Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Persian love cake

Ingredients
                                             

Crumb base

300 g (10½ oz/3 cups) almond meal
185 g (6½ oz/1 cup) raw caster (superfine) sugar
220 g (7¾ oz/1 cup firmly packed) soft brown sugar
120 g (4¼ oz) unsalted butter, melted
Cake batter

2 eggs, lightly beaten
250 g (9 oz/scant 1 cup) natural or Greek-style yoghurt
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp rosewater
25 saffron threads
3 tbsp flaked almonds
3 tbsp pistachio nut kernels, roughly chopped

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) fan-forced. Grease the ring of a 24 cm (9½ inch) springform tin, then line with strips of baking paper. Turn the base upside down, so it no longer has a lip. Place a piece of baking paper over it, then clamp the ring around it to secure.

To make the crumb base, combine the almond meal, caster sugar, brown sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl, and rub together until you have an even, sandy consistency. Divide the mixture in two, and tip half into the prepared tin. Using the back of a spoon or a spatula, press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the tin.

To make the cake batter, add the eggs, yoghurt, salt, cardamon, rosewater and saffron to the remaining crumb mixture and whisk until there are no lumps. Pour over the crumb base and sprinkle the flaked almonds and pistachio nuts over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden and fully risen – you will know because the top will probably crack a little. If the top is colouring too quickly, cover with foil, then bake for a further 20 minutes. The centre of the cake should spring back when pressed gently. Cool completely, before removing from the tin and cutting to serve.

Lovely decoration ideas are edible rose petals, sliced fresh figs and a very light dusting of icing sugar. Serve with a dollop of Greek style yoghurt.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Poke a cake to create a delicious dessert

"The Poke Cake Cookbook: 75 Delicious Cake and Filling Combinations" by Jamie Sherman, Page Street Publishing Co., $19.99, 160 pages, paperback
                                             

The poke cake craze is going strong, and it’s easy to see why. These cakes are simple to make, and the flavor combinations are abundant. They are appropriate for many occasions, including children’s parties, bake sales and afternoon coffee breaks.

She offers creative flavor options, including seasonal choices like Pumpkin Spice Poke Cake; the for-grown-ups Bourbon Sweet Potato Spice Poke Cake; Peppermint Mocha Poke Cake; Love Potion #9 Poke Cake, a Valentine’s Day option; and Irish Cream Poke Cake, perfect for an adults-only St. Patrick’s Day party.

Recipes are divided into five chapters, including one devoted to chocolate cakes and another for kid-friendly cakes like Peanut Butter & Jelly Poke Cake and Bubble Gum Poke Cake. Many of the recipes are illustrated with full-color photographs.

After deciding to try Sherman’s recipe for Pumpkin Spice Poke Cake, I encountered a problem typical with cookbooks that rely on buying specific products — I couldn’t find the Jell-O brand pumpkin spice pudding flavor Sherman suggests.

After going to eight different grocery stores, I checked online and discovered only one store in East Baton Rouge Parish, a Winn-Dixie far, far from my house, had the flavor on its shelves. I decided to substitute a vanilla pudding and pie filling to which I added powdered gingerbread spice mix. The spice mix is strong on the nutmeg, so my filling tasted more like eggnog than pumpkin spice. But the cake still tastes good, and I don’t think anyone will turn down a slice.

I also suggest waiting until you are about to serve the cake to top it with the suggested Mellowcreme pumpkin candies. The orange coloring in the candies leaches out into the whipped topping after sitting in the refrigerator for a while.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Angel food cake with cherry sauce

Tip: From when you start to add sugar to egg white mixture, total beating time should take 5 minutes. Pan available from kitchenware shops or speciality cake stores.
                                             

Ingredients

3/4 cups plain flour

11/2 cups caster sugar

10 egg whites, at room temperature

2 tsps vanilla extract

1 tsp cream of tartar

Icing sugar mixture and whipped cream, to serve

Cherry sauce

670g jar morello pitted cherries

2 tblsps caster sugar

1 tblsp cornflour

2 tblsps cold water

Method

1.Sift flour and 1/2 cup of the sugar onto a sheet of baking paper. Repeat three times. Set aside.
2. Place egg whites, vanilla and tartar in a large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on a high speed until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to medium. Gradually add remaining sugar 1 tblsp at a time, beating between additions until thick and glossy.

3. Add flour mixture to egg white mixture. Gently fold until combined. Spoon into an ungreased 23cm loose-base angel food cake pan. Smooth over the top.

4. Cook in a moderate oven (180C) for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of cake comes out clean. Remove from over. Invert pan immediately onto a bench. Leave cake to cool in pan.

5. Meanwhile, make sauce. Drain cherries through a sieve over a saucepan. Set cherries aside. Add sugar and cornflour blended with water to juice in pan. Stir over a low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil, stirring until thickened. Pour into a heatproof bowl. Stir in cherries. Cool.

6. Remove cake by running a palette knife around inside edge of pan to loosen. Inver onto a serving plate. Lift off side. Loosen base with a knife. Remove.

7. Just before serving, dust cake with sifted icing sugar. Serve with cold sauce.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

How to Make a Crepe Cake

If crepe cake making was a sport, assistant food editor Amelia Rampe would have a shelf full of gold trophies. When developing our brand-new crepe cake recipe, she tested the 25-layer pastry five times, making 125 crepes in the process.
It looks intimidating as hell, we know, but it's not as hard as beautiful Instagram photos would lead you to believe. Once you've mastered the easy crepe technique, it's all about stacking gently, not over-filling with pastry cream, and building it tall enough that you can get a dramatic, stunning slice. The best part is that most of the steps can be done ahead, and the crepe batter is made in a blender.
                                             

1. Sleep In (Make Your Batter the Night Before)

It takes only five minutes to make the crepe batter in a blender—4 large eggs, 4 cups whole milk, ⅔ cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt—and it should sit for at least an hour. Impatient? Sleep while it rests in the fridge overnight, because you can't over-chill it.

