Right. I got my brand-spanking new beautiful Hummingbird Bakery Recipe book, which meant: a lot of jumping up and down, countless hours spent pouring over the pictures trying to decide what to bake first; and five seconds of baking time to spill something on it. I guess the sign of a good recipe book is one with numerous stains?! At least, this is what I tell myself instead of admitting that I’m just a messy cook.
So what made me choose the Maple & Walnut Streusel cake to bake for my colleagues? Well, I want to say it was an easy decision, but we’ve all been in the position where we’ve received a new recipe book and we just can’t pick which amazing recipe to try out first. I went for this one for two justifiable reasons: one – the picture in the book looked so good I was tempted to rip out the page and eat it then and there; and two – I’ve decided I like the world ‘streusel’.
Once I actually got round to making the cake (deciding took a lot longer than I expected) I made myself a good old cup of tea for a quick pick me up and got to it. The first part consisted of making the ‘streusel’, which is essentially mixing the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon, rubbing in the butter and stirring in the walnuts that were painstakingly chopped up by yours truly (there were no family members to bribe to help me).
The actual sponge was pretty simple to make – The Hummingbird Bakery use a fool-proof method of mixing the dry ingredients in one bowl, the ‘wet’ ingredients in another and incorporating them together. Then it was a simple case of sprinkling half the streusel mix into the bottom of my greased and dusted ring tin, adding half the batter, sprinkling the rest of the streusel and final the rest of the batter. I was determined not to mess up on this recipe so started repeating ‘streusel, batter, streusel, batter…’, which actually worked. It did also mean that I made up a little tune, ended up dancing around my kitchen and driving my family insane when I was still singing it 2 hours later.
In between verses of ‘streusal, batter, streusel, batter’ I put the cake into the oven for around 50 minutes and, to my family’s delight, continued to twirl about the living room singing my new, incredibly annoying song.
No wonder why a taste of cake was demanded after it had come out of the oven. Not only had I filled the house with that glorious cake baking smell that we all know and love (or hate, as it makes you so hungry), but I also spent the entire time singing about the cake they were sniffing jealously at. I poured the maple syrup over the cake while it was still in the tin and waited a bit for it to cool before turning it out.
When I did, it came out perfectly, and I smiled smugly at my mother, who had conveniently appeared by my side. ‘It’s wonky’, she said, ‘you need to cut the bottom so it’s straight’. Damn. She was right. I know she was trying to get a taste of the cake but she had appealed to my perfectionist nature. I got another plate to turn the cake back round and almost did it perfectly – until the cake decided to crack, aaarrrgghhhh!!!! I glared at my mum accusingly who, just as conveniently, did a U-turn and exited the kitchen. Great, I was getting no help from her then.
This is when my dad strolled in, took one look at my anguished face and the now cracked cake and said ‘just glue it back together’. His attempt at comedy actually got me thinking – it was an epiphany. I quickly made the glaze with icing sugar and maple syrup and poured some into the cracks. I held it together for around 15 minutes willing for it to hold and when I finally let go ….
… It came apart again. Great! On to plan B – hide the evidence. I covered the cake in the glaze, focusing quite heavily on cracked parts. After a sprinkling of walnuts you could barely see there was anything wrong.
OK so that’s a little lie, you still could, but thankfully a friend came for the first slice in the morning and I cut him a piece from the worst crack. With the worst of the evidence gone, the cake was very quickly consumed. To be honestly, I don’t think anyone other than me cared.
I managed to get a small slice of cake for myself before it all disappeared and I have to say this; I love the hummingbird bakery. The Maple & Walnut Streusel cake was absolutely delicious. Sweet, but not sickeningly so, with the streusel adding crunch and texture. Definitely a recipe I will use again, but that I will not turn over more than once!