Serves: Makes around 10 small loaf cakes
Preparation and cooking time: ~30 minutes
Calories: ~333 per cake, if 10 are made
Summer has been in full swing here – finally – and yet I can’t seem to stop baking! It’s tortuously hot here: ok, perhaps not as hot as some parts of the world… I’m guessing folks in some parts of the US or the middle-East are having a fairly miserable time as well but I’m truly not a hot-weather person. Some people thrive on it… they want to spend their breaks at work sitting out in the sun. I on the other hand walk in the shade and generally lose all energy. My favourite time of the day is when I can come home and stand under a cold shower – and feel actually “chilly” for the first time all day – before sitting down on the balcony, enjoying the quiet and slightly cooler evening air.
Despite the temperatures though I just can’t seem to stop baking. I’m making bread several times a week, I’m making more cookies than I’ve ever made in my life, and then cakes, like these. In fact I think I’m solely responsible for the temperature in the apartment being a constant couple of degrees higher than it needs to be. The heat can’t even be abated by a giant fan I have which is about the size of a jet engine (and about as noisy) but I suppose I should try and enjoy the warm weather while it’s here. It will be gone soon enough!
I saw some lovely little coconuts in the store the other day. To be honest, they’re not really specific to any season any more – I think they can be purchased year-round – but I really felt like having one this time, and doing something “different” with it, as opposed to just eating it straight from the shell. Of course, the first obstacle to getting to the wonderfully pure white meat inside was getting past that shell. Previous methods I’ve employed have usually involved some form of blunt-force trauma which usually results in objects getting broken or dented. This time I decided to cut it neatly in half using a hacksaw. Very effective I must say! Once you’ve cut through the shell itself then you can just insert a cleaver or something similar to force apart the “nut” into two neat halves.
I’d purchased the little loaf moulds during my last visit to England and had been wondering what use I could put them to for ages. Not sure if I’d bother using such moulds again. They weren’t cheap and I think there were only ten in a pack and it seemed very wasteful. They were very thick and well made, but of course as soon as you want to eat the cake then it gets trashed. Not really worth it in my opinion. Overall though, the cakes were great. I considered putting a frosting on them but this would have been complete overkill. They were lovely on their own – not too sweet, and a perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee!
August is upon us and that can only mean one thing – no traffic jams in Paris! It’s common here for residents of Paris to take a month of summer vacation during the month of August so it can get very, very quiet. Of course, it’s certainly not a “ghost town”. There are still plenty of people around, but the impact it has on traffic and availability of parking spaces in the capital is remarkable. My wife and I are going to use this opportunity to try and visit as many of our favourite restaurants as we can while it’s nice and quiet!
Have a great day everyone :).
Fresh Coconut and Ginger Cakes
- 170g Caster Sugar
- 170g Butter, softened
- 3 Eggs
- 170g Self-Raising Flour
- 80g Crystallized Ginger
- Half a Coconut
- 2tsps ground Ginger
- Start off by pre-heating your oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, a little bit at a time, and then finally fold in the self-raising flour and ground ginger.
- Chop the crystallized ginger into small chunks and finely grate the coconut meat. Stir the ginger and coconut into the cake batter until well mixed and evenly distributed.
- Divide the batter between suitable cake cases. I used mini loaf cases and there was enough batter for 10 mini loaves. If you use round paper cases then you’ll probably have enough batter for 20 or so.
- Place the cakes into the preheated oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until well risen and golden brown on top. If you stick a cake with a skewer it should come out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!