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*April 2009 COTM* Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: Tarts and Cakes

**April 2009 Cookbook of the Month is Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery by Rose Carrarini.

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for TARTS and CAKES here (all from the TEA section -- see complete list of recipes page 110). Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating!

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  1. I'm thinking about the carrot cake on page 128. But, I want to make carrot muffins or even mini-muffins. Does anyone have any recommendations for how to adapt the recipe? Or am I possibly making a giant mistake to even consider it?

    I'm also thinking about the broccoli cake on page 142. She says the cake doesn't keep well and should be eaten the same day. I know I won't be able to eat it the same day. Do you think it might freeze well?


    6 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      I reckon the carrot cake with adapt fine to muffinage -- just keep an eye out for doneness -- it'll bake much faster. As for the broccoli savory cake with the strangely attractive cross-section o' veg . . . I tend to believe authors who make a point of telling you when things *don't* keep, but I never freeze that kind of stuff anyway. Let us know how it works out!

      I'm thinking about that citrus cake made with almond flour. You simmer 2 oranges and a lemon, then pulp it in a blender. Mmmmmm.
      It's p.132 Orange Almond Cakes

      1. re: pitu

        Oh that citrus cake sounds great. I can't wait to hear all about it!

        You have a good point about the broccoli savory cake. The problem is, I'm convinced I am the only person in my house who will eat it, which means, it would go to waste. I was thinking I could make smaller quantities of that cake, like a half recipe or quarter recipe, but with the big piece of broccoli in the middle, I am worried it won't work. Well, I might just try a full recipe anyway and see if I can't coax others into at least trying it. What if they love it?!


        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          I usually take the remains of cake to work and am hugely popular for doing so. In fact it's kind of expected now and I'm working my way through different variations of Nigella's wonderfully easy Storecupboard Chocolate-Orange cake. Maybe that's a solution?

          I'm looking forward to getting my copy of the book (I'm hoping it will come tomorrow) so that I can make a cake at the weekend.

          1. re: greedygirl

            Great idea, but, unfortunately, you are just going to have to believe me when I tell you that no one at my office would be open to trying a savory cake.

            I hope your book shows up soon as I want to hear about your baking exploits!


      2. re: The Dairy Queen

        Hey TDQ, I just noticed the illustration for the carrot cake is a bunch of little cakes, deeper than they are wide. Cute...
        I have to start having people over to Tea so I can make some of this stuff....

        1. re: pitu

          Exactly! Seems like I could make mini's, right?

          I'd come to your house for tea! I'll bet you have a crowd of friends who definitely would, too!


      3. Orange Almond Cakes, from the link: http://www.culinaryconcoctionsbypeabo...
        I assembled the full recipe for the cake today and baked half of it, while leaving the other half in the fridge. The cake is nice and moist, but little more sweet than I would have liked. But so far we have had it only warm, and the sweetness might be little less once it is refrigerated.
        This was easy cake to assemble, but there are few things I would work on next time. I boiled a lemon and 2 oranges for approx an hour till they were soft and let them sit in that water till I was ready to assemble it in the evening. But when I was taking them out, the lemon had soften little too much and had absorbed extra water, and it burst on me. No harm done, I just lost some juice, but I think I shouldn’t have left it in the hot water (duh!). I was little concerned about using the whole citrus fruit, along with the pith (sp?) and all, but the fp’d pulp was pretty tasty and not bitter at all. Then you beat 6 eggs and sugar together, and add the 5.5 cups of almond flour to it along with baking powder. I had a technical problem here: I had around 1 pound of almond flour, which came to 4.5 cups. So I ground around a cup of almonds (with skin) in my spice coffee grinder. I don’t think I tasted the almond skin in the baked cake, maybe because the amount is so less.
        I baked it in a springform pan for 35 minutes.
        I will make the cake again, especially for a company, as it is easy to put together and elegant at the same time. The second assembled half is in the fridge and when I bake it tomorrow, it will allow me to find out if it is a good idea to assemble it ahead of time, or maybe just bake ahead of time.

