Sometime around my birthday our Florida BFF send me a packet of recipes she culled from a selection of magazines. This Raspberry Swirl Pound Cake caught my eye, however, the first attempt hit the bin after QC rated it thumbs down. (Mfg agreed.)
I modified the original recipe from FoodNetwork by swapping out the AP flour for cake flour. This reduced the gluten to make a softer, lighter cake. Pound cake is not expected to be light and airy, but let’s be honest, dense, wet, stodgy cake is not terribly pleasant. I also substituted caster sugar for the cane sugar, reduced the oven temperature from 350F to 325F, increased the number of egg yolks by 2 and eliminated the almond extract. (QC and I do not like almond extract.) The final result was deemed presentable!
Raspberry-Swirl Pound Cake
INGREDIENTS Cake • 226g (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan • 198 (1 ¾ cups) cake flour, plus more for the pan • 6-oz fresh raspberries • 2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam • 248g (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) caster sugar, divided • 3 large eggs, plus 3 egg yolk, at room temperature • ¼ cup heavy cream • 1 1/8 teaspoons pure vanilla extract • 4 drops red gel food coloring (or enough to make an intense pink color) Glaze • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar • 2 tablespoons heavy cream for topping (more to thin if necessary) • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla • Crushed freeze-dried raspberries, for topping
Make the pound cake:
Preheat the oven to 325˚. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with Baker’s Joy, then line with parchment paper in two overlapping strips, leaving an overhang. Butter the parchment and lightly dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
Combine the fresh raspberries, jam, 2 tablespoons cane sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring and smashing the berries with a wooden spoon, until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula. Let cool.
Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a medium bowl until slightly foamy; set aside.
Beat the butter and remaining 1 cup caster sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and increase the mixer speed to medium high. Beat until pale and fluffy, 6 to 7 more minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour until just combined.
Gradually add the egg mixture and beat until combined. Scrape down the bowl, increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth and fluffy, 15 to 30 seconds.
Scoop 3/4 cup batter into the bowl with the raspberry sauce and stir in the red food coloring. Transfer half of the remaining plain batter to the prepared pan and top with half of the raspberry batter; swirl together with a knife. Repeat and swirl the batters together again.
Bake until the top springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes. (205 F internal temperature)
Transfer to a rack and let cool 15 minutes in the pan. Lift the cake from the pan and remove the parchment; return to the rack to cool completely.
Make the Glaze
Combine the confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons heavy cream and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon each vanilla and almond extracts in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth; thin with the remaining 1 tablespoon heavy cream, if needed.
Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake and sprinkle with freeze-dried raspberries. Let set at least 20 minutes.
My QC department stumbled across a new recipe for cake donuts. “Maybe you would like to try it sometime.” Now if that isn’t throwing the gauntlet down, I don’t know what is.
This recipe makes about a dozen so topped a third of them with vanilla glaze and coated a third with cinnamon/sugar. They were excellent. The plain have always been my fav’s.
Be sure to keep the temperature as close to 350 deg F as you can. Adjust the temperature if need be between batches. I could fit 4 donuts at a time into my large skillet. My temperature was a little hot for the first few donut holes so they turned dark before the centers were fully cooked. Temperature is very important!
INGREDIENTS • 1 ½ cup sugar, divided • 1 teaspoon salt • ½ teaspoon nutmeg • 1 tablespoon baking powder • 2 eggs • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted • 1 cup whole milk • 4 cups flour • Oil (for frying) • 2 tablespoons cinnamon Glaze (to glaze 5 or 6 donuts) • 1 Cup confectioners sugar • 3 Tbl Whole cream • ½ tsp vanilla
In a large bowl, combine one cup of sugar, salt, nutmeg, and baking powder.
Add the eggs, melted butter, and milk to the bowl, then mix.
