THE BEWITCHING KITCHEN TURNS 10! (AND A GIVEAWAY)

Ten years. I have a hard time even finding what to say. It is true that I tend to stick with routines, but I’m a bit surprised not only that I’ve reached the 10 year mark, but that I still love food blogging. More now than ever, actually. My interest in baking has a lot to do with it, obviously, but it goes beyond that. I like the feeling of having formed a community of readers, many of them food bloggers also, who always cheer me up with comments, feedback and inspiration. Ten years. More than 1,200 posts. It blows my little mind. To celebrate the occasion, a cake is obviously needed. It had to be special. I chose a cake I’ve been in love with for my whole life, but felt a bit intimidated until now to make it from scratch. Gateau Saint-Honore, a true classic in French patisserie. Light it is not, but festive? Festive is its middle name.

GATEAU SAINT-HONORE
(from Helen Fletcher’s Pastries like a Pro)

Lightened Pastry Cream
2 teaspoon gelatin
1 + 1/2 tablespoons cold water
2 + 2/3 cup milk, hot
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar (200 grams)
6 tablespoons flour (60 grams)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

Soften the gelatin in the water and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a non-reactive saucepan.  Whisk in the flour.  Add the milk slowly, whisking well and scraping the corners of pan with a rubber spatula to make sure all of the egg yolk mixture is incorporated.

Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.  Tear the gelatin into small pieces and stir it into the hot liquid (there is no need to liquefy it, the heat of the mixture will do this for you).  Pour into a storage container, cover the surface with plastic wrap, poke a few holes in it and refrigerate overnight to chill.

Slightly whisk the pastry cream to soften it.  Whip the cream to stiff peaks.  Fold into the pastry cream.  The mixture is ready to pipe.

Basic Choux Pastry
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons butter (60 grams)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sifted bread flour (100 grams)
3 whole eggs
1 + 1/2 tablespoons beaten egg (about half of a beaten egg)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. Draw a 10 inch circle on one piece of parchment. Set aside.

Combine the water, butter and salt in a small, heavy saucepan.  Heat until the butter is melted and bring to a rapid boil. Add all the flour at once and stir rapidly until a large ball of dough forms that cleans the bottom and sides of the pan.With the pan still over heat, mash and flatten the panade with a spoon against the bottom of the pan.

Stir, bringing the bottom of the mixture to the top. Continue turning the panade and mashing it for 1 full minute. Remove the mixture from the heat and flatten it again in the bottom of the pan. Cool for 5 minutes. Place the panade in a food processor or the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle. Add the eggs and beaten egg. Process or mix until completely blended and a smooth paste forms.

At this point, gently wad up the parchment and soak in warm water for 5 to 7 minutes.  When finished, gently shake off some of the water, but not all of it.  Place on the baking sheet.  Fit a pastry bag with a #8 plain tip and fill the bag with the choux paste.  Pipe the choux paste on the inside of the circle. With the remaining paste pipe 20 walnut size puffs onto the second baking sheet after soaking it also. With a wet finger, lightly press down the pointy tops so they are round.

Bake for 25 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Cool completely.

Pate Brisee
3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour (85 grams)
1/3 cup sifted cake flour (35 grams)
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces and refrigerated (105 grams)
2 tablespoon beaten egg
1 teasoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons ice water

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a processor bowl fitted with the steel blade, combine the flours and salt; process briefly to mix.   Add the butter and place in a circle over the flours. Pulse until the butter is cut into large pieces.

Mix the egg, lemon juice and ice water. Pour over the flour/butter mixtureand pulse until it lumps together in its about the size of peas. Do not over-procress and especially don’t let it form a ball.  Pour it out onto a work surface lightly dusted lightly with flour and push together into a ball. Form into a thick disc.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling. Roll into a round about 11 inches. Trim the dough into a 10 1/2 inch round. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, dock with a fork and refigerate about 30 minutes or until it is firm. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden, firm and crisp. Cool completely.

Assembling the cake.
Place the pate brisee base on a 10 inch round.   Set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a #2 plain tip. Make a hole in the bottom of each puff with a toothpick or cake tester. Enlarge it so the pastry tip will fit inside the puff.  Fill the bag with pastry cream and pipe the cream into the puffs.  Clean the bottom off so no cream oozes out.   Set aside. Reserve the remaining pastry cream.

Make the caramel below.

Caramel
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar

Place the water in a small saucepan. Add the sugar. Bring to a boil. Wash down the sides of the pan with a brush dipped in cold water. Boil the syrup hard until it just starts to color. At this point you must work quickly.  The syrup will continue to color as you work. With a spoon dipped in the hot caramel, drizzle caramel around the edges of  the pate.

Quickly place the choux paste ring on top of the base. Working quickly and carefully, dip the bottom of the small puffs in the caramel and attach them to the top of the choux ring.  Quickly and very, very carefully dip the bottom of a small puff in the caramel and place it on the ring. Continue until the ring is covered with puffs.

Finishing the Gateau St. Honore
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar

Place in a small saucepan.  Prepare as above for the Caramel.  However, this time take it to a dark amber. Cool for 30 to 40 second and Immediately spoon it over the puffs.

Fill the inside of the ring halfway up with pastry cream.Fit a pastry bag with a #8 open star tip and fill with the remaining pastry cream. Pipe large swirls over the pastry cream. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I wanted to use a tried and true recipe from an author I trust. Helen Fletcher’s recipes never disappoint me. Keep in mind that there are quite a few variations of this amazing gateau. For starters, the base can be either laminated dough or a pate brisee. The former is obviously a lot more involved, and the method changes also, because when using laminated dough the whole thing is baked together at the same time – the ring and usually additional inner circles (think of them as a maize) piped over the base. They add a bit more pastry component under the creamy topping. When using pate brisee, the ring is baked separately and later “glued” to the base with caramel.  For my first attempt, I opted for pate brisee.  I made it in a particular weekend in which I went into crazy baking mode. It was…  intense to say the least. So pate brisee it was.

