Dulce de Leche Argentinian Cake

Never heard of Maillard reaction right? What about if I said it helps you wake up everyday? Yes, the Maillard reaction occurs during coffee bean roasting. And it is also involved in the creation of this delight: dulce de leche (obtained by slowly heating sweetened milk).

There are very few things tastier than dulce de leche but funny enough, Argentinians say that to “row in dulce de leche” might not be the best thing. I must strongly disagree…

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Dulce de Leche Argentinian Cake

Ingredients:

  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 150 g butter
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 40 g sugar
  • 250 g Dulce de leche
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate and butter together.

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale, then beat in the chocolate mixture.

Beat the egg whites until stiff  and fold into the other ingredients.

Pour into a 23 cm round tin, spread uniformly and flatten the surface.

Bake for 30 minutes at 140 °C fan.

Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla extract

When the cake is cold, spread the dulce de leche on top and finally cover with cream.

Salted Caramel Stuffed Brownies

The sweet-savory combination seems to be something most of us really enjoy, isn’t it? We were taught in school how the taste receptors are distributed in different areas in the tongue, remember that? Well, guess what, it’s a lie.

Something I find fascinating about Science (in the bad way) is how some scientific discoveries work their way into textbooks sort of by mistake. The tongue map is a hilarious example of this: the whole tongue maps originates due to a mistranslation of the 1901 paper by D.P Hänig “Zur Psychophysik des Geschmackssinnes“.

Not that it made any difference when we took care of these brownies… enjoy!

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Salted caramel stuffed brownies

The original BBC Good Food recipe seemed to sweet for me, so I reduced the sugar to half and used only 70% chocolate.

  • 200 g butter
  • 200 g 70% chocolate
  • 397 g can Carnation caramel
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 100 g golden granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 130 g plain flour
  • 50 g cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 160 °C fan and grease and line a 23 cm square traybake tin.

Melt the butter in a pan, break in all the chocolate, remove the pan from the heat and wait for the chocolate to melt.

Mix 175 g of the caramel with the salt and reserve.

Beat the rest of the caramel with the sugar and eggs until even. Whisk in the chocolate-butter mixture and sift on top the premixed flour and cocoa. Beat just until smooth.

Now assemble the brownie: pour half the batter into the tin and level it with a spatula. Using a teaspoon, dollop 1/2 to 3/4 of the salted caramel on top of the batter layer in 5 thick, evenly spaced stripes. Spoon the rest of the brownie batter on top and smooth it out.

Top with the rest of the salted caramel in thin waves by using a plastic bag with a small hole as piping bag.

Bake for 25-30 mins or until it shows a firm crust on top. It will still jiggle little when completely cooked.

Let it cool in the tin, then cut into squares.

Cassis Macaroons

It seemed to me today that making macaroons was a perfectly good excuse to avoid going outside and meeting the inclement weather.

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Cake-Pop Cassis Macaroons

For the macaroons

Enough for 60 small shells (30 macaroons)

  • 3 egg whites
  • 210 g powder sugar
  • 125 g ground almond
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • Purple food colouring (Wilton Violet icing colour)

Mix and sift powder sugar and ground almond.

Beat the egg whites. When bubbly, add caster sugar slowly and keep beating until very stiff, dense and creamy (3-4 minutes).

Incorporate with a spatula the food colouring and finally fold in the powder sugar and almond mixture in small additions.

Pipe 3 cm diameter circles of mixture onto a baking tray, leaving some space among them. 

Bang the baking tray a couple of times against the table to remove trapped air bubbles and flatten the shells. Smooth any defects on top with a small spatula. If you want to add some sprinkles on half of them, now would be the moment. 

Leave the trays for 30 mins to form a skin on the top, longer if it is raining like hell outside, like here (I had them 90 minutes or so). Maybe it will start snowing soon 🙂 

Bake at 130 °C fan for 14 min, they are done when they feel firm to the touch. When the shells are cold you can assemble the macaroons, using a pipping bag to dispense the filling gives more precision but it is totally optional.

The video in this blog is excellent, take a look.

 

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For the cassis flavoured whipped cream filling

  • Whipping cream
  • Crème the Cassis

Add a good splash of Crème de Cassis to the cream and whip it.

For the cassis flavoured ganache filling

  • 100 g dark chocolate 70 %
  • 20 g cream
  • 30 g cassis liqueur
Heat the cream and liqueur and pour onto the chocolate – mix until well combined and allow to cool.

 

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Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Our favourite double, Mr. P

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2016-03-27-16-03-06Chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting

For the cake tiers

  • 60 g chopped dark chocolate
  • 140 g cocoa powder
  • 250 ml boiling water
  • 220 grams flour
  • 400 grams sugar
  • 1.5 tsp  baking soda
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 250 ml sour cream
  • 125 ml sunflower oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 160 C fan. Butter two 23 cm round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper.