Add the flour to the dough, beating well until everything is combined. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
Remove the dough from the fridge. In a large frying pan or Dutch oven, heat about one inch of oil to 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the oil heats, roll out the dough to about ½ inch thickness on a well-floured surface. Use a donut cutter to cut out circles in the dough. If you don’t have a donut cutter, you could use a biscuit cutter or glass, then a bottle cap for the donut hole. Continue rolling out the dough and cutting out donuts until there’s no dough remaining.
Gently drop the donuts into the hot oil in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook each side for approximately two minutes, until golden brown, then flip over. Remove the cooked donuts from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate.
In a small bowl, combine ½ cup of sugar and cinnamon. Dip the donuts in the cinnamon-sugar mixture before serving.
Warm cream (or milk) until steam rises from the surface
Whisk in sugar until incorporated
Dip donuts into glaze and set aside to cool and harden about 30 minutes.
The more important thing is I was able to try out my new hexagonal cookie cutter. I never liked the square, or triangular (folded squares) hand pies. Circular were good, but the space between the circles wasted a lot of puff pastry. The hexagonal cutter was nearly as efficient as cutting squares, but look more like round pies.
I used a larger cutter for the top to assure good coverage of the smaller bottom. I docked the bottom piece with a fork to manage the puff of the pastry.
The edges of the covered pies were pinched with the fork, and egg wash painted on, a steam vent cut on the top and sparkling sugar sprinkled on each pie before baking.
We saw this pastry on GBBO. I hadn’t made any complex pastries in a while so thought this would be fun to try. I made a few changes to Prue Leith’s recipe. I used my own recipe for the creme patisserie and choux. The recipe and method below are as I made it.
I also found a new puff pastry I wanted to try. You may know my preferences in puff. Trader Joe’s is good but doesn’t puff as much as Pepperidge Farms. This new one is Wewalka European Bakery Style which seem to have a puff ratio about in the middle. It has good flake an layers. The only problem is they do not recommend freezing it before using.
Puits d’Amour – ‘wells of love’
INGREDIENTS Puff pastry Compote: • 250g strawberries, hulled and chopped • 25g caster sugar • 1 tbsp lemon juice • 50g raspberries Crème Pâtissière: • ½ c sugar • ¼ c corn starch • Pinch salt • 2 c whole milk • 4 egg yolks • 2 Tbl butter 4 ½ tsp demerara sugar, to brûlée Choux Pastry: • ½ c (65 grams) AP flour • ½ tsp granulated white sugar • ¼ tsp salt • 4 tbsp (55 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces • ½ c (120 ml) water • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten Sparkling sugar
Add the strawberries to a pan with the sugar and lemon juice and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the raspberries and cook for a further 5–10 minutes, until reduced to a thick compote (but not a jam). Remove from the heat, cool, then chill. Crème Pâtissière
Whisk eggs and milk together and add to all other ingredients (except vanilla) to a medium saucepan.
Bring to boil whisking constantly
Cook until thickened (it will look lumpy, its ok)
Sieve lumpy mixture into a bowl and add 1 tsp vanilla, mix thoroughly
When incorporated, cover with plastic directly on the cream and cool.
Remove from the heat and pass through a sieve into a clean bowl. Add the butter and stir until melted. Leave to cool, cover with cling film and chill until cold.
Cut Pastry Disks
Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/Gas 7. Lightly dust your worktop and roll out the rough puff to a 35cm square. Using the 10cm cutter, cut out 9 discs. Place on the baking sheets and prick each disc all over with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes. Choux
In a bowl whisk the flour with the sugar and salt.
Place the butter and water in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture, all at once, and stir until combined. It will look like mashed potatoes. Return saucepan to the heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about 1-2 minutes). The dough will film the bottom and sides of the saucepan and make cleaning a pain.
Transfer the dough to an electric mixer and beat on low speed to release the steam from the dough (about 1 minute).
Once the dough is lukewarm start adding the lightly beaten eggs (dough will separate and then come together) and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick paste (dough will fall from a spoon in a thick ribbon).
