Thursday, 17 April 2014

Taste of spring- blueberry, vanilla ganache, citrus cake.

My Pinterest addiction  is getting worst and worst. I need to admit, I spent way to much time pinning pictures to my boards (most of them are about food- what else would you expect? ;) I found so many pictures of stunning- looking like- from a fairy tale cakes, but I started to think, are they tasty? (Click here to see my cake board) You know what I mean. They look sexy, but most of them is filled up with butter cream frosting only. If you have soooo many filling options, why would you choose butter and sugar only?

     I found that amazing cake inspiration, on one of the lifestyle/baking blogs and I decided to make own version of it. I filled it up with vanilla ganache and blueberries. It didn't turn up, as pretty as original one, but I am kinda prod of myself anyway. 

Blueberry ,vanilla ganache citrus cake. 

For sponge and decoration:
  • 235 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan.
  • 300 grams of all-purpose flour.
  • grated zest of 2 oranges
  • grated zest of two lemons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 250 grams of blueberries 
  • Oranges, lemons, limes sliced to arrange on top of the cake
  • fresh mint, also to arrange on top of the cake
For Vanilla Ganache :
  • 200 grams double cream
  • 220 grams good quality  white chocolate 
  • 3 vanilla beans 
For Frosting:
  • 200 grams of butter
  • 200 grams of full fat creamy cheese 
  • 500 grams of icing sugar 
How to bake it ?
  1. Heat oven to 180°C. Butter round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment, butter again, and dust with flour, tapping out the excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Mix in the grated zest of the oranges and lemons.  Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined (don't over mix).
  4. Transfer prepared batter in cake pan. Bake until a toothpick from the center of the cake comes out clean, around 40 minutes. Cool the cake in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.
How to make Vanilla Ganche ?
  1. Split the vanilla beans in half and scrap the seeds with the tip of a knife. Add them to the heavy cream along with beans. Bring to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat. Cover and let infuse 30 minutes.
  2. Place the chopped white chocolate in a bowl of a bain-marie and melt. Remove the vanilla beans from the cream and pour the mixture over the melted chocolate in three addition. Mix until smooth and scrap the mixture in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it cool in the refrigerator.
How to make frosting?
  1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy and 500 grams of icing sugar.  Reduce mixer speed to low. Add creamy cheese. Beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. 
Time to assembly our cake!!!!
  1. Cut a sponge cake into 3 pieces.
  2. Place first part on the serving plate, spread vanilla ganache on the top, and add blueberries. Don't be shy. Take big bunch of fruits and just sprinkle all over the sponge.
  3. Place second part of our sponge and do exactly the same thing. 
  4. Time for top layer of the cake. Put it gently and start icing the cake. If you don't know how to do it, just have a look on video below. So Yummmy !!! 
  5. Slice citrus, and decorate a cake. Don't forget to add some fresh mint on the top ;) 


Sunday, 6 April 2014

La forĂȘt noire - Black Forest cake

Black Forest in Germany- isn't it magic ?

When you friend comes over, and you know her favorite dessert is a wonderful dark -chocolate, cherry and whipped cream cake, you have no choice then bake it for her. The Black Forest Cake was actually inspired by real forest- based in Germany-looks like Harry Potter's Forbidden forest a bit. 
Original recipe contains Kirsch- strong cherry alcohol, which makes cake really boozzzyy. I didn't have it, so that's a sober version of the cake .

La forĂȘt noire

  • 225 grams butter
  • 160 grams self-raising flour
  • 65 grams cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsb baking powder
  • 4 medium eggs 
For filling and decoration :
  • 340 grams cherry jam 
  • 160 grams of frozen cherries 
  • 500 ml  double cream
  • 50 grams dark chocolate 
  • fresh cherries to decorate

