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.

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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 Torró Mousse

January is by far the saddest month of the year. Full of intentions and resolutions cooked in hell to make us miserable. Shake off those extra kg (double extra for those with a broken toe, I should know), run, diet and behave. Somehow we forget about the universal benefits of gradual adaptation…

Well, in my kitchen (sorry to disappoint) January’s resolutions are to get rid of Christmas leftovers in the most imaginative way. So good bye torró de Xixona!

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Chocolate Cake with Torró Mousse

For the cake (bescuit in the original valencià)

  • 125 g flour
  • 125 g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Beat the eggs with the sugar until they get some volume. Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder. Bake on a greased 20 cm round tin for 35-40 min at 160 °C fan.

For the torró mousse

  • 150 g torró de Xixona (soft)
  • 200 g cream

Whip the cream and blend it with the torró to make the mousse. Let it rest in the fridge.

Cut the cake in two tiers, spread a thick layer of torró mousse over the first one and place the second one on top.

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For the chocolate ganache

  • 200 g dark chocolate
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar

To make the ganache, chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl. Heat the cream and sugar in a pan until about to boil. Take off the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly for a minute.

 

Pour the ganache over the cake, placed over a cooling wire, letting it fall down the sides and smoothing to cover with a palette knife. Decorate with sliced almonds.

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Herrencreme in Cookie Cups

Herrencreme is the typical German Christmas day dessert (at least in my photographer’s house…), and this version comes from his father’s bag of culinary wonders.

Fans of eating even the plate as we are, we considered pimping the Herrencreme up with a chocolate cup, it did the Eaton Mess justice after all… But since the Herrencreme already has some chocolate, we tried a new variation.

Sweet Merry Christmas!

Herrencreme in cookie cups

Herrencreme in Cookie Cups

Herrencreme is a mixture of vanilla pudding (kindly provided by the German backing superhero Dr. Oëtker), whipped cream and dark chocolate, with a good splash of rum… lecker!

For the Sugar Cookie Cups

  • 225 g softened butter
  • 130 g sifted powder sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 270 g sifted flour
  • 1/2 tsp NaCl

Beat together butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in flour and salt at low speed until combined. With a rolling pin, shape the dough into a 1 cm disk in between two plastic wrap layers. Seal the corners with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 min (until firm).

Cut out 5 cm circles and place them on the greased back of the cups of an overturned 12-cup muffin tin, leaving empty cups in between. Gently press each round over the top of each muffin cup and down the sides about a couple cm. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Bake at 130 °C fan for 20 min, until golden brown. Let the muffin tin cool slightly on a wire rack and then lift each cookie by sliding a knife under the edge (don’t wait too much or they will become fragile, but not to worry, freeze the broken ones, there’s plenty we can do with them…). Makes around 20 of muffin-tin back cookies.

For the Herrencreme

  • 0.5 l milk
  • 3/4 packet of Vanilla Pudding Powder (around 30 g)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp rum
  • 150 ml whipped cream
  • 50 g dark chocolate shavings (or more…)

Mix well the milk, egg and pudding powder and then add the salt and sugar. Heat until it thickens and let cool, mixing every couple of minutes.

When the pudding is cold, mix in the rum and fold in chocolate and whipped cream.

Spoon the Herrencreme into the cookie cups and enjoy!

 

It’s not difficult to break one cup or two when attempting to lift them from the tray, but not to worry, we tested the crumbled cookie+Herrencrem combination and it got our quality control stamp.

Herrencreme

Kinder Bueno Cupcakes

Nutella-filled white chocolate sponge, topped with whipped cream and cream cheese based light and fluffy frosting with little Nutella swirls… These are amazing, and the frosting is the best thing you will ever eat.

The ultimate solution to a tough bench day!

Kinder Bueno Cupcakes

Kinder Bueno Cupcakes

Kinder Bueno Cupcakes

For 12 of them you will need…

For the cake

  • 225 g butter
  • 225 g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 100 g white chocolate, melted
  • 225 g self-raising flour
  • 1 jar of Nutella

First preheat the oven to 160 °C fan and line a 12-hole cupcake tin. 

For the white chocolate sponge, cream together butter, sugar, eggs and milk, then pour in the melted white chocolate and mix. Finally, blend in the flour until just combined.