The traditional cream is a Chibouste, patisserie cream lightened up with what is essentially a meringue. That was how the cake was designed back in 1847 in the bakery at Rue St Honore in Paris. I used whipped cream, following Helen’s recipe.  It is – if you can believe it – a bit richer. But a 10th blog anniversary does not come often.  You do need something to lighten up the patisserie cream, otherwise the dessert would feel quite heavy and dense. Plus, you cannot really pipe “cream pat” (yeap, we are besties).

It is now full disclosure time. If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you should know that rarely patisserie stuff goes in smooth-mode with Sally.  Take a look at the central choux puff. It is bald. I had saved the sexiest of them all for the center stage, and of course that was the one who did not get the final caramel glaze.  I howled in shock when I noticed. But having been through a few ordeals with the preparation of the caramel, I could not bring myself to make more to coat just that one. Plus, I thought that some spun sugar carefully placed all over it would look nice and hide its nakedness.  Spun sugar.  Do you see ANY spun sugar on my gateau? No you do not. (pause to sob). I tried. I tried four times. I followed youtube instructions, I used thermometers, I burned fingers. The only thing spun was my brain. The mess in the kitchen? Unreal. I managed to come up with some abstract caramel thingie to stab on decorate the naked puff, and pretended that was my intention from the beginning. So I now desperately need to conquer the spun. I lose battles. But I refuse to lose the war.

Decoration messed up or not, it did not matter. The picture below shows all that was left from the cake by the time a get-together for some Tesla-afficcionados was over. The cake was delicious, even if I say so myself. It is of course, very rich, but it feels light and airy, not sure how that is even possible, having witnessed the amount of eggs, butter, and sugar involved. Let’s call it a French Miracle.

And now for the giveaway… It is a wonderful book that I believe will have even patisserie-phobes grabbing a whisk and marching to the kitchen with a big confident smile. The title says it all: Patisserie Made Simple. And it delivers what it promises.

I love this book, and if you would like a copy, I will enter you in the giveaway if you leave a comment. No matter where you live, I will ship it to you if you win it. I will reveal the winner on June 30th.

I want to thank all  who  enjoy hanging out here in this virtual spot, and invite you to follow with me as I start my  second decade of food blogging. Ten years… oh, my!

ONE YEAR AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns 9!

TWO YEAR AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns eight!

THREE YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns Seven!

FOUR YEARS AGO: Bewitching Kitchen Turns Six!

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns Five!

SIX YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen turns Four!

SEVEN YEARS AGO: The Bewitching Kitchen Turns Three! 

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  The Bewitching Kitchen turns Two!

NINE YEARS AGO:  Bewitching Birthday!

TEN YEARS AGO: Welcome to my blog!

 

COMMON TABLE, SOMETHING NEW IN MY LIFE

It is quite obvious that I love to bake. From cakes to cookies, from bread to pies, I love it all. Last year I got a lot more serious about my hobby, as I went through the process of screening for the Great American Baking Show (you can read about it here, in case you missed it).  When that did not materialize I kept searching for an outlet for my baking, something that would keep me focused on it and help me improve. It took a bit long, but I’ve finally found it: Common Table, a meal for homeless people organized by volunteers and churches from our town.  They serve meals a few times each week, I’ve been taking my bakes on Fridays. It is the most rewarding and satisfying thing I’ve done in a while. I enjoy everything about it, planning what to take, baking, and finally delivering my bakes in the meal room, at 17:45hs, when folks are starting to arrive. I had no idea so many people rely on this type of charity to get by. Probably the only chance they have for a decent meal. I feel lucky to be able to help.

I share today the recipe I took on my first participation (April 26th) and after that a list of what I’ve made so far.  It would be pointless to blog on each of them, unless I wanted my blog to turn into a baking site at the expense of general cooking, which is not my intention.

COCONUT TRES LECHES CAKE
(adapted from this recipe)

for the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour (130 g)
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 whole eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar, divided (215 g)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk (82 g)

for soaking after baking:
6 oz coconut milk (1/2 can, well-shaken)
1 can sweetened, condensed milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

for the icing:
1 pint heavy cream
3 Tablespoons Sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan liberally until coated. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.

Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high-speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.

Beat egg whites on high-speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry. Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.

Combine condensed milk, coconut milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle all but about 1/3 cup of the milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.

Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes. I actually allowed it to sit in the fridge overnight, lightly covered with aluminum foil. To ice the cake, whip the heavy cream with the sugar until thick and spreadable.

Spread over the surface of the cake, you might not need all the amount made, but a thick layer of icing should be your goal. Decorate cake if you like, with toppings of your choice. Cut into squares and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I chose this cake for my first contribution to Common Table because it was by far the most popular cake I’ve ever made to our department. I was curious about adding a hint of coconut to it, and when I tried a bit of the cake trimmings, I knew it was going to be another winner.  It was very well-received in that meal. If you like Tres Leches, try this version, you won’t be disappointed.

And now, let me share the bakes I’ve made since then…

Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars
(May 3rd)

 

Raspberry-Rose Petit Fours
(May 10th)

 


Chocolate Cake Pops

(May 17th)

 

Chocolate Raspberry Celebration Cake
(a smaller version of this one)

(May 24th)

Chocolate Blood Orange Curd Cake
(May 31st)

 

Come to think of it, it’s clear I’ve been playing the chocolate tune quite strongly…
Must add a bit more variety from now on.
😉

ONE YEAR AGO: The Daisy, a Bread with Brioche Alter-Ego

TWO YEARS AGO: Pork Tenderloin, Braciole Style

THREE YEARS AGO: Raspberry Buckle

FOUR YEARS AGO: Seafood Gratin for a Special Dinner

FIVE YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-Vide: Sweet and Spicy Asian Pork Loin

SIX YEARS AGO:  Farewell to a Bewitching Kitchen

SEVEN YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen. June 2012

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Goodbye L.A.

