Thursday, May 21, 2015

My Mother-In-Law's Madeira Cake (Nigella Lawson) : Bake-Along #79

Bake-Along #79, My Mother-In-Law's Madeira Cake, by Nigella Lawson, from her book "How To Be A Domestic Goddess", selected by Lena to bake together with Zoe and myself, and anyone who wishes to join in our bake-along.

Despite it's name, there's no madeira in the cake at all, though I am wondering why it is called as such. That led me to google out of curiosity, and read from Wikipedia, that it is called after Madeira wine, a Portuguese wine, which this cake is usually served with, and was very popular in England during the nineteenth century.

I baked the cakes in two mini cake pans. There's no madeira in the recipe, but I've added 2 tablespoons of rum, well, just because!  :)  I have omitted the sprinkling of sugar over the top.

A nice cake to have with a cup of tea or coffee, though I love to try having it with a glass of Madeira! The crumbs are soft and lemony with the light fragrance of the rum which I've added.

My Mother-In-Law's Madeira Cake
(source from "How To Be A Domestic Goddess", Nigella Lawson or here)
1 cup softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 large eggs
1-1/3 cup self-raising cake flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons rum (my addition)

9x5-inch loaf pan, buttered and lined with parchment or wax paper

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Cream the butter and 3/4 cup sugar, and add the lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour for each. Then gently mix in the rest of the flour and, finally, the lemon juice (and rum). Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with sugar (about 2 tablespoons should do it) as it goes onto the oven, and bake for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool in the pan before turning out.

Makes 8-10 slices.


Do stop by Lena of Frozen Wings and Zoe of Bake For Happy Kids, and all our friends who has baked along with us in the linky below :

For our next Bake-Along, we will be baking "Theme : Croissant". If you are up to the challenge at trying your hands in making some croissants, now is the time!  Please do join us, link your post to our linky which will open from 4th till 13th June. Everyone is welcome to join us! Only current post please.


A friendly reminder when linking to our blog hop :
1. Please mention Bake-Along event in your own post linking direct to any of the hosts' post (JoyceLena or Zoe)
2. Please link only new and current post, PLEASE FOLLOW THE BAKE OR THEME provided by us. Unrelated post will be deleted.
3. Feel free to display our Bake-Along badge in your post.

To join our blog hop, click on the link to get the codes:
get the InLinkz code

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Minestrone In Minutes : IHCC - for Deb

One of the co-hosts at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), Deb, has recently lost her mother. We, at IHCC is making a potluck dish to honour Deb, to offer some comfort by way of food, during this time of bereavement. Deb loves soups, so I have made a comforting bowl of pasta soup.

A meatless soup (I've used vegetable stock), which do not take much time to prepare. I've used elbow pasta instead of ditalini.

"I hope, Deb, that you would find some comfort in this bowl of pasta soup, even though it is only virtually. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family."

Minestrone In Minutes
(adapted from "Nigella Express", Nigella Lawson)
Serves 2-3
1 (14-oz) can mixed beans (sometimes sold as mixed bean salad) or other canned beans
3 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup tomato-based pasta sauce of your choice
4 oz ditalini or other soup pasta

  1. Drain the beans and put them into a saucepan with the hot stock and pasta sauce.
  2. Bring the pan to a boil and then add the ditalini, cooking according to package instructions.
  3. Once the pasta is tender, switch off the heat, remove the pan to a cool surface, and let stand for 5-10 minutes if you can bear to wait. The pasta swells in the soup and everything just gets better.
I'm linking this post to I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), for Deb.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cranberry & Orange Twisted Loaf

A scone with a twist! One look at the loaf, and one would think that it is a twisted loaf bread! This twisted loaf is made with a scone dough. And there's no yeast, like most scones recipes, it uses baking powder. So it really isn't a bread, but more of a loaf of scone.

This lovely recipe is from the book "Bread" by Dean Brettschneider, my current cookbook obsession at the moment! I just can't seem to put this book down. This is the third recipe I've tried from this book which I bought just a few months ago. There are loads of recipes bookmarked from the book, time is the only factor that is keeping me from trying them out sooner. I do have his other book "Pie", bought ages ago, but have not tried anything from it so far, perhaps I should jump on to that book next.

As with most scones recipes, the dough uses baking powder. And the flavour of the dough is enhanced by the orange zest, which gives a lovely orange fragrance. The author says the secret to these scones, is the vanilla, and I do agree! There's vanilla extract in the dough and in the glaze, smells really nice! The dried cranberry filling is made the day before, and I'm wondering why it is done as such. I figured that the cranberry filling can be made in the morning and used immediately after that. Anyway, I left mine in the fridge for two days, before using it.

