Lemon Blueberry Swirl Cake

 

Lemon Blueberry Swirl Cake

This has been a while, but did not want to not post this recipe just because I’m embarresed for not posting in a long time. So after only practicing one cake for my friends wedding, I finally decided to make this cake recipe (from Life in a Peanut Shell) that had been sitting in my recipe binder for ages. I never could find the occassion to make this cake, but the wedding seemed perfect for it. Lemon and blueberry and well…more lemon. Just the right combination for a summer wedding food table.

Food tableLemon Blueberry Swirl Cake

I absolutely loved the idea for a wedding food table created by close friends and family members. This added such a personsal touch to the wedding, I thought. Just like the garden which wa decorated in with selfies of the bride and groom and the wedding’s color themed flags and balloons.  Ofcourse my dear friend, the bride, also put in her share of baking and preparing 🙂 She made the wedding cake (seen below). The wedding cake turned out awesome! The cake was so spongey and the frosting in between the layers so smooth and creamy.  A very yummy wedding cake.

IMG_3973Wedding cake

Lemon Blueberry Swirl Cake
(recipe and design 100% from Life in a Peanut Shell)

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1½ tsp lemon extract
7 egg whites
3 cups cake flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1¼ cups milk
Fresh blueberries, for decoration

Lemon blueberry preserves (below)
Lemon buttercream frosting (below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of three 8 inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.
In a mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, lemon zest and lemon extract until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg whites 2 or 3 at a time, beating well between additions and stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, whisk gently to blend. In 2 or 3 alternating additions, beat the dry ingredients and milk into the butter mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times. Beat on medium-high speed for about 1 minute to smooth out any lumps and aerate the batter.
Scoop 1 cup of the batter into a small bowl. Divide the remaining equally among the 3 prepared pans, smoothing the tops with a spatula. This gives you a smooth surface to work with. Add 2½ tbsp of the lemon blueberry preserves to the reserved batter and blend well. Drizzle heaping teaspoons of this blueberry mixture over the batter in the pans. Use a skewer to swirl the blueberry mixture in short strokes to drag it down through the lemon batter without mixing it in.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until a cake tester or skewer stuck in the centre comes out clean and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Lat the layers cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack, peeling off the paper and leaving to cool completely.

Lemon Blueberry Preserves
3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
¾ cup sugar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1½ tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Puree the blueberries with any juices that have exuded in a blender. Pass the puree through a coarse strainer to remove the skins.
In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the blueberry puree with the sugar, lemon juice, zest and ginger. Bring to a gentle boil over a medium heat, stirring often for 20 minutes, or until the preserves have thickened and are reduced to 1 cup. To check the proper thickness place a small amount of a saucer and put in the freezer until cold. Drag your finger through it. If a clear path is made through the preserve then it is ready. Let the preserves cool before using. (Can be made up to 5 days in advance).

Lemon Buttercream Frosting
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
2 eggs
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue to boil without stirring, occasionally washing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove from the heat.
In a large mixer bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beast the eggs briefly. Slowly add the hot syrup in a thin stream, pouring it down the sides of the bowl; be careful to avoid hitting the beaters or the syrup may splatter. When all the syrup has been added, raise the speed to medium,-high and beat until the mixture is very fluffy and cooled to body temperature. This can take 15-20 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and gradually add the softened butter 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, beating well between additions. As you’re adding the last few tablespoons of butter, the frosting will appear to break, then suddenly come together like whipped butter. Beat in the lemon juice, and the frosting is ready to use.

To Assemble
To assemble the cake, place a layer, flat side up, on a cake stand. Spread half of the lemon blueberry preserves over the top. Place a second layer on top of the first and spread the remaining preserves over it. Finally place the third layer on top and frost the top and sides with the lemon buttercream.
Decorate with fresh blueberries and serve.

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Chocolate liquorice cake

IMG_3870

 Two of my dear friends are getting married this June and I’ve been asked if I could bake a cake for the cake table. The bride (my friend Irene) is going to make the wedding cake and her idea was to surround it with some cakes home baked by some of her friends. So my search for ‘the cake’ for that day and my practice sessions have begun!

Chocolate cake with liquorice

I was somewhat overwhelmed with the amounts of recipes available online. Which ones should I try? Martha Stewart, Food Network, BBC’s Good Food, Pinterest and trillions of food blogs. Don’t get me wrong, I do love searching the web for recipes. In fact, I generally tend to lose track of time while doing this. It almost feels like a high; I turn back to reality and can’t believe my eyes when I look at the time. Hours later…This is the reason I sometimes prefer books. I just make myself pick a book from my shelf and then that’s the book I have to choose a recipe from. This time it was a cake book I got for my birthday last year, Trendy Taarten (roughly translates to ‘Trendy cakes’) by Linda Lomelino. There’s so many pretty little cakes in this book. I’m sure I’ll find the cake to bake for the big day in here. But for now, chocolate liquorice cake. Don’t let the liquorice put you off, it’s very subtle and blends very nicely into the chocolate.

