Cherry Cake

IMG_2486It’s been a while since we’ve had cake, just for us in the house. By a while I mean like three weeks. Over Easter, hot cross buns were made and chocolate was consumed, but the desire for a nice cake was fulfilled this weekend. I gave Sweetapolitia’s Cherry Cake a try, with a few adaptations of my own, and created a cute pink 6″ maraschino cherry and almond cake that was moist and ‘practically perfect in every way’ (yes I may have been watching Mary Poppins too).

I also found a use for my little cupcake stand, which I always forget about when photographing actual cupcakes. So it was temporarily converted into a maraschino cherry stand for these photos. Also our roses are in bloom constantly, so why not take advantage of it?

3 steps:

Make this cake

Eat this cake

Repeat. Because you’ll want to.

IMG_2496

Cherry Cake: makes 3 six inch layers

Ingredients

  • 180g flour
  • 225g sugarIMG_2499
  • 13g baking powder
  • 85g cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 150ml milk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Maraschino cherry juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra large egg whites, room temperature (or 3 large ones)
  • pink food colouring
  • About 15 Maraschino cherries, halved or quartered

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C. Grease and line the bottoms of three 6″ tins.
  2. In the bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder on low speed.
  3. Add in the butter one piece at a time. Beat on low speed until all the butter has been incorporated, about 3 minutes. The mixture should have a fine crumbly texture.
  4. Combine half the milk, the cherry juice, lemon juice, and vanilla.
  5. In a separate measuring cup, gently whisk the egg whites and remaining milk.
  6. With stand mixer on low speed, gradually add the cherry juice mixture, followed by colour and beat until combined and smooth.
  7. Put the mixer back on low speed and add the egg white mixture in three parts, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat for 1 minute.
  8. Toss the cherry bits in a little flour and gently fold them into the batter by hand.
  9. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center is removed with few crumbs.

Icing

  • 100g butterIMG_2487
  • 70g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp maraschino cherry juice
  • 250g icing sugar
  1. Beat butter until pale and fluffy
  2. Add the cream cheese, vanilla, cherry juice and half the icing sugar and beat on low until a smooth paste forms.
  3. Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat on high until fluffy.
  4. Ice as desired.

IMG_2492

Advertisements

Fondant Creations

So I don’t know about you but when I see those beautiful cakes made smooth and perfect with rolled fondant, I am both impressed and disappointed. Yeah they look good, but the majority of people peel the fondant off, because it tastes less than fantastic. When needing to do a novelty cake, I wanted to avoid using it but still achieve the neat finish. Enter marshmallow fondant! I’ve come across recipes for it often on Pinterest but I’ve been skeptical. After some experimentation, I found it easy to make, easy to roll, easy to colour and it doesn’t go sticky or fall apart. And it tastes like marshmallows! I haven’t tried flavouring it, but I’m sure its possible too.  From now on this will be my go to fondant.

The ratio of marshmallow to icing sugar is 1:1 so its easy to scale the recipe up and down. It probably makes life easier to sift your icing sugar before adding it to the marshmallow but I’ve done it without as well (it just takes a bit more kneading). If you want to colour the fondant its easiest to just use the white marshmallows.

Recipe

240g marshmallows

240g icing sugar (plus extra for dusting)

Melt the marshmallows in the microwave for 1 minute or until puffed up and soft. If they’re still solid then do 10 second bursts.

Gradually add the icing sugar while stirring.

Once all the icing sugar is added (not fully combined) scrap the mix onto a surface dusted with icing sugar. Dust your hands as well.

Knead the fondant until smooth and no longer sticky (adding icing sugar as needed).

Add colour now if needed. It can be rolled out and used immediately or stored in cling wrap in the fridge or freezer.

10985308_1593923630853634_8552019211688538815_n

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

IMG_1562

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.

IMG_1595

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.

IMG_1578

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

IMG_1559

 

 

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

Experimental Creations: Sourdough, Cake, Red Velvet and Muffins

So no baking for me last week until friday, so I was quite ready to get in the kitchen come the weekend. A weekend of experiments, with a 75% success rate, not bad i’d say. Sourdough cinnamon buns, a naked cake, red velvet brownies and vanilla pear muffins.

Not strictly baking, but I started my second attempt at a sourdough starter on monday, Max II. Yes I named my sourdough… Is that weird? What happened to Max I, you may ask? Well… uh… my history with plants should have been an indication that I would battle to keep an inanimate live object alive. Anyway… Max II is alive and well, and I set out to make sourdough cinnamon buns for Saturday morning. The weather was against me from the start, and the dough was really sticky, so I added more flour. Warning signs were there by the end of the first prove but I pressed onwards and even shaped them and left them to prove overnight… Which they didn’t. So no cinnamon buns….