        10 Replies
        1. re: cpw

          So I baked my second half and brought it for my co workers on the next day. They all loved it, and did not complain about the extra sweetness.

          I think the cake is best served at room temperature (or even little warm). It is okay to assemble one day and bake the next day and it is also okay if to bake in advance and put it in fridge and then bring it out to room temperature. All in all, a very forgiving recipe. The only change I will make is to cut out little sugar.

          1. re: cpw

            I tried the citrus almond cake too. Nothing could be easier, for sure. It's a bag of Bob's Red Mill almond flour, 6 eggs, 1 heaping tsp of baking powder and 2 cups of caster sugar, along with 2 oranges and a lemon. I boiled the fruit the day before, took them out of the water and into the fridge; you simmer whole fruits for an hour, cut them up, deseed, and pulp skin and all in a food processor. Speaking of a forgiving recipe, I didn't bother about being short a cup of almond flour because I too had a #1 bag. My medium eggs looked pretty small, and I thought it would all work out . . .

            I made several small round cakes and one small long loaf, like a terrine. The loaf was twice as deep as the rounds... and underdone somewhere deep inside. It collapsed while cooling, along what was a lovely picture-perfect crack along it's length. Beware, and bake a little longer than comes-out-clean-on-a-knife. It's a ridiculously moist cake, and tastes good if you brown the edges.

            It was waaaaaaay too sweet for me too, but great texture. I'd like to try it with all lemons, maybe Meyers, and a different sweetener -- maybe honey or brown rice syrup? I'd even halve the sugar -- maybe I had particularly sweet fruit (two Temple oranges and a Meyer lemon.)

            Bottom line: I love the whole fruit pulping idea. This cake needs more workshopping.

            p.s. Does anyone know where the Claudia Roden version of this recipe resides? In another thread someone mentioned it was in one of her books.

            1. re: pitu

              Is this it, do you think? (Scroll down to second recipe.)


              1. re: JoanN

                That is it. There are actually a number of threads on Chowhound discussing this cake, as it was popularized by Nigella Lawson (search for Nigella Lawson clementine cake); as you can see in this link, the recipes are the same: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni... . It is very nice made with Meyer lemons. Note that the Roden and Lawson recipes use significantly less sugar, about half what Carrarini calls for.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  The Carrarini recipe calls for 5 and 1/2 cups of almond meal/flour and 2 1/4 cups of sugar, so the sugar to almond ratio is greater in the Roden recipe, which calls for 8 oz of each.

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    Thanks, I haven't seen her recipe, I was just going by Pitu's post. 8 oz of almond meal is around 2 1/2 cups, and 8 oz of sugar is 1 cup, so indeed, Carrarini's has more almonds to sugar.

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      My one lb bag of almond flour was 4 1/2 cups, btw.
                      Get out yer baking scales...

                      1. re: pitu

                        All I am saying is that I am looking at Rose's recipe right now and it calls for FIVE AND ONE HALF CUPS of almonds and 2 and 1/4 cups of sugar, which is not as sweet as set forth above.

                        1. re: oakjoan

                          yes -- that was a good catch, oakjoan!

          2. Carrot Cake, p128

            Not that difficult to put together, but a lot of washing up afterwards! She says this is the cake that made the Rose Bakery's reputation and I can sea why.

            You beat together caster sugar and eggs, then add 300ml of sunflower oil and beat some more. Then fold in 9 medium finely grated carrots, sifted plain flour, ground cinnamon, baking powder, bicarb and salt. Finally fold in 150g finely chopped walnuts.

            Bake for around 45 mins in a buttered 9" cake tin lined on the base with parchment paper. Mine was square.

            The icing is butter beaten with cream cheese and sweetened with icing sugar and vanilla extract.

            This was incredibly moist - so much so that I wondered whether I should have baked it a little longer. When I put knife in the centre it came out clean though, as per the instructions. We liked it a lot as it wasn't too sweet. Definitely a tea time cake - perfect with a nice cup of tea.

