Feijoa Cake

Well feijoa season is well and truly upon us here in New Zealand and the two trees in my parents’ back garden has pretty much exploded with fruit. No-one there really eats them (or, at least, they don’t eat THAT many), but Michael loves them so we raided their lawn. Personally, I’m not a fan of feijoas so I came up with the idea of (what else?) making a cake out of them.

The cake looked and tasted pretty great and the feijoa flavour wasn’t overpowering so it got two thumbs up from me.

Ingredients:

75g butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup mashed feijoas

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste but essence, flavouring, whatever would be fine)

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Method:

1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.

2. Mix in the mashed feijoas.

3. Add the milk, eggs and vanilla.

4. Sift the flour baking powder and baking soda together and add to the wet ingredients.

5. Mix it all up and pour into a baking paper lined (or greased) cake tin. I used a regular sized loaf tin.

6. Bake at 180C for 40 mins. I found that the cake was browning too rapidly so I covered it with tin foil after 25 mins.

Happy Baking! 😀

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May 3, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Baking, Cake. 1 comment.

Daring Bakers November Challenge: Caramel Cake

This month’s (or rather LAST month’s) Daring Bakers challenge was to make Shuna Fish Lydon’s signature Caramel Cake and it was absolutely divine. November’s challenge was hosted by Dolores of Culinary Curiosity, Alex from Blondie and Brownie, Jenny of Foray into Food, and Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go helped out with the alternative baking recipe for the cake.

The recipe is Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon , as published on Bay Area Bites.
You can as an added option make
Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, Artisan Press, Copyright 2007, ISBN: 978-1579652111

Now the cake itself was perfect, I drizzled some left over caramel syrup over the top and everyone seemed to like it, including my brother who ate most of it I think. Unfortunately my attempt at the caramels was not so successful. I don’t have a candy thermometer but I thought I’d give it a go anyway and, well, that wasn’t the best idea and the caramel, while delicious, never really set properly. Ah well, I ate it anyway.

Top of cake - Closeup

Caramel Cake - Side

THE RECIPES:

CARAMEL CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Notes from Natalie for those of you baking gluten-free:

So the GF changes to the cake would be:

2 cups of gluten free flour blend (w/xanthan gum) or 2 cups of gf flour blend + 1 1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1/2 – 1 tsp baking powder (this would be the recipe amount to the amount it might need to be raised to & I’m going to check)

I’ll let you when I get the cake finished, how it turns out and if the baking powder amount needs to be raised.

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

CARAMEL SYRUP

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for “stopping” the caramelization process)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner’s sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light

(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)

(Optional) GOLDEN VANILLA BEAN CARAMELS
– makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels –

Ingredients
1 cup golden syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinders, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened

Equipment
A 9-inch square baking pan
Candy thermometer

Procedure

Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F. Meanwhile, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.

When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm.

Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife.  Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.

Variations

Fleur de Sel Caramels: Extra salt, in the form of fleur de sel or another coarse flaked salt, brings out the flavor of the caramel and offers a little ying to the yang. Add an extra scant 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt to the recipe. Or, to keep the salt crunchy, let the caramel cool and firm. Then sprinkle with two pinches of flaky salt and press it in. Invert, remove the pan liner, sprinkle with more salt. Then cut and wrap the caramels in wax paper or cellophane.

Nutmeg and Vanilla Bean Caramels: Add 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg to the cream before you heat it.

Cardamom Caramels: Omit the vanilla. Add 1/2 teaspoon slightly crushed cardamom seeds (from about 15 cardamom pods) to the cream before heating it. Strain the cream when you add it to the caramel; discard the seeds.

Caramel Sauce: Stop cooking any caramel recipe or variation when it reaches 225°F or, for a sauce that thickens like hot fudge over ice cream, 228°F. Pour it into a sauceboat to serve or into a heatproof jar for storage. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for ages and reheated gently in the microwave or a saucepan just until hot and flowing before use. You can stir in rum or brandy to taste. If the sauce is too thick or stiff to serve over ice cream, it can always be thinned with a little water or cream. Or, if you like a sauce that thickens more over ice cream, simmer it for a few minutes longer.
(recipe from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert)

The cake was delicious and as always you can check out other people’s Caramel Cakes by either taking a look at the blogroll or maybe by trying a Google search. )

Happy Baking! )

December 3, 2008. Tags: , , , , , . Baking, Daring Bakers, November. 2 comments.

