I have been pressed for time this weekend, as this was the weekend where Emma was getting married to her fiancé. As her maid of honour there was a lot to be involved with, but she looked like an absolute angel, and the whole wedding was wonderful for them both. I’m so honoured to have been a part of the process, and I’m so glad to see them together as a married couple!
I haven’t had a lot of time to do much cooking as a result, but I thought what I would do is go through a review of a cookbook I adore when it comes to baking, and mention a few recipes from it that I’ve tried.
Most people who follow me will know that I am a huge fan of the Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks. All of their recipes are triple tested, and I have never had one go wrong. This cookbook in particular is quite fantastic. It deals with a lot of classic recipes, and provides a lot of helpful advice.
Upon opening the book, which is hardcover, the inside cover is printed with dozens of neat little facts and tips about baking. Including tips like how to make egg wash, or how to get an even rise out of pastry. Next comes the table of contents, and an introduction as written by Pamela Clark, Editorial and food director of the AWW cookbooks.
Now a lot of people might be tempted to skip the Getting Started section and get straight to the recipes. But hold on one moment! The getting started section in this cookbook explains a lot about baking equipment, electrical equipment, storing baked goods, and pantry essentials. Unbelievably there is also a photo guide for what different baking pans look like, which I think is fantastic.
Each section also has an information and Q and A page, explaining some basics about the baked goods the section is about, and some tips about how to prepare each. For example the cake section has both a how to line a round cake tin photo guide, as well as tips for making sponge cakes!
But it’s the recipes I have fallen in love with. In this book I have found a fantastic range of baked goods recipes, all of which contain storage tips – and sometimes tips for ingredient substitutes. I will focus more on the cakes during this review.
So. To start with I have made the Melt N’ Mix Gingerbread Cake, and it was a winner. As with most of their cakes it takes quite a long period of time in the oven, but the results are worth the wait. In this recipe I was able to swap the flour for gluten free flour using weight, and thanks to the sheer amount of liquids the recipe didn’t get too dry. But I wouldn’t suggest refrigerating it, as the tip does say it can be stored in an airtight container. I noticed that the bits of cake that were refrigerated were also far drier on comparison to those that weren’t.
The Lime & Poppy Seed Syrup Cake was also fantastic. It was light and fluffy, and thanks to the generous syrup it absorbed it remained very moist. On thing I did change from the original recipe was to stab the cake multiple times with a skewer to create holes all over it, so that the syrup would soak into the cake regardless of whether the middle was ever so slightly taller than the outside or not. This one was also very popular at work.
Each recipe is laid out in both grams and cups, and with butter there is also an ounces option. Each recipe also comes with a colour photograph, showcasing its deliciousness. I loved reading the facts about the different baked goods, and reading up on all the tips. I also loved how even the most basic recipes could shine, like the Basic Butter Cake.
I didn’t have a large enough tin, and so had to leave a little mixture behind. Unfortunately this meant mine didn’t have enough room rise quite as much as a normal butter cake would, but the flavour was still delicious. You would think a butter cake would be quite plain, but I found it not overly sweet, and a perfect afternoon tea treat after a long weekend of organising things, and being part of such an amazing event. I like mine quite moist, so I didn’t use all the recommended flour. Other people prefer theirs a bit drier I think, so I’m still adding the total flour to the recipe under the cut below.
All in all this is an absolutely fantastic book, and I heartily recommend it to anyone wanting to improve their basic skills, as well as expand their repertoire of baked goods!
Adapted from the AWW’s
Basic Butter Cake
Serves: 8-10, Prep: 15-20 mins, Cook: 1hr
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- up to 2 1/4 cups (335g) gluten-free self raising flour, sifted
- 1 1/4 cups (275g) caster sugar
- Up to 1/4 cup (35g) gluten free plain flour, sifted
- 3/4 cup milk
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 170C fan-forced, and grease and line a 22cm square cake tin (or 22cm round cake tin).
- Beat together the butter, vanilla and caster sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Stir the sifted flours and milk into the batch, alternating. I didn’t end up using all the flour, as I like my cake quite moist. But if you want a drier, firmer cake, you can use all of it.
- Spread the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for up to 1hr, or until browned on tip and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Stand in the pan for 5 mins, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool, top-side up.
- Dust with icing sugar and serve.