Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cakes of the World - Bienenstich

This German cake translates as Bee Sting Cake, a name supposedly earned by a legend that the baker who invented it was stung by a bee attracted to the honey in the topping. I'll make sure to keep the windows shut when I make this cake just in case but I've never been stung by a bee. Much to JD's amazement (displeasure?) because bees seem to seek him out.

I decided to include this cake on my blog because it's quite different, it's made from a bread-like dough rather than a batter and is filled with an almond cream pudding.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1 5/8 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 pinch salt
3/4 cup warm milk

For the topping:

3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
5/8 cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon honey

For the filling:

1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup cornflour
1 egg
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 tablespoon cream of tartar


Mix together the ingredients for the cake. I did it in my stand mixer because I've been using it gratuitously since I got it. Mix it with the dough hook in the mixer or knead by hand until it's smooth and elastic. Cover and leave somewhere warm for an hour until it's doubled in size.



While the dough is rising you can make the topping. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a small pan and stir in the icing sugar and milk until dissolved. Add the almonds and honey then continue to cook until it boils. Take off the heat and save for later.



When the dough is ready, punch it down and roll it out into two circles. Place each circle into a greased cake tin. Add the almond mix to the top of one half. Bake in the oven at 205C for 20-25 minutes until the almonds have turned golden brown. Leave to cool.



Now it's time to make the filling. Dissolve the cornflour in a little bit of milk. Add it to a bowl on top of a pan of hot water along with the rest of the milk and the sugar. Stir constantly as it starts to thicken. Take it off the heat and stir in the beaten egg and almond extract.



Chill this pudding mixture in the fridge for an hour. When you're ready to make up the cake, whip the cream with the cream of tartar until stiff and then fold into the pudding mix. Spread the cream filling on the bottom half of the cake and top with the almond crusted half.


This was a really interesting cake, it was bready in texture with a lovely gooey layer on the top under the almonds. The cream filling added to it's overall lightness. It was really difficult to slice though and the top slid off when we'd eaten half of it. Leigh and Erin really enjoyed it and had seconds immediately. It was nice to try a different style of cake than the usual sponge we normally have.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cakes of the World - Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake is popular in America and also one of my husband's favourite cakes. It got it's name because of it's light fluffy texture which makes it seem like it's food angels would eat. It gets it's texture because it's made with egg whites (lots of egg whites) and no butter. I had to buy a special tube pan to make it in.

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 12 egg whites
  • ⅓ cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour 

First off, you need to blend the sugar so it's finer. This is the first time I've ever had to do this for a recipe.


Sift together the flour, cornflour, salt and half of your fine sugar.


Now you need to prepare your egg whites. There are lots of ways to separate an egg so just do it however you feel comfortable.


Add vanilla, cream of tartar and the warm water to the egg whites and whisk until they are combined. Next, transfer the egg mix to a mixer because there's going to be a lot of whisking.


Whisk gradually adding the remaining fine sugar until the egg mix can form medium peaks.


Now gently fold in the flour mixture a bit at a time until it's all mixed in.


Pour the batter into the tube pan. Don't grease the tube pan so that the cake batter can rise by climbing up the pan sides. (Sounds a little creepy to be honest!)


Bake at 176C for 35 minutes. When you take it out of the oven invert the cake in the pan onto a plate and leave to cool completely still in the pan. When it's cool run a knife around the cake and take off the pan.



Mmm, this cake is unlike anything I've eaten before. Sooo light and spongy in texture with a nice subtle vanilla cake flavour. The slightly crispy edges are the best. You can eat it plain or add some berries with whipped cream but be sure to eat it with a fork like the Americans do!


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cakes of the World - Babka

I don't know why it's taken me so long to think of this but finally....CAKE! Cakes from around the world starting with babka. This recipe is chocolate babka made by East European Jewish people. Seems a good place to start!

Ingredients:

150ml milk
140g butter
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
40g sugar
7g yeast
2 eggs

For the filling:

60g butter
80g brown sugar
100g dark chocolate
2 tbls cocoa powder
1 tbls cinnamon


Melt 40g of the butter in a pan along with the 150ml of milk.


Put the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in a bowl and mix to blend everything.

Make a well in the dry mix and add the melted butter/milk along with one of the eggs.

Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Melt the remaining butter (100g) and gradually add it to the mixture a tablespoon at a time, making sure it's mixed in well before adding more. This takes a LOT of stirring.

It makes a wet dough but apparently that's how it's meant to be. Cover the dough and leave to rise at room temperature for about an hour. Then chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

While that's happening you can get on with the filling.  Break up the chocolate.


Melt the chocolate together with 60g of butter and 80g of brown sugar.

Stir in the cocoa powder and cinnamon then stir well until the filling is glossy.

