Easter Cake

So heres a late Easter post for you all! I may have done a lot of Easter baking, and then kind of burnt out before I could post any of it. At least I took some pictures for you! Quite lovely pictures if I might add.

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This cake was inspired by speckled eggs, and a couple of lovely easter cakes I saw on blogs. The cake is a lemon cake, the icing chocolate between the layers and lemon on the top and sides. I made some cute little royal icing nests as cake and cupcake toppers.  The speckles were made with cocoa and water flecked on with a paint brush.Image

Hope you all had a happy Easter weekend!

Cake

3 eggs

180g white sugar

300g courgette

100g almond meal

120g flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp lemon juice

Whisk eggs and sugar until light and fluffy

Add courgette, followed by the remaining ingredients

Pour into 3 6′ tins and bake at 180˚C for 20 mins

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Icing 

100g butter

240g icing sugar

200g cream cheese

1 tbsp lemon juice

melted dark chocolate

3 drops blue gel food colouring

Whisk butter until fluffy

Add half the icing sugar and beat to a paste

Add the remaining icing sugar and cream cheese and beat until smooth

Separate into 1/3 and 2/3

Add lemon juice and blue colouring to the larger bowl

Add chocolate to the smaller bowl
 

Ice the cake as shown. Mix 1 tbsp of cocoa with 1 tsp of boiling water. Flick the cake with a paint brush.

 

 
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Éclairs

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Mum held a lunch for her friends and their kids yesterday as a start to school holidays. She never does things by halves and this was no exception. The menu included and was not limited to; sausage rolls, quiches, chicken and salad, followed by meelktart, lemon meringue pie and chocolate éclairs. This is a fair bit for one person and so, I offered my assistance, despite not actually being around for the lunch. Selfless right? And there may have been a burning desire to attempt éclairs again…. I also made the lemon meringue, but I’ll reserve that recipe for when I make a prettier one.

Now, choux pastry can be temperamental and unpredictable. The same recipe can result in little fluffy cases or flat lifeless pancakes. And of course, it helps if your recipe contains the correct quantities… yeah, it was one of those days. I decided to branch out and try a new recipe from Michael Paul’s book, Sweet Paris and adapted it slightly. It called for 4 eggs, which I thought was a bit excessive regarding the quantities of the other ingredients, so I cut it to three. Also the temperature was 180˚C, which I changed to 220˚C for the first 10 minutes and then drop to 185˚C to encourage rising. They were pretty good as shells, but not perfect yet.

Mum always used to do chocolate glazed, whipped cream filled éclairs, but I wanted to try a crème pâtissière, so I settled for some whipped cream filled, some vanilla crème pâtissière filled and some chocolate crème pâtissière filled.

The éclairs were the most popular, and the chocolate filled ones went the fastest. One boy even said they were the best thing he had ever put in his mouth. I call that success.

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Choux55g butter65ml water

65ml milk

1tbsp sugar

100g flour

3 eggs

Heat the butter, water, milk and sugar over the stove until boiling

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Add the flour and stir until smooth and forming a ball. Take off the heat.

Add the eggs one at a time stirring vigorously each time.

spoon into a piping bag and allow to cool and stiffen slightly

pipe on a baking sheet lined with baking paper into desired shapes (e.g. éclairs or balls)

Bake at 220˚C for 10 minutes and then drop the temperature to 190˚C for 15 minutes

They should rise up like miniature loaves of bread.

 

Crème Pâtissiere

5 egg yolks

6 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp cornflour

3 tbsp flour

2 c milk

1 tsp vanilla paste

1 cup cream (whipped)

Heat the milk on the stove until almost boiling

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale

Add the flour and cornflour, beat until smooth

Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mix, while beating. Slow at first to avoid scrambling the eggs.

Transfer back to the stove and whisk until thick and boiling. Whisk for a further 2 minutes then remove from heat

Place cling wrap directly on to crème to avoid a skin forming refrigerate until use.

USE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE

When ready to use, whisk in the cream, whisk until smooth

For the chocolate crème; use half the crème, add 15g melted chocolate and 1 tsp cocoa powder.

 

Filling and glazing the éclairs

Make a small hole in each, at the bottom or the side, pipe the selected filling into the éclair gently until full.

Melt 150g dark chocolate. spread the top of each éclair.

