Monday, 2 March 2009

Baking & Coconut Sponge

I love both eating and making savoury food. I can do it with ease, breath normally and do it quickly. I like to think I can do the same with desserts. Unfortunately when it came to baking, my skills and knowledge of cooking savoury dishes just didn’t seem to cut it. I used to get so stressed out, hyperventilate in-between and then end up chucking whatever I made in the bin. One year for my brothers birthday (I apologise if you’re reading this) I even resorted to buying a ready made cake mix, and passing it off as my own, it looked good, tasted ok and nobody was none the wiser.

Not being able to bake really stressed me out. Instead of giving up, I decided to work out the root of my problem. Through a little bit of research and self assessment I worked out a few of those problems.

My problems: Being impatient, being heavy handed and trying to cut too many corners.

I’ve always been an impatient person. I like things being done quickly, be that cooking, walking or talking, it just needs to be done quickly. Now this can often be an advantage, unfortunately for me being fast whilst baking is not always a good skill to have. Baking requires patience; things need to be done slowly. Vigorously folding flour will never help a cake to rise.

Cutting corners also links to being impatient and I think so does the heavy handedness.

So after working out the root of the problem I decided to confront my problem, not eradicate, as my problem can be quite useful sometimes.

And guess what? It worked. I wouldn’t say I’ve perfected the art of baking because art is what it is, I still have a long way to go, but I’m getting there. Slowly.

My three favourite things to bake so far are: cheesecake, profiteroles and coconut sponge. Don’t get me wrong I have attempted many other things but these three always turn out well.

I’ve baked the coconut Victoria sponge quite a few times now, but always for other people. My mums been wanting to eat for a while, I think it gives her a feeling of nostalgia, buying a Victoria sponge for our birthdays. Every year, for all our birthdays and cousins birthdays we’d have a 99p Victoria sponge from Iceland’s or Kwiksave. Fortunately we can be a little more extravagant these days.

I had a few people round yesterday so decided to bake one to have with some custard.
The cake was a hit, I had a few problems but all turned out well in the end. Everybody loved the cake, well, at least they told me they did and the empty bowls also suggested they did.

If you've had problems in the past like me i advise you to start with this simple sponge cake. It doesn't take too much skill just a little patience, love and care.

175g/6oz Butter-softened
175g/6oz Golden caster sugar
175g/6oz Self-raising four
1 1/2 Tspn baking powder
3 eggs-beaten
50g/2oz dessicated coconut
2 Tbsp coconut cream- You can use single cream if you have no coconut cream

Buttercream & Filling
280g/10oz Icing sugar
100g/4oz Butter-softened
3 Tbsp Coconut cream- Again you can use single cream if you prefer.
4-5 Tbsp Raspberry or Strawberry jelly.

1. preheat the over to gas mark 4/180c.
2. Butter two 8inch sandwich tins and line them with greaseproof paper.
3. Mix together butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and eggs- This can be done using your hands, food processor, electric whisk or a freestanding mixer.
4. Divide the mixture between the two sandwich tins - Give it a little shake to make sure it's nice and even.
5. bake for 25mins until golden brown and firm. To be sure it's cooked all the way through , put a skewer through the middle if it comes out clean then your done, if not leave it in the oven till it does.
6. Leave in tins for 5-10 mins. loosen the edges and take out tins and place on wire rack. let the cakes cool completely.
7. Make the buttercream: beat together icing sugar, butter and coconut cream until smooth.
8. Spread jam on one of the cakes and a quarter of the butter cream on the other cake.
9. Sandwich together and spread the remaining buttercream on top.
10. Enjoy!

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