Sunday, 15 January 2012

Mike's Clementine and Basil Mojito Loaf

When I started this blog, my intention was to make use of all the recipe books that adorn my bookshelves and whose spines have barely been cracked.  I've stuck to this in part, although I've also acquired several new ones which I've also been using.  But during these past few months, I've also happened across an amazing number of food blogs which have given me even more recipes to lust after.

One of my favourites is Mikes Baking.  And today I've tried his Clementine and Basil Mojito Loaf which he created as part of January's citrus blog hop.  I still don't quite get what a blog hop is all about.  But there are lots of citrus-based recipes popping up all over Blogsville so I'm guessing that it's all about sharing favourite citrus recipes.

Anyhoo, this recipe appealed to me because back last year I furnished my work colleagues with some Mojito cupcakes.  Although they were a little reticent when I mentioned they contained fresh mint, whenever anyone brings up the subject of baking, these cupcakes always get rave reviews.

I've promised my chief cheerleader that I'd make the aforementioned clementine and basil loaf this weekend.  As soon as I said basil, he eyeballed me nervously so the cake has a lot to live up to.

Having baked it this afternoon, it smells absolutely amazing.  Every time I open my fridge now, I'm immediately transported off into memories of summer from the open packet of Waitrose basil.

The cake itself was pretty easy to make, however I did encounter problems with zesting my clementines.  I'm not sure if it's a problem with all clementines (I had the same problem when I was trying out Jamie Oliver's Clementine Curd), but the skins are so thin and just break.  First I tried my zester on my cannoli cutter.  Then I tried zester on my box grater.  This was a bit better but the zest just got trapped around the grater holes (which is why I never use it for any citrus).  In the end, I just chopped up a few bits of peel really finely, but I'm a little worried that the pith will affect the flavour.

The rise of my cake was a little uneven with a huge peak in the middle and it being a little flatter than I would've liked at the ends.  This is probably just my new oven.  Normally I'd try to create a dip in the middle before cooking to balance it out, but the batter was a little too loose for this.

And with a slopey cake, there was a bit too much syrup as a lot of it ran from the peak and pooled in the corners.  I have yet to see how moist it made the middle but I'm not cutting it right up until tomorrow.  It was good to not have to boil the syrup to infinity but personally I found it a little to sweet for my taste.  I'll definitely make this again but I would probably add some lime to the juice - or maybe my clementines were a bit too sweet.

As for the rum.  Wow.  Wouldn't want to eat too much of this before driving just in case I bumped (figuratively) into the Fuzz.  I don't hold my alcohol too well :)

The final verdict and pictures will be in tomorrow when the gannets I work with, but I urge you to try this summery cake in the depths of winter.  Different is good.  Chocolate cake is so last year!

In the meantime, check out the recipe and gorgeous photography here.

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