Fill the cupcakes to around 1/3 with cake mix, then add a teaspoon of Nutella (or a bit more, ok…) and finally cover with more cake mix until the liners are almost full. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Kinder Bueno Cupcakes

For the nutella-swirled, whipped cream and cream cheese frosting

  • 200 g whipping cream
  • 110 g cream cheese
  • 60 g powder sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Nutella
  • Kinder Bueno bars, broken into quarters

Whip the cream with a mixer until it forms stiff peaks. In another bowl, beat the cream cheese to soften it, before blending in the sugar, salt and vanilla until fully combined and creamy. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture, then beat with the mixer until it’s fully combined and fluffy. For the nutella marble effect, drop a few teaspoons of Nutella into the mix and run a knife through it several times. Fill a piping bag with the frosting, chill the bag for 15 minutes to firm it up, and then pipe on the cupcakes with a closed star tip.

Store the frosted cupcakes in the fridge and decorate them with a Kinder Bueno piece just before serving!

Kinder Bueno Cupcakes

Kinder Bueno Cupcake

Black Forest Cupcakes

The centenary cake I was talking about a few days ago has produced an immense amount of baking literature around it. Together with the original recipe, I tried a BBC twist in the form of cupcakes. Tbh, I saved a little drizzle of the cherry kirsch sauce just for it, because this recipe was calling out loud: try me!!!

Black Forest Cupcakes

Black Forest Cupcakes

  • 125 g softened butter

  • 175 g caster sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 200 g self-raising flour

  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

  • 125 ml milk

  • 100 g 70 % dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 150 °C fan and line a 12-hole cupcake tray with paper cases. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating, and then sift in the flour and cocoa powder and mix until well combined. Finally fold in the milk and melted chocolate. Spoon  the mixture into the cupcake cases and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Whilst still hot, pierce the cakes with a skewer and carefully pour about a teaspoon of kirsch liquor over each one. When completely cold, pipe cream onto the cakes, top with a glacé cherry, drizzle with the thickened kirsch and sprinkle some chocolate.

Black Forest Cupcakes

Black Forest Cupcakes

  Black Forest Cupcakes
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Black Forest Cupcake

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte Centenary!

The Black Forest Cake is 100 years old today. Viel Glück zum Geburtstag!

It seems that it was baker Josef Keller who first decided to mix cherries, kirsch and cream in a cake and, although he was born near the Black Forest in Germany, he first served it in the Café near Bonn where he worked at the time.

I couldn’t think of a better way of celebrating the day than with an attempt to reproduce the recipe at home.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

This recipe comes from Chefkoch.de, so it’s the proper German version!

For the cake

  • 5 eggs
  • 175 g sugar
  • 10 g of vanilla sugar (I used a teaspoon of vanilla extract instead…)
  • 125 g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 50 g cornflour
  • 15 g cocoa powder

Line the bottom of a 23 cm round tin (don´t grease the edges or it won´t rise!) and preheat the oven at 160 °C fan. Whisk egg whites, together with two tablespoons of the sugar, until stiff. Beat the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar and vanilla. Fold the egg yolks into the egg whites. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and cornflour, sift and fold into the egg mixture.

Spoon into the tin and bake 25 to 30 minutes.

For the cherry filling

  • 350 g cherries in kirsch
  • 250 ml of the kirsch cherries juice
  • 30 g cornflour
  • 25 g sugar
  • 3 tbsp kirsch liquor

Drain the cherries. Mix the cornflour and sugar and add 4 tbsp of the drained kirsch juice to make a paste. Bring the rest of the kirsch cherry juice to boil, remove from the heat and slowly add the cornflour-sugar paste. Mix with a spoon until the paste starts to thicken, bring back to the heat, add the drained cherries and continue to mix with the spoon until properly thickened. Add a little bit of extra kirsch liquor now if you want it more intense. Remove from the heat and let cool down.

Kirsch Cherries

For the cream filling

  • 800 g double cream
  • 40 g sugar
  • 10 g vanilla sugar (or a bit of vanilla extract…)

Mix all ingredients and whip the cream.

I was researching online which is the best method to get really stiff whipped cream, and apparently using a hand-held blender seems to be the answer… So that’s what I did, no gelatine or oder additives.

For decoration

  • Chocolate shavings
  • Glacé Cherries (I wanted to save every single one of the kirsch cherries for the filling…)
  • (Plus some of the cream above mentioned)

Once cold, cut the cake in 3 tiers and sprinkle some kirsch liquor over them. Add the cherry filling over the first tier, and then whipped cream. Place the second tier, spread more cream on top (no cherry this time, this cake is a cream-lover paradise!) and finish with the third tier. Cover the cake in cream and decorate with chocolate sprinkles and cherries.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

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Guten Appetit!