Sunday, October 27, 2013

Apricot & Coconut Loaf Cake

When I saw this cake over at Poires au Chocolat last week, I instantly decided that I was going to bake it this weekend. After all, coconut cakes belong to my favorites - although, boy, trying to decide on favorite cakes always gets me in trouble... Anyway, browsing through my recipe list, I just found out that I've made a very similar coconut cake about one and a half years ago. Only, this one here's not only glazed with apricot jam, it's also got apricot jam in the cake batter - it's like a much more sticky and sweet version. Perfect on a rainy, lazy autumn day.

(from: here)

For the cake:
200g butter, at room temperature
180g caster sugar
3 eggs
120g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of fine sea salt
80g desiccated coconut
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla sugar 
6 tbsp apricot jam/preserve

For the glaze:
1.5 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp water about
1 tsp of desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 23 x 10cm loaf tin with greased parchment paper. 

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl and, with an electric hand mixer, and cream until light and fluffy This takes at least four or five minutes. In another bowl, sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together.

Whisk the eggs together. Add the egg in small additions to the creamed mix, making sure you beat in between each addition until the mixture has totally incorporated the egg you've added. Add a tablespoon of flour about half way through and again near the end to help prevent curdling. 

When you've finished the egg, add the rest of the flour mix and the coconut and briefly beat to combine. Add the milk and vanilla and stir briefly again until you have a uniform mixture.

Spread 3 tbsp of the jam over the bottom of the tin. Scoop 2/3 of the cake batter on top and level it. Swirl in the remaining 3 tbsp of jam then top with the rest of the cake mixture and level off again. Bake for 45-55 minutes until deep golden brown and a wooden skewer can be removed cleanly from the middle. I covered my cake with aluminium foil for the last then minutes because I was afraid the top was going to turn too dark.

Combine the jam and water for the glaze in a small saucepan and heat until you have a syrup. Brush it over the top of the hot cake, using all of the glaze. Sprinkle the coconut over the top. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then lift out onto a wire rack to cool. Keeps for 3-4 days in an airtight tin. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fig and Walnut Cookies

I haven't baked anything in more than three weeks. What with my trip to Berlin (which was fantastic, by the way!) and then I caught an ugly cold and had to rest for about a week. But I have another recipe for you which I didn't get around to posting before my holidays. It's an adaption of an old favorite of mine. It's really a no-fuss recipe and you get quite a lot of cookies from it. Feel free to vary this recipe just they way you want... other dried fruit, other nuts or seeds, some spices...

(from Nicky Stich's wonderful Sweets)

100g dried figs, coarsly chopped
50g walnuts
100g butter, at room temperature
100g brown sugar
75g caster sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
175g flour
75g coarse rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
fleur de sel (I left that out since I don't have any at home)

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix sugar and butter with an electric hand mixer for about 3 minutes until smooth and pale. Add the egg and the sea salt and mix well. Add flour, rolled oats and baking soda and mix. In the end, add figs and nuts and mix until just combined.

With a tablespoon, form balls the size of a walnut and place on your baking tray. Flatten a little. Leave enough space between the cookies. Sprinkle with a little fleur de sel. Bake each batch for about 15 minutes until the cookies begin to get brown around the edge. I say this each time, and I say it now: Don't overbake. They are still slightly soft when you take them out of the oven. If you take them out too late, they will be too hard after they have cooled. Let them cool on the tray for a few minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack. Store in an airtight box.

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