Coconut Mushroom Cake

April 1, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Posted in Baking, cake, cooking, food, Recipe | Leave a comment
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I saw the light in Marks & Spencer. A beauteous bag of coconut mushrooms spoke to me, and what they said was good. And what they said was, ‘Lady, you will make a coconut cake, and anoint the top of this coconut cake with us, the sweets of heaven’.

So yeah, I bought the bag of coconut mushrooms, ate half of them and saved the rest to put on top of my cake. I used this recipe, but I didn’t bother with the lime syrup and I substituted an 8 inch round cake tin for the ring tin. Once the cake was cool, I slit it in half using a bread knife and spread raspberry jam on the base. I made a simple water icing by mixing icing sugar and water ( I didn’t bother measuring out the icing sugar, but I should have used more to make a thicker icing). As my icing was much thinner than I wanted, after securing the coconut mushrooms to the top with a bit of jam, I sifted icing sugar over the top.

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Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Syrup Tins

May 13, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Posted in Book Signing, books, food, History, Recipe | 2 Comments
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I have a incessantly sweet tooth. When I am stressed, I wander down to Waitrose for fizzy strawberry laces, sucking the sugar off each one until my tongue is sore. I’m much the same with chocolate raisins, letting the outsides melt in my mouth until only the shrivelled raisin remains. And do you remember Pop Cakes from The Magic Faraway Tree? I was so disappointed to discover that they were entirely fictitious.

So you can imagine how excited I am that the authors of The Sugar Girls, Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi, are coming to my shop, Waterstones Tenterden, to do a signing. The book has been extraordinarily successful and there have been calls to turn it into a Call the Midwife style miniseries.

I’m planning a window display largely dependant on Tate & Lyle tins, so if you can send me any empty golden syrup or black treacle ones, I’d be enormously grateful. Recipes using either of those would be wonderful too. Email me at amysmith500@hotmail.com and we’ll sort something out.

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Bicep Bulging Banana Cake

May 5, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Posted in Baking, cake, cooking, food | Leave a comment
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There is something you may not know about me: I only like bananas when they are just ripe. Combined with my optimism when shopping, this means that I am often greeted with a bowlful of browning bananas just begging me to use them in a cake. And so this evening, I did just that.

I adapted the recipe from The River Cottage Family Cookbook. The ingredients are as follows:

100g butter (salted or unsalted, I’m not fussy);
125g light brown soft sugar (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall specifies caster, but I prefer a richer taste);
200g self-raising flour (I used a combination of that and plain flour as that’s what I had: unless you’re making something which depends on a certain flour for texture, like Victoria sponge, it doesn’t matter);
3 browning bananas;
100g raisins soaked in tea (HFW suggests 50g sultanas and 50g chopped dried apricots, but I had neither. The tea softens the raisins, but won’t add any flavour unless you leave them to soak overnight.);
1 lemon;
2 eggs

Leave the raisins to soak in a mug of black tea.

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Cream the butter and the sugar together in a large mixing bowl, ideally using a wooden spoon. I had only a tablespoon and had to work much harder than I would have done, hence the recipe’s title.

Add the eggs one at a time and mix.

Zest the lemon and add the zest to the mix with the raisins. I don’t have a grater at the moment, so I used a knife (ordinary table knife) and it was fine.

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Add the flour, sifted or unsifted (it really won’t make a huge difference) and mix.

Line a loaf tin and add the mixture, tapping the tin on the surface a couple of times to level it out. Bake for 1 hour at Gas Mark 3, or 160 degrees in electric, I believe.

This was the result. My stomach, as well as my eyes, was pleased.

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I came, I saw, I decorated

May 3, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Posted in cake, family, motherhood, party, women | Leave a comment
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Last Wednesday, I started my niece’s 16th birthday cake.  I spent all of Thursday doing it, baked one of the cakes Friday morning and finished the icing Saturday morning before work.  This was the result:

I am not the world’s best icer; you are not going to walk in on me creating homemade tulips out of sugarpaste I’ve coloured myself anytime soon.  So what I would say to any of you women out there, mothers or not, who don’t exactly have time on your hands, is this: listen to the god of ready-to-roll.  Because making a cake doesn’t have to be a competitive sport.  It just has to look presentable when it comes to eating it.

Round, round, round, round, I get around

April 29, 2010 at 10:11 pm | Posted in cake | Leave a comment
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I want to do this to my face right now

Today, I have:

1) Washed up;

2) Been to Birchington to pick up ‘1’ and ‘6’ shaped cake tins;

3) Decided against said ‘1’ and ‘6’ shaped cake tins, remembering how they love to stick to the tin and end up resembling a toddler’s rendition of  what they are supposed to be;

4) Watched my bacon sandwich get cold in a cafe full of old people;

5) Experienced an urgent desire to tear down Conservative placards, and been thwarted only by the fact that I was driving past at 50 (it’s fine, I’ll go back tomorrow);

6) Phoned Asher and moaned at him for not leaving a note when he went out (I am embarassed about this: I used to be such a carefree person.  But I had to make these goddamn cakes, goddamnit!);

7) And made enough cake to render the legs of a flamingo obese.

And now I am very, very tired.  So tired I no longer care about food, or Christian and Syed’s future, or what I’m going to wear tomorrow. (Christ, I really must be feeling it.)

It’s time for . Goodnight, dahlings.

I am insane…………..

April 28, 2010 at 7:35 am | Posted in books, cake, motherhood | 1 Comment
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So mad I wear coats on my head. But only on Swedish islands.

…………..because I am trying, this week, to look after my son, finish an article, read three books, work full-time and bake my niece her 16th birthday cake.  Not just any cake, my friends, but a towering creation designed to feed the five thousand.  Or 40 ravenous, and possibly slightly intoxicated, teenagers, anyway.

Please tell me how I am supposed to eat, wash and smoke once I’ve done all that?

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