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Butternut squash cake with apple, currants topped with Almond streusel

Butternut squash cake with apple, currants topped with Almond streusel

By Kira

Recently, I decided to participate in Wimbledon baking group, where everyone has to bring one home made cake. Each meetup has a theme and this month’s theme is ‘A bake with a story’. Being my first meetup, I was wondering what to make. Finally, I decided to retry my very first attempt to make a cake for my exact equals birthday.

Here goes my story… My baking adventure started of a couple of year back in London. Before that I never baked in my whole life. Thats right you are reading it right. When I moved to London, I use to enjoy the BBC program for children ‘I can cook’ by Kathy. I started trying recipes from that program and slowly started of with cup cakes, muffins and cookies. By then I got the basic knowledge of baking, I wanted to try cakes. I was looking for recipes to make dinner with butternut squash, to my surprise I came across a cake recipe using butternut squash. I was surprised as well as excited by the thought of adding vegetable to a cake.

I never follow a recipe to a ‘T’, I always improvise with my basic knowledge and personal twists. I made the cake a day ahead of my exact equals birthday, to give me enough time for the backup plan. After I finished baking, my house was filled with pleasant smell. All is well at the end, now I have the trouble of hiding the cake for a another day.

I really surprised him on his birthday, presenting with my very first perfect cake. Oh my goodness, the cake was so light and tasted delicious with bits of apple, currants and top of all was the almond streusel. The cake also had taken the nice yellow colour from the butternut squash puree.

Here is the picture of my Butternut squash cake with apple, currants topped with Almond Streusel.
           

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 65 mins

Ingredients
Dry Ingredients:

  • Plain flour – 140 g  (14 tbsp – level tablespoons)
  • Golden granuated raw cane sugar – 137 g (10.5 tbsp – level tablespoons)
  • Baking powder 1.5 tsp
  • Table Salt a pinch
  • Red apple, medium size 1
  • Juicy currants – 50 g (5 tbsp – I used Whitworths juicy currants)

Wet Ingredients:

  • Eggs, medium size, room temperature 2
  • Sunflower oil – 65 ml (4.5 tbsp  – I used Flora sunflower oil)
  • Vanilla essence 1 tsp
  • Nutmeg 0.25 tsp (I used freshly grated nutmeg)
  • Ground Cinnamon 0.50 tsp
  • Butternutsquash puree – 80g (8 tbsp  – level tablespoons)

Streusel Topping:

  • Whole Almonds 100 g (10 tbsp finely chopped almonds)
  • Golden granuated raw cane sugar – 33 g (2.5 tbsp)
  • Unsalted Butter, room temperature 20 g

Instructions

Butternut squash Puree:

  • Cut the medium size butternut squash in lengthwise, scoop out the seeds. Place it in the roasting tray with cut side down.
  • Pour little water into the base of the roasting tray.
  • Bake at 180C fan in the preheat oven for 35 mins or until the butternut squash is tender.
  • Remove the butternut squash from oven and let it cool completely.
  • Scoop out the flesh of the butternut squash. Puree it in the food processor until it has smooth texture.
  • The puree stores well in fridge and freeze. I usually make the puree a day before I plan to make the cake. Measure the amount that is needed for the cake and keep that in fridge. Freeze the remaining puree for later use.

Dry Bowl:

  • Shift the plain flour into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the sugar, baking powder and salt to the mixing bowl.
  • Give everything a good mix using a spatula and keep it aside.

Wet Bowl:

  • Have the electric hand blender with balloon whisk attachment ready.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, break the eggs and whisk it until it looks pale yellow in colour and foamy.
  • Add the oil to the egg mixture and whisk a few seconds until its mixed evenly.
  • Add the vanilla essence, nutmeg and cinnamon to the mixture and give a good mix.
  • Add the butternut squash puree to the mixture and whisk at low speed for a minute until its well blended.

Streusel Topping:

  • Place the whole almonds in the food processor and pulse until the almonds are finely chopped.
  • Transfer the chopped almonds to a bowl, then add the sugar and butter. Mix it with your finger tips until the mixture looks like a crumble.

