Use your loaf (a selection of sweet & savoury loaf cakes!)

>> Tuesday, 27 July 2010

I've been having a little bit of a loaf cake obsession lately.

A good chunk of cake is such a welcoming sight for me. Loaf cakes are pretty fail safe too - rarely suffering from the sinking middle of a more sensitive sponge - and really flexible on the ingredient front. Simply take a base recipe, throw in your favourite ingredients and off you go! If your additions sink a little too much to the bottom of the cake, it merely adds to the forgivable, rustic charm. The additions I'm sharing with you here are:

  • Savoury pesto, pine nut and goats cheese
  • Chocolate, vanilla and pear
  • Date and walnut

Clearly, loaf cakes are more appropriate to serve at a lunchtime or informal gathering (perfect picnic cake) and will never engender the "oohs" and "ahhs" of a more sophisticated, efforty creation. But, when you want the house to smell of baking heaven and a slice of comforting sweetness on a plate in 60 minutes, loaf cake is the way to go.

It's also a good back-up freezer cake too. Bake it, let it cool, slice and freeze and you'll always have standby cake for when you really don't have the time to be the model of domesticity!

I'm moving house soon and have frozen some lemon loaf cake, so the first thing my partner and I can eat, amidst boxes, mess and delirium is a wedge of soft sponge and a mug of warming tea....perfect!

Loaf Cake Base Recipe
  • 2tsps baking powder
  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g soft butter
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 150g caster sugar

Savory Pesto, Pine Nut & Goats Cheese

For this recipe, reduce the sugar to 50g and add the follow ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp pesto (green)
  • 100g goats cheese (a smooth, crumbly one works best)
  • 100g pine nuts
  • seasoning

Step 1: Preheat oven to 160c

Step 2: Mix all base ingredients together

Step 2: Crumble in goats cheese and seasoning. Stir through pesto gently to create swirls

Step 3: Pour into a medium sized, greased loaf tin and pour over the pine nuts to cover the top

Step 4: Bake in the oven for 50 - 60 minutes (place a knife or skewer through the centre, if it comes out with mix sticking to it, leave for another 10 minutes. Repeat until knife/skewer comes out clean)

Step 5: Leave to cool for 30 minutes and then tip out, slice and serve!

Chocolate, Pear & Vanilla

For this recipe, add the following to the base ingredients:
  • 200g canned pears, drained and chopped (I had a rather posh jar someone had bought for me, but canned pears are just as good!)
  • 2 tbsp best cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 20g plain flour

Step 1: Preheat oven to 160c

Step 2: Add the extra flour, cocoa powder and vanilla essence to you base mix and stir until all are combined and a smooth batter forms

Step 3: Stir through your pears

Step 4: Pour into a greased, medium sized loaf tin and bake for 50-60 minutes (follow above instructions regarding how to check when it's properly cooked)

Step 5: Leave to cool for 30 minutes, slice and serve!

Date & Walnut

Add the following to your base recipe:
  • 150g chopped walnuts
  • 150g chopped dates
Step 1: Preheat oven to 160c

Step 2: Mix together base ingredients and stir through nuts and walnuts

Step 3: Pour into greased, medium sized loaf tin

Step 4: Bake in oven for 50-60 minutes (follow above instructions to check when fully cooked)

Step 5: Remove from oven, cool, slice and serve!

Hope you enjoy!
Helen x

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