            47 Replies
            1. re: greedygirl

              Do you know what kind of cinnamon you used? (Vietnamese, Cassia, Ceylon, etc.)

              Asking not because I'm a total obsessive, but because I'm in the middle of researching which types of cinnamon pair up best with which baked goods.

              1. re: clepro

                Actually I do - it was a packet my parents brought me from Sri Lanka. It does not have a pronounced cinnamon flavour or scent - this may be because I forgot about it and it's been sitting for a year in my spice box (in a sealed packet)!

              2. re: greedygirl

                So the verdict is in from my work colleagues, who all thought the carrot cake was delicious.

                I should also say that no way does this cake serve 8 - more like 12-16.

                1. re: greedygirl

                  I might have to make this tonight, then. How terrible would it be if I didn't bother to frost it?


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I think it would be a shame. The cake's quite savoury, so the sweetness of the icing sets it off nicely. It's pretty easy to make.

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      Hmmm...I was worried about calories, actually.


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        Oh right - obviously it would cut down on them. You can use reduced-fat cream cheese though. That's what I did and a slice of cake (based on 16 servings) was about 400 cals.

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            I almost always use low-fat cream cheese, yoghurt, and even sour cream. I find that it doesn't make that much difference in taste. Of course, it's not as if it were celery sticks, but it's better than full-fat stuff. . . calories-wise I mean

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              I cut down on the butter and sugar a bit as well. Mainly because I only had a 200g package of cream cheese. I used Philadelphia Light. Probably would have been even better with full-fat, but hey.

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                Unfortunately (or fortunately), I now don't even notice the taste difference when I make stuff with reduced fat or low fat cream cheese, sour cream, yoghurt, etc. I don't mean non-fat...that would be obvious.

                                1. re: oakjoan

                                  Big texture difference though, no?

                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                    Depends. Sometimes I make, say, cheesecake and put in low fat cream cheese and then one container of full fat. The texture difference isn't noticeable to me. Maybe it's because, even with all lower fat ingredients, I'm used to it now.

                                    Guests have never commented, but then they wouldn't, would they. Yikes! Maybe they've been snickering behind my back all this time!

                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                      oakjoan, I'm sure people aren't snickering behind your back! my guess is that, in general, our tastes have adjusted to be more open to "lower fat" foods and that's why people aren't bothered by it. Plus, if you boost flavors in other ways, you've got a good cover-up!


                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                        I recently made key lime cheesecake for the first time. The first time I made it with full-fat Philly and full-fat sour cream. The second time I used reduced-fat Philly instead. No texture or taste issues. No one is snickering, I assure you. They are probably licking their plates when you're not looking!

                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                          This key lime cheesecake isn't in BLT, right? Or is it? Sounds delicious, even with reduced fat.


                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            Sorry, no, I was kind of "eavesdropping" on your reduced fat discussion as I perused this thread and had to chime in as it made me think of the cheesecake. It really is/was quite yummy. It was my Easter prepwork PITA, but worth every single key lime I reamed manually.

                                            I was drawn to the citrus almond cake you guys were discussing upthread, though it seems the other/similar versions are preferred for less sugar content (Nigella's, e.g.). Also, I foolishly thought I could buy Meyer lemons here on the east coast. I bought a ruby red grapefruit and wondered if I could make a go of it as I love ruby reds and think it would be more interesting than an orange or tangerine. I hope you don't mind I'm cruising this thread. I really would like to make something and participate, but it seems like the other variations on the BLT recipe are better for this particular treat...which is still valuable feedback, but not precisely the point of these COTM threads.

                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                              Of course we don't mind your cruising this thread. Comparisons of recipes to similar ones in other books is a legitimate contribution to these COTM threads!

                                              I do hope that you join us in cooking once of these days. Either BLT or, maybe, from Cradle of Flavor in May.


                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                You might try Trader Joes for meyer lemons, if you live near one. I found a bag of them a couple of months ago.

                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                  Meyer lemons are sold on the East Coast during a pretty limited season, essentially during winter. There are real limitations to what they do with the commercial, non-local crop.

