I’m very excited to have my first guest post here on In Full Flavour, courtesy of the talented baker and blogger Andrew in the Kitchen. I guest blogged for him earlier this year, so it’s lovely to hear from him in return. Over to Andrew…
As you can probably tell from my blog name, my name is Andrew and I blog about lots of food topics that grind my gears as well as post recipes at least once a week. While most 18 year olds spent their summers partying and drinking, I spent it posting on my food blog and obsessing over Bake Off. I have started a maths degree at Nottingham but in an ideal future, I would love a career in food; however while the book deals and the Bake Off appearance aren’t looking promising (I can’t believe it’s moving to Channel 4 without Mel and Sue!), teaching is what I would love to do.
I am a very frugal cook; I believe you can make great meals on a budget. Take chocolate; if it’s so expensive that it feels a bit of a treat eating it, then for me it feels a bit of a waste going into a bake where it’s being disguised by other ingredients. And I am one of those who eats food a month past its best before date because I can’t stand to see it thrown away in the packet! I have been known to trawl the supermarkets in the early evenings for a bargain!
Why did you start a blog?
I don’t particularly know why I started my blog; I thought it would be a fun thing to do when I started it over 3 years ago. There was a period of time where I left it for a while but it was when I did my GCSE coursework on The Great British Bake Off that I really started getting into it. I have always wanted a career in food – a cookbook in my own name, a slot on This Morning or Sunday Brunch cooking one of my recipes – so I guess this was my way of trying to get that job!
How has food shaped my life?
I’ve been around food all of my life; my parents have a Chinese takeaway and I have been working there solidly since the age of 15 out of necessity. But the one thing I have never wanted to do is work in a restaurant; seeing the amount of hours and stress that goes into running a smooth ship is enough to put you off! I myself have had to lead the kitchen while everyone else is cooking frantically and it’s not fun. But being passionate about food from a young age – and coming from a culture where food is everything – it’s not hard to see why I am so into food now!
If there was one thing I had to eat for my last meal, it would have to be chicken nuggets. I know that sounds awfully strange for a food blogger but it’s so bad for me that it’s just why I love them so much. The only caveat is that I need McDonalds curry sauce. Apologies for the dirtiness!
5 facts about me
- When I was 2 years old, I apparently shaved off my right eyebrow
- I broke my foot while on a school trip… in Manchester… 250 miles away from my home in Essex
- I applied for Bake Off this year – but didn’t get any further than the application form
- I have baked 2 dessert buffets for 120 people as part of our school’s Charity Week in the past 2 years
- At A-Level, I did better in further maths than I did in maths…
Although I profess my love of baking, I think some of my favourite posts have to be where I feel like a true blogger. My post (or rant) about clean eating was one of them. The food trend that has pretty much taken over Instagram and everything, you can’t get away from it. I think leading a healthy lifestyle should be encouraged however not to the extremes of clean eating in which, against medical advice, entire food groups are removed from the diet which could be causing more problems than they are trying to fix.
I also loved this post because I feel I gained a lot from reading all the different articles and watching all the videos on it. I learnt some shocking things like how you can become a nutritionist from an online course by just paying money and also from a personal research project, I found that I could buy enough food to feed a family for a few days with the amount of money it costs to make one batch of The Hemsley Sisters’ Ginger Nuts!
But my other favourite posts are some of my baking creations. With Bake Off still on our screens, I’ve been baking along with some of the Technical Challenges. From the Jaffa Cakes to the Dampfnudeln, I’ve been ranking my bakes (hence why I’m not doing the lace pancakes) and doing a Bake Off style judging. It’s been a very popular series and also very eye-opening; I didn’t realise how stressful making Dampfnudeln in 2 hours would end up being! I’m ready to get back into the swing of things with Pastry Week but for now here are my Dampfnudeln.
Another one of my favourite posts is inspired by Bake Off too, when I made an oven out of gingerbread. Yes it took 5 and a half hours and no I don’t know why I did it but all I know is that it was fantastically rewarding to see it freestanding in the end complete with racks and shelves. It’s one of my proudest bakes!
The recipe I chose to share with you was my Cornflake Streusel Cake. It’s a great way of using up that last cornflakes at the bottom of the bag which are all a bit crushed up and powdery. And if they’ve gone a little bit stale, give them a bit of a revamp by putting them into this cake.
A simple way to elevate any cake is by adding a streusel topping, a mixture of flour, butter and sugar almost like a crumble. My little twist on the classic streusel is to use Demerara sugar which adds a slight molasses flavour and add cornflakes for extra crunchiness. Feel free to add chopped nuts or even dried fruit for more texture and a vibrant flavour.
To make the cake so light, fluffy and delicate, I usually add a form of yoghurt to the cake batter. The naturally acidic yoghurt reacts with the baking powder to produce a lighter cake and adds extra moisture too. Today I didn’t have any so I used a 30:70 mixture of cream cheese and milk which has the same effect. You can also use buttermilk if you have it.
For the streusel:
- 80g self raising flour
- 50g margarine
- 40g Demerara sugar
- 1/4 tsp mixed spice
- 70g cornflakes, unsweetened
For the cake batter:
- 175g margarine
- 200g sugar
- 3 eggs
- 240g self raising flour
- 30g cream cheese
- 70ml milk
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin with baking parchment.
- Prepare the streusel by rubbing in the margarine into the flour, sugar and mixed spice until there are some fine crumbs and some chunky pieces. Crush up the cornflakes in your hands and mix through the streusel. Set aside.
- Place all the ingredients for the cake batter into a mixing bowl and beat together for 1 minute until the batter is a light golden colour, well mixed and is even, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through.
- Spread half of the cake batter in one layer in the tin. Cover it completely with a layer of the streusel. Dollop over the remaining cake batter carefully, trying not to move the streusel around. Spread to cover the streusel before topping with the rest of the streusel mixture.
- Bake the cake in the oven for around 35 – 40 minutes until it is well risen, the streusel is golden and crisp and an inserted skewer in the deepest part of the cake comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the baking tin for 15 minutes before lifting it out the tin, placing onto a cooling rack to cool completely before slicing into 16 squares.
You can find Andrew’s recipes, musings and more over on his blog at www.andrewinthekitchen.wordpress.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/AITKitchen_Blog