Final steps:

  • Preheat the oven at 170C fan.
  • Line the 7 inches round deep cake tin with baking sheet.
  • Peel, core and cut the apple into cubes of 1cm pieces. Add the apple pieces and currants to the dry mixture bowl and give it a good mix.
  • Add the dry mixture into wet mixture bowl. Fold the mixture gently with a spatula, because you don’t want to knock out all the air bubbles produced by beating the eggs. Fold it until everything is well incorporated.
  • Fill the cake tin with the mixture. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the cake mixture. Very gently press the streusel to level it evenly.
  • Cover the top of the cake tin with aluminium foil. The foil cover prevents the almonds from burning. Bake at 170C fan for 25 mins.
  • Remove the aluminium foil and bake for further 22 mins or when a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from oven and let it cool for 10 mins before releasing it from the cake tin.
  • Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool completely.
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Pineapple upside-down Individual cake

Pineapple upside-down Cake

By Kira

I was wondering what to do with fresh pineapple. I came across this recipe from the slow cooker book. I modified the recipe according to my liking and to suit the oven cooking.

Here is the picture of my pineapple upside-down cake. The texture of coconut spongy was light and when had with pineapple it tasted perfect for a treat.

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 18 mins
Total time: 28 mins
Yield: 2 servings
Baking Utensil: 2 ramekins

Ingredients
Plain flour50 g
Baking powder1/2 tsp
Sugar2 tbsp plus extra to sprinkle the ramekins base
Unsalted Butter – at room temperature25 g plus extra for coating the ramekins
Desiccated coconut1 tbsp
Egg1/2 large
Honey1 tbsp
Pineapple chunks50 g

Instructions
– Cream together butter and sugar, using an electric hand blender.
– Add the egg to the creamed butter and a tbsp of flour to stop the mixture from curdling. Mix until the egg is well incorporated.
– Add the remaining flour, baking powder, desiccated coconut to the mixture. Mix on low speed until everything is mixed well.
– Grease 2 ramekins. Fill each ramekins with 1/2 tbsp of honey, sprinkle a thin layer of sugar and then spread half the pineapple chunks and half of cake mixture. Level the surface with back of wet spoon.
– Bake at preheat oven 170C fan for 18 minutes. Remove the ramekins from oven and let it cool on wire rack.
– Loosen the edge of the ramekins and turn the cake into the serving plate.

Enjoy the soft coconut sponge with sweet chunky pineapples.

Japanese Sweet Buns

Japanese sweet buns

By Kira

I am a big fan of soft japanese bun especially the green tea ones. When I was a student in Australia, I used to enjoy these buns at the “Bread Man”. They use to have custard, coconut, green tea buns etc and savoury too.

After so many years, I had the green tea melon buns in Paris at a japanese boulanger (Aki Boulanger). I absolutely loved it. I am inspired to try them at home.

I tried the simple basic japanese sweet buns. Here is the picture of my Japanese sweet buns. They were so soft, I think its because of the water roux method of preparation.

Picture of my desiccated Coconut filled buns.

Prep time: 2hr 20mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Total time: 2hr 32mins
Yield: 8 buns

Ingredients

Water Roux
Bread flour1 tbsp
Water5 tbsp

Sweet Buns
Bread flour190 g
Plain flour30 g
Custard powder – 14 g
Sugar35 g
Salt1/4 tsp
Yeast1/2 packet of 7g packet
Egg – medium size1/2
Milk75 ml
Unsalted Butter – room temperature20 g

Instructions

Water Roux
– Mix the flour and water in a saucepan. Make sure there are no lumps.
– Cook the mixture on low to medium heat. Keep stirring continuously and cook until the mixture thicken, this is when you will see the bottom of the pan when your stir.
– Keep cooking for 1 more minute. Remove the saucepan from heat, cover with cling film and leave it to cool down to room temperature.

Sweet Buns
– In a large mixing bowl, mix the bread flour, plain flour, custard powder, sugar, salt and yeast.
– Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Beat the egg, add it to the flour mixture and mix it well.
– Add the lukewarm water roux to the flour mixture and mix it well.
– Knead the flour using the electric hand mixer with dough hook attachment.
– Heat the milk until its lukewarm. Gradually add the milk to flour mixture, knead until the flour resembles a sticky dough.
– Chop the butter and add it to the dough. Knead the dough until the butter is well incorporated. The butter won’t combine with the dough initially but as you knead it will work its way into the dough.
– Check whether the dough stretches, if so stop kneading. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with cling film and let the dough rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
– Divide into 8 pieces. Shape into a ball and let it rest for 5 minutes.
– (optional) To make coconut filled buns, mix desiccated coconut, butter and sugar.
– Roll each ball into oval shape, spread the coconut mixture if using, then fold it like a swiss role. Place it in the lightly greased baking tray.
– Cover the baking tray with cling film and let it rise for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
– Bake at 180C fan for 12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

The buns came out really good with soft texture.

