Luscious Lemon Drizzle Cake (so good I made it twice in one week!)

My mother-in-law and I have been passing recipes back and forth over email. It’s a nice way to keep in touch and share our similar passion for cooking and baking. One of the latest recipes is for something called a “luscious lemon drizzle cake”. It’s a moist, flavour-packed loaf cake perfect for afternoon tea (or breakfast J ). The lemon zest infuses every bite and the sweet lemon drizzle creates a very moist (but not soggy) texture that holds when you cut, keeps for a few days and travels well too. I’ve made two in the last week and perhaps the next best thing to eating it is how quick and easy it is. You will always have the ingredients on hand if you’re a regular baker. Also interesting to note is the use of margarine. I don’t often cook with margarine but I found the texture to be so good the first time, I didn’t want to mess around with it the second time. I used President’s Choice celeb olive oil margarine which made the cake low in saturated fat compared to using butter (waistline win!).

A note about the flour. S.R. for those of you who don’t know (myself included), is self raising, not regular sifted as I so cleverly thought. In short, it’s flour with a leavening agent. I’ve been using all-purpose (nutri-blend to be specific) both times without baking powder and love the cake. Try it either way!

Thank you Caz, for this delicious addition to my baking repertoire and also allowing me to share this delicious recipe. It’s definitely going to be that go-to dessert!

Luscious Lemon Drizzle Cake

 


Luscious Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe

Cake
4oz (1/2 cup) Soft margarine
6oz (3/4 cup) Caster sugar
6oz (3/4 cup) S.R. Flour
4 Tablespoons milk
2 Large eggs

Finely grate the rind of 1 lemon. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Set oven to 350f or gas mark 4.

Cream the marg and sugar, add eggs, sifted flour and finely grated lemon rind and milk.Mix well to a soft dropping consistency, place in the prepared loaf tin, smooth the top and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until firm.

Syrup for the top
2 Rounded tablespoons of icing sugar
Squeeze the lemon and use 3 tablespoons

Sift the icing sugar and add the lemon juice a bit at a time to prevent lumps, this can be done while the cake is cooking, as soon as the cake is out of the oven spoon the syrup over the top evenly.

Leave the cake in the loaf tin until completely cold, after it is cold then it can be turned out.

Photo Credits: Craig

I wonder if Keith Richards uses Bisto for his Bangers and Mash?

Tonight after work, my husband and I took an unexpected trip to the new “Dutchie’s Fresh Market”. We were pleasantly surprised to find an array of fresh produce and meats and all at a great price. We were surprised because the first time we drove by the store shortly after its grand opening, the doors appeared dingy and dirty leading us to believe the inside would be much the same. Far from it, in fact, it was spacious, clean and the staff were terribly friendly.

Craig’s wandering eye led to the meat counter and with one look at the Oktoberfest sausages, he suggested he make dinner; a traditional English dinner of Bangers and Mash. Delighted not to have to think of something to make with the bits and pieces in the freezer, I congratulated him for his great idea and we grabbed some really good looking white potatoes and some fresh (not to mention, cheap!) sausages. I wasn’t just excited that I didn’t have to make dinner, but I was excited about the meal itself. Bangers and Mash is not something I have ever made myself, nor is it typically something I would choose in a restaurant.

While Craig masterfully cooked and mashed the potatoes with a variety of tools including my brand new pastry blender (pointing out that we really do need a potato masher), I made some accompanying jalapeno cheddar cornbread (a fabulous recipe courtesy of CooksIllustrated*). Craig served me up a mountain of creamy mashed potatoes and a generous serving of two sausages. I added a piece of piping hot cornbread for colour and then we doused the plate in Bisto – instant gravy that I’d never heard of but Craig was quite familiar with given his British heritage. He told me that one of his friends from back home was nick-named Bisto because he can be a bit “thick”… like the gravy. Classic Craig commentary.

