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Archive for November 2008

After reading about The Daring Bakers, i finally plucked up the courage to join. I’ve been reading my favourite bloggers and noticed they were also Daring Bakers so it was a case of ‘anything you can do, i can do’ (let’s not get too cocky – i’m leaving the ‘better’ part out!).
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It was a nervous wait to find out what the November challenge would be. Finally, we were told that it was going to be Caramel Cake With Caramelised Butter Frosting. At first, it didn’t seem too hard, however as i read on, it wasn’t as easy as i had hoped (otherwise what was the point?).
A caramel cake might sound easy to some, but this recipe called for extra efforts. We had to make the caramel syrup from scratch. I’ve never attempted caramel before so i was eager to get started, but not before waiting a few weeks so i could get hints and tips from other bakers. Thankfully i did, as i picked up lots of great ideas which would have saved me a lot of time (and frustration).
Caramel Cake With Caramelised Butter Frosting

Caramel Cake With Caramelised Butter Frosting

 Caramel Cake With Caramelised Butter Frosting

  • 142 grams butter at room temperature
  • 280 grams granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (i just used sea salt)
  • 80 ml caramel syrup
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • splash vanilla extract
  • 286 grams all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 240 ml milk at room temperature

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/176C
  2. Butter one tall (5-6/2 – 2.5 inch deep) 23cm/9-inch cake pan
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt and cream until light and fluffy
  4. Slowly, pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed
  5. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform
  6. Sift flour and baking powder
  7. Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other hald of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients (This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter)
  8. Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform
  9. Turn batter into prepared cake pan
  10. Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes (your own oven will set the pace)
  11. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean
  12. Cool cake completely before icing it. Cake will keep for three days outside of the refridgerator

Caramel Syrup

  • 450 grams cups sugar
  • 120 ml cup water
  • 240 ml cup water (for ‘stopping’)

Method

  1. In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand
  2. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush
  3. Turn on heat to highest flame and cook until smoking slightly: dark amber
  4. When colour is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water
  5. Caramel will jump and splutter about, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back (a great tip i learned was to cut out a sheet of foil with a small hole in the middle, cover the pan and pour the water through the hole – saved me from getting hot caramel all over me!)
  6. Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers (wait for it to cool before touching it!)

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

Boiling the sugar and water to make the caramel syrup

Boiling the sugar and water to make the caramel syrup

 

Caramel syrup almost ready

Caramel syrup almost ready

Caramelised Butter Frosting

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 454 grams icing sugar, sifted
  • 60-90 ml heavy/double cream
  • 10ml vanilla extract
  • 30-60ml caramel syrup
  • kosher sea salt to taste

Method

  1. Cook butter until brown and pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl. Set aside to cool
  2. Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add icing sugar a little a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup
  4. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all icing sugar has been incorporated
  5. Add salt to taste (i found i need quite a bit of salt to counter-act the VERY sweet frosting)

Note: Caramelised butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month. To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light.

My verdict

The cake does take a bit of effort, but when finished, it is absolutely DIVINE! The cake itself it dense, but soft. I know that doesn’t make sense, but it’s the heaviest, lightest cake you’ll ever try! The butter frosting is way too sweet, so next time, i’ll cut down the icing sugar by 1/3. I sprinkled some sea salt over my slice and was heavenly. It really works well with such a sweet frosting.

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The caramel syrup was fairly easy to make. I was left over with plenty which i really don’t know what to do with. Next time i may halve the ingredients as the cake only calls for a small amount.

I am pretty happy with my first challenge and glad i’ve learned something new in the baking world. Bring on December’s challenge i say!

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Recipes above courtesy of Shauna Fish Lydon

Link to Shauna’s website is:
http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2006 … he-recipe/

To the author’s name: Shuna Fish Lydon

The blog host is Delores at http://culinarycuriosity.blogspot.com/

Co-Hosts:
Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo) at (
http://blondieandbrownie.blogspot.com/
Jenny of Foray into Food (http://forayintofood.blogspot.com/).
Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go (
http://glutenagogo.blogspot.com/) for gluten-free assistance.

I am a hopeless piper. I’ve only done it a few times, but each time i stuff it up without fail and turn my pretty cupcakes into big gloopy blobs. So, aside from the wonky looking meringue, these cupcakes are devine. The cupcake itself is light and the dessicated coconut gives it a light crunchy texture.