Leave the filling to cool until you need it.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle. You'll have to add more flour to make it less sticky so you can work with it. Then spread the filling over the top of it.

Roll up the dough like a swiss roll and pinch the edges together. Cut the roll in half from one end to the other leaving about 4cm at one end. Then plait the two pieces of dough over each other until you have a long twist. Place in a greased loaf tin.

Marvel at the incredible mess you've made!

Cover in clingfilm and leave somewhere warm for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 180C.

Brush the top of the loaf with the other beaten egg and bake for an hour. Cover with foil halfway through cooking to stop it burning. Cool in tin when done for 10 minutes then turn out.


This cake seemed a lot of effort to make but I'm happy with how it turned out. It's quite bread-like in consistency but moist like a cake with a lovely taste coming from the chocolate cinnamon filling. It looks pretty with the swirls running through it too. It's better eaten still warm from baking. Yum!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Soups of the World - Erwtensoep

This dutch pea soup is more suited to winter than the hot weather we've been having here but it looks delicious so I can't wait for colder times.

Ingredients:

3 cups of split peas or lentils
1 cup diced celeriac
1 cup of sliced leeds
3 litres of water
1 stock cube
8 slices bacon
1 pack spare ribs
1 pack frankfurters
Salt & pepper


This is another of those recipes that's so easy I almost feel ashamed of myself. Basically prepare the vegetables and put everything in the slow cooker.  Make up the stock with boiling water and pour over the other ingredients.


Put it on low and come back 6-8 hours later. Remove the bones from the spare ribs. The peas will have absorbed all the water so give it a good stir and add a little liquid if needed. The meat will have broken up and as you stir it it'll spread it through the soup. Serve and eat.


This soup doesn't look anywhere near as delicious as it tastes. The variety of meats in it give a lovely hearty flavour with the celeriac adding another taste that's quite distinctive. It's lovely and thick, really filling. We both enjoyed it and JD took some for his lunch the next day. Yum!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Soups of the World - Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Since making Tortellini en Brodo I've been wanting to try tortellini again but in a soup with more ingredients. So here I am bringing you another Italian soup this time with sausage and vegetables.

I love the legend of how tortellini was invented by a man captivated by a young woman's navel who then tried to recreate it in pasta form. Surely not true but a funny story either way!


Ingredients:

8 sausages
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 carrots
1 tin tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 stock cube
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
1 packet tortellini
1 tablespoon parmesan


Firstly, you have to do probably the worst thing ever. Peel the casings off the sausages and roll the sausage into small balls. Peeling the casings off is difficult and a bit gross but it has to be done to have delicious sausage balls in your soup, so woman up and get on with it!


Saute the sausage in a pan and set aside once browned. Mine are a bit too browned in the picture because I was juggling peeling more sausage, washing my hands, taking pictures and sauteing at the same time.


Chop up the onion and garlic then cook them until they're softened. Thanks for the help stirring, Leigh :)


Dice the carrot up small and add that to the pan, cooking for another few minutes.


Add the stock, tomatoes, herbs and puree. Stir well.


Add the sausage and some water (about 4 cups) then simmer for 30 minutes. Skim off any excess fat and simmer for another 15 minutes. Add the tortellini and simmer for 10 minutes.


Serve with parmesan on top.


This soup was great, JD, Leigh and I all enjoyed it. Very comforting and filling with the swollen tortellini floating in the bowl. The sausage is lovely in this dish too, well worth the effort (and displeasure) of peeling it. Quite cheap to make too which is always good. Tasty!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Soups of the World - Spicy Pork & Greens Noodle Soup

I'm not really sure which country this is from but I had some rice noodles to use so I found this delicious looking soup recipe on Bon App├ętit. I used spring greens instead of mustard greens but everything else is pretty much the same.


Ingredients:
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns, crushed
  • ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, coarsely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, torn (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 8 oz. wide rice noodles

Put the pork in a mixing bowl and add the cumin, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger.


Mush it all together with your hands until it's well mixed.



Now saute the pork mixture in a little oil. Break it up as you cook it to make small clumps of pork.


Chop up the greens and prepare 4 cups of chicken broth.


When the pork is browned, add the broth and simmer for 8-10 minutes.


Next, add the soy sauce and chopped greens. Cook for about 5 minutes until the greens have cooked through.


Prepare the noodles according to the packet (it only takes a few minutes) and place them in some bowls.


Spoon the soup over the waiting noodles. Serve!


This soup didn't disappoint! The spicy pork clumps were the best bit followed quickly by the crunchy hot greens. The noodles were soft and covered in delicious fragrant broth. JD said it was one of the best things he's ever eaten. It was pretty great. Impossible to eat without splashing yourself in broth though. We had to alternate between eating with a spoon and a fork. It's worth it. :)