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).
I’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……
This 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.