Monday, April 27, 2009

Daring bakers! Kumquat Cheesecake

Wow, wow wow! I love cheesecake, and thanks to my lovely friends at bookclub and the wonderful daring bakers, I had a chance to make this.

I decided to go with a citrus theme, and made a kumquat cheesecake. This was absolutely divine! I added some minced candied kumquats to the cheesecake batter, then decorated with cutout candied kumquats and then drizzled the juice on the cake. Very sticky, but very tasty.

We agreed that the citrus cut through the incredible richness and I was glad I hadnt gone the chocolate and/or nut route as that would have been too much for me.

I was hoping for leftovers, but the ladies have started taking the leftovers to their husbands, who look forward to bookclub as they will be getting leftovers. What an enormous complement!

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

Please check jenny's site for the recipe, which I followed exactly, apart from adding 1/2 cup candied kumquats to the batter. I also added candied kumquats and syrup as decoration.

I baked the cheesecake in a springform pan, but I used saran wrap (clingfilm) to wrap before wrapping in foil, which is a good thing, since the foil did leak, but the saran wrap didnt(the foil must cover the saran wrap).

Take care not to overbeat the cheesecake, this will make it rise, then fall. Turn off the oven when it is just a little jiggly in the middle, and it will be just perfect after its second hour in the oven resting.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cake extravaganza!

I've been so busy attending classes, making easter goodies and all sorts that I've not really been trying any new recipes! More grossmont cakes to come, although we finished the last cake baking in my cake class and we're now doing cake decorating for the rest of the semester.
We started yesterday with buttercream roses, I never got the hang of them. I feel like I just dont have enough interest in them, I cant see myself ever wanting them on my cakes, so there is no incentive to try and perfect them. I might try at the weekend again though.

I started with some cupcakes for a fellow medicinal chemist, making dinky little labcoast and drawing molecules, and some beakers and erlenmeyer flasks, really fun!

Then I had the pleasure of making a cake for the lovely Canine Cologne, who was celebrating a birthday, I'm so glad I finally got to meet her, she's just as sweet and fun as I imagined and I'm really glad she took a risk and asked me to help with her special birthday. Thanks for the shout out too!

I made a banana cake with caramel, banana and cream cheese frosting with chocolate fondant.

The other request was the chocokat cupcakes, these were also fun to make, I love doing cartoon characters!

We then moved onto easter, and I made a mixture of cupcakes with an easter theme, I was asked to make some peeps ones, and some baby birds. I rounded it out with a few birds nests with robin eggs in

I also enjoyed making a fun easter cake. If I'd known quite how big it was going to end up, I'd have made lots more daffodils for it, I also made a birds nest basket with chocolate, caramel syrup and rice krispies

The most recent project was a spur of the moment thing, lots of people are always banging on about 'Yo Gabba' and I have no idea what it is but it sounds fun. A friend recently gave birth to a very adorable little boy, her 2 year old was being a very cute big brother and I thought it would be really fun to make some treats with his favourite characters on. I was really happy with how they came out, I'm a bit annoyed with myself for not taking the time to pipe the frosting, but the characters are cute.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Opera Cake

My favourite cake at Grossmont Cake Classes has been the Opera Cake. Layers of delicious almond jaconde moistened with coffee syrup, layered with chocolate ganache and coffee buttercream. How could you go wrong!!

I was excited to make this as I'd made the opera cake with the daring bakers just over a year ago, with white chocolate and I knew I'd love the dark chocolate and coffee flavors.

Be sure to serve this at room temperature, its much better when the chocolate and buttercream is nice and melty.

Opera Cake- Serves around 12


6oz almond meal
4 oz powdered sugar
2 1/2 oz cake flour
6 eggs
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 1/2 oz sugar
2 1/2 oz butter melted

Sift together the almond meal, powdered sugar and cake flour

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar, adding sugar slowly until the eggs reach medium peaks.

Whisk the eggs into the flour mixture, fold the egg white mixture in followed by the butter. Be sure to make sure the butter didnt just fall straight to the bottom but dont overmix.

Bake on a parchment lined half sheet pan at 350f convection for 5-7 mins.

Coffee Buttercream

5 1/2 oz sugar
2 1/2 oz water
1 tbsp corn syrup
2 eggs
7 oz butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp mocha extract

Heat the sugar water and corn syrup to a temperature of 240f. Meanwhile, whip up the eggs for about 5 mins until theyy reach full volume. Slowly pour the syrup into the eggs, beating continuously. Beat until cool, then add the butter a tablespoon at a time while beating. If the mixture curdles, stop adding butter and beat until it comes together again. Add the vanilla, salt and mocha extract and beat to combine.

