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Monday, April 21, 2014

Surprise-Inside Bunny Cake



I was gifted this surprise-inside cakes by Amanda Rettke book , who you can find at I am Baker.
And what an extraordinary baker Amanda is - page after page of creative exciting delicious cakes.



For my first attempt I decided to try the bunny cake for Easter.
I probably should not have started on a 'challenging' cake, and you are allowed to laugh out loud at my attempt, but I can assure you it was lots of fun.
I have discovered that I love baking cakes, then cutting them out, then sticking them together and covering them with delicious buttercream!


The process is baking the cakes.


Cutting out the shape for the nose.


Using buttercream and crumbled cake to create the eyes.


Then assembling your cake.


Next piping on some fluffy bunny fur, this would have been much easier if my piping bag didn't break!
Making some cute bunny ears with melted white chocolate, and a sprinkle of milo.


Hehe, a bit wonky but still kinda cute and my kids loved him. 
If you want to see what he was meant to look like you can see one here at I am Baker.

This is definitely one book I am excited to have and I am looking forward to some more fun creations.
Thank you to Harper Collins and Amanda for this kind gift.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sourdough Hot Cross Buns


Sometimes you meet someone and you instantly feel comfortable, and realise you share a passion. 
I totally felt this way when I met Graham Prichard at the Cake Bake and Sweets Show.
As you can probably tell, I am obsessed with sourdough, a bread making journey that I love, and it was a very special experience to learn even a little from Graham.


Graham shared a recipe for sourdough Hot Cross Buns, and a wealth of knowledge in all things sourdough.


So of course I baked sourdough Hot Cross Buns, which I adapted to my own recipe, something I am learning to do more and more with sourdough. 
Your own starter is quite unique and you learn to work with it.


I combined my ingredients of milk, flour (combination of white and wholewheat), starter, sugar (rapadura), salt, and cinnamon into a rough dough.


The butter and dried fruit which I soaked in sherry were then kneaded in.


After a few more resting times and gentle kneading the dough was divided into nine, shaped into buns and put in a square cake tin.


I left the buns in the fridge overnight.


The next day I brought them back to room temperature and then added crosses and baked them.


While still hot they were brushed with a honey glaze.



Served with some butter, they were packed with flavour and were lighter then I expected, just beautiful.

Especially with some Easter craft in the background!




The Cake Bake and Sweets Show overall was quite enjoyable, plenty of workshops and personalties to see, as well as stands which mostly had some very impressive cake decorating. 






Sourdough Hot Cross Buns
Inspired by Graham Prichard

150g white bakers flour
60g whole wheat flour
110g milk
110g starter
30g rapadura sugar
2.5g salt 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
30g butter
70g dried fruit (soaked for a couple of hours in a little sherry)
extra flour and water for the crosses
1 tsp honey and 1 tsp hot water combined for the glaze

Combine the flours, milk, starter, sugar, salt and cinnamon until a rough dough is formed.
Combine fruit (including any soaking liquid) and softened butter and knead into the dough.
Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Knead for two minutes and rest for another 15 minutes.
Knead again and leave for 30 minutes.
Fold the dough over itself in both directions, the dough should be soft and smooth, and leave in a greased bowl covered with cling wrap for a couple of hours.
Divide into 9 pieces, shape into buns and place in a square cake tin.
Leave covered with cling wrap in the fridge overnight.
Place on the bench for 2-4 hours (depends on how cold your kitchen is!).
Combine 2 tablespoons flour with a little water and a dribble of oil until you get a nice consistency and pipe crosses on the buns.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 25 minutes.
Brush with the honey glaze while still hot.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ginger custard and cinnamon plum spelt sourdough layered cake - Cake, Bake and Sweets Show


I was given The Handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard for Christmas and have not stopped baking, it is full of inspired recipes.
When I heard Dan was coming to the Cake, Bake and Sweets Show in Sydney I was stoked for the chance to be able to see him in action.
And was very pleased to be asked by the show if I would like to let everyone know that it was coming to town very soon!


So this creation of mine was inspired by Dan Lepard's recipe for apple custard layer cake, same concept, different cake.


I decided to use my sourdough starter on its own (without the addition of yeast), and I sweetened it with honey alone. They were combined with egg and milk.


I used half white bakers flour and half whole spelt flour, and some salt flakes.


They were combined to make a rough dough.


Slices of softened butter were then rolled into the dough and then kneaded two minutes on two minutes off until it was smooth.


The dough was left in the fridge overnight.


The plums were combined with rapadura and cinnamon.


I made a custard infusing the milk with fresh ginger slices.


The dough was divided into three and flattened into discs.


The dough discs were layered with the custard and plums.


After two hours the cake was baked.


