Since I’ve started baking seriously, I’ve become pretty intuitive about consistency and texture. I love that I can now gauge which recipes will work for my family’s tastes and which won’t, really. Since I also reduce the sugar amounts in almost all recipes by at least half the first time I try them, I’ve learnt to compensate with other ingredients (like milk) to achieve the desired consistency.
For the longest time I mixed my brownie batter in the stand mixer. Such a waste of my dishwasher time I’m thinking now. Brownies are truly best made in one bowl without the need for any fancy attachments or equipment. Just mix all the ingredients in the order listed and throw in the oven. Works every time.
Also for the first time I’ve tried glazing my brownies. Um, WHAT was I doing never trying this?! The glaze doesn’t just add something to these brownies, it takes them to A WHOLE NEW LEVEL. A level of deliciousness seldom associated with home-baked goods.
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s spelt brownie recipe
170g semi-sweet chocolate (chips)
1/2c brown sugar
1/2c demerara sugar
3/4c spelt flour
1/4c cocoa powder
1/8tsp baking powder
Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Add sugar, eggs (one at a time, beating gently after each addition), vanilla and the dry ingredients. Mix by hand until well incorporated. At this point, you can add nuts (I used pecans) or chocolate chips or other additions you prefer. Bake in a 325F oven for about 30 mins.
Glaze: Adapted from I am Baker‘s brownie frosting
Mix 3 tbsp each of soft butter, cocoa powder and milk together until smooth. Add a splash of vanilla. Add powdered sugar by the tablespoon until you get the glaze consistency you want (I added about 3tbsp and had a thickish frosting). Spread over warm brownies cooling in the pan. The frosting will melt and become a glaze that is to die for.
This GF, dairy-free, fancy-but-so easy cake will knock your socks off! Whips up in a jiffy and is sure to wow guests with its fresh flavour profile and eye catching summer fruit colours. Best of all, its nutty goodness won’t leave your stomach dessert-heavy and you can enjoy a relatively “healthy” cake that doesn’t use oodles of butter — no guilt!
This recipe makes a one-layer 8″. Halve it for a 6″ layer.
115g roasted, chopped hazel nuts (usually available in the baking aisle)
80ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1-2 peaches, sliced
Zest of 1 lemon and juice of half
80g almond meal or ground almonds
1tsp baking powder
2 medium eggs
100g dark or light brown sugar
- Prep: Lightly grease cake pan lined with parchment at the bottom with olive oil. Grind hazelnuts as finely as possible. Set aside. Preheat oven to 160C or 325F.
- Arrange sliced peaches in the bottom of the cake pan. Stir honey and lemon juice together and drizzle over peaches.
- In a bowl stir together ground hazelnuts, almond meal, baking powder, lemon zest and a pinch of salt.
- In your bowl mixer, whip eggs and sugar until light and fluffy and a little thick. (This is the only whipping/beating you’ll do so make sure enough air is incorporated.)
- Slowly pour olive oil while whisking until all the oil is used. Combine well.
- Add nut mixture to the egg mixture by hand, folding gently until combined. The batter will be a thick liquid (think shampoo consistency).
- Pour batter over the peaches and tap out excess air bubbles.
- Bake in the centre of oven for 30-40 mins until toothpick comes out clean. The cake won’t dome too much, so checking for cooking is essential.
- Leave to cool in tin for 10 mins, then turn upside down on serving dish.
- Serve with a little vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche or just as is with a cuppa.
Chocolate cake. It’s one of those things that everyone has a favourite recipe of, often having passed within families for generations. Some like a pound-cake type denseness while others prefer airy chiffons. Many times it’s because people’s tastes are guided by their childhood smells and the memories those evoke. So if your grandmother baked your birthday cake every year, you’ll likely prefer very homey cake and frosting recipes.
I grew up on bakery bought baked items in India. There wasn’t much hominess about those but that’s what my preference is. I like lighter, fluffier bakes that don’t have an overpowering eggy smell or a closed structure. My go to chocolate cake recipe is great for this, but I’ve tweaked that recipe a bit more to come up with this.
If you’re like me, or really just like a cake-y cake that is moist without being dense, give this recipe a try. It’s a keeper I’ve arrived at after much experimentation, and I LOVE it. This recipe makes a tall-ish 8″ cake or two average 6″ ones.
1c AP flour
1/3c cocoa powder
1/2tsp baking soda
1/8tsp baking powder
120g salted butter, softened
2/3c demarara sugar
1tsp vanilla essence or 2 drops vanilla bean paste
1 med egg + 1 med egg white
1/4c + 2tbsp milk
- Sift the first 4 ingredients together and set aside. Grease 2 6″ pans and also set aside.
- Cream softened butter for a minute then add sugar and cream until the mixture is light in colour and doubled in volume.
- Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.
- Add flour mix and milk alternating with each other. Beat only until combined.
- Pour batter into prepared tins and bake at 160C for about 17-20 mins.
I frosted this cake with a cookie dough frosting by Amanda of Iambaker, with a few modifications (halving her recipe and reducing sugar), but I have to say I’m not a fan of raw flour in my icing. But then, I’m not a fan of cookie dough either. But the texture and consistency of this icing is quite on point (soft but pipes very well) and would be great for a cookie-dough lover like my son.