Picnic Cake

My experiment with colourful cake was good, tasted lovely but I’ll have to try again to get better, clearer colours. It made a good change from the plain looking (and a bit boring) cake and maybe natural colouring such as blueberry sauce or beetroot juice would make it even better. A cake that turns out more compact in texture would show the colours more vividly, too. I am very happy with it and with the new ideas this experiment gave me. Must write them down soon.
Now, before photos and recipe, one note:  as I (perhaps) mentioned in the previous post, this is a family recipe. It comes all the way from Brazil and we do thing a bit more…shall we say… spontaneously there. There are cups and grams in the recipe, so prepare your scales AND your set of measuring cups. I bought mine very cheap at Wilkinsons. If you don’t have a set of measuring cups and spoons, use a measuring jug: one cup = 250mL (approximately enough)
And finally, the tin. Traditionally, our cakes recipes back there are larger than the ones I’ve seen in UK books and sites, so think a large savain tin. I bought mine from a corner shop when I was living in east London, but I think any shop that sells kitchen stuff will have one, most likely in silicone, nowadays.

Picnic Cake
You will need:

3 eggs, whites separated from the yolks
2 cups of sugar
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of cornflour
1 cup of milk (I used skimmed mil and it works fine)
1 tablespoon of baking powder
a pinch of salt

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Before you start, have you oven on at around 200o.C (you know your oven, so adjust if needed) and grease and flour your tin.

Start by whisking the egg whites, preferably with an electric mixer, until stiff peaks form. The ideal ‘stiffness’ is achieved when you turn the bowl upside down and the whites don’t run or fall. Do this carefully. Keep it in the fridge while you prepare the batter.

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In a separate, large bowl, whisk the yolks and the sugar until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the butter and keep the mixer on, until creamed (it won’t get a super creamy texture, but it will be a bit fluffier).

Sift the dry ingredients together. Still beating, add the dry mixture alternating with milk. You may need a bit more or a bit less milk than the one cup. Turn off the mixer.

Fold in the whisked egg whites. Now this bit can be a bit tricky because you need to mix all the whites into the batter without losing too much air. BBC has a short video with a good technique to fold in flour, but that can be applied to fold in egg whites.

If you want your cake plain, just pour the batter into the prepared tin, then into the oven and in about 40 minutes, when the smell fills your house, it’s time to do the traditional skewer test. Before you open the oven have a peek through the glass to see if the cake is well risen and golden on top.

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If you want, you can do a marble cake (as I did) by separating a portion, or portions, of the batter and adding chocolate powder or food colouring of your choice to each portion. After pouring the plain batter into the tin, tip the coloured portion carefully, distributing the batter all around the tin. Use a fork or knife to swirl the coloured batter into the plain batter and create the marble effect.

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Another variation is to add chocolate sprinkles t the batter and turn your cake into an anthill cake (yes, that’s how we call it….). Or add flavouring, like almond or orange extract.

If you give it a go come back and let me know!

PS: I’m getting acquainted with posting photos, and my kitchen has no natural light, so I can only apologise for the poor quality of the snaps. =)

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Experimenting with colours…in a cake

So, after thinking night and day of the polka dot cake I decided to try a cake with some colour. I wanted to bake a cake for sometime anyway and decided it was the best excuse (if baking a cake ever needed an excuse). I also think that making it public in a blog that I had the intention of baking gives me a certain commitment to do it, an extra push. And there I went.

I opted for an old family recipe because I know it always works and I’ve baked this cake many times. My intention was to make a step-by-step photo shoot, but man!!… it is not easy to get it all right at the same time: ingredients, the tin, the oven, my tiny kitchen, food colouring and a camera. So my step by step became more a ‘before and after’.

Right now the cake is in the oven and I hope I can guess when it’s ready because the tin fits just right i the oven, which mean I can’t see when the cake is risen and golden on top.

I will update the blog with a new post tomorrow, with photos and the recipe.