cinnamon walnut babka - the lesser babka

31 Aug 2015

Do you remember when Juliana and I both made Ottolenghi's Chocolate Krantz Cake? I had some leftover babka dough so I made the cinnamon walnut variation, which was delicious. Elaine from Seinfeld might have declared the cinnamon babka the lesser babka but I don't agree as this one was really delicious. I only took a few photos at the time, which I didn't get round to posting. Last weekend I was going to make a sour cherry cheesecake babka but I wasn't sure how to roll and cut it so I decided it was all too hard and instead made another cinnamon walnut babka. This one I managed to photograph before taking in to work.

I've worked on the original babka dough recipe a bit as I wasn't happy with the first batch I made. I've added a bit more yeast and altered the technique a little. I've written the recipe the way I now make it, which I think is a much easier process. btw, you don't have to pre-activate the yeast. It's just something I do whenever I make sweet bread dough.

For the original instructions you can refer back to the original krantz cake recipeThe filling I adapted from this chocolate cinnamon snail recipe and it works really well. 

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Cinnamon Walnut Babka - adapted from the Chocolate Krantz Cake recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Makes 1 babka - this is a bit of a process so you will need to start the recipe the day before you bake the babka.

Yeast sponge
2 tsp dry yeast (15 g fresh yeast)
1 tsp plain flour
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbs warm water

In a small bowl, mix the dry ingredients together before adding the water. Stir until it forms a smooth paste. Cover the bowl and leave for 15-20 minutes until the yeast starts to froth and bubble. If it doesn't, leave for anther 15 minutes. If nothing happens then the yeast is dead and you'll need to start over with fresh yeast.

75 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
¼ cup (50g) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 cups (300g) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch salt
1-2 tbs milk
Sunflower oil, for greasing

In the bowl of a stand mixer use a regular beater to cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the egg, the yeast sponge and half the flour and mix to a soft batter. Change the flat beater to the dough hook and add the remaining flour and sufficient milk to form a soft dough. Mix on medium speed for about 10 minutes until the dough is completely smooth, elastic, and shiny. Place the dough in a large bowl brushed with sunflower oil, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in the fridge for at least half a day, preferably overnight. The dough will not rise much while in the fridge so don't worry. The next day, take the dough from the fridge and leave it at room temperature for about 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Walnut cinnamon filling
80 g unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
100 g light brown sugar
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp maple or golden syrup
1 tbs almond meal
50 g coarsely chopped toasted walnuts

Make the filling by mixing the softened butter with the brown sugar, cinnamon, the syrup and almond meal to form a spreadable paste. Set to one side.

Grease a 23 by 10 cm (9 by 4 in) loaf pan with some sunflower oil and line the bottom of each pan with baking paper. Roll the dough into a rectangle measuring 38 by 28 cm (15 by 11 in) out on a lightly floured surface. Trim the sides to make them even, then position the dough so that a long side is closest to you. Use an offset spatula to spread the cinnamon mixture over the rectangle, leaving a 2 cm/¾ inch border all around. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the cinnamon paste.

Brush a little bit of water along the long end farthest away from you. Use both hands to roll up the rectangle like a roulade, starting from the long side that is closest to you and ending at the other long end. Press to seal the dampened end onto the roulade and then use both hands to even out the roll into a perfect thick cigar. Rest the cigar on its seam.

Trim about 2 cm/¾ inch off both ends of the roulade with a serrated knife. Now use the knife to gently cut the roll into half lengthwise, starting at the top and finishing at the seam. You are essentially dividing the log into two long even halves, with the layers of dough and filling visible along the length of both halves. With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, and then lift the right half over the left half. Repeat this process, but this time lift the left half over the right, to create a simple, two-pronged plait. Gently squeeze together the other ends so that you are left with the two halves, intertwined, showing the filling on top. Mine was so long I made a double plait. Carefully lift the cake into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a wet tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1½ -2 hours. The cake will rise by 10 to 20 percent.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Remove the tea towel, place the cake on the middle rack of the oven, and bake for about 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. If not, return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes. My babka took 45 minutes to cook through. While the babka is in the oven, make the syrup.

⅓ cup (75g) caster sugar
⅓ cup water
1 cinnamon stick

Combine the water, sugar and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Place the pan over a medium heat and bring to a boil. As soon as the sugar dissolves, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes then remove the pan from the heat and leave the syrup to cool down. As soon as the babka comes out of the oven, pour all the syrup over the top of the babka reserving the cinnamon stick. Leave the babka to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes before removing from the pan. 

