If it ain’t broke…

I recently made an apple cake with rum; a winning recipe from Dorie Greenspan which was consumed eagerly by my family with cries for more.  But, I had to try a different recipe… I couldn’t just rest that I had found the nirvana of simple rustic country apple cake recipes.

So, I tried this one pinned from the fabulous Leite’s Culinaria site. It was good, very good, but it didn’t turn out for me as I think it was supposed to. The recipe describes part of the cake as almost pudding like in texture, mine was dry, no hint of gooey pudding. The apple mixture looks plentiful in the recipe, layers upon layers of thin slices of moist apples. In fact, more apple than cake. But, the instructions said to cut the apples into eighths which left big sections of apple – I cut them in half again but I still didn’t get the layers of apples I expected, they seemed to mysteriously clump together in the middle.

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Many times I think that it is not so much the recipe as the interpretation. Which is why we all have our favourite cookbooks, where the writer/chef/cook seems to have a similar style of cooking and the recipes just work.

This wasn’t a keeper for me, I will stick with Dorie’s recipe – which was simpler to put together and had better texture and flavour. This one was good, it just wasn’t as great.

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Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

After the very successful apple cake recipe from Dorie Greenspan, I didn’t expect to find another cake that was so easy to make yet produced such wonderful results. Yet here it is…

Fresh raspberries in Abu Dhabi are on a par with gold prices. So, when my local supermarket had a special offer I bought two punnets on the spot. After agonising over what to do with this precious ingredient (this is where EatYourBooks is a godsend), I decided to make this gorgeous Raspberry Buttermilk Cake from “The Epicurious Cookbook”.

It is one of those recipes where it almost looks too simple, that perhaps the quantities are incorrect – only 1 egg? I feared it was not going to produce enough cake to satisfy my hungry hoard but it does, and it does it beautifully. This is a fuss free cake that is light, has just the right subtle vanilla flavour along with the lovely raspberries to add tartness. The sugar sprinkled on top just before it goes in the oven leaves a lovely crunchy, shimmery top to counterbalance the glorious soft texture of the cake – ah, the wonders of buttermilk.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

My two year old helped make this cake by adding the raspberries to the batter in the tin. The idea is to randomly drop the raspberries not push and squish them – the latter action means the batter rises around the raspberries too much and you don’t see them in the finished cake. The taste is the same, it’s purely a looks thing. We also had some sugar sprinkling issues but we lived.

A note in the cookbook mentions that tart cherries and almond extract in place of raspberries and vanilla is delicious too – sounds divine. Cherries are on a par with oil prices so I am on specials standby for this version.

I can see why this is a “four forks” recipe – I have already made it twice this week.

Yogurt Pot Cake

I have been meaning to try the recipe for Yogurt Pot Cake in Nigellisima for a while. Usually, these quaint recipes are the best and my quest for an arsenal of easy and delicious keepers had made me earmark this one.  With the whisked egg whites in this recipe it perhaps doesn’t quite fill the easy category but the use of the yogurt pot to measure is a fab idea. Nigella provides measurements with the recipe but the pot route seems less complicated.

The yogurt pots over here seem to come in 125ml sizes but the recipe calls for 150ml. I decide to stick to the yogurt pot size because through experience, a recipe using something like pureed pumpkin but only uses 3/4 of the can is a nightmare and always leaves me in the “I can’t throw away that last 1/4 of a can but I know that I am never going to be able to use it for anything” dilemma. The outcome is always the same, I decant the remaining portion into a container, pop it into the fridge only to leave it to fester and be thrown away in a few weeks time.

The cake is pretty easy to put together, the whisked egg whites notwithstanding, and takes only about 20 minutes. I don’t have the ring mould Nigella uses so decided to use a bundt pan. The flavour of this cake is really wonderful however, for me, it turned out quite dry. I took it out at 30 minutes but think I may need to invest in an oven thermometer. I will definitely be making this again but will lower the heat and check the cake after 25 minutes.

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This is a scrumptious homely cake delicious with a cup of fresh coffee. Unfortunately, because my cake was so dry the coffee accompaniment was essential.