Baking|Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake – Sweet & savoury for Daring Bakers

“There is so much power in food”
@pennydelosantos on Twitter

Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake -sweet & savouryTime for our monthly date with the Daring Bakers. March has been a month that has crawled on a sad note with the natural calamity in Japan causing heartbreak. If an earthquake wasn’t bad enough, the tsunami that followed completely shattered the nation, and the world that watched in shock. Japan has withstood this catastrophe bravely and strongly, the Fukushima 50 continuing to risk radiation exposure in an attempt to secure the nuclear plant. The situation in the prefecture continues to pose serious challenges and the world watches in HOPE while the brave ‘Samurai soldiers’ battle on…Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake - sweet

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake - savouryI made the yeasted meringue coffee cake 2 days after the natural calamity, and Japan was the only thing on my mind the whole time. The unfairness of the scale, the rush of tsunami waters with natures fury tossing cars, ships, trucks like little toys still does not leave me. Now a radiation spike in sea waters near the tsunami stricken nuclear power stationno answers to why the nation has had to suffer so much. Yet the people manage to stay calm, composed and ever so strong. I admire their resilience and strength!Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake -sweet & savoury I gratefully thanked the Daring Kitchen that day; doing the challenge offered some amount of therapeutic relief. While waiting for the dough to rise, my mind wandered to troubles in Japan yet again, the news channels rolling and re-rolling videos that were coming in. It’s very frightening and surreal to see a HUGE ship floating into a city and cars trying to escape the horror in their path. Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake -painted doughWhat could I do with this challenge to give it a shade of creativity? I remembered a post that Michelle had posted on Big Black Dogs about ‘Painted Bread’. It was a beautiful post taking a trip down memory lane to a bakery she visited as a child in Akron and attempted to recreate her memories in her post. You must check out her post and tutorial to learn how dough can be sculpted into roses.Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake - sweetI couldn’t get onto her blog since the internet cables had been severed the previous evening {that’s been the bane of my life the past months though I do manage to get some work done from my Mum’s computer}, so I did what I could from memory. On the sweet yeasted coffee cake rests a single rose, and on the savoury version rests HOPE … both my cakes for Japan. The rose, particularly the leaves, got coloured a golden brown as I used light pastels in the egg wash and the heat of the oven browned the bread more than I would have liked.Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake - savouryWhile the sweet version was baking, I sculpted out ‘HOPE‘ for the savoury version, giving it a postbox red colour-wash in the hope that it would fare better. It did. It was a fun challenge as I knew it would be. The recipe soure carried that promise… Jamie found this recipe on a piece of yellowed paper in her dad’s collection of clipped out and hand-written recipes from the 1970’s, no source, no date, and she tried the recipe and it was brilliant!Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake - sweetThe sweet version got a huge thumbs up from the teen. It was wonderful warm with loads of flavour and a very light crumb. I think I rolled the dough too thin as I didn’t get the airy texture that Jamie had, but it was delish all the same.Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake - savouryThe lad preferred the cheesy savoury version, much like a pizza he exclaimed, and asked for seconds and thirds. I preferred the savoury version too as I don’t have a very sweet tooth and the oven roasted tomatoes with garlic and fresh herbs were delicious.Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake -sweet & savouryThe past few weeks have crawled on a low note, on the home front and on the internet front too. I managed to read just a handful of blogs this week and find that a lot of us are caught in the rigmaroles of everyday life, facing daily challenges, ups and downs etc … yet in many ways these pale in comparison to the HUGE challenge that the people of Japan face each passing day. Do join me in extending a special thought for them.Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake -sweet & savoury

Thank you Jamie & Ria for the fun and delicious challenge, and thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!! Do stop by HERE and check out how beautifully the other daring bakers have ‘risen’ to the challenge!

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Also find me on
The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

STRAWBERRY BAVARIAN CREAM CAKE… for my daughter!

“When you make a cake, you truly express your desire to please the people you love, and show them how much you care.”
Roland Meisner
Time flies, and how! It’s was the daughter’s 14th birthday and as busy as every 2nd January has been since the day she was born. We barely recover from the kids New Year eve excitement, and there it is, her big day staring us in the face. What cake are you making for me she  religiously asks the day before? This year the situation was different. There was a huge power grid failure and our entire region was gripped with dense fog. My cake plans underwent many changes as time progressed. No power meant that filling couldn’t be whipped, and neither could frosting. Thankfully I had baked the sponge a day before!