The babka is delicious eaten while still warm from the oven. Otherwise, the babka will keep for up to two days at room temperature, wrapped in foil, and up to a couple of weeks when frozen. If it's a little past it's use by date, try toasting the babka for an OMG moment as toasted babka is AMAZING!

Meanwhile another weekend has been and gone and my 'to-do' list seems as long as ever. Where does the time fly?

See you all again next weekend with some more baking from my kitchen.


crisp blood orange thins

24 Aug 2015

I looked in the biscuit tin yesterday and there were only 2 biscuits left in there. With a biscuit crisis on my hands it was time to bake. But what to make? I looked through my copy of Mix and Bake and decided to make some crisp lemon thins but as it's blood orange season, I thought I'd use blood oranges instead of lemons. I picked up a bag of blood oranges at the fruit market so expect to see all things blood orange on the blog for the next few weeks.

Blood oranges are a bit zingier than regular oranges so I thought they'd work well in this recipe.

I made the biscuit dough in the food processor and honestly weighing and measuring the ingredients took longer than it took to make the biscuit dough. I thought about icing the biscuits but instead made some blood orange salt to sprinkle over the dough before baking.

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. 

Crisp Blood Orange Thins - adapted from the Very Crisp Lemon Thins recipe from Mix and Bake by Belinda Jefferey

Makes 40-50

1½ cups (225 g) plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
160 g caster sugar
1 tbs finely grated blood orange rind
150 g unsalted butter, chopped
30 mls strained blood orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Blood Orange Salt (optional)
1 tsp finely grated blood orange rind
1 tsp salt (I used salt flakes)

In the bowl of a large food processor combine all the dry ingredients with the grated orange rind. Add the chopped butter and whiz until the dough starts to come together. Mix the orange juice with the vanilla. Slowly add a little of the blood orange juice to the dough until a soft dough forms around the blade. You may not need to use all the juice.

Remove the dough from the food processor and gently form the dough into 2 logs. Wrap each log in baking paper and place in the fridge for 2 hours or until the dough has firmed. While the dough is chilling, prepare the orange salt if using. In a small bowl combine the rind with the salt and put to one side.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325ºF. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Unwrap the dough then using a serrated knife, slice each log into 5 mm slices. Place the rounds onto the baking trays leaving some room to spread. If you like, you can sprinkle the top of each biscuit with some of the orange salt. Go easy with the salt though, you just need a tiny sprinkle otherwise the biscuits will be inedible.

Place the trays in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the biscuits are crisp and the edges are golden brown. I usually rotate the trays half way through the cooking time. Cool on the tray for about 10 minutes before removing the biscuits from the tray onto a cooling rack. When cool, store the biscuits in an airtight container.

These thin crisp little biscuits are perfect served with a nice cup of tea.

I hope you all had great weekends. It was a lovely day on Saturday so I went out shopping and came home with 2 new pairs of shoes and some summer clothes. Roll on summer!

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen,


blueberry frangipane tartlets

17 Aug 2015

Hi every-one, once again you can credit/blame Martha Stewart for this blog post. I saw some blueberry tarts in her book, 'Martha's Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations' and thought, well I can make those. I love a good frangipane tart topped with fruit and if you look through the blog, you'll find stacks of frangipane tart recipes just none using blueberries. Using those pictures as my inspiration, I decided to come up with my own recipe for Blueberry Frangipane Tartlets. 

I whipped up some pastry using my favourite almond shortcrust pastry, made the frangipane filling, took some home-made berry jam out of the fridge, bought the blueberries then got sick. I put the pastry and filling into the freezer and waited until I felt better before putting the tartlets together. I used the straight sided 7 cm tartlet rings I bought at Mora in Paris and managed to make 8 tartlets from this recipe. If you use regular 8 cm fluted tins, this recipe should make six tarts.

In Martha's recipe she put the blueberries over the jam before adding the frangipane filling. I made the first batch that way but it was pretty tricky smoothing the frangipane filling over the top of the blueberries.

For the second batch I just popped a few blueberries into the frangipane filling before sprinkling with the flaked almonds. When cooked they looked exactly the same but it was far easier doing it this way, so that's how I've written the recipe. 

The beauty of a frangipane tart recipe is you can get away without blind baking the tartlet shells. If making pastry gives you the heebie jeebies, you can always use shop bought but make sure it's all butter pastry. The same with the jam; home-made is lovely but shop bought is fine. Fresh blueberries not available, then frozen blueberries will work just as well or use another soft berry of your choice. 

