Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Apple and Walnut Cake

The cake is lovely, but in an unfancy 'cucina rustica' kind of a way - Nigella Lawson

I've always thought that you can't go wrong with an apple cake (or any kind of apple dessert) - and this cake proves it.

The verdict: This is one great cake. I was a bit worried about it during the making of it, for a whole range of reasons, but it turned out so well, in so many ways!Unusual or substituted ingredients: Nigella warns that walnut oil is expensive - in fact, she says not to buy it specially for the cake, and suggests using olive oil instead - which is exactly what I did! I also did not use the walnuts, as I'm not a huge fan of them. So I guess it's really just an apple cake - although it's not "just" an apple cake! Nigella also specifies using Cox apples. I just used what I had in the fruit bowl - 2 pink ladies and a granny smith. And I think I forgot to put in the cinnamon (whoops!)
Special utensils or cookware: Nothing special except for a 20cm springform tin - which of course I don't have! I've used bigger tins before and the cake hasn't quite worked, so I used my old faithful ring tin instead - and hoped like heck the cake wouldn't stick - I made sure I greased and floured the tin thoroughly! And it worked (phew!)
Repeatability: Oh I would definitely make this cake again - it was a highly successful cake, made for a work morning tea - and it keeps so well, it was also afternoon tea, and then morning tea again the next day. I'm sure it would keep for 3-5 days in cool weather!
Sauciness: I possibly used a bit too much apple - because when I mixed the apples in with the rest of the cake mix, it didn't seem to mix too well - the apple was hardly even coated. Nigella says the mix will be "stiff" but this was ridiculous!! Fortunately it settled, and expanded, nicely when cooked!
Overall pleasure level: This was fabulous, appley, with just a hint of rum and a very nice, moist texture - 8/10 for me!

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Rhubard Cornmeal Cake

'You can never have too many rhubarb recipes in my book - Nigella Lawson

The verdict: I would agree with Nigella on this one. RoseRed might not. But I love the stuff. I actually made this quite some time ago and forgot that I'd taken the photos in readiness to write it up. So my memory may be a little sketchy. I'm hoping the photos bring the memories back. Note to self: annotate recipes more often!

Unusual or substituted ingredients: I recall I did this recipe as written. N o modifications. 500g of rhubarb is a lot if you have to buy it because the bunches are small and expensive I think. I plan to grow my own from now on.

Also, polenta/cornmeal is probably unusual for some people. I seem to always have it in the house but never seem to use it. My attempts at making baked polenta are futile but in things like cakes, I think it works a treat.

Other that that, it's just got the usual suspects, butter, bi carb, vanilla, eggs, sugar.

Special utensils or cookware: None. Just a spring form tin.

Repeatability: I've not made it since but I definitely I will make it again. I recall it was dense and moise, sweet and tangy.

Sauciness: It's more your good, solid cake than a saucy one. With a dollop of cream though....that might take it to another level!

Overall pleasure level: Again, from memory, I think I would have given this about an 8. Maybe more, but without certainty I can't say for sure. Looking at the photo above, I remember the slightly crusty top and those delicious jewels of rhubarb dotted throughout the tender cake. Lovely!