SLIDER

chocolate blackberry layer cake

19 Feb 2018



Last month I made 3 pots of blackberry jam but I'm not much of a jam eater so I needed to find a way to use up some of the jam. I gave a pot to my friend Jenny and whilst rifling through the pages of Ostro, I spied a photo of a chocolate layer cake with espresso frosting and blackberries and the deal was done.  



I used my own chocolate cake recipe and blackberry jam recipe but used the espresso frosting recipe from the book. I have a new wire cake cutter and used it to cut the cake into 3 fairly even layers.



I took the cake into work and it was demolished in record time. Here's the recipe for you which makes a 3 layer 18cm cake. For all my recipes, I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20ºC.

Chocolate Blackberry Layer Cake
Cake
1 cup plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate soda
¼ tsp baking powder
½ cup strong hot coffee
40g cocoa, sifted
125g room temperature unsalted butter, chopped
¾ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
⅓ cup buttermilk

Chocolate Espresso Icing
100g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
150g unsalted butter, softened
100 icing sugar sifted
1 tsp vanilla
30g cocoa, sifted
1 tbs strong coffee

To serve
⅓ cup blackberry jam
Fresh blackberries and chocolate curls

Method
Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 18cm tin with baking paper. Sift the flour with the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Mix the coffee and cocoa together in a small bowl to make a paste, then set aside to cool. Cream the butter and sugar together with the vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add the egg then mix the flour into the mixture alternating with the chocolate mixture and the buttermilk. You should be left with a creamy smooth chocolatey batter. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, smooth the top then place the tin onto the middle shelf of the preheated oven. Bake at 190° C for 1-1¼ hours or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out dry. Leave the cake to cool completely before turning out onto a wire rack. When cool slice horizontally into 3 even layers leaving the best layer for the top layer. While the cake is cooling, make the icing.

Icing
Place chocolate in a microwave safe glass bowl. Cook in 30 second bursts until the chocolate starts to melt. Stir until smooth and all the chocolate has melted. Set to one side to cool. Cream the butter, icing sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa, the chocolate and the strong coffee and beat for a further 3 minutes or until the icing is light and fluffy.

To assemble
Place one cake layer on a cake plate. Spread a layer of blackberry jam over the cake layer then top with ⅓ of the icing. Carefully place the second layer on the top and repeat the process. Top with the final layer and ice with the remaining chocolate icing. Top with the chocolate curls and blackberries and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature.



Here's the finished product bedecked with chocolate curls and blackberries. It does look very pretty if I say so myself.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen,

Jillian
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peach raspberry and ricotta crumble cake

12 Feb 2018



When I was home in Brisbane at Christmas I found a recipe in a magazine for a peach raspberry and ricotta crumble cake. As the cake recipe contained 3 of my favourite ingredients - peaches, raspberries and ricotta - I knew I had to make it. As soon as I was back home in Sydney I made the cake and it languished in the freezer waiting for my colleagues to return to work. A few weeks back I defrosted the cake and photographed it before taking it into work to share with my colleagues.



When making the cake I found the cake batter a bit dry compared to my usual fruit cake recipe so I added an additional egg and some extra milk to the batter. My cake also refused to brown so I baked it a bit longer than suggested hoping it would take on some more colour but it didn't really. I guess that's why you sprinkle the cake with icing sugar before serving.



Here's the recipe for you, adapted from a Gourmet Traveller recipe. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20ºC.



Peach Raspberry Ricotta Crumble Cake 

Ingredients
110g greek yoghurt
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup raw caster sugar
90g softened unsalted butter
15g almond meal
Finely grated zest 1 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
optional - 1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
3 small ripe peaches or nectarines, halved and thinly sliced
60g raspberries plus extra to serve
100g firm ricotta, crumbled
Icing sugar, sifted for dusting

Method

Grease and line the base and sides of an 18cm cake tin with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180°C (conventional). Place the yoghurt and bicarb soda in a large jug. Stir to combine then set aside to foam for 3 minutes.