The meal was just as Craig described, comforting, filling and perfect for a chilly day (even though it was 11 degrees outside, there were rumblings of winter mittens and Eskimos). After dinner, I had to know a little bit more about Bangers and Mash. I found some interesting history on Wikipedia which explains that the sausages, particularly those made during the war for rationing, had a much higher concentration of water which could lead to explosion (give way to the term “bangers”). Also noteworthy is the fact that Keith Richard’s provides his own Bangers and Mash recipe in his auto-biography – perhaps that’s the secret to his longevity.

Craig's Bangers and Mash

Creamy mashed potatoes, Oktoberfest sausage, thick Bisto gravy and jalapeno cheddar cornbread.

*Cooks Illustrated has magazine and online subscriptions which is why I won’t post their recipes on my blog. It is totally worth the money and I will continue to buy a membership to ensure they deliver the same incredible recipes that are perfected by their TestKitchen.

 

 

 

 

Waste not, want not

If you don’t lick the spoon, you’re just plain foolish. The “leftovers” of baking are sometimes my primary reason for baking in the first place (I’ve never gotten sick from eating raw cookie dough after nearly 30 years of consumption, so why worry now). However, there is one baking leftover that I often get frustrated with… chocolate chips. Rarely does a recipe call for the entire bag of chips, but instead a cup or two. So there in my cupboard, often sits a 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chips with no home, except, inevitably, my tummy. 

So, in an effort to curb unnecessary sugar raids of the cupboard, I often use the entire bag of chocolate chips in whatever recipe I am making. Besides, I will sample enough to make-up the amount I would have stowed away in the cupboard. But what happens when the recipe calls for only a scant amount? Fear not my cupboard raiders, there is a solution. Take for example a Tiger Bar recipe off the back of the Chipits bag that I made today. It only used in total 3/4 of a cup of the Chipits which left about a half bag of delicious butterscotch bits. I looked at the bag, then the cupboard and then back at the bag and shouted “NO, this cannot be allowed, not this time” and shoved a tablespoon of the buttery Chipits into my mouth. I had to get rid of them, but how?

The recipe has a butterscotch rice crisp base which is then covered with a gentle layer of melted semi-sweet chocolate and finally drizzled with some melted butterscotch chips. Thinking back to some of the specialty dessert bars I had purchased at Vincenzo’s not too long ago, I remembered how many of them were topped with various flavours and colours of chocolate chips. Light bulb! I divided the finishing touches of the bar by drizzling half of it with the melted butterscotch chips and gently sprinkling the remaining bag of butterscotch chips on the other half. I even drizzled the latter with the melted Chipits.

I was pretty impressed with my solution (still ate a few more Chipits – for old time sake – before I let them all go). A few hours later, there was the satisfaction of knowing that no rogue butterscotch chips lay tucked away behind cupboard doors… waste not, want not.

P.S. There is also the satisfaction of knowing that a giant dish of butterscotch bars awaits me in the fridge <grins>.

 

Apologies to Starbucks, but I’m making my own oat fudge bars from now on!

I’ll still get my lattes from the ‘Bucks’, but I think the oat fudge bars are now in my domain.

Late last week, my husband reminded me that the oat fudge bar at Starbucks really is a delicious treat. He shared a piece with me as we waited for our lattes on one of our many visits to Starbucks when we justify the extra $ on a coffee after a long week of work. As I eagerly bit into a piece of the gooey chocolate fudge nestled amongst the rich buttery oat base, I pulled the remainder away and watched the fudge strands extend like mozzarella cheese on a pizza. It was at that moment that I thought, “I’m Googling this recipe and making it!” So on Saturday I Googled, and on Sunday I picked up the missing ingredients (namely the chocolate chips and condensed milk because neither of those last when in my reach). Craig and I had a fun time building this dessert bar together, and an even better time devouring it the next day (it really does taste better after a day of rest). Finally, our co-workers were blessed with the left-overs (this recipe makes a lot if you cut it up into bite sized pieces).

