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Fast & Furious cake

This is one of my ‘go-to’ recipes if I’m looking to cook up a quick breakfast or dessert. What makes this truly, ‘fast & furious’ is that — using a silicone cake form I can put this in my microwave oven at approx.750°C and within 7 to 8 minutes, have a good looking cake to serve up! But I must also add that the microwave version will dry out very quickly, and so it’s best with the addition of some jam in the middle, or even with a scoop of ice-cream or a drizzle of cream, custard or sweet sauce if you are serving it as a dessert.

Yield: About 12 slices

Simple, fast & furious cake

Simple, fast & furious cake

Simple cake recipe to whizz up all in one go in your kitchen robot

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200g Flour (can be self-raising, plain or wholemeal)
  • 200g butter or margarine
  • 200g sugar (demerara is ok too)
  • 1 x 16g packet of raising agent
  • 4 medium eggs
  • Optionals:
  • Flavouring if desired
  • Chocolate chips or chopped nuts
  • Icing sugar to dust top of finished cake
  • Fruit jam of choice to spread in the middle of the cake

Instructions

  1. Turn on your oven to 160°C
  2. Prepare the baking tin (27cm diam.) by rubbing all over with small knob of butter and then dusting lightly with flour.
  3. Prepare the robot with a non-cutting blade
  4. Sift together flour & baking agent -- if using wholemeal flour, first sift & then add the chaff which remains behind in the sieve.
  5. Spoon into your robot along with any flavouring eg. cinnamon, vanilla etc.
  6. Add the sugar
  7. Cut the butter into small pieces, then add to robot.
  8. Turn the robot on at half-speed until the butter is mixed with the flour, then increase the speed for about 30 seconds.
  9. Break the eggs, one by one, into a cup so that you can check for pieces of shell, before adding each into the flour mixture
  10. Turn on the robot full speed until the mixture becomes smooth & slightly shiny. That should take a couple of minutes.
  11. At this stage, if you want to add some chocolate chips, throw them into the mixture & turn on the robot for just a few seconds so they mix in evenly.
  12. Carefully transfer the mixture to the cake tin, & if the oven has reached temperature, slide on to the top shelf.
  13. Cook for about 35 minutes, checking a few minutes before the end of cooking time with a wooden skewer in the cake to see if it comes out dry or moist. If too moist, you may have to extend cooking time a few extra minutes.
  14. When cooking time is up, take the cake from the oven and leave it to stand for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack to cool
  15. When the cake is cool you can add a little extra interest by slicing it in half horizontally & adding a jam spread in the middle -- or more simply, by just adding a dusting of icing sugar on the top

Notes

Cooking utensils:

  • Round cake tin 27cm diameter
  • Kitchen robot
  • Kitchen scales or measuring jug
  • Sieve (for flour)
  • Spatula
  • Spoon
  • Knife

Going ‘French’

Well it’s been taking up a whole bunch of room gathering dust on one of the kitchen shelves for a couple of years now, so I knew I would be called to justify its existence at some point. I had thrown out our 5 roller hockey sticks and skates without batting an eyelid, so how could I possibly claim sitting rights for a huge bread machine that we never use.

The time had come to put it through its paces again. The awful part of all this is that in the past, apart from the tantalising aroma of home baked bread, the actual bread itself had always been a major disappointment to the palate. So I studied at length the manual because I had always been told to RTFM, and decided that perhaps I should try a different recipe – the ‘French’ bread. Just the very name had always put me off in the past – here I am in Italy using a recipe for French bread! I daren’t tell my mother-in-law since her state of health is already a bit iffy.

Almost 4 hours later – the kitchen floor smothered in sprinklings of flour, sugar, salt and oats – after an irritating sequence of whistles and beeps and churning blades, the ‘French’ bread is ready.

I think my daughter must have followed the aroma from her house further along the island, because just on cue, she arrived with the spud heart in the picture and begged a chunk of newly baked bread to take home for tea. Hubby complained sorely about the amount of crumbs each time you cut a slice, but as you can see, the loaf is almost finished, so it couldn’t have been that bad, even if it was ‘French’ !!!

Keeping the chocolate hot

Keep the hot chocolate hot

is what I said. There are all sorts of occasions for wanting to take a cup of hot tea or cocoa to someone outside – maybe it’s for the lads working under the car bonnet – or for the gang around the bonfire letting off fireworks – or even for the snowball fights when there’s too much fun going on to drop everything and go inside. Helps you to keep those dirty feet outside the door for a bit longer too!
So this is my solution – a thick felt holder for hot mugs so that you can take the hot drinks outside and be sure that they won’t go cold straight away. What do you think?

Collecting a rainbow

A couple more of the gorgeous colour pigments to add to my collection. I just wish I had taken a pic of the shop window to show you what a fantastic display these powders make. I was wondering around town with my photographer friend Mark, and whilst I was chatting to the shop owner and making my purchase, he was outside taking a pic of the shop window. Can’t have it all …so Mark gets the pic and I get the pigments!

Anyway, on the subject of Mark, we had a great few days wandering around town doing a couple of exhibitions and getting in a couple of nice meals…catching up with our news and meeting up with some of my old friends too. A couple of them own a lovely restaurant called “Il Covo” where Mark and I ate a delicious meal yesterday…I can hardly believe that some 40 years have gone by since I first met Cesare the owner! Anyway, if any of you are ever around these parts looking for something local to do in Venice, Cesare does cookery lessons for small groups…he has a passion for food and can make even an omelette sound like heaven!

Mark has just called me from the airport… as a travel photographer, he is off on…well…some more travels. I think the next few weeks see him in London, France, Turkey and then the States again. It’s a hard life!!

What… only 2 and a bit jars?

peach-jam-150x150

I really don’t know if it was worth all the hassle, mess, heat and dirty dishes! Only two and a bit jars of peach jam! I can’t even vouch for its being good enough to eat yet either, not being an expert in the matter.

Anyway, it’s done now, and the next 24 hours will be the test. If the jars don’t explode, then I can have a taste of the stuff on my toast tomorrow morning.

Watch this space (as usual!)

ps. I’m sure I would be better off messing around in boats or roaring around on motorbikes!

Made by Hand

When you buy something from an artist, you are buying more than an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experiments. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are not only buying a thing, but a piece of heart, a part of the soul, a moment in the life of someone.

by Giacomo Cinque
'La Sartoria Antica'
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