Daring Bakers January 2015: Esterhazy Torte

IMG_2183For the month of January Jelena from A Kingdom for a Cake invited us to start this year with a dreamy celebration cake. She challenged us to make the Esterhazy cake a.k.a the Hungarian dream. What better way to start the year than with a sweet dream?

Here we are in January, the month of beginnings, and here I am posting this daring baker’s challenge, recovering from a tonsillectomy. As much as I am hating everything right now and it hurts sooo much, hopefully this’ll be the start of a good year. I’ll keep this short and sweet as the painkillers are probably going to leave me pretty illiterate shortly. This torte was lovely, the original recipe called for hazelnuts but we’re more of an almond family. We (well, the rest of the country anyway) celebrated Australia Day yesterday and this cake resembles a vanilla slice (the Aussie millefeuille) so it’s appropriate for that too.

Ingredients

DACQUOISE LAYERS

6 large egg whites

125g caster (superfine) sugar

10 g vanilla

125g ground almonds

40 g plain (all purpose) flour

ALMOND CREAM

6 large egg yolks

125g caster (superfine) sugar

10 g vanilla

150g butter at room temperatureIMG_2186

75g ground almonds

APRICOT JAM GLAZE
45g apricot jam
1 teaspoon (5 ml) water

WHITE ICING
200g icing sugar
5 ml sunflower oil
15ml lemon juice
around 2 tablespoons (60 ml) hot water

CHOCOLATE DECORATION
25g dark chocolate
1 teaspoon (5 ml) oil
50g slivered almonds

Directions:

DACQUOISE

With an electric mixer beat the egg whites while gradually adding the sugar and vanilla sugar for about 5 minutes until stiff peaks form.

Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and add in the almonds mixed with the flour and beat until just combined.

Cut baking paper into five squares large enough to draw a circle of 5 inch in diameter on the squares.

Turn the paper over and place one piece onto an up-side down oven tray and delicately spoon inside the circle one-fifth of the beaten egg white mixture.

Place the tray into an preheated moderate 160°C oven and bake for 14 minutes. It will look soft but that is how we want them. Your finger should not stick to the layer when you touch it.

Take the layer out together with the paper and place on an even surface

Cool the oven tray and repeat with the next 4 layers. It is important that the up-side down oven tray is cool when you start to bake the layers.

ALMOND FILLING

The filling is cooked in a double boiler. If you do not have a double boiler just take two pots so that the smaller one fits perfectly in the larger one and there is no gap between them.

Fill the larger pot with about 1-inch (2 cm) water place on the stove and bring the water to a slow boil, the water should not touch the smaller pot bottom.

Beat the egg yolks and the sugar with an electric mixer in the smaller pot for 30 seconds. Place the smaller pot into the larger one and cook for 14-15 minutes. Stir every 2-3 minutes for a short while with a wooden spoon always scraping the sides and the bottom. Stir constantly, near the end.

Let it cool

Beat for 30 seconds

Beat the room temperature butter for 2 minutes until light and fluffy then beat into the cooked yolks

Add in the ground almonds and beat again until combined.

Set aside 2 tablespoons of the filling to spread around the torte at the end.

Divide the rest of the filling into 4 cups.

Line a large tray with some baking paper.

Remove the baking paper from one of the dacquoise and place it onto the tray, spread one quantity of filing evenly over the dacquoise, then place another layer on the top.

Repeat, making sure that the last layer is placed bottom-side-up (do not place filling on this surface) which will make it easier to obtain a smooth looking finish.

Place in the fridge for 1 hour

APRICOT JAM GLAZE

Heat the apricot jam and water on the stove.

Remove the top baking paper from the torte and spread the jam on top of it. We want a very thin layer, just barely covering the torte.

Place the torte back in the fridge for 30 minutes for the jam to cool.

When the 30 minutes is up, spread the 2 tablespoons of reserved filling around the cake.

WHITE ICING

By hand mix the powdered sugar, oil, lemon juice while adding teaspoon by teaspoon of hot water until the mixture is creamy, but not runny. Mix vigorously for a couple of minutes. The sugar should be lemony.

With a hot wet large knife quickly spread the icing over the apricot layer.

DECORATION

Before starting with the icing have the chocolate ready since it needs to go onto the soft icing in order to get the web.

Melt the chocolate with a teaspoon of oil, place in a pipping bag, or a  plastic bag with a cut in the corner that will act as the tip.

Draw four (4) concentric circles onto the cake, then with a knife (not the sharp side) or a wooden skewer run six (6) lines at 30 degree angle to the cake to get the decoration (see pictures for more details). Each line should be in a different direction. One running away from you and the next one running to you.

