Thursday, 24 October 2013

Banana and Cinnamon Muffins

Recipe base from Hummingbird Bakery book.

Using Pyrex cupcake tin (only good kind I could find in Stockholm so far), the recipe yielded 24 cupcakes. The recipe was meant to make 12 muffins, however this is with a larger size cup, so I was expecting 18, and was pleased to get to 24 cakes that filled their cases.

I did not mash the bananas too thoroughly, so cakes took around 26-29 minutes to cook thoroughly. I ran out of filmjölk (Swedish substitute for butter milk), so topped up with whole milk (approximately 2:1). First batter, I accidentally put the vanilla extract in with the dry ingredients, rather than the buttermilk-egg mixture, however I do not feel that it had an adverse effect on the results.

I mixed the caster sugar and ground cinnamon together (approximately 4:1) in a little bowl for an even topping. I preferred the cakes that had the topping put on just before baking as opposed to the ones that were topped and had to wait before their bake.

Ran out of cupcake cases, so made two mini loaf-lets, using 'free standing' cardboard cases. The cases were over full (perhaps 1 cm left after the batter went in), and consequently the cakes spread into a more comical rotund shape. Next time I use such cases, I will place them in a baking tin to prevent the spreading effect.

Loaf check @ 35 minutes - still far too moist, however the colour is good, so placed foil caps over them to prevent burning

Loaf check @ 45 minutes - still too moist. Returned to oven inside cake tins (along with foil caps), to give a bit more support

Loaf check @ 55 minutes - too moist

Loaf check @ 65 minutes - one loaf seems ready, the other is still not completely set. Returned both to the oven with tins and caps for 7 minutes

Loaf check @ 72 minutes - oops! Forgot to put the timer on. The skewer is not coming out completely clean, however I think that is down to the banana, plus I am tired, so I am taking it out. It will have to do. Will cool over night, and wrap in foil to take to work for fika tomorrow. It will be eaten either way!

The loaves were a disaster. There is far too much banana in there to bake properly in this format.

Muffin rating #1: 9/10

Loaf rating #1: 0/10

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

BanBan Bread

Originally based on Hummingbird Bakery Banana Loaf

I had to specify that the Banana Loaf recipe I used was on original base, but this cake has developed so much more for me.

The simple glory of the BanBan Bread
I have been making BanBan Bread fairly regularly for nearly 2 years now, and it is one of my most reliable recipes that I turn to when I have a banana surplus. It never fails. It's deceptively moist and delicated spiced that every complex mouthful is amazing. I am not a huge fan of banana cake, but I can easily put away a healthy slice of this cake, and still want more.

Only the lonely
Winter Chic
For my most recent bake of this, I dressed it up a bit with some vanilla cream cheese frosting, which gave it a surprisingly chic and wintry new look. I am always happy to eat cake without icing, but this gave a nice creamy accent.

Available at Samara's Baked Goods

Notes from original trial
Made 2 quantities, banana was probably above the recommended 200g per cake (I didn't weigh it exactly as they were frozen in bags; I think I used around 410g for the entire mixture).

Used light muscovado sugar rather than soft brown.

Batter seemed a little stiff for my liking, however I will always trust a recipe once!

Topped with brown sugar as I had a tiny bit left, but couldn't be bothered to put it back in the cupboard.

Cake Check @ 50 minutes: both cakes are baking well, lovely dark golden colour, smell good. Not leaving the skewer entirely clean but close, so covered with foil and popped back into the oven for 10 minutes.

Cake Check @ 60 minutes: both cakes pass the skewer test, however I am wary of the moistness of a banana cake so returned to the oven with their foil caps with the heat off for another 10 minutes to be sure.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

ANZAC Biscuits

Combined recipes from BBC Good Food, and

Personally, I was not pleased with the outcome, however I have to remember that both biscuits and cakes taste better when they are cool. Colleagues enjoyed them anyhow!

