THE BEWITCHING KITCHEN TURNS 13!

And this virtual spot is now officially a teenager! Thirteen years. One thousand, five hundred and forty-six posts published. Over twenty-nine thousand comments. But how do we measure all the joy I get from keeping this site alive? Impossible. For thirteen years I’ve been doing it with the exact same enthusiasm of the first week. I don’t think I could keep at it, if I was not fully in love with the whole process. To celebrate, I share a little entremet with mirror glaze, the kind of bake I adore, but with the limitations of the pandemics I’ve been unable to do. Since it was just the two of us, I went with individual portions, very small cakes with a combination of cherry, pistachio, and mascarpone. Plus the mandatory bling!

CHERRY AND PISTACHIO MINI-ENTREMET CAKE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the cherry-pistachio centers:
20 g egg yolk
8 g caster sugar
3 g cornstarch
20 g milk
60 g whipping cream
10 g pistachio paste
4 Amarena cherries in syrup

Heat the oven to 200F (yes, very low temperature). In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk with the sugar and cornstarch. Put the milk, cream and pistachio paste in a saucepan and heat while whisking. As soon as it boils, pour it over the egg yolk mixture and whisk. Put one cherry in each of 4 holes of a small half-sphere mould (about 1 inch in diameter). Pour over the pistachio mixture. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the center is almost fully set. Cool to room temperature, then freeze for several hours to overnight, to be able to un-mold them.

for the sponge:
70 g icing sugar
70 g almond meal
100 g egg
10 g all-purpose flour
10 g pistachio paste
70g egg white
10g granulated sugar
melted white chocolate for brushing cake circles

Heat the oven to 375F. Using a KitchenAid mixer, whip together the icing sugar, almond meal and the eggs. The mixture should double in volume, so whip it for at least 8 minutes. Reserve.

Make a meringue, gently beating the egg white until soft peaks form. Increase the speed of the mixer and add the sugar, a little bit at a time. Beat until firm peaks form. Fold one-third of the meringue into the whipped egg mixture, followed by the flour. When the mixture is smooth, gently fold in the remaining meringue. Spread the mixture on a half-sheet pan covered with parchment paper, and smooth the surface with an off-set spatula. Bake for about 10 minutes, until dry to the touch. Dust a sheet of baking paper with a little powdered sugar and invert the baked sponge over it. Peel off the parchment paper that it baked on. Using two cookie cutters, cut out 4 discs that will fit inside the mold that will hold the dessert, and 4 discs that will fit inside the little mold used for the cherry inserts. Melt the white chocolate and apply a very thin coat over one side of the larger piece of sponge. Reserve.

for the mascarpone mousse:
6 g Platinum gelatin (3 sheets)
80 ml whipping cream
55 g egg yolks
80 g granulated sugar
160 g mascarpone cheese
1/4 tsp vanilla paste
320 g heavy cream

Bloom the gelatin in cold water for 10 minutes. Combine egg yolks with sugar, whisking well and set aside. In a saucepan, heat 80 ml of cream until it boils. Remove from heat, and slowly pour a bit of the hot liquid into the egg yolk mixture, to temper it gently. Add the rest of the cream and transfer all the mixture to a saucepan.

Over low heat, cook until 180 F stirring constantly. Remove from heat, drain the gelatin, and add to the mixture, stirring until completely dissolved. Let the mixture cool down to around 140 F. Add the mascarpone cheese, mix until the cheese is incorporated. Process with a hand mixer, to emulsify. Add the vanilla paste, and let it cool to around 95 F. Meanwhile, whip the 320 ml of cream to soft peaks. Incorporate the  cream gradually to the mascarpone mixture.

