Last week’s baking involved decorating a Sant Jordi festival cake with marzipan roses, a dragon and a book. There was such a lovely response to the festival photos and roses, with some of you also admiring the cute dragon.
So thank you for motivating me to continue in ‘decorating’ mode (which I usually avoid), finally getting round to making dried pineapple flowers with Angie’s great step-by-step instructions at her Fiesta Friday blog. My flowers needed around three hours in the oven (static at 90-100°C) because they weren’t paper thin and I kept an eye on them so they wouldn’t get too crispy or burnt.
They’re a little sticky and not as nice as Angie’s but still pretty, extremely tasty and addictive. In fact, I strongly suggest lining up your cakes for decorating asap, while you still have uneaten pineapple flowers! I have twelve left sitting in the cupcake mould that helps keep their shape and I might move them someplace out of reach. Martha Stewart says they keep in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container, but…
Following the pineapple flower experience I started considering Angie’s recommendation to use the dehydrator instead of an oven. Not the sci-fi villain who extracts water from his victims but the kitchen appliance. So what does it do? Dries berries and helps make beef jerkey, kale chips, paper and fire starters, amongst other functions listed in 40 uses for a dehydrator at Sally Makes Cents. It could probably dry your socks. So I’ve just bought an ‘economical’ Clatronic dehydrator for around 30 euros on Amazon! No, not for my socks. The first thing I’ll do is make more pineapple flowers and dehydrate raspberries for use in macarons or cakes. Yay!
The focaccia challenge
On a completely different note I made focaccia for the first time ever, a spelt focaccia for the Daring Kitchen challenge with a topping of olive oil, rosemary and red chilli pepper flakes. Simple but yummy, especially with a slice of cured beef. The challenge was very rewarding as you could browse the participants’ many variations of this flatbread and their comments about the process. The photo gallery and suggested focaccia recipes are here at the Daring Kitchen.
The cake diet
If you’re very fond of cake you might want to read a post by my friend Curtis from Journey of a Blogvelist, The Amazing New Cake Diet where he kindly recommends eating my cakes!!! Flattering and also amusing. Check out his article if you’d like a few revolutionary ideas on how to plan your cake consumption! 🙂
All I’ll say is cakes can be incorporated into your diet and a few years ago when I passed a medical check-up with flying colours the doctor actually told me there’s nothing wrong with a good homemade cake. The problem is with shop-bought ones full of trans fats. I obviously went home very happy and made a cake.
But wait, last year my cholesterol levels did finally shoot up and one of my first thoughts was ‘Oh no! No more cakes?’ I was determined this wouldn’t happen and decided to: a) eat them regularly but in more moderate quantities, giving loads to friends and family or freezing slices; and b) introduce alternative flours like spelt and have healthy sugar-free cakes or snacks in my diet to alternate with the decadent ones.
The Lime, pistachio and orange blossom cake has a special place in my heart because it was my first delicious healthy cake and post. And there was a big difference after eating it, a kind of mellowness without that sugar high or gluten heaviness some of us experience. My nouveau ‘semi-healthy-cake-diet’ worked and after just one month of more cycling, fruit, nuts, veg, miso soup and cakes, my cholesterol was drastically reduced! Every person has different dietary needs and many will tolerate fried foods better than I do. But I’ve found a way to keep cakes in my life! Hurrah!
So what place do cakes have in your diet? Would you consider Curtis’s proposed cake diet solution? And are you just drooling at cake photos or eating the real stuff?!
Well it’s time to say bye bye sweet reader but I’ll see you very soon! In the meantime, happy baking, ‘moderated’ eating and May 1st celebrating!! 🙂
P.S. If you need me I’ll be next to the front door waiting for the delivery man and my dehydrator! 🙂