Tuesday, 26 January 2016

chiffington, that lamington/chiffon love child




I've been contemplating iconic Australian desserts, it's not a long list, pavlova and the lamington, even one of those is contentious. It's Australia Day this week, a public holiday, and an excellent excuse for baking. 

Chiffon cake is one of my favourite things, no surprise, and the only cake my family agree on; so in honour of Australia Day, I've created a chiffon cake with lamington flavours. A light chocolatey sponge, filled with fresh raspberries, whipped cream and raspberry jam, coated in creamy raspberry frosting and showered with coconut. An inside out lamington that looks a bit like a giant iced vovo, another Australian classic. 

It's indulgent, but so is a public holiday so close to Christmas and New Year :) If splitting and filling the cake is a step too far, just go with the frosting, or even slices of the naked cake, spread with jam and heaped with cream. Happy Australia Day x

chocolate chiffon cake

225g cake flour

25g cocoa powder
10g baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt
250g caster sugar
180 ml cooled, weak black coffee
125 ml canola oil
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped or 1 tsp vanilla paste
6 eggs, separated
1 extra egg white
1/2 tsp cream of tatar (not essential, but will stabilise the egg whites)
50g caster sugar

raspberry jam, recipe below

300ml thickened cream, whipped to medium peaks
2 punnets raspberries
raspberry swiss meringue buttercream, recipe below
100g shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened, whatever you prefer
50g flaked coconut

serves 16

 preheat your oven to 170ºC

• combine the cake flour, cocoa, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt, sift into a the bowl of a stand mixer, if you have one, and with the paddle attachment mix through the 250g caster sugar 
• make a well in the centre of your flour mixture, add the cooled coffee, egg yolks, oil and vanilla extract, mix until smooth
• in another, really large bowl whisk the 7 egg whites until foamy, add the cream of tartar then mix until you have soft peaks, gradually add the additional 50g caster sugar, whisking until you have firm peaks and the sugar has dissolved
• fold the egg whites into the batter in three stages
• pour the batter into an ungreased, unlined angel food cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes; check after 55 minutes, the cake should spring back when gently pressed, if not, put it back in for the extra 5 minutes
• remove the cake from the oven, and immediately invert to cool; if your tin doesn't have "feet" balance the upturned tin over a bottle, guiding the neck of the bottle through the centre tube of your pan
• when completely cool, to release the cake, run a sharp knife around the inside and tube sections of the cake tin, remove the cake leaving it sitting on the centre section of the tin; this next stage is tricky, slide a strong thread, I use dental floss, between the base of the cake and the tin, slide the string all the way around the cake, crossing each end around the tube. Invert the cake onto a chopping board, you should have a super flat, neat finish on the top of your cake 
• using a long serrated knife, slice the cake in half horizontally, carefully lift the top section and place to one side
• tip 1/2 cup of raspberry jam into a small pan, heat gently, push through a fine sieve to remove the seeds, set aside to cool
• once cool, spread a layer of jam on the bottom half of the cake, leaving about 1cm margin on the outside and inside edges
• put around 2/3 cup of raspberry buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a plain 10mm tip; pipe a ring of buttercream on the margins you left on the outside and inside edges of the cake, creating a channel 
• scatter some raspberries in the channel and top with whipped cream, staying within the channel; keep left over raspberries and cream to serve with the cake
• carefully lift the top layer of cake, replacing it on the base layer; if your horizontal cut is a dodgy as mine, line the top layer to match any dips and swails on the base layer :) put the cake in fridge for 10 minutes or so to firm up
• place your chilled cake on a turntable if you have one, step one is the crumb coat, it uses a super thin coating of frosting to glue any loose crumbs to the cake
• starting from the top and working your way down the sides and into the hole through the centre of your cake, use an offset pallet knife to spread a layer of buttercream over your cake;  using the edge of your pallet knife or a cake scraper, gently scrape back as much of the frosting as you can leaving a super thin crumb filled layer behind
• return the cake to the fridge for at least 15 mins to set the crumb coat
• again with the offset pallet knife, cover your cake with a final thicker layer of frosting 

• keeping back around a heaped tablespoon of flaked coconut for a final flourish, combine the rest of the flaked coconut with the shredded coconut
• take small handfuls of coconut mix and gently press against the sides of the cake to coat, sprinkle over the top, adding a final scattering of coconut flakes
• slice giant slabs of cake with a serrated knife, serve with raspberries and cream and enjoy
• the cake will keep covered in the fridge for 3 days, perfect for night time raids, very Nigella ;)




quick raspberry jam

500g raspberries, fresh or frozen
75g caster sugar
zest and juice of 1 small lemon

