There is something intensely satisfying about baking a cake. I find every stage enjoyable; planning what you will make, the therapeutic measuring mixing and whisking, the pride you feel in it sitting there looking all pretty, and of course devouring it with a nice cup of tea. I haven’t baked for quite a while – I am fighting a losing battle against an expanding waistline and Tim (that American on MasterChef is my husband so step back Twitter groupies) does tend to somewhat monopolise the kitchen. I can hear Tim’s protests as I type this, because usually I don’t mind. I like cooking main meals, but it never produces the same kind of joy I get from making desserts. This probably has a lot of do with my terribly sweet tooth, but I also think there’s a delightful decadence in making something just for fun. No nutritional benefits, not to use up the leftover veg in the fridge that’s starting to go brown around the edges, just baking something that’s a treat.
The double celebration of my step-dad’s 70th and Mother’s day on the third of April was the perfect excuse. Don is a complete sucker for chocolate cakes, so I decided to break open my new MasterChef at Home cookbook and give Dhruv Baker’s Dark Chocolate and Almond Torte with Amaretto Cream, Raspberries and Passion Fruit at whirl. Before you get too impressed, I dismissed the cream and fruit and just went for the cake. Recipe is here courtesy of Gluten Free for Kids website. I stuck with the ground almonds and the cake was still lovely and moist, but I did substitute Amaretto for Shannon White Chocolate Irish Cream as that is what we had knocking around. The chocolate was Lindt dark almond and Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Peruvian Fairtrade Dark Chocolate.
This is what it was supposed to look like:
This what it actually looked like:
Despite my great excitement at christening my new silicon baking set (which had started to gather a film of dust on the top of the box, sitting lonely and abandoned in the spare room) even a bendy cake tin didn’t stop my cake from falling apart. I could blame our temperamental oven as I had to take it out and put it back in when it wasn’t cooked through…but it’s more likely that I got cocky and tried to turn it out when it hadn’t cooled enough. Despite presentational issues, it went down well with the whole family. I find it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate. I once made a complicated and technically challenging cake for a party, then made some chocolate cookies as an afterthought in a quarter of the time. Can you guess which was most popular?
My mother, however, is more of a fruit dessert lover. As I got my sweet tooth and lack of self-control where it comes to food from her, I decided to go for a relatively healthy angel food cake. The lack of egg yolks also gives it a lovely light texture and colouring. I found this Lime Angel Food Cake with Lime Glaze and Pistachio recipe on Epicurious, my go to website for cakes. The recipe, originally in Bon Appétit, is here.
I followed the recipe to the letter. It turned out pretty well, but I think I pulverised my pistachios a bit too much as they came out brown rather than the whitey-green on the photo. I think I would get a slap on the wrist from John and Greg over presentation! It also didn’t rise as much as I had hoped it would. Nevertheless, the lime glaze gave the delicate flavour a tangy sweetness, and the pistachio added depth to the flavour. Definitely two cakes to attempt again. Practice makes perfect – now where are those trousers with the elasticated waistband?