   How to bake it ?
  1. Preheat the oven till 190°C. Grease a sandwich tin.
  2. Put the butter, sugar, into a food processor and mix till white and fluffy.
  3. Add cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and eggs.
  4. Use spatula to scrape a mixture down from the sides. 
  5. Pour the batter into a cake tin. You can divide the batter between 2 smaller cake tin. Spread it out with a rubber spatula.
  6. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until the cakes are nicely risen and just beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin(s).
  7. When the cake(s) are cold, cut them in half. I cut my one sponge into 3 pieces. Take care to keep knife parallel to the work surface, to get a good even cut.
  8. For the filling, put the jam in a saucepan with the sour cherries and cook it on a low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 6–8 minutes, stirring, until the jam has melted and the cherries are beginning to swell. Leave to cool for 15 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle the juice from cherry mixture over the chocolate sponges.
  10. Place bottom layer of the cake to a cake stand or plate.
  11. Whip double cream until soft peak form. Don't add any sugar. Cake will be sweet enough because of cherry mixture. Spread first sponges with cream and add cherry mixture on the top of it. 
  12. Top with another layer and repeat "cream and cherries process". I ended up with 3 layers of cake, but it really depends how you going to cut you sponges.
  13. Place a final layer on the top, and whip the remaining 200 ml of the cream- spread it over the top of the cake.
  14. Tip all grated chocolate into the center of our Black Forest, and decorate with fresh cherries!

Yes, she did !


Monday, 31 March 2014

This month obsessions

1. Queen Bey
Bold, naughty, frank lyrics and amazing video clips from Bey's last album just confirmed she's a Queen. My favorite: "Partition" and "Pretty hurts"

The reality is, sometimes you lose, and you're never too good to lose, you're never too big to lose, you're never too smart to lose. It happens... My message behind this album was finding the beauty in imperfection. I have this image of this trophy and me accepting these awards and kind of training myself to be this champion. And at the end of the day when you go through all of these things, is it worth it? When you get this trophy, and you're like, 'I basically starved, I have neglected all of the people I love, I've conformed to what everyone else thinks of me, and I have that trophy. What does that mean?'

2.Selling cakes on the market.
I was bit lazy for last 3 months (let's face the truth, after finishing my stage I didn't do absolutely anything), so now I feel  it's time for a new challenge. I applied for few food markets around London, so I hope for any positive answer soon. I really can't wait to start my little baking business. 

3. New camera and better pictures.
I am looking forward to buy a good camera, and learn how to take really good (food and not only) pictures.

4.Ellie Saab Summer 2014 collection 
Cut. Shape. Laces. Colors. Flowers. Everything.

Pictures : Pinterest

Friday, 28 March 2014

Meringue kisses

Those little Meringues are the easiest thing to bake. All you need : egg whites, sugar and food coloring.. I used "Two Chicks" egg whites, which are the most practical product. No more egg yolk wasted.

Meringue kisses 
( for about 30 mini meringue kisses)
  • 50 grams of egg whites
  • 100 grams of caster sugar 
  • Green, pink, red food coloring.
Recipe is really easy. Just double amount of sugar to egg whites. If you use 30 grams of egg whites, you will need 60 grams of sugar !! Easy!

How to bake it?
  1. Preheat oven to 100 °C.
  2. As the egg whites are stiffening, slowly sprinkle the caster sugar into the mix. Stop whisking as the meringue becomes stiffer and glossy; be careful not to overwhisk the mixture. 
  3. Place a nozzle in to piping bag, and start piping meringue kisses into desired shape.
  4. You can add coloring when whisking eggs, or just like me use a clean paintbrush or toothbrush to get a splatter effect.
  5.  Bake until firm and easily removed, 1 ,5  to 2 hours. 

Why did I finish my internship ?

