Baking cakes and bread in a wood-fired oven can be a bit difficult: things tend to cook too quickly on the outside while remaining undercooked or raw inside.
To get round this, it is a good idea to cover the cake or bread with foil for most of its cooking time. It is best to use a cake tin with high sides so that the cake mixture does not stick on the foil when it rises.
Inside the wood oven
Through a process of trial and error, I have found that if a cake needs to be baked for 40-45 minutes, then what works best is to cover it with foil and bake it for 15 minutes. Have a look and if it seems to be cooking too quickly or too slowly, move it forwards or backwards in the oven. Turn it 180º and cover it again for another 15 minutes before having another look
Turn again through 180º and remove the foil. Let it cook for a further 5 minutes before checking. If it seems to be browning too quickly, replace the foil otherwise leave uncovered for another 5 minutes.
Test the cake and if it is still not done, put back in the oven for another 5 minutes.
A wood-fired oven retains the heat a lot better than a conventional oven so there doesn’t seem to be the same problem of opening the oven door and letting the heat out.
This is another recipe that doesn’t use butter. I only had a rectangular tin but next time I would make it in a smaller square tin so that it was a bit thicker.
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup boiling water
2 large eggs
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/3 cups plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Oil and flour a square baking tin.
In a mixing boil, combine the cocoa and baking powder and stir in 1/3 cup oil. Add the boiling water and mix well. Whisk in the sugar, eggs and another 1/3 cup of oil.
Stir in the flour, vanilla extract and salt and mix well.
Pour into the baking tin and bake in the oven (180ºC) for 35-40 minutes.
Continuing with my quest to find new recipes that don’t use butter that we can bake in our bread oven, the other day we baked a carrot cake. It was delicious. Here is the recipe.
175g soft brown sugar
175ml sunflower oil
175g self-raising flour
3 large eggs
150g coarsely grated carrots
1 large orange, grated zest and juice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Oil and line a cake tin.
Whisk the eggs, sugar and oil together in a mixing bowl.
Stir in the sultanas, carrot, orange zest and orange juice and then mix in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon.
Bake in an over (180ºC) for 40-45 minutes until cooked in the over. Again,if you are cooking this in a wood-fired oven, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Turn 180º and bake for a further 15 minutes. Remove the foil and check after 5 minutes. If the top looks as though it will get too brown, replace the foil and cook for a further 5 minutes. Test and put back for another 5 minutes if necessary.