The cranberry filling is made by boiling dried cranberries with fresh orange juice and thickened with a little cornflour solution. Allow mixture to cool, then tip the whole lot onto a chopping board and chop with a large chef's knife until it become a thick, spreadable paste. I did the easy way using the blender to puree it to a thick paste. Takes only seconds! Taking into consideration, if chopping it with a knife would give a coarse texture, and by using the blender, the cranberry paste will be like a thick puree. Which is fine with me, as the cranberry paste tastes very nice! It would be nice to spread on a piece of bread, just like jam.

Make the dough, taking care not to over knead it. Divide into two equal pieces and roll out each piece to a square. Spread the cranberry filling evenly on each square, roll them up tightly like a Swiss roll. Working on one log at a time, cut right through each log lengthwise. Beginning at one end, twist strands around each other down the length of the strands. Press the ends firmly together so they do not unwind during baking. Repeat with the other roll. Place the twists on lined baking sheet, spaced well apart as they will rise  a little during baking. Brush with egg wash, let rest for 10 minutes and bake as directed.

Make the Vanilla White Icing and use it while still warm. Use a pastry brush to brush the icing over the warm twist. Recipe mentioned to cool glazed twists completely before eating, but I find that eating them while still warm is the best.

The crumbs are moist, soft, smells wonderful from the orange and the flavour of the zest really shines through. I like the cranberry filling, it pairs perfectly with these lovely twisted loaves. The Vanilla White Icing is a little sweet, so for a lesser sweet taste, the next time, I would drizzle them lightly over the twists instead of brushing them over. I would not entirely skip on the icing, as it is very nice, albeit just a little too sweet. Most scones do not keep well overnight, as they would turn a little stale, but not these! These yummy scones stays just as soft on the next day! Really nice with a cup of warm tea.

Cranberry & Orange Twisted Loaf
(adapted from "Bread", Dean Brettschneider, or here)
Makes 2 small twists
Filling :
200gm dried cranberries, roughly chopped
juice of 3 oranges (150 ml) (or good-quality store-bought orange juice) - zest 2 oranges first and reserve zest for dough
1-1/2 tsp cornflour, mixed to a slurry with 1 tbsp water

Dough :
400gm plain flour
20gm caster sugar
good pinch of salt
25gm baking powder
zest of 2 oranges
70gm butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
200ml milk

1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp water, for egg wash
additional flour for dusting
Vanilla White icing **

Prepare filling a day in advance. Place cranberries and juice in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, add the cornflour slurry and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick. The cranberries should soften and swell during cooking. Allow mixture to cool. Tip mixture out onto a chopping board and chop with a large chef's knife to give a thick, spreadable paste. Set aside. (I pureed the cranberry in the blender to a thick paste).

The next day, sift flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir in orange zest. Add softened butter and rub in using your fingertips and thumbs until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Whisk egg, vanilla and milk together in a bowl and pour into dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, mix together to form a soft dough.

Tip dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 10-20 seconds. Take care not to over-knead or the dough will become too elastic. Cut dough into two equal pieces and shape into squares. Using a rolling pin on a floured work surface, roll out each dough piece to a 25cm square.

Divide filling in half. Using a palette knife, spread filling evenly on each dough sheet, leaving about 1cm free along one edge. Brush egg wash along the edge. Working towards the edge painted with egg wash, firmly and tightly roll up each dough sheet to achieve a Swiss roll or log shape. Using a large chef's knife or dough scraper, make a single cut lengthways right through the middle of each log. For each log, take one strand in each hand, with the cut side of each strand facing upwards. Beginning at one end, twist strands around each other down the length of the strands. Press the ends firmly together so they do not unwind during baking.

Place twists on a baking tray lined with baking paper, keeping them well apart so they don't join together during baking. Brush with egg wash and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Bake twists in a preheated 210C oven for 25-30 minutes. Turn tray halfway through baking time to ensure an even colour. While loaves are baking, make icing. Cover and set aside.

Remove twists from oven and leave to cool slightly. While they are still warm, gently heat icing in a microwave and use a pastry brush to brush it over the twists. Leave to cool completely before eating.

** Vanilla White Icing
25gm butter
45gm cream
1 tsp vanilla extract with seeds
150gm icing sugar

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and gently melt together over a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula. Use while warm.

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Wednesday, which the lovely Marjie of Modern Day Ozzie and Harriet is currently hosting, while Louise is taking a break.




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