Sunday, January 22, 2017

Vanilla and Orange Cake

This month, at The Cake Slice Bakers, the four recipes selected from the book World Class Cakes by Roger Pizey which we are currently baking from are ;

Lemon Drizzle 
Apple Streusel
Vanilla and Blood Orange Cake
Devil's Food Cake

Members can choose any of those cakes to bake, and my choice is Vanilla and Blood Orange Cake. I have however replaced blood orange with regular orange.



The full recipe is baked in a 8" pan. I've made half a recipe and bake the cake in a 5" round cake pan. For such a tiny cake, the amount of butter is half a cup (which I thought is quite a lot!), so I've used 100gm, wanted to use only 80gm but decided to reduce only 25gm from the half cup instead, and have reduced the sugar to 1/4 cup, taking into account that there is caramel at the top of the finished cake.

The caramel is first made by melting sugar in a saucepan (for the caramel, I've used 1/4 cup instead of 1/3 cup) and stir until the sugar has completely melted to a caramel. Immediately pour the caramel into the cake pan and place a sliced orange in the centre. 

The batter is made by creaming sugar (I've used 1/4 cup), eggs and seeds from a vanilla pod, until light and fluffy, and doubled in volume, about 5 minutes. Fold in melted butter, orange zest, orange juice, mix to combine, and lastly the flour, in two batches. Pour batter into the prepared pan over the caramel and bake in a preheated oven.



According to the recipe, this cake is baked in a low temperature at 325F for 30 minutes. I have however baked at 350F and it took 35 minutes until the cake is done baking. 



Invert the cake onto a plate so that the caramel with the orange is now the top. Let cool and serve.






Cake is very moist, and soft. I am so glad that I have reduced the sugar, as this is quite sweet with the caramel. I thought that this cake could do with a little less butter. I like the orange slice and the bits of vanilla seeds throughout. My overall review for this cake, not great, but nice.



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Breakfast Biscotti

It's Dorie's Cookies week at Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD). The selected bake is Breakfast Biscotti. I like eating biscotti. They are great for snacking anytime. Crispy, crunchy, and especially good with a cup of hot coffee or tea. 

I have made biscotti with sticky dough before, but Dorie's Breakfast Biscotti dough is easy to work with. The dough is soft but not sticky. The only change I've made, is to reduce the sugar from 150gm to 100gm. I have used my homemade granola using Dorie's recipe, Crispy Granola from Baking Chez Moi. The granola was so good, that I had to reserve a cup to make this biscotti, before they are all gone.



The dough is divided into two, spaced them well apart on a parchment lined baking tray. They really spread quite a bit after baking. Cool them for about 20 minutes before slicing into 1/2-inch slices. I used a serrated knife and the baked dough fell apart. The outer crust was crispy after baking, so I left it overnight to cool down completely before the final baking. The next morning, I used a serrated knife again to slice the baked dough, and they still fall apart. I then switched to a regular sharp kitchen knife, and the slices are perfectly sliced without any bits falling off. 


A tray of sliced biscotti about to go into the oven for the final baking.



These biscotti baked to a lovely golden brown. They are crispy, crunchy and delicious, but just a tad sweet for us even though I have reduced the sugar. The next time when I make this again, I will reduce maybe another 2 tablespoons of sugar. I like that they are not hard crispy, but with a  light crispy crunch. A winner!  I've enjoyed a few slices with a cup of black unsweetened coffee and it was good!

Recipe for these cookies can be obtained from Dorie's website, here. To see what other bakers thought of these cookies, please visit the links at TWD.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Lemon Ice Cream

This week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), it is our Monthly Featured Dish/Ingredient Challenge, and for this month it is Lemons! or any citrus. We may select any recipe that uses lemon or citrus from any of our past or present featured chefs. I've made Tessa Kiros's, Lemon Ice Cream, from her beautiful book "Falling Cloudberries". There are fifteen featured chefs at IHCC, and Tessa Kiros is easily in the top three of my favourite chefs. 

Tessa Kiros's Lemon Ice Cream recipe uses fresh sage leaves. I, however, have forgotten to buy sage leaves and I'm not about to make a trip to the supermarket again as it was already late in the evening. So I use fresh pandanus (screwpine) leaves, which I have a healthy bush growing at my backyard. Pandanus leaves are extremely fragrant and we use it a lot in sweet desserts and savoury dishes. 



I snipped the pandanus leaves to small pieces and boil together with the whipping cream, lemon zest and sugar. Once the mixture comes to a boil, and the sugar has completely dissolved, remove from heat, and leave to cool. The pandan leaves would fill your kitchen with it's wonderful fragrance. Once cooled, I remove the pandanus leaves with a pair of chopsticks which is rather easy and quick. I did not strain the mixture over a sieve as I want the lemon zest in the ice cream. Whisk in the lemon juice, the mixture will curdle and thicken a little, but keep whisking and it will come together, chill in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, I churn the mixture in the ice cream machine.

I did change a little of the steps in the recipe, making it a little easier and simpler for me. Refer to the recipe instructions (below) for the changes I've made (as above). Sugar is reduced to half and the sweetness was just right for us.



This creamy Lemon Ice Cream is so yummy! The fragrance of the pandan and the lemony taste of the lemon zest and juice, blends perfectly together. If you have not tried using pandanus leaves in your dessert making, I urge you to try and get some, you will love it's heady fragrance aroma.


Lemon Ice Cream
(Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros)
serves 4
500ml (2 cups) pouring (single) cream (whipping cream)
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon finely chopped sage leaves **
160gm (2/3) cup caster (superfine) sugar (1/3 cup)

** I replaced the sage leaves with pandanus leaves (screwpine leaves). I used 2 long leaves, snipped to small pieces.

Put the cream, lemon rind and sage (pandanus leaves snipped to small pieces) in a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Set aside to cool and infuse the lemon and sage (pandanus) flavours into the cream.
Meanwhile, whisk the sugar with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the cream mixture until the sugar dissolves. (I added the sugar to the cream, in the first step, allowing it to boil together). Add the remaining cream mixture and whisk well for a couple of minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover and put in the freezer. (Remove the pandanus leaves, whisk in the lemon juice and chill the mixture overnight, covered, in the refrigerator).
After an hour, remove the bowl from the freezer, give an energetic whisk with a hand whisk or electric mixer and return the bowl to the freeser. Whisk again after another couple of hours. When it is nearly firm, give one last whisk, transfer to a suitable freezing container with a lid and let it set in the freezer until it is firm. (I skipped these steps, and use the ice cream machine to churn the mixture the next morning).
Alternatively, pour the mixture into your ice cream machine and freeze, following the manufacturer's instructions.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
January Monthly Featured Dish/Ingredients Challenge : Lemons!



and

I'm linking this post with Cookbook Countdown #13 hosted by 




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