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Archive for the ‘Daring Baker’s Challenge’ Category

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

After another busy month i was a little relieved to hear that the challenge for February was relatively easy. I’ve made flourless chocolate cake before but the flour was usually replaced with almond meal or a similar substance. Not this one. It was really just chocolate, eggs and butter! Thankfully i had a friend visit the night i was making it and he, along with my husband managed to eat the whole thing to themselves. I was happy to just have a mouthful, so i could taste it but that was enough for me.

The second half of the challenge was to make ice-cream. I must admit i did not do this (again, time restrictions) but i did pair it with bought vanilla ice-cream (Peter’s – the best in my opinion). I think the cake needed the ice-cream, just to break up the huge chocolate hit.

Chocolate Valentino - A flourless chocolate cake

Chocolate Valentino - A flourless chocolate cake

Chocolate Valentino

  • 454 grams of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs separated

Method

  1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
  2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
  3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
  4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry). 
  5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
  6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
  7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. 
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
  9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
  10. Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet. 
  11. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.
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This months challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have choosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angelique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

Having had such a hectic December, i missed out on the December challenge which was a French Yule Log. I must admit, the initial shock of an 18 page recipe didn’t help but i really was far too busy to complete it. Now that the silly season is over, i am finally finding some time for baking again and just in time to complete January’s challenge.

After such a heavy challenge in December (not that i would know seeing as i didn’t complete it) the lovely people at Daring Bakers decided to go for something light which was totally fine by me. I welcome anything that tastes good but doesn’t make you feel fat and bloated!

Before this challenge, i had never heard of Tuiles before. In case you’re wondering, Tuiles are thin, crisp almond cookies that are gently molded over a rolling pin or arched while they are still warm. Once set, their shape resembles the curved French roofing tiles for which they are named. 

I was going to make cones for my challenge and fill it with ice-cream (perfect for the 40 degree weather we’ve been having lately) but i decided to make fortune cookies instead in honour of Chinese New Year.

Before making them i thought they would be tricky but they were really so easy and tasted pretty much like the ones you would buy – honest!

 

Fortune Cookies

Fortune Cookies

Fortune Cookies

 

  • 1/4 cup of softened butter (not melted)
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • a dash of vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
  • 1/4 cup plain flour

 

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180c

Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract on low speed to a paste. Keep stirring while adding the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste (be careful not to overmix).

Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and refridgerate for 30 minutes

Line a tray with baking paper and using a 7cm round cookie cutter, place some batter to form a round, even circle. Make sure you allow enough space between each cookie

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Bake the cookies until the edges are golden (about 10-12 minutes) keeping a close eye on them. Once edges have browned, remove the cookies from the oven and flip with a spatula

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Place a fortune in the middle of the cookie and fold the cookie in half (be careful as they are hot! you kinda need to work fast and it would really help if you had abestos hands like me 😛 )

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Using a muffin tin, bend the cookie in half in the middle and keep the cookie in the tin to keep its shape

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Allow the cookies to cool before storing in an airtight container.

 

Fortune Cookies

Fortune Cookies

This months challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have choosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angelique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

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.