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Blueberry Frangipane Tartlets – makes eight 7 cm tartlets

110 g (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, diced
¼ cup icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
¼ cup almond meal
1⅓ cups plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
Cold water

75 gm (2½ oz) unsalted butter
75 gm (2½ oz) caster sugar
1 large egg
75 gm almond meal
1 tbs plain flour
1 tsp grated lemon rind

¼ cup berry jam
1 punnet blueberries
¼ cup flaked almonds
Icing sugar

To make the pastry, combine all the dry ingredients in a food processor, and whiz for a few seconds until well combined and free of lumps. Add the cold butter and whiz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and sufficient cold water and whiz until a soft dough just starts to form around the blade. Remove the dough from the food processor and gather the pastry into a ball; flatten slightly before wrapping in plastic and placing in the fridge. Refrigerate the pastry for 30 minutes. You’ll only need about half of the pastry dough for this recipe but the pastry freezes well so just wrap the remaining pastry in plastic wrap and store in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface (I use greaseproof paper) and roll out thinly with a rolling pin. Grease eight 7 cm tartlet tins. Line the tins with the pastry and trim the edges of the tart tins with a sharp knife. Place the tartlets onto a baking sheet then lightly prick the pastry surface with the tines of a fork and return to the fridge while you make the filling.

While the tartlet shells are chilling, make the frangipane filling. Place butter and caster sugar in a food processor and whiz to combine. Add the egg, the almond meal, the flour and lemon rind, then pulse to combine. Otherwise you can make this the old fashioned way, creaming the butter and sugar in a bowl using a wooden spoon or electric beater before adding the remaining ingredients. 

Spoon 1 – 2 teaspoons of the berry jam over the base of the tart shells. Evenly divide the frangipane filling between the tarts and gently spoon over the jam. Place 5 blueberries into the frangipane filling then sprinkle a few flaked almonds over the tarts.

Place the tray on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake at 190°C/375°F for 30-40 minutes or until the frangipane filling has slightly puffed and is golden brown. Baking time will depend on your oven so start checking the tarts after 20 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and cool the tartlets on a wire rack. Gently remove the tarts from the tins; lightly dust the tops of the tartlets with icing sugar and serve with a few extra berries. A dollop of cream wouldn't go astray either.

I hope you all had lovely weekends. I spent the weekend in Brisbane celebrating my Dad's birthday and baked all weekend! 

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


blood orange marmalade cake

10 Aug 2015

It's citrus season in Australia and the first blood oranges have just appeared in the shops. I've featured many blood orange cake recipes on the blog but this time I wanted to incorporate some marmalade in the recipe. I used some home made blood orange and vanilla marmalade I had in the fridge and as blood oranges are
 still pretty expensive I substituted mandarin rind and juice for the blood orange juice and rind in the cake recipe.

I checked on-line to see if any-one else had had the brilliant idea of including marmalade in their cake and found many recipes, including this one from Nigel Slater. At least I knew I was on the right track. I'm pretty sure this cake would work well with any citrus based marmalade and juice such as lime, cumquat or tangelo.

The cake came out of the oven nice and moist with a good orange tinge. I could have left the cake as is but in my head I had an image of the cake topped with glistening slices of orange rind. 

I carefully sliced one of the 2 blood oranges I'd purchased and cooked the slices in toffee. This is such a simple way of candying fruit and the end result is so tasty I'm a bit surprised there were any slices left to decorate the cake.

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. This recipe makes a small loaf or a 17 cm round cake. To make a larger loaf or an 8 inch cake (20 cm) just double all the ingredients. The cooking time shouldn't need to be adjusted.

Blood Orange Marmalade Cake
125g (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
100g (3½ oz) caster sugar
Finely grated rind of 1 blood orange, a regular orange or a mandarin
50 g (2 tbs) blood orange or regular orange marmalade, rind chopped into small pieces
2 eggs
¾ cup self raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ cup almond meal
¼ cup blood orange juice

Grease, flour and line the base of small loaf tin or a 17 cm round tin with baking papaer. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Sift the flour and baking powder into a small bowl and mix together with the almond meal. Set to one side.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, caster sugar, orange rind and the marmalade. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl, then gradually mix into butter mixture. If the mixture starts to look curdled, add a spoonful of the flour mixture. Add the remaining flour mixture into the batter alternating with the orange juice to make a soft batter. If the batter looks too thick add a little more juice. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake the cake in the oven for 45 minutes until the top is lightly golden and cake is cooked when tested with a skewer. If the cake tests a little moist, switch off the oven and leave a further 10 minutes. Leave the cake to cool for about 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack.