• tip all ingredients into a small pan, set aside for 15 min, the sugar and juice will begin to soften the berries
• bring to the boil over medium heat, turn the heat to low and leave to gently bubble for 15 minutes, the jam will thicken and the berries will begin to break down
• remove from the heat and pour into a clean jar, put the lid on and store in the fridge until you are ready to use (dishwasher clean will be fine, no need to sterilise as you should use all the jam for this recipe; if you double recipe, make it more than a day in advance or plan to store any left overs, best use a sterilised jar, there are many ways to sterilise jam jars and plenty of guides on the web, click here for an example)




raspberry swiss meringue buttercream

3 large egg whites
180g caster sugar
230g butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature

1/2 cup raspberry jam, warmed and strained to remove seeds
pinch salt
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

• combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, place over a pan of simmering water, don't let the pan touch the water; whisk constantly until the temperature reaches 72ºC 

• return the bowl to the stand mixer and whisk on medium high until the mixture cools, has doubled in size and forms stiff peaks
• change to the paddle attachment and add the butter a piece at a time, mix to incorporate each piece before adding the next; the mixture may look alarmingly curdled at times but keep mixing and it will magically come back together
• once all the butter is in, add the salt and vanilla seeds, mixing on slow until combined, finally add the cooled strained jam, again mixing slowly to combine

• the frosting should be firm enough to scoop, if it's too soft, put it in the fridge to firm up, checking in 5 minute intervals until it is ready
• buttercream will keep for a week in an air tight container in the fridge, allow to soften at room temperature before use



Wednesday, 9 December 2015

vanilla yoghurt panna cotta


Need a simple, refreshing summer dessert? This could be the one! Yoghurt panna cotta has all the smooth decadence of regular panna cotta, but with half the cream switched for natural yoghurt there's a lightness and slight tang. I've been making it heaps, it's most popular in our house for brunch, with lots of summer fruit and crunchy granola.




I have a thing for little bowls and cups and like to serve my panna cotta in a mismatched collection, it allows me to cut back on the gelatine so it's only just set and melts as soon as it hits your tongue. They do look really impressive turned out onto a plate, if you like that little added stress, up the degree of difficulty and add an extra half sheet of gelatine :)



yoghurt panna cotta

2 sheets gold strength gelatine
150 ml thickened cream
150ml milk
80g caster sugar *
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
200ml pot set yoghurt

• place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of iced water, set aside
• tip the milk, cream, sugar and the half vanilla bean plus seeds into a medium saucepan, bring to a simmer over a gentle heat, take off the heat and set aside
• take the gelatine leaves out of the bowl and squeeze gently to remove the excess water; add to the pan and stir until dissolved, strain through a sieve into a bowl
• add the yoghurt, and using a whisk, stir until combined
• pour into your serving bowls, take care not to splash the sides, cover and pop in the fridge for 4 hours, or until set
• serve chilled with fresh fruit; if you want to turn the panna cotta out, dip the bowl into hot water for a couple of seconds, place your serving plate over the panna cotta in its bowl, quickly turn over, give the bowl a gently tap, and your panna cotta should slip out onto the plate - if this fails, run a sharp knife around the edge of the panna cotta and try again

serves 4-6 (if you want to be precise... measure 125ml panna cotta mix per person to serve 4, 100ml to serve 5, and 80ml for 6 with a bonus spoonful for the chef)

* you can replace the sugar with 10 sachets of Equal Next for a lower kj version




Saturday, 14 November 2015

layered citrus chiffon cake



ermahgerd it's nearly Christmas *takes deep breaths and reaches for the vodka*


This is the cake. The cake I only bust out for those special occasions; our family Christmas dinner last year, the instagram Christmas gathering at Emma's, a Cookrepublic workshop back in September. After the workshop Sneh posted the most beautiful image of the cake over on instagram and I've had so many requests for the recipe since. I wasn't planning to make it again for a while, but Sneh sent over some of her images for me to share, so here it is. 


Thank you so much Sneh, the photos are just gorgeous; most are from the workshop, just the first from the Christmas gathering. In all images the cake and tables were styled by Emma, she has mad skills.