ASSEMBLE THE DESSERTS. Place a small amount of mascarpone mousse inside each of 4 cavities of a semi-sphere silicone mold (3 to 3.2 inches in diameter). Drop the cherry insert inside. Place the small circle of sponge on top. Cover the cavity with mousse, leaving a little space on the top, so you can place the larger circle of sponge on top, with the chocolate painted side facing up. Smooth the surface, adding a little more mousse if needed. Freeze overnight, or for a minimum of 6 hours.

for mirror glaze:
3 sheets Platinum grade sheet gelatin
120ml water
150 g liquid glucose
150 g granulated or caster sugar
1 tsp agar-agar
100 g condensed milk
150 g white chocolate, chopped fairly small
½ tsp titanium oxide (optional, but advisable)
red and purple gel food coloring
Prism powder to sprinkle in the end (optional,I used Tourmaline Pink)

Put the water, sugar, liquid glucose and agar-agar in a small pan and bring to simmering point, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let it stand for about 5 minutes. This is the base syrup for the glaze. Meanwhile, soak the gelatin in some cold water for about 5 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water and stir into the hot water, sugar and liquid glucose mixture to dissolve. Stir in the condensed milk and the titanium oxide.

Put the chocolate in a medium bowl and pour this hot mixture slowly over the chocolate, stirring gently to melt it, avoid making bubbles. Add the red food gel dye. A stick immersion blender works great, but you must keep the blades fully submerged at all times. If bubbles are present, pass the mixture through a fine sieve.

The ideal temperature to glaze is 92 to 94 F. Un-mold the cakes, immediately pour the mirror glaze over the frozen surface. Sprinkle with Prism powder or golden luster powder. Cake should sit in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I love making entremet cakes. They seem complicated but the nature of these cakes pretty much forces you to do everything in steps, over a period of a couple of days. No rushing is advisable, not even feasible. Just take your time and enjoy the ride. This version calls for a baked center. That part of the recipe came from a great cookbook, Patisserie at Home, from Melanie Dupuis. Once that is made (and it can sit in the freezer until you are ready to proceed with the recipe), it is all very straightforward. A sponge bake, some assembling, freezing everything and then my favorite step, mirror glazing!

I used two different ways to present the mini-cakes. In the first version the cake was placed on a small plate and little chocolate covered candy added around the base. A little gold leaf for a final touch on top.

The second version was a little less time-consuming, I just carefully added golden non-pareils around the edge, in a random pattern, and a little white pearl on top.

I imagine you are curious to see the cake cut… So here it is, the different components of this very tasty dessert…

I must say that of all the entremets I’ve made, this ranks very high in the deliciousness level. The cherry, when cooked to make the center, gets a very nice texture and the taste seems concentrated. Lovely. If you make mirror glazes, I want to point out that I add a touch of agar-agar to my recipe. That makes the layer cut more nicely, without slipping, as it is common with gelatin-only formulas. There is no change in taste.

Without further ado, I invite you to step with me
into the 14th year of my blogging adventure!

ONE YEAR AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns 12!

TWO YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns 11!

THREE YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns 10, and a Giveaway…

FOUR YEAR AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns 9!

FIVE YEAR AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns eight!

SIX YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns Seven!

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Bewitching Kitchen Turns Six!

EIGHT YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns Five!

NINE YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns Four!

TEN YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns Three! 

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  The Bewitching Kitchen turns Two!

TWELVE YEARS AGO:  Bewitching Birthday!

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: Welcome to my blog!

ONE BOWL, ONE WHISK CONFETTI CUPCAKES

Cannot get much simpler. These are egg-free cakes, easy and fast to prepare. The buttercream icing is a lot more involved than the cake, but if you prefer you can serve them with a dusting of powdered sugar, or a simple glaze. Many cookbooks and blogs have versions of these cupcakes, I based mine on smittenkitchen.com

CONFETTI CUPCAKES WITH VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
(adapted from several sources)

200g all-purpose flour
160 grams granulated sugar
1 + 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup full-fat milk
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles

for the buttercream:
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature (1 stick, 113 g)
4 cups powdered sugar (32 oz)
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Make the cupcakes: Heat oven to 350°F. Place cupcake liners in a 12-cup standard muffin tin.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. To the center, add the milk, oil, lemon juice, and flavoring extracts. Whisk very well until smooth. It will be very liquid. Add sprinkles, fold them gently. Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake lines 2/3 full.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter with 2 cups of the powdered sugar, the milk, vanilla, and salt. Once that is smooth, keep adding the rest of the powdered sugar. You might not need it all, add it until you have the desired spreading consistency.

