Tag Archives: cream cheese

Chocolate Zucchini Love Cake

27 Feb

Reason to hate the recession #232: The rise of the SAHG (or Stay At Home Girlfriend). The author of the linked article talks about how, since losing her job, she has thrown herself into becoming a better girlfriend to her partner, and provides tips for emulating her new lifestyle. These include Don’t Sleep In, Keep the House Clean, and Keep Yourself Up.

Aaand back in the real world, I have mostly been wearing… Pajama bottoms!

No, I’m just kidding! (Because they shrunk in the wash.) #domesticityfail.

But it looks like I can’t escape the curse of the SAHG. For Valentine’s Day I made a cake, like the sad-sack little stay-at-home woman I am. And worst of all? It’s a LOVE cake. Shaped like a heart. I feel like Sonja from I’m Alan Partridge with her Scatter Love Cushions.

This recipe is adapted from Noble Pig.

Demonstrating my commitment to the love cake, I bought a heart-shaped silicone cake mould. It’s super fun to play with and apparently doesn’t need greasing.

Here are the zucchinis (or “courgettes” to les rosbifs like you and me).

(Sung to the tune of Sailor’s Hornpipe)

“Pop a courgette in your mouth, just before you make the dough/

What they’re made of is a mystery, where they come from no one knows./

You can pick ’em, you can lick ’em, you can chew ’em, you can stick ’em/

If you promise not to sue us, you can shove one up your nose.”

(A prize if you know where those lyrics originally came from.)

Artisan courgette.

Like the circles that you find in the windows of your mind.

Whisk together the dry ingredients.

Two scoops of butter. Like two hearts beating as one.

Her eyes were like [blank] holes in the snow. (Actually, it’s vanilla extract.)

Nothing says I love you more than a bald orange.

Mixing the wet ingredients with the dry.

Add chopped walnuts, orange peel and courgette.

This is a really strange combination, but I like it.

Put half of the mixture into the mould. Remember – no greasing required!

Now time to enjoy some half-time oranges. It’s a cake of two halves boys.

Alas, disaster strikes! The non-stick silicone mould hasn’t lived up to the hype. Most of the cake comes out, but some is still left in the case…

… Looking a little bit like a freshly dug turf.

Still, what’s that expression about making lemonade when life hands you lemons? The cake scrapings provided ample nourishment as I continued the arduous cake-making process.

For the other half of the cake, I greased the mould with a tiny amount of vegetable oil.

As you can see, this worked much much better.

What a difference it makes. They’re like the brothers from The Man in the Iron Mask – if one of them was hideously disfigured. (I can’t quite remember if that’s what happens in the movie).

Mixing up a batch of cream cheese frosting.

With a LOT of this bad boy.

This is the bottom layer cake, with a layer of frosting.

And here is the finished article: two layers of cake sandwiched with frosting and topped with even more frosting! I’ll tell you something – it wasn’t easy to spread, especially because I was working with that crumbly bit of cake. I should have watched this (incredibly comprehensive) frosting tutorial first.

It’s far from perfect. But it’s choc-full of love (and courgette. And chocolate).

And cream. So much cream.

VERDICT

Taste:

Interesting in a good way. It has a very rich chocolately flavour, but with a slight earthiness. It’s quite a dense cake, so the cream cheese frosting provides a nice sharp counterpoint. Between two of us we could only manage a tiny proportion of the whole cake in one sitting.

Recipe pros:

It’s certainly different. Pete looked at me like I’d gone mad when I told him there were green vegetables in it. So that’s a plus.

Recipe cons:

It look way longer to cook than stated in the original recipe. Perhaps that’s due to the silicone mould. On the whole, it was quite a long process, but then this was a labour of love.

POST SCRIPT: Tragedy struck this cake on 15 February. Somebody (pointing no fingers, Peter) forgot to store it in a tin overnight, and by morning the cream cheese frosting had started to develop sweaty grease-beads. And so it was binned.

Truly a Romeo and Juliet tale for our times.

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Banana Muffins with Maple Cream Frosting

1 Feb

I like making muffins using fruit. It means that instead of eating them as a 4pm snack or waiting until pudding, they can also be scoffed at breakfast, (as part of a balanced diet, of course). Unfortunately, I’ve never been one for willpower, so fruit muffins usually become my breakfast, lunch and dinner (and snacks, and puddings, and just-becauses). It’s a double-edged sword this fruit muffin lark.

This recipe is taken from the Australian Women’s Weekly Complete Book of Cupcakes and Baking.

Ingredients:

60 g butter

60g soft cream cheese

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 medium bananas, halved lengthways, sliced thinly

For the frosting

30g butter

80g soft cheese

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Adjustments:

I replaced maple syrup (expensive) with golden syrup (cheap) and used a little less.

I halved the icing recipe and still had enough to coat the cakes.

Method (makes 12):

1. Preheat oven to 180 oC. Line 12-hole muffin pan with cases.

2. Beat butter, cream cheese and sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in milk, syrup and sifted dry ingredients.; fold in bananas.

3. Drop 1/4 cup of mixture into each case; bake about 30 minutes. Stand cakes in pan for 5 minutes then turn onto wire rack to cool.

4. Make maple cream frosting by beating butter, cream cheese and syrup in a small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy; beat in sifted icing sugar, in two batches, until combined.

Milibanana

Now first I’m going to need some bananas. Can you help me out David Miliband?

“Sure Hannah – Here you go. You can have mine.”

But David Miliband! This banana is all wrinkled and almost past its best.

“Oh god. Yeah, sorry about that. It’s been a tough few months.”

Not to worry David Miliband, I know you have a kind heart. I wish you’d won the leadership election instead of Ed.

That news seems to please you David Miliband. I’ll just leave you to it. Thanks again.

“No problem. As you can see, I’ve got plenty of things – not least this ice cream – to be getting on with now.” **

Like the inside of a Miliband brother, the banana is soft and packed full of potassium.

We’ll also be needing some cream cheese, but it looks like I’ll have to fetch that myself.

Like _______(*Insert name of politician), this cream cheese is slimy.

Like _________ (*Insert name of political party), these eggs are past their best. (Safety Notice: Not really, the eggs are well within the use-by date.)

I’m also using a whack-load of solden syrup. Now I gave a fairly comprehensive commentary of this golden syrup a couple of posts back, so I’ll say no more about it for now.

Giving it a good old going-over.

Gloopy.

Now time for the bananas.

In they go.

It’s satisfyingly sticky putting the mixture into the cases. Must be all that syrup. #schlurp

Bow down and worship the Sun God banana muffin.

“This shit it bananas,” says Neo.

VERDICT:

Taste:

Delicioso. The banana is sticky yet firm, and the icing on top is really, well, the icing on the cake – so to speak. Although there’s no banana in the icing, it tastes like there is. Result!

Recipe pros:

It’s easy to do, especially considering I substituted golden for maple syrup.

Recipe cons:

The icing doesn’t look as light and bouncy as it does in the pictures. Perhaps I didn’t give it a good enough beating. Should have asked John Prescott.

** For some genuinely insightful political commentary, why not romp across to Pete’s politics blog? You won’t find cake, but you will find a gullet-full of nuanced political analysis. Feed your mind.