Pipe the choux in a circle ½cm in from the edge of each disc. Brush each choux ring with beaten egg and sprinkle with sparkling sugar. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until puffed, crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To assemble, spoon the crème pâtissière into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain nozzle. Spoon the strawberry compote into the pastry shells and pipe the crème pâtissière over the top. Sprinkle half a teaspoon of demerara sugar on top and, using a blowtorch, brûlée the sugar. Serve immediately.
Actually, say mozzarella! No baking this past weekend, but I did make home-made mozzarella cheese. I read it is the easiest cheese to make and as I needed to run to the store for some for a pan pizza, I thought I would learn how to make it. For emergencies you understand.
It was reasonably easy, but I think I made a few minor errors this first time. I don’t think the curd set completely. On advice from cheese makers blogs I let it set much longer than the recipe specified, but it was still pretty liquid. I may need more rennet and/or let it set at a warmer temperature.
Once I finished cooking the curd and started to knead and stretch it, I began to see the ‘cottage cheese’ texture, but it never came together to form a glossy mass.
I packed two small balls of cheese in airtight containers with a little left over whey to let it set and continue curing overnight.
Much to my surprise, the final cheese had a good texture and excellent taste. In summary, it is very easy to make, just a little harder than driving the two miles to the market and buying it.
Measure out 1 cup of water. Stir in the citric acid until dissolved. Measure out ¼ cup of water in a separate bowl. Stir in the rennet until dissolved.
Pour the milk into the pot. Stir in the citric acid solution. Set the pot over medium-high heat and warm to 90°F, stirring gently.
Remove the pot from heat and gently stir in the rennet solution. Count to 30. Stop stirring, cover the pot, and let it sit undisturbed for 5 minutes.
After five minutes, the milk should have set, and it should look and feel like soft silken tofu. If it is still liquidy, re-cover the pot and let it sit for another five minutes. Once the milk has set, cut it into uniform curds: make several parallel cuts vertically through the curds and then several parallel cuts horizontally, creating a grid-like pattern. Make sure your knife reaches all the way to the bottom of the pan.
Place the pot back on the stove over medium heat and warm the curds to 105°F. Stir slowly as the curds warm, but try not to break them up too much. The curds will eventually clump together and separate more completely from the yellow whey.
Remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring gently for another 5 minutes.
Ladle the curds into a microwave-safe bowl with the slotted spoon.
Microwave the curds for one minute. Drain off the whey. Put on your rubber gloves and fold the curds over on themselves a few times. At this point, the curds will still be very loose and cottage-cheese-like.
Microwave the curds for another 30 seconds and check their internal temperature. If the temperature has reached 135°F, continue with stretching the curds. If not, continue microwaving in 30-second bursts until they reach temperature. The curds need to reach this temperature in order to stretch properly.
Sprinkle the salt over the cheese and squish it with your fingers to incorporate. Using both hands, stretch and fold the curds repeatedly. It will start to tighten, become firm, and take on a glossy sheen. When this happens, you are ready to shape the mozzarella. Make one large ball, two smaller balls, or several bite-sized bocconcini. Try not to over-work the mozzarella.
Using and Storing Your Mozzarella:
The mozzarella can be used immediately or kept refrigerated for a week. To refrigerate, place the mozzarella in a small container. Mix a teaspoon of salt with a cup of cool whey and pour this over the mozzarella. Cover and refrigerate. RECIPE NOTES
Adapted from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company
So, I had some puff pastry left over from the torsades last week, AND I had a half pint of fresh raspberries left over from my breakfast cereal. What am I to do?
I know! I can use some of my 11#s of chocolate for Pan Au Chocolat and puff pastry and raspberries for some hand pies. I posted both recipes and methods elsewhere in this blog so won’t bore you with repetition.
I have a recipe for fig cake, but currently have an over abundance of sliced plums in the freezer and this year’s crop is on the tree. Substituting the plums for figs was a good choice. The tartness of the plums paired nicely with the sweetness of the cake. Now, what to do with the bags of frozen figs?
