Fig and Olive Oil Cake

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I truly believe that there are few things in the world that a cup of tea and piece of cake cannot fix. Bad day at work, cup of tea and cake make it better. Kids channelling the devil, tea and cake to the rescue. I’m quite sure many of the world’s conflict could be chatted out over a cup of team and a piece of cake.

I was recently given a bag of figs. These figs were bordering on over ripe and were sweet and soft. I felt rather lucky as they are so expensive at the shops and never as nice as home gown as they are so fragile. Given they were pretty ripe I set to working out what I could do with them. Of course being the baking addict I am I was like let’s make a cake with them. Out came the recipe books and internet searches before I settled on this recipe. I was a bit hesitant a you 1/2 bake the cake then add the figs, but it totally worked. It was moist, citrusy and figgy and perfect with a cup of tea.

Fig and Olive Oil Cake – recipe adapted from Shutterbean.com

1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup ground almonds
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
grated zest of 1 lemon
grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup extra olive oil
1/3 cup milk
5 figs, cut into quarters
1 1/2 tbsp. honey

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease a loaf tin and line with baking paper.

Mix together the flour, ground almonds, and baking powder in a bowl.

Using a whisk attachment in a mixer whisk the sugar and eggs until fluffy. Add the citrus zest and juice, then stir in the olive oil and milk. Gently fold in the flour mixture then pour the batter into a prepared tin and bake in the oven for approx. 40 minutes.

Push the figs into the top of the loaf. Drizzle with honey and bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until the top is caramelized and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool fully in tin, then remove from the tin.

Brew cup of tea, cut a large slice of cake and enjoy

Cinnamon Cake

I’ve been experiencing a bit of meh in the kitchen recently. I really haven’t had that much desire to cook/bake. I mean I’ve been cooking dinners and making lunches etc. but I’ve been doing this more because it has to be done then a burning desire to cook. Perhaps life’s just been to chaotic and tiring I’m not sure what was behind it but this week I got my baking mojo back. I’ve made a couple of cakes and have been pursing recipe books feeling enticed to bake and cook other things. It’s good to be back in my kitchen happy place.

One of the cakes I made is a cinnamon cake. It has a layer of chocolate and cinnamon sugar in the middle and chocolate icing and was really really delicious.

Cinnamon Cake – recipe adapted from Dorrie Greenspan’s Baking from my home to yours

1 1/4 + 2 tbls cups of sugar

1 tbls + 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 3/4 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup milk

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

125g + 2 tbls butter, melted

90g dark chocolate chopped

preheat oven to 180 degrees, grease a square cake tin.

stir 2 tbls sugar, 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon together

whisk together flour, baking powder and remaining cinnamon. In another bowl mix together eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix milk mixture into flour mixture.

Fold in butter. it will look like it won’t mix together but just keep gently folding it in. it will end up a nice shiny batter.

Pour 1/2 batter in cake tin. Sprinkle chocolate over batter, the sprinkle cinnamon sugar. Top with remaining batter.

Bake approx. 40 minutes or until done (skewer will come out clean). Cool in tin 15 mins then turn out onto cooling rack.

Icing

180g dark chocolate

2 1/2 tbl butter softened and cut into pieces.

heat chocolate until it’s almost all melted (I do this in short 30 sec bursts in microwave). Stir in butter, finish melting chocolate, you don’t want it really melted and runny, so if it’s like that just leave it for a few minutes so it’s a bit thicker and easier to work with.. Spread on top of cooled cake. leave to harden up at room temp.

Blue Ribbon Baking- My Royal Show Baking

If you’ve been living under a rock this week in Adelaide the Royal Adelaide Show was been on. For those of you outside Australia it’s similar to a State Fair. About 500 000 people attend the show. There’s rides, show bags, animals, wood chopping, fireworks food, wine, a cornucopia of stalls selling stuff and an incredible variety of competition categories form including cookery.

Last year we had a look at the baking entries and I thought I reckon I could give that a go, so this year I did. for most of the open cookery there is no qualify you just fill out your entry form and pay your entry fee and turn up on allocated day with your baked goodies.

Instead of starting small and entering 1 category I thought I’d tempt a baking induced nervous breakdown and enter 3 categories. Chocolate cake, carrot cake and Anzac biscuits. I bake really good version of these (see my Anzac Biscuits post) so thought I’d give it go.

In the months leading up to it I was intent on baking these things often to get a consistent result. I didn’t bake them as much as I really should have but people I’d still have to suffer through multiple tastings of these baked goodies. My husband at present can’t really face another Anzac biscuit.

So I had the day off work the day before I had to enter my goods. I imagined the day being spent listening to some tunes while I got my bake on. In fact it started with a dog chicken disaster and a sick child at home. None the less behind schedule I started baking. My first carrot cake was good as was my first batch of Anzac biscuits. The chocolate cake however was a complete and utter failure. It fell apart as I was getting it out of the cake tin. I also wasn’t happy with how high it had risen. So back to the drawing board I used another recipe with some modifications. it rose well, but then it too fell apart coming out of the tin. I drunk what seems a bazillion cups of tea and lunch had been cake batter so I was feeling all nervous and jittery on a caffeine/sugar high and getting panicked by the chocolate cake. So I baked another batch of Anzac biscuits which again worked well, then gave the chocolate cake a third time lucky go. Hallelujah it worked. I hadn’t put walnuts in my first carrot cake so thought I might make another with walnuts. By this time it was 9pm and I was all baked out. I put the walnuts in the cake, but forgot the bi carb/orange juice mixture. I realised this after I’d just popped the cake in the oven so pulled it out and stirred it through. But when I go the cake out of the tin it looked 2 toned as I hadn’t stirred it through thoroughly. But I had my first carrot cake so all good. I then iced the carrot cake and chocolate cake without incident (a miracle given it was near 11pm)

So after 12 hours baking and an insane amount of eggs, flour, butter and sugar later I was all done .

I lined up with everyone else to drop off their baked goods the next day. Which was itself fascinating seeing all the people with all their cooked goods, as well as seeing frantic last minute preparations for setting up the show

Well how’d I go? No ribbons for me as you can see in the picks below my entries were different form the winning entries. But I’m ok with that. I’m more impressed that I did it.

My Anzac biscuits

The winning Anzac biscuits (noticeably smaller)

My chocolate cake

The winning chocolate cake

My carrot cake

Th wining one (clearly the cute little carrots on the icing were a winner)

Would I enter again, sure, next year I’m aiming to enter the Anzac biscuits because mine were pretty damn good, just bigger than the ribbon winners, the rock cakes and lamingtons (see my blog post for my amazing lamingtons).