The recipe says the lemon curd is best made the day before but i didn’t have time so i just made it an hour before and it turned out fine.

I’ve made meringue before but it never really turned out so i was a little nervous making it this time. After a little researching on the internet, i’ve discovered that whipping egg whites is best done at room temperature. So, that’s what i did and voila! It worked. It was so white and glossy it looked like a big puffy cloud.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Makes 12

  • 125 grams butter (softened)
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/3 cup milk

Lemon Curd

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 40 grams butter

Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup caster sugar

Method – Lemon Curd

  1. Combine ingredients in a small heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water
  2. Stir constantly, until mixture thickens slightly
  3. Remove from heat and cover with plastic wrap
  4. Refridgerate until cold

Method – Cupcake

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C (160C fan forced)
  2. Line 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases
  3. Beat butter, rind, sugar and eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy
  4. Stir in the coconut, then sifted flour and milk
  5. Divide mixture among cases and smooth surfaces
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked
  7. Cool cupcakes on wire racks
  8. Increase oven to 220C (200C fan forced)
  9. When cupcakes have cooled, cut a 2cm deep hole in the centre of each cake and fill with lemon curd. Discard tops.

Method – Meringue

  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a small bowl and beat with an electric mixer until thick and glossy
  2. Spoon meringue into a piping bag fitted with with a 1cm plain tube
  3. Pipe meringue on cakes and place on an oven tray
  4. Bake about 5 minutes or until browned lightly

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Recipe from the October 2008 issue of Womens Weekly

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***STOP PRESS***

I think i have found it. An almost as good alternative to the Monaco Bar.

Alternative to the Monaco Bar - Ice Cream Sandwhich

Alternative to the Monaco Bar - Ice Cream Sandwhich

It’s made by The Authenic Ice Cream Company and it’s called the Ice Cream Sandwhich.

Ice Cream Sandwhich

Ice Cream Sandwhich

From memory, the Monaco Bar was a little bigger, but the texture is as i remember it. The chocolate “bread” is soft (not like some other Monaco wannabe’s i’ve tried in my time) and the icecream smooth. It comes in peppermint and vanilla flavour (i bought both) and i’m pleased to say i love them both. For years i’ve been craving the Monaco Bar and i’m just so glad that there is something out there to satisfy it!

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These carrot cupcakes are delicious and moist. I even had them for breakfast one day as it was easy for me to just grab one on the run (not the most healthy breakfast i know). The cream cheese adds a little richness to the cake and i love the added crunch of the walnuts. Don’t let the oil content scare you, unfortuntately it’s required to keep them moist but if you’re worried, you can always cut back on it a little.

Carrot cupcakes

Carrot cupcakes

Carrot cupcakes

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups coarsley grated carrot
  • 100 grams walnuts (roughly chopped)
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 5 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 300 grams sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cream cheese icing

  • 500 grams cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/3 cups icing sugar

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Sift flours, soda and spices into a large bowl. Add caster sugar, grated carrot and 3/4 of the walnuts. Stir to combine
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk oil, eggs, sour cream and vanilla until smooth
  4. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined
  5. Pour into pan, smoothing top with a spatula
  6. Pour batter into cupcakes and bake in the oven for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean
  7. Stand for 20 minutes then turn onto a wire rack to cool
  8. For icing, beat cream cheese using electric beaters until smooth
  9. Add vanilla and beat well, gradually add icing sugar, beating until smooth and creamy
  10. Top cupcakes with cream cheese icing and decorate with remaining walnuts
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This recipe was given to me as part of my kitchen tea gift from my bridesmaids. They had asked all my friends for their all time favourite recipe and collated it into a cute little photo album and wrapped it up with ribbon and finished it off with a mini whisk.

I must admit that it was so special i actually put it away along with my other wedding mementos only to be taken out when i was feeling sentimental. I know that it was not the intention so a couple of months ago i took it out to be used for its intended purpose.

