Sunday, 5 July 2015

Home-Cooked: Blueberry + Lemon Almond Cake

This is simply the perfect cake to bake for a gathering of family and friends. 
And it has to be eating straight from the oven while it’s still hot on the outside, crispy on the side, with the gorgeous fragrance of toasted coconut still wafting around the house.

I discovered the incredible Green Kitchen Stories blog through instagram and boyyyy oh boyyy am I so in love with it!! First of all – vegetarian dishes. Second of all, uhhhmazingly beautiful photos! Seriously. This is something I aspire towards. Delicious, nutritious food that’s good for the mind and body. And picture perfect at that. (I think the incredible Swedish daylight and wealth of rustic homeware props plays a part too.)

After sifting through their incredible recipe archive, I decided upon a blueberry, lemon and almond cake because the combination of lemon + blueberry is one of my favorites. Plus, blueberries and lemons are much more readily available in supermarkets here at a more reasonable price than say… strawberries? Rhubarb? Blackberries? What I would give to be in a place which allowed me to pick those berries fresh or purchase them fresh from a farmer’s market. Ahhh.

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(I just love the looks of fresh blueberries :D)

Yup, so instead of napping/studying in the afternoon before my shift (as the ideal worker in me would have done), I decided it was the perfect time to bake. This was actually a really easy recipe. I love it when you just have the simple equation of dry ingredients + wet ingredients = batter to be baked. Nothing too complicated that needs to be prepared. I did make one or two alterations to this recipe but by and large, I think it’s wonderful as it is. :D

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(only very minimally adapted - from Green Kitchen Stories)

So the main changes I made were:
-         coconut oil instead of rapeseed oil

MAN oh man I definitely think it makes a huge difference! I’ve never been able to find rapeseed oil in the supermarkets before so I’m not too sure what it smells/tastes like but I expect it to be a rather neutral oil. Coconut oil is anything but neutral but is absolutely perfect for this cake! The fragrant nutty smell of the coconut oil baking in the batter…reminded me of toasted desiccated coconut. It goes so perfectly with the thicker, coarser texture of the almond cake. So I would definitely recommend using coconut oil in this cake.

-         adding the lemon zest to the yoghurt glaze

You know what? This was a total accident on my part. After the cake had been in the oven for a good 20 minutes, I turned back and discovered the box of lemon zest sitting on the kitchen counter. SIGH. All that zesting really makes your arm muscles ache. No way was I gonna waste that effort. So into the yoghurt it went. And I must say I love how the yoghurt was turned into a yummy, not-overly-sweet tasting glaze with the simple addition of maple syrup, vanilla and lemon juice. I think the lemon juice somehow made the yoghurt congeal a little bit so don’t worry if it looks watery initially. After some thorough mixing and refrigeration for a bit, it actually thickens up quite nicely.

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Just my two cents of advice – I think it’s a good idea to keep the blueberries inside the cake to just about 1 cupful. I was all like, the more the merrier!! And added in about 1.5 cups of blueberries (maybe even close to 2 cups?) thinking it would be great with more blueberries inside. Yes it tasted nice but then it also made for a much softer, mushier base. After awhile when the berries burst and release their juices, the bottom of the cake ends up a little soggy which messes the cutting of the cake a little. So… less is more in this case. You can definitely go crazy with the blueberries on TOP of the cake.

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I served it with the yoghurt glaze and blueberry topping on the side in a more DIY sort of fashion but it definitely looks prettier if the entire cake is dolled up with the glaze and blueberries from the start.

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Perfect for nice big gatherings of say…10 people? :) It’s a cake that should be demolished right away.


Can't believe it's Sunday night already. The weekend always flies by in such a jiffy. This was a great one though. After a decent session of work on Saturday morning, the afternoon was a wonderful curry puff baking session at my grand-aunty's place - lots of mixing, kneading, rolling, filling, learning from the masters and best of all, lots of laughter and smiles. :) It's originally my grandma's recipe but my grandaunt is an equally skilled baker so they were both trading tips and commenting to each other about the curry puffs they were making. "You shouldn't roll those out too big; smaller ones look nicer!" (Spoken in secret Hainanese code).

Can't wait for another baking session with my Ahpo hopefully this weekend. But first to get through another work week.

Have a great week ahead everyone~.


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