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Year of the Cake Part Thirty: Bake It! Club

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At first I felt a little embarrassed to be using the word ‘club’, but then I realised that, not only should I not be embarrassed, I should be pleased to have a club to belong to. We might not have a treehouse or a secret handshake (not that I know of, anyway), but that doesn’t diminish the fact that it is great to be part of a group of people with a shared interest, and a shared warmth and sense of fun. Since joining Twitter, I’ve started chatting with so many new people about baking and cooking, and from there onto other, unrelated topics. You know, like you do when you make friends with people in real life – it’s the same process, but you can only use 140 characters at a time. Alright, so it’s a bit different. It’s only a matter of time before I start verbal Tweeting, though – if you start to see signs of this, feel free to insist that I repeat the sentence using more and longer unnecessary words. I’m new to the group – both Twitter and Bake It! – and am looking forward to getting to e-know people and share recipes, photos, opinions and nonsense as appropriate.

The Bake It initiative (club) is lovely Amy‘s (@amylane) creation, and when I saw her link about it I really wanted to join in – and was welcomed, too. You probably already know that I test recipes for Leite’s Culinaria (I’m not just a big fan of the site, though I’m that, too). That’s a fun process, and I’ve got chatting to some people through being a tester, but I find that I’m a bit of a misfit to that community, in some ways. I think I’m one of the youngest testers, and I’m one of very few from the UK; in fact, I think there might only be two of us. I also have a feeling that everyone else is more experienced than I am, and many of them work in the food industry, which I find intimidating, though that’s my own issue and certainly not one that’s been brought up by anyone else. I don’t mean to say that people haven’t been friendly and welcoming in that community, far from it, but I have struggled to place myself within it. I hope this makes sense; it’s hard to find the right words without the wrong nuance. With Twitter, I feel that I fit more readily. I’ve found that there is a range of ages, levels of experience and professions. I feel like more people I’ve e-met there bake and cook as a hobby, as I do, rather than do it for a living. I suppose it’s partly down to it being such an informal environment, and I could go on all day with my Tales of Over-Thinking, but for now suffice to say that I’m glad I finally signed up and am already enjoying the e-company of many friendly, funny people. I particularly like to Watch with Twitter – now and again someone comes up with a comment that absolutely floors me. It does distract from the programme itself, right enough, but depending what kind of mood you’re in that’s part of the fun.

Enough of the well-meaning but mark-missing Twambling. My first Bake It recipe was for a delicious ginger cake – the recipe is here, along with comments from participants. This cake went down ridiculously well at work. I thought one of my colleagues was having some kind of epiphany. Maybe he was. I made one gluten-free loaf, and one regular. Unfortunately, we had an oven disaster during the baking of the normal one. By ‘we’, I mean the cake and I, of course. As you’ll see from the pictures, the gluten-free loaf rose and rose and rose – I was worried it was going to fill the whole oven and come out in one big square, like a cartoon. While the gluten full loaf was baking, I moved it. Dreadful mistake. Grave error. Other such hyperbolic phrases. The move resulted in the top quarter or so of the loaf running off the sides of the tin and landing on the baking sheet below. It was still fine to eat, but it left the loaf looking definitely stunted, in comparison to its non-glutenous sibling. I mean, look at the gluten-free one’s proud profile. Intimidating, even. Ready to take on any other cake and win. It’s a bruiser.

I made a couple of changes to the recipe, as follows:

  • for one loaf, used gluten-free plain flour, and added 2 tsp of baking powder (too much!) and 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • used a total of four pieces of stem ginger between the two loaves, as I ran out. Would have been even more delicious with the proper amount, and the little bites of ginger through the cake really made it stand out, for me – I would definitely say it’s worth buying the ginger in syrup, it’s handy for lots of other recipes

That is all I have to say about the recipe, it was delicious and went down really well with our afternoon cuppas. It was suggested to me that I try it warm with ice cream, and I can only imagine that would be excellent advice – there was none left for me to try it, which I hold as a sign of the recipe’s success.

Thanks, Amy, for the recipe, and I’m looking forward to next month’s already! Here’s a photo of the cake on my desk at work, on a plate constructed of napkins.

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About Rock Salt

Seasoning while rocking out since 1983.

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