Well, I was all set for Vivian’s first birthday party on August 10, but due to typical one year old circumstances, it was postponed until today, August 25. This offered no problems, rather a whole new opportunity to perfect (maybe too strong a word) a mermaid themed birthday cake for Vivian.
The cake was comprised of two 12″ round merengue white cake layers and three 9″ chocolate layers. Each were crumb coated and refrigerated. Meanwhile, I made marshmallow fondant and colored portions a shades of “ocean green” colors. The entire 3 layer chocolate and 2 layer vanilla cakes were covered with fondant.Then used some of it to punch out circular “scales.”
A variety of sea “creatures” were molded from both chocolate, white chocolate (tinted pink) and gum paste. The purple “sea weed” was made from gum paste and stored at room temperature in an airtight container. These were actually made over a month ago and were fine to use today. The chocolate sea creatures were made three weeks ago and stored in the fridge.
The cakes were stacked this morning and the “sea creatures” and mermaid tails were attached using Dab-And-Hold edible adhesive.
My critique: the design and execution was good. The chocolate cake was outstanding, the meringue white cake tasted good, but was a bit dry. I am still looking for an acceptable recipe. Marshmallow fondant is too sweet, but the little figurines need to be a fixed to a smooth surface. I may give rolled buttercream next. I also found a recipe where I can substitute the cocoa ingredients to create a vanilla cake with similar crumb and moisture to my chocolate cake recipe. More experimentation!!
Extreme Chocolate Cake
2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Grease and flour the two Wilton 3D Egg cake pans.
Use the first set of ingredients to make the cake.
In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 3 minutes with an electric mixer.
Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until they are stiff and form peaks. This may take a minute or two. Pour the egg whites into another bowl and place them in the refrigerator until you’re ready to add them to the batter.
Using the same bowl that you used to beat the egg whites, place the softened butter in and cream the butter for about 2 minutes (using the beater blade attachmenuntil it is white in appearance.
Add the sugar to the butter and beat until fluffy (about another 1-2 minutes).
In a small bowl, combine the flour (measured carefully*), salt and baking powder. Set aside.
In another bowl, combine the milk and vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture alternately with the milk.
Add the stiffly beaten eggs to the cake batter. Fold the egg whites in gently. Do not overmix at this point. If you do, your cake will become more dense.
Grease and flour 2 9″ round cake pans. Pour the cake batter equally into the prepared cake pans.
Bake the cakes at 350 degrees for 25-27 minutes or until the top bounces back when you touch it.
Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges and remove them from the pans to a wire rack, allowing them to cool completely.
500 g marshmallows
1000 g confectioners sugar
1 tsp white vanilla
2-3 Tbl water
Grease (well with Crisco or equivalent) a heat proof microwavable bowl
Place marshmallow in the bowl and sprinkle 2-3 Tbl water over the marshmallows
Heat in a microwave in 30 second increments until the marshmallow is melted and smooth. Don’t overcook and burn.
Grease (well) dough hook and stand mixer bowl and add melted marshmallow.
Add confectioners sugar a cup at a time and stir on medium until incorporated.
Add the vanilla during one of the sugar additions.
Reserve about a cup of sugar to use during hand kneading
Grease (well) your workspace and hands and turn the fondant out.
Cover with sugar and begin kneading, adding more sugar as necessary until the fondant is smooth and not sticky.
Use a greased rolling pin and roll the fondant out to required size. For this cake I rolled it out to about 24″ x 24″. Once kneaded and no longer sticky I folded it into quarters to make it easy to pick up and drape over the cake. Be careful. If not adequately kneaded, it will tear.
Last year, after fresh peach season was over, I saw a recipe for Roasted Peach and Strawberry Jam. I saved that link for a half a year, until this week, when the farmer’s market was selling BOTH fresh peaches and strawberries. It was worth the wait.
This jam isn’t cooked, but will last a couple of week if refrigerated. As if!
It is an easy and (hands on) quick recipe.
