Baking a Pear, Pistachio and Maple Loaf Cake

Welcome back to week 8 of my loaf cake challenge. Two months in and I still have so many wonderful recipes I am planning to create, I can’t wait to share them with you. This week I have baked a Pear, Pistachio and Maple loaf cake. Inspiration for these ingredients struck me last week when I stumbled across a pear tree in our garden. I cannot wait to have my own garden one day, I love the thought of growing lots of different fruits and vegetables. You know exactly where they have come from, It’s cost-effective and incredibly organic. For my loaf cake this week I knew it had to be based around my freshly picked pears.

The second ingredient of pistachio, I have been itching to use in a loaf for a while now, so when this loaf came to head I couldn’t wait to pair it up! Sorry, couldn’t resist using that pun. I also thought the flavour of maple would compliment the cake so decided to incorporate this into the loaf too. The cake itself is relatively heavy, so it’s absolutely perfect for autumn. I always find the colder we are the hungrier we can become. Before baking this cake, I went for a lovely walk just around the corner from my home in The New Forest. It was chilly but bright and beautiful. I decided to gather some small parts of nature I noticed on the walk and incorporate them into my photographs of the cake. This week I googled my idea to find a great recipe to base my ideas on. It can often be helpful to gauge other people’s approaches. However I did make a few tweaks and changes. This is a gloriously majestic cake, perfect for autumn. The gorgeous purple and green colours of the pistachios make this cake look really special. The texture comes through with the fruity bite to the pear, the creamy flavour of pistachios and the mellow sweet hit of the maple.

Ingredients

For the Pear & Pistachio Cake:

  • 250 g plain flour 
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  •  ½ tsp. nutmeg 
  • ½ tsp. allspice 
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  •  ½ tsp. baking soda 
  • ½ tsp. salt 
  • 60 g melted unsalted butter, cooled to room temperature 
  • 1 egg 
  • 175 golden caster sugar 
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 120 ml whole milk
  •  60 ml double cream 
  • 2 medium pears, peeled cored and diced 
  • 75 g shelled pistachios, chopped (plus a little extra for topping) 

For the Maple Cream Cheese Drizzle:

  • 120 g mascapone cheese 
  • 60 ml maple syrup 
  • 2 Tbsp. room temperature unsalted butter

Method 

  •  Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 4.. Line a loaf pan with grease proof paper. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients other than the sugar. 
  • In a large bowl, beat together the cooled melted butter, egg, sugar, and vanilla extract. 
  • Add half of the dry mixture into the wet mixture and whisk to combine. Stir in the whole milk and heavy cream, then add the rest of the dry mixture and whisk well. Fold in the pears and pistachios. 
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake around an hour or until a knife comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack, then use the parchment paper to lift the loaf out of the pan to cool directly on the rack until completely cool. 
  • Combine the mascarpone, maple syrup and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment until combined, for about 2 minutes.
  •  Once the loaf has cooled, use a piping bag to drizzle the icing over the cake. Then decorate the top with some finely chopped shelled pistachio.

Please stay tuned for next week where I will be sharing with you my Coffee, walnut and cardamon loaf cake.


Baking a Raspberry, White Chocolate and Almond Loaf Cake

Welcome back to week five and say hello to my Raspberry, White Chocolate and Almond Loaf Cake. Things are getting serious and I decided to go all out in the decoration of my loaf, I was really pleased with the result. It looked very pretty. What do you think?

This is such a exciting looking cake to me. Fresh raspberries neatly stacked and drizzled with a shiny white chocolate drizzle. To finish it’s sprinkled with toasted almonds. You just want to saw into it and eat a piece. This week’s bake was really nice and easy. I always find it so therapeutic and I look forward to making the cake all week long. I suffer from anxiety and I can honestly say, baking and cooking is the best remedy I have ever come across. It can transport you to a completely different place and give you such a great sense of achievement. Plus you can experience the joy of sharing with others, and making them happy. Making food is such a traditional and effective way of showing others you love them.

I was inspired to create this cake through a tweet I saw on Instagram, from a great food blogger called ‘Dennis The Prescott‘. Raspberries and white chocolate go splendidly together, and the sponge is packed with it too as well as being a decoration. Loaf cakes are very simple to create, but you can make them look and taste really special. Test it out yourself, I have included my method below!

