Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jam vs No Jam, the great lamington debate!


I must declare right from the get go, I am 100% #TeamNoJAM!

Putting jam in a lamington just seems a very unnatural thing to do to me. It may be because of how I was brought up, you would never have seen jam in any of my Nan's lamingtons.

Jam belonged in those "hot bread shop" type bakery lamingtons, you know the type of bakeries where if you were blindfolded you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the cakes as they all tasted the same.

Or worse supermarket long-life packaged lamingtons *Shudder*

Sometimes you have to do things for families you never thought possible.

AB's Dad is 100% #TeamJam so there have been times I have put other's needs above my own and added jam, even if I felt ill doing so.

Now this is where things take a scary turn.

There are 3 foods AB can't stand, chicken with bones, mushrooms and coconut, so making the greatest sacrifice of all for lamington kind I substitute the coconut for grated white chocolate.

The most satisfying part of this adventure is that he is never quite sure if the switch has been made until the tasting.

I believe the best part of Australia Day is embracing all the different viewpoints that come together to make up this great country, even those radical extremists who put jam and cream in their lamingtons! Seriously what is that??

I Can't Believe It's Not Coconut Lamington
Ingredients- makes 12 lamos
  • 100g unsalted butter softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 250g sifted icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa
  • 5-10g knob softened butter
  • hot water 
  • 150g white chocolate (cold)

Cake Method
  • Cream butter, sugar and vanilla with electric beaters
  • Add eggs 1 at a time and beat
  • Add flour, milk and mix
  • Pipe batter evenly into lined cup cake tin
  • Bake at 170°C for about 10 minutes (about 20 minutes if baking as a whole cake)
  • Let cool slightly in the tin, then onto a wire rack to completely cool
To make icing
  • Add icing sugar, cocoa and butter to a mixing bowl
  • Add 2 tbsp. of the hot water and beat with electric beaters
  • Add more water bit by bit till icing is glossy and very runny (about 5 tbsp. in total)
  • Finely grate the white chocolate into a bowl (having the chocolate cold will help it grate and not melt in your hands)
  • Coat 1 cake in icing making sure to remove any excess
  • Roll the cake in the white chocolate to coat.
  • This is a 2 hand job, 1 hand in the icing and the other in the chocolate. Your fingers will still get messy but it keeps the ingredients separate.
  • Repeat with the remaining cakes and then chill them in the fridge for about 30 mins till set.
I bought this tray at Ikea because I liked the shape and had the idea of little toadstool cupcakes. I have never been able to get the patty pans that fit it but lining with baking paper helps them to not stick.
Celebrate diversity if they aren't all even!!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Bake Off Birthday

I was going to title this "My Last Birthday Cake Ever" but I thought that may cause a flood of distressed messages.

What I mean to say is that upon my 39th birthday I discovered the cake that will feature at every one of my remaining birthdays.

It is no surprise to anyone that has stopped by before that I am "slightly" obsessed with the Bake Off in all it's guises.
  • The Great British Off,
  • The Great Irish Bake Off,
  • The Great Australian Bake Off,
  • The Pretty Good American Bake Off 
  • The Disappointing Italian Bake Off

So this birthday I wanted the chocolate cake with the raspberries from the opening titles.
 Source: Wikipedia
Surprisingly I couldn't find the recipe online but thought in reality to film the titles it was probably just polystyrene anyway.

I had lots of recipes for light airy chocolate cakes but I wanted this to be dense and rich so it would stick to your boots!!

This cake was developed after studying various recipes and the contents of my pantry.

The original version was great but this has been polished by making 5 in the past 2 weeks......yeah January diets! (and with Sunday bake club tomorrow make that 6)

You have to include the missing raspberry!