I found this recipe courtesy of Cari Cooks – a Foodbuzz published blog. It matched ingredient for ingredient most of the other recipes I found online and I like the simplicity of her blog, so thanks to Cari for this delicious recipe available here: http://www.caricooks.com/2009/04/recipe-of-day-starbucks-oatmeal-fudge.html

I can’t wait to find another recipe of one of my store-bought favourites… I think baklava is next!

It's not healthy, but it is darn tasty!

ConstantBaker on Twitter

My husband has truly inspired me to get my Constant Baker blog back into a routine with the use of twitter. Find me on twitter @ConstantBaker and watch for more blogs and changes coming soon!

“I need chocolate cake”… “but you don’t like chocolate cake”

I am looking after a sick husband tonight. Yes, that’s right, Craig and I tied the knot in August (that story for another blog perhaps). Everyone knows when you’re sick there are certain foods that just make you feel better. For me it’s white toast (Wonderbread to be brutally honest) and Canada Dry ginger ale. Craig seems to like those too and in an effort to Canadianize him not too long ago, his new comfort food is Kraft Dinner (can you blame him, it is really is good).

So a quick box of Kraft Dinner was “krafted” on the stove. After, we were laying on the couch and he looked at me with his pouty super cute sick face and said to me “Babe, I need chocolate cake.” I turned to him and a smile started to curl on my face. “But babe, you just told me a week ago you don’t like chocolate cake.”  He came up with some sort of defence that I really didn’t understand, but as a good caretaker should do, I listened intently and said “I’ll make you chocolate cake.” Suddenly the colour came back into Craig’s face… clearly chocolate cake is the miracle cure to the common cold.

I found this very quick and simply snacking chocolate cake on where else but Canadian Living. I was expecting to have to run out to the store to get missing chocolate but given the nature of the simple ingredients, including cocoa powder, all I was short was the buttermilk. Not to worry though, as I’ve found ways to turn regular milk into buttermilk. Simply add a tablespoon of white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup and fill it with milk to the 1 cup marker. Let is rest for at least 5 minutes and then use whatever your recipe requires. While I haven’t had a chance to do a comparison, Craig’s chocolate cake was moist and tender, suggesting to me that the substitute was successful.

While I was making the cake quickly in the kitchen, Craig called out “I need a cuddle!” I waved my spatula at him with a bit of frustration and said “What do you want, a cake or cuddles?!?” and I should have known better to ask such a question, because only Craig with his quick wit could come back with “I want cakey cuddles!” We laughed and I quickly put the pan in the oven and then ventured over for a snuggle.

My sick husband devoured a generous serving of chocolate cake dusted with powder sugar about 35 minutes later… and in an effort to make him feel better, I devoured a helping myself. It might not have the healing properties of a bowl of chicken noodle soup, but it certainly made Craig feel better.

Recipes for chocolate snacking cake and buttermilk substitute can be found here:

http://www.canadianliving.com/food/chocolate_snacking_cake.php

http://frugalliving.about.com/od/condimentsandspices/r/Buttermilk_Sub.htm

never lose a recipe

http://www.foodinaminute.co.nz/Recipes/Beef-and-Bean-Casserole – i’ve been given this recipe and I don’t want to lose it… thus I’m posting it :)

the world is our lasagna

So a post is long overdue and I was gently reminded by my lovely fiance, Craig, that I had not posted our culinary masterpiece from his visit in December. You see, Craig currently lives in the U.K., so when he came to Canada in December, we spent a few nights in the kitchen making dinner together.  Learning how to cook (although he really does know how) and spending time in the kitchen with me (because he knows how much I love it) were really important to him. Those moments were undoubtedly some of our favourites. We would often start with a glass of white wine and then we’d tackle the various steps of  the recipe. We made a yummy red coconut chicken curry and our proudest accomplishment was the lasagna. Craig’s favourite meal is lasagna, so it was important to me that we make it together.

