For those of you who have read my posts for a while; the posts which are now private, you will know that BBC Good Food is my go-to site for recipes, particularly cakes and bakes. The reason is essentially two-fold: (1) they have a large range of cakes and bakes to choose from and (2) the cakes and bakes tend to work well and are very tasty indeed. Although I have been relying on the BBC Good Food site (not to mention their magazines, which I pick up from the newsagent if I see a copy of the latest edition) for some time now, I have had a bit of a BBC Good Food baking spate over the last few months.
It started by baking a ‘brilliant banana loaf’ (their words). My aim was to use my dehydrator, which I bought some months back, for the first time and luck would have it that the ‘brilliant banana loaf’ required dehydrated bananas for decoration, along with a drizzle of icing. All was going well – the cake was baked and the bananas were dehydrating in the dehydrator – when I realised that I was running out of dehydrating time before my shift at work. Rather than adding fully dehydrated bananas to my delicious banana loaf, I had to add a ‘sun-blushed’ version, which although looked absolutely fine when I photographed my creation, resulted in rather soggy, brown decorations by day two. The good thing was that my lack of dehydrating time did not affect the taste of the cake in any way, just its appearance on day two. The other good thing was that most of the cake was eaten on day one, so there was not much evidence of my flacid, discoloured bananas. Note to self, ensure that you have enough dehydrating time (preferably overnight) and make another opportunity to practice your dehydrating sometime soon – perhaps lemons or oranges next time.
My next bake was a decadent carrot cake loaf with a cinnamon cream frosting. This bake came around as I was working one weekend (I don’t normally work on a weekend) and asked my husband, Jo to do the fruit and vegetable order. When it came to ordering the carrots, he promises me that he asked the supplier for ‘the usual’ but when the order came in on the Monday, we were greeted with a large mound of carrots, which the Stores were certainly not going to sell in any great hurry. By about day three, and still embarrassed by Jo (and my) collective faux pas, I decided to purchase about a kg of the carrots and then work out what I could make with them. Carrot cake seemed the most obvious thing to make with carrots but I didn’t want to make a carrot cake that I had made before. I also wanted to try a carrot cake loaf rather than cake. A short google later, yet again the BBC Good Food site came up trumps. Definitely one of the best carrot cakes I have made and tried to date. Especially lovely with the walnuts on top. With a retweet and like from BBC Good Foods, my carrot cake was quite a popular one on Twitter.
My next two BBC bakes were a sticky malt loaf and a bitter orange and poppy seed cake. Not to bore you too much with the details of these two bakes, lets just summarise as follows. The sticky malt loaf was the best malt loaf I have ever tasted, full of flavour and moist (the word that makes everyone squirm). One of my Twitter commentators remarked: ‘@bakebybuffy@bbcgoodfood that’s just gastro porn, stop it it’s too early ;-)’. My bake was enjoyed warm with a generous spread of slightly salted butter, accompanied by a cup of tea. Perfect! The bitter orange and poppy seed cake was another flavour and texture triumph. Following a discussion with one of my neighbours earlier in the week about the type of cakes that he liked, I took a piece of my bitter orange and poppy seed cake around to his to try. The following morning he approached me at work with a great deal of enthusiasm saying that it was the best cake that he had ever tasted. I am sure he was exaggerating, but you can’t really get a better accolade than that.
My final two BBC Good Food bakes were a chocolate and banana loaf which I made for my in-laws, when they visited us recently and a cherry Bakewell cake. While I will briefly mention the chocolate and banana loaf here, I will devote a separate blog to the cherry Bakewell cake as over the last 12 months I have tried various incarnations of the cherry Bakewell, some which have been a great success while others have been less so.
Going back to the chocolate and banana loaf briefly, I have to admit that I resorted to using bought dehydrated bananas (as I didn’t have time or didn’t make the time to dehydrate my own with all the cooking I had to do the same weekend) to decorate the loaf. It was another delicious bake, made especially delicious by a sour cream frosting. A posting on Twitter seemed to confirm the popularity of the cake, with 11 retweets and 55 likes and with one commentator stating that they had made the loaf for their book club ladies and they all agreed that it was delicious.
On that note, let me end my blog post by saying that if you are ever at a loss as to what to bake, scour BBC Good Food site. I am sure that they will have something to your taste and I am sure whatever you choose it won’t disappoint.