If you’re Jewish I think I know what you’re thinking. “Oh yeah thanks Emma. Today is the last day of Pesach. Great timing for a Matzah Kugel Pudding!” and I get it. This recipe would have been a whole lot more helpful if it had gone out last week when Pesach – the Jewish passover started. But I hadn’t perfected it then and I don’t want to share anything with you that isn’t just right. Also I had so many downloads this year on the first two days of Pesach for the cinnamon balls biscuits and almond macaroons that I know you’ll love this recipe next year anyway!
This is a basic matzabrai recipe – matzahbrai is an eggy breakfast we eat during Pesach. I love it and eat it all year round for lunch. The key to this recipe is to keep the egg soft and moist. The Matzah Kugel Pudding can become dry and therefore really stodgy really quickly so if there’s a bit of movement when it’s time to take the Kugel out of the oven that’s just fine.
I added a whole load of almond flakes to this recipe as I’m a bit addicted to them at the moment and lets face it this is the perfect time of year to fill up on almonds – basically all the cakes made at Peseach use almonds in one form or another. Almonds make it really tasty. I also add a drizzle of honey on the whole pudding when it comes out of the oven. If you eat it then it tastes divine but if you come back to it the next day and nuke it in the microwave the honey just seeps in. Deelish!
You can of course make this pudding anytime of year but during Pesach when food gets a little bit limited it’s a real treat. Definitely one to make every year along with the cinnamon balls and almond macaroons. I feel a new family tradition coming along!
Sometimes you need a little afternoon pick me up and for me this is it. A slice of date and walnut loaf tastes great on its own but with a little butter spread across it – deeeelishhh!. Oooooh butter! One of life’s little luxuries! The reason I like this loaf so much is because it has a really firm texture. One slice is often enough – who am I kidding one slice is never enough! I wish I could pack it into packed lunches but the whole nut allergy at school thing prevents me so we’ll just have to stick to eating it here at home. (smiles as she types!)
I am a massive date fan. I have them with a cup of tea at the end of the day (instead of another slice of cake or cookie) and the really soft, gooey medjol ones are my favorites. But when you get a regular pack and they’re all a bit hard I bake with them. By soaking the dates in boiling water they get really soft. You can leave them to cool for half an hour and they’re perfectly ready but to make them really moist for your cake leave them over night in an air tight container and give them a shake every now and then.
I didn’t used to like walnuts but over the years they’ve been growing on me. I don’t like it when you can’t taste them in a cake so I often just quarter them so the pieces are big and chunky but you can chop them smaller if you prefer. Toasting them (or baking them in the oven) makes all the difference. It’s like you’re sealing the flavour in. Definitely worth the effort.
….is a question that I’ve been asked quite a few times – and have since made sure I remember to include that detail in my recipes. I’ve used both medium and large eggs in my cakes. I used to think that larger eggs would make lighter cakes – which it can do for an 8″ cake, but as the cake sizes get bigger and the quantity of egg increases there’s a point when the cake will be ruined. You see the difference in egg sizes will produce different weights. And that’s where the problems start. So, substituting one large egg for a medium won’t make much of a difference but if your recipe calls for 8 medium eggs and you only have large it will be the equivalent of 10 medium eggs! Check out the sizes below.
All eggs are at risk of carrying salmonella bacteria inside their shells and that risk is dramatically reduced if shop bought eggs are stored in the fridge at 4ºC or below. For that reason never use damaged or cracked eggs. Discard them immediately. Eggs should be stored in the fridge until needed then they should be allowed to come to room temperature for an hour before baking. The reason for this is that eggs won’t whisk up if they’re cold – it’s due to the temperature of the air inside they egg whites. They need to be warm enough to easily expand. The whites of an egg is what gives a cake structure and with less air bubbles due to cold eggs you’ll have a less stable cake. Maybe that’s why cakes sink in the middle!?!
NB: How to tell if your eggs are stale
The easiest way to check the freshness of an egg is to place it in a glass of water. If it sinks it’s fresh. If it floats it’s not and bye bye egg.
A word about egg yolks
If egg whites are full of protein and add lightness to a cake it’s the yolk that keeps it moist. The yolk is the fat part of an egg and will prevent the protein whites from whisking – hence it’s essential to have absolutely no yolk in your whites when making meringues. It’s also why I add an extra egg yolk to gluten free cakes when they need extra moisture.
So, to answer to the original question “What size eggs do I use to bake with?”
The answer is always medium. A lot of the time a cake will need equal quantities of egg, sugar and flour as a base to start from. For a perfectly balanced cake weigh your eggs (once out of the shell) and then use exactly the same amount of the dry ingredients and see how your Victoria sponge improves!
I really hope that has been helpful. I have to say that when I was looking for facts about eggs I discovered this post on Chasing Delicious which is totally fantastic – as well as gorgeous to look at. Check it out if you want real depth and knowledge about eggs and baking.
