Monday, 27 January 2014

Daring Bakers - January 2014!

OK, this challenge was a strange one. Strange in the good way!

I had never heard of Baumkuchen before, so I searched it on line.... Oh, the pictures and the shapes! So impressive! Who knew you can make a cake on a spit!

Of course, for the home preparation of this lovely cake, we used simple pans and baked it in layers.

This challenge was hosted by Francijn from the blog "Koken in de Brouwerij".

BAUMKUCHEN (treecake)
recipe slightly adapted from the given one

6 large eggs (room temperature)
pinch of salt
120 gr granulated sugar
150 gr marzipan
200 gr softened unsalted butter
100 gr confectioner's sugar
5 gr vanilla
100 gr all-purpose flour (sifted)

100 gr apple - vanilla jam

* Preheat the oven to 230°C.
* Line a cake tin with parchment paper.
* Divide the eggs. Beat the egg whites with the salt until nearly stiff, add the sugar and beat until really stiff.
* Crumble the marzipan and beat it with the butter, icing sugar and vanilla until creamy.
* Add the egg yolks one by one and beat well between each addition.
* Add the stiff egg whites and flour and gently fold it into the batter. Trying not to lose too much air.
* Smear a little batter on the bottom of the pan, keep the sides of the pan clean, and bake for (about) 5 min, until it is cooked and brown.
* Take the pan out of the oven, smear the next portion of batter carefully over the first, and bake for another 5 min until cooked and brown. Repeat until all batter is used.
* Let the cake cool down, take it out of the pan, remove the parchment paper and let the cake cool completely on a wired rack.
* Trim the edges.
* Cover the top of the cake with the jam.

My little one is doing the folding of the egg whites!
She just had to have sprinkles in the cake!
Baked layer
Smeared batter

Lovely jam on top!
I like the way it looks, but the layers are not that distinct. Perchaps if I had used two colours of batter alternating each other, the layers would really show!

The taste of this cake is good, very good!
I wonder if I can use this batter to make a loaf cake, no layers, just a good old cake. So tasty!

Thank you Francijn for this challenge!


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

DIY watercolours (the fast way)!

When it comes to my child and her activities, I try to minimise store bought things wherever I can.

She likes watercolours and I had bought her some, but I couldn't get the stain from her clothes well. I even ended up throwing away one of her blouses.

I came across this recipe for making your own. It is a quick way with no cooking and you don't have to wait too long for them to dry.

1/2 cup baking soda
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 cup cornstarch
food colouring of your choice

* Put baking soda in a bowl and add vinegar (it will bubble).
* Mix in corn syrup.
* Add cornstarch and mix very well so that the mixture is liquid.
* Divide this mixture into smaller bowls and add food colours to make the combinations you want.
* Pour them into the ice cube tray and let it stand a bit, before using them.

I used an ice cube tray.
I always use coffee whisks for mixing food colours.

Gel food colours is what I used.
This is how we started....
.... this is how we ended up!

I can't say I was very satisfied with the result, as the colours formed a gelatinous surface that was not easy to penetrate with the brush.

Next time I will try another recipe, which takes longer to make, but resembles more the watercolours you see in the store.


P.S. Well, something different than a baking post, at last!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Chocolate chip cookies!

I decided that I will stop looking for a perfect recipe for chocolate chip cookies, because I have found it!

I kept on seeing a New York Times version recipe around the web, so I gave it a try. With more chocolate, of course!

Triple chocolate chip cookies
recipe slightly adapted from here

200gr all purpose flour
200gr bread flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp corn starch
2 tsp salt
290gr butter
290gr brown sugar
250gr white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
white, milk and dark chocolate chips (as much as you want!)

* Sit the flours, baking soda, baking powder, corn starch and salt.
* Beat butter and sugars, until creamy.
* Add eggs one at a time, mixing very well.
* Add the vanilla.
* Add the dry ingredients slowly and mix lightly, until just combined.
* Mix in the chocolate chips, using a spoon.
* Cover the bowl of the dough with cling film and refrigerate for up to 72 hours. I left mine in the fridge for about 40 hours. (YES, you read it correctly....)
* When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180o C.
* Line your cookie pans with parchment paper.
* Roll pieces of dough into balls. You can choose how big or small.
* Bake until the edges are golden and the centre is lighter in colour and rather soft. The time depends on the size.
I rolled my dough to 30gr balls and baked them for 15 minutes, which was fine for me.
* Let the cookies on the cookie pan for 10 minutes, then transfer them on a wire rack to cool completely.

Seriously, EVERYBODY loved them. No more searching for me!

The fact that you let the dough in the fridge for this long is helping the flavour and I believe the texture, as well.
It is a trick, I tried for the first time!
The only thing is that you must plan ahead, to have enough time to let the dough rest!

Make them!!!!


Saturday, 4 January 2014

Christmas cupcakes!

This is a nice idea for an edible present. It is actually one of the presents I made this Christmas!

Bake your favourite cake (these are lemon cupcakes), glaze them with a simple topping in green and add on top a yellow sugar cookie star.

Place them in a nice box and offer them. Everybody will be impressed!

They are cute, aren't they?