Now Craig really does have an incredible sense of humour and he’s pretty quick-witted too (possibly a British thing). So when asked to start a pot of boiling water, I was asked to move aside so the “Constant Boiler” could get to work. Craig told me how the art of boiling water is often misunderstood and beginners often make foolish mistakes such as trying to boil water without a pot or in some rare cases, without water. He found me an instructional video on YouTube and recommended I watch it so that I would be properly prepared to boil water. Inspired by his clever Constant Boiler nickname, I bought him www.constantboiler.com which is being launched very soon.

So, we made the lasagna with great success. It was our last big meal together before he had to travel back to the U.K. so while we delighted in our culinary masterpiece, we ate mostly in silence savouring each bite as we also savoured our last moments together. But the impact of our lasagna wasn’t over. A week or two later I would say to Craig that the world is our oyster but since he doesn’t like seafood, I said “or whatever food you prefer” and simultaneously we wrote to each other, the world is our lasagna!

Lasagna Recipe is available from Canadian Living: http://www.canadianliving.com/food/cooking_school/lasagna__brava.php

Red Coconut Chicken Curry also available from Canadian Living: http://www.canadianliving.com/food/red_coconut_chicken_curry.php

The Constant Boiler tidies up after a massive boiling session.
A layer of sauce, noodles, sauce, cheese and spinach, and repeated a few times.

 

The comforts of tradition… even when ill

I graduated on Friday (yay MBA!) and the week leading up to it was filled with long days and sleepless nights. So inevitably, it’s fitting that by Saturday morning my body said “ENOUGH !” and the immune system bailed and left me feeling fairly rotten (sore throat, swollen glands and deep chest congestion). I made a quick trip to the store to grab some lemon and ginger for a special drink that my friends now refer to affectionately as Momma Chowie Tea. It’s a blend of hot water, fresh lemon juice, fresh sliced ginger and unpasturized honey (or regular) that really has some expediting recovery properties that just work. While I was at the store, I realized I didn’t have a pumpkin for my doorstep (Sunday is Halloween afterall). I found a little round one rather quickly and scooped it up. Suddenly I was overwhelmed by childhood memories of carving pumpkings and scooping out the seeds which my mum would help wash and roast in the oven, dusted lightly with some salt to make a nice little snack.

When I got home I grabbed a serrated knife and opened the top of the pumpkin in a jagged pattern. I scooped out nearly two cups of seeds. I was inspired to do some digging for a roasted pumpkin seed recipe that had a little flare (be it spice sugar). I found one called “Jack by Spicy”, which you can find here on the Canadian Living site. Not only did it satisfy my spice craving but also the intense heat I love on just about anything (hot sauce on ice cream might be coming soon). The finished product was a great twist on a traditional favourite and paired nicely with the Momma Chowie Tea cold remedy (recipe below).

Momma Chowie Tea

1 cup boiling water

1 slice fresh lemon

1 tsp of unpasturized honey

1 tsp of grated fresh giner

Add lemon, honey and ginger to boiling water – stir and drink while water is still quite hot. The heat of the drink is also what helps kill bacteria in addition to the ingredients in it.

Pro-pancakes

Admittedly, staying full is one of the things I struggle with in my diet. One of the best ways I find to stay full however is to eat I really hearty breakfast. A protein pancake is a nice alternative to my mixture of apples, cottage cheese and grains. However, they’re not always the easiest things to make. They tend to be runny, stick to the pan and ultimatley flip into a giant mess.

In search of a new recipe to try, I came across this one. I tweaked it ever so slightly and threw in a scoop of mint chocolate protein powder. Albeit runny once I blended it, the next morning the batter held shape in the frying pan, and flipped successfully. The pancake was hearty but still flavourful thanks to the protein powder. I didn’t put any fruit on it or in it, but that would definitely jazz up the flavour if you used a less obnxoius protein flavour such as vanilla or chocolate.

Try it – make your breakfast healthy and satisfying!

CB

Constant Baker
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