NINE YEARS AGO: 7-6-5 Pork Tenderloin

 

CHOCOLATE CELEBRATION CAKE

If you are a serious chocolate lover and have a special occasion coming up – a birthday, anniversary, or a dinner party for dear friends – this cake is for you. All components can be made in advance if you prefer, although I would advise you to bake the decorative Jaconde layer on the day you intend to assemble the cake. It is a very delicate component, I would be a bit worried about keeping it in the freezer or fridge for a while. Raspberries mellow the overall sweetness in a nice way.

CHOCOLATE CELEBRATION CAKE
(inspired by many sources)

for the decorative layer:
50 g butter
56 g powdered sugar
60 g egg whites
56 g all-purpose flour
25 g cocoa powder

Mix the butter and sugar in a Kitchen Aid type mixer with the paddle attachment until creamy. Add the egg whites very slowly, a little at a time. Clean the sides of the bowl often. Add the flour and cocoa powder and gently mix on very low-speed. Spread on a silpat or parchment paper using a spatula. Aim at a very thin layer. Using a comb, make diagonal stripes removing the paste, exposing the paper underneath.  Freeze for 10 minutes (or longer, overnight is fine)

for the Jaconde layer:
65 g powdered sugar, sifted
36 g all-purpose flour
65 g almond flour (or ground almonds)
100 g whole eggs
120 g egg whites
30 g granulated sugar
75 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Heat the oven to 400 F. Add powdered sugar, flour and almond meal to the bowl of a mixer. Mix gently to incorporate them.  Add the eggs and beat on high-speed for about 5 minutes, until very fluffy. Reserve.

Make a meringue with the egg whites and sugar, bringing it to soft peaks. Start with the egg whites in the mixer on low-speed, increase to medium, once you see a trail forming as the mixer is going, start adding the sugar slowly.  Once you get to soft peaks, stop. Over-beating the meringue will make it hard to incorporate it in the cake batter.  Gently fold the meringue on the egg-flour mixture that you reserved.  Add a bit of the mixture to the bowl with melted butter, mix gently. Pour that into the cake batter and gently fold.

Remove the design from the freezer, pour the batter over it, trying to level it as best as you can with an off-set spatula. You want to keep the air incorporated in the batter, so be gentle. Run the spatula just over the surface, you don’t want to risk disturbing the pattern underneath it.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. You need to start noticing a little browning on the surface, but not much. If you notice the edges getting crunchy, remove from the oven. Let it cool before proceeding. Invert on a flat surface covered with parchment paper, and remove the paper that held the design during baking.  Reserve.

for the chocolate cake:
55 g  unsalted butter; plus more for the pans
230 g egg yolks
140 g granulated sugar
15 g cocoa paste, chopped
80 g cake flour
35 g cocoa powder
190 g egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
A pinch of salt
30 g granulated sugar

Heat the oven to 350 F. Prepare the cake pans by lining them with parchment paper. Grease just the center of the paper.

Place the egg yolks in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed while gradually pouring the 140 g sugar. Once all the  sugar is added, increase speed to high and whisk until it forms a ribbon (this will take several minutes, keep going, there is no risk of over-beating egg yolks).

While the egg yolk mixture is mixing, melt the butter in a small saucepan; remove from the heat. Add the cocoa paste, stir gently until fully melted. Reserve to cool slightly. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder; set aside on a piece of parchment paper to make it easier to add to the mixer bowl later.

In a clean mixer bowl, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt and mix on high speed. When the whites are foamy, slowly add the 30 g (about 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar, and then whip to medium-stiff peaks.  At this point you do not want to risk over-beating the whites, because they will be tough to incorporate with the cake batter if they are over-beaten. If in doubt, beat less rather than more.

Fold the butter and cocoa paste mixture and one-third of the dry ingredients into the egg yolk mixture until barely combined. Continue folding in the dry ingredients in two more additions, stopping just before the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add one-third of the meringue and fold until just combined. Then pour the barely-mixed chocolate mixture into the remaining meringue and fold until the batter is almost homogenous, but do not overmix.

Evenly divide the batter between the cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes, until the top springs back when pressed lightly. Allow to cool to room temperature before inverting and removing from the pans.

for the cremeux filling:
2 g sheet gelatin
300 ml heavy cream
70 g  egg yolks,
45 g granulated sugar
Pinch of table salt
115 g  chocolate (preferably 70% cocoa)
fresh raspberries

Put 10 g (2 teaspoons) cold water in a small bowl. Use scissors to the gelatin sheet into small pieces so they fit inside the bowl. Submerge the gelatin in the water; set aside to bloom.

Combine the cream, yolks, sugar, and salt in a saucepan, and stir well to combine. Cook the mixture on medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a whisk at first and then switching to a spatula. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 158-162 F, then immediately remove it from the heat. Add the gelatin and stir until it is completely dissolved.

Put the chocolate into a large bowl. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate; let sit for a minute to melt the chocolate. Whisk to combine, then use an immersion blender to emulsify completely. Refrigerate, without a lid, and allow to set fully for several hours. You can make it the day before.

for the buttercream frosting:
150g softened butter
400g icing sugar
200ml heavy cream
150g dark chocolate (melted, and cooled slightly)
4 tbsp cocoa powder
golden sprinkles for decoration (optional)

Combine the butter and icing sugar in the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer fitted with the paddle beater. Beat until well combined, adding the cream slowly once the mixture starts to be homogeneous.  Add the melted dark chocolate and the cocoa powder then beat vigorously until smooth and workable. Place in a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice, I used Wilton 1M.

