Tag Archives: cake

Ricotta cake with plum and peach

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A new and improved coconut stand spotted in Accra! Normally coconuts are sold from a flatbed hand-pulled cart, like the one below at Danquah Circle. When you buy it, the top is slashed off and you get your fresh coconut, ready to drink (often with a straw).

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Here’s a cake made for a Sunday lunch: more post-holiday baking. This is a light ricotta cake with plum and peach. It’s based on this Raspberry-Ricotta Cake from Epicurious, which looks lovely, but less sweet, and with fresh fruit and some crushed amaretti biscuits thrown in.

Ricotta cake with plum and peach

70 g crashed hard amaretti biscuits, like these

4 medium eggs (or 3 large)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup ricotta (250 grammes)

2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

115 grammes softened butter
1.5 cup chopped fresh plums and peaches  (about 1 of each, depending on size).

Heat oven to 180C, and line a 24 cm cake tin with parchment paper. Rub a little butter on the internal sides of pan.

Whisk eggs and sugar, then add ricotta and vanilla, then soft butter. Whisk in flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt gently.  Now you have a light but quite buttery batter. Pour half into tin, then top with half the chopped fruit and half the crushed amaretti.  Pour over the rest of the batter, then the rest of the chopped fruit and the other half of the crushed amaretti.

Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes. This one baked for 55 minutes. Cool on rack before slicing into wedges. I wrapped it with a tea towel to keep the ants at bay, which was successful.

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This is halfway through adding batter to pan: batter, then chopped plums and peaches, then half the crushed amaretti biscuits. I don’t have one of it actually baked, but it was delicious!  We enjoyed it at lunch, and the leftovers kept well.

Note: I’ve been re-reading Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures: True Stories from a War Zone, published 2004 but still very good.

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Cheesy poof birthday cake

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During our annual holiday week in Italy, there are usually several birthdays, and related cake baking. Given the challenges of baking in a temperamental gas oven, we planned ahead and brought a cake pop maker this year. We had also planned to make takoyaki (Japanese fried octopus balls) but never got that far, but we did make cake pops which were assembled  to a birthday cake. In Italy, the Crik Crok commercial cheese poofs are golden and round, and are something the birthday girl enjoys. When someone suggested a cheesy poof cake, it was just a question of working out how.

My genius husband made a cardboard scaffolding from the risotto box, and fastened a cheese poof bag on it, bolstered by an empty egg carton for bulk.

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Cake Pops

125g softened butter
125g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
2 tsp amaretto  (or vanilla extract)
125g self raising flour (I used plain flour and 1 tsp of baking powder)
2 tbsp milk

Butter for frying

Beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs, and beat until fully incorporated. Add flour and milk and beat until the mixture is smooth. (Recipe from the Lakeland brochure.)

We also made a batch with gluten-free flour and 2 tsp of blueberry cordial, on left in photo.  The gluten-free flour works fine, it was just a bit more absorbent than regular flour and a bit more butter was needed to avoid the cake pops sticking.

Enjoy with a sea view!

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Banana bread with yogurt and chocolate chips

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Right before Eid I made two banana breads for the office: one with butter, lemon and yogurt, and this one with yogurt and chocolate chips. Both were assembled based on the bananas and yogurt I had to use up, and both were very nice! The chocolate chips were courtesy of my American flatmate, and much appreciated: otherwise coconut chips or nuts would have been nice too.  Though I am not a banana fan, they come my way (canteen desserts, office coffees) and are good and plentiful here, and they do freeze well unpeeled. As our next chest freezer is already full (mainly due to ant invasions), I thought banana breads were a better destination for these.

Banana bread with yogurt and chocolate chips

2-3 small very ripe bananas, mashed (I used about 145 gr peeled)
150 grammes plain yogurt (here there is only full-fat local yogurt, but very good)
2 medium eggs
50 ml vegetable oil
250 grammes all-purpose flour  (until I thought the batter had right consistency)
125 grammes sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
a restrained handful of chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a medium loaf pan with parchment paper (mine is maybe 20x5cm). Whisk together eggs, bananas and oil. Whisk in the rest, and stir in a handful of dark chocolate chips or chopped baking chocolate. Bake at 180C for 50-55 minutes or so. I test with a wooden chopstick, this one took a bit longer than the lemon cake. This would probably be faster if not baking two cakes at same time. Cool on a rack for a bit before serving (easier to slice next day).

Here are the two banana breads, lemon and chocolate chip, freshly baked. Watched with an episode of Alias season 1, which is still enjoyable!  We have not paid for DSTV here, but not having actual TV is fine as long as you have hard drives and DVDs. I am really really forward to seeing Jennifer Garner in Peppermint. Most movies I watch on planes these days, though we did go see Deadpool 2 recently at Accra Mall, which has a very good cinema. DP2 was gory but very funny.

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