— The Cook Up with Adam Liaw S2 airs weeknights on SBS Food at 7.00pm and 10.30pm, or stream it free on SBS On Demand. Catch Adam Liaw and guests in the ‘weekend bakes’ episode on 10 June on SBS Food and then streaming at SBS On Demand —
For those who love to bake, the weekend means more time. More time to slow down and enjoy the process, as well as the result. More time to try something new, something ambitious, or something that needs just that: time. A fruit cake where the dried fruits gets plump and delicious (and probably boozy!) from a long soak. A yeasted bread. A hearty carrot cake where perfection is arrived at via a low, slow bake.
Here are some of the ways we love to make the most of the weekend.
ROUND AND ROUND
Two of our favourite baking projects are miles apart, yet linked by their ’roundedness’. We’re talking doughnuts (yes, they are often fried, but some are baked) and the glory of babka.
Many countries have created their own version of babka. This one, from the Feast magazine archives, with fruit, chocolate and rum in the dough, and a rum syrup drizzled over after baking, is a mouth-watering combination of all styles. The cherries for this need to soak for at least four hours (or overnight), and the yested dough needs rising time, so this one can fit in around other weekend projects.
From classic cinnamon sugar-dusted rings to custard-filled balls, doughnut ice-cream sandwiches and Mexican chocolate doughnuts (a kind of puffy pancake make on the stovetop), doughnuts take many forms. And while some are fried, some are baked, like these cinnamon-coconut doughnuts with berry whip). Dive into the doughnut recipe collection to discover your next weekend doughnut adventure.
A rich traditional fruit cake is a joy. Some require soaking, and they often require several hours in the oven – a perfect weekend project.
This recipe, from popular SBS Food show host, Irishman Donal Skehan, makes a really beautiful, moist loaf, packed with flavour from the mixed spice and dried fruit, which has sat overnight in cold tea and whiskey to soak up all the goodness. “Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruit cake, which I used to get in my school lunchbox around Halloween every year. Traditionally, a ring is baked into the cake, and there would be great excitement every year as to who would get the slice with the ring in it,” he says.
Dense with brandy-soaked fruit and spices, and with hazlenut or almond meal in the batter, this cake is wonderful for a modern Christmas cake, but it is also lovely at other times, too. The fruit includes dried cherries, raisins, sultanas, currants and prunes, and there are macadamias in the cake as well as on top to decorate. Plan ahead – this one needs overnight soaking time (or up to 2 weeks, so you can easily do this bit ahead of the weekend); 3½-4 hours baking time; and overnight cooling.
Find more in the SBS Food fruitcake recipe collection.
ALWAYS, CARROT CAKE
Like fruit cakes, the delicious denseness of a carrot cake often needs a little more oven time. We are big carrot cake fans here at SBS Food and know that every minute of extra time is an investment in eventual deliciousness, best enjoyed under a layer of cream cheese icing.
“It’s heavenly with a capital ‘H’,” says Poh Ling Yeow of this indulgent version, based on a recipe shared with her by Priyant Pratap. There’s an extra element of deliciousness here: each of the three cake layers is covered with a buttermilk glaze before being spread with a layer of cream cheese frosting.
A fantastic twist on the classic here, from Nik Sharma. “Carrot cake is one of my favourite ‘vegetable-type’ cakes to make at home; it’s simple to prepare and rather rustic yet absolutely delicious. I’ve infused this carrot cake with chai (the Hindi word for tea is chai) and used a few of my favourite spices that I use when I have a craving for masala chai (the Hindi word for spice is masala),” he says. This one needs several hours of cooling and then chilling time, so it’s a great weekend cake project.
Find more carrot cakes (including a gluten free version) in the carrot cake recipe collection.
The rich, smooth deliciousness of a baked cheesecake often benefits from chilling time – like these beauties.
“Cheesecake is possibly one of my favourite things in the world. And this is a stolen cheesecake recipe. Stolen from my wife, who makes it pretty much whenever there’s a special occasion cake that needs to be made,” says Adam Liaw of this beauty, which he shares in the ‘weekend bakes’ episode of The Cook Up. A slug of whiskey adds a delightfully boozy, caramelly edge to this take on baked cheesecake. Plan ahead: it’s not hard to make, but for it to reach its prime cheesecake perfection, it needs to sit for 8 hours or so after baking, and then be refrigerated for at least 4 hours (overnight is better).
This fluffy baked cheesecake is hugely popular in Japan for its light, smooth texture. Refrigerating the cheesecake overnight improves its texture and enhances its creamy flavour.
Find more creamy baked cheesecakes in the cheesecake recipe collection.
Weekends not only give us more time to enjoy baking – it’s also a time to catch up with family and friends. And there’s something so lovely about making, and then sharing, food baked with love.
The weekends are a great time to try something new – like a bundt cake. This stylish coffee and chocolate bundt cake is another from the ‘weekend baking’ episode of The Cook Up, shared by pastry chef Lauren Eldridge.
This recipe by Grace Angel is described as “a baking marathon not a sprint” – it takes several days – but just look at the result: an epic layered dessert. Some of the elements can be made ahead and frozen.
For more cakes with the wow factor, take a look at the Cakes for crowds recipe collection.
RISE TO THE OCCASION
The weekend is the perfect time for baking with yeast, whether it’s a sticky bun, a celebration sweet loaf or your daily bread.
“Swedes just can’t get enough of buns, and neither can I,” says Rachel Khoo of these glorious chocolate buns, which are made with a rich honey-sweetened, buttery spelt pastry, and come from her book The Little Sewish Kitchen. The main rising takes four hours, but you can leave the dough in the fridge overnight after this stage, making this easy to fit into a weekend. After that, shape, allow to rise for another hour, then bake, for deliciously sticky indulgence. These, she says, are best eaten slightly warm on the day of baking (but you can also freeze your baked buns).
Bakeproof columnists Anneka Manning has drawn together everything you need for making five-star sourdough, from a detailed, step-by-step guide to starting and caring for a sourdough starter to recipes for basic sourdough bread and seeded wholemeal sourdough.
This dessert is a syrup lover’s dream. “If you love syrupy baklava then this is the dessert tray for you! Ruzice gets its name because once you cut and turn the layered pastry pieces onto a tray they resemble the rose bud. Traditionally, these are made with walnut and tirit filling but if you are running low on time you can skip the tirit and use only walnuts as your filler, this works just as well,” explains SBS Food’s Farah Celjo. This recipe uses purchased filo; if you’re after a recipe where you can try making your own, try this spanakopita or these individual cheese and silverbeet pies (kloropita).
Want to dive in the deep end and make your own puff pastry? Anneka Manning takes take you step-by-step through the process (her recipe also includes freezing instructions so you can have some ready to use another weekend). Then use it for her Portuguese chai-spiced custard tarts.
From picnic fare to something hearty for a winter family meal, there’s a pie for every occasion.
This is the sort of recipe you can do while getting other things done around the house, as there are four ‘fold and chill’ stages in making the pastry. This beauty can be served warm or at room temperature.
The classic apple pie gets a tropical twist with creamy custard apple. This is very easy to make; the pastry needs 2 hours of chilling time, so this is a good one to do on a weekend.
One final suggestion: a wedding cake from baking expert Anna Olson. A moist and tender coconut cake is covered with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting. This one serves 40 or so as a plated dessert, more if you are serving small tastes. (She also has a very different, casual idea for a wedding: a stacked s’mores cake.)
More weekend baking