Assembling the cake: Place the cake on a board over a rotating cake support. Add a ring of chocolate buttercream around the edge of the cake to retain the filling. Place a good amount of chocolate cremeux  covering the cake layer, then add fresh raspberries. Place the second cake (cut side up) on top, press gently. Spread a thin layer of chocolate buttercream on top and sides. Now very carefully measure the height of the cake.

Cut the Jaconde layer to be just a tad taller than the cake when rolled around it. You should have more than enough to go around the cake using two pieces of Jaconde. For an 8-inch cake, you need about 25 inches total, so cut one layer as big as you can, and use a smaller portion to fill the gap. Press gently to make sure it glues well to the side of the cake. Don’t forget, the pattern should face the outside of the cake (yes, stuff happens).

Pipe decorative stars all over the top with the buttercream, sprinkle with golden stars, if that suits your taste. Refrigerate for several hours before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I enjoy the process of making decorated Jaconde, but let me be brutally honest: it is messy. I don’t care how neat of a cook you are, it will be messy. You need the pattern to go all the way outside the parchment paper, because it is best to maximize the area of cake with good, solid pattern on it. At least for my skill level, boo-boos happen here and there. The pattern must be frozen before adding the cake on top, so make sure you have space in your freezer to lay a baking sheet flat with the paper on top.

I’ve made a patterned Jaconde in the past, but with a stencil. Having used this method now, I believe the stencil is easier, because it is hard for the comb to remove the batter efficiently. Sometimes I had to spread the batter with the spatula and pass the comb twice or three times until I got a nice, clean surface underneath. By doing that, it’s hard to get stripes that are identical in width. The end result will be a bit more rustic, just keep that in mind. Nothing wrong with rustic. Right? I thought so.

The cake is obviously very rich and feels pretty decadent, a small slice will be enough. I thought it was very delicious, the buttercream does not taste overly sweet. A few little tweaks could be considered for a next version: the pattern could be red to reflect the fruit inside, and in addition to fresh raspberries in the filling, I would add a spread of raspberry jam on the cake before spooning in the cremeux. Finally, perhaps adding a few fresh raspberries in the middle of the piped frosting could be cute, making the piped stars to be similar in size to the berries. The golden star-shaped sprinkles? They stay in any version, I am quite fond of them.

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Incredibly Simple Times Four, May 2018

TWO YEARS AGO: Tangential Quiche with Asparagus and Fennel

THREE YEARS AGO: Fakebouleh

FOUR YEARS AGO: Yellow Squash Soup

FIVE YEARS AGO: Grilled Chicken with Tamarind and Coconut Glaze

SIX YEARS AGO: Chicken-Apricot Skewers

SEVEN YEARS AGO:  Asparagus Quiche

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Two-stage Pea and Prosciutto Risotto

NINE YEARS AGO: Mellow Bakers: Corn Bread

 

A BRAZILIAN HUMMINGBIRD

Hummingbird Cake is a classic concotion quite common in Southern regions of the US. Today I share with you my Brazilian take on this classic, which I am calling Beija-Flor Cake. As you may have guessed, Beija-Flor is Portuguese for hummingbird. A three-layer cake very moist with banana, mango, and passion fruit, with a bit of texture given by Brazil nuts. Everyone loved it, including the resident critic, grandson and son of fantastic bakers, the man I married 19 years ago.  He actually said (and I should have captured it in a video) that the frosting was as good as his Grandma’s.  My heart missed 3 beats in a row. Obviously, I am very happy with this bake!

BEIJA-FLOR CAKE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by this recipe)

recipe is enough for 4 cakes,  only 3 cake layers were used for the final dessert)

1 + 1/4 cup chopped Brazil nuts
3 cups (370g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice (or use cinnamon plus a touch of cloves)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup mango coarsely pureed
½ cup passionfruit pulp
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup (200g) packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla paste   

Heat the oven to 300°F. Spread Brazil nuts onto a lined baking pan. Toast for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven. Turn oven up to 350°F, then grease and lightly flour four 6-inch cake pans.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, mixed spice and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the rest of the cake ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk until completely combined. Fold in the nuts. Spread batter evenly between the 4 prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. Once completely cooled, remove cakes from pan and level the tops off if necessary to make them completely flat.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
(adapted from Sweet Bake Shop)  

2 cups (450 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup (110 g) cream cheese, softened
5½ cups (700 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 to 3 drops yellow and orange gel food dye
¾ cup yellow and orange sprinkles

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth.

With the mixer running on low-speed, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla, then turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat again on medium speed again for a few seconds. Use immediately or store in the fridge for a couple of days.

CAKE ASSEMBLY:  Place 3/4 cup frosting in a small bowl and dye it yellow. Place 3/4 frosting in another small bowl and dye it orange. Prepare two small piping bags (with no icing tips) containing the two colors, each in one bag. Carefully cut the tips with scissors, and place them delicately in a larger piping bag fitted with a 1M tip or any other tip of your choice. Make sure the opening of both bags are at the same distance of the 1M tip. Test that both colors are coming out together. Reserve.  Add sprinkles to the rest of the frosting that was not dyed.

Place the first cake on a board, cut side up.  Add a layer of frosting with sprinkles. Add another cake on top, cut side up.  Spread a bit more frosting, top with the final cake, cut side down (this makes sure that the top will be smooth and leveled).  Add a thin layer of frosting and refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, or place in the freezer for about 10 minutes to set the frosting.

