Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Banana Nut Bread

There's nothing easier to make than a loaf cake. Also I can't think of a proper introduction for a Banana bread. I mean, they're cheap to make and virtually impossible to mess-up, not to mention you don't need to dirty up a mixer to make it.

Since I've been living at home this month, it has been infinitely easier to bake (a perfect combination of my parents buying groceries and not having to work). Since my mother buys bananas every week to take in her lunch, there was an occasion where the bananas ripened at lightening speed and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make my mother's Banana Nut Bread recipe.

Banana Nut Bread 
-1 3/4 cups flour
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1/4 tsp. baking soda
-3/4 tsp. salt
-1/8 tsp. nutmeg
-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-1/3 cup shortening
-2/3 cup granulated sugar
-2 well beaten eggs
-1 cup well mashed bananas (2 large or 3 medium)

I recommend preparing the loaf with a fork and later a spatula. When the batter is transferred to the pan, it should have strings of banana in it and this is what will keep it like a rustic, moist loaf rather than a fluffy cake (stirring it by hand adds less air into the batter).

Sift together dry ingredients.

Cream together shortening and sugar. Add beaten eggs.

Add alternatively: bananas and dry ingredients. Lastly, stir in 1 cup chopped walnuts. 

Turn batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 1-1 1/4 hrs.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Royal Baby Sugar Cookies

On July 22, HRH Prince George of Cambridge was born. Upon hearing that the Duchess was in labour all I could think was 'this event needs cookies!'. My goal was finish these cookies in time with the announcement of the name because I knew I couldn't have them done by the time he was going to be born. This would of course be the perfect moment for me to make a mental note and remind myself that my baking goals are always, always set too high. Naturally, yesterday was the day I found time to make a trip to my favourite baking and kitchen store and pick up the cookie cutters I needed (also a 100 pack of Ateco disposable piping bags which was both a deal and necessary since the local Bulk Barn closed down where one could buy individual piping bags and not get ripped off by Wilton).

For instructions on decorating with royal icing see my post here. For the crowns I used Crystal Colors powder food colouring in Antique Gold and mixed it with vodka (any alcohol base will do).

As you can see with my pastel coloured union flag, my piping tends to get messy when I finish my line and I get a raised area where the icing clumps together. Does anyone have any tips on how to make this smoother and avoid this?