Now the cake, it's a bit of a performance; the ingredients are expensive, it uses a tonne of eggs, and makes an unholy mess in the kitchen, but it's totally worth it, and when raspberries are in season it really sings...


citrus chiffon cake

6 eggs, separated
1 extra egg white
225g plain cake flour (if you can't find cake flour substitute with regular plain flour)
250g caster sugar
50g extra caster sugar
1tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
zest of one lemon, grated super finely
180ml freshly juiced orange juice
120ml canola oil, or similar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (not essential, but will stabilise the egg whites)

mascarpone filling, recipe below
yuzu curd, recipe below
2 punnets raspberries

serves 16

 preheat your oven to 170ºC

• combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt, sift into a the bowl of a stand mixer, if you have one, and with the paddle attachment mix through the 250g caster sugar and lemon zest
• make a well in the centre of your flour mixture, add the orange juice, egg yolks, oil and vanilla extract, mix until smooth
• in another, really large bowl whisk the 7 egg whites until foamy, add the cream of tartar then mix until you have soft peaks, gradually add the additional 50g caster sugar, whisking until you have firm peaks and the sugar has dissolved
• fold the egg whites into the batter in three stages
• divide the batter equally between 3 ungreasedunlined 20cm springform cake tins and bake for 30 minutes
• remove the cakes from the oven, and leaving them in the tins, immediately invert onto racks to cool;  expect the cakes to sink slightly in the centre as they cool, they'll form prefect shallow bowls to load with the filling :)
• when completely cool, to release the cakes, run a sharp knife around the inside of the cake tin, remove the outer ring leaving the cake sitting on the base of the tin. This next stage is a little tricky, slide a strong thread, I use dental floss, between the base of the cake and the tin, slide all the way through, pressing the thread against the base as you go, invert the cakes onto a flat surface and you're ready to assemble
• keep the neatest, most even cake for the top layer, place another layer, flat side down on your serving plate/cake stand and top with a thick layer of mascarpone cream, drop dessert spoons full of yuzu curd on top of the cream and swirl together, scatter with one punnet of raspberries. Repeat with the next layer, finishing with the final cake layer, flat side facing up
• you could simply dust the cake with icing sugar, or decorate as you like; I love Emma's floral creations, just watch out for poisonous flowers and foliage, and any that have been treated with chemicals
• slice giant slabs of cake with a serrated knife and enjoy
• the cake will keep covered in the fridge for 4 days, it doesn't make it past 3 in our house...

mascarpone filling

500g mascarpone
300ml cream

• tip the mascarpone into a mixing bowl, using the paddle attachment beat for 10 seconds or so, until smooth, add the cream, mix until smooth, thick and creamy
• store in the fridge until ready to use

yuzu curd

2 eggs 

2 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
80g cold butter
70ml yuzu juice (replace with any citrus juice if you can't source yuzu)

• whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar together then tip into a small pan with the yuzu juice and butter

• heat gently, stirring constantly, until the butter has melted and the mixture has thickened (enough to coat the back of a spoon)
• strain the curd through a sieve into a sterilised jar, cover the top with cling wrap as it cools to prevent a skin forming
• seal the jar and store in the fridge for up to two weeks



Monday, 26 October 2015

berries and cream chocolate cake







































I made this cake one afternoon when my mother in law was coming over for afternoon tea. I don't usually go cake crazy on a Sunday afternoon, but she was about to go overseas for a couple of weeks so it seemed justified, and you know, cake... I posted a photo over on instagram and have had lots of requests for the recipe, thank you! It's basically this cake minus the hazelnuts, smothered in cream and topped with berries. Enjoy, with or without your mother in law :)

chocolate almond sponge

165g plain flour

25g cocoa powder
50g ground almonds(almond meal)
80g butter  
7 jumbo, or 8 large, eggs at room temperature
200g sugar
2 punnets of berries

