SLIDER

eton mess cake

22 Jul 2024


It's the middle of winter here in Sydney and the only saving grace, fruitwise, are the berries. 
I loaded up my trolley with berries at the fruit shop, and brought them home with me. But what to make?


I had any number of berry and cream laden cake recipes that I could have chosen but I decided to make an Eton Mess Cake. This cake is a play on Eton Mess, a classic English dessert made from broken meringues, whipped cream and berries. In a case of happenstance, I had a plastic container filled with mini meringues that I wanted to use up and I couldn't think of a better way to use them.


You can make the cake 1-2 days in advance but please don't decorate the cake ahead of time. If you do, the meringues will soften and dissolve and you'll lose the contrast between the soft billowy cream and the crunchy meringue.


Here’s the recipe for you, which makes a 17cm square cake that I adapted from here. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.


Eton Mess Cake - makes a 17cm square cake, which serves 6-8 people
Ingredients
125g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp lemon rind
125g room temperature unsalted butter, plus extra for the tin
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
100g self-raising flour, sifted with a pinch of salt
50g almond meal
50ml full cream milk
45mls cream
50g strawberries, hulled and diced into 1 cm pieces
50g raspberries, fresh or frozen
1-2 tsp caster sugar, extra

Topping

250ml thickened cream
75g strawberries, halved
50g fresh raspberries
3-4 baby meringues, roughly broken up
Baby mint leaves

Method

Heat the oven to 190°C, conventional. Grease and line a 17cm square tin with baking paper (leave some overhanging to help lift the cake out once done).

Place the sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and using your finger tips, massage the lemon rind with the sugar. Add the room temperature butter and the vanilla to the bowl and beat together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Crack in the eggs, one by one, and mix between each addition until combined. Mix in the flour followed by the ground almonds and gently stir in the milk and the cream. Using a spatula, gently fold in the strawberries and raspberries.



Pour the batter into the prepared tin, spread out evenly and sprinkle with a little extra sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. Once cooked, remove from the oven to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then lift from the tin onto a wire rack to cool completely. When cooled, place the cake on a serving plate.


Topping
Using a hand mixer, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Just before serving, roughly spread the cream over the cake then scatter with the strawberries, raspberries, broken meringue pieces and a few mint leaves. If you make this ahead the meringues will soften and dissolve and you'll lose the contrast between the soft billowy cream and the crunchy meringue.


Well this went down a treat at work - the combination of whipped cream, fresh berries and a hint of mint was declared a winner.



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

Bye for now, 

Jillian
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double chocolate sour cream pound cake

11 Jul 2024


I recently borrowed a few cookbooks from the library, including a copy of Alison Roman's book, 'Sweet Enough'. I trawled through the book and bookmarked a few recipes, including this one for her Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake.

I am not a chocolate person but my next door neighbour's daughter is. After a few weeks of fruit and citrus based cakes, I decided to make something with Minnie in mind. I had a scraping of sour cream left in the fridge, and some long forgotten chocolate chips so a chocolate sour cream pound cake it was.

I made a small loaf cake and normally I'd just halve the recipe but I would have ended up with a very tiny loaf cake so I had to tweak the proportions a little.

Here’s the recipe for you, which makes a small loaf cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.


Double Chocolate Pound Cake
Ingredients
100g plain flour
45g cocoa 
¾ tsp baking powder
pinch salt 
85g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
135g sour cream or whole-milk yoghurt
112g chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate bar (optional)
1 tbs raw sugar

Method
Preheat oven to 190°C, conventional. Line a small loaf pan with baking paper and put to one side.

Sift the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder into a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer place the butter, caster sugar and vanilla and beat for 4-5 minutes or until extremely pale and fluffy. Scrape down sides. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each to incorporate. Continue beating 2-3 minutes or until mixture is smooth, fluffy and well incorporated.


With mixer on low, add about half the flour mixture, followed by the sour cream, followed by remaining flour mixture. Just before everything is incorporated, add three-quarters of the chocolate, if using.


Scrape batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate (if using) and the  raw sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the cake is puffed, considerably taller and pulling away from the sides of the pan. Due to the melted chocolate pieces in the batter, this is a difficult cake to test for 'doneness' using a skewer. Cool entirely before removing from pan.