Press the slivered almonds around the cake to complete the decoration.

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Daring Bakers December Challenge: Dutch Sweet Bread

For the month of December, Andrea from 4pure took us on a trip to the Netherlands. She challenged us to take our taste buds on a joyride through the land of sugar and spice by baking three different types of Dutch sweet bread” 

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As usual December has been so hectic; holidays, baking, parties and presents. I love Christmas, it’s my favourite time of year. However, I left this challenge right down to the line: made this morning, cooled and photographed midmorning, editing at lunch, upload now. And to be honest, I don’t feel like baking, because we’ve got soooo much food. But these are good, really good.  And even better because I made them in my new mini bundt tin! Will become a staple in our house I’m sure. So keep this recipe for when you feel like seeing food again.

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Kruidkoek

(I made half because, food, too much food)

Ingredients:

4 cups (960 ml) (17-2/3 oz) (500 gm) all-purpose (plain) flourIMG_1831

1½ teaspoons (7 gm) baking powder

2½ cups (600 ml) (17-2/3 oz) (500 gm) brown sugar, firmly packed

2 teaspoons (10 gm) ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons (10 gm) ground nutmeg

2 cups (500 ml) milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to moderate 180˚C and spray your tin. line with baking paper if using a loaf tin

Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl

Put the milk in a small saucepan and warm until it almost comes to a boil. Remove from the heat

add the sugar and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients whisk (by hand or using a machine) until the batter is totally smooth.

Pour into tins and bake for 13-15 minutes.

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A special chocolate and orange birthday

IMG_1619Happy birthday to my boyfriend! I made this cake last yearand it was such a success, he asked for the exact same cake… of course I wasn’t too keen on repeating things, so looked for another flavour; cue chocolate and orange. Chocolate cake with orange french buttercream, chocolate ganache and chocolate orange macarons. Cake making went smoothly, buttercream was perfect, the macarons played ball and decorating was relatively uneventful, though ganaching a cake is still not my favourite thing to do.

The chocolate cake is the same cake as last year, but i used 3/4 of the batter for the cake to make 3 6inch layers and used the other 1/4 to make 3 cupcakes. Because a 4 layer cake would have been excessive and ridiculously tall.

A little bit about french buttercream: rich, silky and smooth, its made like italian meringue buttercream but with egg yolks instead of whites. I find it less buttery. It works fantastically to fill cakes.

I used almond milk for the ganache, because well almond milk is awesome. and healthier than cream.

Cake

  • 100g almond meal
  • 3 eggs
  • 180g brown sugar
  • 300g peeled and grated courgette
  • 120g flour
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • orange zest (1 orange)

Preheat oven to 180˚C, line and grease 3 6 inch tins.

Whisk eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add courgette and almond meal, then the flour, cocoa and baking powder and orange zest. Beat until incorporated

Pour 1/4 of mix into cupcake liners and the other 3/4 evenly into the tins and bake for 20-30 mins

Buttercream

4 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

orange zest (2 oranges)

200g butter

red and yellow colouring

  • whisk the yolks until paleIMG_1622
  • while whisking, combine sugar and water in saucepan over medium heat
  • when the sugar reaches softball (115˚C) take off the heat and slowly stream into the yolks while whisking
  • once cool (10mins) gradually add the butter, zest and colouring.

Ganache

250 g dark chocolate

125 ml almond milk

  • heat almond milk until simmering, then pour it over the chopped up chocolate
  • after 3 minutes or so stir until smooth.
  • cool until peanut butter texture

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Assembly

Place the bottom layer on a 6 inch cake board

Pipe a border of ganache and layer with 1/3 buttercream

Place the next layer of cake on top and repeat the piping and filling step.

Place the final layer of cake on top

Place the whole thing in the fridge to firm up

Ice with ganche

Top with macarons

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100’s and 1000’s Chocolate cake with Malted chocolate Icing

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So when life gives you lemons… trade them in for some sprinkles, because to be honest, you can’t stay sad when there are sprinkles involved. So a bit of therapy for me during the last few weeks of uni was to bake a cake and throw a tonne of sprinkles on it. Actually, I had baked the cake the week before, and made the icing, but in the end I didn’t need either, so they went into the freezer until the need arose to (as mentioned) throw some sprinkles around.

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Topped with these cute cupcake toppers, who could fail to smile when looking at this cake. Also it doesn’t hurt that it tasted good too. Malted chocolate icing and a dark chocolates cake, filled with a whipped caramel cream filling. And sprinkles. don’t forget the sprinkles. So look, read, and bake. And most importantly, don’t forget to smile.