This year I was spoilt for choice since I had 2 boxes of delicious strawberries on hand as they are just showing up in the market. Also have been fortunate enough to receive many new baking books I was itching to try out, and exciting dessert ideas off blogs and web sites. This is what the holiday season does to you; spoils you with so much visible eye candy, that you want to try everything at once. Strawberries in the market doesn’t seem to make it simpler, just widens the horizon!

I grabbed 2 books of my shelf for inspiration. One the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Cakes’, and the other Roland Meisner’sBasic to Beautiful Cakes’. The latter is a beautiful cake decoration book that I won at a cake decoration competition run by Lis and Ivonne at the Daring Kitchen for this Cinnamon Buttercream Autmn Cake. Both books are bursting with great cake ideas, and I eventually zeroed on the second one. Basic to Beautiful Cakes shows how to create desserts that can be beautifully embellished to serve any occasion by using a small set of foolproof cake recipes.

Roland Mesnier is a French-American Pastry chef and culinary writer. Basic to Beautiful Cakes is a book by this legendary White House pastry chef, and Lauren Chattman. It is inspirational in every way, and the narrative before each recipe is very engaging. The author adds a little trivia about who and why he made that particular cake for, and in some cases the reactions to it! It’s lovely!!
The book includes an enviable array of fruit cakes, dairy and wheat free cakes, nut, chocolate and coffee cakes amongst still many others! There is also a section dedicated to decoration basics, and basic filling, frosting,glazes and syrups etc, as also one on basic recipes at the very end which spans everything from pastry creams, whipped creams, sauces, to fillings.

I saw the Summertime Strawberry Cake in his book (yes I am aware this is the peak of winter, LOL), and that inspired my Bavarian cream cake. My cake is similar in essence and would have made the base cake from the book, had it not been for the added 1 stick of butter. Decided to fall back on my Swiss roll cake recipe, an airy and light fatless option, I wasn’t sure it would work well as a cake base, but it certainly did.

For the filling I decided on a Bavarian cream for many reasons. Primarily because of the power failure. Also because the kids loved it when I had made it earlier from Tartlettes for this Peaches and Cream Cake, and finally, because I needed to collect whites for making macarons for MacTweets! Three birds with one stone …yes!

The Bavarian cream is inspired by this recipe by Michale Symon on Food Network. Not sure if it was supposed to be firmer, but worked fine for me even though I used 25% low fat cream. I think you could decrease the gelatin by a 1/4 tbsp if you use whipping cream.

I did initially want to leave the strawberries peeking out of the sides of the cake, but was inspired by Ria‘s post to try making a different border. I had already topped the cake with a dark chocolate ganache, as we can’t have a birthday cake sans chocolate, so I tried a white chocolate piped border. The white chocolate we get here doesn’t melt as easily and smoothly as the dark chocolate, so it wasn’t a very easy task. I managed something anyway, and here’s what it looks like…

To make a border for the cake, measure the height of the border that you would like, and the circumference of the cake. Cut our parchment paper to this measure and squiggle patterns or doodle with melted chocolate on it. (If you are unsure, keep a pattern under the parchment and trace out with melted chocolate). Wait for it to almost set, where the paper is still flexible and the chocolate is not set hard. Wrap it around the cake and press gently to the frosted sides so that the pattern sticks to the sides. Mine didn’t hold a 100% because I didn’t frost the sides, but it was fine anyway. Gently peel off the parchment.

Strawberry Bavarian Cream Cake
Inspired by Summertime Strawberry Cake by Roland Meisner
Sponge
6 eggs, separated
1 cup flour
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided into 2 bowls
Method:
Separate the yolks and whites.

With clean beaters, whip the whites with 1/2 cup sugar until firm. Keep aside
Add the remaining sugar to the yolks and beat until tripled in volume or all the sugar has dissolved and the yolks are pale and creamy, about 8-10 minutes
Now add 1/3 of the beaten egg whites and fold in gently so as not to release any beaten in air. Sift in half the flour and fold in gently, followed by 1/3 beaten whites, then remaining flour, and finally remaining beaten whites. Gently turn into prepared tin, and bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
Remove from tin immediately, peel off parchment and cool completely on rack.

