Dairy-Free Blueberry and Coconut Cake

Continuing with the advent theme, my second advent present went to a colleague who is lactose intolerant.  I was determined to make her something dairy-free, as she normally just takes the bullet and eats my cakes regardless.

I found this recipe on the BBC goodfoods website and had to give it a go. It seemed pretty simple to do, whisking the ‘wet’ ingredients in one bowl and the ‘dry’ ones in another – all you have to do is alternatively fold in the flour and soya milk into the ‘wet’ ingredients.  I didn’t use soya milk for this recipe but stuck to coconut milk instead.

Dairy-Free Blueberry and Coconut Cake

Then a quarter of the mixture went into the tin before adding the blueberries into the rest of the mixture.  Then everything went into the tin and into the oven for around an hour and 15 minutes.  Once cooled, I sliced up the cake and wrapped it for her present (unfortunately at the time I only had black ribbon – which isn’t the most festive colour but I had to work with what I had!)

Dairy-Free Blueberry and Coconut Cake

The rest of the cake went into the office kitchen for whoever else was feeling peckish that day.

I have to admit, I’ve always been a bit wary of dairy-free cakes, as I feel like it wouldn’t taste as good but this recipe is gold.  The coconut works amazingly well with the blueberries and there isn’t that ‘oily’ aftertaste you usually get with oil-based cakes.  A definite new favourite of mine and one that I will make a lot more in future.

Dairy-Free Blueberry and Coconut Cake

Advertisements

Something for the Coffee Lovers

After the mini cupcake marathon a week ago, I’ve been a bit baked out and have avoided baking as much as possible and I managed to do so, until Sunday evening. I came home from a messy Saturday night out to be asked to bake a coffee cake for a few dinner guests, eek! The concept of any type of food, let alone cake wasn’t going down to well so I had a lovely afternoon nap (which was greatly needed) and got on to baking in the evening.

My best tip for baking would be: read the recipe all the way through first a LONG time before baking.  I thought this would be a quick and easy recipe and completely missed the part about making coffee and leaving it to cool.  Oops. I improvised and put the coffee in the fridge for 20mins to speed up the cooling process.

The next dilemma was the lack of butter; I needed a LOT of it and we didn’t have enough. As we needed a few other things for dinner as well, my lovely father offered to go out and get it all.  He came back with a guilty face and slightly salted butter; it was the only one there. Oh well, beggars can’t be choosers. I separated enough of the unsalted butter for the icing and used the slightly salted butter to make up the rest of the batter mix.

The coffee, butter and sugar got whipped together before adding 8 eggs one at a time.   The flour and baking powder finally got whipped in and poured into the prepared tin and into the oven for 50mins.

The smell of the cake wafted into the living room while we were waiting for our guest and made us all incredibly hungry, especially with the hangover finally wearing off.  It  came out of the oven looking beautiful and was cooled for a bit before attempting to get it out of the tin.

This is the hardest bit for bunt cakes, as there’s no removable bottom or spring on the side of the tin to help with getting the cake out.  My tin also has dents to make a nicely shaped cake but unfortunately makes it that much harder.  I finally managed to tease it out but did lose a few tiny bits of cake.

The icing was made after dinner, just as another guest arrived just for dessert.  Some of the coffee made at the start was saved and mixed in with the vanilla frosting. I made the mistake of using enough coffee for a whole batch of frosting when I only made half of it; which made the icing quite runny. I ended up adding as much icing sugar as was needed to thicken it up enough again.  The icing got spread over the top of the cake and some dark chocolate was grated over it to decorate.

I tried to be fancy and sprinkle some cocoa powder on top as well but managed to get shake a bit too hard and get an uneven spread. One day I will learn to sieve these things well!

The cake was served up with tea for everyone else and with milk for me, as I couldn’t bring myself to have tea with a coffee cake, it just didn’t seem right.  I asked everyone for their opinions and got a series of ‘mm’s’ and grunts before being told it wasn’t sweet enough, didn’t need the icing, needed more icing, could use more coffee, could use less coffee…. This went on for a few minutes before I realised it was a terrible question to ask!

