Citrus butter cake


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It’s been a while since there’s been any sun in our frigid little Chinese town, but I’m not complaining.Maybe I am because everything is cold and freezing and butter at room temperature is a solid brick and my bread dough doesn’t rise and it’s always raining and everything is wet and it feels like I’m living in a glacier…..but there are moments when there’s plenty sunshine in my kitchen, courtesy this golden cake, that looks like sun-rays and tastes like sunlit oranges bathed in sweet butter and love.

I’m not exaggerating, ’tis true and you know it and not least because you can make this cake at the snap of your fingers and smugly too.

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Yes there’s fanta and no shame. Regular stuff that is butter, sugar, vanilla extract, salt, lemon and orange zest plus extra for icing, a whole lemon, fanta, flour, baking powder and

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eggs that I forgot to include, but here they are.

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into the flour add salt

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and baking powder and keep aside for a while

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this is a citrus cake and we want every breath to speak of it, which is why into our sugar we mix in the lemon zest

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and orange zest

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and using our fingers we just mix it all in so every bit of sugar is infused with the citrus twang.

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in a separate glass juice your lemon

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and add in the fanta.

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beat together room temperature butter and zest mixed sugar until nicely mixed and kinda fluffy. It’ll only take a couple of minutes.

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crack in the eggs. one at a time and beat after each addition to mix thoroughly, so here’s the first

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and the second. It turns a fabulous yellow/orange after each addition.

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once it’s all mixed well in add the vanilla extract

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beat again and now it’s time for the flour which we will add in three additions. So here’s 1/3rd of our flour, mix briefly

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and 1/2 of our magic potion that is fanta and lemon juice. Mix after each addition just until the batter comes together

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another 1/3rd of flour, beat briefly.

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add the remaining fanta, lemon juice, and mix to combine.

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followed by the rest of the flour. Beat to make a smooth batter. It doesn’t take long.

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You’ll finally get this. A pool of sun in a steel bowl.

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Pour into baking tin of choice. I was too lazy to butter a loaf tin so I lined it with a baking sheet, but please feel free to butter and flour your cake tin. Bake at 180°C for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Like so. The kitchen at this point smells like orange marmalade doing a cabaret. You can eat it as it is but a bit of embellishment never hurt anyone.

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an easy glaze or make up if you prefer. add some reserved zest into icing sugar

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with a spoonful or so of leftover fanta in case you haven’t been too greedy.

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mix to form a pourable consistency like so.

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and let your cake have it, make sure it has cooled down completely.

This cake may look sober but it’s oozing with oomph. It smells like sun and tastes like light. Every bite carries a citrus hit and honestly any cake that uses a can of fanta cannot go wrong. it’s easy, delightful and a much desired change from everything boring these winters.

Ingredients

butter: 100 g (1/2 cup)

flour: 170 g (11/2 cup)

sugar: 110 g( about 1 cup)

fanta: 200 mls (3/4cup)

lemon juice: 1 tablespoon

eggs: 2

salt: 1/2 tsp

baking powder: 1 tsp

vanilla extract: 1 tsp

orange and lemon zest: 1 tablespoon + extra for icing.

For icing

icing sugar: 100 g (about 1 cup(

lemon + orange zest (1 tsp)

fanta: 1 tablespoon

Recipe instructions: mix flour, salt and baking powder and keep aside. add the lemon and orange zest in sugar and mix in with fingers until fragrant. In a glass squeeze in one lemon and mix with fanta.

In a separate bowl, beat room temperature butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat for a minute after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract and beat again.

Add the flour in three stages alternating with fanta and juice mixture in two, and beat well after each addition until the batter is smooth.

Pour into a baking tin and bake at 180°C for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool completely.

For the icing mix in the zest, fanta and icing sugar until you have pouring consistency. Pour over the cooled cake and let set before serving.

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Make this now!

Baked potato fries


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Potatoes!! Is there anything as comforting, as loving, as selfless, as versatile, as sexy, as sensuous as potatoes?? No, the answer is no!! Potatoes love you back they understand your feelings, they believe in giving and they care.

