The second meeting of Cake club was a huge success. We have doubled in size since the last meeting and this theme was double the fun. This month’s theme was inspired by a recipe I saw in a cook book I received as a Christmas present. The recipe had some ingredients that you would not normally find in a cake recipe and it got me thinking about strange ingredients that are starting to appear more and more in baking and actually for good reason, they work. So I did some research and came up with 6 ingredients. The theme was set, strange ingredients, and the rules were that you had to bake something sweet using any of the following ingredients, olive oil, chilli, lavender, rosemary, mayonnaise and beetroot. It was so exciting waiting to see what everyone would bring and I was not disappointed. Everyone had put in so much effort!
I decided to make the recipe that inspired this theme. It came out of the MasterChef Australia season 3 cook book and was one of the first challenges set for the contestants. It was set by the famous Australian chef, Maggie Beer. What were the ingredients? There happened to be two strange ones, rosemary and olive oil. I baked a rosemary olive oil apple cake. It is not something I would normally bake, as cooked apples are not high up on my delicious list but I was so drawn to trying this recipe. I also could not follow the recipe exactly as it said to use verjuice to poach the apples and I could not get my hands on any. Thank goodness the Donna Hay team came to my rescue. I asked for help on their FaceBook page and the replied and suggested sherry. So the cake is made up of poached apples in rosemary and sherry with an olive oil cake mix, glazed with more of the poaching liquid and served with a sabayon. It was very popular with the tasting ladies and hardly any was left, always a good sign, but I wasn’t so sure how I felt. After my first bite I was not yet convinced but I enjoyed the tiny left over piece for dessert and actually really enjoyed it! It was light and not too sweet and the apple was delicious.
Anda chose lavender as her strange ingredient. Her recipe came from a MasterChef cook book too, just the previous season. She made chocolate ganache tarts with lavender cream. The recipe called for large individual tarts but she created tiny bite-size mouthfuls which were totally delicious as well as beautiful to look at. The lavender had quite a refreshing taste. If I had to award her dish a prize it would be ‘ best dressed’. Roz used Mexico as her inspiration and chose to use the chilli. She made Chilli Mole Muffins. As she likes her spice she put in a little extra chilli but was disappointed that it did not have quite the kick she wanted. The recipe came out of the Green & Black’s cook book so the muffins were deliciously chocolatey! They were yummy! Roz went to a lot of trouble on her presentation and even included a little cactus wearing a sombrero. The prize I would award her would be ‘most festive’.
Ash took on two ingredients and two dishes. She made mayonnaise cookies, which she said, ‘were really not good’ but she brought them so that we could see for ourselves. We all did and they were a bit hard but there why were not that bad. But in comparison to her second dish they just did not stand a chance. In her second dish she used chilli and made chocolate chilli brownies. They were delicious and so moist. She used fresh chillies and chopped almond. I was very pleased she left the left overs behind, that means I can have one tomorrow! She found both her recipes on Google. She gets the prize for the ‘moistest cake’.
Lizeli was also inspired by chilli but was unable to find a recipe so she found a chocolate cake recipe and added the chilli. In fact she did not stop there with her cake, she got creative and added Ethiopian beer and pears. She used chilli powder in both the mix and the chocolate icing resulting in this cake having a real good kick. It was a totally delicious chocolate cake and she even added a little decoration on the top of two chillies. She gets the prize for ‘most creative’!
The last dish was made by Marna. She also chose chilli but did something quite clever. She used chilli chocolate, which is very popular now days and available in most supermarkets. With it she made chilli-choc-chip cookies, really big ones the size of your hand. They were delicious! Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside with a hint of chilli in the chocolate. I managed to sneak one into a safe hiding place to enjoy later. Everyone had their own favourite, but Marna’s cookies were mine, so she gets the ‘Chef’s Choice Award’. (Even as I type this I am thinking of going in search of that cookie!)
Coming together and having fun with cake is a great way to spend the afternoon. But next time I think we will need to invite some friends to help us eat as there is always so much left over. Can’t wait till the next one. I have a few ideas up my sleeve…