I know! No post since ages. And I have no excuses for that, specially I finished my internship in December. I don't have to work 7 days par week anymore, trying to share my time in between full time job, pastry kitchen, friends and family.
Did I like working for Yauatcha? On the beginning I was full of motivation, excitement and ready to sacrifice every single day off. When I was back home, I didn't have energy to do absolutely anything, but some how I pushed myself to the limits, so I still found few hours for friends and family. I noticed, when you are busier, you organize yourself better. There is no chance to waste a moment of your time. No more stupid YouTube videos or Gossips websites .
Couple of weeks after commencing, I started to feel tired but I didn't give up. I was still waking up every morning at 8, to go to the pastry kitchen. But my motivation was gone, and I didn't feel that happy anymore.
I think I had different expectation from my "stage". Of course, I knew, no one will  let me do desserts on my first day, first I don't have a knowledge, second no one would risk it, as it's a professional place with great reputation. So I was calm and patient. Really patient. Even when I was cutting fruits for 5th hour, and turning macrons over after. For whole day.10 hours. I was never a person who's afraid of hard work so,  I thought I will have some more ambitious tasks soon. I started to make glazes and crumbles but most of the time I was back to my dark corner ( Ok... maybe I am bit too dramatic with this one) to cut fruits all over again. So on the beginning of  December I understood that's not what I wanted to do. I didn't like the atmosphere in the kitchen (I know kitchen environment is always busy and stressful but I didn't want to deal with that) and I wasn't really happy and decided to quit. It may sounds like giving up, but I believe it was a good decision.
What's next ? I am not sure yet.. But I really believe everything will turn out perfectly.

Yes, that's my no-make up-tired duck face selfie, during my Internship at Yau 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Vanilla Macarons

"This small round biscuit, crisp and tender at the same time, had transcended generation and is more " in-vouge" then ever"

Let me tell you -the most important factor when making macarons, is precision. Thermometer, digital scale, and dry equipment are also essential.

Vanilla Macarons 
"Smooth shells 
A brilliant white 
A delicate flavor of vanilla "

  • 200 grams ground almonds
  • 200 gram icing sugar 
  • 75 ml water
  • 200 gram caster sugar 
  • 2x80 grams egg whites
  • 1 vanilla bean
For Vanilla Ganache :
  • 200 grams double cream
  • 220 grams good quality  white chocolate 
  • 3 vanilla beans 
How to bake it?

  1. Mix 200 grams of ground almonds with 200 grams of icing sugar. The resulting mixture is called "Tant pour tant". Create a fine powder, which will give us a smooth batter, without any lumps. The macaron shells will be smooth and shiny as a result. Once the "tant pour tant" is mixed, you just need to sift it using a fine strainer.

  1. In saucepan, bring the water and caster sugar to boil. Without stirring, make sure the temperature of the resulting syrup doesn't go above 115°C.
  2. Gently beat 80 grams of egg whites to soft peak, then increase the beater speed once the temperature of the syrup passes 105°C. When the syrup reaches 115°C remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the syrup into beaten egg whites.Continue to beat meringue for about 10 minutes, so that it cools a little.
  3. Combine "tant pour tant " with the remaining egg whites, making a smooth almond paste. Scrape the half of vanilla bean into almond paste.
  4. Using a flexible spatula, incorporate about third of meringue into the almond paste in order to loosen mixture a little, then add the rest of the meringue, working the batter.
  5. Fill a piping bag fitted with 8 mm nozzle with batter. Attach a sheet of baking paper to each baking tray. Pipe out small, regular and well-spaced rounds, about the size of walnut. Lightly tap the bottom of the treys and allow the macaroons to form a crust at room temperature for 30 minutes. This stage we call " croutage" . 
The Croutage or drying time creates a thin, dry and resistant film on the surface of the macarons shells. When cooked, it becomes crisp. The moisture in the shell lifts it without cracking the surface, and an even set of "feet" forms around its base. 

     7. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Bake for 14 minutes.

 Vanilla Ganache 
  1. When Macarons are cooling, split the vanilla beans in half and scrap the seeds with the tip of a knife. Add them to the heavy cream along with beans. Bring to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat. Cover and let infuse 30 minutes.
  2. Place the chopped white chocolate in a bowl of a bain-marie and melt. Remove the vanilla beans from the cream and pour the mixture over the melted chocolate in three addition. Mix until smooth and scrap the mixture in a pyrex dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let it cool in the refrigerator
The  Assembly

Using a pipping bag fitted with 8 mm nozzle, fill half of the macaron shells with ganache. 

Et Voila!!

Recipe and pictures come from Secrets of Macarons book
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