17 Mar 2007

Cake Flavourings

I love baking and have accumulated several essences and extracts that I just couldn't live without.
My favourite and most used is vanilla extract, this transforms a plain sponge just by adding a teaspoonful to a basic cake mixture.
Vanilla paste purchased from www.vanillaworks.co.uk is a gourmet grade made with real vanilla seeds. This is perfect to use in custard, icecream etc.
How about using almond extract in a simple sponge fruit cake topped with toasted flaked almonds.
Lemon extract is wonderful, it helps lift lemon cake by giving an extra hit of lemon, or use it sparingly in lemon icing.
Orange flower water is wonderful in a syllabub, cream or just simply add to cake mixture.
One of my new discoveries is coconut essence, which can be purchased from www.jane-asher.co.uk and was first introduced to me through reading Nigella Lawson's cookery books. In How to be a Domestic Goddess it is used in coconut macaroons and there are a couple of recipes in Feast where she also uses this. This essence is also wonderful in any baking where you use coconut.
It is important to buy good quality extracts and to use them sparingly.