• preheat oven to 160ºC, butter and flour two 20cm cake tins

• melt the butter in a small pan over a gentle heat, allow to cool (feel free to use the microwave, if a small child hasn't set fire to it attempting to pop corn or defrost a muffin, we don't have a great track record with microwaves...)
• tip flour, cocoa powder and ground almonds into a food processor, blitz for 30 seconds then repeat
• sieve the mixture over a large bowl, if there is more than a teaspoon of nut rubble left in your sieve, repeat the processing stage, sieve your nut/flour/cocoa mix twice more
• using an electric mixer, preferably a stand mixer this takes a while, whisk the eggs and sugar until pale and thick, it will take 6 to 8 minutes...
• sift a third of the flour mix over the eggs/sugar, fold in gently using a metal spoon; repeat twice more with the remaining flour then gently fold in the melted butter, make sure to lift the mixture from the bottom of the bowl as the butter will pool there
• divide your mix evenly between the tins, bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes, when cooked the cake will have shrunk away from the side of the tin, the centre will spring back when gently pressed
• gently run a knife around the inside of the tins and turn the cakes onto a cooling rack




ganache filling

175g dark chocolate

125ml cream

• finely chop the chocolate, put into a small heatproof bowl

• heat the cream in a small pan until just simmering, simmer for 1 minute then pour over the chocolate, do not stir, let stand for 5 minutes
• stir cream and chocolate until smooth and glossy
• cool at room temperature until it is thick enough to hold its shape, think smooth peanut butter; you can put it in the fridge to speed the process up, but the ganache will lose some of its gloss

cream filling

500ml whipping cream
200g mascarpone
2 tbsp caster sugar
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
40ml ameretto, optional

 combine the ingredients in a bowl and whip together until soft and pillowy

to construct the cake

• choose the neatest cake, keep this for the top layer
• place the bottom cake layer on a turntable if you have one, not essential but will make the job  easier, spread with a thick layer of ganache and top with a layer of berries
• spoon roughly 1/3 cream filling onto the centre of your cake, gently spread outwards, stopping just short of the edge; when you add your top layer it will squish the cream to the edge
• gently top with the other layer, bottom side up
• put the cake into the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up, this will make it easier to frost
scoop half the remaining cream filling onto the top of your cake, and using an offset pallet knife (again not essential but easier) spread the cream to the edge of the cake, pushing it slightly over the edge
• using the left over cream and the cream that you pushed over from the top, coat the sides of the cake, then use the edge of your pallet knife or a scraper to remove the excess cream, hopefully leaving a neat edge
• there will be a small rim of frosting that sticks up over the top of your cake, again using a pallet knife (such a nifty tool) gently drag the frosting towards the centre of the cake
• decorate with the remaining berries, serve straight away or pop into the fridge, take it out about half an hour before you plan to eat it


I really wasn't planning to blog this when I took the photos, apologies for all the lines and crazy angles, hope they don't hurt your head ;)



Tuesday, 20 October 2015

coffee glazed walnut browned butter madeleines



My madeleine fixation continues unabated, it's hopeless to resist. Back in July I created some recipes for Moccona, although I'm not a coffee drinker I love to use it when I'm baking, particularly with chocolate, or here, with nuts. These walnut browned butter madeleines didn't make the shoot but they've been on my mind since.


walnut browned butter madeleines

15g melted butter, for greasing the tray
1 tbsp flour, for flouring the tray
155g caster sugar
155g butter
80g flour
80g walnuts
3 jumbo eggs (approx 200g)
1 tbsp nut liqueur, optional, I used Nocello


melt the butter over a gentle heat, keep heating until the butter turns golden brown, and smells gorgeously nutty with hints of caramel, remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and set aside to cool
• put the walnuts and flour into a food processor and blitz until the nuts are finely ground, set aside
• put the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer if you have one, if not use a hand held electric mixer, add the sugar and whip until super pale and thick
• gently fold the walnut flour through the egg mixture
• add the liqueur and melted butter, fold until combined
• cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate for somewhere between 2 hours and overnight
• when you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180ºC
• generously butter your madeleine tray, dust with flour, turn upside down and tap on your bench to remove the excess
• using a piping bag, pipe the batter into the tray, filling each shell 3/4 full, if you don't have a piping bag use a couple of spoons
• bake in the centre of your oven for 15 minutes, the madeleines are cooked when their edges are golden brown and crisp, and spring back when lightly pressed in the centre
• madeleines are best eaten when just barely warm
• makes 18 regular sized madeleines










for something a little fancier...

dip the madeleines in coffee glaze, press into chopped roasted walnuts and leave on a cooling rack to set - so pretty and delicious if you can resist eating them all while they're still warm :)

coffee glaze

150g icing sugar, sifted to remove lumps
2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 60 ml boiling water

