I love weekends, they allow me time to get stuck into some good old baking. I haven’t touched a mixing bowl since before I went to Australia so it was great to get back behind the whisk.
Fernandez and Leluu, a London underground restaurant shouted on Twitter last week that they were looking for a baker for their restaurant. My eyes opened wide and I promptly asked what kind of baking they were after. It was 20 baton baguettes but since there were only two days to go and I had never tried my hand at baguettes before, I said that I wasn’t able to offer a hand but I would love to be considered if there was an opportunity to bake cakes.
Some lovely correspondence later and I was booked in to take samples to their new unit on Columbia Road behind the StART SPACE gallery. My brief was something not too creamy but with quirky ingredients so I put my thinking cap on. I decided on a wonderfully light and dairy free Lime, coconut and macadamia cake and a few vanilla and almond cupcakes with a chocolate ganache and white chocolate hearts (it is Valentines day after all).
My Saturday morning consisted of a good few hours therapeutic baking – the recipes below:
Coconut, Lime and Macadamia cake
200g macadamia nuts
40g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
6 eggs, separated
1 lime, zest only, finely grated
45g desiccated coconut
125g/4½oz icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp lime zest, finely grated
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. Place the nuts, flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until the nuts are ground.
3. Place the egg yolks and sugar in a separate bowl and beat for three minutes, or until the mixture is pale and creamy. Fold through the zest and coconut, then the nut mixture.
4. Place the egg whites in a clean, dry, stainless steel bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. Using a large metal spoon, fold lightly through the nut batter.
5. Spread the batter evenly into a 23cm (9in) greased or non-stick springform cake tin. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden.
6. Meanwhile, make the icing. Combine all the icing ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth and glossy.
7. Remove from the oven and leave to sit for 10 minutes in the tin. Turn the cake out onto a serving plate. Spread the lime icing over the warm cake, allowing it to drizzle down the sides.
Vanilla and Almond Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Ganache and White Chocolate Hearts
125g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, very soft
2 tsp vanilla essence
1tsp almond essence
150g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
For the Ganache
100g milk chocolate
60ml double cream
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
2. In the bowl of an upright electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla for three minutes on the highest speed until light and fluffy.
3. Sift the flour and baking powder two or three times, then add to the butter mix and beat for 30 seconds.
4. Spoon into eight muffin cups placed in the pockets of a muffin tray, and set aside to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and firm. Leave to cool.
I actually can’t believe that I lived in Bethnal Green for a year and never went to Columbia flower market – i’m quite disappointed with myself. The flowers were beautiful (I wanted to buy a bunch but a parking ticket prevented this – I’m not a fan of traffic wardens and utterly confusing road signs.)
The cafe itself is very cute. They have a covered decking area outside with tables and chairs for customers to sit and enjoy the freshly made (on the premises) produce. I arrived at around 9.30am and had not yet had breakfast so purchased a slice of my cake to go with a cup of tea. I was also given a sample of their homemade bread and butter pudding (yum!). Next time i’ll time it perfectly with lunch so I can try the savoury food on offer.
Visit Fernandez & Leluu’s blog to check out the photos from today .
After the parking ticket incident, we decided to go to Ottolenghi for brunch – they serve my favourite scrambled egg with creme fraish, rocket, toasted bread and smoked salmon.
Today was the first day that I didn’t purchase one of their incredibly good looking cakes. Following brunch it was back to the kitchen to eat our homemade bean stew with Ottolenghi corn bread. Perfect Sunday.