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Cold Remedy Cake

Greetings cake angels,

I’m just recovering from a nasty cold that I picked up this month. Blocked sinus, headaches, chesty cough, you name it, I had it! Having pumped myself full of medicine I decided to switch to natural remedies: Hot water, lemon, honey and ginger.

I’ve recently become slightly addicted to ordering a slice of Lemon cake alongside my Starbucks Chai Tea Latte, so I thought it was time I started baking my own. Vitamin C is the key to restoring good health, so I thought about what I could bake to aid me back to good health… Lemon Drizzle (Loaf) cake, of course ;) It counts as one of my five-a-day, and it contains the Vitamin C I need to nurse me back to good health! 

My first attempt came out okay. The mixture itself was quite heavy, and possibly too large for the tin, causing the cake to take the form of a hunchback *covers face* I also could have taken it out of the oven 10mins earlier for a more moist texture. Otherwise I’m happy with the outcome, and I’ll be sure to practice this again.

If you have a similar Lemon Drizzle recipe for me to try I would love to give it a shot. Post your recipe in my comment box, or email it to cupcakinglydelish@hotmail.co.uk

Love & Cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo

Ingredients

320g Caster Sugar

3 eggs

Grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons

350g Plain flour

1tsp. Salt

250ml Whole milk

1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract

200g Unsalted butter, melted

(Lemon Syrup)

Freshly squeezed juice and zest of 1 Lemon

50g Caster Sugar

23 x 13cm Loaf tin, greased.

Makes 8-10 slices.

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C / Gas Mark 3.

1. Put the sugar, eggs and lemon zest in a bowl and mix with a hand held whisk or electric whisk.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan on the lowest heat.

3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl, and combine the milk and vanilla extract in another bowl.

4. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat well, then beat in one-third of the milk mixture. Repeat this process until both mixtures are added, and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

5. Turn the mixer down to a low speed and pour the melted butter into the mixture.

6. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 45mins – 1hr, or until golden brown.

For the Lemon syrup: While the cake is baking, put the lemon juice and zest, sugar and 100ml of water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over a low heat and raise the heat after a few mins to allow the syrup to boil. When the cake comes hot out of the oven pour the syrup over the cake, whilst the cake is still in the tin. Leave the cake to cool before turning it onto a wire rack.

If you want to feel extra healthy, drink with a mug of green tea- you’ll be cleansing you’re system whilst stocking up on the Vitamin C!

[N.B. This recipe is not my own, taken from, The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook 2009.]

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Leaning Tower of Pancakes!

It turns out that we had another exciting Tuesday in the month of February, last week V-Day and yesterday Shrove Tuesday aka Pancake Day. (If you ask me February is turning out to be a baker’s haven!) All day on Twitter and Facebook people were updating their status about what they were going to drown their pancakes in, what trimmings they would have, and how excited they were to leave work and re-ignite their love with that sacred frying pan.

Flip it. Fold it. Roll it.

Now correct me if I’m wrong but surely eggs, flour, sugar and butter are available to purchase all year round? There are a handful of nations that truly appreciate the beauty of a pancake: A well known delicacy from France, famously known as the Crepe is eaten often, dusted lightly with sugar and spread with a thin layer of chocolate spread. Another famous pancake is the wafer thin Chinese pancake, wrapped around a spoonful of Peking duck, a sprinkling of cucumber and spring onion, and a few droplets of Hoi Sin sauce. Both of these delicacies are regularly devoured in their respective cultures. In fact, even places such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Korea have their own sweet and savoury adaptations of the pancake. (Note to self, learn how to make at least two of these pancakes in time for next year!)

During my last two years of University pancakes were a regular ‘necessity’ in the staple diet for my housemates and I. It is certainly no exaggeration to say that we had freshly made pancakes for breakfast or as a snack at least once a week. Our pancakes were nearly always smothered in ‘Aunt Jemima’s Maple Syrup’, chocolate sauce and a side of strawberries for the healthy kick! Even in my fragile-detoxing-state I’m dreaming ahead to the end of the week when I can treat myself to a well deserved birthday-breakfast, full of treats that soothe and massage my sweet tooth.

Behold, the leaning tower of pancakes!

Despite my week of discipline I still managed to rustle up a stack of ‘leaning pancakes’ for my friends (and I’m proud to say that I didn’t eat a single one!) I delivered them to a friend’s house yesterday evening only to find even more temptation surrounding me, (B’s famous ginger and nut cookies, not pictured). Again, I resisted the urge (I think an applause can be inserted here) and happily watched my friends inhale the pancakes!

Some six years ago on my first visit to NYC I got hooked on the American style pancakes, and I’ve haven’t looked back since. So I guess this wouldn’t be a post worthy of uploading if I didn’t supply the recipe. Bon Appétit.