                                                  I think you should go for the cake with your red grapefruit if you think grapefruit and almonds would work. (I like gapefruits, but I'm having a hard time imagining the flavor with almonds. Doesn't mean it wouldn't be great - other citrus is great with them, after all - only that I'm having a hard time imagining it, having never thought of it before.)

                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                    Thanks, ladies! I actually saw a bag of "California lemons" next to the rest of the lemons and thought that probably wasn't the same thing. I will shop around and see what I can find--maybe I missed the window not that winter is behind us, but I appreciate the tip on TJ's.

                                                    Caitlin, I'm with you--this is a totally new combo for me, too. I'm only guessing if I like ruby reds and other citrus fruits have been paired with the almond, why not?

                                                    I think I will try Claudia Roden's version as it calls for half the sugar and I won't have to kill my entire bag of almond flour. :) Will let you know how it comes out when I bake. Thanks again for your help, everyone!

                                                    Oh, and I do look forward to joining future COTM threads!

                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                      I made a bunch of little cakes, and a loaf -- doing a half recipe of the citrus-almond cake is a very viable idea.

                                                      I used Meyer lemon and temple oranges, and thought it would be better with more sour fruit -- and fwiw, it wasn't a particularly almondy cake. The almond was totally buried in the fruit.

                                                      1. re: pitu

                                                        Just curious, pitu, have you made this cake from other recipes, e.g., Roden or Nigella, and found it to have more pronounced almond flavor?

                                                        I've made this cake as well as a couple of others (Nigella and Roden) but it was a couple of years ago and I can't remember whether the almonds came through or what. I do know I liked it a lot and people at work were thrilled to have a non-butter and egg yolk-type cake.

                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                          oakjoan, this was my first outing with almond flour
                                                          No Roden cakes, and I didn't get on the Nigella clementine train either - I was too busy with her molten chocolate babycakes
                                                          : )

                                                      2. re: kattyeyes

                                                        If you do decide to make the BLT recipe, do cut the sugar in half as it is very sweet.

                                                        I agree with pitu, the cake is very fruity and the not almondy at all.

                                                        1. re: cpw

                                                          cpw: Again, I'm confused - but then when am I not? ;+)

                                                          You used 5 and 1/4 cups almond meal (as called for) and 1 and 1/8 cup sugar (half of what's called for)?

                                                          Plz advz.

                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                            Well, I used 5 1/2 cups almond meal and 2 1/4 cup regular sugar (not superfine as the recipe says), and the cake was very very sweet. May be it's the fruit also (2 oranges), not just the sugar, but if I am making this for myself again, I think I will cut it half.

                                                            Maybe others can chime in and suggest how much sugar to cut down.

                                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                                              Comparing the BLT recipe with Claudia Roden's recipe:

                                                              CR has - 8 oz almond meal and 8 oz sugar (same amount).
                                                              BLT - 51/2 cups almond meal and 21/4 c sugar (half amount).

                                                              Kattyeyes (below) found her cake to be of right sweetness. I on the other hand found my cake too sweet. So I guess the conclusion is, my taste buds ain't doing it.

                                                              Oakjoan, at this point I am confused too!

                                                              1. re: cpw

                                                                cpw, weight and volume do not equate that way. Solids have different densities, so more of one can fill the same volume measure than of another. 8 oz almond meal is around 2 1/2 cups, and 8 oz sugar is 1 cup. The sugar and almonds in the BLT recipe should weigh about the same amount, give or take, as well. Roden's recipe does not have much more sugar, proprotionally.

                                                                The two factors beyond the written recipe are individual preference for sweetness and the sweetness of the fruit. Kattyeyes added a little extra sugar to the Roden recipe and was happy with the sweetness, but she used a grapefruit, not oranges. When I made the Roden version, I used 1 cup of sugar and all Meyer lemons (tarter than oranges, obviously), and thought it was just right. If I make it with oranges, I'll reduce the sugar a bit, as I don't like really sweet sweets.

