Quick Bread (Daring Bakers Challenge Feb 2012)

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

I was a bit mystified about this challenge – learning that I could make any type of cake, so long as it was loaf shaped or muffin shaped, and didn’t take more than 1 ½ hrs to make from start to finish. That gave me a lot of freedom – too much choice…

I reached for one of my fail-safe recipes – beetroot brownies. I prefer making this gluten-free as using wheat flour can leave a heavy stodgy texture. Click here for gluten free beetroot brownie recipe

I tried the lemon meyer cake, reducing the sugar dramatically. Threw some strawberries ontop of this pretty cake.

My adaptation of Rachel Allen’s Sour Cream Cardamon cake with chai spices & peaches. For my gluten free recipe, click here.

I also attempted Whisky mac, raisin and walnut cake, recipe found in the Waitrose Weekend newspaper. I tried to use as many fair-trade ingredients as possible – flame raisins, walnuts, Palestinian honey roasted almonds, golden caster sugar. I’m not a whisky drinker but I’ve inherited a nearly empty bottle from my land lady when I moved into my current house. This cake was really delicious but far too sweet! I’ve included an adapted version of the recipe below.

Heston’s Whisky mac, raisin & walnut cake

(Teafactory’s adapted recipe)

Prep 20mins, Cook 35 mins


100 g raisins

35g butter

35g golden caster sugar

1 medium sized free range egg

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground allspice

90g plain flour (can be substituted with gluten free flour)

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

40g walnut pieces, chopped

1 tbsp whisky


70g icing sugar

1 tbsp ginger wine

1 tbsp whisky

walnut halves to finish


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C gas mark 4. Put the raisins in a pan with 225ml cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 15mins. Butter and base-line a 6”x 4.5” loaf tin. Drain the raisins and reserve 75ml of the liquid. Leave to cool
  2. Beat the butter with the caster sugar until pale and light. Add the spices and sift in the flour with the bicarbonate of soda. Fold in the raisons, walnut pieces and whisky. Pour into tin and level the surface. Bake for 25 mins until firm and golden (and a skewer emerges clean fro the centre of the cakes). Turn onto wire racks to cool.
  3. For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the ginger wine and whisky and mix to form a runny paste. Add a few drops of water if this is too thick. Drizzle over cake, and decorate with walnut halves.

Meyer Lemon Loaf
Makes two 8” x 5” (20 x 13 cm) loaves Adapted from Recipe Girl’s Meyer Lemon Loaf
2 2/3 cups (640 ml) (375 gm/13¼ oz) all-purpose (plain)unbleached flour
¾ teaspoon (3¾ ml) (3¾ gm) baking powder
zest of 3 Meyer lemons (regular old lemons will work just fine)
2 cups (480 ml) (450 gm/16 oz) white granulated sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup (180 ml) sour cream or creme fraiche, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (30 ml) rum (can omit – I did!)
1½ tablespoons (22½ ml) fresh Meyer lemon juice (again, regular lemons can be used)
pinch of salt
9 tablespoons (135 ml) (125 gm/4½ oz/1 stick + 1 tablespoon) butter, melted and cooled
½ cup (120 ml) (115 gm/4 oz) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 ml) water
Juice from 1 medium Meyer Lemon (or regular lemon)

Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Butter and flour two 8” x 5” (20 x 13 cm) loaf pans.
Sift together flour and baking powder; set aside.
Place sugar, lemon zest, and eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat with a whisk until the mixture is a light lemon color and thickened a bit. This can also be done with a mixer. Whisk in sour cream, then salt, then rum (if using) and lemon juice.
Gently whisk in the flour in four parts, then whisk in the butter in three parts. You’ll have a thick, pourable batter flecked with lemon zest.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
While the loaves are baking, prepare simple syrup. Boil together sugar and water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice.
Turn the loaves out of their pans onto a cooling rack and brush liberally with the lemon syrup, repeat brushing as you feel necessary. Let cool.

2 responses to “Quick Bread (Daring Bakers Challenge Feb 2012)

  1. Oh wow! So many fantastic quick breads!! They all look great, and the flavor combinations are amazing!! You did a wonderful job with this challenge!

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