Tag Archives: cake

Go your own way: pear, cinnamon and ginger upside-down cake

1 Oct

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I’ve clearly been bingeing a little too hard on The Great British Bake Off. A sick day last week resulted in a lacklustre spell on the sofa, iPlayering my little socks off, and I finally got round to giving it a go. I’ve been frantically attempting to catch up with the rest of the series ever since.

It’s got me thinking about flavours and different, more adventurous baking ideas a bit more seriously than I usually would. Then, home for the weekend, I happened to look out of the window and see pears falling from the tree in my parents’ garden, and an idea was born.

I don’t usually make up my own recipes – not when it comes to baking anyway. I’ve always subscribed to the philosophy that baking requires more precision than I’m capable of working out, and that recipes know best. Still, I was feeling inspired.

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I poached the pears in red wine, then drained them and let them cool before popping them into the bottom of a cake tin. I made up a basic cake mix of butter, sugar, eggs and flour – a bit less of the latter than usual, to keep the texture moist enough to be consistent with the pears – and added some ground cinnamon and ginger. Fruit + cake mix = upside-down cake.

The result may not be the technically best bake I’ve ever done – it cooked slightly unevenly, and I was completely winging it in terms of oven times – but the warm flavours work together well, and it’s a nicely autumnal cake. I think I might go off-recipe more often.

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Happy foodie birthday

1 Aug

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So, yesterday was my birthday. I’m not keen on adding another year to the tally, nor on the fact that my mid-twenties are looming darkly, but I am keen on birthday cake. And my mum is absurdly good at birthday cake.

Since she got into baking a few years ago, she’s been the one called upon for every family birthday and office celebration. She’s good (not to mention inventive) with icing in ways that I can only dream of. She’s also probably starting to dread what I’ll ask for next year on year, after previously having to fashion pirate flags, pandas and rollerskates – with the constraint that the only icing I actually like is butter icing. This year: bunting. Bunting that spelt my name. And yep, I got it.

Other treats included a tapas-making course at Bordeaux Quay’s Bristol School Of Food And Wine (booked for September), a Paul Hollywood baking book, tasty tapas at El Bocado and a food coma-inducing rack of ribs at Starz. Oh, and all the drinks. I was spoilt bloody rotten.