Tuesday, May 22, 2018

TWD - Springtime Cookies and Curd



For Tuesdays with Dorie a couple of weeks back, we made Double-Butter Double-Baked Petit Beurre Cookies.  This week's recipe involves taking those cookies and turning them into a fruity dessert.


It is difficult to see in my photos, but the base of the dessert is a cookie, which is then topped with curd.  The recipe specified making grapefruit curd, but I still had citrus curd from a little while ago.  I could not justify making yet more curd, so I just used the citrus curd that I had.  Dorie also suggested making an optional rhubarb compote to top the curd, but I skipped that too.  Finally, the cookie and curd are topped by strawberries macerated in sugar and Kirsch.  I definitely recommend using the Kirsch if you have it - there's nothing like boozy, syrupy fruit.

I really enjoyed this dessert, despite it being autumn (nearly winter!) rather than spring in my neck of the woods.

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Lemon and Elderflower Cake for the Royal Wedding


Today is the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle.  I am currently watching the ceremony as I type.  Meghan's dress is simple and beautiful, and she looked so pleased to see Harry at the altar.  Her mother looks so proud.  What a wonderful occasion. 

Unless you have been out of radio contact for a few months, you will know that London-based, Californian born pastry chef Claire Ptak has been chosen to make their wedding cake, which will be a lemon and elderflower cake decorated with fresh flowers (including peonies).

I made my own version of a lemon and elderflower cake to celebrate the Royal Wedding.  There are many variants of lemon and elderflower cake recipes, and Claire Ptak's is a secret, so I did some Internet searches to choose one that I liked.  The recipe for the base cake that I chose is this one.  It was a good choice, as the cake baked up in even layers that were sturdy enough to cut easily into layers and stack.

There appears to be an omission in that the recipe calls for lemon zest in the cake, but it is not mentioned in the method.  I ended up using the zest in the soaking syrup.  I also used lemon juice instead of lemon extract to flavour the cake.

Another change that I made was to brush some of the syrup onto the hot cakes while they were still in the tins, when the syrup is best absorbed.  I then used the rest of the syrup on the cake layers once the cakes were cooled and cut.

For the icing, I did not go with the recipe that is suggested with the cake.  Instead, I used my usual Primrose Bakery Buttercream recipe.  However, instead of flavouring it with vanilla extract, I flavoured half of it with lemon curd and lemon zest, which I used to fill the cake layers.  I flavoured the remainder of the buttercream with a tablespoon of St Germaine (elderflower liqueur), as used in the soaking syrup.


I did not have peonies, so for the purposes of the photographs, a placed a yellow gerbera and some white carnations on top of the cake, from a bouquet given to me by Tim.

I think this cake turned out very well aesthetically.  It is not a professional cake like Claire Ptak's will be, but then again, I am not a professional baker.  I loved how well this cake cut into slices - it was very easy to cut an attractive, sturdy slice.

Congratulations to Prince Harry and Meghan - I wish them all the very best for their lives together. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

TWD - Vanilla Brown Butter Madeleines


This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Vanilla Brown Butter Madeleines.  Madeleines are little sponge cakes in the shape of a shell.  Normally they are very plain and don't really impress me.  However, this version had a lovely flavour profile from the vanilla, browned butter and honey that they contained.  They are also quite pretty:  


To see what the others made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Sticky Mud Brownies - Red Tractor May


This month's Red Tractor calendar recipe is Sticky Mud Brownies.  It is accompanied by the following quote: 


I totally agree with that - you don't feel like you need to check yourself with true friends.

This recipe is super easy and gets a great result, so without further ado, here is the recipe:

125g melted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I used white chips)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin.

Whisk to butter, sugar and oil together in a bowl for a minute.  Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk for another minute. Fold in the flour, cocoa and salt with a rubber spatula.  Fold in the hazelnuts and chocolate chips.

Scrape the batter into the prepared baking tin and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the centre feels set to the touch. 

Allow the brownies to cool in the tin to room temperature, then remove from the tin and cut into 16 squares.  Dust with icing sugar before serving, if desired.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

TWD - Double-Butter Double-Baked Petit Beurre Cookies


This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Double-Butter Double-Baked Petit Beurre Cookies - quite a mouthful!

These cookies involve making a baked streusel type crumb, then adding more butter and combining it into a dough before baking again.  The process takes a while because the fragile second stage requires the dough to be frozen for an hour before cutting out the cookies and handling with care.

I made a half recipe and got 9 cookies before I just gave up trying to cut out the crumbly dough.

These cookies are buttery and toasty tasting from the double bake. They are quite delicious, although a little painful to make.

To see what the others made this week and how they fared, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

TWD - Strawberry Shortcake Cookies


This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Strawberry Shortcake Cookies.  The name is a little misleading because they are actually little sponge cakes topped with cream and strawberries, rather than cookies.


Dorie suggests that you put a strawberry compote in the middle of the sponge cake before piping on a ring of whipped cream and topping with strawberry slices.  I used red jam instead of making the strawberry compote - worked just fine.

To see what the others made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Blueberry, Orange and Poppyseed Cake


I am a fan of the recipes by Jordan Rondel, a talented New Zealand baker with a shop called The Caker.  On Stuff.com recently, Jordan published a recipe for a Blackcurrant, Orange and Poppyseed Cake.  I am yet to see blackcurrants in the shops here, but I thought blueberries would make  a worthy substitute in this delicious sounding cake.


The cake comprsies two layers, dotted with poppyseeds and fruit, then sandwiched together and frosted with cream cheese frosting flavoured with marmalade.  Jordan just used straight cream cheese to cover her cakes, but I prefer cream cheese frosting.  


The resulting cake is pretty, moist and flavourful - an absolute winner for me.


The recipe (with a few tweaks by me) is as follows:

150g butter
150g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
150g plain flour
50g almond meal
20g poppy seeds
2 tsp baking powder
¼ cup sour cream
Zest and juice of an orange
150g fresh or frozen blueberries



Preheat your oven to 180C, and grease and line 2 x 22cm round cake tins.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, ensuring that each egg is beaten in well before adding the next. Add in the flour, almonds, poppy seeds and baking powder and mix on low speed until just combined. Add the sour cream and orange zest and juice, and again beat until just combined.
Spoon the batter into the 2 prepared cake tins and press the blueberries on top of each cake, dividing them evenly.
Bake the cakes in the oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through, rotating the cakes front to back at half time.
Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To sandwich them cakes together and ice them, I doubled this cream cheese frosting recipe and added a tablespoon of marmalade to the frosting to give it an orange flavour, like Jordan's cream cheese.
Slice and enjoy!