Cookbook 147: Now for something sweet

It was the start of lock down (a million years ago) and there was concern about everyone who had a book launch around this time because suddenly there were no events, and how would people know about all these great books. One of the books launched was Now for Something Sweet by the Monday Morning Cooking Club. I am a total pushover when it comes to baking books (well almost all cookbooks), and I thought that supporting local authors with their new publication would be a good thing. I could never have been more right with this book, it is amazing.

There is no way that I will be able to make all the recipes in this book, some of them outstrip my Jill of All Trades cooking skills, but that doesn’t stop me looking at them and planning how I might somehow gain the skills to cook some of the amazing layered cakes and other things. The book itself is beautiful, with great photos and provides details on each of the authors, where the recipes come from, and information about technique. I can’t wait to cook more from this book, and it’s definitely going to be my go-to sweet baking recipe book for some time to come. 5 out of 5 stars

Apple and Jam Oil Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 345g (1.5 cups) caster sugar
  • 250ml (1 cup) oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 300g (2 cups) self-raising flour – sifted
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) strawberry jam
  • 3 large granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon sugar (almost 1 tbsp of caster sugar with an 1/8 tsp of cinnamon worked for me)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar, for sprinkling

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 24cm round, springform cake tin.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and caster sugar until pale and creamy. Add the oil and vanilla, and beat until just combined. Using a spatula, gently fold in the flour.
  3. Pour half of the batter into the prepared tin, then dot with the strawberry jam and cover with half of the sliced apple. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Top with the remaining batter then remaining apple slices. Finally, sprinkle of the tablespoon of caster sugar.
  4. Bake for 1 hour then reduce the temperature to 160C and bake for a further 30 minutes or until deep golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Notes on this recipe:

  • It is a really easy cake to make and tastes amazing. In fact as soon as people in the house tried their first slice, they were asking me to make it again. Definitely a winner

Orange and Coconut Cake

Ingredients:

  • 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature, chopped
  • 175g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 225 (1.5 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
  • 45g (1/2 cup) shredded or desiccated coconut
  • 250ml (1 cup) milk

Orange butter icing

  • 45g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 320g (2 cups) icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange

Also needed

  • 2 tbsp flaked coconut (I used shredded as that’s all I had)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 20cm springform cake tin, or a medium (23cm x 13cm) loaf tin
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the caster sugar until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the orange zest. Combine the flour and coconut in a small bowl and add to the mixture, alternating with the milk, beating on low speed until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
  4. Make the icing using an electric mixer, and beat the butter, icing sugar, orange juice and zest until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Spread on top of the cake, then sprinkle with the flaked coconut.

Notes on this recipe:

  • Another easy and delicious cake. James, who has watched a lot of Bon App├ętit videos was super excited about the “crumb” of the cake.
  • It’s a nice soft cake with the coconut adding a little bite that is very pleasing.
  • When I said this cake was easy, I made it a few days after surgery, that’s how easy it is.
  • I love orange cakes, this did not disappoint in the slightest.

Choc Oat Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 230g (1.25 cups) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 225g (1.5 cups) plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 150g dark chocolate (70%) chopped roughly
  • 80g (3/4 cup) rolled oats

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line 2 – 3 large baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, and then beat these into the mixture. Fold through the chocolate and oats with a wooden spoon.
  3. With a spoon, place walnut-sized mounds of dough ont he prepared tray, allowing enough room to spread – there is not need to flatten. Bake for 11 minutes or until golden around the edges then allow to cool on a wire rack.

Notes on this recipe:

  • The biscuits are nice and chewy, but not as sweet as I expected. The dark chocolate (which I sometimes find a bit bitter) is overpowering. I would make again with milk chocolate.
  • My oven needed these to cook for 15 minutes instead of 11 – so if yours aren’t quite cooked at 11 minutes, leave them in for a bit longer.

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