Love & Pancakes,

Tracey xoxo

 

American Style Pancakes

140g/5oz plain flour

2tbsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2tbsp caster sugar

3tbsp butter melted

225ml/8fl oz buttermilk/semi-skimmed milk

1 large egg

Optional: sunflower oil for oiling pan

Instructions: Pour the sugar and crack the egg into a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Meanwhile, melt the butter on a low heat and add to the pancake batter once melted. Place the flour, baking powder and salt into one bowl and sieve half of it over the batter. Whisk the entire batter and gradually add the milk and remaining flour in parts. If the batter appears too runny, then sieve in a little extra flour until it is a thicker consistency.

Grease the frying pan with a small drop of sunflower oil or butter, and use a ladle to pour a small amount of batter into the centre of the frying pan. Flip over the pancake when it begins to brown, or to your liking.

Serve with crispy bacon and scrambled eggs for the All-American feel; with a side a ripe and juicy berries for a healthy twist, or you can opt for the sugar-holics menu and serve with chocolate chips and maple syrup.

The foundations of the 'leaning masterpiece'

My work is done!

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My Cake Origins

A few weeks ago my sisters and I went to visit some old friends for dinner- My Mother has always told me never to go to someone’s house empty handed, so I did what I did best and asked my friend ‘A’ what his wife (I’s) favourite cake was- lemon cupcakes with a buttercream frosting. As we all sat nibbling nachos and playing Irish snap, I naturally began talking about my blog. ‘I’ stopped me mid-sentence and asked when and how I started baking. We’ve known each other for years and she claimed to have no recollection of me being such a cake-a-holic. Reflecting on this conversation I thought this would make a brilliant blog topic: My Cake Origins.

My earliest memory of home-made cakes was when I was no more than 7yrs old. Society often paints a quaint, picturesque scene of the Mother as Susie-Homemaker, but in my household Daddy could do one thing Mum hadn’t quite mastered- baking. (Yep, my Dad is a DIY-fixing-Accountant-Preacher that can bake!)

One of Dad’s specialities was vanilla sponge cake with a twist. This cake was not your ordinary sponge: the outside was a sandy-brown colour with firm crisp corners, but when served a bright pink or green colour illuminated from the inside! (There’s nothing like a splash of food colouring to keep the kids excited eh!) And there was always the lingering mystery as to what Dad’s secret ingredient was. There was no doubt in my mind that it was a vanilla cake, but I couldn’t quite place my finger on the unidentifiable taste. Was it nutmeg, cinnamon? The mystery remains unsolved…

Another one of Dad’s specialities is Ghanaian meat pies, oooh my mouth waters at the thought of it! Meat pies are a traditional Ghanaian snack, oftens sold by street vendors (and according to my Mum, best washed down with a glass of milk). Whenever Dad gets a ‘free weekend’ he either spends it sleeping, watching sports or at the gym. Or if our household is very lucky we’re blessed with meat pies! Made completely from scratch, a flaky brown pastry is folded over a fistful of seasoned corned beef. Every bite is sacred and every crumb is savoured. Pure perfection to my tastebuds. All other words escape me. You would have to be fortunate to even nibble at this delicacy to understand my love for it.

Ghanaian meat pies

Birdseye view: Ghanaian meat pies

Then there was the summer of ’98 when my Grandparents came to visit from Ghana along with my Aunt, Uncle and cousin from NYC. My Grandma, like many Grandmas is brilliant at everything. But one of the areas she excels in the most is the kitchen. That summer the family were treated to fresh, weekly batches of Ghanaian doughnuts. (Again, nothing is ordinary when it’s a Ghanaian recipe) The doughnuts were small, round, deep-fried balls of gluttony. They were deceptive in their appearance because when consumed they actually sat like rocks at the bottom of my stomach! But my oh my, they were gluttony in the most delicious form. And not forgetting AuntyA who is a pastry chef in Manhattan NYC, surely that says it all. The summer of ’98 was not only a cupcakingly delicious time, but I grew a few inches too, sadly not in height!

The handful of baking influences in my family in my family was only the beginning of my baking habits. It was not until I moved out of the family home for University that I adopted a cake obsession. In my second and third year I lived with two fantastic bakers ‘A’ and ‘J’. When the mood struck them these girls would whip up the nuttiest choc chip and macademia cookies, madeira/chocolate cake, Cornish scones, or even a tropical flavoured sorbet. My word, this household was a cake-a-holics dream come true. If you came for dinner at our house wearing skinny jeans, you would be certain to leave wearing borrowed sweats! ‘A’ and ‘J’ were wizards in the kitchen and I longed to be just like them.

Unfortunately my baking skills did not come naturally and it took me at least a year’s practice to stop my cakes from falling, let alone looking and tasting as the recipe books described. But with a pinch of perseverance and a sprinkle of determination I learnt how to bake some pretty awesome cakes, and developed a love and passion for baking.

Home is where is the heart is, and home is where the baked goodies are too!

Love & Cupcakes,

Tracey xoxo