Gatsby style honey tea cakes

Part deux of my Gatsby-inspired decadence was kind of given away in my last post. If you saw the tea party pictures, you probably spotted the little tea cakes. I’d made these once before and figured they were perfect for the Gatsby theme. They’re simple and sweet but the look luscious! I prefer them iced (because of the shine it gives to them!), but they’re just as delicious with a smidgen of sifted icing sugar on them.

If you do choose to ice them, they end up looking like gorgeous little ice-cream cones. If you’re a fence sitter like me ice one half and icing sugar the other!

Honey Tea Cake:tea 2

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½  teaspoon bicarb
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 180g butter
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp water

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease muffin tins. I used silicon molds and cardboard cases, so I didn’t need to grease mine (which is a little bit great!)

Sift the flour and bicarb soda together in a big bowl and then add the sugar. In a second, smaller bowl, mix together the eggs, cream and vanilla.

mix

Soften your butter and add it to the dry mixture, mixing vigorously until no lumps remain. This may tak

cases

e a little while, be vigilant. (Honestly, there were still a few lumps left in my mixture when I put them in the oven, and they seemed to disappear – this is a very well-behaved mixture.)

Add the egg mixture into the big bowl and mix until just combined.
honey

Put your honey and water into a microwave-safe container and blitz it for about 30 seconds to soften the honey. Take it out of the microwave and mix it so it becomes syrupy. Add syrup to your batter.

Divide the batter between your muffin tins (or in my case silicon molds AND cardboard cases), you should fill them up about ¾ of the way to the top. Pop them in the oven and sit around for 18-20 minutes while they cook.

The mixture is lovely in that the cake tops rise into beautiful balloon-like forms. Once you’ve removed them from the oven you have two options –

  1. Let them cool while you start on the icing
  2. Sprinkle them with icing sugar and eat them right then and there.

icedicing sugar

For the icing sugar, mix one cup of icing sugar with 4-5 tablespoons of milk. The mixture should be quite thick, but still smooth. When you mix the icing it should slowly smooth itself back down evenly into the bowl. Divide the batter into three and add a different drop of colouring to each mixture. Ice as you please (be generous though!)

You should get 24 tea cakes from this mixure.

teacakestea cake

Gatsby-inspired sponge

I saw Gatsby last weekend. And I was inspired.

Brace yourself for part one of my Gatsby posts.

It was beautiful and opulent and slightly magical. The dresses were all over-the-top and the settings were too fabulous to be real. And I loved them for that.

Nick Carraway is idealistic, Jordan Baker is marvelous and Gatsby is a dreamer. The film is full of people who would make fabulous dinner guests – they’re flawed and impulsive, but imagine the stories they could share! Daisy appears to have no opinion on anything, but at least she added to the beautiful scenery. As long as she’d agree to just sit there and bat her eyelashes, I’d let her partake in our dinner soiree.

I’d never read the book (I know, judge me as you see fit), but I think that doing things in excess is a good mantra to live by!

I’m all for simple recipes usually, but for two posts you’re going to have to allow me a bit of opulence. This sponge is easy AND it looks fabulous – what more could you want? It’s my nanna’s recipe, so it’s tried and tested. Unfortunately the sponge didn’t turn out as big as it should have because of my impatience – I like to think that it was slightly to do with the humidity in the air today though.
Cake

Don’t be disheartened by its flatness, when you do the recipe right, this cake IS old-school glamour.

Gatsby-inspired sponge

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 3tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp of lemon juice

 

Preheat oven to 180°C.Table view

Grease cake tin and sprinkle with sifted icing sugar.Eggs

Separate egg whites and put the yolks to one side. Beat the egg whites in an electric mixer until they’re stiff. Don’t get impatient like I did, this leads to flat sponges! It should take about 8 minutes at a high speed on your mixer. Persevere!

Add the yolks to the stiff whites mixture and continue beating until the mixture thickens.

Add your sugar and allow it to just combine then sift in the flour and baking powder. Squeeze in the lemon juice and mix it in gently – try to let as little air out of the mixture as possible.

Cream shadows

Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. What I would normally do with a sponge is cut it in half and then fill the middle with copious amounts of jam and cream. Being unable to cut my pancake of a sponge in half, I whipped up the cream, added 1/2 a cup of icing sugar to it and then folded some watered down jam into it to make icing.

 

So put your flapper dresses on, buy some fake diamonds and drink everything out of a champagne flute – Gatsby makes his own reality more fantastic through his imaginings, and so should we!

Host an afternoon tea and add a little sparkle to it.

partyIMG_3986

 

The difference between polenta and semolina

There’s no recipe to post today, just a little guide to baking with semolina/polenta. In my last post I made a cake with semolina in it.

I found out the hard way that polenta and semolina are not always interchangeable when I made a lemon semolina cake about three months ago. I Googled “can you substitute semolina with polenta?”

