Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Peach-Blueberry-Coconut Cake

180g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
250g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1/2 cup grated coconut (fresh or frozen)                 

50 ml sour cream 
50 ml fresh milk

1 peach, remove stone and sliced 
a handful of blueberries 
slivered almonds or almond flakes

 Note:  If you are using desiccated coconut, add extra 50 ml sour cream or milk

           You can replaced peach with nectarines or pears or strawberries.

  • Preheat oven to 170°C.  Grease a 20cm round pan and line the base with baking paper.
  • Sift flour together with salt.  Set aside.
  • Combine sour cream and milk in a jug.  Set aside.
  • If you are using frozen grated coconut, defrost it and set aside.
  • Beat butter with an electric mixer for about a minute and gradually add in sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add in eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined between additions. Then add in vanilla extract.
  • Fold in flour and grated coconut, alternately with sour cream and milk mixture,  beginning and ending with flour.  
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan.  Gently place fruits on the batter and scatter slivered almonds over.
  • Bake for about 1 hour or until a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake. (I baked mine for about 1 hr 15 min)
  • Leave the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Easy Boiled Fruit Cake

christmas cake

1kg dried fruits (raisins, currants, sultanas, dates, apricots, etc)
125 ml brandy

250g butter, cut into cubes
100g dark brown sugar
60g raw sugar
1 can (440g) crushed pineapple
125ml orange juice or water
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder (optional)
1/2 tbsp instant coffee granules (optional)
1/2 tsp soda bicarbonate

4 eggs, lightly beaten

185g self-raising flour
185g plain flour
60g walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped

60 ml brandy, extra - for brushing

For decorations:
100g blanched almonds
red glace cherries

  • Combine ingredients (A) in a large bowl. Cover and set aside to soak for at least 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • In a saucepan, combine the macerated dried fruits and all the ingredients (B). Stir over medium heat until butter is melted and the sugar dissolved. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool.
  • Stir beaten eggs (C) into the cooled fruit mixture.
  • Add in ingredients (D) - sifted flours and walnuts. Mix to combine.
  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan (see Note 2), smoothing the top with the back of a wet spoon.
  • If desired, decorate the top of the batter with nuts and glace cherries. 
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 150°C for about 1 hour 45 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. The centre of the cake should feel firm when pressed gently. 
  • Remove cake from oven. Brush the hot cake with extra brandy. Cover tightly with foil while cake is still in the pan and then wrap the pan in a tea towel. Allow to cool completely.
  • Once the cake is cool, remove from the pan. Tightly wrap it in plastic wrap,and store in the refrigerator.

Note 1:  For this recipe, you can make -
  • one 23cm round cake, or
  • two 15cm square cakes plus one 8" x 4" cake; or
  • four 8" x 4 " cakes.
Note 2:  To prepare the tin, line the base and sides of the pan with two layers of brown paper and two layers of baking paper, bringing the paper 5cm above the edge of the pan.

Note 3:  Fruit cakes taste better with age, so let it mature for at least 2 - 3 weeks before eating.  During this time, keep brushing the cake with brandy regularly.

Soft Wholemeal Bread

Wholemeal flour will turn rancid if left at room temperature for extended periods of time. Instead of buying wholemeal bread flour in bulk and also to save costs, I've decided to mix wheat germ and bran to the white bread flour to make wholemeal flour.  This way you can experiment and make adjustment to the ratio of flours, germ and bran.  Bear in mind that wholemeal flour absorb more liquid than plain flour, therefore it is necessary to use more water or milk in the dough.  Otherwise the bread will turn out like dense bricks!

Ingredients:  For 1 loaf of bread

Water-Roux or Tangzhong Dough:  Refer here on how to cook the water-roux
20g bread flour
100g water or milk

Main Dough:
245g bread flour
5g organic wheat bran
5g organic wheat germ
5g milk powder (optional)
10g chia seeds
25g caster sugar
5g salt
4g instant dried yeast
30g egg, lightly beaten
100g yogurt or milk
90g tangzhong dough
30g butter, cut into small pieces

  • In the bowl of the stand mixer, combine all the main dough ingredients together, except butter. With the dough hook attached, mix until the dough comes together.
  • Add in the butter gradually.  Continue mixing until dough is smooth, shiny and elastic; and passed the window pane test. 
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with cling wrap.  Let it rise until doubled in bulk.
  • Punch down the dough to release trapped air.  Roll into a ball, cover and let it rest for 15 minutes to give the gluten a chance to relax which will help with the shaping of the loaf later.
  • Flatten the dough into a rectangle with the heels of your hands.  Roll up tightly like swiss rolls and place into a lightly greased loaf pan.  Cover with cling wrap and leave to rise until almost doubled.
  • Slash the top of the dough with a razor blade and brush with egg wash.
  • Bake in a preheated oven of 175°C for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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