Frost the cake, top and sides, then use the two-color frosting to pipe decorative swirls on the bottom and top.  Refrigerate and bring to room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Hummingbird Cake originated in Jamaica, containing banana and pineapple as the main flavors, plus pecans and spices such as cinnamon and cloves. It is normally covered with cream cheese frosting. I wanted to make a version with Brazilian flavors, so I used mangos and passionfruit. I kept the banana component since I imagined it would be important in the texture of the cake.  Brazil nuts seemed a natural choice, and with that in mind, my “Beija-Flor Cake” was born. In the composite below, you can see that the cake is not as massive as it might seem.  It is not a small cake, but definitely not humongous. See the little yogurt bottle next to it for perspective.

Traditionally, Hummingbird Cakes have a homey, rustic look which I find quite appealing, but I wanted to try something a bit different, and opted for a smooth frosting with yellow and orange sprinkles to reflect the fruits used in the cake. A small amount of sprinkle-free frosting was dyed in the same two colors and used for piping. The frosting is very easy to make and much more forgiving to spread than a classic buttercream, so if you are absolutely paranoid about a bit afraid of frosting a cake, this is a very good starting point.

My apologies for not showing the picture of a slice. We cut one slice to “test-taste” it the evening before, but the first slice never cuts too well. We took the cake to the department next morning, and I completely forgot all about it. By the time I got to the mail room hoping to snap a picture, it was too late. It was a big hit with our colleagues and graduate students. I liked how moist and flavorful it turned out, but in my opinion the passionfruit flavor was not prominent enough. Next time I will skip the banana, and maybe stick with two fruits only, for instance mango and passionfruit. Those are the ideas floating in my mind for a new version. The frosting will stay exactly the same.  A total winner, that will show up again in future bakings. You can count on that.

ONE YEAR AGO: A Cookbook Review

TWO YEARS AGO: Air-Fried Carrots, Two Ways

THREE YEARS AGO: Sweet Potato Crust Quiche

FOUR YEARS AGO: Chicken Thighs with Artichokes and Capers

FIVE YEARS AGO: Pea Pancakes with Herbed Yogurt

SIX YEARS AGO: Mushroom Stroganoff

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Tomato Sourdough

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Gamberetti con rucola e pomodori

NINE YEARS AGO: Flirting with Orzo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXTREME CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

This is chocolate going where no chocolate has gone before. Total cocoa intensity. With each bite of these babies your mind will  buzz a little. A buzz of joy, that only real chocolate lovers will understand. If you join this cake with a good cup of java the world will be yours to conquer. Or at least it will feel like it.

SUPER-MOIST CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
(slightly modified from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (42g) natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
1/3 cup (80ml)  canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla paste  
1/2 cup (120ml) milk soured with a squirt of lemon juice (or commercial buttermilk)
frosting (recipe follows)
sprinkles to decorate (optional)

Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. If you have a second pan, line two more muffin tins, the recipe will likely make 14 cupcakes.  

Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla paste until completely smooth. Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then half of the home-made buttermilk. Gently whisk for a few seconds. Repeat with the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk. Stir until just combined; do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into the liners. Fill only halfway.  Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

BLACKOUT CHOCOLATE FROSTING
(from Kara’s Couture Cakes)

1/2 cup butter 
2/3 cup black cocoa powder 
3 cups powdered sugar
a little less than 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
black gel food color (I used Chefmaster)

Melt the butter and stir in the cocoa with the paddle attachment on a stand mixer.
Add powdered sugar and mix on low-speed. Start with 1/3 cup heavy cream and add it to the mixer. Increase the mixer speed to medium. Add 2-4 tablespoons more heavy cream till you reach the desired icing consistency.
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Add vanilla extract and black food color and turn the mixer to medium high and beat for 90 seconds.
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Ice the cupcakes once they are completely cold. Have fun with sprinkles!
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ENJOY!

to print the recipes, click here

Comments: Sally’s Baking Addiction is a fantastic site for bakers. I’ve mentioned before that one of my nieces in Brazil is a great cake baker, to the extent that for a while she was doing it professionally. She baked super fancy and decorated cakes for birthday celebrations, in a special-order kind of deal. One day we were talking about blogs and cookbooks, and she mentioned Sally’s blog (not mine, mind you) as one of her favorite sources exactly for the reason that her recipes are so reliable. It was fun to learn that we subscribed and faithfully the same site for years without knowing we both did. But I digress. Sally’s chocolate cupcakes deliver exactly what she promises: moist, decadent, and perfectly shaped little concoctions. The most important instruction in her recipe is to fill the muffin tins only halfway to the top. Not a teaspoon more. It will seem inadequate, but resist the temptation to add more batter.  They will bake perfectly, without a super inflated dome that always sinks in unflattering ways as the cake cools.


The frosting. Normally, I am not wild about American buttercream, but this is not your regular kind. For starters, the black cocoa powder is so intense, that it can stand up to the extra sugar. Also, the addition of heavy cream is a game changer. If you are counting calories or saturated fat, this is not your best option for dessert. But if your life-style allows some room for indulging, this might very well be your best option for dessert.  The cake with the dark cocoa icing is a match that will rock that world you are about to conquer.

I hope this photo conveys how deliciously moist this cupcake turns out. You can pile the icing higher if you dare, but I think a bit of moderation is in order. It is very rich and satisfying. As to decoration, I pretty much opened my box of sprinkles and had a blast with them. The dark background is friendly to so many color combinations! Pure white (those tiny marshmallows looked adorable on the cake), red, pink, coral, bright mixed colors, or you can use a color scheme geared to a particular occasion. Come to think of it, St Patrick’s Day could showcase some of these with green and white sprinkles…

I close this post with a daring statement. Ready? Here we go: these are the best chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever had. There. I said it. You must bake a batch…

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Sunflower Seed Kamut Sourdough

TWO YEARS AGO: The Joys of Grating Squash

THREE YEARS AGO: Auberge Pecan-Walnut Bread

LEMON-BLUEBERRY ENTREMET CAKE: A SHOUT FOR SPRING

Don’t even get me started on my thoughts about this winter. It drags, it is unbearably cold, snowy, pathetic. You may be reluctant to take the word of a Brazilian about it, but I quote my beloved husband, the Michigander: this is the worst winter we’ve had in 10 years. So there. He said it. I had no choice but to make a cake that brings the colors and brightness of Spring to the table, hoping to coach the weather into following suit. A cookie base, a chocolate genoise layer, a blueberry compote, all surrounded by a smooth lemony mousse. Want to know what makes me very happy? It is my very own recipe. Take THAT, former cake-o-phobe self!