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Cake

  • 165 g all-purpose flour
  • 300 g granulated sugar
  • 65g Dutch Cocoa Powder
  • 10g baking soda
  • 5 g baking powder
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 180 ml buttermilk, room temperatureIMG_1553
  • 1800 ml strong black coffee, hot
  • 60 ml vegetable oil
  • 5 ml pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C. Prepare 2 8-inch round cake pans.
  2. In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients, including sugar. Combine eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork.
  3. Add milk mixture to the dry ingredients mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. (Batter will be thin)
  4. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Continue to bake until toothpick or skewer comes almost clean, about 12 more minutes. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool

 

Malted Chocolate Icing

  • 220 g butter, at room temperature
  • 300 g icing sugar
  • 50 g Ovaltine Classic
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
  • 125g quality chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
  • 60 ml whipping cream
  1. In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the icing sugar and butter and beat on low speed for about 1 minute.
  2. Add malt powder, vanilla and salt, and beat on low until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add whipping cream and beat on med-high speed for another minute.

 

Whipped Caramel Cream FillingIMG_1574

  • 125ml whipping cream
  • 120g cream cheese
  • 100g melted caramel chocolate baking chips
  1. whip the cream until thickened and peaks just start to form
  2. Gradually add the cream cheese followed by the chocolate, with the mixer on low.
  3. Increase the speed until firm peaks form and the filling is spreadable

 

Assembly

Once cakes are cooled, place the bottom layer on a plate of your choice or a turntable for icing smoothing.

Spread a thick layer of the filling on top, then place the second cake on top.

Ice a crumb coat of the malt icing, then refrigerate for 10 minutes (minimum)

Ice your cake as you like it.

Attack with sprinkles.

Smile

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Sachertorte: October Daring Bakers’ Challenge

 for-db The October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Korena of Korena in the Kitchen. She took us to Austria and introduced us to the wonders of the Sachertorte.for-db2

Busy busy! Still baking a lot but I don’t have an awful lot of time to photograph and post. After this week I should have more time. But I made the effort with the daring baker’s challenge this month because it was a cake!!! After all the yeast challenges (and in my wintery kitchen with my rainy Perth weather they really were challenges), I was excited to finally have a cake challenge. Though not entirely a hit, it was fun to learn about and fun to make.

IMG_1603Cake Ingredients

125 g good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
125 g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
125 g confectioners’ sugar (aka icing sugar or powdered sugar)
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
100 gm granulated sugar
125 g all-purpose (plain) flour
pinch fine grain salt

1. Preheat oven to 190˚C with a rack in the centre of the oven. Butter and flower the sides of a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.

2. Place the bittersweet chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and heat over a small saucepan of barely simmering water (make sure that the bowl is not touching the simmering water) or in the microwave until just melted. Set aside to cool completely, stirring often.

3. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or electric mixer on medium speed until very light and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar on low speed, then increase to medium speed and beat again until light and creamy.

4. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

5. Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla and beat until well-mixed and very light and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

6. In a scrupulously clean bowl using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with about one tablespoon of the granulated sugar on high speed until foamy. Gradually add in the rest of the granulated sugar and continue beating the whites until they form soft, shiny peaks – they should hold their shape but flop over on themselves.

7. Vigorously stir about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a spatula until just a few wisps of egg white remain. Do this carefully so as not to deflate the egg whites.

8. Stir together the flour and salt and sift half of it over the chocolate mixture. Fold in with a spatula until almost incorporated. Sift over the remaining flour and fold to combine completely.

9. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared springform pan.

10. Bake in the preheated moderately hot 375˚F/350°F fan/190˚C/gas mark 5 oven for 35-45 minutes (mine took exactly 40 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The cake will crack and dome in the middle as it bakes but will flatten out as it cools.

11. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan and remove the sides. Carefully invert the cake onto a rack and remove the bottom of the pan and parchment paper, then turn the cake right-side up onto a rack and allow to cool completely.

12. Assembly: Turn the cake upside-down so that the perfectly flat bottom of the cake is now the top. Cut the cake horizontally into 2 even layers.

13. Place 1 cake layer on the 8½-inch (22 cm) cardboard cake round and spread it generously with about half of the apricot glaze. Allow it to soak in.

14. Place the second cake layer on top and spread the top and sides with the remaining apricot glaze. Work quickly before the glaze has a chance to set and use a metal offset spatula to smooth the top. Place the cake on a rack set over a plate or baking sheet lined with waxed paper and allow the apricot glaze to set.