I wasn't sure if I'd overbaked the cake due to the cake testing issues but no-one seemed to complain. As this is a sturdy cake I decided to dunk my slice into my cup of tea, something I've never done before. The hot tea melted the chocolate chunks in the cake and it was delicious.



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

Bye for now,

Jillian

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pumpkin and orange spice cake

1 Jul 2024


I borrowed Philip Khoury's new book, A New Way to Bake, from my local library. While I have done a great deal of gluten free baking the last few years, plant based baking is a bit of a mystery to me. I knew Phil had designed the book to be made with easy to access ingredients. I've pored through the recipes and discovered most recipes rely on plant based milks, in particular soy milk which I loathe, but the notes suggested I could just use water.


I went to Dungog for the Kings Birthday weekend and came home with a pumpkin from my brother, Farmer Andrew's garden. I've made a batch of oven roasted pumpkin soup but I still have half the pumpkin left, so the first recipe I made from the book was this pumpkin spice cake. I baked the cake in a bundt tin rather than a loaf tin and decorated the cake with a few pepitas and some candied orange rind made with the remainder of the orange. If you make the candied peel, you'll need to make it ahead of time.




Here's the recipe for you, which you can see Phil make here, which makes a small bundt or loaf tin. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon although most of the ingredients in this recipe are by weight. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 


Pumpkin and orange spice cake
Cake
150g pumpkin, peeled and deseeded 
60g brown sugar  
80g caster sugar
40g extra virgin olive oil 
1 tsp grated orange rind 
112g plant-based milk or water, at room temperature 
1 tsp apple cider vinegar  
150g plain flour (gluten-free plain flour will also work) 
1 tsp baking powder 
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp ground cinnamon 
pinch ground nutmeg 
½ tsp ground ginger  
¼ tsp ground cloves 
pinch sea salt flakes
 
Bundt cake icing 
100g icing sugar, sifted
1-2 tbs orange juice 
½ tsp grated orange rind

Loaf cake icing
165g icing sugar
45g orange juice
¼ orange, grated

To decorate
1-2 tbs pepitas or pumpkin seeds
candied orange rind (optional)

Candied orange rind
½ orange, rind removed and finely sliced
40g water
40g caster sugar
Additional caster sugar for coating

Method
Grease and flour a small bundt tin or line a small 600g loaf tin with baking paper and set to one side. 

Cut the pumpkin into 3 cm chunks, add the chunks to a saucepan large enough to just cover them with water and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until a sharp knife meets no resistance when you poke a piece of the pumpkin. Strain the pumpkin, discarding the water. Leave the pumpkin to chill for 30 minutes in the fridge until it has cooled to room temperature. (I used 150g of oven roasted pumpkin).


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan. (I baked the cake at 190°C conventional). Add the cooled pumpkin, sugars, the oil, orange rind, milk and vinegar to a large bowl and blend them with an immersion blender until smooth. You can also do this step in a blender or a food processor.

Add the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, spices and salt to another large bowl and mix with a whisk. Add the blended ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk until combined. 

Pour the batter into the greased bundt or lined loaf tin and place in the preheated oven on the centre rack. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before inverting the cake and removing from the tin.  If baked in a loaf tin, using the baking paper remove the loaf cake from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack with a rimmed baking sheet underneath.



Bundt cake icing
Combine the icing sugar and grated rind in a small bowl. Add enough orange juice to create a thick but pourable icing. Drizzle over the cake still on the cooling rack or placed on a piece of greaseproof paper. Leave for 30 minutes to set a little before decorating with the pepitas and the candied orange rind, if using.




Loaf cake icing
If making the loaf cake, make a thinner icing. Drizzle over the cake still on the cooling rack or you can use a pastry brush to brush the glaze over the cake. Leave for 30 minutes to set a little before decorating with the pepitas and the candied orange rind, if using.



Candied orange rind
Place the orange rind in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 30 seconds before draining. In a small saucepan combine the water and sugar and bring to the boil. Add the orange rind and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10 minutes before removing the pan from the heat and leaving the rind to cool in the syrup. When cool pour the mixture through a fine sieve to drain. Remove the peel and toss through some caster sugar. Place on baking paper and allow to set before storing in an airtight container.



The cake will keep for up to 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container.


I shared the cake with my workmates and didn't tell them it was plant based until after the cake was eaten. The cake disappeared in record time and it was declared delicious. Now I can't wait to bake another recipe from Phil's book.

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

Bye for now,

Jillian
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