“Yes” was the resounding answer.

My cake said otherwise.

While they essentially perform the same role in a cake, the outcome of my baking with polenta was a grittier, denser texture than I was looking for.

Semolina
This is polenta, the fiend that ruined my cake!

Semolina is wheat, polenta is corn. ‘Polenta’ may also refer to the grain or the dish that results from using polenta.

There are occasions where you can substitute one for the other, but not all the time. They both have their benefits:

  • Semolina is high in protein and fibre and low GI, so it’s good for you! Semolina is a good option for people who need to monitor their glucose levels, like diabetics or dieters.  It is also a good source of vitamins E and B, which help your immune system.
  • Polenta is made up of complex carbohydrates high in dietary fibre, which means that they are a better source of energy than simple carbs. Polenta is also high in zinc, and iron.

When buying polenta or semolina, go for the most finely ground version you can find (unless the recipe specifies otherwise.) Generally cakes will call for semolina or polenta without indicating how coarse/fine the ingredient should be – if in doubt, opt for the finer alternative

My Lemon semolina cake (in which I used polenta instead of semolina) turned out even worse because my polenta was quite coarse – a similar size to couscous – and made my cake crumbly. And a little hard on the teeth.

I still Instagrammed it, because I’m lame. (http://instagram.com/p/Y7iBbAg76M/)

My advice? Tweak recipes where you need to, but if you’re really unsure, save your time by popping down to the shops and picking up the right ingredients!

Bejewelled Orange Syrup Cake and Long Weekends

Juicer

Long weekends are the perfect mix of food, drink and good company in my house. A little too much merriment however, always leaves you sluggish on the last day. Today is that day.

After excesses of gossip, laughing and catching up, Monday morning is lazy, slower than your usual Monday.

To remedy this – administer copious amounts of vitamin C (and other delicious things) by enjoying a slice of this cake.

Peanut Butter Cookies and Instagram

Cookiesmay not know that I was prompted to start this because of Instagram. I wish I was kidding! I’m one of those people who cannot resist sneaky snaps of her teacup, or of freshly baked biccies.

I’m an Instagram tragic.   (proof here: http://instagram.com/gabbyeq)

The boy and I started house-sitting in April and I had recently been made redundant – what is a girl to do in her copious amounts of spare time? Instagram of course! Once people cottoned onto the fact that I was mostly cooking and taking pictures of said cooking, it became a bit of a joke that I spent all of my time this way.

#bakingwithgab was born.

Lemonade scones and sharing

tea for two

I’m enjoying putting my thoughts down as much as sharing my recipes! For me, food is best when shared. I have a large extended family, so food has always been a social occasion.

I cook for those I love. The Boy often jokes that I’m trying to give him diabetes with all my baking. I like to think that I bake cakes of appreciation or puddings of love. He just thinks I’m fattening him up.

Regardless of what you make, the act of producing something for someone is special. It’s really rewarding as well!

One of my favourite (and simplest) things to share with people is scones. I have made and shared more scones than any other food. They’re just delightful. And always appropriate – stressed out? Scones will help. Should be doing an assessment? Scones will distract. Sick pet? Scones will calm. New friendship? Scones will seal the deal.

Lemonade scones:
Scone

  • 2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup thick cream
  • 1/2 cup lemonade
  • 2 tbs milk (for brushing)

Preheat the oven to 220°C and lightly grease a baking tray.

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the cream and lemonade. Mix to form a soft dough.

Pre mix

Using floured hands, transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Press the dough to a thickness of 2-3cm…nobody likes a flat scone, be generous!

Use a scone cutter to cut out as many scones as possible. If, like me, you’ve misplaced your scone cutter, flour the edges of a thin-rimmed glass to cut out your scones instead. Re-knead scraps gently and repeat.

Raw scones

You should get six generous scones.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.Brush the tops with small amount of milk to help them brown then transfer to your baking tray.

While the scones bake, whip up some cream and find your jam. I’ve chosen blueberry jam, you can never go wrong with blueberries.
These scones are so easy, you can whip them up in under ten minutes and serve them piping hot within half an hour.spoons for two

Share with whoever you choose – enjoy!


Add a handful of choc-chips, sultanas, blueberries or some lemon zest to change the dynamics of your scones.

The Ultimate Crowd-Pleasing Sticky Date

After a good many months contemplating this blog, I’ve finally started. It’s been so long coming that I’m slightly worried it won’t live up to the blog I’ve got going in my head.

IMG_3401

Insecurities aside, I’ll start here.

I’m a 23 year old, third year literature student. I’m a keen baker, tea connoisseur, dachshund lover. Who knew I could be summed up in so few words? It’s probably better, people aren’t going to read this to find out about me, they want recipes!

And recipes I shall provide…hopefully.