                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                  Trippy about the weight vs. volume. When you see 8 oz vs. 8 oz, it leads you to believe that it's half and half, which it is by weight, but amazing how different it is by volume. So, sugar is more dense than almond meal, right? Almond meal is pretty fluffy?


                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                    Hmm. To muddy the waters a bit more, let me tell you that I used one cup of almond flour. I didn't weigh it, but figured a cup is a cup. Perhaps it isn't, but it worked out just fine. And, Caitlin, yes, I added the extra 1/4 cup of sugar because ruby reds are pretty tart. So if I didn't measure correctly, this really IS a forgiving recipe, because it still tastes delicious! :)

                                                                    BTW, my mom stopped by and tried a piece earlier--she thought it was very good and said it tasted like a cake her mom used to make, but Nanny's was drier (Nanny's was made with oranges and raisins).

                                                                    Speaking of the whole oz. issue, it's the same as when I bought an 8 oz. block of cheese for a recipe. Once you shred it, you can (obviously) get more than a cup of cheese out of it because you're not going to firmly pack the cheese like brown sugar.

                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                      Well, now I'm REALLY glad it worked out for you! Let me tell you, there was no guarantee, as you'll see from this thread where the OP made the same error: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/602189

                                                                      Enjoy your cake!

                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                        HA HA! Well, I keep saying I learn something new every day here on CH. I guess I really am lucky (and the recipe really is pretty darned forgiving). My mom would be my harshest critic after me, myself and I and we both like it. I can only imagine it must taste even better if you measure it correctly!

                                                                        Thanks, Caitlin. :)

                                                                      2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                        8 oz = a cup of liquid.
                                                                        Anything solid needs to be weighed or measured as every item is different.
                                                                        This is a classic culinary school trap question in converting receipes.

                                                                        1. re: Stuffed Monkey

                                                                          So what do all the millions of bakers/cooks do if they do NOT have scales? I'd say that'd be the vast majority in this country at least. I've been baking from loads of books for loads of years and have not had loads of failures because of incorrect measurement (I use only cups and spoons). I've cooked numerous recipes from BLT and had great success with them. I've even made a couple of cakes from Ottolenghi where my conversions have probably been off - using conversion tables on internet, translating into tsps., etc.

                                                                          I'm sure in the ideal world that weighing is best, but until I get around to putting out $50 bucks (with shipping) for a scale, I'll have to make do.

                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                            This is the first recipe I recall that specified oz. for flour rather than cups. I will definitely watch for that in the future. It was a painless lesson to learn for me as I still like the cake even with much less almond flour. Based on that lesson, though, I will search for conversion tables if a recipe calls for oz. of flour again. I won't be buying a scale, either.

                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                              It doubles as a postal scale, if that helps...
                                                                              ; )
                                                                              I didn't order it online tho -- mine was about $20 if I recall correctly, and of the kind culinary school students have to get
                                                                              (now lists for $35)

                                                                              1. re: pitu

                                                                                HA HA--love the name of the store. And that it comes in red is pretty sexy for a scale. Bet you Mario Batali has the orange one to match his crocs!

                                                                            2. re: oakjoan

                                                                              I don't see what the big deal is about having a scale. A decent kitchen scale doesn't cost $50 or have to be mail-ordered. You can get one for $20 or so at any Bed Bath & Beyond. I use volume measures for most things, but a scale comes in handy for far more in the kitchen than simply cooking from non-US cookbooks (which I haven't used much of). I really recommend a kitchen scale to anyone who likes to cook.

                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                I'm not much of a baker, alas, but I always heard that having a scale is essential for serious baking.

                                                                                I have a kitchen scale and don't use it as much as I probably should. I bought mine at Weight Watcher and it calculates, based on weight, the points values of about 500 foods it has in its memory. Pretty neat. It cost about $40. But, you can buy one that doesn't have that featurefor about $20 on Amazon.


                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                  I agree - my scale is essential and it's pretty similar to the one in the picture. I did have an orange one but it died and was replaced by red!