You can serve the cake lightly dusted with icing sugar or glazed with some warmed marmalade. I iced the cake with a simple glacé icing and some candied orange slices.

Blood Orange or Mandarin Glacé Icing
1 tsp butter
½ cup sifted icing sugar
The juice of ½ blood orange,a regular orange  or a mandarin

In a small bowl, mix the butter into the sifted icing sugar. Gradually beat in sufficient juice to make a slightly runny icing. Allow the cake to cool completely before icing and decorating with some candied orange slices

Toffeed Blood Orange Slices
1 small blood orange, thinly sliced and seeds removed
2/3 caster sugar
2/3 cup water

In a frying pan combine the sugar and water, place over a low heat stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 5 - 8 minutes or until the toffee starts to turn golden. Add the blood orange slices and turn frequently until the slices are well coated about 3 - 5 minutes. Remove the slices and place on baking paper. Allow to cool at room temperature before storing in a single layer in an airtight container.

This recipe makes a lovely moist deeply orange flavoured cake. I had my slice with a cup of tea and it was absolutely delish!

See you all again next week,


chewy and not so chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies

3 Aug 2015

A few years ago, a dear friend gave me a copy of Martha Stewart's Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations for Christmas. To say that Martha Stewart entertains in a lavish manner is an understatement. I was looking through the book last week and realised I've not made any of the recipes. I tagged a few recipes and as the biscuit tin was looking a bit empty, I thought her recipe for chocolate gingerbread cookies sounded nice. Then I thought about a chewy triple ginger cookie recipe I really like and decided to adapt it using Martha's recipe as my inspiration.

I used half the dough and put the rest of the dough in the freeze for later. I baked a dozen cookies using dough that had chilled for just 20 minutes and those cookies came out flat and crisp. I took them into work where they were demolished, so I don't have any photos to share with you. Then I baked another 6 cookies using dough that had been in the fridge for a few hours. 

Those ones I rolled in coffee crystals. Both were delicious but the second batch of cookies came out higher and were chewy.

The third batch I made with dough that had been in the fridge for a few days. I shaped the dough into a roll about 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide, coated the roll in raw sugar then cut the dough into 1 cm slices before baking. They were really delicious and my favourite, but they weren't chewy.

These are still a work in progress as the cookie itself, though lovely and spicy, wasn't quite chocolatey enough for me. Next time I'll be bumping up the cocoa but for now I'm happy with my restocked biscuit tin.

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Chewy and not so Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies - makes 3 dozen

160 gm (5½ oz) softened butter 
100 gm (3½ oz) each dark muscovado sugar and caster sugar 
60 gm (2 oz) honey or golden syrup 
1 egg 
330 gm (11½ oz) plain flour
1½ tbl dutch cocoa
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
1½ tbsp ground ginger
½ tsp each ground cinnamon and ground cloves 
40 gm (1½ oz) fresh ginger, finely grated 
30 gm (1 oz) candied ginger, finely diced
125 g (4 ½ oz) dark chocolate, cut into chunks 
pinch of salt and white pepper 
Raw sugar or coffee sugar crystals for coating 

Beat butter, sugars and golden syrup in an electric mixer until fluffy and pale (3-4 minutes). Scrape down sides of bowl, beat in egg, then sieve over dry ingredients and stir to combine. Squeeze as much juice as possible from fresh ginger into the dough (discard solids) add candied ginger, chocolate chunks and a pinch of salt and white pepper and stir to combine. The dough is quite soft so shape the dough into 2 logs; wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap before putting into the fridge to firm for a few hours. If you'd like to make crisp cookies then chill the dough for 20 minutes

When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 180C°/350°F. Line baking trays with baking paper then roll heaped tablespoons of the mixture into balls, before coating in raw sugar. If you like, you can coat the roll of cookie dough with raw sugar before slicing the roll into 1 cm slices. 

Flatten the cookies slightly before placing on the oven trays, leaving about 5cm (2 in) between each cookie to allow for spreading. Bake in the preheated oven swapping trays halfway to cook evenly. 

Bake for about 10-15 minutes. When you take the cookies from the oven they'll still be soft but will harden as they cool. Cool on trays, then store in an airtight container until required. 

Cookies will keep for 5 days.

Who doesn't like a freshly baked cookie, still warm from the oven?

I'm writing this from my sick day where I've been languishing for the past 3 days surrounded by piles of tissues. I can't wait to feel better.

See you all again soon,

© DELICIOUS BITES • Theme by Maira G.