Inverted Chocolate Blueberry Loaf

I’m  cogitating on vocations this month. As such, I’m not getting that much making done except for things that are deliciously decadent and, most important, edible (sugar is a well known aid to those seeking the inner paths of enlightenment you see).

Thusly, behold the Inverted Chocolate Blueberry Loaf: a perfect balance of sweet with salt, soft caramel with bready springiness and blueberries with chocolate.

  • Ingredients
  • 40g butter or margarine
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 60g butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk (dairy or soy)

Although the loaf has three layers it’s pretty easy to make.

Method

Firstly grease a loaf tin, then preheat the oven to 170°C.

Next, cream the first lot of butter and the brown sugar then add the maple syrup. Mix until well combined. Scrape the mixture into the loaf tin to cover the bottom 1cm or so up the sides.

Pour the blueberries in the tin in a single layer. Press gently into the butter mix.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

Back in the original bowl, cream the second lot of butter and sugar (don’t worry about the residue left from the first lot – less washing up is always good in my book). Add the egg and beat until light and soft.

Finally, stir through flour mixture and milk in alternate batches until all the ingredients are well combined. Carefully scrape mixture into the pan, taking care not to dislodge the blueberries.

Stick it in the oven for 50-60 minutes. The loaf is cooked when a skewer comes out clean. Invert the tin onto a plate as soon as it comes out of the oven and leave to sit for a few minutes before removing the pan completely. The loaf is delicious either hot or cold.

Based on a Margaret Fulton recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

Orange Cardamon* Loaf

I was going to post on a product-in-progress today, but decided at the last moment to add a present for you. Don’t get too excited, it’s not in the realm of a pony or pirate lego – it’s just a DIY demo model for the afore mentioned product. Anyhoo, the short of it is that I need a little more material for the post, so it will have to wait until next week. (See how I’m building… suspense?)

In the meantime, I thought it was time for more cake.

This is another oil cake. I love them; they’re pretty much fool proof, take seconds to mix up (no faffing about with creaming butter and sugar here) and result in a cake that is soft and moist yet still robust.

  • Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed
    orange juice
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 10 cardamon pods
  • Zest of 1 orange

The first bit is easy: pre-heat the oven to 180°c. Whoah, cordon bleu techniques I know. Next lightly whisk eggs together in a large bowl, then whisk in orange juice and oil.

Add sugar and almond meal, sift in flour; stir until all ingredients well combined.

Add the orange zest. Stir through.

This is the hardest bit – split open the cardamon pods (*also known as cardamom but I just can’t bring myself to say it like that – it’s my verbal equivalent of a mullet), separate out the little black seeds then crush or grind them – I used a mortar and pestle – into a rough powder. Stir through the batter.

I usually prep my tins at this point, but if you want to feel super organised you can do it before you make the mix. I used a loaf tin with a piece of baking paper covering the long sides and the base.

Pour mix into prepared tin then bake for 45-50 minutes – it’s cooked if you poke through it with a skewer that comes out clean. If there’s mix adhering to the skewer, leave it in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Cool for a few minutes in the tin, then turn on to a cooling rack.

Cut, then eat. Or I suppose you could pick the whole thing up and eat it like that… Not that I’m advocating gluttony.

Mmm… more cake…

Two Hundred and Forty Tarts

So this week just gone I made a dress for my sister, fixed my own dress and made two hundred and forty tarts (pastry, not any other kind as my punny dad implied) all for a wedding on the weekend. I. Am. Buggered. But strangely cheerful… Must be the lack of sleep or, you know, sense of creative fulfilment.

How I ended up doing the dress I’m not quite sure, but I’ll let you know as soon as I do (a subtle segue for a post on making the dress, eh?). However, I offered to make the tarts as a wedding present. With expert dessert consultation from my invaluable sister, I decided on two different tarts; a Citrus Praline tart and a Sweet and Bitter Berry tart.

I made the shells the day before in an unprecedented act of preparation, which with 3 trays meant 7 baking batches… The house was nice and toasty by the time I was done.

The Citrus Praline tart filling was a simple but delicious one I had cobbled together from the pantry in a past dessert-desperate moment; 140g of good quality, slightly bitter marmalade to every 100g of almond meal (toasted in the oven at 150°C until lightly browned – about ten minutes – then cooled to room temperature), stirred thoroughly together, refrigerated for an hour and finally smoothed into the waiting tart shells with a butter knife.

We got the caterers to pipe whipped cream swirls on top of each tart just before serving for that fancy weddingy touch, but they’re just as tasty as is.

The other tart had to involve chocolate, so I made a cheats ganache, giving it some groove with raspberry puree. I used 100g melted bitter-sweet chocolate (I used the Lindt 70% chocolate) to 1/4 cup raspberry puree (frozen raspberries thawed then blended) and 2 teaspoons milk, with the puree and milk gradually stirred into the chocolate until the ganache was a uniform consistency.

I piped the ganache into the tarts then stuck them in the fridge to firm up while wonderful John washed up the plethora of bowls, forks, spoons and random kitchen implements (my piping bag is resting in part of a never used cocktail shaker) I’d used.

The final step was dropping a teaspoon of melted white chocolate onto the set ganache to add a sweet note against the bitter chocolate, salty pastry and tart berries as well as an even finish. I didn’t think they looked quite weddingy enough though, so I shook up a few drops of raspberry puree with some caster sugar to make raspberry sugar for dusting.

Don’t they look purdy? Now, with the epic cooking (and post) done, I’m off to eat takeaway for the rest of the week.

Easy As Pie… Erm… Cake

This cake was first baked into chocolatey existence with a recipe from a battered green pocket-size cook book in residence at my aunt’s old shack. The recipe was so easy that I could remember all the ingredients (mostly – there was one sugarless disaster) and the method so simple that even at eight I could make it myself.

During the crazy birthday cake escalation of 2010 (posts pending) I dredged up the recipe from my hazy childhood memories, jazzing it up a bit for an extra chocolate hit. After numerous versions where the middle collapsed resulting in a cake with one hell of a belly button, I finally got it right.

So, let me present the Cuppa Cake (because it’s good with a cup of tea and it’s mostly made with ‘a cup’ measurements). It’s so easy I’m combining ingredients with the method. Whoa, crazy I know…

◊ Preheat oven to 180°C.
◊ Beat 2 eggs lightly in a large bowl.
◊ Stir a cup of milk (dairy or soy) and a cup of veggie oil in with the eggs.
◊ Add 1 and 1/2 cups sugar.
◊ Sift in a cup of cocoa.
◊ Put a cup of self raising flour in a sieve over bowl.
◊ Add a teaspoon of baking powder to the flour then sieve into bowl. Stir until well combined.
◊ Pour into 23cm diameter greased pan*.
◊ Bake for 45-50 minutes – cake is cooked if you poke a skewer into it and it comes out clean.
◊ Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool or eat while still warm.

This cake is a great base for something a bit more fancy; just wait for the Drunken Jaffa or Box Chocolate embellishments!

*I like using a spring form pan, covering the base with baking paper, tucking under the overhang then fitting the base into the tin’s wall. Once the base is securely locked in, I fold the overhang up against the outer side of the tin walls then grease over the paper and sides. A regular tin works fine, especially with a circle cut to cover the pan base. If you’re using a regular pan, I’d grease both above and below the paper.