Espresso Syrup

5 oz espresso
2 1/2 oz sugar
3 oz kahlua

Dissolve the sugar in the espresso, heating. Add the kahlua

20 oz cream
1 lb 3 oz dark chocolate-chopped

Heat the cream until it reaches a boil. Add to the chocolate and mix until smooth. Keep half warm and allow half to cool to room temperature


Cut the cake into 3 equal pieces

Take the bottom layer, brush with coffee syrup

Top with a layer of the room temperature ganache

Add cake, brush with syrup

Add a layer of half of the buttercream

Top with the last layer of cake, brush with syrup

Spread the rest of the buttercream on the top.

Chill for around 30 mins or so

Pour the warm ganache over the top and smooth.

Trim the edges, then cut into slices.

Optional: Write 'opera' on the slices

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cake pops-they are way harder than they look!

Just a word of caution, bakerella is brilliant at what she does and these are way harder than they look. I'm really glad I tried them but I need a lot of practice!
The pops just didnt get covered very smoothly, and when I tried to dip them twice, they started to come off the sticks. Hopefully this will be easier if I try them again, its a great use of the little domes I get with my cakes!!
Swing by bakerella for more tips, and let me know if you have any ideas on how to get a good finish!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Raspberry Mousse Charlotte

Another Grossmont cake! We made a delicious raspberry mousse cake, 2 layers of sponge with layers of raspberry mousse, surrounded by ladies fingers and topped with a pretty mirror layer, meringue and raspberries.

I learned a clever technique to pipe the lady fingers out to make things a lot easier. This is a really nice cake to serve for a special birthday, I'm annoyed I didnt get a shot of a slice, its very pretty indeed, not to mention delicious!

Raspberry Mousse Charlotte

Makes 2 cakes

Sponge Cake

makes 1 9" cake

4 1/2 oz cake flour
3 1/4 oz sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

3 egg yolks
2 oz oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup water

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 oz sugar

Sift together the dry ingredients, whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla and water then whip the egg whites and cream of tartar, adding the sugar together and beating until the mixture has soft peaks.

Fold the egg yolks into the egg white mixture followed by the flour.

Bake for around 30 mins at 325 in a conventional oven. Allow to cool while the other components are made.

Ladies Fingers

400f convection oven 3-5 mins

2 2/3 oz AP flour
2 oz corn starch

4 egg yolks
pinch of salt
2 oz sugar

4 egg whites
2 1/2 oz sugar
3 drops lemon juice

Sift the flour and corn starch twice. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar for about 5 minutes until they reach full volume. Whip up the egg whites with the lemon juice, adding the sugar slowly and allowing to form medium peaks. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolks, followed by the dry ingredients

Prepare a baking sheet with a guide so that you can pipe the batter to surround a cake, for us, our circles were about 2 inches high, so we piped our ladies fingers to be slightly wider. As you can see, this is a quick technique for forming the surround for a cake without having to make individual fingers.

Bake at 400f in a convection oven for 3-5 mins, rotating when half done. Remove from oven and take the parchment out of the baking sheet to prevent over cooking.

Raspberry Mousse

18 oz seedless raspberry puree
8 oz sugar
pinch salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice

6 sheets gelatin=bloomed in cold water

24 oz whipping cream

Warm the puree, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan until sugar is completely dissolved. Squeeze out the gelatin and whisk into the puree mixture. Allow to cool.

Whip the cream until medium peaks form, then fold the raspberry mixture in.

Raspberry Glaze prepare when cake is ready to serve

6 oz seedless raspberry puree
4 oz water
3 1/2 oz sugar
1 tablespoon pectin

2 sheets gelatin-bloomed

Combine the puree, water and sugar and bring to a boil. Sprinkle pectin in, boil gently for a minute, then strain through a chinois. Strain gelatin and whisk in.

Italian meringue

1 parts egg whites
2 parts sugar

whisk over boiling water until temp reaches 240f then whip at high speed until firm.

Soaking syrup
4 oz simple syrup
1 oz Chambord


Cut the ladies fingers to fit into a 9" cake ring, fit in nice and snug.

Cut the cake into 4 layers and trim until it fits snug inside the ladies finger ring. Brush with syrup then ladle a layer of raspberry mousse. Add second cake, brush with more syrup them add more raspberry mousse. Get a nice flat finish, leaving 1/4 inch for the glaze, then freeze the whole cake for at least 4 hours until firm.

Remove cake from freezer, then quickly pour glaze over the top. Allow to cool for 30 mins

Pipe meringue onto cake

Brown meringue wiht a blowtorch, making sure not to burn the sides of the cake

Decorate with raspberries, make sure the cake has fully defrosted before serving.