Chocolate liquorice cake

Chocolate liquorice cake

Serves 8-10.

For the chocolate cake:
3 large eggs
75 millilitres of water
90 grams + 3 tablespoons of sugar
2,5 tablespoons of cocoa
100 grams of flour
1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
pinch of salt
50 millilitres of sunfloweroil
1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar or extract

For the liquorice ganache:

150 grams of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
150 millilitres of cream
2-3 teaspoons of liquorice powder
1,5 – 2 tablespoons golden syrup (or light corn syrup)
50 grams of butter

For the turquoise vanilla buttercream:
300 grams of butter, room temperature
240-300 grams of powdered sugar
3 teaspoons of vanilla sugar (or extract)
turquoise food coloring paste

2x springform rings 15 cm/6 inch

For the chocolate cake, preheat the oven to 160 C (275 F). Divide egg yolks from whites. Bring the water to a boil in a watercooker and let cool a bit. Sift 90 grams of sugar, the cocoa, flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Mix together the egg yolks, oil, vanilla sugar/extract and the somewhat cooled water. Sift the dry ingredients above the egg yolk mixture and beat until it just comes together. In a seperate bowl, beat egg whites until soft and foamy. Add remaining sugar one tablespoon at a time and keep beating until stiff peaks form. Add one-third of the egg white mixture to the chocolate batter and stir to combine. Then add the second third of egg whites and fold, as to make the mixture light and aerated. Once incorporated, do the same with the last third of the egg whites. Divide chocolate cake batter between two 15 cm (6 inch) clean springform pans (do not butter/flour them). Bake for 30 minutes. After you’ve removed them from the oven, flip the cakes onto a wire rack to cool. Once cool, run a sharp nice around the edge and turn upside down above a plate, shaking gently to remove cake from pan.

For the  liquorice ganache, chop chocolate and place in a medium bowl. In a saucepan, heat cream, liquorice powder, golden syrup and butter until all is melted. This mixture should be warm, but not boiling hot. Pour warm cream mixture on chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds before gently stirring. The final ganache should be smotth and shiny.

To make the turquoise vanilla buttercream, beat the butter until pale (about 3-4 minutes). Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add cream and vanilla sugar/extract. Add a tiny drop of the food coloring paste until you get the desired colour.

Assembly of cake: Cut both cakes horizontally, giving you 4 cake layers. Place one of them on a plate or cake board and spread a layer of liquorice ganache over entire surface. Place the next cake layer on top of the first cake layer and continue with the liquorice ganache spreading with the remaining layers. Once all layers are stacked, spread a thin layer of  the turquoise vanilla buttercream on the top and sides of the cake. Then refridgerate for 20 minutes or so for it to stiffen. Fill a piping bag with the remaining buttercream and pipe small ‘roses’ all over cake, starting with the sides and end with the top.

 

Apple and olive oil cake

Apple olive oil cake I don’t know about you guys, but I really enjoy watching Australia’s Masterchef. I think George, Gary and Matt do an excellent job at hosting the show. The British, American and the Dutch Masterchef have got nothing on the Australian version of the show. In my opinion, the Aussie’s can’t be beaten. They’ve got it down! There are several reasons for this success, but three which stand out to me. 1. Every contestant is treated with respect. Nobody has to suffer verbal abuse (which is the case for the American Masterchef. But hey, Gordon Ramsay is the host. Need I say more?). 2. The contestants treat each other with respect and are supportive of each other. In the American Masterchef they are so competitive. They will almost kill each other to win the contest. 3. They often have famous (guest) chefs on the show. I must give the British version credit for having Michel Roux Jr though. But…I WANT MORE!

Usually the contestants have to make a recipe created by the guest chef. As is the case for this recipe. This apple olive oil cake is a recipe from Maggie Beer, who has been on the show a couple of times. She’s a lovely chef and very down to earth, what is what most people seem to love about her. Her recipes are, what I think, Australian country cooking. But with somewhat more delicate flavors than seen in some American country dishes. She’s very much into organic produce and even has her own line of products that come from her own farm.

This recipe is some work, but it is worth it. The olive oil cake is moist as can be has a slight tang to it from the apple poaching liquid. The rosemary is a nice addition, because it gives this cake an extra dimension. I would, however, use slightly less rosemary next time. If you can’t get verjuice, I would substitute for a non-acidic apple juice. I used a regular apple juice which was a bit overpowering, I thought. So use either a mild apple juice or the fresh (cloudy) apple juice for best results.

Apple olive oil cake and sabayon

Olive oil, apple and rosemary cake with sabayon
Apple
Poached apples
4 pink large lady apples, peeled, cut into 8ths and core removed
300ml verjuice
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Olive oil cake
3 eggs, separated
125 gr caster sugar
75 gr plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
60 ml extra virgin olive oil
60ml reserved apple poaching liquid

Glaze

¼ cup caster sugar
Remaining reserved poaching liquid, (less 30ml for sabayon)

Sabayon
30ml apple poaching liquid
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2 egg yolks

Preheat oven to 175⁰C (fan forced). Grease and baking paper line the base of a 20cm spring form cake tin.

