Well, it’s been a long, long time since I checked in here. I’ve been down in the Borders staying with daughter, son in law and new baby for most of the time and have rather lost track of my usual pursuits. But I’ve had a week off as they are off on holiday with friends (booked before baby!) Daughter has been very down, having panic attacks etc, though has been brilliant with the baby, but I think going away on holiday and some judiciously-chosen meds, also, have helped a lot. My own husband seems to be fine, no recurrence of TIA (touch wood). Flourgirl, thanks very much for all your info. I had to laugh though because his diet exactly matches what you describe as being good to follow. He’s one of those folks that, without being at all fussy, just naturally prefers stuff that’s good for him, and doesn’t really like the stuff that isn’t good for him. And stops eating as soon as he’s not hungry…sigh…I wish I were like him!
AnywaY, I’m back to bundt-baking with a vengeance! (The postgrads and postdocs are rejoicing!) Jeannette, I have discovered that, for recipes that call for leavening (baking powder, baking soda) Mcdougall’s supreme sponge s-r flour really seems to work just as well as the heat-treated cake flour. It’s very low-protein (8%) and much more finely-ground than the usual s-r or plain flour. I’ve heard a rumour that Sainsbury’s does a non-s-r ‘own brand’ version but haven’t checked that out yet. I don’t think the Mcdougall’s is any cheaper than the heat-treated but I can buy it at Morrison’s and I don’t have to buy 16k at once! I’d still want to use the heat-treated stuff for fatless sponges and the like, ie recipes that don’t involve any leavening except beaten egg.
I’m writing because I’m feeling rather pleased with myself. I ‘upscaled’ and tweaked a recipe that sounded good (though I hadn’t tried it!) all by myself! I wanted to make a batch of batter that would be as much as one would normally make for a 10-12 cup bundt pan, because I read somewhere that that amount of batter was right for 4 of the small Kaisercast pans. http://www.amazon.com/Kaiser-KaiserCast-Classic-Mini-Bundform/dp/B0009JKECG
I have 4 of these, two ‘classic’ and two a different design, and hadn’t used them yet, and wanted a small cake to take to a friend who lives on her own. I wanted to make an almond-lemon cake (using ground almonds, a standard ingredient over here, available in every supermarket) and found a recipe that for a wonder was British and thus in grams. here’s the recipe I found (on the ‘netmums’ site of all places!):
100ml rapeseed oil
225g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 lemon, zested and juiced - juice not put in batter but used for glaze (just juice and icing sugar)
250g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
This sounded good to me, but the illustration showed it in the Nordicware ‘Heart’ bundt pan which I know is on the small side. Also 100ml of fat/oil sounded very minimal to me, especially in a recipe with no added liquid - dry or what? Sometimes I think people just lower fat without really considering what it might do to the actual texture of the cake. So here are the amounts I changed to:
250 ml rapeseed oil
270g caster sugar
4 large eggs
2 lemons, zested and juiced - juice not put in batter
300g s-r flour (Mcdougalls supreme)
75g ground almonds.
And guess what, this worked perfectly! It does make quite a firm, though not dry, cake and for US tastes I suspect the addition of 1/2-1 c liquid - buttermilk? (plus a bit of baking soda maybe) would make it even better. It did fill the 4 pans but only just, so, again, maybe adding some liquid would be a good idea on that count also.
I didn’t glaze this cake, though the recipe called for that, but instead made a very tart syrup with the lemon juice and about 2 oz caster sugar (whoops, that would be about 60g!) and a couple of capfuls of Limoncello. It really is delicious.
I went for the recipe partly also because I had just bought a lot of ‘bargain’ cold-pressed Scottish rapeseed oil - there are fields of the stuff all round us - at Aldi, and I’m a bit concerned about using it before it goes rancid. It does have a definite taste, something between grassy and nutty, so also I wanted to find out how that would play out in a cake. I think it might be an acquired taste. We loved it, but I noticed my friend did not finish her piece! Oh well, hopefully she’ll be able to recycle the rest of the cake, and it’s only little…But in any case it would be fine in a chocolate or gingerbread or spice cake where the taste of the oil or fat is well masked.
Anyway - sorry for length of this posting. I was just so excited about, for once, doing something that worked that was based on my own judgment and experience, instead of just slavishly following a recipe.
Next - I still have not tried Rose’s much-praised technique for mixing butter cakes. So that comes next!
PS - just realised ‘rapeseed oil’ is called ‘canola oil’ in America.