Sunday, May 9, 2010

Apple Cake

So I said that I was going to make either apple cake or pancakes during the weekend. And I did!! wow. It's not very usual for me to promise something to myself and keep it. With others it's fine, I have an obligation and a conscience, but darn, whenever I tell myself, "Make some cake this weekend" more often than not, it doesn't happen.

Last night I had this urge to do something creative. I was on a roll, I had made a light box that day and done some homework. And all on a Saturday (this is a big deal for someone who is usually trying to cram study and watch whodunnit shows on a Sunday night). So I decided to bake.

The cake recipe seemed to me deceivingly simple. I read it over and over and told myself that there had to be a catch. the last time I made something with fruit in it - apple turnovers, it had taken me ages because I had bought the block of pastry that hadn't been pre-rolled and the fruit, heavens, took ions to peel, core and chop. Possibly because I was being neurotic that day and had a fussy fit about how big the chunks were supposed to be, but never mind.

The hardest part about making the cake was probably preparing the apples. The rest was so much easier than I could have imagined. Turns out I had a hidden measuring up stowed away in the pantry!! It doesn't seem like much, but it made life so much easier. I hate having to wash measuring cups and wait for them to dry before I can get at the flour or other dry ingredients.

N.B. The next step towards a more ergonomic kitchen - An oven thermometer. we'll soon find out why ....

A weird thing though, the cake ended up taking about two and a half hours to bake, very different from the one and a half hours suggested in the recipe. I used half the recipe but the tin used was the same loaf tin as in my chocolate cake. Perhaps it was too dense? Whatever it was, about half of the apples on top of the cake were burnt, although the cake underneath wasn't touched. I pulled em out and it looked better, and it was almost un-noticable once the cake was sliced up.

The cake was also rather dense and at the bottom had formed a kind of crust. It wasn't like eating a rock, but it kind of reminded me of a bit of a pie crust? Not that I've ever had one (dead serious here) - the only pies I've ever eaten are meat pies coz the 'apple pies' from McDonalds are deep fried. I suddenly feel very small in this big world of food blogging.

Moving on.

I think it was because I might have mistaken my 1/3 cup for 1/2, and therefore, put a little less oil in than I should have.

Everyone loved it though. In fact, the tin was cleaned out today. In less than 24 hours. Now who would have thought it?The apple and cinnamon combination is lovely and the vanilla really comes through. Normally my family doesn't really like sweets but the tartness of the pink ladies is there and it didn't taste as sugary as I thought it would. I had been worried that it would remain rather untouched by anyone except for my dad and I, but Ben was enthusiastically cutting bits up himself (he was actually bothered!!) and my mum wanted me to make some again because, and this made me darn right proud, "This is the best thing you've ever baked." Gosh, even thinking back it probably was. So make it. the cake is simple and oh so good.

usually, I don't like to complain but the blogger's picture uploads are irritating. they take all the colour out and leave the photo looking pretty plain. I need to learn how to fix this.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cupcakes - A first!!

On Tuesday, I gave my first go at icing cupcakes. It was rather exciting. Although I have something to confess,

They were made from ready-made cupcake mix. Sorry. This is supposed to be a food blog, promoting fresh ingredients, fresh flavours etc. Sorry. But I have a little pitiful excuse. Time. They were for the trade fair the next day and tennis + piano meant that I started baking at 8 and with that stack of homework glaring at me from behind.

So now it’s the Friday after mini-assessment week and the prospect of a whole weekend without having to worry about well, anything really, is quite liberating. I want to try Deb from the Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for apple cake or Mowielicious’ apple pancakes. Or maybe just plain buttermilk pancakes tomorrow morning. The first two sound delish but we’ve just run out of apples! Saturday is grocery day though, and hopefully I’ll be bringing home a cardboard box for the macro light box here:

But the cupcakes.

The icing was quite thick, and I just used a butterknife to kind of smother it on. I learnt that if I put to much icing on, it would just come off onto my knife in big chunks. I learnt to be firm and spread around and not downwards from the tip. Or was it the other way around? It seems ions ago now.

I painstakingly tried to decorate it with the coloured chocolate (that simply wouldn’t stick - they would roll off unless I pressed them directly into the icing) so that it would form “Ff” for the initials of our pretend “business” but they just ended up looking weirdly sprinkled. It was a pretty childish attempt what I don’t mind. A person has to start from somewhere right?

ack, images refuse to be uploaded from my flickr.