3 cups (350 g) hulled and cut up strawberries
3 cups (415 g) halved peaches
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbl lemon juice
Halve peaches and remove the stone
Bake peach halves at 250 F for 15 minutes, then turn over, skin side up and bake for and additional 15 min
Slice strawberries – they don’t have to be too small, but should at least be sliced in half
Remove peach halves from oven, remove the skin and dice them, toss with the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice.
Spread fruit on a lightly olive oil sprayed, aluminum foil lined baking sheet (with edges) for 45-60 minutes or until the fruit is very soft, but not so long as the juice solidifies.
Remove the fruit from the over and let cool 5-10 minute.
Pour fruit and juices into a food processor and puree until the desired consistency is obtained.
I asked Neil what kind of birthday cake he would like us to eat for him, as we will be unable to be with him on his actual birthday, yet what kind of birthday would it be without a cake, and why waste a cake if I am going to make one anyway? Whew!
He asked for an 8 Layer Honey Cake. After doing a (very) little research, I found a good recipe with instructions on Natshakitchen.com. The only modification I made was to reduce the size (diameter) of the cake as there will only be 3 or 4 people partaking. I didn’t reduce the size of the recipe so simply made two small (6″) cakes. (Please don’t ask about the disposition of the second cake.)
One mistake I made was to not roll the dough out to the specified 1/8″ thick. (Mine were closer to 1/4″.) I also found the frosting was too thin. Next time I would use less sour cream and more sugar, or let it set overnight in the refrigerator.
8 Layer Honey Cake (Medovik)
Cake Layers Ingredients:
4 Tbsp (1/4 cup) honey
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 large eggs, beaten with a fork
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached, organic)
Sour Cream Frosting Ingredients:
32 oz sour cream
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
For the topping:
½ lb Fresh Berries, optional
How to Make the Cake Layers:
Add ¾ cup sugar, ¼ cup honey and 2 Tbsp unsalted butter to a medium sauce pan and melt them together over medium/low heat, whisking occasionally until sugar is melted (5-7 mins). Don’t put them over high heat or they may scorch to the bottom.
As soon as the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and while it’s still hot, add in your beaten eggs in a slow steady stream while whisking vigorously until all of your eggs are incorporated (whisk constantly so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs).
Whisk in the baking soda until no lumps remain, then fold in your 3 cups flour ½ cup at a time with a spatula until the dough reaches a clay consistency and doesn’t stick to your hands. Mine took exactly 3 cups flour (measured precisely, scraping off the top of the cup).
Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and move on to the next step right away (these roll out best when the dough is still warm)
On a well-floured surface, roll each piece out into a thin 9″ circle (about ⅛” thick). You can sprinkle the top with a little flour too to keep dough from sticking to your rolling pin. Place a 9″ plate or base from a springform mold over your rolled dough and trace around it with a pizza cutter to get a perfect circle. (I used a 6″ cake pan and “punched” out each disk. Be sure to use plenty of flour to keep the dough from sticking.) Keep the scraps for later. Transfer the dough to a large sheet of parchment paper and bake 2 at a time at 350˚F for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before stacking. Repeat with remaining layers.
Finally bake the scraps separated evenly on a re-used sheet of parchment. Once the scraps are baked, cooled and firm, you can crush them with a rolling pin or pulse them in a food processor until you have fine crumbs.
How to make the frosting:
Beat 1 cup heavy cream until fluffy and stiff peaks form (1-2 min on high speed).
In a separate bowl, whisk together 32 oz sour cream with 2 cups powdered sugar.
Fold the whipped cream into the sour cream and you have your frosting.
Refrigerate until ready to use. I suggest overnight to firm up the frosting.
Assembling your Cake:
Spread about ⅓ cup frosting on each cake layer (don’t skimp on it since the cake needs to absorb some of the cream to become ultra soft.
Press the cake layers down gently as you go to keep the layers from having air gaps.
Frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.
Dust the top and sides with your breadcrumbs, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
This cake needs time to absorb some of the cream and soften, so be patient. It’s worth the wait!