♥ Lemon Cherry Yoghurt Loaf
♥ Chai Latte Rolls
Chatting over and sharing food is one of life’s great pleasures. Here are two baking recipes to delight your friends the next time they come over. One is quite simple and the other a little more difficult but I guarantee the effort will be worth the flavour and the appreciation you’ll get.
Neither of these bakes are too sugary or sweet which makes them really moreish. My friends are always asking for the next bake!
Since moving to Dubai, making friends has been an exciting if not erratic learning process. This multicultural city, full of expats from all over the world all have their own fascinating stories and upbringing. Finding like-minded people felt a little hard at the beginning especially with my then one year old in tow. I struggled with the inability to be spontaneous.
My close friends back in England, who I spent university with, practically became my sisters over the years so when I left them it was with great heartache. Everything we had been through from our graduations, weddings, having babies and exploring the world together with all our girly holidays, it was only natural to feel this way.
Coming to a new city and having to build friendships again felt so daunting. Everyone that I was meeting was so warm and welcoming, however my introverted nature in new surroundings got the better of me.
Now, after a year of trying to put myself out there, I feel I have finally found the right company. I confidently have friends to rely on, friends to have a laugh with and most importantly friends who have become my expat family. They are a lovely, diverse and crazy bunch!
Most of them happen to be mothers and many new to Dubai themselves meaning we all have that common ground… Talking of things we miss about home, summer heat problems, sharing funny anecdotes about our children and a love for tea and cake!
Lovely ladies that they are, I invited a few of them over for coffee last week to celebrate the launch of this blog and to get some feedback.
In exchange for their helpful tips and encouragement I rustled up some special bakes for all of us to tuck into. Victoria sponge and carrot cake are both great classics, nevertheless, I wanted to try out some more intriguing flavours on my mummy guests.
Bakes that they deserve and a thank you for being my friend.
First off, a delightfully fresh lemon cherry yoghurt loaf with an almond crust and a tangy cream cheese frosting.
The yoghurt keeps this loaf moist, the lemon zest freshens the taste and the almond compliments the sweetness of the cherry bringing out a Bakewell flavour and an extra crunch to the topping.
It might sound like a lot going on, but I assure you it’s quite simple to achieve.
Lemon Cherry Yoghurt Loaf
Before beginning, take out the eggs and butter from the fridge to bring them to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a standard size loaf tin (about 9" x 3").
Zest the lemons and squeeze the juice from one half and keep aside. Cut the glace cherries into quarters and keep aside.
Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy (use an electric or stand mixer for ease).
Gradually add in the sugar and whisk until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time into the sugar and butter whisking well in between each egg. If you find the batter starts to curdle add a tablespoon of flour and the mixture should come together again.
Next stir the lemon zest and juice into the yoghurt and add into the cake batter.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the mix and fold gently with a large spoon or spatula. Make sure everything is incorporated but try not to over mix at this point. Add a splash of milk to loosen the mixture if required.
Finally fold in the quartered glace cherries and scoop the batter into the loaf tin.
Sprinkle over the almonds and even out the batter with a spatula, simultaneously coating the almonds with some batter from the very top.
Bang the tin on the table to release any air pockets and place in the oven for 30 minutes until the top is golden and a sharp knife stabbed into the centre comes out clean.
After taking out the loaf let it cool for 10 minutes before turning out on a rack to cool completely.
TOPPING: Meanwhile beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth, adding the icing sugar and the juice of half a lemon. Cover this and keep refrigerated.
Once the cake has cooled, cut a centimetre wide slice out of the centre of the loaf length ways ensuring a base of at least a centimetre is kept at the bottom.
Pipe or fill the gap using a butter knife with the cream cheese frosting. Cut into slices and serve with some Earl Grey tea.
The second bake is slightly more difficult and time consuming but definitely worth the extra effort. A flavoured batch of bread rolls made mini for sharing.
These chai latte mini rolls are my take on cinnamon rolls. A more robust, more wholesome and spicy version of the “Cinnabon” favourite. As well as cinnamon, I’m injecting flavours of cardamom, ginger and clove into the bread to create a chai latte flavour. I love a cup of chai tea and decided to create a bread to accompany this spicy and comforting hot beverage.
Instead of using strong white bread flour, I’ve gone for a nuttier and more satisfying Malthouse bread flour with added barley flakes, rye and whole wheat flours. Any malted or granary flour would be great for this, however if you can’t find it, a standard white will work well too but may not give that extra depth of flavour.
There are two proving stages an hour at least each, so time is required however baking time is only around 15 minutes.
Chai Latte Rolls
Cinnamon glaze (optional)
Add the yeast to the lukewarm water and stir with a teaspoon of sugar to activate. Leave aside for ten minutes while the water foams up.
Meanwhile melt the butter and leave to cool. Warm the milk (20 seconds in the microwave) and put the tea bag in for up to 5 minutes. Add the flour, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl and mix well.
Beat the eggs into the tea infused milk (once cool) and add the melted butter. Mix the egg mixture into the yeast and water then pour the whole lot into a well made in the flour.
Start stirring with a spoon until it's combined enough to mix with your hands.
Tip the dough onto a well floured surface and knead for ten minutes. As you knead you will find the dough go from sticky to elastic and smooth.
Once smooth, place the dough into a lightly buttered bowl and cover with some cling fling or a clean tea towel. Leave the bowl somewhere warm for at least an hour.
In the meantime make the filling. Melt the butter and whilst warm add the sugar and spices. Mix well and add a splash of milk to loosen the paste.
Line and lightly grease a large roasting tin. Keep the lining slightly longer so it spills over the edges of the tin. This will make it easier to lift out the rolls later.
Once the dough has risen to at least twice the original size, tip it out onto a floured surface and knock it back by folding it on itself for a minute.
Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a rectangle of about 60cm x 40cm. Spread the spiced paste onto the flattened dough using your hands or a pastry brush. Make sure the whole surface is evenly coated.
From the edge of the length of the dough gently start rolling it in. This will be tricky at first but as the roll gets thicker it should be easier.
Once it is complete, cut the roll in half and each half again.
In each roll portion carefully cut 6 pieces and place in the large roasting tin along the length, cut side up.
Cut up the rest of the roll portions and lay them the same way in the roasting tin until you have 4 rolls by 6.
Brush the top of the rolls with some butter, cover again and leave to prove for at least another hour.
In the meantime, make the cinnamon glaze by mixing the icing sugar, cinnamon and water until smooth. If the glaze is too dry to run off the spoon add a few extra drops of water, if it is too runny add an extra sprinkle of sugar. This glaze is not essential but it adds a nice sweet finish to the bread.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
After an hour, once the rolls have risen and filled out the tray, bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. The rolls should have puffed up more and be golden or slightly browned on top. Lift out the rolls using the edges of the lining and take the rolls out (which should all be adjoined in one piece) onto a wire rack to cool.
After 5 minutes pipe or flick over the glaze using a teaspoon. If you are not glazing, dust some icing sugar over the rolls to finish.
The rolls should come away by gently pulling each out. Enjoy with some butter and a cup of chai tea!
Please try out either of these bakes and let me know how they turn out or any improvements you may discover. I would love to hear how you get on. Happy baking!