Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chocolate Orange Drizzle Loaf Cake

Another winner from Sweet and Simple Bakes! Doesn't just the name of it make you drool? If any of you are amateur bakers, and would like to try out some no-fail recipes, you simply have to come on over and join Maria and Rosie and all the rest of us at Sweet and Simple Bakes. Every single one of their bakes so far (over a year's worth of bakes) have been completely amazing!

In this bake, you first make a simple loaf cake with some orange zest for flavoring. Then you make tiny holes and drizzle orange syrup onto the cake and let it drip down into the cake...mmm!!! Then, if that's not enough to send you racing over to the kitchen, you add a topping of melted chocolate and sprinkles - yes, you simply have to add sprinkles, so that's not optional, though the recipe says it is. So I'm telling you, make this the next time you have company, and you're guaranteed to awe.

(Sorry about the bad photos, but I took these with my phone's camera because my regular one suddenly stopped working as we cut into it!)

Chocolate Orange Drizzle Loaf Cake
(recipe from Sweet and Simple Bakes)

For The cake
175g (6 oz) softened butter
175g (6 oz) caster (super fine) sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
175g (6 oz) self-raising flour, sifted
2 tbsp milk

For The Orange Syrup
Juice of 1 orange
100g (4 oz) granulated sugar

For The Topping

50g (2 oz) dark chocolate or milk chocolate – your choice
Sprinkles of choice (optional)

You will need a 900g (2 lb) loaf tin – greased with a little butter and lined with greaseproof paper or non-stick baking paper.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

In a mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar and beat together until light and fluffy in appearance. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well until fully incorporated. Add the orange zest, flour and milk and fold in gently with a spatula or large metal spoon. Turn into the prepared tin (I used a loaf pan that was a little big, so it came out pretty flat looking), smooth the top of the mixture and bake in the oven on middle shelf 35 -45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. When cool make little holes in the cake with a skewer, (this is important for pouring the syrup onto the cake to ensure the syrup soaks in fully.)

For The Orange Syrup

Put the orange juice and granulated sugar into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil for a couple of minutes. Pour over the top of the cake. When all the juice has soaked in, carefully remove the cake from the tin.

For The Topping

Melt the chocolate by placing a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, pour over the top of the cake. Either smooth the top over with a spatula or make a little pattern with the prongs of a fork. Add sprinkles if desired, leave chocolate to set before cutting into the cake.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Gingerbread Cookies

My nephew came over yesterday all excited to make gingerbread cookies. He had his own recipe from a book, but that required a 2 hour wait for the dough in the refrigerator. I quickly checked online to find an easier recipe.

And came across one of the most lovely blogs I have seen. Exclusively Food, a blog by Amanda and Debbie, has great recipes and beautiful photographs. Their gingerbread people are incredibly cute, and thankfully my nephew loved them too.

So armed with their recipe, I had 3 kids making gingerbread cookies. They came out absolutely delicious! We didn't quite get to make people as I don't have great cookie cutters, but we made several different shapes. Our artistic talents were also slightly lacking. And most of the cookies were eaten before we could even get to the icing stage!

Gingerbread Cookies
(adapted from Exclusively Food)

2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
140 g Butter, softened
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 large Egg, divided into yolk and white
1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1 tsp Nutmeg Powder
3 tsp Ginger (I used ginger paste)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 cup Golden Syrup

Stir together in a bowl, the flour, baking soda and spices.

In another large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together. Add the egg yolk and golden syrup and beat together until combined. Slowly add in the flour mixture until just combined.

Preheat oven to 180 deg C. And line a baking sheet with baking paper.

Divide the dough into halves. Roll out one half between two sheets of baking paper or parchment paper. Transfer to the freezer. Repeat for the other half. Let the dough freeze for about 15-20 minutes. This is essential - its really difficult to work with the soft dough before freezing.

Remove from the freezer and cut desired shapes. Transfer to the baking sheet carefully and bake for 10 minutes until firm. Let cool for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack.

While the cookies are baking, whisk together the icing:


1 1/3 cup Icing Sugar
1 Egg White (the one you saved from the yolk above)

Combine very well until a pale white. Add food coloring if you'd like. Decorate the cookies (I used Ziploc bags with a tiny bit of the edge cut off to pipe the icing onto the cookies) after they have cooled a bit from the oven. And let the icing set completely (of course, we didn't wait at all!).

They were fantastic. Thanks so much for a keeper recipe!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Adai is a form of south Indian crepe, sort of like a dosa, but made with a larger proportion of lentils, and hence far healthier than dosas. Dosas also need to ferment, while adais can be made as soon as the batter is mixed together.


2 cup Raw Rice
1 cup Channa Dal (split Chick Peas)
1 cup Urad Dal (split Black Gram)
1 cup Toor Dal (Pigeon Peas)
6 Dried Red Chillies

Salt, to taste
Chilli Powder, to taste
A pinch of Asoefetida
2-3 Curry Leaves, chopped fine

Soak the rice, dals and red chillies for 4-5 hours. Drain the water from the soaking mixture, and grind to a coarse texture.

Add the salt, chilli powder, asoefetida and curry leaves to the batter.

Heat a flat pan (such as a dosa pan or an omelette pan). When hot, spread a ladle-ful of the batter onto the pan in a circular motion.

When one side is golden brown, flip over carefully and let cook for a further two minutes.

Serve warm with chutney or jaggery/ palm sugar/ brown sugar.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lemon Curd Muffins

Sigh. I have a feeling that the bakes from Sweet and Simple Bakes is going to make me gain 10 pounds!

I think this has got to be one of my most favorite bakes so far. Not only were we to make muffins with a to-die-for lemon curd filling, I also got to make my own lemon curd. And I must say, the lemon curd was just... UNBELIEVABLE!! I couldn't stop tasting it and was seriously considering making a second batch!

Lemon Curd
(recipe from S & SB)

55 g/ 22 oz Butter
8 oz Sugar
2 Lemons
2 Eggs, lightly beaten

Grate the rinds of the lemon and squeeze out the juice.

Set up a double boiler with a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water. Add the butter and sugar to the glass bowl. Keep stirring until the butter is melted.

Add the rind and the juice and continue stirring for a minute. Now stir in the eggs and stir constantly for 30 minutes, until a spoon drawn through the lemon curd lets you see the bottom of the glass bowl.

Pour into a sterilized jar. It will keep up to a month (sadly I don't have any left!).

Now onto the luscious muffins :)

Lemon Curd Muffins
(Recipe from S & SB)

7 oz Self-Raising Flour
3 1/2 oz Golden Caster Sugar (I used regular caster sugar)
1 large Egg
3 fl oz Oil
5 fl oz Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
12 tsp Lemon Curd

For the Glaze/ Coating:
4 tbsp Lemon Curd
2 oz Caster Sugar

Preheat the oven to 190 deg C.

For the muffins, mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar) in one bowl and the wet ingredients (except the lemon curd) in another. Slowly add the wet to the dry ingredients until combined.

Line a muffin pan. Put a teaspoon of the batter into the lined muffin pan. Top with one teaspoon of lemon curd. Now add the rest of the batter.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

While it is baking, melt the lemon curd for the glaze over the stove top or in the microwave. Spread on the muffins when they come out of the oven and sprinkle with the caster sugar.

Oh goodness they were so delicious!!! And the inside was gooey and just perfect - a lovely combination of tart and sweet!

Thanks, Maria and Rosie for another amazing bake! And for sharing your treasured recipes with us!