Carrot Cake + Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

 

IMG_6805Sometimes I just want cake. A simple recipe with instant gratitude. Something that doesn’t take me days to make. I love mixing a cake batter, pouring it into the tin and it’s straight in the oven. I wanted to make something quick and easy this week. I opted for carrot cake because it fit with the sunny weather we’ve been having and its very swift to throw together. I didn’t want to faff with a sandwich-style cake; aiming for ease here I went for a single layer cake that would be lovely to pack and take for a picnic (which is exactly what I did.) It also allows for a delightful cake to frosting ratio.

Toasted pistachios, orange cream cheese frosting and a lightly spiced carrot cake are flavours that melt into one another. The ritual of coffee and cake is prominent in a lot of cultures and for me, it’s a small moment in a day that feels like pure comfort.

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New York Style Bagels

 

IMG_6446Bagels have always been some what of a mystery to me. I absolutely adore eating them but it’s not something you find a lot around London. My first (and only) attempt a few years ago were such an utter failure that they never even crossed my mind again until last week.

There’s a lot to learn when it comes to bagels and I really wanted to get it right. I spent hours reading recipes and watching videos on traditional bagel making methods. The dough needs to be firm and smooth to create a light but tight crumb along with the ability to mould and retain its shape.

What distinguishes bagels from regular bread is the boiling process. It feels almost sacrilege to put fresh proved dough into boiling water but its crucial to achieve that iconic texture. As you boil the dough you release some of the starches in the flour which then gelatinize and form a barrier around the bagel. By cooking the starches beforehand, you won’t lose as much moisture in the oven and have partially set the outside of the bagel resulting in a chewier and denser crumb.

A regular appearance of fresh puffed bagels with a generous schmear of cream cheese is very much welcomed in my kitchen. Since I can’t hop on a plane anytime soon, these will have to transport me to the busy pavements of New York.IMG_6424IMG_6457IMG_6469IMG_6502

 

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Sourdough chocolate chip cookies

IMG_6350I’m a bit obsessed with this cookie.

A few days ago I saw Edd Kimber post on Instagram about using sourdough discard in cookies and I was immediately intrigued. The main reason I’m put off keeping a sourdough starter at home is that I usually don’t have enough time to bake bread every week, so I end up using up a lot of flour to keep it alive but don’t do enough with it. Luckily though, my housemate has been keeping a starter due to all of the extra time we have at the moment.

When I heard about this ingenious way of using sourdough discard, I couldn’t wait to try it out myself. The science behind it is all about water levels in the recipe. 100% hydration sourdough starter is 50/50 water and flour. So for example; if you add 200g of sourdough starter into a recipe, you need to take 100g flour and 100g water out from the original. Flour is easy to simply re-calculate but water is a little more difficult.

I decided to try and adapt Sarah Kieffers iconic ‘pan-banging cookies’. My perfect cookie is crisp and rippled around the edge with a soft centre (which is exactly what this recipe provides.) There are a few ingredients in this cookie recipe that contain water. Firstly; the extra added water, then the egg and finally the butter. In order to add in the starter and its water I took out the original added water, the egg white and browned the butter to evaporate off the water. This all together gave me 100g of water to add back in which meant I could use 200g of sourdough starter. A great amount to use up and enough to impart a lovely flavour.

I also played around with the quantity of salt, sugar and chocolate chips as well as the size and method. It ended up not really resembling the original recipe but I am so happy with the results.

These beautiful cookies are a wonderful mix of nutty brown butter flavour, flaked sea salt and warm oozing dark chocolate. By banging the cookies halfway through baking, they purposely fall and create beautiful ripples along the edges. I’m always thinking about what a ‘perfect’ cookie would be to me, but I’m pretty sure its right here.IMG_6344IMG_6363IMG_6349

 

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Black Tea Cake with Bramble Jam and Lemon Buttercream

 

For my birthday last October, I was given some Tea by one of my friends. It was called ‘Beautiful Tea’ by Mariage Frères. Mariage Frères is a Parisian brand which specialise in different kinds of Tea as well as Chocolates and Jams. I’m yet to find something from their range that I don’t love. The first thing I have to say about this Tea is that the packaging is divine! I’m a sucker for beautiful packaging, so I was bound to love this.

The fragrance of this Black Tea really reminds me of Earl Grey. It’s very floral with hints of Pomegranate and Cornflour. There was something about it that was really familiar to me but I couldn’t figure out what it was; even after my mother and I spent about 10 minutes sniffing it like two addicts.

If you love Tea, this is definitely a cake you should try. The flavour really bursts through the sponge and has a truly unique flavour. I decided to pair it with some Bramble Jam and Lemon Buttercream to match the floral notes in the Tea.

The flowers adorning this treat are actually made out of flower paste and wire. I went on a Sugarcraft course a few months ago and made this while on the course. Without any fresh flowers in the house, I thought these were a great, simple but still charming option.

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Chocolate Ale and Pear Cake with Chocolate Sauce (and a little coffee kick)

Chocolate SauceI feel like I’m loosing it a bit recently.

I’ve gone through this before with the blog, but this time its work. During the week just past, I made two batches of sponge that went wrong. Not completely horrendous but still not right. I made Blood Orange Marmalade that was too thick and syrupy that I had to let it down the next day with more water. I then wrapped up some beautiful Green Tea Chiffon Gateaux’s that I had made, only to find the next day that the paper had stuck to the white glaze like superglue and I lost half of them. Continue reading “Chocolate Ale and Pear Cake with Chocolate Sauce (and a little coffee kick)”