Tis the season to do all the things which I can’t do back in Manchester, such as baking and making pretty cakes. Here are a few of the things I’ve decorated/made since being back at home.
For those who don’t know, I have Crohn’s disease, unfortunately my younger brother David was diagnosed with the same illness over the new year. Over the past few months David hasn’t been too well, and last week he was admitted to hospital for an operation to remove the infected bit of bowel. Anyhow, in anticipation for him to return, being the wonderful big brother that I am, I baked him a cake, below is the recipe and some pictures on how it turned out. Cake Ingredients: 300g caster sugar 3 eggs 300ml sunflower oil 270g peeled bananas, mashed 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra to decorate 300g plain flour 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 100g tinned pineapple, chopped into small pieces (although I used fresh) 100g shelled pecan nuts (or walnuts), chopped, plus extra, chopped and whole to decorate (although I used chocolate chips) two 20cm cake tins, base-lined with greaseproof paper Frosting Ingredients: 500g icing sugar, sifted 160g unsalted butter, at room temperature 50ml whole milk a couple of drops of vanilla extract (although I used lemon extract) Cake Instructions: Preheat the oven to 170C (325F) Gas 3. Put the sugar, eggs, oil, banana and cinnamon in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Don’t worry if mixture looks slightly split. Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until everything is well mixed and smooth. Stir in the chipped pineapple and pecan nuts (or chocolate chips) by hand until evenly dispersed. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely. When the cakes are cold, put one cake on a stand and spread about one quarter of the frosting over it with a palette knife. Place the second cake on top and spread another quarter of the frosting over it. Top the cake with the remaining spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Finish with nuts (or chocolate chips) and a light sprinkling of cinnamon. Frosting Instructions: Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on a medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and well mixed. Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and vanilla (or lemon) extract in a separate bowl, then add the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.