Cake disasters – Recipe 69: Nigella’s fancy cake

September 13, 2011 at 10:56 am | Posted in baking | Leave a comment
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Sometimes life, and even baking doesn’t turn out the way you want… and sometimes it can all go rather wrong… The question is – how do you react to the problem? And in the interests of full disclosure to the 3 people reading this blog I thought I would share a recent disaster (actually it worse than that – it’s a repeated disaster)

So as I have repeatedly mentioned, I know plenty of people who avoid gluten and wheat, so love trying out new cakes in the quest to find the best gluten-free version of most cakes, preferably ones that taste brilliant and no-one realises that they are “safety cakes” as a colleagues recently named them! In Nigella’s How to Eat  (If you don’t own this book – you really should buy it…. it’s a wonderful read!) she has a recipe for “fancy cake” – the fancy element coming from its shape as it is made in a brioche tin. The ingredients are just ground almonds, eggs, sugar and grated lemon zest – so I thought it would be good to try out – on the first occasion to have a pudding with some creme fraiche and strawberries.

Making it: Its pretty simple, although the eggs to have to be separated and whisked separately – the white on their own until they form stiff peaks, and the yolks are whisked with sugar until they are pale and thick.  Then the almonds and lemon zest are folded into the yolks and sugar, and finally the egg whites – trying to retain the precious air to keep it light. The batter is poured into a well-greased brioche tin and cooked for an hour. Once the cake came out, I left it to cool and then tried to remove it from the tin. DISASTER. Cake stuck to tin and came out in several chunks.

Eating it: Sunday lunch was with friends – so I decided that I would still serve this somewhat imperfect looking cake… and despite its unpromising appearance it was delicious. It was a robust texture and moist because of all the nuts. It provided a scrumptious backdrop to the fruit.

Next time: So given it tasted great, I though it was worth trying again. This time I greased the tin even more carefully and followed Nigella’s instructions to remove it from the tin after 10 minutes of cooling. But again it stuck… in fact it stuck even more – and came out in lots of pieces. I was in a quandary – I knew I had taken a risk in trying the cake again, but I had promised a new cake for the boss – and I didn’t want to renege on the promise. I also knew that the cake was delicious from its previous outing, so decided that despite looking dreadful, it was worth allowing substance to overrule style, and for my pride to be put aside… so I took it to work anyway! And happily, it was not rejected for looking a mess…. and it was all scoffed!

So before there is another next time…. I think I need a new brioche tin – as this one is seriously not as non-stick as it claims to be – its gorgeous pink exterior does not compensate for its failures! Or perhaps I need more patience and a new technique for removing cake from tin…

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