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Thursday, August 16, 2012

A bank of basis recipes

Hello All, (especially those of you who read this blog; an extended thank you for following Mama Bea's)

I thought I might just talk about basic recipes today, and the importance of having a bank of them somewhere in our recipe books. As we can see from cook books and other cooking sources, every sweet thing be it cakes, cookies, biscuits, you name it, begins from a simple humble basic recipe. I'm a strong believer that once you've got a set of good basic recipes, baking (or even cooking savory dishes) becomes easy feet. No joke.

So what recipes should be have filed away in our memory banks I hear you say? Here are the ones I've always kept with me: A vanilla cake (and sponge cake), A chocolate cake (and sponge cake), A vanilla cookies batter, a chocolate cookie batter, basic scones recipe, basic crepe recipe, basic pancake recipe, basic profiterole recipe etc. The list to go on forever, but if you were to ask me which should be the ones we should definitely have ready on hand, I'd say a vanilla cake, and a chocolate cake recipe (both sponge cake and pound cake)

 Here I've used the same cake recipe but made three different styles of cake. Above is a strawberry filled buttercream cake. Below is a passionfruit cream cheese filling cake.

Let's start with vanilla cake today. With a vanilla cake recipe, there are many ways it could be used to make other desserts. For instance, a vanilla cake, it may be used for cupcakes, layered cakes, loaf cakes. Additionally, you could add dried fruits in the batter, spices (such as cinnamon), or even the zest of fruits (like lemon, orange or lime zest) to give the cake an extra kick and zing.

Using the same recipe, I made cupcakes and iced them with a chocolate fudge icing

Here's the recipe I enjoy using when it comes to baking. After trying many other recipes I found this to be baker friendly, giving consistent results. Do bear in mind when you try this recipe, the use of different branded ingredients, different ovens and even the difference in weather will effect baking in general. Do try it out, and let me know how you went-

Vanilla Cake Recipe
(Makes two 20cm round cake layers OR 12 cupcakes)

1 1/4 cups Self Rising Flour
125g Unsalted Butter, room temperature, cubed
3/4 cups Caster sugar
2 Eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup Full Cream Milk, room temperature
1 tsp White Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 quantity of Buttercream Icing

1. Preheat over to 180C. Place rack in the center of the oven. Line two 20cm round cake pans with baking paper.
2. For the wet ingredients, mix together the milk, vinegar, eggs, salt and vanilla in a measuring cup. Then set aside.
3. For the dry ingredients, place the flour and sugar together in an electric mixer and give it a quick mix with the paddle attachment to get rid of any lumps. Add in the butter into the mixture, and mix until the mixture becomes the consistency of sand/ or bread crumbs.
4. Slowly work in the wet ingredients on a medium low speed until all incorporated. The batter should be smooth with no lumps. If there are still lumps in the batter, turn the mixer to a low speed and mix. Be careful not to over mix the batter as it will dry out the cake.
5. Evenly divide the mixture into two pans, smoothing out the top.
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake is done. If unsure, insert a skewer into the center of the cake. If the skewer is clean then you cake is done.
7. Cool the cakes in their pans, and invert onto a cooling rack when the cake is warm to touch. Let the cake cool completely on the cooling rack. Once the cakes are cooled completely, wrap it in plastic wrap and place the cake layers in the freezer for at least an hour (this will make filling and frosting the cakes easier).
8. Before filling the cake, slice each layer into half, so there will be four layers in total. Fill each layer accordingly.

Hope you guys enjoy this one. Let me know your thoughts!

Mama Bea

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