’s and Mother’s generation considered themselves to be the Queen’s far off cousins and hence acted the part of “propah” British ladies, complete with bone china tea sets and tea times with cakes, pastries and delicate sandwiches. They have disowned daughters like me who turned vegetarian, drink tea from chipped mugs, accompanied by last night’s, cold pizza! 🙂 To get back to baking, Mawa cake is an iconic Parsi take on the classic Pound Cake. It has been a part of the Mumbai culinary scene for decades. Newspapers were filled with obits when a famous Parsi bakery shut shop. As kids we have eaten endless mawa cakes from tiny Irani cafes and stores which dotted South Mumbai’s Parsi areas of Grant Road, Lamington Road, Fort (note the British names please).

Mawa cakes could be the cousin of another Parsi tea-time treat called Kumas, which is similar but uses semolina, wheat flour and ghee (clarified butter). imageMawa is basically full cream milk reduced to a thick creamy mix. It is also known as Khoya and widely available at milk centres all over the city. For years I have used the store bought mawa but this time I dared to try my hand at making it and at the end of an hour and a half my legs craved a massage and my arms looked toned. Its an easy task but extremely time consuming and the heat makes it worse. The superior taste was worth the exercise.

The cake making process is the same as for a pound cake. The mawa adds a dense, milky richness to the cake and the cardamom and nutmeg powders elevate it to another level. Its tastes like Indian Mithai, only much lighter and a little more Anglicised. image image image image imageTop it with cashews soaked for an hour in milk, this prevents them from burning to a dark brown piece of inedible cardboard. Be generous when spooning the batter into the muffin tins, they rise beautifully and end up looking golden brown like a balding Head (LOL!!). The cakes are rich, buttery, golden and “mawaddictive”. And any Bawa worth his milky-sweet-tea will tell you they are best eaten dunked in a hot cuppa chai…..slurp!! 🙂

RECIPE

MAWA CAKES

Makes- 24 muffins / 2 large loaves

300 grms Mawa (recipe follows)

300 grms caster sugar

300 grms butter

300 grms all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoon Baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

½ cup milk

1 heaped teaspoon cardamom and nutmeg powdered (alternately grind seeds of 10 cardamom pods and half a nutmeg with a tablespoon of sugar)

2 teaspoons Vanilla extract

50 grms cashew nuts, broken into halves and soaked in ¼ cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  2. Prepare your cupcake or muffin tins by oiling them and lining with paper cups.
  3. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder.
  4. In a large bowl beat together mawa, butter and sugar until light.
  5. Add eggs one at a time a beat thoroughly to incorporate.
  6. Add in the vanilla and spice powders and beat for another 30 seconds
  7. Add 1/3rd of the flour alternating with the milk and fold in gently but thoroughly. Scrape the bottom of the bowl so that no flour pockets remain. Start and end with the flour. The mixture will be very thick, thicker than dropping consistency.
  8. Spoon the mixture into muffin tins, filling them a little over ¾. Top with milk soaked cashew nuts and bake for 20-25 minutes in a pre heated oven. If you find the cakes browning a bit too fast lower the oven temperature to 170. When done the cakes will be springy to touch and golden brown.
  9. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an air tight container at room temperature for a day. Transfer to the refrigerator for long term storage and thaw before serving.

LAMINGTONS- Daring Bakers’ Challenge

 The Daring Bakers’ Challenge:

Lamingtons 

For the May challenge Marcellina from Marcellina in Cucina dared us to make Lamingtons. An Australian delicacy that is as tasty as it is elegant image I am running backwards on a treadmill! I am on the 26th and furiously banging away at my lap-top ‘cause this is the only hour I will get in this fast and furious day to complete this post and I am determined not to miss this challenge even if the heavens descend and choose to stop me. Look at me…..when I peeped into the Daring Bakers’ Forum in the first week of May I was so full of ideas and myself. Thought I would execute the Lamingtons one fine sunny morning and surprise the men with an unexpected treat but the heat, early mornings and driving in this horrendous Mumbai traffic, has taken a toll on my already fading memory and hey! Mr. “40 something” it’s not age! Now that I have it in black and white let me get down to the Lamingtons. Another challenge, another story. That’s what I like about the DBCs. A good story maketh a good post and my fellow bloggers and visitors this one is as good as it can get. I am an absolute sucker for Victorian stories, set in the 1800s, when ladies wore muslin gowns for tea and changed into silk and taffeta for dinner and lace bonnets for bed-time. Ooooh I must have been one of them. Tea in the warm gardens under the cool canopy of verdant oaks, fine china, tinkling cutlery, maids who take care of brats and white-gloved chauffeurs who drive you around in horse driven carriages and gentlemen who bow when introduced. I already feel like a character from Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, a whole day to while away, doing needle-point, receiving ladies for tea and leaving calling cards around the city. Well, I am sure you get the picture. In this setting enters Lord Lamington the Governor of Queensland, Australia from 1896 to 1901. Stories abound as to why the cakes came about and you must have guessed by now that this beautiful cake is named after His Lordship. Lord Lamington’s maid-servant accidentally dropped a freshly baked sponge cake into some melted chocolate (butter fingers!). Apparently Lord Lamington disliked wastage (my kind of man!), so he suggested coating the chocolate coated cake in desiccated coconut to avoid messy fingers. “Seriously, Mom? Messy fingers?” that’s Mr.13’s reaction to His Lordship’s thrift and fastidious character as he stuffed his mouth with one more Lamington. I almost screamed “Behave like a gentleman!. New Zealanders claim that Lamingtons are their babies and a Kiwi Daring Baker gave another interesting story to refute the Aussies’ claim to fame. In a portrait, “Summer Pantry” dated 1888, a partially eaten Lamington cake is clearly visible on the counter of a cottage overlooking Wellington Harbour. The Kiwis also rechristened it Wellinton – a double sponge dessert, dressed in shavings of coconut intended to imitate the snow capped mountains of New Zealand.” made by a local baker A.R. Levin So the stories and claims and counter claims continue and honestly a good lesson in History has stirred up my appetite and I needed proof if the cake was as good as the stories which proceeded it. Marcellina from Marcellina in Cucina hosted this challenge and can’t thank her enough for the recipe and History lessons. The sponge inside the Lamington is a basic Genoise Sponge- light and delicate. In this recipe cornflour is used instead of plain flour and little melted butter is folded in to add moisture to the cake. This is a very light and feathery sponge and you need to handle it with love and care, fold in the cornflour lightly, don’t open the oven door to peak in every few minutes or it will sink and turn lumpy. The cake is so delicate that it needs to be aged a day before it is sliced so that it doesn’t fall apart. But I was short on time and went ahead and did the slicing. image image image image image image image The topping possibilities are endless so don’t stop at desiccated coconut ,  I am not a fan of coconut and cake, so I chopped up some almonds into the desiccated coconut. I found the dipping sauce too sweet and next time I would go slow on the icing sugar. I have also added some chopped dark chocolate to the sauce whilst melting. You are free to fill the Lamington with cream, jam, Dulche de Leche, nuttela. I filled a few with chocolate coffee cream from my Coffee, Coffee Cake and that was a good idea as it cut the sweetness of the sauce. Finally the Lamingtons are ready, photographs taken and the treadmill seems to have slowed down. I am back in the gardens chatting with Jane, Lizzie, Mary, Kitty and Lydia. A cool wind blows at my curls and the rustles my gown and I am rudely jerked out of my reverie…..in the distance Mr.13 yells, “Mom, May I have one more?”

RECIPE

LAMINGTONS

Servings: 24 Sponge Cake  I

ngredients:

5 large eggs, at room temperature

225 gm castor (superfine) sugar

Pinch salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

200 gm cornflour (cornstarch)

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon butter, melted (optional)

Chocolate icing

350 gm icing sugar

40 gm cocoa powder

1 teaspoon coffee

40 gm dark chocolate, chopped

1 tablespoon/15 gm butter, melted

½ to ¾ cup (120 ml to/180 ml) milk

Filling :  Chocolate- Coffee Nut filling in Coffee, Coffee Cake (optional)

Topping 150 gm unsweetened desiccated coconut, to assemble 100 gm finely chopped almonds  

  1. Preheat oven to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  2. Prepare a 4 ½ cm (1¾ inch) deep, 23cm x 33cm (9”x 13”) baking pan by lining with non-stick paper. Sift the cornflour and baking powder at least 3 times.
  3. Place eggs, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Using the whisk attachment of your electric mixer beat on high for 15 minutes.
  4. After 15 minutes add vanilla and beat on high for another 5 minutes. The mixture should have at least tripled in size, be light in colour and very foamy.
  5. Sift flour mixture over the egg mixture. Do so gently so as not to deflate the eggs.Use a large metal spoon r a rubber spatula to lightly fold the flour in. Heavy handling now will result in a flat tough sponge. If you are using butter, thoroughly fold it in now but lightly.
  6. Spread mixture into your prepared pan and smooth out evenly.
  7. Bake in preheated moderate oven for 22-25 minutes. The sponge will rise quite a lot but then settle back down. Don’t be tempted to open the oven to peak. When baked the sponge will have shrunk very slightly from the sides and springy when pressed gently.
  8. Turn the sponge out immediately onto a wire rack to cool and reverse sponge so as not to mark the top. Allow to cool. It is best to keep the cake for a day before making the Lamingtons as the cake will be easier to handle.
  9. For the icing/ coating -Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a heatproof bowl. Stir in the butter and ½ cup milk. Set the bowl over a pan of hot water. Stir until icing is smooth adding more milk to thin the icing if needed. You may need more than ½ cup but not quite ¾ cup of milk.
  10. To assemble the Lamingtons:Cut the sponge cake into 24 rectangular pieces – 6 across and 4 down. Keep the icing over the hot water to keep it melted. Place desiccated coconut and almonds in a shallow bowl. Dip each piece into the chocolate icing. Allow excess to drip off then toss gently into the coconut. Stand cakes on a wire rack to set, about 2 hours.

NOTES: For an 8”by 8” cake, which will make 16 Lamingtons, I suggest using 3/5th of the measure of ingredients. Example- 3 eggs, 135 gms sugar, 1 tsp melted butter…etc. Slice cake cubes into half and slather with a filling of your choice, put them back together and dip into the icing.