Typically Tropical Bundt© Cake

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When you’ve been sent some bottles of refreshing Grace Foods Aloe Drink to try and you want explore what you can do with it, apart from enjoy drinking it, then what else can you do, except make a deliciously moist and tasty cake?

Grace Foods Aloe Refresh Aloe Vera Drink

Well, this is exactly what happened recently and exactly what I did. So, read on, get your apron on, your ingredients out and enjoy some time in the kitchen before tucking into a slice (or two) of this deliciously moist cake.

Typically Tropical Bundt© Cake

Cake:

Glaze:

Icing:

Typically Tropical Bundt© Cake

  1. Heat the oven to 160ºC (140º Fan).
  2. Butter and flour a 6 cup Bundt© tin.  I used the Nordicware Anniversary tin that you can find on Amazon.
  3. In a stand mixer, or using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined.
  5. Add the vanilla extract, coconut milk, rapeseed oil and 120ml of the mango purée and beat thoroughly for 4-5 minutes on a medium speed until it has increased in volume and is creamy.
  6. In a separate bowl, sieve together the flour, salt, bi-carbonate of soda and baking powder.
  7. Mix half of the flour into the wet mixture until just combined.
  8. Add the remaining 60ml of the mango purée and fold together.
  9. Fold in the final half of the flour gently.
  10. Pour the mixture into your Bundt© tin and smooth the surface level.
  11. Bake for 65-70 minutes until the cake has just started to shrink from the edges of the tin and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the thickest part of the cake.
  12. Allow to cook in the tin for 5 minutes, whilst you make the glaze.

Typically Tropical Bundt© Cake

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the caster sugar and Aloe Vera Drink until boiling, then reduce the heat to a rolling boil and the syrup has reduced by half.
  2. Using your skewer, make a series of small holes in the flat surface of the cake and slowly spoon half of the glaze over the cake, allowing it to soak in fully.
  3. Invert the tin onto a wire cooking rack and prick the top with your skewer all over then, gently and slowly spoon the other half of your glaze over the top of the cake, again allowing it to soak in fully.

Typically Tropical Bundt© Cake

  1. Leave the cake to cool completely.
  2. Mix together the Aloe Vera Drink and mango purée, then sieve the the icing sugar into it, mixing thoroughly until you get a thickish icing.
  3. Gently pour the icing over the top of the cake, allowing it to drizzle down the outside edge and into the centre hollow.

Typically Tropical Bundt© Cake

You can find mango purée and coconut milk in the international food aisle of your local supermarket.  I tend to use my Kenwood Major Titanium stand mixer to make cakes in if it involves beating the mixture for several minutes as it leaves me to get on with setting up the next stage of my preparation.  If it’s something that only needs a very quick mix, then I use my Kenwood K-Mix hand mixer instead.

Grace Foods sent me some bottles of their Aloe Refresh Aloe Vera Drinks to sample.  I was under no obligation to develop any recipes or provide a review of their products in return for these drinks. 

Maple, Coffee & Seed Traybake

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I was recently been sent some delicious Canadian Maple Syrup samples to try from We Love Maple. Quebec in Canada produces 90% of the country’s production, with Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia producing the remaining 10%.  Canada as a whole currently produces 71% of worldwide supply.

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Maple syrup has a lower GI than both corn syrup and honey and comes in at 50 cals/15ml. It’s 100% natural and is high in both antioxidants and minerals.  It generally comes on four main varieties:

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* Extra Light – which is extracted at the beginning of the season. Has a light colour and a sweet, delicate flavour.

* Light – is the second batch to be harvested, has a slightly darker appearance and has a pure and delicate taste. Perfect for use in both vinaigrettes and dressings.

* Medium – comes from the third harvesting and is the most commonly available.  It has a pronounced maple flavour and is ideal in cooking, for use in desserts and sauces.

* Amber – comes from the final harvest of the season, is darker in colour and has a rich, intense flavour.  This final harvest is perfect for use in sauces and glazes.

