Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Bakery Cakery

I've been baking cakes for over a year now, that's on a professional level so I know a little bit about the subject, and it's unbelievable how many bad cakes are out there. 

It's jolly hard to find cakes which are made from traditional ingredients such as butter, but instead everything appears to have palm oil, margarine or some other disgusting hydrogenated fat. Many cakes are also made using eggs from battery farms, chocolate flavours and vanilla essence, all of which are contributing factors for producing a bad cake.

The best solution for bad cake is to make it yourself, but if you're like me and hate the idea of weighing out 234g of plain flour with 34g of self raising flour, 1 1/2 tea spoons of baking powder .......

Try cooking a brownie, so much better than any cake you can buy from the supermarket and probably the easiest thing to bake as it's not really a cake, more of a dense chocolate truffle slice.

I can't give out the recipe from work, because I would have my throat slit, so check out an adaptation of Mr Oliver's.

2 x 100g of dark chocolate (70% coco solids if you can)
250g  (1 packet) butter (at room temperature)
200g golden caster sugar (you can probably measure this by eye, if it's 500g bag of sugar then use a bit less than half)
6 level tablespoons of coco powder (you don't need this if you have good bitter chocolate)
4 heaped table spoons of flour (plain or self raising or ground almonds)
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt

(optional ingredients or add nutty, fruity stuff you like or what you have in your cupboards, just play some jazz)

a handful of crystalised or stem ginger
a handful of pecans
a handful of dried sour cherries
1 clementine
crème fraîche, to serve

Smash the chocolate and chop the butter into small chunks, then put both into the food processor (if you don't have one then nuke together in the microwave, if you don't have a microwave then melt in a bowl over simmering water), mix in the sugar, coco (if you cheaped out on the good chocolate), the flour (sift if your not using the food processor), salt. Wizz together. While the food processor is still running, crack in the eggs (just beat them in if your not using the food processor).
Scrunch up a piece of grease proof paper under a tap. Flatten it, lay it in a baking tray (approx 32 x 26 cm) and drizzle it with cooking oil, then rub in. Spoon your mixture out evenly into the tray, about 2.5 cm thick. Sprinkle over the pecans and sour cherries (or whatever jazz your playing)and press them down a bit, finely grate over the zest of the clementine. Put the tray in the oven on the top shelf at 170 -180°C and cook for 12 to 14 minutes.

As Ottolenghi says "Be brave with your brownie", meaning take it out of the oven before it's done, it should have a little wobble as its coming out.

Brownie is good for breakfast, with afternoon tea or as a desert. You can eat it warm with ice cream or straight from the fridge. It will keep in an air-tight container for weeks and for years in a the freezer, I've eaten brownie which was in the fridge for over a year and it tasted great. Brownies rule, unless they are over-cooked cakey rubbish from the supermarket.

Here is the amazingly intricate website for where I work - The Exploding Bakery or find us on Facebook or Twitter.


  1. ooooh, going to make for tomorrow's celebration of first night in our very own house! Do brownies go with Champagne too...?

  2. Too sweet for Champagne, you'll have to eat some tart fruit like raspberries. Raspberry Brownie is a gooden. Have a wonderful evening!

  3. Following on from my comment on 18 May, I DID make them for house celebrations, and used cherries and ginger and nuts. When hot from the oven they didn't (quite) cut the mustard like brownies normally do, but after 2 days they were by far the best I've ever made.