2. Set Up Your Station

We're not going to sugar-coat things (yet): you're going to spend an hour making this cake. To set yourself up for success, make sure everything is in place. To the left of the stove, keep the pitcher of batter, a ¼ measuring cup in a bowl (to catch any drips!), and a whisk to give it a gentle stir in case it settles. On your right side, keep a rubber spatula ready for flipping, a bowl of melted butter (4 Tbsp.), and a pastry brush to coat the pan.

3. Don't Over-Butter Your Pan!

A suuuuper light brushing of butter is all you need, otherwise the crepes may bubble and brown too quickly. You also don't want them to get greasy, or else the beautiful custard may slide right off them when you build the cake.

4. Control the Pan with Your Dominant Hand

Our instructions are for someone who is right-handed—if you're a lefty, swap everything we said in the setup above. You want to control the crepe-batter-swirling with your dominant hand on the pan handle. By pouring with your non-dominant hand and forming the crepe with your dominant one, you have better control over its shape.

5. Don't Overcook, or You'll Have Tough Crepes

The ideal heat is medium-low, but you can adjust the temperature up or down if you're worried they're cooking too fast or browning too much. You want the crepes to be light golden brown without much color so they are very tender. It will get tougher the more you cook it, and after you work this hard, you don't want to bite into a tough cake! This should take about 2 minutes on the first side and only 30 seconds on the second. Crepes can be made a day in advance if doing all of this in one day seems daunting.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tina Fey Eats Cake, Starting an Internal War

On one side were those who insisted that Fey’s satire was brilliant, and that those who disliked it had missed the joke. You see, according to this narrative, Fey was playing a character: She was mocking herself and other white liberal women who turn to stress eating when situations are overwhelming. Her encouragement for people to stay away was meant to be ironic, part of the overall act. Her literal eating of cake was meant to invoke Marie Antoinette’s famous (and misattributed) “Let them eat cake” line, as a nod to the way in which she’s often criticized for being an elitist, overeducated, coastal liberal.
                                               

On the other side were those who felt that Fey’s comedy was a cheap cop-out. It was presented as a Saturday Night Live segment, even though SNL is on summer break and even though Fey herself is not a regular cast member. In this perspective, Fey is exactly what her apologists claim she’s mocking: A tone-deaf, protected white woman insinuating herself into a significant cultural conversation at the expense of the truly oppressed and endangered in order to say little of value, while casually tossing out jokes about rape and racial boogeymen.

I could write some of this off as cognitive dissonance on the part of supporters: They recognize that lines were overstepped, but their love for Maher and Fey is resolved by pretending that the overstep was part of some greater humor that outsiders just don’t understand. I don’t think that is what’s going on here, though. I think it has more to do with the nature of comedy than with cognitive dissonance.

When Ice Cube says he’d long figured that Maher would overstep the line at some point, Maher gets defensive and self-righteous. Cube struggles to provide a specific example of what he’d meant, so Maher dismisses his position. One reason Cube struggles, I think, is because Maher’s skirting of the edge of racism isn’t anything specific, it’s a general spirit based on who he is and what he does with his platform.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

It's International Cake Day!

Great news, July 20 is International Cake Day!
Be sure to make this year’s International Cake Day a success, no matter what type of cake whets your appetite!
We’ve been rummaging through our box of treasured recipes and we’ve come up with a decadent but airy Victoria Sponge with Jam filling.
Spread the home-made goodwill at the office or at home, and put a smile on the faces of family, friends or co-workers.
Now that would be the icing on the cake!
                                             

Victoria Sponge with apricot & peach Jam Filling
Serves: 4 - 6
Preparation time: 2 ½ hours, includes cooling time

Ingredients:
250 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
240 g (2 cups) self-raising flour
200 g (1 cup) castor sugar
4 extra large eggs
1 lemon
½ can (410 g) peach Slices, drained and chopped
125 ml (½ cup) apricot & peach jam
125 ml (½ cup) fresh cream
30 ml (2 tbsp) castor sugar

Method:
Preheat oven to 180 °C.
Grease and line 2 x 20 cm sandwich cake tins.
Beat butter and sugar together with an electric beater or wooden spoon, until very light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift in flour, finely grate over the lemon zest, fold it into the mixture (halve the lemon and save it for later).
Mix together until well combined.
Divide the mixture evenly between the tins.
Use a spatula to gently smooth the surface of the cakes and bake in oven for 30 - 40 minutes.
Insert a skewer in the middle of the cake; if it comes out clean the cake is ready.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool in tins for five minutes.
Remove from tins and place on cooling racks.
Allow cakes to cool completely before filling.

For the Filling:
Gently warm the Apricot & Peach Jam in a pan over a low heat.
Remove from the heat and stir in sliced peaches.
Whip cream until it forms soft peaks, gently fold in castor sugar, squeeze in the juice from zested lemon.

To assemble the cake:
Place one cake upside down onto a serving plate.
Spread with jam mixture, allowing to cool before topping with sweetened cream.
Place the second cake on top and dust it with icing sugar.