The ever changing world of baking I thought it would be good to explore some essences, having experimented with a banana bread or 2 it seemed to me that the texture issues I was having is largely due to the fruit content.
Fruit will always add moisture to the cake whilst that can be useful when using coconut flour it isn’t for most normal flours. The sloppy messes it produces can be a frustrating one.
After some discussion I felt it was time to investigate using essences, I already have a coconut one so why not others? Finding a set wasn’t difficult and they arrived quickly, I bought Preema as I have used their coconut version before. The smell of the banana was slightly chemically and off putting (they are not 100% natural) and made me seriously consider buying the more expensive pure extracts next time. As they are halal they are at least alcohol free so at least they are unlikely to be splitting any chocolate or batters.
After a thought about the various different flavour combinations I decided to keep it simple and try a banana sponge with chocolate buttercream. A simple combination and using Nora Cooks’s one bowl coconut cake I knew it would be easy as it used the coconut version of my banana essence.
Adding the essence to my cake I was nervous that adding a whole tea spoon would be too strong but it turns out my fears were unfounded. The subtle banana flavour emanating from the sponge was exactly as I wanted it, no chemical smell simply a luxurious moist sponge with a hint of banana without the sloppy mess as previously encountered.
There are plenty of different brands of essences and I will definitely be purchasing some more natural extracts in the future but for now its time to play with the ones I have, there are plenty of different combinations. I currently have orange, banana, vanilla, coconut, pistachio, strawberry and extra coconut.
What are your favourite flavour combinations? At the moment I’m thinking of trying strawberry & banana and strawberry & pistachio.
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