Filling

as adapted from this recipe here
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup vanilla sugar
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup + 3 tbsps milk
1 1/4 tbsps gelatin (reduce to 1 tbsp if you use high fat cream)

400m cream (25% fat)

400gms strawberries (Reserve some for garnishing) 
Method:
Whisk the egg yolks with a balloon whisk with 1/3 cup of vanilla sugar until smooth.
Simmer 1/2 cup of milk and 200ml cream with 1 scraped vanilla bean, bean included. Turn off heat and allow to infuse for 30 minutes.
Bloom gelatin in 3 tbsps of cold milk
Put the pan back on simmer. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, take it off the heat and whisk into the yolk mix, somewhat like in French pastry cream.
Return to a heavy bottom pan, and place on medium heat until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly.
Take off and whisk in bloomed gelatin. Strain and leave to cool. (You can quicken the cooling by stirring the bowl held over a bowl of ice.)
Once it is completely cooled, whip 200ml of cream with 1-2 tbsps of Castor sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and fold it into the custard gently but thoroughly. You will notice the Bavarian thickening.
While the custard is cooling, slice the sponge into two, and gently paint with some sugar syrup with a little lime juice added. (like in this pineapple sponge here, note at the bottom). This moistens the sponge a bit.
Place the lower layer on your serving platter within a cake/dessert ring. Arrange chopped strawberriesand top with the cooled Bavarian cream. Place the top layer over it, and gently push over topping to level it. Cling wrap entire thing, and chill for 8 hours, preferably overnight for the Bavarian to set.

Unmold gently.

Topping:

Make a dark chocolate ganache with 150gms dark chocolate and 2-3 tbsps cream. I eyeball the amounts. We just need enough for the top.
Whisk with a spoon till smooth and shiny. Leave to cool. It will thicken as it cools.
Spread over the top layer, allowing some to drizzle over the sides. Use it before it becomes too firm or it will be difficult to spread smoothly.
Top with chocolate shavings and reserved strawberries.

Border with chocolate lace if desired.

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

The kids enjoyed the cake A LOT, as we did, and had a great time yesterday!

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LAVENDER MASCARPONE CAKE… & a Thank You Cards Giveaway

“Birthdays are nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake.”
Author Unknown

I changed my blog header 2 days ago with pictures of my birthday cake. How ambitious of me when I thought I’d post the recipe alongside. 2 days have zipped by & I am still struggling with my thoughts. Time, or the lack of it, is to blame, but I got a couple of emails this morning conveying how ‘torturous’ it was not to find the recipe posted and just pictures! Then my dear tweetbuddy Yogalili tweeted…
@vindee waiting as patient as a spider for the lavender cake post……
& again…
@vindee Get thee to thy master’s lair…your grace!!! I be a hungry lavender lovin minyon!!
…so here I am!

 

(You have to see the picture of the cake Yogalili made soon after.
It’s at the bottom of this post. She is brilliant!!)
Was my birthday a couple of days ago, and an opportunity to bake another cake. The boy tried very hard to convince me that they would ‘buy’ me a cake, “Mama it’s you birthday, watch TV all day!”…Ultimate comfort in his eyes??? LOL, he’s never seen me plonked in front of the TV, so he figured that might be some sort of ultimate luxury for his darling mother. He’s been at home for the past 2 weeks as his class in school is shut with 8 cases of H1N1, and it never seems to end. All he sees me do is racing from here to there like a headless chicken, with the odd whinge thrown in!
So much to do & so little time! But I always find time to do what I want to, so what if it kills me, so cake I had to bake. Was thinking coffee but alongside was toying with the idea of lavender in a cake. How would it be? Actually Shaheen @ Purple Foodie had very large heartedly mailed me half her stash of lavender some time back, with some more goodies. The bag included a cherry pitter (yes, Jamie, a leap out of stone-age for moi), some interesting spice mixes, a muffin book & a box of sprinkles! Sweet isn’t she, this Purple foodie? That bag of lavender was calling my name, and it finally helped me chart a path to my birthday cake.