Since there are so many components, I am giving each recipe separately so that if you like to make a single component, it will be easier to follow. Little advice for you:
Make. The. Mousse.  

LEMON-BLUEBERRY ENTREMET CAKE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

equipment needed:
Silikomart Universo mold (or a springform type pan with 8 inches in diameter)
round cake ring, around 7 inches (to cut cookie base and freeze the insert)

for the cookie base:
80 g of softened butter
65 g powdered sugar
5 g vanilla sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
90 g all purpose-flour
10 g almond flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder

Heat the oven to 350 F.  In a bowl beat the butter, the powdered sugar and the vanilla sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one by one, constantly beating. In another bowl sift the flour and baking powder and add to the previous mixture. Finally, add the almond flour. Stir very well. The dough does not get too thick or too liquid, the texture must be creamy.

Spread the dough as a circle, about 1/8 inch thick, smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for about 15 minutes (depending on the oven) or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Then, cut a circle just slightly smaller than the diameter of your silicone mold. Make sure it fits snuggly into the opening of the mold.

for the chocolate genoise:
113 g unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
140 g cake flour
55 g Dutch process cocoa powder
8 large eggs
225 g granulated sugar

Heat the oven to 350 F. Line the bottom of two 8″ cake pans with a parchment round.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan, transfer to a bowl and reserve.

Sift together the flour and cocoa, set aside. Put the eggs and sugar in a mixer bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until the eggs are lukewarm. Put the bowl onto the mixer and whisk until the eggs are tripled in volume.

Sift half the flour/cocoa over the egg mixture and use a balloon whisk to fold, repeat with the remaining flour/cocoa. Whisk a little bit of the batter into the melted butter, and add the vanilla extract. Fold the butter mixture into the rest of the batter. Fold gently to avoid deflating the mixture too much. Divide the batter evenly between the pans.

Bake until the cake springs back when pressed in the center, about 30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Slice the cake in half lengthwise to the thickness you want for your entremet. I cut it a little less than 1 inch thick. Leftover cake can be frozen for a few months, well-wrapped in plastic.

for the blueberry insert:
150 g blueberry puree (blueberries processed in food processor until reasonably smooth)
6 g gelatin (Gold, about 3 sheets)
16 g granulated sugar
2 drops bergamot essence oil (optional)

Add the gelatin sheets into a bowl with very cold water and let it sit for 10 minutes.  In a small sauce pan, cook the blueberry puree with the sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved. Add the bergamot essence, check that the temperature is below 175 F, then add the softened gelatin sheets, well-drained from the water.  Mix well.

Add the puree inside a 7 inch cake ring lined with plastic wrap and placed over a baking sheet and freeze it. You can also use any other type of mold you like, as long as it is smaller than the Silikomart mold used to assemble the entremet later. Also keep in mind that you’ll need to easily un-mold the blueberry compote after it’s frozen solid, so choose your gadget carefully. You can leave it in the freezer for 3 hours or several days.

When the compote is frozen, place a layer of genoise chocolate cake on top of it, press gently to form the final insert of the entremet.

for the lemon mousse:
2 eggs
juice of 2 lemons
100 g granulated sugar
30 g butter, cold
6 g gelatin (Gold, about 3 sheets)
280 g whipping cream

Place the gelatin sheets inside a bowl with cold water and leave it for 10 minutes.

In a sauce pan, preferably non-stick, add the eggs, sugar and lemon juice. Cook stirring often over gently heat, until it thickens slightly . Aim at a temperature of 170 F, do not let it go higher than that, or you will scramble the eggs and ruin it completely.

Remove from the heat, pass it through a sieve into a glass bowl. Once the temperature is below 175 F, add the gelatin and the pieces of cold butter. Mix gently.  Put a plastic over the surface and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Once it is almost cooled, beat the whipping cream to soft consistency. Add it to the lemon curd, folding it gently. Your mousse is ready to use.

for the yellow mirror glaze:
100 g glucose
100 g granulated sugar
100 g white chocolate, cut in small pieces
50 g water
65 g condensed, sweetened milk
6 g gelatin (about 3 sheets)
1/2 tsp titanium oxide (optional, but worth it)
yellow food dye 

Place the gelatin sheets inside a bowl with cold water for 10 minutes as you prepare the other ingredients.

In a sauce pan, heat the glucose, sugar and water until boiling. Make sure the sugar is fully dissolved. Let it cool slightly, and add to a bowl with the white chocolate in small pieces. After a few minutes, use a spatula to dissolve the chocolate. Add the gelatin and the condensed milk, and mix gently, try to avoid incorporating air bubbles. Add the titanium oxide and the yellow food dye. Place the mixture in a tall, plastic container and use an immersion blender to fully emulsify the glaze. At this point, you can either wait for it to cool to the pouring temperature (about 96 F), or place it in the fridge overnight, with plastic film touching the surface.  In both cases, right before glazing the cake, pass the mixture through a fine sieve to burst any small bubbles that might interfere with the mirror effect.

for the spider web effect:
2 tablespoons neutral glaze (store-bought or prepared from scratch, recipe here, omit the cinnamon)
purple food dye

Heat the neutral glaze to 150 F.  Add the purple color. Mix well. Keep hot until needed, with a hot spatula ready to go.