                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                    Hey! I'll probably get a scale, I was just saying that there are some folks who won't and that they can get along without one. I've been baking for years without any large disasters...well, at least without disasters having to do with incorrect weight that was not my fault. "Oooh, it said 1 Tbsp. NOT 100 Tbsps.!

                                                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                      The best part about scaling and not measuring is that if you can avoid a lot of dishwashing (and I don't have a dishwasher) by using the tear function. What you do is as you weight an ingredient into your mixing bowl you then zero out the weight and then weight out the next ingredient in the same bowl. Even if I had a dishwasher the times saving of not getting out the cups and spoons and putting them in the dishwasher and then putting them away is well worth the small investment and it takes up so little room and mine does get a lot of use as a postal scale. You'll also have a much clearer counter as you work.

                                                                          2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                            right on, Caitlin
                                                                            I had really sweet oranges, but it was my first time out so I didn't adjust. Additionally, I was unwilling to go out for more ingredients and so underdid the almond flour (my #1 was 4 1/2 c, so I reduced the sugar proportionally although I didn't change the egg or the fruit since it seems a relatively small volume change...but actually, I was reducing the original by 20% so theoretically I could have ditched one of the six eggs...but the eggs looked small to me...and on it goes. Being a non-recipe-following savory cook, I play inappropriately loose with this stuff, and I know that's not what Bakers Do.)

                                                                            I have totally learned a baking lesson on this one, which is nice.

                                                                            And almond flour is awesome for structure.
                                                                            Although . . . since it's so expensive and didn't give me Almond Flavor, I'm thinking I'll go towards a polenta cake next to get that kind of big crumb. The other cake that comes to mind is the Sunday Suppers Goins' brown butter hazelnut cake, but it's such a butter bomb that it's comparing....ha....apples and oranges.

                                                                    2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                      I made Claudia Roden's version today (thanks JoanN!), replacing 2 oranges with one ruby red grapefruit and adding 1/4 cup more of sugar. Note that this recipe calls for boiling the fruit for 2 hours instead of one. I had to add more water to the sauce pot twice. What a lovely aroma--who knew boiled grapefruit would smell so good? I stood over the stove this afternoon and just breathed it in. Mmmmm!


                                                                      Cake is moist and delicious as promised. I do believe 1 & 1/4 cups sugar was just right as grapefruit is much more tart than oranges or clementines (or Meyer lemons). I sprinkled with powdered sugar before digging into my slice.

                                                                      I love ruby reds and am really fond of Pink Grapefruit Marmalade from Stonewall Kitchens--which is just what the batter tasted like. But to make this cake more palatable to all, the trick may be to mix the fruit. Perhaps a ruby red and a lemon or even a lime to create a citrus blend vs. straight grapefruit. Again, I like grapefruit, so it's fine with me, but think it would be more universally appealing with a blend of citrus.

                                                                      ALSO, I did not let the cake finish cooling in the pan before unmolding it. I should have been patient and let it firm up in the warm pan as it is a very moist cake. It's not undercooked--it just would have been closer to perfect if I let it stay in the pan longer.

                                                                      Depending how I feel about it when I taste it tomorrow, I may make a lemon glaze, poke holes and go from there. Have a feeling this will take it to the next level.

                                                                      pitu--I agree--this cake is not particularly almondy. The taste is more like marmalade than almond, but the almonds shine through in the texture. I need to find nice little cake tins for next time. Little cakes would be truly beautiful for tea!

                                          2. re: greedygirl

                                            In terms of low fat substitutes, I now use full fat all the time. :) I know that when I was in a calorie-conscious-craze, I used fat free half and half in "creamy" soups and the result seemed great. Now I never use that stuff. I just throw in whatever I have in the house for coffee, usually regular half and half.

                                            Interestingly, I found that once I quit my high stress job and began cooking everything I ate from scratch (well, whenever possible), I didn't have to fret about weight so much. I know it's on a case by case basis, of course, but I like that it worked out that way for me :) When I cook for my sister, she will not allow me to put any oil in anything, not even one Tablespoon in something like the dressing for a quinoa salad!

