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Wow, my first post on my new blog. In all the career options I considered growing up – and there were many – being a chef was never one of them. For the longest time I thought nothing of my cooking and on many an occasion I’ve needed someone to rescue more than one dish in a single meal, so imagine my surprise when I decided that my future is going to be telling people how to cook!
However, the one thing I did figure out after a whole lot of soul searching over the years, was that food is my passion and baking tops it all. So here I am, putting my culinary creations out there for you to use and hopefully not abuse.
My baking forays started when I would come home from university during the holidays and have nothing much to do. There was a lot of trial and mostly error as instead of reading recipes I would just take my own ratios of what I thought should go into a cake and the result would usually be a lump of inedible rock whose most useful purpose would be as a weapon of serious destruction should it be launched at some unfortunate person’s head.
I would also get batter all over the walls in my enthusiasm while using the egg beater, giving the pantry an interesting decorative makeover. I have since improved and the walls are safe (mostly). After many years of being a busy journalist and not cooking at all, a major renewal of interest came after watching Irish chef Rachel Allen’s Bake! series on TLC a few years ago. She was so good in her presentation and her recipes so easy, that it rekindled my passion for baking (in a more organised manner) and I haven’t looked back since.
So in honour of my first moment of inspiration, here’s a cake I think you would enjoy. It’s simple but it’s yum.
150 gms finely desiccated coconut (brown crust removed)
150 gms flour
150 gms sugar (those who like it sweeter can add another 50 gms sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Grated zest of 2 oranges (I used Kinnows)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used rice bran)
1/2 cup yoghurt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup icing sugar (approx 70 gms)
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
*I use a standard measuring cup for my baking.
- Turn on your oven and set to 180° centigrade.
- Line a 9 inch diameter baking pan with butter paper or parchment paper and oil the sides of the pan uniformly. You can use butter or oil. I use oil.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the desiccated coconut, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and orange zest. Set aside.
- In another bowl put in the oil, yoghurt and milk.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix well so that there are no lumps remaining.
- Beat the two eggs and add to the batter mixing well.
- Pour the batter into your pan and bake in the middle rack of your oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Once the cake is out of the oven, cool it in the pan for about half an hour. Then loosen the sides of the cake from the pan by running a knife along the edges and upend on to a plate. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom and turn over onto a cake dish or plate and leave to cool completely.
For the Glaze
- Mix the orange juice, lemon juice and icing sugar thoroughly till there are no lumps and the liquid turns translucent.
- Pour over the cooled cake covering the top. The glaze is runny and will spill down the sides, use a knife or spoon to scoop up the glaze from the plate and spread evenly all over the sides of the cake.
- The cake will have a lovely light citrusy crust with a hint of sugar.
Finally – enjoy the fruits of your labor!
If there are leftovers, store in an airtight container. It will keep for five days in cold weather. Refrigerate in the airtight container in hot and humid conditions and microwave your slice for 30 seconds before eating.
Important Notes: I only use the heating rods at the bottom of my oven for baking my cakes. if you have an oven where you don’t have the option of turning the rods on the top off you can place an oven tray between the rod and the cake. I don’t use ovens which have only heating from the top.
Also, if you are using a smaller cake pan, 7 inches or 8 inches, then you may have to keep the cake in for longer. However, do not open the oven door before 30 minutes.
The most important thing to note when baking is to Know Your Oven. Every oven behaves differently. There have been cakes that have called for 40 minutes of baking time and mine has taken an hour. This knowledge is critical for your baking success.
I usually put less sugar in my cakes, and especially in this one as I had additional sugar going into the glaze. But for those who like it a bit sweeter, you can add 200 grams of sugar instead of 150 grams. Especially if you are omitting the glaze.
The sugar should be of fine quality so that it dissolves well in the cake batter. I don’t use castor sugar and mostly whack my sugar in the mixie or grinder and then add the powdered form to the batter. However, please don’t replace icing sugar with ground sugar for frostings.