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! 😀

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.

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.