Cake

What is it about cake? As an accompaniment to a cup of coffee, there’s not much that can better it. There are a number of theories about why it is quite so special. Perhaps it is because we associate it with happy occasions – after all, what celebration  is complete without the centrepiece confection? And so often a celebratory cake provides pleasure not only to the tastebuds but it’s also pleasing to the eye.

Scientists discovered years ago some species, including humans, have genes which predispose us to enjoy sweet foods (unlike cats who have no taste buds for sweetness).  Curiously, this is not the case for all humans. There are, of course, environmental factors which contribute to a sweet tooth – we all know that babies very quickly develop a taste for sugary treats if  they’re fed to them. My mother fed me lots of sweet things so perhaps that’s why I have such a taste for them, though in my defence, although I make cakes regularly I rarely have more than the thinnest slivver (just to get the taste).

Orange tray bakeI’ve been making a few different cakes over the past few weeks. First was a not very successful orange tray bake. It was a new oil-based recipe I’d found in a leaflet but it was very heavy. I tried it again but although the cake tasted better, the crystallised  orange slices on top were very chewy (as they had also been with the first attempt). I’ve consigned the leaflet to the bin as I won’t be trying it again. Some you win……

imageThis week I made a mint chocolate cake but found it decidedly un-minty, apart from the After Eights on top. If something has a flavour then I like to be able to really taste it.  If I make this one again, I’ll be using a fair bit more mint essense than the recipe suggests.

Although Husband has been eating it, five days after I made it there is still some left so I don’t think it’s been a favourite.

Last week I made lemon cake which always seems to go down well. The trouble here is that lemon is my preferred flavour so I’m more likely to eat more of it.

A few years ago in Madeira I discovered Orange polenta cake. Instead of flour it is made with a mixture of ground almonds and coarse polenta which gives it a grainy texture. I love it but it’s not to everyone’s taste. Husband is not keen which poses a big (cake sized) problem for me so I hardly ever make one. An apple fruit cake is his favourite. It won’t be long before I’m using the apple cake mixture as a basis for my Christmas cake.

I made a caramel cake for the adults at my granddaughter’s birthday party. It looks exactly like a coffee cake but tastes (unsurprisingly) more caramel-y! I’ve also been making chocolate brownies and blueberry buns.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned these cookies (not an exact fit for a post on cake but near enough) before but forgive the repetition if I have.  The recipe stipulated almond butter but as I’d just bought a large jar of smooth peanut butter in error (I like the crunchy variety), I thought I’d use that. They also contained coconut oil and although they tasted good, the cost of making them was about three times the price of a packet of luxury cookies. I probably won’t bother again.

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17 comments

  1. I feel a bit shamefaced. I do not bake. I would just eat the whole lot if I did, as my sweet tooth is my weakness. And home baked food. On the plus side, I have an adult grand daughter who loves to bake!! Interesting that you find baking a stress reliever, as all bakers whom I know have told me that.

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  2. You’ve been busy in the kitchen!
    I love cake, although my tastes have changed over the years. Once I would have chosen chocolate over anything else but now I enjoy something a little less sweet. I baked sticky ginger cake yesterday, just in time for Firework night here. X

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    • I love chocolate but when it comes to desserts or cakes, I rarely choose chocolate as I prefer citrus flavours. My husband adores ginger cake. I will eat it but prefer ginger in savoury dishes such ascurries or a ginger & spring onion sauce

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  3. I bake so rarely now as we don’t eat much in the way of cake. Maybe on a Sunday we will have a slice of a small cake from Waitrose with a cup of tea at tea time. They have a lovely selection and it saves me keeping ingredients in the cupboard which sometimes end up going out of date and getting thrown away.
    Hugs-x-

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    • Haha, baking ingredients don’t have time to go out of date in my kitchen, Sheila! But I do give cakes away – we don’t eat them all…..honestly!

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  4. My goodness, you have been busy baking! Lemon is one of my favourite flavours, too, plus coffee and ginger. I might have a go again at a polenta cake but use orange with it rather than lemon. I think the marmalade/ginger cake will be the one I bake next.
    Margaret P

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  5. I do a brilliant After 8 cake, got the recipe from the Caked Crusader who used to blog weekly about cakes she made. Sadly stopped a while ago but if you google Caked Crusader the blog might still be there, let me just check, yep, still there. There’s a side bar of ingredients, the cake is under ‘mint.’ I used to make a cake a week for work, Monday was Cake Day to cheer everyone up. Always made whatever the CC had made the week before. Now not at work, hardly ever bake, lost my baking mojo a bit. Now though, I want that mint choc cake, it was lush.

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    • I’ll definitely look that up; thanks for the recommendation. I like the ‘cake crusader’ name! I made seven cakes for work on my birthday – a great success!

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  6. My weakness has always been biscuits but that doesn’t stop me liking cake, too! I used to bake a lot when the boys were still at home. I always found it therapeutic when I had a stressful job. I also love the alchemy of making a cake. I haven’t done much baking in France and I am often say how much I’d love a piece of fruit cake. My latest bake, when in the UK, is an Earl Grey Tea Bread. I found it in the free Waitrose magazine. It keeps for ages, freezes well and can be eaten with or without butter. As they say, over here “Miam, miam!!

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  7. Great post. I actually made a cake this week which was the first time for about a year. It was a Bara Brith with the fruit soaked in tea. I just might make it again as it’s a very easy recipe. I love a fruit cake as my mother made a Dundee cake every week. Well done you for being able to do so much baking 🙂

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    • I’ve never made a cake that contains tea though I know they’re popular. My granny made fruit cake every week but it was acse of ‘hunt the fruit’! I put lots of fruit in mine.

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  8. That’s a lot of baking you’ve been doing! My favourite is coffee walnut, I also bake an orange cake, recipe from Rachel Allen’s cookery show. It’s always a hit. The others are chocolate brownies and lemon cake, though I have to be very careful with the cooking time with the former so that they don’t dry out!!

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    • Sound lovely, Kavitha. I like lemon or orange cakes generally more than other flavours. I should point out that some of my cakes are given away – I find baking a good stress-reliever but I’d find it stress-inducing if we were eating them all !

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