Sea Bream fillet with tomato pepper sauce

Sea Bream fillet with tomato pepper sauce


By Kira

I always talk about simplicity, in most of my dish. Thats me, I really apprepricate a quick home cooked meal, with few ingredients. This is also one of the kind.

Simple oven baked fish with a tomato pepper sauce which compliments the fish. The sauce gives a bit of a moisture to the baked fish and adds an extra texture too.

Yield: 2 portions

Ingredients
Sea Bream fillet 2
aluminium foil – to wrap the fish for cooking
Tomato 2 medium size (chopped)
Red onion 1/4 (chopped)
Pepper orange/yellow 1/2 (chopped in 1cm x 5cm)
garlic 1 clove minced
olive oil 1 tbsp plus extra for drizzling on the fish
black olives 6 deseeded and chopped
dried oregano 1/2 tsp
capers 6 drained and chopped
salt & pepper for seasoning

Instructions
For the Fish:
– Preheated oven to 180C (fan)
– Tapped the salt and pepper on each side of the fillet.
– Place the fillets in aluminium foil.
– Drizzle with olive oil, then wrap the foil like a parcel.
– Place the parcel in the oven and let it cook for 12 mins.

For the sauce:
– Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the frying pan and heat it to medium hot.
– Add the onions, garlic and peppers to the pan. Let it sweat for few minutes.
– Add the tomatoes, olives, cappers and oregano to the pan.
– Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve plate the fish with sauce on the side. Its deliciously, with the note of
mediterranean flavour from oregano.

Baked Chicken drumstick with Indian masala and new potato

Sometimes, I like to have spicy chicken. This is one of my recipe for such craving.
Simple dinner with not much work to be done. Just mix the masala ingredients, stuff
it underneath the chicken drumstick skin and bake it oven along with some potatoes.

Ingredients:
Chicken drumstick – 4
new potato – 15 to 20 based on the size of your baking dish (half the large ones)

Masala for stuffing:
white onion – 1/2 of a small size onion (chopped fine)
garlic – 1 clove (minced)
coriander powder – 2 tsp
cumin powder – 1 tsp
cayenne pepper powder – 1/4tsp (for medium hot) or 1/2 tsp(for really hot)
lemon juice – 1 tbsp
olive oil – 1 tbs
salt for seasoning

– Preheat the oven to 180C (fan)
– Add all the masala for stuffing in a small bowl, give it a good mix.
– Insert the back of the spoon beneath the chicken drumstick skin and rotate it around the drumstick, it creates a pocket.
– Stuff the masala mix inside the pocket. Try to evenly spread the masala mix around the drumstick. Finish off by sealing the skin at the edge. Do not overfill the masala mix.
– Drizzle the baking dish with oil. Place the chicken inside dish with even space between each. Roughly throw in the new potatoes inside the dish. Cover the dish with aluminium foil, this helps to trap the moisture and keeps the chicken from drying.
– Baked at 180C (fan) for 40 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the aluminium foil, then turn the chicken and potato. Place the dish inside the oven uncovered for the remaining of the time.

Its so tasty and delicious with spicy chicken and creamy roasted new potato to go with it.

Jacket Potato

Jacket potatoes are something that I wanted to try cooking for sometime.

It came out delicious with a crispy skin and a soft inside. The butter wedged in the middle added some extra smoothness. A sprinkle of salt is all the seasoning thats needed. For even more joy, top it up with chilli bean and your favourite shredded cheese.

Ingredients

4 medium size jacket potato
1 tbsp olive oil
salt
butter to serve

Wash the potatoes and dry them. Prick them all around using fork, this helps the steam to escape when the potatoes get cooked.

Coat each potato surface with olive oil. Sprinkle some salt on it. Arrange them in the preheated oven.

Bake at 200C fan for 90 mins, turning the potatoes half way through the cooking time.

Serve your potatoes immediately with simple plain butter or any dressing of your choice.

Enjoy your baked potatoes with crispy skin and soft inside.