                                        2. Lemon cake

                                          Yum! We've just devoured this at work as our Easter treat for having to work on a bank holiday. Most people had two pieces!

                                          Anyway, made this yesterday. Again quite straightforward. Cream butter (a whole 250g pack - she does like her fat!) and sugar until light and fluffy. Add 4 eggs one at a time, beating well each time. I don't have the recipe with me, but from memory I think you then fold in the zest of two lemons, the juice of a lemon, ground almonds, baking powder and sifted plain flower. Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin and bake for 35 mins.

                                          I baked mine for a tiny bit longer, because when I took it out of the oven there was lots of melted butter bubbling up the sides and after my experience with the brownies I panicked slightly. However I think it would probably have been fine.

                                          This produces a moist, quite plain cake with a nice texture from the almonds. It's not massively lemony for my taste, so I might add a bit more lemon zest or juice next time around. I didn't bother with the lemony glaze, but probably would next time as I can see that it would make the cake a bit more special. It's definitely delicious though - as I said my colleagues raved.

                                          1. Although I'm not cooking along during this month's COTM I must say, I enjoy reading all the reports. The lemon cake mentioned in this tread reminds me of a lemon quick bread, which was really like a tea cake, I used to make. The icing was a lemon glaze. I think citrus flavors in baked goods are delicious!

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Gio

                                              Banana Cake

                                              I made this last night. Very easy and, while nothing earthshaking, it is quite delicious.

                                              My only problem is that it was undercooked. It was very late (after midnight) and I was tired and so just took the cake out when the skewer came out pretty clean. Mistake! The cake had collapsed in the middle this morning when I looked at it. It's a bit gummy in the middle, but it passes because it's banana mush.

                                              I often forget that my oven is less hot than it should be. I usually make do by setting it at 10 degrees hotter. Last night I forgot and forgot to check the temp of the inside of the cake. Next time, I'll make sure it's actually 350!

                                              This cake has her usual large amount of butter - 3/4 cup for a 1 loaf pan cake. Come to think of it, the collapse could have been due to the pan being an inch smaller than what she called for. DUH.

                                              The moral is: Never begin to make a cake at 11:45 p.m.

                                              I didn't frost it because she didn't and it was fine dusted with powdered sugar.

                                              Handy tip: Bananas are ready for baking when you can smell them from 2 rooms away.

                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                Your tip made me laugh.........you are funny!

                                            2. Sweet Pastry, page 114

                                              To celebrate my daughter's birthday, I made this sweet pastry as the base of a French strawberry tart. I divided the recipe in half, enough for an 11 inch tart pan.

                                              250g flour
                                              60 g caster sugar
                                              160g unsalted butter [10 minutes out of fridge]
                                              pinch of salt
                                              1/2 egg [I weighed one whisked egg, and removed until I was at half the grams]
                                              1 egg yolk
                                              1/2 teaspoon vanilla

                                              First you process the sugar, flour, salt and butter to the consistency of breadcrumbs, before making a well and adding the egg and vanilla. She suggests using a fork to start incorporation and then switching to a one handed mix. I was almost ready to give up when the mixture just came together. You then knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it became really silky. I used a marble rolling pin and rolled to a 1/4 inch thickness. It was easy to roll the dough around the rolling pin and into the tart pan. Cut off the excess, alot since my tart pan is only 9", rerolled and lined several tiny, individual tart pans.

                                              Topped the dough with some pastry cream, sliced strawberries and an apricot glaze.

                                              My husband murmured as he ate, "Just like the patisserie on Avenue des Ternes." This was a very easy dough to work with, once I stopped doubting. The final texture was very shortbread-like, with a clear flavor that partnered beautifully with the cream and fruit. I am keeping a copy of this pastry recipe for the few times a year I want to make something luxurious.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                I also found it easy to work with. It is malleable and very much like a shortbread dough. I haven't used it for a while, but am planning to next week.