27 August, 2008

Birthday baking

A big birthday means plenty of baking - there are so many groups of people to celebrate with! Over the space of a week, there were cakes for German class, school, work and, of course, The Party. That's a whole lot of flour, butter and sugar, but they each featured fruit as well, and anything made with love and happiness isn't bad for you ;)

Top to bottom:

The apple tea cake has featured on this blog before, and it once again came out looking a treat, although a few minutes longer in the oven and the edges would have gone from 'whoops, they're a bit crisp!' to 'bollocks, the cake's burned'.

The least successful of the four (in my opinon) was the pear and walnut slice. It was an interesting recipe, starting with more of a biscuit mix (butter, caster sugar and flour rubbed together) than a cake mix, which was split in two. The first half was baked to form the base, then to the other half was added milk, egg and vanilla, before it was poured over the baked based and topped with diced pear and walnut pieces. I found it too sweet - there was sugar sprinkled on top as well, which may have been the tipping point. And the pear could have been better integrated.

If that was the possible loser, the definite winner was the pear streusel cake. My workplace has been known to host the odd bake-off, so when catering for morning tea it pays to try something a bit special! Straight out of The Sunday Age, this one didn't look spectacular on the outside, but made up for it on the inside. The pears were laid down first, along with brown sugar and butter, and baked briefly. A standard cake mix was whipped up, but the magic of the cake was in the streusel - a mixture of butter, flour, crushed nuts, sugar and spices mixed together and baked until crunchy. This went in with the cake mix and the whole lot poured onto the baked pears. Gobbled up to the last slice!

The Day of the Party featured grocery shopping, a wine tasting, cooking, bellinis, a life-defining playlist, and much shared frivolity and joviality. Somewhere amongst that (in between preparing the scotch eggs and the baked beans) I whipped up a lemon syrup cake, which, as hoped, came out fluffy and with the right balance of tart and sweet.

Who needs Brunettis? ;)

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