Toad's Kitchen

(mostly) healthy recipes for the family

Archive for the month “March, 2013”

Coca-Cola Cake – sounds bizarre but very yummy

Every month or so I attend a pot luck lunch at the Comox Air Force Museum, and always try to bring something new and different for the table. I am always interested in Nigella’s concoctions and when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. It was a solid success, with a lot of people complimenting me on it (thank you again, Nigella!).

The addition of Coca-Cola to the batter and icing lends a bit of caramelly mellowness to the cake. Chocolate cake is normally not my choice, but this has a delicious rich texture and taste. I used to love Coke but now do not, and there is half a small bottle left in my fridge, in case anyone wants it 🙂 You don’t need much for this recipe, as you will see.

This recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s “How to Be a Domestic Goddess”

For the cake
200 g (7 oz) (1 3/4 cups) plain flour
250 g (1/2 lb) (1 1/4 cups) golden caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
125 ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125 g (4 oz) (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
175 ml (3/4 cup) Coca-Cola

22-23 cm (9″) Springform, lined with foil to prevent the batter leaking, then greased

*note – Do not use anything bigger than a 9″ pan otherwise your cake will be very thin, I think an 8″ might even be better (adjust cooking time). Also, I just greased my pan, I did not line it and had no problems.

For the icing
225 g (7 oz) ( 2 14 cups) icing sugar
2 tablespoons (30g) butter
3 tablespoons (45ml) Coca-Cola
1 tablespoon (15 mL) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 180?/gas mark 4/ 350 F and put in a baking sheet at the same time.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, bicarb and salt. In a measuring jug, beat the egg, buttermilk and vanilla.

3. In a heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter, cocoa and Coca-Cola, heating it gently. Pour into the dry ingredients, stir well with a wooden spoon, and then add the liquid ingredients from the jug, beating until it is well blended.

4. Pour into the prepared tin and bake on the warm sheet for 40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

5. Leave to stand for 15 minutes in the tin before unmoulding. Then unclip, unwrap and turn out on a wire rack, making sure you’ve got a sheet of newspaper or something underneath the rack to catch any icing that drips through.

6. Sieve the icing sugar and set aside for the moment. In a heavy-based saucepan, combine the butter, Coca-Cola and cocoa and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla, and spoon in the sieved icing sugar, beating as you do so, until you’ve got a good, spreadable, but still runny, icing.

7. Pour this icing over the cake, while the cake is still warm, spread gently and leave till cool before transferring to the plate on which you’re serving it.

I surrounded it with whole strawberries to add colour, and that was a popular addition 🙂


“Secret Ingredient” Drop Scones

I recently posted a recipe which I consider to be the best scone recipe I have come across. I haven’t changed my opinion, but that recipe is for the type of scone which you pat out the dough out and cut into pieces before baking.

I have discovered, through my browsing the cooking sections of my favourite online magazine app, Zite, a recipe for drop biscuits/scones which had an intriguing “secret” ingredient: mayonnaise.

At first blush, it seems kind of weird to be putting mayo into something that you may well eat with butter and jam. Well. I decided it would be worth a go, and was I impressed!

The site where I found this recipe, baking, states that their first attempt came out a bit salty, possibly due to the salt content of the mayonnaise. I did not use any salt when I baked them and they were fine, so have not included it in my version of the recipe. More importantly, though, they also state the need to use full, or higher-fat versions of milk and mayo, as it is replacing the butter.

They take about two minutes to mix, you drop them by spoonfuls onto your baking sheet and in just a few minutes you have these amazing little scones which have the most tender insides, and no mayonnaise-y taste! Crazy!

I recommend giving these a try! Super quick and so easy!

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup milk (do not use skim or low-fat)

3/4 cup mayonnaise (do not use low-fat)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper.

Mix dry ingredients together with spoon. Whisk milk and mayonnaise together and pour over dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Dough will be wet and sticky.

Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly before eating. Makes 12 scones.

Prepared to be amazed 🙂




Nigella’s Italian Tray Bake, slightly amended

As anyone who reads this knows, I have a little foodie-fan crush on Chef Rob Feenie – and I have to admit to having one on Nigella Lawson, also. I love their style. Both chefs’ books show a casual, relaxed approach to preparing delicious food. Rank beginners can obtain fabulous results with their recipes!

I recently purchased Nigella’s latest book, “Nigellisima”, which is full of amazing Italian recipes to which she has given her inimitable twist. I found this recipe, and perhaps it is her influence on me, but I had to give it a little twist also. Certainly not one to alter the final result significantly, but in my opinion I think my small additions of lemon juice and garlic to the original elevated it to even greater heights, as did tossing the lot in the oil and herbs, rather than sprinkling and drizzling each over the top.

This dish is easier than falling off a log, and takes very little time to prepare. It would be equally at home at a dinner party as at a family dinner, despite its rather humble ingredients. I would suggest pairing it with a simple salad, or simply cooked veg, as the flavours in the tray bake are pretty much all you need  🙂

3 large potatoes (I used equivalent amount in new red potatoes, Nigella calls for Yukon Gold), unpeeled, cut into 1″ chunks

8 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)

8 Italian sausages (or *quality* sausage of your choice – no greasy”breakfast” sausages! I used turkey-feta-spinach sausages)

6-7 sprigs rosemary

zest and juice of one lemon (washed)

6-8 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into chunks

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)

lots of ground pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place prepared potatoes, garlic, chicken and sausages in large mixing bowl.

Strip all but two or three of the sprigs of rosemary and mince the leaves finely, to get about two teaspoons’ worth of chopped rosemary. Combine rosemary leaves with the lemon zest and juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and pour over potato/meat mixture in bowl. Toss gently to coat everything with the dressing.

Spoon this mixture (in a single layer) onto a large, shallow roasting pan (you don’t want it too deep, or it won’t brown nicely). Once you have the chicken (skin up) and sausages evenly nestled in the pan with the potatoes and garlic, tuck the two remaining sprigs of rosemary in. Using the spoon to get the last of the lemony olive oil dressing out of the mixing bowl, drizzle the chicken and sausages with the last drops. Bake for 50 minutes or so, until the chicken and sausages are golden and the potatoes are cooked through 🙂

Buon appetito!

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