I enjoy baking. Well, cooking, really – but baking perhaps a little more than any other option. This was great when the children were young and had troops of ravenous friends stampeding through the house on a regular basis. Cookies, slices, cakes, scones – they all disappeared in record time, consumed by ever-hungry and surprisingly undiscriminating youngsters. Ours was the house where there was always something tasty to eat.
Sadly, these days everyone seems altogether too grown up and concerned with figure shape and weight to make the most of one of my baking frenzies. So I’ve had to devise a cunning plan: I’m baking a little less often and, when I do, I’m making batches of smaller items. That way we (and guests) can enjoy a small tasty treat with our cuppa, and the rest of the bake-a-thon goes into the freezer for another time.
Mini banana loaves have been a hit, as have these very tasty peanut cookies. Both freeze really well and taste very yummy as a mid-week treat or emergency teatime offering when people drop by unexpectedly. The nutty muesli squares didn’t make it to the freezer, but did provide mini lunchbox treats for Himself for a couple of weeks 🙂
My next foray into mini-bakes is a variation on a recipe I found in a delightful book called Traditional Teatime Recipes. It’s full of simple yet tasty sounding offerings – many of which are now on my list to try out over the next few weeks.
First off the rank is the orange tea bread. The recipe apparently originated at Moseley Old Hall, in Staffordshire. Whilst that’s vaguely interesting, I’m actually making it (today) because it sounds delicious, we have guests this evening (dessert, anyone…?), and I have a fridge full of oranges from our neighbour’s tree.
Here’s the recipe, in case you’d like to give it a go too.
Orange Tea Bread – adapted from Traditional Teatime Recipes
75g butter, softened
1 cup plain flour
1 cup almond meal
1½ tsp baking powder
1 large egg, beaten
⅓ cup caster sugar
2 oranges <juice one, zest both – reserve second orange>
50g walnuts, roughly chopped <I used pecans>
1 – 2 Tblsp extra caster sugar <reserve this for sprinkling on top of the cake>
FIRST: set your oven to 180C (350F) and prepare a medium sized loaf tin <or, in my case, 6 mini loaf pans>
THEN: rub butter into flour and baking powder, then stir in the sugar and chopped nuts. Mix in the egg, then add the juice from one of the oranges and the zest from both of them. Beat the mixture well, then fold in the almond meal.
Spoon mix into the prepared loaf tin / mini loaf pans
NEXT: cut the pith off the outside of the remaining orange. Then, holding it over the tin/s <to catch the juice>, carefully remove the segments. Arrange the orange segments over the top of the cake/s, then sprinkle with the extra caster sugar
FINALLY: bake your loaf in preheated oven for about 45 minutues – or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave the cake/s in the pan/s to cool… if you have the patience. Such yum!
MORE NOTES: the original recipe didn’t include almond meal; it called for 1½ cups of plain flour. It also gave the baking time as 1¼ to 1½ hours.