Cluster Map Cake

To celebrate his class’s blog getting 20, 000 page views, my Dad asked me to make a cake for him to share with his class, so here it is:

20, 000 Cake

900g of butter, 900g of sugar, 900g of self raising flour, 18 eggs and 2.5kgs of fondant icing. 🙂

November 21, 2008. Tags: , , , , , . Baking, Cake. 1 comment.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake – Mmmm. Retro.

Well our end of year exams for university have arrived and instead of revising for them I’ve been listening to the Kings of Leon, dyeing my hair and making Pineapple Upside Down Cakes (I’ve made three of them in the past week). Is there any better way to procrastinate? 🙂

Anyway, the cake was delicious although I would recommend reducing the baking time by about five minutes because the first time I made it it was a little dry but after reducing the time for the next ones they came out perfect.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

* 90g (3 oz) unsalted butter, melted

* 1/2 cup (95g/3 0z) soft brown sugar

* 440g (14oz) can of pineapple rings in natural juice

* 6 red glacé cherries

* 125g (4 oz) unsalted butter, extra, softened

* 3/4 cup (185g/6 oz) of caster sugar

* 2 eggs, lightly beaten

* 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

* 1 1/2 cups (185g/ 6 oz) self-raising flour

* 1/2 cup (60g/ 2 oz) of plain flour

* 1/3 cup (30g/ 1 oz) of dessicated coconut

What To Do:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).

2. Pour the melted butter into a 20 cm (8 inch) round tin, brushing some of it up the sides but leaving most of it on the base.

3. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the base.

4. Drain the pineapple rings and save 1/2 cup of the juice.

5. Arrange the pineapple rings over the base of the tins (five on the outside and one in the centre) and put a cherry in the centre of each ring.

6. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg gradually, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla essence and beat until combined.

7. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in the sifted flours, then add the coconut and pineapple juice. Stir until the mixture is just combined and smooth. The mixture will be quite thick.

8. Spoon the mixture into the tin over the pineapple rings and smooth the surface. indent the centre slightly with the back of a spoon so the cake will have a flat base to sit on.

9. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

10. Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate or rack to cool.

The recipe came from ‘The Essential Baking Cookbook‘.

Happy Baking! 🙂

October 17, 2008. Tags: , , . Baking, Cake, Pineapple Upside Down Cake. 2 comments.

Daring Bakers August Challenge: Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé

Yum Yum Yum.

After taking a month off from participating in the Daring Bakers Challenges, I got straight back into the swing of things with August’s challenge which was to make delicious Chocolate Éclairs. These were actually way easier than I thought they would be and I’m pretty sure I’m going to make them again some time. 🙂 This time I actually changed the recipe slightly by making a strawberry pastry cream which I made by adding 250g of mashed strawberries to the pastry cream instead of chocolate.

The dough itself was fairly easy if a bit time consuming but it was well worth it. The only thing that didn’t work too well was the actual pastry cream. It turned out to be a bit on the runny side but that probably had something to do with the strawberries and stuff.

Anyway, here’s the recipe if you want it. 😀

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the
handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
time should be approximately 20 minutes.

Notes:
1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.

Notes:
1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create
bubbles.

2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the
boil.

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

Notes:
1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.  In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled.  Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it  remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

[bNotes:[/b]
1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Notes:
1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104  F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)

• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly.  Then reduce the heat  to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Notes:
1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or  a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

These were delicious and as always you can check out other people’s Éclairs by either taking a look at the blogroll or maybe by trying a Google search. 🙂

Happy Baking! 🙂

September 1, 2008. Tags: , , , . August, Baking, Daring Bakers. Leave a comment.

Iron Cupcake Earth: Challenge One: Chili

I finally got my act together and made my cupcakes for the first Iron Cupcake: Earth challenge. 🙂 Just to refresh your memory, Iron Cupcake: Earth is a cupcake challenge run by the Milwaukee Cupcake Queen at No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner and there are some wicked prizes including:

So, you know, when it’s time to vote, go vote for me as I would love to get my hands on this awesome set of prizes. 😀

Anyway, without further ado, I introduce to you……MY CUPCAKE!

Lime Cupcake with Chili, Lime and Tequila Cream Cheese Frosting

Lime Cupcake with Chili, Lime and Tequila Cream Cheese Frosting

As you can see by reading the caption, it’s a lime cupcake with chili, lime and cream cheese frosting and it is delicious.

