On Tuesday I was very privileged to be joined in my kitchen by two very super young ladies named Kat and Eilis. These girls are cooking and baking enthusiasts and had come over to help me prepare a slap-up afternoon tea while Bailey and their mum, Kate were hard at work.
Even though we had all morning and a few hours in the afternoon to dedicate to putting our afternoon tea together, I did think before we started baking that perhaps I had been ambitious in all the things I wanted the ladies to make - finger sandwiches, Red Velvet Cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery, scones, paleo cookies (for Kat and Eilis' dad who is currently following a paleolithic diet) PLUS a massive Banana and Chocolate Sour Cream Cake from the Primrose Bakery...?! Wow - this seemed like loads!
Well I needn't have worried a jot - these clever ladies rose to the challenge excellently and produced all of the above items using elbow grease alone (I don't have an electric mixer let alone a, drool, Kitchen Aid) and we even had time for a half an hour sit down before Kate and Bailey came back! What's more I didn't help at all, just sat back and chipped in with bits of advice here and there. Amazing girls!!!
Not only were we baking to get our afternoon tea ready and obviously for fun, we also had the very important job of reviewing some products I had been sent to try out by Dr Oetker from their baking range. We took this job very seriously and made sure we all discussed the products as we used them.
The product we definitely liked the best was the Cake Release Spray - our recipe for the Banana and Chocolate Sour Cream Cake said we needed to use butter to grease our tin. This task was made loads easier by using the spray which saved us loads of time. I have to admit I never really use butter anyway as I am lazy and tend to use Frylight. However I found the Cake Release Spray worked much better - not a single crumb stuck to the side of the cake tin which gave us a cake with absolutely gorgeous golden edges. I will definitely be using it again!
I'd also told the kind folks at Dr Oetker that quite a few people had recommended their gel food colourings when my Red Velvet Cupcakes had turned out more like brown velvet... Well this time our batter was absolutely bright red which really surprised Kate and Bailey when they took a bite! Great stuff.
We also used the Dr Oetker decorating bits and bobs that they sent me - the Polka Dots and Wafer Daisies - to make our Red Velvet Cakes look pretty. The dots were an absolute hit and the girls were very creative with their use of colours - what brilliant icers we had here! Bailey thought that although the daisies were pretty, they didn't taste that nice.
We also used some Dr Oetker Chocolate Hearts to decorate our Banana and Chocolate Sour Cream Cake and these looked great - I was so impressed with the girls' decorating skills. Eilis also admitted later that she'd eaten a few of the hearts on their own and they were yummy!
I know that Bailey and Kate were really impressed with what the girls had achieved in such a short time and we all loved sitting down to sarnies, tea, cakes and crazy stories - we felt very civilised. This was also both Eilis and Kat's first afternoon tea experience - I did warn them that once you've discovered the wonders of afternoon tea there's no going back!
I was so impressed that the girls' Banana and Chocolate Sour Cream Cake came out so well - big cakes can be risky at the best of times and this wasn't an easy recipe! Although we had to serve the cake a little warm because there wasn't time for it to fully cool down I thought this worked well! I've decided to share the recipe below.
I'm really looking forward to cooking with the girls another time soon. They're such lovely ladies and very talented bakers. They are both already better than me at cracking eggs (no shell to be seen), at making perfectly lump-free buttercream icing and at keeping the workspace tidy. I hope they keep up the cake love!
For the cake
400g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
90g sour cream
3 tsp vanilla essence
4 tsp grated lemon zest
350g caster sugar
4 large eggs
5 ripe bananas
For the icing
100g dark chocolate
240g milk chocolate
360g sour cream
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl before adding the butter. Beat until the mixture resembles crumbs. A lot of elbow grease was involved here!
In a different bowl, mix the sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest and pour this into the flour mixture in the first bowl.
Gradually add the sugar.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating each egg in once you've added it and making sure there are no lumps.
Mash up the banana using a fork or masher.
Add the mashed banana to the cake mix and beat well to make sure everything is combined.
Get a large cake tin ready. We sprayed ours with our Dr Oetker cake release spray before lining it with greaseproof paper but you could always use butter or cooking spray to grease your tin.
Pour the batter into the cake tin and place in the centre of the oven to bake for 2 hours. Check the cake is baked by inserting a skewer to the centre of the cake and see if it comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool.
Meanwhile, make the icing. Break the chocolate up into a mixing bowl and pour in the sour cream.
Put the bowl in the microwave for about a minute and a half or until the mixture is hot. The chocolate might not melt straight away but once it comes out you can give it a good stir until all the lumps of chocolate have gone.
Leave the icing to cool.
When both the cake and the icing are cool (our cake was actually still a bit warm inside which was actually quite nice!), cover the top with a nice layer of icing. Decorate with chocolate shapes (we used Dr Oetker Chocolate Hearts) and serve on a nice cake stand with a pot of tea!