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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Sunday, March 12, 2006

SHF: Walnut & yoghurt cake

Hmmm...not my greatest effort, this one. A fairly stressful week meant I couldn't make any of the dairy things I had in mind for this month's Sugar High Friday, but I had made this cake earlier and it fit the criteria. Unfortunately, I think it's a good example of my inability to follow a recipe to the letter working to my disadvantage. I know some friends who will laugh and say it's what I deserve for playing around with a recipe; yes, I know. But it's a good learning experience. I can take away with me new knowledge and experience and blah blah blah yada yada yada...

I'd been wanting to make a simple walnut cake with chocolate icing from my Sweet Food book, but I had a lot of plain yoghurt leftover. So instead of using the milk that was specified, I decided to use yoghurt. However, using yoghurt instead of milk meant that I had to use quite a bit more of it to create a cake-batter like consistency (preferable to one like Spakfilla!), so it was not only a thicker batter, but more dense. It took forever to cook, and I'd put it in a too-large cake tin anyway, so it came out looking more like a pancake than a cake. Remember, girl, changing the density of cake batter will alter the way it rises and how well it will bake up! Sheesh.

Additionally, I used fat free yoghurt. A no-no. I didn't discover this information until this week when I caught an episode of Anna Olsen's "Sugar", but you can't use fat free yoghurt in baking because its properties change and it just doesn't work (I'd like to find out more about this). When baking you must use the full-fat stuff. Fat-free yoghurt is also much more tangy and acidic, so you won't end up with a full, creamy flavour.
Because I had used yoghurt in the batter, I thought a chocolate icing wouldn't work so well. Instad I mixed up a little icing sugar, a few teaspoons of yoghurt and a litte Queen's vanilla paste (fab stuff. You can probably see all the little black seeds in the topping).
I say it's not one of my best efforts and I stand by that, but it isn't actually a *bad* cake. It's definitely not worthy of the dustbin, but I know I can do better. It's just too dense and seems to lack a little flavour. The fat-free yoghurt mixed with the walnuts just doesn't work and seems to cry out for something like lemon zest or berries mixed through. It's all a little bland, but hey, it's still edible. I'll take it to rehearsal tomorrow with a sign "Eat me! I'm bland but oh-so-wholesome!"
I'll give the recipe below as it originally appears (with milk) because I think it'd be lovely that way!
(For some successful cakes using yoghurt, check the pistachio, cardamom & lime cake, lemon yoghurt babycakes and low fat lemon & blueberry cake.
For some dairy-rich treats see: dark chocolate custard tarts, Honey semifreddo, lemon & ricotta muffins & lime & basil icecream)
Read on for the recipe.

Walnut brown sugar cake

185g butter, softened
95g (1/2 cup) soft brown sugar
2 eggs
185g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
60g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts
60ml (1/4 cup) milk

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease a 20cm springform tin.

Place butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat with electric beaters for 5 minutes, or until thick and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well afer each addition. Fold in the flour and the walnuts alternately with the milk until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes before tirning out onto a wire rack to cool.

*The original recipe includes a chooclate icing made by melting 125g dark chocolate with 20g butter, cooled slightly and spread over the cake. I think this would be excellent.
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  • I don't like following a recipe either.

    Cooking resembles making art. There is a procedure you can (and sometimes need to) follow but most of the time it is better when you add something from you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/13/2006 04:14:00 am  

  • I had the same low fat vs full fat thoughts too! I bought low fat without realising and did think that you couldn't taste the "dairy".

    By Blogger Belinda, at 3/13/2006 10:41:00 am  

  • I very much enjoyed reading your post, even if your cake didn't quite turn out as expected.

    You have a delicious blog! I am going to enjoy peeking through your archives!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/14/2006 06:41:00 am  

  • I made a hazelnut cake a few times, just enough to make me think I remembered the directions, or so I thought.This time forgot about halving the mixture and using half to form the base, continued on my merry way and discovered a cake that was as good as the original. BTW come for a visit, my second last post might be of interest to you.

    By Blogger neil, at 3/14/2006 06:57:00 pm  

  • Owen - I like the phrase. I'll take it to heart. :-)

    Gluttoncat - Sounds like we're 2 of a kind!

    Belinda - Yes, it's strange. But your muffins tasted great anyway. :)

    Andrew - I do hope the texture is a little better with milk. I think it would be. All the nuts taste great though.

    Tania - thanks for dropping by!

    Tankeduptaco - It's great when mistakes turn into something good, and maybe even better than the original. There's the long history of cooking in one sentence there! I mean, look at how cheese was created.

    By Blogger Niki, at 3/15/2006 05:26:00 pm  

  • Actually, I have often substituted low fat yoghurt and/or buttermilk for milk or greek yoghurt for sour cream in cake-baking. Seemed to turn out quite well, if not better sometimes..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/18/2006 10:22:00 pm  

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