Sometimes my cakes go wrong and when I say wrong I mean REALLY wrong. I didn’t realise quite how wrong this cake went until I had finished it. Tim -my harshest critic, walked into the kitchen and I asked “What do you think?” his response after looking at the mermaid was …
“Well, he doesn’t look very happy does he!”
He !!! He !!. Well I guess Tim did have a point. I had given HER the most enormous chest. Not quite sure what I was thinking about whilst making this mermaid for a 6 year old! And to make matters worse this was a cake for Free Cakes For Kids. I managed to squish the head a ‘little’ when I was adding it onto the body (without a neck) and then even further still when I attached the strands of long, heavy, sugarpaste hair. Her beautiful oval shaped head kind of became square and rugged looking. But I didn’t notice at the time. I was too busy concentrating on making the hair stick to her head.
The right way to decorate the cake
I was really happy with the rest of the cake. I baked an 8″ Madeira cake and filled half a Christmas pudding bowl tin with cake mix to get the curved top. I used the ingredients for a 9″ cake and split the mixture accordingly.
I buttercreamed the cakes together – cutting the 8″ in half. I then did a crumb coat and covered the cake in blue sugarpaste. I really like the sea like decorations. The twists were made when I covered the cake board in sugarpaste. I just rolled out different sized cones and twisted the tops then left them to dry out. The same effect was used with the seaweed but the green strips were long and thin and were twisted and stuck to the cake straight away. I like how it gives the base of the cake a 3d effect.
For the air bubbles I rolled tiny little balls of sugarpaste and used a balling tool to make a hole in the centre. They were then stuck on by making the back damp.
The flowers were made in advance too but just a day before. They were set in painters pallettes so they would dry curved.
The cake toppings
Seriously! What was I thinking with those knockers!!!! I can’t believe I thought that looked appropriate for a six year old!!! Anyway, as well as the well boosomed mermaid with the chiselled jaw, I made a number ‘6’ from a roll of sugarpaste which was left to dry for ages – like a week. I also made the name in the same way for the front of the cake.The ‘6’ had rocks placed behind to hold it up and in place.
If you really want to know how I made the mermaid this is how!
The mermaid’s tail was added to the cake first then the body. A ‘belt’ was added around the join. The tail and belt were marked with a half moon cake decorating tool. The arms were added and the painted head was attached. Finally the hair was stuck onto the mermaid using royal icing.
I had such great intentions and aspirations for this cake but I felt it fell flat. The little girl who it was for loved it – but let’s face it – she was six, it was a mermaid and it was cake. What’s not to love in her little world? Next time Free Cakes For Kids I promise I’ll do better! Maybe you should give me a man to make from sugarpaste. I think I’ve got that down pat!
All kidding aside – this was another cake for an amazing charity. The recipients are always so grateful to receive a cake for their little ones and it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to give back to our community in that way.
So, have you had a cake that’s gone wrong or just not to plan? I’d love to know all about it and see the cake wreck love. Feel free to share your cakes on the CakesBakesAndCookies Facebook page. It’s good to share.
The only choc chip cookie recipe you’ll ever need!
Do you ever have one of those days when only a choc chip cookie will do? I love them but Beau simply adores them. Whenever I’m baking that’s what she wants – Freezer cookies. So, when I went to make her a quick batch I discovered that I actually didn’t have all the ingredients I needed so in true EmmaMT style I just made up teh recipe as I went along and used similar alternatives. What I discovered was a batch of the most moreish, soft, gooey chocolateyness I have ever tasted. I had to hide them just so I wouldn’t eat them all before I had shot them. In fact I am alone in my house right now as I type this and I know that there are still five more calling me from downstairs
“Emma! Come and eat us. We’re all soft and warm and bursting with waaaayyyy too much chocolate to resist us!”
But resist them I must. I promised Tim that I wouldn’t eat them all and that there would be some when the girls get home too! Pfew! My waistline thanks him for that!
Alternatives that work
The thing about these cookies that took me by surprise it how good they taste when made with margarine instead of butter. I knew that the brown and granulated sugar would work instead of soft brown sugar but I expected them to be a bit soggy not perfectly gooey. They were just right. Another benefit is that you can use margarine straight from the fridge as it’s soft to begin with. I used Flora’s Buttery as I have a post I’m writing for them in April and had it in the fridge already. It’s goooood!
The trick to getting the perfect soft cookie
… is to not over bake them. This is something that has taken me years to perfect. They only need 9-10 minutes in the oven. The edges will start to turn golden brown but not brown-brown- if you know what I mean? They’ll be light and puffy and they’ll look under baked. They’re not. Just take them out of the oven and place the tray on a cooling rack and leave them for 20 minutes before removing them. I know, I know. Warm cookies from the oven are too good to resist so just do your best! As they cool they wrinkle and look like the ones above. Chocolate heaven.