Recipe:

Makes about 15 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cake:

225g (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened

225g (8 oz) caster sugar

225g (8 oz) self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

3 tbsp of lime extract (alternatively you could use fresh lime juice but unfortunately there was no limes in the supermarket when I went shopping)

Freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 180C and line a muffin pan.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar.
  • Sift together the self-raising flour and the baking powder, add to the butter sugar mixture, and mix together until smooth and pale. If you’re using an electric mixer it should only take a few minutes.
  • Add the lime extract and black pepper and mix.
  • Fill muffin pan and bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until golden in colour.
  • Allow to cool completely before decorating.

Frosting:

250g cream cheese, softened

5 cups icing sugar

5 tsp of lime extract

4 tsp of tequila (or more if you want)

4 tsp of dried chili flakes

  • Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl.
  • Add the cream cheese and stir until smooth.
  • Add the lime extract, tequila and the chili flakes and mix until incorporated.
  • Decorate the cupcakes!

These are delicious. The chili is not strong enough to overpower the lime flavour but it adds a certain warmth to the overall cake.

Voting starts at NOON August 31st at No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner so make sure you go vote for me! Don’t worry, I’ll post a reminder closer to the time so you don’t forget. 😉

August 16, 2008. Tags: , , , , , . Baking, Chilli, Cupcakes, Iron Cupcake: Earth. 1 comment.

Happy Birthday to Maziah’s Mum!

Well actually her birthday was a week or so ago but the weather was so bad that there was no way to get the cupcakes to Queenstown so unfortunately Maziah had to cancel the order. Anyway, this even I received a text from her asking if I could get them done for tonight as her mum was in town so I baked like crazy and got them done in time for her to pick them up. 🙂

August 8, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Baking, Chocolate, Cupcakes, Orders. Leave a comment.

Simple White Bread

I was like a baking machine today. Originally I’d only planned to make a loaf of bread and some blondies but then Maziah texted me at 5 to see if I could make her the 25 cupcakes she wanted for tonight. And guess what? I could. 🙂 I am très awesome. But first off, time to tackle the loaf of bread I made.  I’ve made this a few times, in fact I used to make it all the time last year, and there’s nothing better than the smell of fresh baked bread – even the smell of fresh baked cakes can’t top it.

The recipe came from Delia Online (Delia Smith’s website) and it is a brilliant and easy recipe. For those of you who don’t want to click a link I’ll post it here too.

Ingredients:

1lb 8oz (700g) of strong white bread flour (I just used some regular plain/all purpose flour)

1 level tablespoon of salt , or less, according to taste

1 level teaspoon of dried yeast

1 level teaspoon of caster sugar

15 fl oz (425ml) hand hot water

What You Do:

  • Delia Smith says to begin by warming the flour in the oven for about ten minutes but I didn’t do that and it still worked out so really it’s up to you….although you should probably follow the advice of Delia because, well, because she’s Delia Smith.
  • Sift flour, salt, yeast and sugar into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add the water.
  • Mix the dough, starting off with a wooden spoon and using your hands at the end. Add more water if there’s any dry bits.
  • Wipe the bowl clean with the dough and transfer it to a flat work surface. Knead the dough for 3 minutes or until in develops a sheen and is springy and elastic.
  • Put the dough back in the mixing bowl or a clean bowl and leave it covered until it appears to have doubled in bulk ( this should take about 2 hours at room temperature).
  • After that, turn the dough out on to the work surface again and knead for 2 minutes.
  • Now you can either put the dough in a loaf pan or divide it in two to make two smaller loaves. Once you’ve made the life changing decision of how many loaves you want, leave the pan(s) for another hour until the dough rises above the top of the tins. (Delia says to put them inside an oiled polythene bag but that seemed like too much fuss so I just covered it with a clean teatowel and put it in the airing cupboard where it was warm. Delia has her way and I have mine.)
  • While your waiting, turn your oven on to 450F (230C).
  • Bake the bread on the centre shelf, two small loaves for about 30 – 40 minutes and one big loaf for about 35 – 45 minutes, until they sound hollow when the base is tapped.
  • Tip the loaf out of its tin and stick it back in the oven for about 5 minutes to crisp the base and sides.

Mmmm. Delicious.

August 8, 2008. Tags: , , , , , . Baking, Bread. Leave a comment.

Iron Cupcake: Earth

Yes I have joined a second baking group – this one being Iron Cupcake: Earth which is run by the Milwaukee Cupcake Queen (by the way, you should totally go check out her blog: No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner). To start with, what an awesome name for a challenge! I am so excited for this to begin. 🙂 Each month an ingredient is announced and everyone who has signed up has a month to develop and bake their interpretation of the challenge ingredient. In cupcake form, of course. 🙂 Then, once all the posts and photos have been received, a post will go up on No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner and you can vote for your favourite there. And there are some awesome prizes from a different Etsy artist each month.