15. Make the chocolate glaze (it must be used immediately, while still hot) and pour it over the top of the cake, first around the edge and then in the middle. Spread the excess glaze over any bare spots using a metal offset spatula. Before the glaze has a chance to set, move the cake to a serving platter.

Apricot Glaze

1¼ cup apricot jam or preserves
2 tablespoons rum (or other liquor) or water

Directions:

1. Boil the jam and rum/water in a small saucepan over medium heat.
2. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and drips slowly from the spoon, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Strain through a wire mesh sieve, pressing firmly on the solids. You should have about 1 cup of glaze. Use warm.

Chocolate Glaze

1 cup (240 ml) (7 oz) (200 g) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 ml) water
(4 oz) (115 gm) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions:

1. Place the sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
2. Attach a candy thermometer and cook, stirring, until the mixture reaches12°C
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. It might thicken up quite a bit. If it does, return it to low heat and add a few drops of water if necessary to thin it out to a runny, pourable consistency. The glaze should be smooth and shiny.IMG_1606

Daring Bakers September Challenge: Dvojctihodné / Moravské koláče (Two fillings / Moravian Kolaches)

The September Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat –Kolaches!

Wow things are hectic at the moment. So much is going on with assignments due all the time, but considering I haven’t done the last two challenges I told myself I must try this one. My heart sank when I saw dough and yeast again, due to my recent failures with sourdough. I’ve had a bit of a confidence knock when it comes to bread. But thankfully all went to planned this time around. At the same time as making these czech treats, I dared a simple sourdough loaf, which, though  far from perfect, was edible and enjoyable. After all this was a Daring Bakers challenge!IMG_1488

Anyway, these koláče were lovely. The perfect saturday morning breakfast, I filled them with apricot and strawberry jam as I didn’t have plum. I also substituted cream cheese for quark as I didn’t have any… except of course for the usual subatomic particles that make up everything. Sorry, physics nerd….

Anyway, enjoy my daring bake, and attempt your own!

IMG_1489Ingredients

for dough
500 g all-purpose flour
100 g sugar
250 ml milk, warm
75 g butter, melted
30 g fresh yeast or  15 g active day yeast
pinch of salt
2 small egg yolks

for quark filling
750 g quark or cream cheese
1 small egg yolkIMG_1490
confectioner’s (icing) sugar to taste

for jam filling
strawberry, apricot, plum (jam of your choice)

for streusel topping
50 g plain flour
50 g butter, chilled and diced
50 g sugar

for finish
1 egg

Directions:
In a bowl mix together yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Add 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) warm milk, mix well and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 – 15 minutes.
In a bowl of your electric mixer (or in a large bowl) mix flour, sugar, salt, egg yolks, butter, milk and leavened yeast. Knead with dough hook (or with wooden spoon) on low speed for about 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about one hour to double its volume.

Meanwhile prepare quark filling – just mix all ingredients – and jam filling – mix jam with rum or water to soften it. Set aside.

Prepare streusel topping. In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add cold butter diced in small cubes and with your fingers, mix all ingredients until crumbly. You can also use my mum’s trick – in a saucepan melt the butter, add flour and sugar at once and mix with fork until crumbly. Set aside.

When the dough is risen turn it onto a lightly floured surface and roll it with rolling pin to a thickness of about 2 cm (¾ inch). Cut with 10cm (4 inch) cookie cutter or just with a glass (if you want small kolaches) or divide the dough into 10 equal pieces (if you want large kolaches). Splat each piece with your hands and fill with quark filling. Wrap it into a “purse” shape.

Preheat oven to moderate 340°F/170°C/gas mark 3. Line 2 – 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Put each kolach onto a prepared baking sheet with seam down. Press each kolach in the middle as you can see on the picture below. Brush it with egg wash and fill holes with plum filling. Sprinkle it with streusel topping. Bake for about 20 minutes to golden brown.IMG_1491

Birthday Cakes

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So this was a couple of weeks back but I still want to share: my first ever cake commission! An 18th cake for 60 people and a little 17th cake. Ohmygosh so much cake! So much buttercream! So many hours. I think I may need to work on time management, but it all went reasonably well and the recipients were happy with the result. Tired, never want to see cake again…. nah, just joking, I think i baked the very next day. Its an addiction. I’m not going to post the recipes but here are the pictures.IMG_1487IMG_1484

A orange and passionfruit sponge 18th cake and a red velvet 17th cake.IMG_1479IMG_1483