 

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Chocolate and Earl Grey Cupcakes

The best way to find inspiration is to follow other blogs. One of my favourite is Raspberri Cupcakes. A recipe for chocolate cupcakes with earl grey icing and salted caramel was posted a while a go and I kept revisiting it, because wow they looked amazing! I was reluctant to actually follow through with my own version due to a couple of axioms and a derived parameter:

1. for some unknown reason, my mother doesn’t like chocolate cupcakes or earl grey tea.

2. my brother doesn’t like earl grey tea.

3. Derived from the previous two, I really should not make these because they appeal to me (and only me) and will go to waste because I can’t possibly eat them all myself.

However, one can only resist for so long and I had some left over caramel in the fridge, so that was my excuse…. even though I decided to leave them sans caramel in the end. I made only half of them earl grey, and the other half just chocolate as to try to appease my unrefined family, however as feared, I love them, mum’s not too keen and surprisingly neither is my brother… something about the icing? Which I really don’t understand, because oh my, the icing is heaven: fluffy brown sugar meringue! I had left over so I made some meringues… And ate quite a bit of the icing itself….

My verdict: best cupcakes I’ve made in a while. But try them yourselves! Let me know how you like them. Image

Chocolate Cupcakes 

3 teabags earl grey, tea leaves removed, brewed in 1/4 cup water

3 eggs

180g demerara sugar

300g peeled and grated courgette

100g almond meal

120g flour

2 tsp baking powder

60g cocoa

Preheat oven to 180˚C

Whisk eggs and sugar until fluffy and pale

Add the courgette, followed by the almond meal, flour, baking powder and cocoa

Spoon into half the cupcake cases for your plain chocolate cupcakes

Add the brewed earl grey to the remaining mix. Pour this into cases.

Bake for 20 minutes

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Brown Sugar Icing

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3/4c firmly packed brown sugar

1/4c corn syrup

1/4c water

2 egg whites

Heat the sugar, corn syrup and water to 117˚C

Beat the egg whites until just fluffy

Gradually add the syrup to the egg whites while beating and beat until cool.

pipe onto the cooled cupcakes

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Carrot Cake

Last Saturday was kind of cold and rainy, such lovely weather, and it called for a comforting carrot cake. My mum has a fantastic recipe but I decided to try something new…. Which was a success! A lighter cake than I’m used to in a carrot cake but still lovely. Add or omit the nuts as desired.

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Ingredients

80g pecans or walnuts

3 eggs

160g raw sugar

280g grated carrots

150g flour

80g almond meal

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Method

Preheat oven to 180˚C and line 2 tins with baking paper

Whisk the eggs and sugar until fluffy

IMG_1643Add the carrots followed by the flour, almond meal, cinnamon, baking powder and vanilla.

Pour into prepared tins and scatter the nuts over, so they just sink into the mix.

Bake for 40mins -1 hour

 

Icing

35g butter

200g icing sugar

50g cream cheese

 

Whisk the butter until light and fluffy

Add 100g of the icing sugar and beat to a paste

Add the rest of the icing sugar and the cream cheese, whisk until fluffy

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Cherry and Almond Cake

Yay for saturday! everything good happens on a saturday I find. Today involved scones, horses and cherry cake. And voting….. But I got a sticker for that one so its not too bad. Cherry and almonds go together wonderfully and this cake is beautiful. A slight mishap involved using peppermint essence instead of almond essence…. Luckily almond essence is strong enough to trump the peppermint.

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Cherry and Almond Cake

3 eggs

180g sugar

200g finely grated potato

100g flour

100g almond meal

2tsp baking powder

1tsp almond essence

250g glacé cherries halved and coated with flour

 

Preheat oven to 180˚C and line 2 18cm tins with baking paper

Beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy

Add the grated potato, followed by the flour, almond meal, baking powder and almond essence

Pour into the 2 tins and scatter the cherries evenly.

Bake for 20-30 minutes

Ice either with the cherry icing below or sandwiched with cherry jam and dusted with icing sugar

 

 

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Icing

50g butter

70g cream cheese

250g icing sugar

1tbsp cherry brandy

1tsp vanilla extract

Cream the butter and 100g of the icing sugar.

Add the remaining icing sugar, the cream cheese and the flavours.

 

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