Iron Cupcake: Earth is getting bigger everyday and I strongly encourage you to join if cupcakes are your thing. 🙂 To join, all you need to do is email The Milwaukee Cupcake Queen at ironcupcakeearth@wi.rr.com with the following information:

Name

City, State, Country

Blog Address

Flickr Name

Referral: The name of the blog which referred you ie. The Dunedin Domestic Goddess

Any questions you have can be answered by looking at the Iron Cupcake: Earth blog. So go sign up! It’s going to be heaps of fun! 😉

August 1, 2008. Tags: , , , . Baking, Cupcakes. 2 comments.

Daring Bakers June Challenge: Danish Braid

This month marked my initiation into the Daring Bakers clan and this month’s challenge turned out to be, for me, a bit of a baptism by fire. June’s challenge was to make a Danish Braid (filled with your choice of filling) and it was hosted by Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What’s Cooking?. When I saw what the challenge was going to be for my first month I was a little scared to tell you the truth and I had to keep reminding myself that Daring Bakers is all about leaving your comfort zone and making things you wouldn’t normally make. The Danish Braid could have any filling you wanted really, but since this was my first challenge I stuck with the apple filling that came with the recipe because I was scared I’d stuff it up. 🙂

Kneading the Dough

The dough itself was fairly easy to make although I don’t own a stand mixer so I just had to make it the old fashioned way with my fingers. That was alright but there were a few mishaps during the mixing with the liquid escaping and running all over the kitchen bench and me having to build little flour walls to stop it. The only complaint I have about the dough is the fact that you have to chill it for 30 minutes between each turn and for 5 hours (or overnight) after the final turn….but that’s only because I’m really impatient and I kept checking the time constantly when it was in the fridge. Spreading the beurrage onto the dough was another tricky bit as it got everywhere, especially when I was rolling it after it had been folded together for the first time. It kept bursting out of the dough, but that was ok because I just scraped it up and dumped it back on top of it again.

I put the waiting to good use though and I made the apple A fireman leaping into action!filling while I was waiting for the dough to chill. But then something really exciting happened and one of the houses behind my parents house (where I was making the braid) set on fire! So the braid was abandoned and me and my sister ran to watch the firemen. The place was completely gutted and there was a car on the lawn so apparently the firemen were worried there was someone in there but it was alright. Although, according to the news, there is a man missing.

Anyway, back to the baking. Once the dough had chilled for five hours it was time to get it out of the fridge and roll it out again into a big rectangle. That took a while and my arms were sore after all the kneading and rolling but that’s more to do with me being lazy and not exercising than it is to do with the dough. The dough was lovely and very well behaved. Once I’d got it into a big rectangle, I cut it into two smaller ones since I had decided to make two smaller braids – one for my parents and one for me and Michael.

Then it was time for cutting and filling the braid. This part was definitely the easiest bit of the whole thing since it was just making sure there was the same amount of strips on each side and dumping a whole lot of apple and cinnamon filling in the middle. The actual braiding was a little more difficult as I couldn’t quite keep the whole thing together and it kept unfurling whenever I turned my back. So after wrestling with it for a while I gave up and started on the second braid….which actually turned out worse since I made the cuts too long and it didn’t give a solid base for the filling but it’s alright. The first one turned out ok. The recipe was fairly easy to follow and I think I’ll be trying it again at some point.

There are heaps of sexy looking braids out there and I advise you to go check them out! Either click around on the blogroll or just try a google search. I am particularly fond of Fanny’s Danish Braid with Vanilla Custard and chocolate chips over at foodbeam. I think I might have to give that one a try next time I do this. 🙂

Recipe:

Danish Dough:

Makes 2 1/2 pounds of dough

For the dough (detrempe):

1 ounce of fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast

1/2 cup of whole milk

1/3 cup of sugar

Zest of one orange, finely grated

3/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom (I left this out since I’m not really a fan of it but it’s up to you)

1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1/2 a vanilla bean, split and scraped

2 large eggs, chilled

1/4 cup of fresh orange juice

3 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of salt

For the butter block (Beurrage):

1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter

1/4 cup of all-purpose flour

DOUGH
Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.

BUTTER BLOCK
1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.
2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

APPLE FILLING
Makes enough for two braids

Ingredients
4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 – 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

DANISH BRAID
Makes enough for 2 large braids

Ingredients
1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.
2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.
3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Egg Wash
Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.
2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

Happy Braiding! 🙂

June 30, 2008. Tags: , , , . Baking, Daring Bakers, June. 8 comments.

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