Enter Vanilla Pear Muffins! A new recipe, not too sweet, and yielded HUUGGEE muffins. Paired with the cream cheese icing meant for the cinnamon buns, they were a fair substitute. pearmuffin1IMG_1446IMG_1433IMG_1436

Now the cream cheese icing from the cinnamon bun/muffin incident, was created from the leftover fluffy vanilla icing topping the red velvet meant-to-be-brownies-but-were-too-amazingly-fluffy cake slices. I used my red velvet cupcake recipe to make red velvet brownies, but they really aren’t squidgy enough to be brownies. In fact, they’re so light and fluffy, I’ve renamed them red velvet clouds. Go make these now, they’re that good. You can easily do them as cupcakes or in a brownie tin.

IMG_1470
IMG_1448
redvelvet

As for the cake…. think orange and passionfruit naked layer cake, filled with passionfruit french buttercream, lightly dusted with icing sugar. An experiment in recipes and flavour for something exciting coming up in the next week….

Red Velvet Birthday Cake

Another post from baking abroad! We celebrated a couple of big birthdays on holiday as well as a couple of little birthdays, and so to commemorate them, a cake was needed. With one of the birthday girls turning 8 and favouring pink and flowers, the choice of decoration was obvious. And to follow through, a lovely red velvet cake underneath. Difficult to undertake without a mixer or my usual repertoire of ingredients, this cake was a resounding success, though I was unhappy with with the icing (the quality of butter was terrible). The red velvet recipe is from Sweetapolita but slightly adapted. The meringue recipe can be found here.

IMG_1157IMG_1162

Red Velvet Cake (adapted from here)

  • 170 g unsalted butter
  • 225 g packed light brown sugar
  • 200 g white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons  vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon super red soft gel pasteIMG_1168
  • 3 eggs
  • 310 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 360 ml buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy

Add the eggs, vanilla and colouring and beat until combined

Add the combined flour and cocoa powder in three batches, alternating with the butter milk

Add the mayonnaise

Combine the vinegar and bicarb and then add to the cake mix

Bake in lined tins at 180˚C for 20-25 minutes. Time varies dependingon oven and tins, so watch your oven.

 

IMG_1169

Lemon Meringue Birthday Cake

 Ok so this post is a little old, but too pretty not to share. I decided to make a birthday cake for an amazing friend, who loves lemon. Lemon meringue is always a hit with her. After seeing this amazingly cute cake from Sweetapolita, I knew I had to do a version. Image

In general, I was pretty pleased. I used a smaller tin than the original recipe because I wanted a tall small cake. This is four layers tall, 2 lemon layers and 2 vanilla. I also tried an ombre effect, that could have used with a bit more definition. Image

The cake was filled with lemon curd, iced in lemon curd italian meringue buttercream,  Image

And topped with swirly meringues.Image

So cute! Also this was a learning experience for me. I finally completely understand buttercream (though this icing wasn’t brilliant as the revelation was a bit late), I have become a lemon curd convert, and I made super pretty meringues. I’ll share Sweetapolita’s lemon curd recipe, my buttercream and meringue recipes, but any basic vanilla or lemon cake can be used.

Lemon Curd

4 egg yolks

2 eggs

1 cup (200g) sugar

160ml lemon juice

60g butter

Whisk the eggs, sugar and lemon juice in the top pan of a double boiler.

Place over simmering water, stirring with a wooden spoon, adding the butter. 

Stir until thick and coating the spoon. 

Strain and store. Or just eat.

Meringues

3 egg whites

150g sugar

30g water

Place sugar and water in a pot, bring to softball stage (114-117˚C). 

Start whisking the egg whites when the sugar reaches 100˚C until foaming

Gradually stream the sugar syrup into the egg whites, whisking on high until stiff and cool.

Paint 2 strips of colouring down the inside of a piping bag

Fill the bag with meringue, pipe as desired and bake at 100˚C for 1 hour. Dry out for 40minutes at 40˚C.

Buttercream

1 1/2 c sugar

1/2 c water

2 egg whites

340g butter

lemon curd to taste.

Simmer 1/2c of water and 1 1/2c sugar in a saucepan until 115˚C. Whisk egg whites until foaming, gradually add the sugar syrup. Continue to whisk until the bowl is cool. Add the butter to the meringue gradually. Then the lemon curd.

If your buttercream curdles its too cold, I warm the bowl with a blow torch because I’m inpatient. If it goes soupy it’s too warm. Refrigerate and then keep beating. I also like using a paddle attachment, not a whisk when adding the butter. 

 Image