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Cookbook Club: Simply Sweet Nostalgic Bakes
Bring back delightful memories with Emma's Chocolate Orange Marble Cake and other classic dessert recipes with a twist!
While family, school, and love sent Emma all over the world, it was the move back to London that ignited her passion for baking and photography. A former interior designer and mum to 3, Emma develops recipes, edits her blog, and runs a street coffee business with her husband along the River Thames.
With influences from her times living in the Philippines, Australia, Hong Kong, and India coupled with her French and British background, Emma’s classic desserts are approachable with new, modern twists and unique flavor pairings.
Her new book, Simply Sweet Nostalgic Bakes, takes us down memory lane - one treat at a time. A bite of her Mixed Berry Lattice Crostata (see cover recipe) might conjure up memories of berry picking in the summer while Chocolate Swirl Vanilla Bean Marshmallows make way for new moments all cozied up with hot cocoa after a day in the snow. For me, it’s the Chocolate Orange Marble Loaf that reminds me of the orange-shaped chocolate candy that my husband enjoys every Christmas.
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Tessa Huff: Why did you decide to write this book?
Emma Duckworth: To be honest, writing a cookbook was something I wanted to do in the future, as I thought I had to grow my experience in food photography and recipe development a lot more before I entertained that idea. Luckily my publisher, Page Street Publishing, who contacted me with the idea of writing a book, believed in my current level of skill.
TH: Which recipe should readers try first? Or which has become a stand-out recipe with readers so far?
ED: The Espresso Millionaire Shortbread is proving popular. I mean you can’t go wrong with a shortbread base, a thick layer of espresso infused caramel and a pretty feathered chocolate top!
TH: Can you name a must-have ingredient or signature flavor that you use in your recipes often? Or do you think there is special quality about your recipes or writing that readers can identify as being uniquely yours?
ED: I don’t think there is just one special ingredient or flavour that identifies with my recipes. You’ll find in the cookbook that I like to play with flavours and have fun with them whilst still keeping the combinations accessible so the reader actually wants to bake them!
For example, my Lemon & Thyme Drizzle Cake, Caramel Apple Fennel Tart or Peaches n’ Cream Arctic Roll Slice are recipes that have that little point of difference.
There are plenty more standard flavour combinations too like Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cake and Malt Chocolate Sponge Cake with chocolate custard.
TH: What keeps you inspired and creative in the kitchen?
ED: I love baking too much to not be inspired and there is still so much that I want to learn in the kitchen. So, that keeps me pushing for more! There are literally not enough hours in the day to do it all!
TH: What were you listening to or reading at the time of writing this book?
ED: I had a popular London radio station playing with mainstream music (Heart FM). I like the music and lighthearted banter and love the background noise whilst at the same time it not being distracting.
TH: Walk into a reader’s home and where can you find your book? Displayed on a coffee table, next to the bed for late-night studying, or splattered with batter in the kitchen?
ED: I want to see it dog-eared on the kitchen counter with drips and spills all over it from being used. There is nothing fancy about my book - it is for ALL levels with all different types of creations with the pages, so there is definitely a place for this in everyone’s kitchen!
I love the concept of nostalgic baking, letting the smells, sights and tastes of a bake bring you back to a specific time and place in your memory bank. My aim for this book is to twinge all those fond memories that you have tucked away and then to create some more of your own.
TH: What are some important keys to success for home bakers wanting to try new recipes?
ED: Oh, I love this question! So I would say that you should read the ingredients list and method from top to bottom before starting. Then, I would gather all your ingredients and measure them out (we call this mise-en-place). Definitely use digital scales for a more accurate way of measuring your ingredients. And then go for gold and have fun!
Chocolate Orange Marble Loaf Cake
With their swirly batters and contrast of colors, marble cakes are always alluring. Unassuming on the outside, it’s not until that first slice that their beauty is revealed. For indecisive bakers like me, they are even more perfect for when you can’t pick just one flavor. The chocolate-orange flavor combo is a classic and the glaze is pure glossy goodness. - Tessa Huff
Marbled Loaf Cake
1 cup (250 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 ¼ cups (220 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (60 ml) whole milk
2 teaspoons orange extract
Zest of 1 large orange
2 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line the bottom of a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low speed until just combined. Pour in the milk and mix until just incorporated. Do not over mix.
Separate the batter equally into two bowls. In one bowl, add the orange extract and orange zest. Stir to combine.
In the other bowl, add the orange juice and cocoa powder. Stir to combine.
Spoon the two different batters into the prepared pan. Alternate the batters as you go until all of the batter is added. Take a butter knife and swirl it through the batter to create a marbled effect.
Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10 to 20 minutes before taking it out of the pan. Completely cool the cake on a wire rack.
½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
1 ¼ cups (185 g) coarsely chopped dark chocolate
1 tablespoon golden syrup
Place the cream in a small saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Bring it to a simmer.
Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a heatsafe bowl. When hot, pour the cream over the chocolate and let set for 30 to 60 seconds. Stir the mixture together until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
Add the golden syrup (regular corn syrup works too), and stir to combine.
Allow the ganache to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. It should be thin enough to pour but thick enough to cling to the cake.
Pour the ganache over the top of the cake. Over time, the ganache will set and become easier to slice and serve (or eat immediately - it is tasty either way!).
Serving and Storage
The ganache will set and harden as it sits out. You can certainly slice and serve right away, or wait until the ganache hardens. It will be more like a frosting than a glaze at that point.
Store leftovers covered at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
I used regular corn syrup instead of golden syrup and the ganache turned out perfect. If you have neither, it should still work out alright, but be careful that the chocolate does not seize and split.
Catch up with your favorite authors:
Rebecca’s The Cake Book
Vallery’s Life is What You Bake It
Elizabeth’s Everyday Entertaining