The first recipe i tried was of course a chocolate one and never having tried a flourless cake before this recipe had me intrigued. I didn’t know what to expect at first, i mean, how can a cake not have flour in it? But, it works so i’m not going to question it any further.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Flourless Cake

  • 125 grams unsalted butter
  • 185 grams dark chocolate (roughly chopped)
  • 5 large eggs (separated)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 230 grams caster sugar
  • 250 grams ground almonds (almond meal)

To decorate

  • 300g dark chocolate (melted)
  • 1 punnet fresh raspberries
  • Icing sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. In a medium heatproof bowl over simmering water, stir butter and chocolate until melted. Set aside to cool
  3. Beat egg whites with salt and 1/3 of the sugar until soft peaks form
  4. Beat egg yolks with the remaining sugar until creamy
  5. Fold yolks into chocolate then the almond meal, then fold the egg whites in
  6. Spray and line with baking paper a 22cm spring-form pan and pour mixture into the pan
  7. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until cake is firm in the middle and cool on a wire rack
  8. Meanwhile, cut out a circle of baking paper 6cm wider than the diameter of the cake
  9. Spread thickly with melted chocolate and set aside to harden slightly for 5 minutes
  10. Please on top of the cake and allow sides to fold down over the cake loosely
  11. Refridgerate until set and sprinkle with raspberries and icing sugar

Recipe from Gen 😀

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I often make cheesecakes so i’m surprised i haven’t posted a recipe yet. The best thing about most cheesecake recipes is that you can just change the main ingredient to whatever takes your fancy. As usual, i was feeling peckish for something sweet so after scouring my cupboard for some inpiration, i stumbled across a packet of Oreos i had bought last month (and subsequently forgotten about!). 

It is quite easy to put together, it’s just the waiting time that i don’t like (i am not the most patient person at the best of times – something i am working on).

Oreo cheesecake

Oreo cheesecake

Oreo Cheesecake

  • 1 packet digestive biscuits (i used Marie biscuits)
  • 80 grams butter (melted)
  • 2 teaspoons gelatine
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2x 250 grams cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 200ml thickened cream
  • 150 grams white chocolate (melted)

Method

  1. Grease and line a square or circle 9 inch pan
  2. To make the crust, place the biscuits in a food processor or blender and pulse until you have fine crumbs
  3. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the melted butter until combined
  4. Press evenly into the pan and use the back of a spoon to even and smooth out any chunks
  5. In a small saucepan, combine the gelatine and water over medium heat. Stir until the gelatine has completely dissolved
  6. With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, vanilla and sugar until creamy
  7. Add cream, white chocolate and gelatine and mix until well combined
  8. With a rolling pin or mallet, gently smash the Oreo’s until they are crushed (i put them in a zip lock bag to prevent mess everywhere)
  9. Place Oreos into the mix and with a wooden spoon gently fold through
  10. Pour mixture into the pan and refridgerate overnight (we waited 3 hours and it was sufficent!)

This recipe was actually for salt and pepper squid but after one too many squid disasters i’ve kinda given up on them. I hope to master squid one day but for now, prawns work just as well. Frozen prawns i imagine will not work well so please try and get the freshest prawns you can. It will ensure the you get the sweet from the prawns to balance out the chilli, salt and pepper.

Salt and pepper prawns

Salt and pepper prawns

Salt and pepper prawns

  • 500 grams prawns (peeled and deveined)
  • 1/4 cup shallots (finely chopped)
  • 3 gloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1 small chilli
  • 1/2 cup self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Splash of chinese rice wine
  • Vegetable oil

Salt Mix

  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon 5 spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chicken stock powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. Combine salt mix and keep to the side
  2. In a heavy-based pan or wok, heat 2 cups of vegetable till the temperature is suitable for shallow frying (around 200C)
  3. In a bowl, combine self raising flour and water and mix well till you have a thickish batter consistency
  4. In a separate bowl, add corn flour
  5. Dip prawns in the batter mix and then in the corn flour then into the oil. You may need to do a few batches of the prawns (do not over crowd the pan)
  6. Prawns should only take a few minutes to cook and remove onto absorbant paper when golden
  7. In a separate pan, fry shallots, garlic and chilli in a little oil
  8. When shallots, garlic and chilli have softened, add a splash of chinese rice wine
  9. After a few seconds, add the prawns in and toss through the salt mix
  10. Serve immediately with jasmine rice

Serves 2

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