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Cover: Make your cake…and eat it

March, 2012

30Mar 12

Spectacular Strawberry and Cream Cake

Strawberry and Cream Cake

This spectacular strawberry and cream cake makes a great summertime dessert, but since these days strawberries can be found year-round, why should you wait?!  Get yourself some fresh strawberries and get baking; I guarantee you won’t regret it! (For an extra fruity flavour, try this strawberry and raspberry tart.)

Ingredients:

  • 240g sifted cake flour
  • 330g granulated sugar
  • 4tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp salt
  • 115g butter
  • 315ml milk
  • 1tsp lemon extract
  • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 litre fresh strawberries
  • 500ml double cream, whipped with 50g granulated sugar and 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 175ml redcurrant jelly

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Butter two 23cm layer-cake pans and line with baking parchment.
  3. Sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the butter and half of the milk.
  5. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  6. Add the rest of the milk, the lemon extract, the vanilla extract and the egg yolks.
  7. Beat with the electric mixer for another 2 minutes.
  8. Pour the batter into the two 23cm buttered cake pans lined with the baking parchment.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  10.  Cool the layers in their pans for 10 minutes and then turn them out onto wire cooling racks.
  11.  Wash and hull the strawberries.
  12.  Chop enough of the strawberries to make 250ml and set aside the rest.
  13.  Fold the chopped strawberries into 250ml of the whipped cream.
  14.  Place one of the cake layers top side down on a serving plate.
  15.  Spread on the strawberry and cream filling.
  16.  Place the second cake layer on top with the top side up.
  17.  Slice the rest of the strawberries lengthwise and arrange them on top of the cake with the pointed ends facing towards the outer edge.
  18.  Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  19.   Melt the redcurrant jelly in a small pan over low heat, stirring constantly.
  20.  Spoon the melted jelly over the strawberries.
  21.  Spoon the remaining whipped cream in small puffs over the top of the cake in a decorative pattern.
  22.  Refrigerate the cake until you’re ready to serve it.

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  40 minutes

Serves:  8-10

Difficulty:  Medium

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25Mar 12

Chocolate Roll

Chocolate RollThis rich and creamy chocolate roll, similar to a chocolate roulade, is a bit labour-intensive, but I guarantee that the result is worth it!

Ingredients:

  • 150g of semi-sweet milk chocolate
  • 100g (½ cup) granulated sugar
  • 30ml (¼ cup) of water
  • 6 eggs with the yolks separated from the whites and the whites stiffly beaten
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee granules
  • 356ml (1 ½ cups) of double cream
  • 2 tbsp. of icing sugar
  • ½ a tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. Kirsch (or neat cherry brandy)
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC and line a jelly-roll pan with buttered and floured parchment paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a double saucepan over simmering water.
  3. Mix together the granulated sugar and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook for two more minutes over medium heat.
  4. Place the egg yolks in a bowl in the meantime.
  5. Pour the hot sugar syrup over the yolks and beat vigorously with a whisk for around 5 minutes, until the mixture is light, smooth and pale yellow in colour.
  6. Mix in the coffee and the melted chocolate.
  7. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and whisk vigorously until well mixed.
  8. Add the rest of the egg whites and fold them in with a spatula.  Mix them just enough to combine the ingredients, but take care not to overwork it.
  9.  pour in the batter.  It should be about ½ inch thick.
  10. Bake in the preheated oven 15 minutes, until the cake springs back when you press on it.
  11. Cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic film and let it cool for at least 2 hours more.
  12. Start whipping the cream until it is thick but not stiff yet.
  13. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and Kirsch and keep beating until the cream is firm.

Now for the hard part – rolling the cake:

  1. Remove the plastic wrap and slide a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake.
  2. Spread the whipped cream on the cake.
  3. Start at one end and begin rolling up the cake with the paper still on.
  4. Peel off the paper as you go a little at a time with each roll.  Try not to press down so that the cream doesn’t get squeezed out.
  5. Continue rolling and removing the plastic until the roll is completed.
  6. Using two spatulas, slide the cake onto a serving platter with the end on the bottom so that the top looks smooth.
  7. Sprinkle cocoa powder over the top with a sieve to garnish, then refrigerate.

Prep Time:  45 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty: Difficult

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23Mar 12

Spicy Pumpkin Cake

Spicy Pumpkin CakeUntil quite recently, I was thoroughly convinced that the idea of putting vegetables in desserts was completely and utterly insane.  I just couldn’t get my head around the reasoning behind what seemed to me to be a ridiculous notion!  Carrot cake?! Courgette loaf?! Madness!

In any case, my opinion has changed, and it all started when I tried this Spicy Pumpkin Cake at a friend’s dinner party.  It was absolutely scrumptious!

 

 

You can use canned pumpkin purée for this recipe, but if you want it to be truly authentic, you should use fresh pumpkin.  To do so, slice, peel and seed 500 grams of fresh pumpkin and simmer until just tender (about 15 minutes), then push trough a sieve to make the purée.

Ingredients:

  • 120 g butter, softened
  • 250 g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 625 g sifted cake flour
  • 12 g baking powder
  • 1 1/2 g baking soda
  • 2 g salt
  • 5 g ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 g ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 g ground ginger
  • 175 ml buttermilk
  • 175 ml pumpkin purée
  • 150 g finely chopped pecans

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180º C.
  2. Butter and flour two cake (or bread) pans and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice and ginger.
  6. Sift the above a second time to make sure they are well blended.
  7. Add the sifted flour and spices mix to the egg and butter mixture and stir for a few seconds.
  8. Add the buttermilk and mix well.
  9. Add the chopped pecans and pumpkin purée, mix thoroughly.  Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure proper mixing.
  10. Pour half of the batter into each of the buttered and floured cake pans.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  12. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and put them in the refrigerator for 45 minutes, or until cold.
  13. Serve. (Try with whipped cream or frosting for extra sweetness.)

Prep Time:  50 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty: Difficult

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