One of the baking books from my haul earlier in the Autumn was Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet. I'm familiar with his recipes from the Guardian newspaper's weekend magazine which always seem slightly innovative without being ridiculously complicated. I was particularly interested to see this book partly as I wanted to see more of his recipes but also as I understood from what I'd heard about it that there were a number of gluten free alternatives which is obviously particularly interesting to me. What I liked most about the book in the end, even more than the recipes which are pretty darn tempting, was its instructional nature. Lepard uses a bit amount of science to explain how to do things (e.g. when making cream cheese icing, you shouldn't add all of the cream cheese at once; the first half added to the butter and sugar will emulsify the mixture, but then the second half will be held in suspension creating a much lighter icing). I've actually made a number of things from the book now, although not got round to blogging about them - the banana chocolate cookies were wonderful, as were the ginger and spelt cookies. But this weekend, feeling uninspired to bake, I asked Mr W what sort of cake he'd like next. He said carrot cake. I was a bit surprised and not quite convinced, but when I opened up Short and sweet to peruse for other options, the first cake recipe I saw was a carrot cake, so I decided to make it. It came out beautifully light with some pecans to add a bit of texture to the sponge. And the cream cheese icing was just delicious!
[too bad that Mr W ate it all before I got a picture....]
PS: Should be clear that Short and Sweet isn't just cakes and biscuits, but also bread, various sorts of sweets, pastry, pies etc!
Canons Ashby and some book finds
13 hours ago