Place the flour, sugar, butter, almond meal, lemon rind, vanilla, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a food processor and process until crumbly. Transfer 1/2 cup of the mixture to a separate bowl and set aside. Add the eggs and the yoghurt mixture to the food processor and pulse until smooth. If the batter seems a little thick add the milk. Spread half the mixture into the cake tin and scatter with half the peach slices, half the raspberries, half the ricotta and half the reserved crumb mixture. Spread the remaining cake mixture over and smooth the top. Top with the remaining fruit, ricotta and crumb mixture and bake until golden and an inserted skewer comes clean, about 1 - 1¼ hours (cover with foil if browning too quickly).




Cool in the tin for 15 minutes then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Just before serving, dust the cake with icing sugar. Serve extra raspberries on the side and a dollop of cream if desired.




The cake was well received at work and I already have plans to add a layer of ricotta and crumble to my much loved plum cake recipe.

See you all again soon.

Bye for now,

Jillian
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apple crumble slice

5 Feb 2018



I had dinner with friends during the Australia Day Long Weekend and as is customary, I brought along dessert. My friends' son dislikes overly sweet, creamy or chocolate flavoured desserts so I normally bring along something lemon flavoured or containing apple. I don't like to bring the same dessert twice if I can help it, so I had to come up with something new and in a hurry.




I decided to make an apple crumble slice inspired by a picture I saw online. I used the apple filling from the Country apple cake recipe which uses canned apple slices, with the addition of some sultanas I'd soaked in tea to plump them up. If you can't buy pie apple, you'll need to stew about 1 kilo of green cooking apples before making the recipe and you could toss the sultanas into the warm apple, avoiding the soaking process.The topping and crumble came from the lemon curd shortbread recipe found in the Cook and Baker cookbook. I put the slice together and baked it hoping the elements would work together. 




There was probably too much filling for the tin but I squeezed it all in any way. The filling amount would work perfectly in an 8 x 12 inch slice tin but you'd need to increase the shortbread mixture by 50%. 

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20ºC.

Apple Crumble Slice - makes 8 slices

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
pinch salt
150g caster sugar
185g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Apple Filling
800g tin pie apple
⅓ cup caster sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
¼ cup sultanas soaked in tea for 20 minutes, then drained
Icing sugar for dusting

Method
Tip: You can make both the dough and the apple filling in advance and keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Sift the flour with the salt and set to one side. In a large bowl cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in the flour to form a soft dough. Press just over half the mixture into the base of a 20cm x 20cm lightly greased tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until a light golden brown.

To make the apple filling, combine the pie apple, the sugar, the lemon rind and sultanas in a large bowl. Spoon the filling over the cooked base in an even layer. Sprinkle or grate the remaining mixture over the apples and cook in the oven for 35– 40 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool in the tin, dust with icing sugar and cut into slices to serve.




I cut it into 8 slices so I could take a few photos before driving across the bridge for dinner. Thankfully I did because the slice was devoured in record time. The ingredients may be simple but when baked, the slice was absolutely delicious. The base was buttery, the filling tart with lemon. It's not overly sweet so if you like sweet desserts you might want to increase the amount of sugar in the filling but I liked it just the way it was. I can't wait to make it again.



See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian
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Rhubarb and raspberry crostata

29 Jan 2018



I hope you all enjoyed the Australia Day Long Weekend. It gave me the chance to get into the kitchen to work on some new recipes for you. If you think you've seen a rhubarb raspberry crostata on the blog before, it's because you have. I made individual rhubarb and berry crostatas a few years ago but found the original pastry a bit too rich so I reworked the recipe using a different pastry and added frangipane to the filling. 




I love the idea of a crostata, which is just a free-form pie, but every time I make one the pastry splits and the filling leaks everywhere. This one was no different.




Despite all the problems I had with the pastry, the end result was so delicious I'm not giving up on crostatas. Pretty much anything looks good dusted in icing sugar!


Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams; I use unsalted butter and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Jillian’s Rhubarb and Raspberry Crostata - serves 8
Pastry
250g plain flour
¼ teaspoon salt
150g cold butter, diced
⅓ cup cold water

Filling
1 bunch (500g) rhubarb, rinsed, drained, trimmed
200 g frozen raspberries
¾ cup caster sugar
2 tbsp custard powder

Frangipane
50 g unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup (55g) caster sugar
1 tsp grated orange rind
75g almond meal
1 tbs plain flour
1 egg, beaten lightly

Topping
1-2 tbs milk
Raw sugar, Demerara or coffee crystals

To serve
Icing sugar
Double cream or ice-cream

Method
On a flat work surface, combine the flour and salt, then incorporate the cold diced butter with your fingers. Rub the butter into the flour until the butter pieces are no larger than the size of peas. Make a well in the centre of the flour, and pour in the cold water. Using your hands, mix the water into the flour until dough is formed. Flatten the pastry into a disc; wrap the dough in plastic and put in the refrigerator for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Chop the rhubarb into 5cm pieces and put into a bowl with the frozen raspberries, caster sugar and custard powder; toss to coat. To make the frangipane; place all the ingredients into a food processor then process all the ingredients to form a soft paste.

Lightly dust a large sheet of baking paper with flour and roll the pastry out to form a rough circle approximately 30cm in diameter. Transfer the pastry on the baking paper to a large oven tray. Spread the frangipane in the centre of the pastry, leaving an 8cm border. Top with the drained rhubarb mixture.  Lift the sides of the pastry up over the fruit and crimp in place. Brush the edges of the pastry with milk and lightly sprinkle with raw sugar or coffee crystals.



Bake on the lower shelf of the oven for 45-50 minutes or until crisp and golden. Dust with icing sugar and serve with double cream or ice-cream, if desired.



The combination of flaky pastry, the tartness of the berry and rhubarb filling offset by the frangipane made for a very delicious tart and they're still talking about it at work. Next time I make this I'm planning to make it as a lattice pie using the same pastry and the same filling.



See you all again soon with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian
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pannacotta lamington cake

22 Jan 2018



With Australia Day just around the corner I decided it was time to revisit the humble lamington, a bit of a tradition on the blog. In past years I've made lamingtons, lamington cupcakes, a lamington cake and pannacotta lamingtons. This year I decided to combine the pannacotta lamingtons with the lamington cake to make a pannacotta lamington cake. 



You make a butter cake. You halve the cake, then soak the cake halves in pannacotta, then when the pannacotta has set you sandwich the cakes together with raspberry jam, before coating the cake in chocolate. As a finishing touch you toss some coconut around the edges of the cake.




What could possibly go wrong? Everything! The cake didn't rise as much as it should and it wouldn't brown. The first batch of pannacotta curdled so I had to remake it. I ran out of home-made raspberry jam and had to scavenge through the pantry looking for another red jam (rhubarb and apple). When I found the packet of shredded coconut I knew I had in the cupboard, it had yellowed and I couldn't use it so I used flaked coconut instead of a 50:50 mix. Worse was to come.



I photographed the cake and cut myself a slice, which I have to say was delicious so I'm happy to share the recipe with you. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20ºC.

Lamington Cake – inspired by Flour and Stone.

Pannacotta
1 tablespoon cold water
1¼ teaspoons gelatine
½ cup full cream milk
Scant ¼ cup caster sugar
½ vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
1 cup buttermilk or cream

Butter Cake
125 grams (4 oz) unsalted butter
100 grams (½ cup) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1¾ cups self-raising flour, sifted
¼ cup plain flour
¾ cup milk or buttermilk

Chocolate glaze
150 gm dark chocolate (56%-60% cocoa solids), finely chopped
50 gm butter, diced
50 gm icing sugar, sieved
1-2 tbsp cream or milk

To finish
Raspberry jam, for spreading
50 gm coconut flakes or shredded coconut or a mix of both

Buttermilk Panna Cotta
Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatine over the water. Set aside until the gelatine has softened, 5 minutes. Place the milk, the sugar and the vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatine. Cool to room temperature, and then remove the vanilla bean from the milk mixture. Gradually whisk the milk into the cream or buttermilk and stir together gently. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a jug and leave to one side while you make the cake.

Cake
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease and line the base and sides of two 20cm round tins with baking paper. You’ll use one tin for baking the cake and the second one for the pannacotta soak

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until combined well. Sift the flours together into a small bowl. Add the flour alternately with the milk to make a soft batter. Spread the mixture into the prepared tin; smooth the surface and bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden and the cake springs back when lightly touched.

