Monday, 28 November 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Butter vs Virgin Rapeseed Oil

The nice people at Quex foods gave me some Virgin Rapeseed Oil to try in my cakes. So the first experiment was to make a Carrot cake - mainly because in this recipe you melt the butter so I figured I could just swop the oil for the butter and keep everything else the same. Recipe is posted right at the end of the blog if you want to try for yourself.
 After gathering together all ingredients, lining two identical cake pans and warming the oven I made the two mixtures simultaneously so they could be baked together. In all the pictures the Rapeseed cake is on the right and the Butter cake on the left.
 The oil mixture is slightly brighter orange!
Rapeseed oil is not a cheap alternative to butter but it has many advantages for your health as it contains no animal fats and it is rich in Omega 3. It comes in 250ml bottles and you need 120 ml for a full size family cake. Unsalted Butter is often on offer at around £1.20 for 250g and you need 120g to make the same size cake. However some websites say use less oil than you would butter as about 15-20% of butter is water. So maybe the next test should be to use only 100ml oil.
 They look the same before they go into the oven

The finished cakes really do look identical but the big question is texture and taste! My initial tasting was that the Rapeseed Oil cake had a stronger taste - and was slightly nutty but I knew which was which. Blind tastings over the next few days by builders, friends and familygave the following results :
apart from me noone could tell the difference in taste! I think this could have been the very strong flavour of orange and carrot masking any of the other ingredients. Regarding texture there were a couple of people who thought the Butter cake was lighter and a couple who said the Rapeseed Oil cake was more crumbly - but as the cakes were being literally scoffed as I watched I'm surprised they didn't choke when they tried to speak.
The real winner here is you - use Rapeseed Oil and be good to your body or use butter if you have it in the fridge - no one can tell the difference on taste; the big question now is what difference will it make to a sponge cake?
Best Wishes, Janet
If you want your Birthday Cake or Wedding Cake made free from butter email me.

Recipe for Simple Carrot Cake
120g grated raw carrot - peel top & tail before grating
120g sugar - can use your favouite - I use caster sugar as it gives a lighter finish
150ml orange juice and zest - or you can substitute premium OJ
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
100-120ml Virgin Rapeseed Oil - or 120g unsalted butter
Place all ingredients in saucepan and simmer for 5 mins till sugar melted and carrots soften. Cool for 5 mins till you can put your finger into mixture and it not be too hot.
2 large eggs beaten with fork in a jug
240g Self Raising flour sifted with
2 teaspoons baking powder
Stiring the cooled carrot mixture with a wooden spoon add the eggs in a thin stream beating at the same time - If you dont you will get lumps of scrambled eggs in your cake. When all the egg is beaten in add the sifted flour mixture - it will froth a bit from the heat acting on the baking powder - mix it quickly but well and pour into a prelined cake tin 20cm. If you use two cake tins it will cook faster and you dont have to split the cake to fill it with your chosen filling.
Bake for 40 minutes in a fan oven at 130 or 150 in a conventional oven - reduce time to 25 minutes if using 2 cake tins. Cake will bounce back to a finger push and it will smell cooked.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Once bitten forever smitten - Cake Toppers

Whats the best way to top off your cake - well its easy if its your birthday just add candles - light and get singing! But if its your wedding cake or your baby's christening then maybe what you want is something special to mark the occasion.
Toppers fall into categories I will label as Edible, Perishable and Keepable.

Edible toppers are made of sugar paste and can be made by your cakemaker into any shape or form you desire. From delicate peony petals to baby shoes they adorn your cake, look lovely and if you have a sweet tooth are just right for getting an extra sugar buzz. These baby pink converse trainers are made of sugar paste so they are definately Edible but you could put them in an airtight box with a sachet of silica jel and they would long enough for your baby to admire them.
Edible sugar roses have been the bridal topper of choice for many decades - and these two examples of claret roses in a posy and a single green rose show you how differnt styles can be achieved.

Keepable Toppers are not made of edible products - they can be made of porceline like the ones made by Kate at Atopofthetier. The beauty of commissioning a keepable topper from a porcelin artist or model maker is that they will make the figure look like you and make it really personal. I love these two guys I used to decorate my Chocolate Cake at The Leeds Castle Weddding Show. This cake prompted a couple to order a cake for next summer with themselves on the top tier and their children represented on each of the ledges of the other tiers. This is a lovely gesture as sometime children can feel a bit sidelined when parents get married.
Another popular choice for a topper are Diamante Initials which look fantastic with diamante edged white cakes - perfect for winter weddings.
Perishable cake toppers are flowers or fruit - so think strawberrys dipped in chocolate and piled high or a delicate posy to match the bridal bouquet. You can't keep them as a memento but if they create the look you want -  Go for it! This cake had flowers to match the table decorations and it was perfect.

All of the above designs can be made for you by Janet at Delicakes. Book a Design & Taste session by email today. Wedding cakes should be booked 6 months in advance to guarantee availability especially for Summer 2012  weddings as some dates have already gone in May & August.
Best wishes, Janet