• tip the icing sugar into a small heatproof bowl, add the cot coffee and stir until smooth
• put the bowl over a pan of simmering water, stir for a couple of minutes until the icing has loosened and is glossy
• use straight away as the glaze sets really quickly

roasted walnuts

50g walnuts

• preheat the oven to 150ºC
• tip the nuts onto a baking tray, roast in the centre of the oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant
• allow to cool and store in an airtight container until ready to use, will keep for at least a week (our house in Sydney has no air-conditioning and can be pretty hot, I keep all my whole nuts in the fridge and ground nuts in the freezer)



Friday, 2 October 2015

blood orange chiffon cake




We're into spring, hurray, but winter's blood oranges are still fantastic so why not juice a few and turn them into cake?

blood orange chiffon cake


6 eggs, separated

1 extra egg white
225g plain cake flour (if you can't find cake flour substitute with regular plain flour)
250g caster sugar
50g extra caster sugar
1tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
zest of one blood orange, grated super finely
180ml freshly juiced blood orange juice
120ml canola oil, or similar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (not essential, but will stabilise the egg whites)

 preheat your oven to 170ºC

• combine the cake flour, baking powder and salt, sift into a the bowl of a stand mixer, if you have one, and with the paddle attachment mix through the 250g caster sugar and orange zest
• make a well in the centre of your flour combo, add the blood orange juice, egg yolks, oil and vanilla extract, mix until smooth
• in another, really large bowl whisk the 7 egg whites until foamy, add the cream of tartar then mix until you have soft peaks, gradually add the additional 50g caster sugar, whisking until you have firm peaks and the sugar has dissolved
• fold the egg whites into the batter in three stages
• pour the batter into an ungreasedunlined angel food cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes
• remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert to cool, if your tin doesn't have "feet" balance the upturned tin over a bottle, guiding the neck of the bottle through the centre tube of your pan
• when completely cool, to release the cake, run a sharp knife around the inside and tube sections of the cake tin, remove the cake still sitting on the centre section of the tin; this next stage is a little tricky, slide a strong thread, I use dental floss, between the base of the cake and the tin, go all the way around, crossing each end of the thread around the tube, invert the cake onto your serving plate and you should have a super flat, neat finish on the top of your cake 
• you could simply dust the cake with icing sugar, it will be delicious, or go all out and frost with buttercream 
• slice giant slabs of cake with a serrated knife and enjoy!
• unfrosted the cake will keep in an airtight container for 3 days at room temperature or up to a week in the fridge; the frosted cake should be kept in the fridge and will be good for a week, allow it to come to room temperature before serving




vanilla swiss meringue buttercream

3 large egg whites

180g caster sugar
230g butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
pinch salt
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

• combine the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, place over a pan of simmering water, don't let the pan touch the water; whisk constantly until the temperature reaches 72ºC (beware the perils of simultaneous mixing and temperature measuring...)

• return the bowl to the stand mixer and whisk on medium high until the mixture cools, has doubled in size and forms stiff peaks
• change to the paddle attachment and add the butter a piece at a time, mix to incorporate each piece before adding the next; the mixture may look alarmingly curdled at times but keep mixing and it will magically come back together
• once all the butter is in, add the salt and vanilla seeds, mixing on slow until combined


to frost your cake...

Chiffon cakes are beautifully delicate, so soft and pillowy, that's why I love them, it does, however, make them kinda tricky to frost. If crumbs drive you crazy maybe just dust with icing sugar or opt for the drizzle. If the fully frosted cake is what you're after let's go...

• clear a space in the fridge and chill your cake for half an hour or so
• place your chilled cake on a turntable if you have one, step one is the crumb coat, it uses a super thin coating of frosting to glue any loose crumbs to the cake
• starting from the top and working your way down the sides and into the hole through the centre of your cake, use an offset pallet knife to spread a layer of buttercream over your cake;  using the edge of your pallet knife or a cake scraper, gently scrape back as much of the frosting as you can leaving a super thin crumb filled layer behind
• return the cake to the fridge for at least 15 mins to set the crumb coat
• again with the offset pallet knife, cover your cake with a final thicker layer of frosting, now you are ready to decorate

I went a bit crazy and mixed bay leaves and orange blossom from a friend's garden with oven candied blood orange slices, thanks Deb :) Fresh orange slices or a mound of zested orange strips would look great, flowers would be beautiful, a sprinkle of coconut flakes, so many possibilities!!

There are loads of online tutorials and cake frosting videos, if you not sure about this whole frosting crumb coat business have a quick search and check them out :)