Comments made on BBC Good Food under samaraspuff

Rating: 6/10

Marbled Chocolate Brownies

Based on BBC Good Food Recipe: LINK

This is a good base recipe, however I feel that it needs tweaks.
The brownies went down a storm at work, despite the fact that I was a tad disappointed by the texture and consistency of them. When I have made brownies or blondies in the past, they have not been quite so indulgent and more sticky cake-esque, than moist butteriness.
I had reduced the butter to 200g, which I felt was the right amount, however should I make this again, I will change the flour to self-raising, increase the flour to 180g, adding 90g to the dark chocolate rather than 50g to even out the quantities of dark to white, and also provide more absorbency for the butter.
I found making the checkerboard effect rather tedious and messy, and found that the two different batters didn't bind together very well (perhaps because I didn't swirl them enough for the marbling), so I would probably exchange 100-120g of dark chocolate for 80-100g of milk chocolate, which may also reduce the richness of them. I was not able to get golden caster sugar here in Sweden, so mixed 150g light brown soft muscovado sugar, with 150g of white caster sugar. I may increase the white to muscovado ratio, as the latter also contributes to the richness of the brownie. To lighten the load of the arrangement of the batters, I will probably layer the batters, and then attempt some vigorous swirling for the marble effect.
The baking time and temperature definitely needs to be reassessed; after reading others' comments on the site, I checked the temperature and baking time on other successful brownie recipes that I have used and set the temperature at 180 deg C (non-fan assisted), and baked for 45 minutes. From the moistness of the brownie, it wouldn't have hurt it to be in the oven for another 5 minutes, however this temperature and time has been successful in the past. When I used a fan oven, I baked brownies at 170 deg C for 40 minutes, plus another 5 with the temperature off, but the fan on. I always cool brownies in their tin for 15 minutes before turning them out.
With this recipe I buttered and lined my tin (with light buttering on top of the paper), however I found that with the lack of 'stability' or binding-ness, the mixture stuck to the paper, and being someone who hates wasting things, I felt too much came away with the parchment.
I will probably try it again, however will have to experiment with it a couple of times before I think it is worthy of achieving an 8/10!

Rating #1: 5/10

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Based on Hummingbird Bakery book recipe.

Cakes came out rather moist, a bit too moist for my liking, although they were fully cooked.

I used vaniljpulver rather than the recommended vanilla extract due to availability, however I now have my bottle from the UK, so will use next time!

I only made 12, will definitely make more next time

Note to self:
TWO bottles of Dr Oetker's Red Food Colouring
Vanilla Paste from UK

Rating #1: 9/10

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

Baking two Lemon Poppy Seed Cake based on a recipe found on (LINK).

Comments made directly on site after a first attempt at this cake; using these as a guidance on this time.

Cake Check @ 45 minutes - nice colour, however cake was far from being baked through. Covered with foil to prevent burning, and exchanged cooking shelf from a sheet to a traditional griddle style, and set timer for 15 minutes. Will check after 10 minutes.

Cake Check @ 60 minutes - Foil has done its job. One cake has passed the skewer test, however the other one is still not set. Replaced the foil and returned to the oven with the under-done loaf at the back of the shelf for another 5 minutes.

Weigh the mixtures when doing multiple cakes to ensure even amounts?

Cake Check @ 65 minutes - removed the cake that was done to cool. The other cake was setting but not there yet, so returned to the oven with its foil cap for another 10 minutes.

Cake Check @ 75 minutes - second cake has finally set. Returned to oven with foil cap for another 5 minutes.

80 minutes baking time in total.

It is late, so will take the cakes in to work whole; I am not bothered enough to slice them up.

Note to self:

Where recipe says 1.3 cups sugar for sauce, use 1/3 cup.
Use caster sugar for syrup (Strösocker Finkornigt)
Don't stir the syrup, it makes it crystallise

Rating #1: 9/10

Rating #2: 9/10 (a little bit drier than I wanted - perhaps from using the correct amount of syrup??)

a bit flatter than I'd like, but very tasty