Tuesday, 17 April 2012
Or, 'The Von Trapp Bundt'.
You know, the point of this cake tin - isn't the shape of cake it turns out just beautiful? - was actually to be a sort of anniversary marker. I got it on honeymoon and thought it would be nice to bake a cake in it every September 16 as part of a special, celebratory dinner. But I can't seem to resist its pull every time I feel the urge to get out the flour, sugar and eggs. And so this is its third outing on these pages. Try not to get bored of it, because I suspect there will be many more.
Today's cake is one that has been screaming 'Bake me, you bitch!' at me for years. I've resisted, until now, because of the method. It's made without butter, instead relying on the butterfat found in whipped cream to tenderise the crumb. Since I've never really been big on whipped cream, it never quite made its way into pole position on the 'to try out' list I keep filed away in my temporal lobe, and really only did last week because I offered to take a cake over to some friends' place and had a pot of double to use up.
It's actually pretty good, and came together very quickly, which is useful if you need a cake pronto. Light and very moist, with a soft hit of vanilla, I would definitely bake it again, especially if cost was a concern. I mean, butter ain't getting any cheaper after all. But the real reason I wanted to post it is that it is perfect without icing.
When I was younger, I thought icing (especially buttercream) was just the business. I even used to love the vile, plastic textured rolled fondant that you get on supermarket birthday cakes, which now actually makes me feel sick to look at and touch.
My absolute favourite, and this really is disgusting, was the brightly coloured glacé icing that encases French Fancies. I probably would still eat one of those, out of nostalgia (my mother never had them in the house, so they were stolen treats at other children's parties), but would doubtless lapse into a sugar coma shortly thereafter.
As I grew older, my tastes changed, and now I am all about the cake itself, largely ignoring whatever it is frosted with. So cakes like this one are perfect for my tastes. It strikes me, all of a sudden, that this is directly comparable to a conversation I had with a work colleague recently about none other than Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'The Sound of Music'.
We discussed how much we both loved the film as children, and had secret crushes on Rolfe, the telegram boy who turns Nazi (ouch!) and betrays the Von Trapps. ('Liesl's Lucky Escape!')
Now, I don't feel too bad about all that. He was blonde and sang nicely, wore a uniform, and, as a youngster, I didn't really understand what The Third Reich was. However, more recent viewings have shown that really, our hearts belong to the Captain himself. You can lose yourself in the saccharine sweetness of singing telegram boys, yes, but really, what you need in life is a man who wears well-cut collar and dances a mean Ländler when you need one.
I hope I do not need to spell it out for you that Rolf is the frosting.
You can get the recipe for this cake here, so I am not going to bother reproducing it. Just know that I used regular, UK plain flour and all was well.
Please make. And eat watching 'The Sound of Music'.
What's your favourite song from the film? I always liked 'I Have Confidence', though frankly, there are no bad ones.
Monday, 2 April 2012
Sometimes I just prefer the unstaged, 'quick-get-the-camera!' pictures. You can't fake dripping ice cream!
Not wanting to be labelled a flirt who doesn't follow through (see here), I have made some ice cream to go with the sunshine.
It's actually, I suppose, technically not an ice cream, since I didn't make a custard base, but I was remembering the beautiful glittering raspberry kulfi I made a year or so back and wanted to recreate its ease of execution. I mean, the sun is shining: am I really going to be stirring hot cream into eggs and sugar today? No, reader. I am not.
I decided to forgo the evaporated milk that made the kulfi so ridiculously quick to make, despite having a tin on the shelf. It is earmarked for macaroni and cheese when friends come over (I'm doing my bit to make trashy food trendy). No, this ice cream was made with a big tin of peaches and a tub of double cream. More fat, but no tin opener required. Sometimes there has to be a trade off.
I just want to tell you, before moving on to more pressing matters, that this ice cream is wonderful. It is peachy and creamy smooth, and although you can't really tell in the pictures, not a uniform orange blossom colour, but a pale, Spring-like apricot hue, shot through with flecks of sunny, orange peaches.
I must say, having read that last paragraph back, I am glad I went for cream. You can't wax lyrical like that about Carnation, however quick the recipe.
Now: we move away from food, and on to night club DJs. Yes, really.
I recently went out. It's not something I do often, but I'm not dead yet and occasionally feel the need to dance somewhere other than my kitchen.
To all intents and purposes it was a good night; we danced, drank shots of vanilla vodka (home made, I'm not a teenager) and ended up eating falafel at 5am. I'm pleased to say I can still do it. I may have crow's feet, but I can all night with the best of them once in a while.
Now. Here's the thing. It was an Eighties night - had to be, otherwise I wouldn't go - but the DJ wouldn't play my request. I wanted Kim Wilde (follow that link - truly wonderful), but didn't get it. Am I right to be annoyed?
I see it like this: you pay your money to get in, and the DJ is supposed to play music you want to hear. Where do they get off on telling me 'no'? I'm a customer!
Perhaps I am overreacting, but I was really cross. Especially when he followed this song with this one (!). Frankly, that man can't call himself a DJ at all. Have some respect for the greats.
I've lost track again. Forgive me.
Peach Ice Cream
You will need:
1 large tin of peaches in syrup (mine was 470g)
300ml double cream
- Blend the peaches and syrup to a smooth purée in blender, or push them through a sieve if you favour hard work.
- Whisk in the cream.
- Pour this mixture into your ice cream maker and churn until frozen. Keep in the freezer, but take it out about 30 minutes before serving to ripen.