For poached apples, place apples, verjuice and rosemary in a large, deep frying pan. Cover and bring to the boil over a high heat.
Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 10 minutes or until tender. Remove apples from heat and strain, reserving the liquid. Return apples to frying pan and place over a high heat, add extra virgin olive oil and sautee until apples start to colour, remove from heat.
Arrange caramelised apple pieces in the base of prepared cake tin.

For olive oil cake, beat whites in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add half the sugar and beat until sugar has dissolved.

 In a separate bowl, beat yolks and remaining sugar until pale.

 Sift in flour and baking powder, pour in oil and 60ml reserved apple poaching liquid and mix to combine.
Gently fold in meringue, 1/3 at a time until combined. Pour mixture into prepared cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until pudding springs back to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool in tin for 5 minutes. Remove the spring form tin collar and flip / invert pudding on to a wire cooling rack.

For glaze, pour caster sugar and remaining reserved poaching liquid (but put aside 30mls for the sabayon) into a small saucepan. Place over a medium heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half.

For sabayon, place all ingredients in a heat proof bowl and place over a shallow water bath. Whisk until pale, light and frothy. Do not allow the bowl to touch the water.
Control applied heat by removing bowl from the heat occasionally to cool mixture and to avoid over cooking the yolks. Whisk mixture continuously and return to heat to continue cooking as required. To check consistency, mixture should hold a trail of the number eight.
 When sabayon is a constancy of your liking (don’t let it get too thick) remove from the heat and whisk until cool. Pour into a serving jug.

To serve, cut into thick wedges and brush with verjuice glaze.

Source: Maggie Beer

Almond and Orange Cake

Almond & orange

Did you know the almond isn’t really your typical nut? Technically speaking, or so I’ve read, almonds are the seed of the fruit of the almond tree. Ever looked closely at the kernel of an apricot and thought: this looks like an almond? I have! That’s because almonds, apricots, peaches and cherries (who would’ve thought) are relatives. Guess who’s the family nut? Uncle almond! No seriously, almonds are amazing. Their oils and wonderful nuttiness add richness to so many dishes, be it sweet or savory                                                                         

Almond orange cake & orange slicesTeacup           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almonds match so well with many fruits. I always love them in crumble toppings on pies or cobblers. I always imagine almonds in desserts with cherries, blackberries, peaches, apples, pears, apricots and so on. Never would I have come up with almonds and oranges. Not that it doesn’t work, of course! And what better way to try this combination, than with a recipe by masterchef and pâtissier, Michel Roux Jr. Trust me, he knows what to do with almonds and oranges.

A slice of this almond and orange cake with a hot cup of tea is just what you need after a long day of work (Dessert before dinner? Yes, life is short) on a wintery cold day. Or enjoy on a terrace on a warm day in summer. Either way, the moist sweet zesty cake paired with the orange marmalade glaze and crunchy almond slivers will put a smile on your face after each bite.

Almond and orange cake

Orange & almond

If you don’t have a 20 cm/8 inch cake tin, you can also use a 23-24 cm/9 inch cake tin and reduce baking time to 30-35 minutes. This cake browns quickly, I’m guessing it might have something to do with the oils in the almonds. Although this did not affect flavor in a negative way, I would suggest you cover with aluminum foil (matte side up) near the end of the baking time.

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

  • 50 gr (6 leveled tablespoons) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 225 gr  (1 cup or 8 oz) caster sugar
  • 250 gr (2.5 cups or 8.8 oz) ground almonds
  • 250 gr (1 ¼ stick or 9 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon grated zest of orange
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) freshly squeezed orange juice (from 1 orange)
  • 60 gr (2 oz) light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon marmalade
  • Handful of sliced almonds, toasted

1. Butter a round cake tin, approximately 20cm/8 inch wide. Preheat the oven t0 180°C/355 °F.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar, and add the ground almonds. Whisk the butter with the orange zest until pale, then add the eggs one at a time. This mixture will come together slightly, but don’t expect a homogenous mixture. It will have little lumps of butter. Fold in the dry ingredients with a metal spoon. The batter will be thick. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until cooked (see tips above).

3. While the cake is baking, make a syrup by boiling the orange juice with the brown sugar until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is moderately dark golden colour. Leave to cool. Once the cake is cooked, prick several times with a skewer to the base and pour on the cooled syrup. Leave the cake to cool completely before brushing on a little warmed marmalade. To toast the almond slivers, put them into a dry skillet on medium heat and stir every once and a while. Keep a close eye on them. The transition between golden brown and GOLDEN brown (burnt) is quite fast. You only want to crisp them and add a little colour.  After cooling a bit in on a plate, sprinkle them on the cake.

4. Michel Roux recommends serving this with orange segments marinated in a generous splash of whisky and a little demerara (raw cane) sugar. I think this would very good with some whiskey flavored whipped cream and some thinly sliced candied orange peel.

Source: Michel Roux Jr: A Life in the Kitchen by Michel Roux Jr.

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