Pro’s and Con’s 

 The pro’s of this cake are that it looks really special, it is very easy to make and decorate, and of course that it is quite yummy. The con’s would be that it is slightly out of season at the moment. It is also not one that keeps very well. It should be eaten within a couple of days otherwise the raspberries start to go over ripe. Also with this particular bake, I learnt to be very careful when stirring in the raspberries, as mine blended into the sponge a bit too much for my liking. If you are not a fruity person, you may prefer the subtlety of this.

Ingredients

  •  150g unsalted butter 
  • 150g caster sugar 
  • 2 eggs 
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  •  50ml whole milk 
  • 200g self-raising flour (or plain flour with 2 tsp baking powder) 
  • 100g ground almonds 
  • 100g white chocolate chips
  •  75g Fresh Raspberries 

For the Topping

  •  100g of white chocolate, melted. 
  • 150g Fresh Raspberries 
  • A handful of almonds to sprinkle 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180C and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar together for a few minutes, until light and fluffy. 
  • Beat in the eggs (1 at a time) and the milk. Fold in the flour, ground almonds, lemon zest and chocolate chips. Lastly, fold in the raspberries. 
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 60 minutes, until an inserted skewer into the middle of the cake comes out clean. 
  • When the cake is baked, transfer to a wire rack. When it is completely cool place the Raspberries carefully onto the cake, hole facing down. Stack three neat lines. Melt the white chocolate and pipe over the top of the Raspberries in a zig zag pattern. To finish sprinkle the almonds on top.

Please come and have a peak again this time next week as I am making a very special Earl Grey, Blueberry and Lemon Loaf cake. Stay tuned and have a splendid week ahead.



Baking a Sticky Lime and Coconut Loaf Cake with Malibu Cream Topping


It has been one whole month of my loaf baking challenge! And what better way to celebrate with what can only be described as a Caribbean party in your mouth.

I am a big fan of Malibu. It was actually my first alcoholic drink. So when I read this recipe from Fiona Cairns stunning and inspirational book called ‘Seasonal Baking’, I could not wait to make it.

This week, I proved to myself I am dedicated to the baking challenge. I was leaving London for the weekend to visit my home town of The New Forest, but I couldn’t let this mean I would skip on a bake. I transported all of my equipment, baking ingredients and camera equipment back with me. Luckily, I do have a car, but this inevitably meant driving with my entire kitchen in the boot with me.

The time finally came to bake Lime and Coconut Loaf Cake with Malibu Cream Topping at the weekend. The sponge mixture incorporates lime zest, however the real lime kick gets added when creating the syrup. Whilst the cake is hot, you create a syrup out of lime juice and sugar, whisk it all up and drizzle over the cake once you have pricked holes over the sponge.The lime syrup smells so fresh and invigorating. I love cakes that allow for a syrup drizzle, as it makes them so wonderfully moist and succulent. Plus you get the added benefit of extra flavouring.

Once the cake had soaked up all the syrup in the tin, I went to transfer to a rack. Once completely cool along came the frosting. For this mixture I used Mascarpone cheese, Crème Fraîche, icing sugar and of course the best bit, a few tablespoons of Malibu. I really recommend adding the Malibu as it really add’s a unique and interesting dimension to the cake flavours. It of course compliments the lime and coconut really well, but it is also utterly delightful with the creaminess of the delicate Mascarpone.



Once the creamy topping was applied, I doused the top with the zest of two limes and some extra desiccated coconut. The more the better at this point. I then sliced up some very thin slices to place on top as an extra garnish.

The cake tasted wonderful, so I was really pleased. However one qualm I have is ,(and it is my own fault really), it could would have been appreciated slightly more during it’s correct season. Which is spring in Fiona’s lovely book. I can just imagine sitting on the patio whilst listening to the birds sing with a hot pot of tea and a slice of this cake. However we are now very much in the Autumn months over here in United Kingdom, so not much of this going on

Overall, the cake went down very well again. I tested it with my partner and his housemate, my housemates and my work friends. I found this cake a lot more difficult to pitch. A lot of people are convinced they do not like coconut and they are not a fan of lime. So luckily, my friends had a little faith to look past their previous notions and try a little piece. I was so complimented to find that those who disliked the ingredients involved, did not have a problem with this cake whatsoever. I believe the reason was, the cake has subtle flavours. It does not scream it’s ingredients from the pallet of your mouth, more whisper them gently on your tongue. Which for me worked out well.


Stay tuned for Raspberry, White Chocolate and Almond loaf coming up next week.


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