I'm progressing fairly well with my sugar free recipes in preparation for my book later on in the year. Some days are better than others though, I've had some amazing results and some catastrophes too but apparently if you never fail you can never succeed so that's ok! Last week Tim Hardy (Timhardy.co.uk) my old school friend who's now a very talented photographer, came to capture my latest creations. He knows what I want to achieve (clean, simple, contemporary , no fuss) and managed a full morning, with lots of tastings in between, to come up with fantastic shots.
However its taken me forty odd years to realise that it's my nature to try to do too much at once, to multi task, to try to achieve everything and actually I end up achieving ... very little! So after much frustration I've decided to change my game plan,where my recipe book is concerned anyway, and concentrate on perfecting one sugar free delight at a time. I'm going to bake, and bake and bake ONE thing until I'm satisfied that its the very best that it can be.
So yesterday was day one of this new plan- and the task : Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. I've been inspired by the most beautiful film Julie and Julia, about an English lady who writes a French recipe book in English, and a lady who blogs one of the recipes from her book each day for a year. Well worth a watch, if you're in to cooking!
Back to the Lemon cake; I went for the basic ratios of ingredients, 4,4,4,2 but as I'm avoiding sugar and refined carbs I chose polenta and almond flour, alongside xylitol to sweeten. Polenta is not something I've had any experience with but it fits the bill : unrefined, organic, protein rich and apparently easy to bake with! Likewise almond flour is a dense protein rich carb, with a beautiful flavour. The raising agents, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda I mixed together and kind of hoped for the best! Organic local eggs, I used two, and with a teaspoon of vanilla essence to add a little more flavour and the zest and juice of two lemons that's everything.
My new friend in the kitchen is my Kitchen Aid, it's white and chrome and oh so stylish, I love it! It's also very practical and helps me no end. So I mixed up all the ingredients, greased a small loaf tin and added the mixture and popped it in the oven . It took longer than anticipated to cook but forty minutes later I removed from the oven a golden brown Lemon Cake.
I thought it looked perfect but after allowing it to cool, it still looked a little wet! It tasted good, in fact it tasted great but the consistency could be better. Not to worry, John and I still ate some and enjoyed it.
Lemon Cake Recipe number two therefore had only the juice of one lemon. I've just removed it from the oven and it looks divine, like Lemon Drizzle almost when I tipped it out of the tin. It has a taste of marmalade which I quite like, and the 'flour' mix makes for quite a solid consistency.
And now for the topping. Cream cheese is such a great base for icing and with some ground up xylitol crystals (icing sugar consistently) mixed in to sweeten it a little, it's ready to go on the top of the cake.
It kind of needed something else and last week I made 'Ruth's Snack Mix' which is a great combination of seeds, and coconut, and goji berries and... Stuff. It was handy so I sprinkled a handful on top of the icing and hey presto. I have a new recipe for inclusion in my book! Oh if only all the recipes were that easy!!
Please try this at home and feel back to me.