Frost the cupcakes using a Wilton 1M tip, then add confetti sprinkles, if desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: As I mentioned, these are probably the easiest cupcakes ever to make, even a cake-o-phobe will have no issues. They are tender, light, and delicate. Also festive, because rainbow sprinkles make anything festive… I like the addition of vanilla buttercream, even if it increases the complexity of the bake a bit. You can omit it, the cupcakes are delicious without it also.

ONE YEAR AGO: Incredibly Simple Times Four

TWO YEARS AGO: Phyllo Parcels with Moroccan Turkey

THREE YEARS AGO: Roasted Corn and Zucchini Salad

FOUR YEAR AGO: Fraisier Cake, A Celebration of Spring

FIVE YEARS AGO: Zucchini Frittata with Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

SIX YEARS AGO: Playing with Pectinase

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Poached White Asparagus with Lemon and Pistachios

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Dan Lepard’s Saffron Bloomer

NINE YEARS AGO: Fesenjan & The New Persian Kitchen

TEN YEARS AGO: Quinoa Salad with Roasted Beets

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Pasta Puttanesca

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Miche Point-a-Calliere

MINI BLUEBERRY CAKES

I love all bakes by Sonali, a Bengali food blogger (site: Sugaretal) based in Australia. Her style is flawless, and her choice of flavors always pleases me. Not too long ago she shared these mini-cakes, loaded with blueberries, made even more special by the final touch of a shell of chocolate. To bake them, I used the Silikomart mold Parfum.

MINI BLUEBERRY CAKES
(very slightly modified from Sugaretal)

170g all-purpose flour
130g granulated sugar
1 + 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg, lightly whisked
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup white chocolate melts
pink oil-soluble food color
fondant decoration (optional)

Heat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease/spray 8 silicone molds.

Place flour, sugar and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add the egg, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Fold in the blueberries.

Pour batter into mold. Bake for 20 to 25 mins or until fully cooked through. A toothpick must come out clean when inserted in the center of the cakes. Remove from the oven, let the cakes cool almost completely before attempting to remove them from the silicone molds. Wash the silicone pan and reserve, while the cakes sit on a rack to get completely cold.

To the melted chocolate, add pink color, and brush the inside of the silicone pan. Carefully place a cold mini cake inside the cavity, so that the chocolate coats the surface. Place in the fridge for 45 minutes or the freezer for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the cakes. Decorate if so desired, with fondant or a Royal icing flower.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: So many possibilities with this technique! If you follow Sonali on Istagram (check her page here), you’ll see she has other variations using chocolate in the same basic approach. I can hardly wait to bake another batch. I will probably use my default recipe for brownie cupcakes, as it behaves well in different types of baking pans. The main thing to pay attention to is making sure the coating is fully set before the final un-molding. When in doubt, wait a little longer. It should come out very easily.

ONE YEAR AGO: Wood Plank Cookies, Learning from the Best

TWO YEARS AGO: OMG Spinach Pies

THREE YEARS AGO: Avgolemono Soup, My Way

FOUR YEARS AGO: Sourdough Chocolate Twist Bread

FIVE YEARS AGO: Dan Lepard Times Three

SIX YEARS AGO: Turkey Portobello Burger

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Raspberry Ricotta Cake

EIGHT YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2014

NINE YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Pasta with Lemony Tomatoes and Spinach

TEN YEARS AGO: Blood Orange Duck: A work in progress

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Grilled Mahi-mahi with citrus marinade

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Memories of Pastéis\

SIMNEL CUPCAKES

I’ve wanted to make a Simnel Cake for the longest time, since it is such a classic, but baking a large cake is not something I do very often. Cupcakes are a different story, easy to share, great to include in my weekly box of donations. I made a few changes from recipes I found in my cookbooks and online, keeping the details that matter in the original, larger version.

SIMNEL CUPCAKES
(adapted from several sources)

100 marzipan
150g butter, softened
75g brown sugar
75g granulated sugar
2 large eggs, whisked
150g full-fat yoghurt
zest of 1 Lemon
170g mixed dried fruits
175g all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

To decorate
200g marzipan
agave nectar to brush

Start by preparing the thin layer of marzipan that goes in the middle of the cupcakes. Divide the 100g in 12 little portions (about 8g each). Flatten them with your hands and stretch as a round that will fit inside your cupcakes. Mix the flour with baking powder and salt, reserve.

