I never tried baking Banana Bread until recently when I found I had lots of bananas in the fruit bowl and I thought I’d try making something ‘healthy’ for a change.
It turned out pretty well. It is a tasty slice of bread, but it is something you might have every now and again. It is good for a change. I added some chopped walnuts which gave it an extra crunch and rich texture. I’m just including a photo for now, but I’ll add the recipe another time. I used a loaf tin. It sliced easily just like a loaf of bread. It could be eaten with a little butter, especially good when it is still warm.
I came across these little cakes recently at an Italian coffee shop in Dublin. They are in fact French in origin and are really delicious. So delicious that I thought I should have a go at making them and save myself the trip to the Italian coffee shop, which was becoming something of a habit. I still go there and still buy them! But no harm in knowing how to bake them too.
So I went on the Internet and found a recipe for them at this Blog http://www.cookrepublic.com/recipe-archive/raspberry-friands/.
These taste really moist and are quite heavy. You are left feeling fulfilled. There is little chance you would go for a second one and they make you pretty full. They go well with coffee or tea of course.
So here are some photos of my attempt at the Financiers! I used 2 frozen raspberries in each one.
Financiers cakes cooling on a tray
The recipe made 12 exactly. I only had a standard bun/muffin tin, so I didn’t get the nice almond shape that you will find in the coffee shop or bakery. But I couldn’t justify buying a special tin just for these… or not yet anyway!
I had a go at making Madeleines. They are suprisingly easy to make and delicious. Like many good baking products, they are French, originally from the North East of France. I read that they don’t keep very well and are best eaten on the day that they are baked. I have often eaten these in France and thought they might be something worth trying out at home. It turns out they were.
The recipe I used was from the BBC website available at www.bbc.co.uk/food/madeleines from the French Chef Michel Roux Jr. I made the lemon version, which gives the taste a pleasant tang. You will need a special Madeleine tray for these to cook correctly. I got a silicon one which works really well. They were impossible to eat in one day so I did freeze them. This worked fine and they were defrosted and eaten within a week.
Here is a true classic, the Victoria Sponge. Everyone likes this teatime treat and it is equally tasty in the afternoon with a decent cup of tea.
8 oz butter
8 oz self raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 oz caster sugar
4 free range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Optional)
200ml Fresh cream
2 tablespoons raspberry jam
Preheat the oven to 200C. Prepare two 8 inch round baking tins by lining them.
The method for the sponge could not be simpler. It is called ‘ the all in one ‘ method because all the ingredients are put into a bowl and mixed together. I like vanilla so I added it, but this is optional.
spread the mixture between the two tins as evenly as possible and place in the heated oven. They should take about 20-25 minutes to bake, depending on the oven.
When they are ready they should spring back when touched. Remove from the oven and let them cool a little in the tins. Then remove them and cool on a wire rack.
Strawberries are traditionally not used, instead the filling is simply raspberry or strawberry jam. Personally I like fresh fruit with any sponge and strawberries and cream is a combination that is hard to beat. Slice the washed strawberries so that they are flat and won’t cause the cake to become too uneven. I like some jam on this cake and I used raspberry jam, not too much – just enough to have a thin spread over the cake. Place the strawberries evenly and generously over the sponge. whip the cream and dollop it over the strawberries. Give a good generous amount of cream as the cake tastes better with a moist centre.
Next put the top layer on and sieve a little icing sugar or caster sugar on the top. You could decorate with more fruit on top or just one or two strawberries if you have any left over. Finally slice and enjoy! This cake only keeps for about 3 days.
This is a christening cake I made for my niece Gráinne in July 2013.
It is a two tiered cake, the bottom tier is vanilla sponge, made using the BBC’s recipe for ‘Easy Vanilla Cake’ which I would highly recommend. The top tier is a chocolate moist sponge.
I covered both with sugarpaste and decorated with a sugarpaste teddy, sugarpaste baby in a cot, cubes with Gráinne’s name on them and some other decorations. The decorations take more time than baking so I ran out of time, I could have perhaps decorated it a little more. Gráinne’s sister Aoibhinn who is 2 and a half, liked the train best and I think she may have eaten the whole lot!