Finally settled for a light fatless sponge, sandwiched and frosted with lavender mascarpone. Made some marzipan flowers from left over home made marzipan from my Cinnamon Buttercream Autumn Cake here, which won me a beautiful cake decorating book from the Ivonne & Lis from the Daring Kitchen! This was my first time making roses, following a step by step tutorial from beautiful cake book by Peggy Porschen’s Pretty Party Cakes.

My flowers weren’t as smooth for 2 reasons. One I think is that store bought marzipan is smoother so gives a better end product, and secondly as Peggy says in her book, with practice the roses get better & better. I was quite happy with my first attempt. I even hand cut the leaves, and maked the veins on them from a great tutorial that Alice from Savoury Sweet Life posted here. Do stop by & see her absolutely gorgeous cake … it’s a piece of art!!
This lavender mascarpone cake was a delicious departure from chocolate. Soothing as lavender is said to be, it was elegant & subtly flavoured. Lavender married the mascarpone sensuosuly, like they were meant to be together. My only regret was that I should have increased the amount of cream on the frosting. My recipe reflects the increased amount…
Lavender Mascarpone Cake
Ingredients:

5 eggs (250gms)
100gms flour (half the weight of the eggs, including the cornflour)
2 tbsps cornflour
1tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
100gms sugar(less than half the weight of the eggs)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Purple food colour, optional
Filling/Topping
600gm mascarpone (homemade recipe here)
200ml cream (25% fat, that’s all we get here)
1/2 tsp lavender
3-4 Tbsp icing sugar for filling
2 tbsp sugar ground with 1/4 tsp lavender seeds for topping
Food colour

Method:
For the sponge
Preheat oven to 190C , reduced to 180C after 10 mins of putting the cake in. Grease and line a 8″ springform cake tin.
Sift the flour + baking powder + salt 3 times.
Beat the eggs and sugar well with hand beater till very thick ribbon falls and holds in place for at least 5 seconds (beat for approx 10mins). Add vanilla extract & beat for 1 min.
Gently fold in the sifted flour; mix lightly so that air doesn’t escape.
Turn gently into tin and bake for 30-35 mins till done. Don’t overbake or sponge will be dry.
Once done, remove from tin after 5 mins and leave on rack to cool completely. Cut horizontally into 3 layers.Filling:
To flavour mascarpone, stir the lavender into 1/4 cup mascarpone & leave to infuse overnight.
Whip 400ml mascarpone with 4tbs powdered sugar until thick and holds peaks.
Place the bottom most layer of the sponge on your serving platter, spread half the lavender cream on it. Repeat with next 2 layers. Topping:
Whip remaining 200gm mascarpone with 200ml chilled cream and lavender sugar till holds peaks.
Reserve 1-2 tbsps for piping on top. Frost cake top & sides with rest. Put sponge fingers as a border if you like. Top with marzipan flowers. Chill well before serving.

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

~

My birthday was made even better by this sweet Delhi blogger, Nachiketa, who came along to wish me with a Coffee Tiramisu that she made especially for me. Drop-dead gorgeous cake, delicious & full of my beloved coffee, and beautiful flowers too. Thank you Nach… the cake was perfect in every way & so me…!

On another note, I have a ‘Custom Thank You Cards’ giveaway promotion on my blog today from one of my blog sponsors,UPrinting ! Holidays are just around the corner, ‘tis the season to be merry and giving custom thank you cards is the perfect gift to express your warm thoughts to your loved ones. One lucky reader will be jingling all the way with a pack of 50 Custom Thank You Cards with envelopes, all for free! UPrinting cards are made from high-quality paper and cardstock and will surely bring holiday cheer to your friends and family.
Prize Offered: (50 ct.) 7 x 5″ (folded to 3.5 x 5″) Custom Thank You Cards with plain envelopes.

If you wish to part of the giveaway, please leave a comment on how you would use the cards. I’d love to hear about your creative ideas!

 

The giveaway is on until November 28th. The prize will be announced thereafter.
Eligibility: Limited to US Residents due to shipping costs.

Disclosure : I will be receiving fifty (50) thank you cards from UPrinting.com for hosting this giveaway.

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Am adding a picture of the cake Yogalili made soon after I blogged my recipe. My son’s immediate reaction… “Wow, will she give it to us? I want it now!!”…

Thank you YL; you are a ‘dream’ student, sponge fingers & all !!

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