FINAL ASSEMBLY: The dessert is assembled inverted, that is the top will be at the bottom of the Silikomart mold. Start by spreading about 1/3 of the lemon mousse inside the Universo mold. Make sure to use the back of a spoon to smooth the sides of the mousse all around, to avoid large bubbles to stay near the surface.

Remove the blueberry-genoise insert from the freezer and place it gently over the mousse, with the cake facing up. Add a little more mousse all around the sides, then finish with the cookie layer. Use any leftover mousse to fill all gaps, press the cookie gently to make it leveled with the opening of the mold. Wrap it all in plastic and freeze at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Have the yellow mirror glaze at 96 F, with bubbles removed by sieving. Have the purple neutral glaze ready at 150 F. Un-mold the frozen cake, place it elevated over a rack so that the glaze can freely drip from the sides. Smooth the surface with your hands, but work quickly to avoid condensation of water on the surface.  Pour the yellow glaze on a circular motion, making sure all cake is covered by glaze. Immediately grab some purple neutral glaze with the hot spatula and smear over the surface, preferably a little off-center.  The effect will depend on many factors, including how much pressure you apply to the spatula, and the temperature differential between the two color glazes.  Once the glaze stops dripping, you can use a knife to clean the bottom, and carefully move it to a serving platter.  Defrost it in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.  Use a hot knife to slice into pieces.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This dessert was planned in a very unusual way. Instead of choosing cake or mousse flavors, I started with the colors of the glaze. I know, crazy! I wanted bright, contrasting colors in a spider-web style. Yellow and purple popped in my mind. Only then I decided on the flavors of lemon and blueberry. Entremets join several components of contrasting textures, but to simplify it  I opted for a single element with a crunchy nature, the cookie base from this blog post by Miúda. To cut the sharpness of the lemon and add another type of texture, a chocolate genoise was included. Confession: I had it in the freezer from another baking project. With those components in mind, I went to work, using some bits and pieces found online, and some general instructions from “The Pastry Chef’s Little Black Book “ which I highly recommend. It is a very extensive list of basic formulas and variations. If you want to come up with a mousse, a compote, a genoise, you can find all the do’s and don’ts in that book.

The spider-web effect: I’ve been flirting with the idea of trying it for a long time. In theory, it is quite simple. If you are comfortable mirror-glazing a frozen mousse cake, you are 80% of the way there.  The method was created by Gerald Sattler, and is based on the non-miscibility of water and oil.  Mirror glazes are oil-based (cocoa butter, sometimes condensed milk and other types of dairy) while neutral glaze is water-based. You use the neutral glaze at a higher temperature not only to spread it easily, but because it slows down the gelling of the mirror glaze and the setting of the cocoa butter present in it.  The combination of a water-based environment with the shock of temperatures generates the interesting effect, making each cake unique. The process is absolutely fascinating. Take a look at one of Sattler’s videos here, and be ready to be amazed. The effect can be achieved in ways other than the spatula. Yes, yours truly is already planning her next adventure…

The purple color became more “purple” once the glaze set. If you look at the composite picture, taken right after pouring, you’ll notice a more “brownish” color, which made me at first a bit hysterical worried. But it definitely changed as it cooled, and the real nature of the dye I used came through. Happy ending… always a nice thing.

Here you see the slice showing the layers. The cake changed a bit by sitting in the fridge overnight.  I added the glaze around 2pm, and cut a test-slice in the evening. At that point, the cookie base was very crunchy and the cake was more on the dry side. Genoises are usually moistened with some type of syrup, but since this was going to be surrounded by a mousse and a compote, I used it without any added moisture. Next morning I cut the cake to take to the department and it was considerably improved. The cookie base not as tough, very easy to cut through and with a more melt-in-your mouth characteristic. Similarly, the cake was more moist and tender.

All in all, I’m very happy with this dessert. The lemon mousse component was the real winner.  In fact, if you’d like to serve a mousse by itself, maybe with a small cookie as adornment, consider this exact lemon version. Very refreshing, bright in the palate, smooth and with the right amount of sweetness.

I hope you enjoyed my first adventure in Spider Glaze Territory. I wanted a more prominent spider effect, but I was going absolutely crazy and losing my composure it’s hard to figure out what to do on a first time. Details such as how much neutral glaze to add, how hard to press the spatula, the exact temperature of the glaze when spreading it, they all have a huge impact on the final look. It’s such a fun technique, though. I can hardly wait to try it again. Stay tuned…


Grab a pin before you leave….

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Walk Strong3: A review of Jessica Smith’s latest workout program

TWO YEARS AGO: Pork Medallions with Black Berry Compote

THREE YEARS AGO: Indian-Spiced Chicken with Chickpeas and Spinach

FOUR YEARS AGO: Curry Cardamon Cookies

FIVE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, March 2014

SIX YEARS AGOBoeuf Bourguignon for a Snowy Evening

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Chickpea Salad

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Soft Spot for Chevre

NINE YEARS AGO: Roasted Onion and Asiago Cheese Miche

 

RASPBERRY ANGEL FOOD CAKE

I admit I am passionate about many things. If that’s a crime, I plead guilty without thinking twice. Currently, my list of passions include all things designed by the brilliant patissière Ekaterina (aka Miúda) from the blog verdadedesabor. I have attempted one of her recipes in the past, and dream over every single of her creations. Every time I get an email notification of a new post in her blog, I cannot wait to see what it is all about. It still amazes me that she keeps her site all the way from Russia in two languages, one of them being Portuguese. Too cool! Recently she shared two desserts using Angel Food Cake as a starting point. One of them seemed way too complex for my level, but the second one I thought that maybe I could do without losing whatever is left of my mental sanity. I had a few issues here and there, cannot say I hit it perfectly, but I am happy with the way it turned out. A nice mixture of flavors and textures, this might be a perfect cake to celebrate Valentine’s Day…

