Matt Bailey and Joe Brett, of Brett and Bailey describe themselves as a couple of lads from Crystal Palace but boy they are so much more than that. They are the toast of Crystal Palace, our very own Baker Boys and as for their cakes, cookie, brownies and cheesecake ( ooh their cheesecake) they are absolutely delectable. Happiest in the kitchen their focus is on their customers and suppliers alike which means the highest quality ingredients in each one of their products. All the ingredients are either organic, free range or fair trade and as great supporters of bigging-up local business’ their suppliers are generally from South London. As their business continues to flourish so does their product range and their attendance at both our local food market here in Crystal Palace and they are also appearing at several London events with the Royal Horticultural Society this year. These include the RHS Plant & Potato Fair, for which they were asked to come up with a selection of cake recipes using that most humble of vegetables – the potato. These three recipes use potato in different ways – mashed potato lends some wonderful moistness and structure to our lemon and rosemary drizzle cake; potato starch lends extra fudginess and density to an already-indulgent tray of brownies; and grated sweet potato – admittedly, Joe and Matt concur is a bit of a cheat – paired with maple frosting and spice to make a delectable alternative to carrot cake.
Lemon and Rosemary Drizzle Cake (Serves 12)
- 190g unsalted butter
- 250g golden caster sugar (plus an additional 115g for the drizzle)
- 3 lemons, zested and juiced
- 5 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g ground almonds
- 115g polenta (cornmeal)
- 2.5 tsps baking powder
- 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- 2 decently sized baking potatoes, for mashing – don’t use leftovers!
- 30g nib sugar (pearl sugar) – you can find this at cake supply stores or online
- The best way to get your mashed potato, in this instance, is by making use of your microwave. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, then zap them until they’re done (around 12-15 minutes on full blast). A skewer should pass all the way through them with no resistance. Cut them in half and leave to cool. Once cooled, push the flesh through a potato ricer or metal sieve, discarding the skins and any tough, uncooked pieces. Reserve 300g for the cake – you can freeze any leftovers and use them for bubble and squeak, or to thicken a soup.
- Preheat your oven to 180°c (160°c fan). Grease a 9” (23cm) round springform cake tin, and line the base with parchment. Dust the sides of the tin with a little additional polenta to prevent sticking.
- Weigh together the ground almonds, polenta and baking powder, then whisk to combine.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until they’re fluffy and pale yellow.
- One at a time, add the eggs to the butter-sugar mixture. Beat well after each addition, ensuring that you scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Stir in the lemon zest, vanilla extract and rosemary.
- Fold in the dry ingredients, then stir in small spoonfuls of the mashed potato until it’s all in the bowl and thoroughly combined.
- Transfer the cake mixture to the prepared tin, smooth the top with a scraper, then scatter over the nib sugar (if using).
- Bake for 60-70 minutes – when it’s ready, the centre of the cake should offer little resistance when gently pressed with a finger. In the meantime, stir together the lemon juice and additional sugar to make the drizzle.
- Once the cake is out of the oven, make holes all over the top with a skewer, making sure that they go deep into the cake. Then spoon the drizzle into the holes.
- Leave the cake to cool in its tin, before turning out and serving.
Fudgy Flourless Brownies
Simply take your favourite brownie recipe (one made with plain white flour), and replace the flour with an equal weight of potato starch (not potato flour). If the mixture seems slightly too thick, add a couple of tablespoons of milk. And do have a nose in the oven slightly earlier than usual, as they may require slightly less cooking time. You’ll need to take care when cutting them, as they’ll be rather crumbly, but they’ll be incredibly dense and fudgy too. It’s as easy as that!
Sweet Potato Spice Cake (Serves up to16 )
- 350g plain flour
- 3 tsps baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground mace
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 375ml vegetable oil (we like to use organic rapeseed)
- 340g golden caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 300g peeled, grated sweet potatoes
- 100g chopped pecans
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 100g desiccated coconut
- Preheat your oven to 180°c (160°c fan). Grease, line and dust a 9×9” (23x23cm) square cake tin.
- Beat together the eggs and sugar until pale and creamy.
- Weigh together the flour, mace, cinnamon, ginger, salt and baking powder, and whisk to combine.
- Gradually add the oil to the eggs and sugar, and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
- Fold in the flour, followed by the sweet potatoes, chopped pecans and coconut.
- Pour into the tin and bake for 50-60 minutes. When it’s ready, the centre of the cake should feel firm and offer little resistance when gently pressed by a finger.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to cool completely. This cake tastes even more delicious after being kept in a tin for a couple of days.
For the maple buttercream frosting
- 125g butter (completely softened)
- 300g icing sugar
- 100ml pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Stir together the butter and icing sugar until the mixture looks crumbly, then beat together until smooth.
- While beating, gradually pour in the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Continue to beat until everything’s completely combined and you have a smooth, beautifully glossy frosting.
- Spread the frosting over the cake immediately, and decorate with toasted desiccated coconut.