The combination of flavoursome cake with the tangy plums and gingery custard was so good!


Served with some yoghurt, yum.


Layers of sourdough cake, ginger custard and cinnamon plums.
I think Dan would be most happy with my adaption to his recipe!


The Cake, Bake and Sweets Show sounds amazing, I'm really looking forward to it.
It is on in less then two weeks, maybe I will see you there?


Ginger Custard and Cinnamon Plum 
Spelt Sourdough Layered Cake
(recipe adapted from Apple and Custard Layer Cake in The Handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard)

Honey dough
160g sourdough starter
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
150g white bakers flour
150g whole spelt flour
1/2 tsp salt flakes
75g sliced butter, softened

Mix together starter, honey, egg and milk.
Combine the flours and salt then add in the wet mix until you get a rough dough.
Leave for 10 minutes.
Flatten out and top with sliced butter, roll up dough then knead two minutes on two minutes off about 5 times until the dough is smooth.
Place in an oiled bowl covered with cling wrap in the fridge overnight.
When ready to use cut the dough into thirds and flatten into 23 cm discs.

Ginger Custard
200ml milk
3 slices fresh ginger
1/3 cup rapadura sugar
1 egg
2 tsp cornflour

Heat 200ml milk in small saucepan with ginger until just before boiling.
Leave to infuse for 5 minutes then remove the ginger.
Whisk rapadura, egg and cornflour together, then slowly whisk in the milk.
Return to saucepan over low heat stirring until it is thick. 
Transfer to a bowl to cool for 10 minutes.

Cinnamon Plums
1 dozen plums
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp rapadura sugar

Cut plums into sixths removing seeds.
Combine with cinnamon and sugar.

Cake
Preheat oven to 180 celcius.
Line a 23cm tin with baking paper.
Layer the disc of dough topped with 1/3 of the custard and 1/3 of the plums.
Repeat so there are three layers.
Leave at room temperature for 2 hours.
Sprinkle over a little rapadura and bake for 50 minutes 
(if it is browning too quickly cover with some foil).
Leave for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.
Allow to cool or eat when still warm.
Delicious with some natural yoghurt.





Thursday, February 20, 2014

Braised Beef Short Ribs - Mexican Fiesta SBS


This recipe for Braised Short Ribs by Peter Kuruvita from his new show Mexican Fiesta on SBS is a keeper.
I love learning new cuisines and mexican is one I have not cooked so much.
After watching the first episode I was straight on to sourcing ancho chilli and mexican oregano and well I may have ordered quite alot!


The recipe itself is really simple but I do think the key to its flavour is sourcing those key ingredients. 


The seasoned beef ribs are browned and then everything else added - ancho chilli, tomatoes, onion, garlic, piloncillo (mexican sugar), mexican oregano (the fragrance of true mexican oregano is unbelievable), lime (recipe says cumquats but not available now) and stock.


The pot was brought to the boil and I put it in the oven for about 4 hours, Peter uses a pressure cooker.


I also had a go at making blue tortillas, they had amazing flavour but sadly my tortilla making skills are not great, I think I may buy one of those tortilla press things. 
The flour is from mexico made from blue corn.


What an awesome meal. the braised beef ribs were melt in your mouth and the flavours were like none other, absolutely delicious. 
Served with pickled red onion, pico de gallo  (a combination of onion, tomato, coriander and lime), blue tortillas and sweet potato fries seasoned with chipotle.


It was so worth it.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Chai crepes with fresh figs and strawberries


We enjoyed these beauties on a recent camping holiday. 
When travelling I love discovering the fresh local produce from the farms.
So much goodness - these figs and strawberries, as well as blueberries and oysters, just to name a few.


I absolutely love chai and decided to substitute it for milk in my classic crepe recipe, worked a treat.


I actually bought this Sticky Chai (from Three Ropes in Parramatta) as my secret santa present for the food bloggers picnic but forgot to take it, let me tell you it has not gone to waste.
The chai is simmered with some water and honey before adding milk (we use soy) and letting cook for a few more minutes, let cool and strain.


The crepe mix consists of flour, chai, egg and melted butter.
Cook in a pan on medium hot heat for a couple of minutes each side.


Served with fresh fruit and drizzled with honey, no reason you can't enjoy fantastic food when your camping.



Chai crepes
1 cup plain flour (whole spelt is delicious)
1 1/2 cup cooled chai tea 
1 egg
1 tablespoon melted butter 

Whisk everything together to make a smooth butter, it should be quite runny, if too thick add extra chai.
Heat a pan to medium hot, add a little butter (just for the first one).
Add about 1/4 to 1/3 of batter and swirl so it covers most of the pan.
Cook for a couple of minutes each side.