Cool in tin. When cool turn out the cake but don’t discard the baking paper. Trim the top flush if necessary and slice horizontally. Place the bottom half back into the cake tin still in the baking paper. Place the other half in the second lined cake tin. Pierce the cakes all over at small intervals with a skewer. Gradually pour the pannacotta mixture over cakes, letting the liquid soak in, and refrigerate until set (4-5 hours or overnight).

Glaze
Stir chocolate, butter and icing sugar in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and stir in milk. You can also melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave before adding the icing sugar and milk or cream. Cool briefly.


To assemble, remove the cakes from the tins. Place one cake half on a wire rack on a tray. Spread the bottom half with jam and sandwich together with the remaining half. Pour the chocolate glaze over cake, spreading over top and sides. Combine the flaked and shredded coconut in a bowl, press onto side of cake and refrigerate the cake until set (30-40 minutes).

To serve, cut into slices with a hot wet knife. The lamington cake will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.



I took the cake into work and as I transferred the cake from the cake carrier, it slid off the base and landed chocolate side down onto the floor. I could save the bottom layer but the top layer was destroyed so in the end I was the only one who managed to taste the complete cake. I do have plans to remake the cake some time in the future but for now I'm still a bit too traumatised.

Happy Australia Day!

See you all again next week.

Bye for now,

Jillian
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soft gingerbread tiles with lemon butter glaze

15 Jan 2018



When I returned to Sydney I bought a few items at the Boxing Day sales including these snowflake pie crust cutters. I doubt I'll ever use them to decorate pies but I thought they'd make great cookie cutters.



I couldn't wait to use them and I knew exactly what to make, the soft gingerbread tiles with lemon butter glaze from Sweet by Ottolenghi and Helen Goh.




I made a few adaptations to the original recipe. I don't like the taste of molasses and didn't have any treacle in the house, so I used golden syrup instead. To save time I threw everything into the food processor and found I didn't need to use the full quantity of golden syrup. When I made the glaze I went down the non-alcoholic route and used lemon juice rather than rum.



The original recipe said it would make 12-14 biscuits depending on the size of the cookie stamp but I made about 30 cookies. I was a bit generous with the glaze so I ran out, so if you use small cutters like I did, you might need to make a little more glaze. 



Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams; I use unsalted butter and my oven is a conventional gas oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Soft Gingerbread Tiles with Lemon Butter Glaze - makes 30 small cookies
Soft Gingerbread 
235g plain flour
1 tbs dutch process cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
 tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp salt
85g unsalted butter at room temperature
90g brown sugar
75-100g golden syrup
1 large egg yolk

Rum or Lemon Butter Glaze
80g icing sugar
⅛ tsp cinnamon
15g unsalted butter, melted and warm
15 mls dark rum (or lemon juice)
1 teaspoon warm water

Method
Place the dry ingredients into a food processor and whiz for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and sugar and whiz until soft breadcrumbs form. Add the egg yolk and the golden syrup and whiz until the mix comes together. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently.If the dough is soft you may need to chill the dough before rolling out.

Preheat oven 190ºC. Line two baking trays with baking parchment and set aside. Roll out the dough so it’s 6mm thick Dip the cookie stamps in a small bowl of flour, shake off any excess and then press them firmly into the dough, one at a time, to create a deep imprint. Using a round biscuit cutter that is slightly larger than the pattern, cut out the pieces of imprinted gingerbread.

Transfer the cookies to the lined baking trays about 1-inch apart. Re-roll the dough and continue to stamp and cut until all the dough is used up. Bake for 9-10 mins, rotating the trays halfway through, until firm to the touch. Don’t be tempted to cook any longer as the gingerbread will continue to firm as they cool.

While the biscuits are in the oven, prepare the glaze as it needs to be brushed on while they are still warm. Sift the icing sugar and cinnamon into a bowl. Add the melted butter, rum (or lemon juice) and water and mix with a spoon until smooth. The glaze will thicken slightly if it sits around, so stir through a little more warm water if you need to – it should be the consistency of runny honey.

Remove the biscuits from the oven, leave to rest for 5 mins, then brush or dab the glaze all over with a pastry brush. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Biscuits will keep for up to five days in an airtight container.



Like all Ottolenghi recipes, this one worked like a dream and the gingerbread was packed with flavour.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian
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