The Only Chocolate Birthday Cake
  • 180ml strong espresso (or brewed NOT instant ever)
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 300g cooking chocolate (see note)
  • 250g salted butter
  • 60g hazelnut spread
  • 140g crème fraîche
  • 4 eggs (our girls produce eggs in the mid 50g range)
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 150g almond meal
For Ganache
  • 200ml cream
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • Tiny knob of butter
3-4 punnets of fresh raspberries to decorate (depending how many are eaten before they hit the cake)

  • Add coffee, caster sugar, chocolate and butter to a medium saucepan
  • Stir over low heat till the sugar dissolves and the rest is melted and combined (it will be deliciously glossy)
  • Remove from heat and let cool to just above room temperature
  • In a mixing bowl combine the hazelnut spread, crème fraîche and eggs
  • Sift flour and almond meal into the mixing bowl and combine
  • Add chocolate mixture and stir through till well combined
  • Pour into 22cm round spring form cake tin lined with a high collar and base
  • Bake at 150°C for 80-90 minutes till a skewer comes out clean and you can't hear anything from the cake
  • Allow to cool completely

I could always get a job making those videos that don't always have the highest production values, e.g. haven't turned the phone the right way!!
  • Add cream, chocolate and butter to a saucepan
  • Stir over very low heat till all melted and glossy
  • Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes prior to pouring over cake
  • Place cake on wire rack over a lipped tray and pour ganache to cover cake
  • This recipe makes enough ganache to cover the cake by pouring rather than spreading, this will also have a self levelling affect with the assistance of gravity
  • The extra ganache will pool in the tray and is a bonus treat, just in case there wasn't enough chocolate.
  • Let the ganache cool and set
  • Decorate the top with raspberries

Add some gold leaf just to ensure the lily is sufficiently gilded
This isn't a cheap cake but hey it's a birthday!

Note about Chocolate:

Chocolate, like who you love is very much a matter for the heart.
You just like what you like, it's just that simple.
No amount of "but this brand or type is better" will have an affect on what you like.

So use the chocolate, the brand and strength of dark or milk you like best or combination of.

But not white, that's not chocolate! (can, worms, opened)

I mix the 300g with 200g Lindt 70% and 100g of Cadbury 45% dark chocolate. (not sponsored comment but happy to be sent to Switzerland again hint hint)

I'm also planning to make one using 85% dark just to see how far towards the dark side it can go.
Now with coffee it's a different story altogether, this has to be good espresso. If you don't have a machine at home grab some take away from a café.

I pride my home on never containing these 2 items, tracksuit pants and instant coffee, you just gotta have your standards.

Unfortunately I get too preoccupied with eating to take a good sliced shots

This was a new years day version, it hadn't quite cooled before I needed to serve it but still just as good.
Oh if only!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

In My Kitchen - January 2014

Happy New Year, the first day of 2014 so you know what that means only 4 months till Chow Down to Eurovision 2014!!

I hope you all had a great festive season and this new year brings you everything you need.

It will be a quick tour in my kitchen today, very casual, so make yourself a cuppa or a glass of the hairy dog if you "celebrated" last night.

It's almost less In My Kitchen and more a showcase of how good Santa was. I am very grateful to be loved by wonderful people, but then again they are only human!

In My Kitchen....
...are lots of fresh raspberries that are so beautiful they should only be eaten fresh and whole.
It would be a crime to make them into jam or anything that breaks them down. (use the frozen ones for that unless you have your own crop and simply can't eat them all, as if)
My birthday cake was covered in fresh raspberries (recipe coming)
In My Kitchen.... a Doctor Who apron and TARDIS mug, and yes I do believe it holds more on the inside.
There is also a matching teapot so you guessed it, I'm off shopping.

 In My Kitchen....
...are some lovely gifts of Maha pomegranate molasses, and some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Oh I have some plans in store for these babies.
In My Kitchen..... a little bit of light reading, or as AB calls it "more kitchen porn".
I can't wait to cook my way through these to keep learning more and more with just a little bit of eating as an added bonus

Thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting the monthly In My Kitchen, check out the other kitchens.