Archive for January, 2011

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Blackforest Cake

January 28, 2011

Untraditionally for Christmas this year, I decided to make a Blackforest Cake. There was going to be a mass of people at our family Christmas this year. We were going to have the traditional pudding, as well as a pavlova but for my SIL I decided Blackforest Cake.

Well maybe not entirely just for her………

It’s not something you see very often in the shops anymore, I remember growing up that this was quite often the fare at events. Nowadays it seems to be cheesecakes…or is that just where I am?

Anyway – I made it, and I had such fun doing it. Was a multiple step process. Starting with the cherry filling, then the multiple layers of cake. My cake had 5 layers I even had the shortcrust base, and the layers themselves…well they left a bit to be desired if you ask me. But, they could’ve been worse for sure! and I had such fun assembling, and grating the fairtrade chocolate all over the cake that who really cared?

Blackforest Cake


Base

125g plain flour
10g cocoa
1t Baking powder
50g sugar
1T kirsch
75g butter

Filling

350g jar of cherries
30g cornflour
25g sugar
3T kirsch

Layers

225g butter at room temperature
225g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
225g self raising flour
2T cocoa
2T milk

Cream

750ml pure cream
2T kirsch
50g icing sugar

Base: Sift flour with cocoa & baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add sugar, kirsch and softened butter. Mix using a dough hook or paddle beater until combined. Roll out to a 28cm circle, and place into a lined 28cm spring form tin. I still don’t have a rolling pin at the new place, so I simply tipped the mixture into the tin, and pressed it out to fit. Poke the dough all over with a fork, as below. Bake in oven at 200C for 10 or 15 minutes
Cherry: Drain a jar of cherries (reserving all juice but keeping 4T to the side, put juice into a pot and bring to a boil. Mix cornflour and the 4T of juice until all lumps have dissolved and when juice comes to the boil, take off the heat and whisk in this mixture, returning it to the heat until its thick. Remove from the heat, add cherries and once completely cool add sugar and kirsch.
Layers: Cream the butter and the sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, and stir in the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon, adding a little extra milk if necessary, to create a batter with a soft dropping consistency. Divide the mixture between the cake tins and gently spread out with a spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes, then remove from the tin, cool completely
Cream: Whip cream until peaking, adding in sugar and kirsch until smooth and incorporated.
Assembly: base, cherries, some cream, layer, cream, layer, cream etc….cover outside with cream, grate chocolate and cover whole cake.

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Brownie Goodness

January 21, 2011

I have a soft spot for brownies, I don’t so much like eating them. But, I do like making them. I like soft-gooeness of it all…I don’t really know why, but I enjoy it.

I use Nigella Lawson’s Snow-Flecked Brownies as my base always from Feast. I’ve made them with adaptations many times over. Properly snow-flecked with white choc chips, sometimes with dark chocolate, sometimes with no chips and rather walnuts. They’re just a brilliant base recipe. They make such beautiful moist brownies……I love the gooey!

Make sure you don’t overcook it though, otherwise it will loose its gooey and become a cake! They still nice….but not really brownies anymore are they?

Brownies


* 355g unsalted butter
* 370g chocolate
* 6 eggs
* 2 cups sugar
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 1.5 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 255g chocolate buttons (white, milk or dark)
* About 2 teaspoons confectioners sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line the sides and base of a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with aluminum foil or baking parchment. (I used used a muffin tin this time though.)
Melt the butter and dark chocolate together in a large heavy-based pan over low heat.
In a bowl, beat the eggs together with the sugar and vanilla extract. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool a little, then add the egg and sugar mixture and beat well. Fold in the flour and salt. Then stir in the buttons. Beat to combine then scrape and pour the brownie mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 25 minutes. You can see when the brownies are ready because the top dried to a slightly paler brown speckle, while the middle remains dark, dense and gooey. Even with such a big batch you do need to keep checking on it; the difference between gungey brownies and dry ones is only a few minutes. Remember, too, that they will continue to cook as they cool.

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Home Made Muesli bars

January 20, 2011

I have been on a bit of a baking sabbatical. Well perhaps I should rephrase, a bit of a blogging about baking sabbatical. I’ve been churning out biscotti still, and muffins for the Husband to munch on. And, made some lemon meringue (which I will blog about eventually) with some leftover whites from the icecream I made. But, I guess what I’m saying is that I haven’t been photographing and noting it. I’ve been baking to supply food, not to try things, or assess them. But, to give someone (usually the Husband) something to eat.

Last night, I wanted to do something though. I made caramel icecream, muesli bars and brownies. I thought I’d start with the bars – the icecream likely will never make an apperance (consumed very quickly by the Husband) but the brownies will.

This is probably the best recipe I’ve come across for Muesli bars. The Husband quite likes to take Muesli bars to work and I’ve tried many different recipes over the months trying to find the one I think is most suitable. I don’t want to give in and buy him pre-made ones out of an aisle in the shopping centre. Meh!

So with some tweeking and some changing from a variety of recipes I’ve used. I came up with the following.

Home-made muesli bars


125g butter
75g firmly packed brown sugar
135g rolled oats
75g self-raising flour
135g trail mix (or fruit & nut mix, or a nut & seed mix)

Preheat oven to 180°C and greace a slice pan and line with one piece of baking paper.
Stir butter and sugar in saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Take off the heat and add in the remaining ingredients.
Press the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for about 35 minutes or until golden.
Cool in the pan. Cut into bars (I usually cut them whilst they’re still warm to touch so that they’re not crunchy and breakable then)