Tuesday, 20 August 2013

3rd birthday!

My little one turned 3!
We had a small party out in the garden and of course we ate cake!

This year I wanted to make a chocolate cake filled with something. Well, there was a bottle of maple syrup in the fridge waiting for me... So it was settled!

Chocolate cake with maple whipped cream filling and maple buttercream frosting
recipe adapted from Sweetapolita

for the chocolate cake
230gr butter
600gr brown sugar
15ml vanilla extract
4 eggs
290gr all purpose flour
120gr cocoa powder
8gr baking powder
15gr salt
360ml warm buttermilk
120ml warm filtered coffee
90ml full fat mayonnaise
200gr dark chocolate chopped
2tsp baking soda
20ml vinegar

for the maple filling
60ml cold water
15gr unflavoured gelatin
840ml creme fraiche full fat
150gr icing sugar
4tbsp maple syrup or more or less (depending on your taste)
1/2tsp salt
15gr instant vanilla pudding

for the maple buttercream
250gr butter
500gr icing sugar + more for desired consistency
3tbsp maple syrup

* Preheat the oven to 180oC. Butter 5 round pans (diameter about 20cm) and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the paper as well and dust with flour.
* Beat butter, brown sugar and vanilla for 5 min. Then add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating them fully before adding the next one.
* Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder in a bowl and add the salt.
* Combine coffee and buttermilk. Add the dry and the wet ingredients to the butter alternating them.
* Add mayo and whisk until just incorporated. Add the chocolate next.
* Combine vinegar and baking soda and quickly add it to the batter. Mix until just combined.
* Divide the batter evenly into the pans (I weigh them) and bake for 25min.
* Let the pans cool on a wire rack for 20min, than invert the cakes, remove the parchment paper and let them cool completely. They can be made the day before.

* In a bowl place the cold water and the gelatin. Let it sit until the gelatin is very soft.
* Bring 200ml of the cream to a simmer, not boil, then stir in the gelatin and make sure it melts well. Refrigerate stirring, until it is cool but not set.
* Chill every tool you will use. Bowl, beaters, spatula. Beat the cream, icing sugar, salt, instant vanilla pudding and maple syrup until it is thick. Gradually add the gelatin mixture and continue beating. It should be thick enough to pipe.
* Chill it.

* For the buttercream beat everything together and adjust for consistency. Thin with maple syrup, thicken with icing sugar. I used gel food colour, which does not affect the consistency.

Assemble the cake and the filling and chill it.
Then crumb coat and chill again.
Frost with buttercream and chill.
Remove from the fridge 30min before you cut it and let it sit on the counter.

I had a left over cake layer, which I crumbled on top.

(Excuse the pics, I was rushing to get the cake out to our hungry guests!)

The cake is so moist, I couldn't believe it! The left over cake layer I had was sitting on a plate uncovered and it was so moist and tasty the next day! This is a recipe I will keep for chocolate layer cakes.

Also I loved the pairing of tastes. Chocolate and maple do match!

It was a success! Our guests took left over cake with them.

Happy Birthday to my sweetie!


Monday, 19 August 2013

Cranberry Vanilla cake!

This is a nice combination!
Ioanna loves cranberries, so we baked a cake full of them!

Basic vanilla cake recipe + dried cranberries = delicious!

You can decorate this cake with a cranberry juice glaze. Simply mix confectioner's sugar with a little cranberry juice to a pourable concistency!


Friday, 2 August 2013

Banana bread!

I had a few bananas that were over ripe, so I made a banana bread.

Banana Bread
recipe adapted from here

210gr all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
120gr brown sugar
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
110gr yogurt

Simply mix all the ingredients together and bake in a preheated oven 180oC for 45 about min.

It is moist and tasty. Surprisingly it goes very well with peanut butter!

This is a great breakfast bread.


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Chestnut and Vanilla jam!

I had a lot of chestnuts.
We ate them baked of course,but I wanted to make something more interesting!

I found this recipe in a book, called "Perfect Preserves" by Hilaire Walden.

Chestnut and Vanilla Jam

1500gr chestnuts (in their shells)
1 vanilla bean
650gr brown sugar
2 tbsp dark rum (I used light)

* Cut a slit on every chestnut shell and put them in a pot of boiling water.
* Let them simmer for 10 min. and then remove them from heat.
* When they are cool enough to handle, start peeling them.
* When all chestnuts are peeled, simmer them in a large pan with the vanilla bean and enough water to just cover them, until they are very tender.
* Drain the nuts, reserve the water and the vanilla bean.
* Puree the nuts.
* Put the puree, the sugar and 1/2 cup of the reserved water in a deep pan. Add the vanilla seeds and the pod.
* Heat low until the sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil.
* Boil until thick, stirring.
* Add the rum and throw away the vanilla pod.
* Sterilise jars and fill them with the jam.
* leave overnight to cool and set.
* Store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.

- While I was peeling the chestnuts, the ones waiting were getting cold. It is easy to peel them, though, when they are very warm. So, every couple I wanted to peel, I popped them in the microwaves for a few seconds and then they were ready to use!
- DO NOT PUT THE JARS IN THE FRIDGE. I did and the taste was ruined. I actually cried.

Can you spot the little vanilla seeds?

It is really worth the effort of peeling chestnuts and burning your fingertips!

I loved it, loved it, loved it and this comes from a girl, who doesn't like chestnut - based desserts......