Monthly Archives: January 2014

A mouthful of cloud—chestnut flour & lemon cake

Chestnut flour cakeI realize that the above photo (I didn’t even brush away the crumbs, for shame) is not likely to make you want to make this cake. But I would be sorry because you would be missing out on such a lovely, lovely cake. It truly is like eating cloud, lemon-scented, chestnut-tinged cloud. The distinctive bittersweet taste of chestnut registers first, giving way to pleasantly tingling lemon.

The first time I made this, I used creme fraiche as per the recipe. This time, I used Greek yoghurt, and while both are delicious, I actually prefer the lightness of this version. (Though it’ll make a less pretty, more delicate, soufflé-like cake with a crumply top.) Put away some for the next day if you can, the taste deepens and gets much better.

Take the little morsel as a sign—i had to squirrel some away for myself otherwise I wouldn’t have had any leftovers!


Pumpkin sourdough cake

Pumpkin sourdough cakeSometimes I think dull afternoons working in front of the computer exist only so that one has the justification to drink coffee and eat cake, better still, bake and eat cake. I do realize that most responsible adults do not pop in and out of the kitchen while ostensibly working, or else, if they do snack, eat sensible things like apples and nuts. And truth be told, I get so distracted by the smell of cake before and after, that my afternoon is spent running to and fro the oven, like some sort of sad (non-worker) ant.

Anyway, this is just to say thank you to blogger Champa of Versatile Vegetarian Kitchen for her nice pumpkin sourdough cake. This is nice, good cake, whether you have deadlines to meet or not. I’m always on the lookout for recipes that can use up excess leaven.

The good thing about such cakes is they are pretty versatile—you could probably substitute banana, apple, or other fruit puree. However, with such cakes, don’t bother unless the puree you do use tastes of whatever they are supposed to taste of. The last time I made a pumpkin bread, the puree was so tasteless, the bread was ruined. Even the pancakes I made with the excess puree were a waste of time.

I converted her recipe using the King Arthur Flour’s website, so here it is, with my adaptations:

Pumpkin Cake using leftover 100% sourdough leaven
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Prepare tin (I used a medium-sized loaf tin and a ramekin).

In a bowl, sift and mix the ‘dries’ evenly
188g        All-purpose flour
2 tsp        Baking soda
1/2 tsp     Salt
Pinches of spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg)

In another bigger bowl, mix the ‘wets’
241g        Leftover 100% sourdough leaven
100g        White caster sugar
80g         Golden caster sugar (NB: original recipe uses 200g sugar in all. My pumpkin puree was sweet enough on its own, must experiment to reduce sugar further.)
1               Large egg
50g         Neutral vegetable oil
56g         Yoghurt
240g        Pumpkin puree (NB: should have been 270g but I ate too much of it. Look at your puree, mine was quite liquid so I think it was all right.)

When everything is nice and homogenous, dump the dries in and mix only until everything is blended. Quickly get it into the oven; the baking soda starts fizzling once it comes into contact with the ‘wets’. Mine took about 40-45 mins. It makes for a very tender and moist cake, so with such cakes, I recommend letting it cool down well and proper before attempting to lift it from tin and cutting into it. (I heeded my own advice for the former, but went ahead and cut into it anyway ha!)

This is my sort of cake. Simple, unadorned, generates good smells and delicious. Perfect for afternoons.