Using the samples I was sent, I came up with a variation on a coffee and walnut cake, adding both flavour and sweetness from the maple syrup as well as added nutrition, crunch and goodness from a mix of both pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

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To make it easier and quicker to make, I used the ‘all in one’ method and a disposable foil tray to bake it in. Ingredients and method to make the traybake are as follows:

Cake:

225g Butter

225g Light Muscovado sugar

275g Self raising flour

10g Baking powder

4 Large Eggs

45ml Canadian maple syrup

15ml Camp coffee essence

35g Pumpkin seeds

40g Sunflower seeds

Icing:

75g Butter

225g Icing sugar

15ml Canadian maple syrup

5ml Camp coffee essence

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan).

2. Add all the cake ingredients, apart from your seeds, into a large bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat them together for 4-5 minutes until light and very well mixed.

3. Stir in the seeds.

4. Pour the cake mix into the foil tray container and roughly level out.

5. Cook for 35-40 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned on top.

6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the foil dish.

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7. For the icing, bring your butter to room temperature and beat thoroughly with the icing sugar, maple syrup and Camp coffee essence until light and fluffy.

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8. Spread the icing over the cooled cake and sprinkle with lightly toasted sesame seeds to decorate.

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I was sent four 45ml sized bottles free of charge to review from the PR company. I was under no obligation to write a positive review or to devise a recipe using the product.

Ndali vanilla gift swap

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I’ve been invited to take part in the Ndali Vanilla Swap that’s taking place at Fortnum & Mason’sprestigious store in Piccadilly, London on Monday 24th September. The event is also in association with Kenwood and The Fair Trade Foundation and has been organised by Vanessa Kimble, author of Prepped.
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The criteria of the afternoon involves us making or baking a product, or products, in up to 4 categories:
1. Biscuits
2. Cake/cupcakes
3. Sweets
4. Preserves
I’ve chosen to enter the biscuit & the cake categories with two recipes that I will share with you here.
For my biscuit recipe, I’m making a rustic vanilla, oat, cranberry & white chocolate biscuit. Whilst my cake is a rich vanilla infused elderflower sponge with a vanilla bean frosting and decorated with fondant.
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IMG_0976 IMG_0975  As the name suggests, it’s a gift swap in as much as we produce our creations to go in to a draw, according to the category entered. We are then lucky enough to draw an equivalent gift which has been lovingly created by a fellow attendee which we will no doubt marvel at and possibly enjoy on the train home later that evening.
We each have some wonderful Ndali vanilla product to use in our creations. I really can’t recommend their vanilla powder enough! The fragrance is sublime, whilst the taste is incredibly intense, yet gentle at the same time; a truly amazing product! Along with the Ndali vanilla, we will be using Fairtrade products where possible.
To give you a potted history of Ndali vanilla; Lulu Sturdy inherited a former tea plantation and, after experimenting with other crops, settled on vanilla. She now grows premium quality Fair Trade vanilla on her organic 1,000 acre mixed tropical farm, Ndali. She also processes the individual vanilla crops of hundreds of small farmers who she has helped to gain Fair Trade deals. Growing, hand pollinating, harvesting and processing are all highly labour intensive. The cream of the crop is packaged under the Fair Trade ‘Ndali’ brand for retail. There are still a lot of farmers in the area who do not have Fair Trade deals.
Fair Trade makes an incredible difference to the lives of producers; it’s not just a brand. Learning about these growers has convinced me that the deals brokered through Fair Trade make a huge difference to the lives of the farmers and their families. Many are subject to exploitation by unscrupulous traders.
You can’t fail to be moved by one farmer’s statement: “We don’t want charity, we just want a fair price for what we have grown”
Demand for vanilla outstrips the supply of vanilla beans and, sadly, most UK vanilla flavouring is synthetic with the vast majority of it going into manufactured foods. In home baking, we can avoid this ‘vanilla essence’ and buy pure vanilla in pods, extract and powder form. Of course, its more expensive than it’s synthetic substitute, but in terms of quality and flavour, there really is no substitute worth considering. Next time you shop for vanilla please consider not only the quality of the product that you’re buying, but also the life changes you are helping to make for the Ugandan vanilla growers and pay a fair price.