Monday, 20 June 2011

Fresh Strawberry Cake with White Chocolate Chips - CSB June 2011

It’s the twentieth of the month – Cake Slice Baker time!

This cake, again, comes from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman published by The Taunton Press 2009. For the first time when the Cake Slice members voted on which cake for us all to bake there was a draw. Two choices to bake: Lime Chiffon Cake or Fresh Strawberry Cake with White Chocolate Chips.

I chose to make the latter and it’s a very seasonal one for this time of year, when our strawberries are at their brightly coloured, juicy, delicious best. I bought four lots of strawberries before I managed to make the cake, we just couldn’t help ourselves eating the rest just as they were =)

Anyhow, the strawberry cake comes from the snacking cake chapter. It has some sour cream in the cake batter to give a little tang and it made for a moist fruity cake that felt quite decadent by the addition of the white chocolate chips. I use chopped up white chocolate, because that is my preference here.

We liked this cake, it’s not a wow-after-dinner-cake, but it is a very nice cake to have with a cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon. The author tosses the sliced berries in some flour to stop them dying the whole cake pink, and this worked well. Do visit the Cake Slice Bakers blogroll, and see how everyone else has done their cakes, and maybe the lime one too.

Fresh Strawberry Cake with White Chocolate Chips

From Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman 2009. I’ve re-done it slightly to make it easier for UK bakers. I’ve put the US measurements in italics where I’ve changed them.

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

150ml pot sour cream ½ cup

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ cups plain flour – divided 1 ¼ cups and ¼ cup

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda baking soda

Good pinch salt

3 oz unsalted butter, softened 6 tablespoons / ¾ of a stick

1 cup sugar

8 oz strawberries, weighed after hulling and slicing

150g white chocolate chips (or chopped white chocolate) 1 cup

(1) Preheat the oven to 180 oC. Line an 8 inch square baking tin with baking parchment paper.

(2) Combine the egg, egg yolk, sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla in bowl and mix together.

(3) Mix together the dry ingredients, the 1 ¼ cups flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.

(4) Mix the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer for about 3 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides as necessary. Add in the sour cream mixture, slowly. Add the flour mixture in three lots, with the mixer on low speed. Mix for 30 seconds on medium speed.

(5) Combine the sliced strawberries with the ¼ flour you have left and toss lightly to coat. By hand with a spatula gently fold in the berries in flour plus the white chocolate chips. Mix well, but lightly. Scrape into the prepared tin. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

(6) Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, peel off the paper and let cool completely on a baking rack. Cut into 9 or 12 squares.

Next Up: Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Olives Et Al, Product Review and Quick Halloumi Recipe

I was recently sent some samples from Olives Et Al (thank you), a British company who are purveyors of fabulous olives and much, much more, do have a look at their website here. They also have a big selection on the Amazon UK website I liked everything I tried here, and would certainly buy from them in the future.

The Sunshine Olives were perfect before a Mediterranean dinner. I had plans for the leftovers, but alas there were none! Another pair of pre-dinner nibbles were Wasabi Flaming Rice and Cajun Spiced Nuts. The wasabi crackers were little bombs of fire - the hot wasabi packing a real punch. The Cajun nuts were also spicy, but in a more rounded way – a lovely mix of almonds, cashews and peanuts.

Finally was the Beetroot and Thyme dressing / marinade. I had this for lunch one day, but it could equally be an easy first course for dinner. The sweetness of the beetroot in the dressing played really well with the halloumi cheese that I served it with. If you’d like to make it here is the recipe, although method is probably more accurate, as there isn’t much to it!

Fried Halloumi Cheese with Beetroot and Thyme Dressing

1 packet Halloumi cheese

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Bag Rocket leaves

Cherry tomatoes, about 8 per person

Olives Et Al Beetroot and Thyme Dressing / Marinade

(1) Slice some halloumi (I get 8 to 10 slices per pack of halloumi) put about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan and heat, when hot fry the halloumi slices for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until browned and crispy on the outside.

(2) Meantime place some rocket leaves on plates and halve the cherry tomatoes.

(3) When the cheese is ready place 2 to 3 slices on top of the waiting rocket leaves and scatter over the cherry tomatoes, finally drizzle everything with the dressing.

Serves 2-3 as a light lunch or 4 as a first course.

Next Up: Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days