Other than the different personal tastes, the cake went down well. It’s not a very sweet cake and the icing gives it a nice balance.  If you do prefer less sweetness you could always veto the icing but I personally wouldn’t.  I’m not the biggest fan of coffee cakes but I really liked the taste of vanilla icing with a bit of coffee in it and the cake was nice and moist.  Will be making this cake again, even if it’s only to satisfy my mother’s coffee addiction!

The Not-So-Spicy Spiced Pound Cake

This week, I decided to make the Spiced Pound cake as a gift to a friend (i.e. I needed another reason to bake and had to keep it simple because I’m chair/bed bound).  My funny ass ‘friend’ (we shall not name or identify them in any way due to the, ahem, horrendus joke about to be written) said: is it called a spiced pound cake because its spicy? Ha Ha…. Ha… Errr… No!

I generally love these types of cakes (ones with spices, not with holes in them… I will never understand why you’d do that) because the recipe has lots of different spices in it, including cloves, cinammon and ginger.  My friend has an allergy to cinnamon so I ended up swapping the quantity with more ginger.

A tip for baking this type of cake: grease the cake tin with butter and dust some plain flour over it.  This should stop the cake sticking and making a mess of taking it out.

The batter came out quite thick and almost filled the cake tin.  The 60min cooking time for this cake was a lot longer than other recipes and  I was a bit worried that the cake hadn’t cooked enough so left it in for a couple minutes longer.

While the cake was cooling, I then realised that I did leave it in the oven for a bit too long, as the outside was a bit harder than it should be. Oops.  But it did look very tasty and the smell almost made me cut a slice right then and there.

The final part was sieving icing sugar on the top.  For once, I managed not to go too crazy with the icing sugar; mainly because I had time to waste and did it REALLY slowly.

The family gathered like a pack of wolves when the smells started wafting through the kitchen, so I resorted to threats and hiding the cake.  The holes you see in the pictures were somehow created the next day; I’ve never found the person who did it but if I ever do I’ll exact my revenge. Be warned.

The cake went down a treat and the crustiness of the outside actually went really well with the texture of cake.  It probably wouldn’t be a favourite for the crazy sweet-toothed people out there, but it had a really nice texture and went great with a nice cup of tea.

An Attempt At A Blueberry Masterpiece.

For the first time in my life, I got a cake order… OK so it was from my mum but it was still a huge thing for me.  It was my uncle’s birthday and I was asked to bake a blueberry cake for a dinner party.

I’ve made this recipe twice before so I thought it would be quick and easy.  Oh how wrong could I be! I had to buy the ingredients on my way home from work and completely forgot the recipe needs a lot of butter and blueberries, big oops!  After a second mad dash to the supermarket, I managed to get everything and start baking.

When I first made this cake I was put off by the soured cream and 6 eggs in the recipe but for reasons beyond my understanding, it makes the cake taste amazing.  It does make the batter quite thick however so it was a bit of a struggle to get it into the cake tin.

Tip for preparing the cake tin: grease it with butter and dust it with flour.  It’s a lot harder to get these cakes out of their tins because of the shape but doing this should make it very easy.

The cake went into the oven for 40minutes and came back out as a monster, it was huge!  I was sure the cake tin was the right size but obviously not.  I was pretty sure the cake wouldn’t  stand on the  stand properly so I whipped out the longest knife I could find and cut it along the top of the tin it so that it would stand straight.

Then came the dreadful task of actually attempting to get the cake out. Both times I made this cake before, I had no problems with getting the cake out perfectly, but this time the cake decided it just didn’t want to come out of the tin, about a third of the top layer decided to stay in the tin.  Joy.

After a mini heart attack, I peeled off the rest of the cake and pieced together what I could.  The cake decidedly now looked like Frankenstein’s monster. Then it hit me. Cream chees frosting…glue… it could work.  So I put on a thin first layer of the frosting to hopefully stick everything together.

Once this dried, I put on the remainder of the icing and attempted to get it all to look smooth and nice.  With a few blueberries on top and a quick dusting of icing sugar, I can say I actually managed to hide its flaws.

 

The cake was a big hit at the party and was completely eaten up.  I was even told it was my tastiest cake yet. Not my best masterpiece aesthetically, but a lesson that not giving up and struggling on is the best way to bake.