Extract from the brand new Brick Lane Cookbook by Dina Begum, with contributions from street food traders and restaurants including Beigel Shop, Blanchette, Chez Elles, St Sugar of London, Cafe 1001 and Moo Cantina, Brick Lane Cookbook is a culinary map of the East End’s tastiest street and a snapshot of London at its multifaceted, chaotic, crazy best.
I first discovered brown butter on holiday in France when I made it to add to a cake. I was so delighted with the results that I rushed to show my friend excitedly. ‘Look! Butter has almost turned into caramel!’ Who knew such alchemy? Back in London I decided to experiment further with brown butter, adding it to biscuits and tart shells – I was convinced browning butter was absolutely the best way to eat it. I decided to make mini bundt cakes using my mum’s old tin and, of course, brown butter had to feature in the recipe. The colour of these little cakes reminded me of the golden flakes of baklava pastry, so I’ve added a Middle Eastern twist with a rose-scented icing.
One of these is never enough so double up the recipe if you’re a greedy sort like me.- Dina Begum.
FOR THE CAKES:
- 100g unsalted butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 40g ground almonds
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 medium eggs
- 110g self-raising flour
- 2 tablespoons milk
FOR THE ROSE ICING & TOPPING:
- 100g icing sugar
- 2 drops pink food colouring (optional)
- 2–3 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons rosewater
- 50g flaked almonds, toasted
- 12 ring mini bundt tin
- Place the butter in a stainless steel pan on medium heat (you need to be able to monitor the colour of the butter so you don’t burn it).
- The butter will begin to foam after about 30 seconds. Cook for a further three or four minutes until it starts to smell nutty, almost caramel-like. You will begin to see small particles of milk solid at the bottom on the pan. Once done, take the pan off the heat and leave to cool for about ten minutes. Now preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan). Generously grease your bundt tins, dust with flour and shake off the excess.
- When the butter has cooled, transfer to a mixing bowl and cream together with the sugar, salt, ground almonds and vanilla and almond extracts. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, then beat them into the butter and sugar mixture. Pour in half the flour and mix thoroughly, then add the milk and remaining flour. Mix until you have a smooth, thick batter.
- Divide the batter between the bundt rings, filling them to about a centimetre from the top. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly risen and pale gold. If you’re anything like me you’ll find the scent of freshly baked cake irresistible and will want to dig right in but don’t, unless you want broken halves of warm sponge in your hand!
- Let the cakes cool completely in the tin for about an hour, then run a thin butter knife around the edge of each cake and ease them out.
- Place the cakes on a baking rack or a flat dish and prepare the icing.
- Put the icing sugar in a small bowl and add the pink food colouring, two tablespoons of milk and the rosewater. Mix together to make a pretty pink icing, runny enough to drizzle – if it looks too thick add another tablespoon of milk. Top each cake with a teaspoon or so of the icing, gently coaxing drips down the sides.
- Top with some flaked almonds and serve with a fragrant cup of masala tea.
Brick Lane Cookbook by Dina Begum is published in hardback by Kitchen Press, priced at £20.