Sadly with modern times now, these beautiful spuds of love have been maligned as fattening food.. gasp! people are told to steer clear of them if they want to lose weight.. I say, what rot?? It’s not true. Potatoes aren’t bad for you, you’re bad for potatoes. Who thought of loading them with MSG and packing them into airy bags? you did! who thought of over salting them to the point of oblivion?? you did!! So please do not blame these humble vegetables for making you fat. Blame yourselves. Fried food WILL fatten you, it does not take a rocket scientist to know that, but when you bake these beauteous vegetables with the right amount of love, they love you back.

Case in point are these baked fries. They require no effort but give you all the love you need these winter months. Not only do they satisfy your spud cravings but they also don’t make you feel bad about it.

So for those moments of anguish when only a potato will do, bake these fries and get caught in the rapturous greed of smug satisfaction.

DSC_08521Just potatoes, garlic, olive oil (any oil really), mixed italian seasoning, paprika and sea salt.

DSC_0854before you start, line your baking sheet with foil.

DSC_0855wash and peel your potatoes. Remove any eyes and anything weird you don’t like seeing on your fries. You can keep the skin on the potatoes if you wish, just wash and scrub them really well.

DSC_0858Since my potatoes were not exactly equal in size, I cut mine to make three roughly equal sized potatoes. You don’t have to do this if your vegetables are symmetrically proportional.

DSC_0861I cut each potato segment into three, because I don’t exactly like very skinny fries, but if you do, please go ahead and make them as thin as you like.

DSC_0862So many potatoes.

DSC_0866I cut each segment in three’s.

DSC_0869I had almost equal sized fries, those which were a bit thick I cut them to size. Nobody messes with the size okay!

DSC_0870Into a pot of cold water to rinse away the starch. Let these be for a while now.

DSC_0871Now about their massage oil. Peel your cloves of garlic and mince them fairly well or chop, whatever you prefer.

DSC_0872add the seasoning mix. I’m using dry simply because It’s too cold and I have no fresh herbs left, but if you wish you could as easily use them fresh. Dried is just easier. These mixed Italian seasonings are pretty nifty.

DSC_0875in with the paprika. As little or as much as you like.

DSC_0876a glug of oil. This is about a tablespoon, but you could use more, you could use less.

DSC_0879stir with a spoon of choice until all is well combined.

DSC_0880Drain the potatoes and pat them dry with a kitchen towel or cloth of your choice.

DSC_0882give them a good pat. You want them completely dry.

DSC_0883tumble onto your lined baking sheet

DSC_0885make sure there isn’t a single wet spot. (snigger)

DSC_0887pour over the massage oil and this gets a little messy because you need to use your hands to evenly coat them

DSC_0888like so. Make sure the oil is distributed evenly and that every piece is well bathed.

DSC_0889sprinkle on the salt and into the oven at 200℃ for 35-40 minutes.

DSC_0906this is what they looked after 30 minutes of baking and the kitchen was smelling so divine. Garlic infused herbal incense. I was mesmerized and hungry.

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like this at 38 minutes of baking, and I turned on the broiler for about 2 minutes because I was getting impatient and I love it when they turn golden and crisp on the top.

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How were they? what can I say? see for yourself. They were beautiful, they were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. I gave them a final sprinkling of salt before I served them.

DSC_0929A flask of masala tea and potato fries.. what more can I ask this winter?

Ingredients

Potatoes (as many as you want)

Garlic- 2 to 3 cloves

Italian seasoning – 1 teaspoon

Paprika – 1 teaspoon

Salt to taste ( I used 1 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt)

Olive oil/any vegetable oil – 1 to 2 tablespoon

RECIPE: Line a baking tray with aluminium foil. Wash and peel your potatoes and cut each into 3 segments and each segment into two or three fries, depending on how thick or thin you want them. Soak them into a bowl of cold water to remove excess starch.

Into a separate bowl, mince your garlic, add in the Italian seasoning, paprika and oil and mix well.

Drain the potatoes and dry thoroughly.

Tip them on your aluminium lined baking tray and pour over the prepared oil mixture and coat every fry with the mixture, making sure they’re all evenly coated.

bake at 200℃ for 35-40 minutes until deeply golden. Depending on your oven the baking time will vary. In some ovens it might take longer in some lesser, so keep an eye.

Enjoy!!