Combine the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Add the cup of boiling water and whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined. In another bowl, stir together sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients and the melted chocolate to the dry ingredients, and beat for 2 minutes

Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

For the peanut butter buttercream

  • 300 g softened butter
  • 300 grams powder sugar
  • 20 ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150 g smooth peanut butter

Beat the butter until smooth and then incorporate slowly the powder sugar, beat until smooth, for 3 minutes. Add premixed cream and vanilla and finally the peanut butter. Beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

To assemble the cake

Place the first layer, spread frosting on top, place the second tier. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the top and sides of the cake (crumb seal) and place it on the fridge to set. Finally frost the top and sides of the cake.

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Pink Marble Cake

Ladies prefer pink, science says so! (or at least a rather small pool of British ladies, although it would be funny to check whether they were all convinced to enrol in the study as they were exiting Juicy Couture…).

This version of science doesn’t seem to convince everyone, but one way or the other, it’s still my first choice for a marble.

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Pink Marble Cake

  • 200 g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 200 g powder sugar
  • 200 g rT butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 70 ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Pink food colouring (I used Americolor)

Preheat the oven to 170 °C fan and line a 450 g loaf tin .

Mix and sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. 

Beat butter and sugar until pale. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until creamy and well combined. Beat in the vanilla and milk, and fold in the flour.

Divide the batter into three portions: stir the cocoa powder into one portion and add some pink food colouring to the second. Leave the third as it is.

Spoon alternate dollops of the mixture into the cake tin (you will have one spoonful too many for each colour), then use a skewer to create a marble pattern by dragging it through the mixture in swirls. Do not overmix, the pattern will be  lost.

Bake around 50 minutes, until a toothpick come out clean from the centre and it looks golden brown. Cover with foil during the baking if the surface is browning up too much. Let cool on a wire rack, slice and enjoy!

EM Cake Push-Ups

I somehow found myself supporting Germany in the Eurocup… At least I found a colourful way.

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EM Cake Push-Ups

  • Fresh Strawberries (for the whole experience, go pick them yourself)
  • Vanilla pudding (Dr. Oetker, have a look at the Herrencreme post for the recipe!)
  • Melted chocolate (for the letters)

For the chocolate cake

  • 170 g self-raising flour
  • 50 g cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 110 g butter
  • 160 g sugar
  • 125 ml buttermilk (or 125 ml normal milk + 7 ml vinegar, let stand 5 minutes)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 70 g dark chocolate

The batter for this chocolate cake is the same as the one for the Ferrero Roche Cupcakes (very rich), so have a look there for the instructions and then bake at 160° C fan for 20 miblog.pngnutes in a lined 27 cm round tin, check if it’s done using the skewer test.

To assemble!

For how to cut the cake and assemble, this is a good video (minute 4:20). No nonsense of baking cupcakes to destroy them…  And remember that with the cake leftovers you can always make cake pops 🙂

Orange Chocolate Cupcakes

I’ve never understood food scented perfumes. For some reason, stilton cheese, lobster, pizza or sushi perfumes can be found on the market. There’s even an eau de barbecue  (oddly enough, someone thought that was a good idea…).

Today I guessed how Jo Malone’s Orange and Chocolate cologne must smell: the same as my kitchen when I was finishing these up. If I can choose, I’d certainly rather have sitting besides me in the cinema someone smelling like chocolate, than someone smelling of “intoxicating bouquet of spices, smoke, meat & sweet summer sweat”…

Orange Chocolate Cupcakes

Orange Chocolate Cupcakes

For the chocolate fudge cupcake (adapted from Nigella, makes 10-12 cupcakes)

  • 130 g flour 
  • 80 g golden caster sugar 
  • 30 g light brown muscovado sugar 
  • 20 g cocoa powder 
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder 
  • 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
  • A pinch of salt 
  • 1 egg
  • 50 ml sour cream 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 60 g butter 
  • 50 ml sunflower oil 
  • 100 ml cold water

Preheat the oven to 160 °C fan and line a cupcake tray with 12 pretty paper cases. 

Mix and sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarbonate and then stir in the sugars and salt. Separately, whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla.

Melt the butter. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat together the cooled melted butter and sunflower oil until just blended, and then beat in the water. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat on slow speed until just combined. Add the egg mixture, and beat until blended. As always for cupcakes, remember not to overbeat or they won’t rise nicely.

Fill the paper cases with the mixture up to 2/3 and bake around 20 min until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

For the filling

  • 12 Lindt orange chocolate truffles

As soon as the cupcakes come out of the oven, make an x cross on top with scissors and push inside on Lindt orange chocolate truffle (it will melt).

Orange Chocolate Cupcakes

 

For the orange buttercream

  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange juice or a few drops of orange extract
  • Orange food colouring

Cream the softened butter by beating at low speed and then slowly add the icing sugar. Keep beating until pale. Finally beat in the orange juice or extract.

Blend some orange colouring into 1/4 of the buttercream with a spatula. I used here Americolor gel paste 113.

To pipe the orange edge buttercream roses, place a big closed star tip in the piping bag, add the orange buttercream into the bag and extend it throughout its surface, covering the inside with a thin layer. Open the bag again and add the non-coloured buttercream in the centre. Now help the buttercream set down in the bag as you would usually do and start piping.

Orange Chocolate Cupcakes