Heat the oven to 375F. Place paper liners inside the cupcake pan. Beat together the butter, sugars and lemon zest, until pale and light. Add the 2 eggs, slowly, whisking the batter well after each addition. Add the yoghurt, continue whisking. Add the flour mixture, incorporate gently, then add the dried fruit, folding until homogeneously mixed in.

Place a little cake batter in each cupcake liner, place the thin round of marzipan on top, press gently into the batter. Fill the cupcakes with more batter until 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out slightly moist, with some crumbs attached. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

When the cupcakes are cold, make the topping: roll out the fondant and cut rounds to cover the top. Make the layer as thin as possible. Use trimmings to make little balls. Attach the layer of marzipan to the cake by brushing a tiny amount of agave nectar on the cupcake, and pressing the marzipan over it. Place the little ball on top, using some agave nectar to help glue it in place. Run the cupcakes under a broiler to give some color to the marzipan. Pay close attention, because it goes from golden to burn a matter of seconds!

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This is a delicious cake. The trickiest part is dealing with the marzipan, other than that, the recipe is quite straightforward. The mixture of fruit with the cake and the marzipan is a total winner. I highly recommend you give it a try. Plus, don’t they look just adorable? The cake stays fresh for a few days at room temperature, which is another big plus in my book…

ONE YEAR AGO: Oat and Sesame Seed Sourdough

TWO YEARS AGO: Moroccan Turkey Pie with Olive Oil Crust

THREE YEARS AGO: Another Twisted Sister of the Shepherd’s Pie 

FOUR YEARS AGO: Cashew Chicken, My Way

FIVE YEARS AGO: Two Deliciously Simple Salads

SIX YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, April 2016

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Spring has Sprung with Suzanne Goin

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Chai Brownies

NINE YEARS AGO: Pomegranate-Molasses Glazed Carrots

TEN YEARS AGO: Braised Brisket with Bourbon-Peach Glaze

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: The Real Vodka Sauce

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Spring Rolls on a Spring Day

MINI-EGG BROWNIES

This is a super simple bake, perfect for the season. Toughest part of the recipe? Cutting the mini-eggs in half. But don’t skip that step, it makes them better dispersed in the brownie batter and easier to cut after baking. Just be careful.

MINI-EGG BROWNIES
(slightly modified from Kitchen Mason)

200g mini-chocolate eggs
110g unsalted butter
110g semi-sweet chocolate
2 Eggs
125g granulated sugar
100g brown sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Salt
60g all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder (Dutch processed)

Lightly grease and line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper, and heat the oven to 350F.

Measure half of the mini-eggs and cut in half.

Melt the butter with the chocolate in a microwave, gently. Let it cool slightly and add the eggs, whisking until fully smooth. Add the sugars, and beat until fully dissolved. Add the vanilla, salt, and sift the flour and cocoa powder on top. Gently fold the batter until no dry bits remain. Add HALF the mini-eggs preciously cut and HALF the whole mini-eggs. Mix briefly and pour the batter into the pan.

Distribute the remaining eggs (cut and whole) over the surface, gently pressing them a little bit into the batter.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is crispy and dry. Do not over-bake. Allow to fully cool before cutting in small squares.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Hard to come up with a simpler bake, apart from slicing the mini-eggs, it’s something you could do with kids. You can definitely use any brownie recipe you are fond of, and incorporate the mini-eggs the way this one does. But keep the basic recipe simple, this will be all about the little eggs dispersed in the brownie. Adorable little bake!

ONE YEAR AGO: The Luck of the Irish

TWO YEARS AGO: When life gives you Eye-of-the-Round

THREE YEARS AGO: Carrot Cake Macarons

FOUR YEARS AGO: Soup Saturday: Say Goodbye to Winter

FIVE YEARS AGO: Manchego and Poblano Soup

SIX YEARS AGO: A Smashing Pair

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

EIGHT EVEN YEARS AGO: Crispy Chickpea and Caper Spaghetti

NINE YEARS AGO: Spring has Sprung!

TEN YEARS AGO: Chickpea and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Double Asparagus Delight

TWELVE YEARS AGO:  Sun-dried Tomato and Feta Cheese Torte