Even after nearly forty minutes the chocolate was still all warm and melted. See? It’s hard to resist! Hence there are now only five left from the batch – which makes 18. (just so you know I’m not completely greedy I did bake these yesterday. I haven’t eaten them all by myself in one go!
The only Coffee Madeira cake recipe you’ll ever need, and it fits all cake tin sizes!
After countless emails and comments here on Cakes Bakes And Cookies I am finally happy to share my new Coffee Madeira cake recipe. I’ve tried it so many different ways – with esspresso, with more coffee, with less coffee and this is THE one! It’s a perfect balance of lightly textured cake with a smooth coffee flavour. The buttercream has a delicious coffee flavour but not too strong and when put together the balance is… well, just right.
I made the 9″ Coffee madeira cake mix and split it between five small 6″ tins. Have you seen these tins from Lakeland? They’re a clever set designed for making rainbow cakes and now they do them in an 8″ set too. I wanted to have an impressive layer cake suitable for a coffee morning but you can use this recipe in one 9″ cake tin for a layered wedding cake.
Coffee Madeira cake chart
This chart is for round cakes. For square cakes just go up one inch so an 8″ square cake will use a 9″ round recipe.
How to make Coffee Madeira cake
Line the cake tin with baking paper. I use sunflower oil to grease the tin so the cake stays soft. Butter tends to bake too quickly giving you a harder cake on the outside.
Pre-heat your oven to180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
Start by creaming the butters together then add the sugar and beat till it’s pale and fluffy.
Very slowly add the eggs – a spoonful at a time. Add a spoon of the flour to prevent curdling if necessary.
Add the hot water to the coffee and disolve. Set to one side to cool.
Sieve the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl. Add the flour and coffee in three goes. This produces the fluffiest and most moist cake rather than adding all the flour then all the water.
Add the walnut halves mixing as little as possible.
Bake for time stated on the chart for your size cake tin or until a skewer comes out of the centre clean.
Don’t open the oven door for the first 30 minutes. It will make the cake sink.
Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before adding the sugar syrup and turning out of the tin carefully.
How to make the sugar syrup:
In a saucepan heat the water and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes then leave to cool. I make my sugar syrup when the cake goes into the oven.
Once your cake is removed from the oven let it sit for 5 minutes then use a pastry brush to brush the sugar syrup over the entire cake. You only need to cover each area of the cake once and avoid soaking the cake or you will end up with a big soggy mess not a nice moist cake. Make sure you get the edges of the cake covered as they tend to dry out the most.
Leave for a further 10 minutes before turning your cake out onto a rack to cool completely.
Coffee buttercream recipe
These buttercream quantities are enough to fill each cake when split into two layers and coat the outside with a crumb coat and top coat.
How to make coffee buttercream
Mix the water and coffee together till disolved then set to one side to cool.
Start by beating the butter so it becomes light and fluffy.
Sieve the icing sugar over the top of the butter then mix until well blended. I place a tea towel over my Kitchenaid and hold it carefully in place whilst mixing to prevent the dust from the icing sugar going everywhere.
Once combined add the coffee and mix for 2-3 minutes so it becomes really light and fluffy. This consistency is good for a filling between layers of cake as it’s thick. I pipe buttercream between layers as it stays thicker than when I used a palette knife. It’s also easier to control and get flat.
When covering a cake with a buttercream crumb coat before adding sugarpaste or for a decorative finish you need the buttercream to be more fluid. You can get this consistency by adding a drop or two of milk and mixing it in well. Do this slowly as once it’s too soft it’s a pain to get it to firm up again. How soft you want your buttercream is a personal choice. I like to be able to smooth the buttercream on with a palette knife easily and have it come off the sides with a side scraper without breaking the cake, but I don’t want it too soft.
For the five layer Coffee Madeira cake
To create the coffee morning five layer cake I made the cake mix and placed it equally in each tin – which was around 150g per tin. The cakes only took 25 minutes to bake. To decorate I piped a squiggly line on the outside of each layer and filled the middle of each cake evenly.That way you get a pretty outside edge.
For the top I spread the buttercream neatly to cover the edges then piped another squiggly line around the outer edge. I broke up some extra walnuts and sprinkled them on top of the icing.
This cake was a hit in our house. Beau asked for “just a small slice” for breakfast. You can’t have a small slice of this cake. Whichever way you cut it it’s going to be big. She managed to finish it off no problem!
Another thing about this cake is that I have been testing Madeira cakes made with butter and oil (instead of margarine). The cakes come out really light and much flatter but they don’t last as long. So if you give this a try decorate your cake to seal it (with a complete covering of buttercream) by the day after you bake it. You’ll also want to eat it within two or three days.
Hope you like it
p.s. For all of you asking for a lemon Madeira cake recipe – that’s coming next month with charts too!