RASPBERRY ANGEL FOOD CAKE
(slightly modified from Verdadedesabor)

for the cake:
125 g cake flour
75 g powdered sugar
240 g egg whites
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
135 g superfine sugar
15 g vanilla sugar (I used this one)

for the raspberry confit:
150 g raspberry puree (seeds sieved out)
90 g of sugar (or to taste)
3 g pectin NH

for the raspberry mousseline:
125 g milk
125 g raspberry puree (seeds sieved out)
90 g of sugar
3 g vanilla sugar
6 g cornstarch
8 g flour
1 egg
130 g softened butter

for the mini-meringues:
35 g egg white
35 g of superfine sugar
35 g powdered sugar
a pinch of cream of tartar
pink food coloring

Make the cake: heat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Place a 8 in x 8 in square frame on top.  Sift flour and powdered sugar together. Reserve.

In the large bowl of the mixer, using the wire whisk, beat the egg whites until they begin to froth. Add the cream of tartar and a pinch of salt. Gradually add sugar and vanilla sugar. Continue to beat until firm peaks form. Turn off the mixer. Sieve the flour with the powdered sugar again on top of the beaten egg whites. With the help of a silicone spatula, gently mix the batter.

Transfer the batter to the prepared ring, smooth the surface. Bake for about 35-40 minutes until the cake is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the ring. Remove the ring, and if you like, shave the sides to show the white crumb.

Make the raspberry confit: In a pan, heat the puree with half the sugar until it reaches 104 F (about 40 C). Add the rest of the sugar mixed with the pectin. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, transfer to another container, cover with plastic film touching the surface, let it cool to room temperature then place in the fridge.

Make the mousseline: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, vanilla sugar, cornstarch and flour. Stir well with a wire whisk. Add the milk and the raspberry puree stirring constantly. Add the egg and incorporate well. Heat the mixture for about 5 minutes, until the cream thickens, and the temperature reaches about 180 F. Remove from heat, transfer to another container and cover with plastic film touching the surface. Allow to cool to room temperature, place in the fridge.

Thirty minutes before making the mousseline, remove the cream from the fridge. Beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the cream (it is important that the cream and butter have the same temperature), continuing to beat until you get a fluffy cream. Transfer the cream to a confectioner’s bag with a 1M tip or another tip of your choice.

Make the mini-meringues: Heat the oven to 185 F. Line a tray with parchment paper or silicone mat. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until firm, but do not let them dry. Slowly, add the sugar and beat at the top speed until it has dissolved. Reduce the speed to the minimum and gradually add the powdered sugar and the pink food dye.

With a piping bag fitted with a round tip, pipe very small meringues in the prepared tray, and bake for about 2 hours  or until they are dry and crunchy. Turn off the oven and let the meringues cool inside.

Assemble the cake: Apply a thin layer of confit to the top of the cake. Then, with the help of the pastry bag, spread the mousseline cream on top. Decorate with the mini-meringues, and sprinkles of your choice. Cut in squares and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was my first time making Angel Food Cake, one of Phil’s favorite cakes. Ever since I met him he talks about his Grandma’s Angel Food Cake with a particular type of frosting that as far as I can tell might be a boiled frosting known as Ermine. Obviously, I have a mental block about baking that cake, how could I compete with sweet childhood memories? But perhaps this little adventure into angelic territory will give me a bit more confidence.

I made the cake and the mini-meringues on a Saturday, and also prepared the raspberry puree (sieving that stuff is not something I look forward to), reserving everything in the fridge. Sunday was dedicated to making the confit and raspberry mousseline (mousseline-virgin here).  There were moments of drama, as so often happens when Sally bakes cake. Mousseline: I was very careful monitoring the temperature of butter and raspberry custard component, I swear they were similar but still the whole mass turned grainy right in front of my eyes. I checked what time it was in Moscow – middle of the night. What would be the chances that Miúda suffers from chronic insomnia and checks her blog at 1:55am? Not very high, I’d say less than 5%. So, I took matters in my own desperate hands, and grabbed my personal life-saving device, the hair-dryer. Warmed up the side of the bowl, continued beating and sweating (from nerves, not the hair-dryer thing), and then, all of a sudden, I had the most beautiful mousseline ever seen in Manhattan, KS. My sense of relief was palpable.

I really loved how all the components worked together in this dessert. The angel food is a kind of a humble cake, with unique smooth texture but not much in the flavor department. The raspberry confit is quite the opposite, it’s all about flavor, hitting you intensely with the tart-sweetness of the fruit. Then it all gets mellowed down by the mousseline cream. The mini-meringues surprised me because at first I thought about skipping them, but they give this dessert an additional crunchy texture that is pure joy. If you make this cake, bake a batch of meringues, you will be glad you did.

Notes to self:
add a little pink food dye to the mousseline…
spread the confit layer a little bit thinner…
pipe meringues with slightly more pointy tops…

Thank you, Miúda, for your patience with my questions and your words of encouragement…  Looking forward to your upcoming baking adventures at verdadedesabor

ONE YEAR AGO: Caramel Chocolate Tartlets

TWO YEARS AGO: Chicken Korma-ish

THREE YEARS AGO: Sunday Gravy with Braciole

FOUR YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, February 2015

FIVE YEARS AGO: Avocado and Orange Salad with Charred Jalapeno Dressing

SIX YEARS AGO: Green Olive, Walnuts and Pomegranate Salad

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Romanian Flatbreads

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Ziti with Artichokes and Meyer Lemon Sauce

NINE YEARS AGO: Blasted Broccoli, Stove-top version