Baking | Swedish Prinsesstårta Cupcakes … Daring Bakers serve up royally delicious cakes!

“Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!”
C. JoyBell C.

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes Swedish Prinsesstårta Cupcakes … the best BEST cake we’ve eaten of late. Perfect balance of flavours, moist, flavourful, addictive good, non chocolate … PERFECT! It’s been a while since I enjoyed a Daring Bakers challenge so immensely. Everything was good about it. I have to admit that I veered off the basic recipe … but need to blame the treacherous North Indian summer for that!!

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes Come May and I got a very excited call from local DB Ruchira. “Guess what the challenge is? A Princess Cake! Wheee… I love it!I was equally thrilled. A Princess cake is junior teens most favourite cake of all time. Years ago I did a recipe testing for Helene of Tartlette which included a Bavarian cream. That was a princess cake of sorts.

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes To date, it’s been the best ever cake for the kidlet. He repeatedly tells me how good ‘that Bavarian cream‘ was! Talk about love for food and good taste. Everything Helene does has the midas touch. The months challenge was partly inspired by her recipe.

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes

Korena of Korena in the Kitchen was our May Daring Bakers’ host and she delighted us with this beautiful Swedish Prinsesstårta!

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes

A little research revealed that the original recipe was created in the 1930s by a Swedish home economics teacher named Jenny Åkerström, who taught the three Swedish princesses of the time. She published a series of four cookbooks called “The Princess Cookbooks” and in one of the editions, there was a recipe for “Grön Tårta” (green cake). One story is that this later became known as “princess cake” (prinsesstårta) because the three princesses are said to have loved it so much. 

Another story is that Ms. Åkerström actually created three very elaborate “princess cake” recipes – a different one for each princess – and that the current version is a simplified combination of all three. That explains the princess connection, but the reason for the cake being green still seems to be a mystery. 

I got to the challenge very very late. It was the 25th already. And the weather? Hot as hot can be, threatening to get worse by the minute! It was 46C at 6pm day before. Fry the eggs on the sidewalk hot, maybe bake the poor princess there too! Plans for a Princess cake were rapidly demolished. Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes Yet I am very nostalgic about the Daring Bakers, a journey that has been long and fruitful. I have been with them for 5 years maybe, and it’s the only baking group I have continued with. I owe them most of what I’ve learnt. The journeys been full of ultimate highs, and a few heartbreaks too; entirely memorable.

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes Besides, the challenge this month was not just one of being a ‘baker‘. Bakers as you know double up quite often as patisserie chefs too. A finger in every pie, and so on! It was a test of skills at many different levels. I had to make something. That came by way of these sweet Princess Cupcakes that I’ve had bookmarked for years! {I baked the cupcakes the previous evening and completed them at the crack of dawn. You can find a few grainy pictures taken in a hurry to guide you through}

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes The components are quite the same. There is cake, pastry cream, whipped cream, jam and marzipan. A petite version in this blistering heat which hitting 48C is much easier to handle.  I had some balsamic cherries from the two ingredient dark chocolate mousse. Cherries make life a lot more worthwhile. 

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes The Swedish Prinsesstårta Cupcakes turned out excellent. The cupcakes are layered about the same way as you would a Swedish Prinsesstårta. In 20 minutes, spared of a power cut, I was past stage one. Cupcakes done! While they baked, the pastry cream was stirred in the Thermomix. 7 minutes to perfect pastry cream!

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes I made the pastry cream a little thicker as it’s so hot. I didn’t get to the marzipan though I have made it several times in the past. It was far too hot to attempt marzipan from scratch. A special gift from my dear friend and Daring Baker Finla came to my rescue. She sent me marzipan with a truckload of stuff a few months ago. I use it very sparingly and was thrilled to have some on hand for the princess cupcakes.

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes This was the best part! Such fun dressing the little ones up. I did the flowers and leaves out of trimmings and it reminded me of my first and only fondant cake, the Tea Rose Fondant Cake, I made a while ago. The cupcakes were patched together on fast track as everything threatened to melt. The end result isn’t as neat as I would have liked it to be, but the marzipan was going too soft.

Thank you Korena was such a beautiful and eye opening challenge. I intend to make the priginal Swedish Prinsesstårta once the weather gets cooler.  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 some more royalty!

 

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No Bake | Mulberry Strawberry Buttermilk Sorbet & Mulberry Jam … In season with mulberries!

“I put everything I can into the mulberry of my mind and hope that it is going to ferment and make a decent wine. How that process happens, I’m sorry to tell you, I can’t describe.”
John Hurt

Mulberry Strawberry Buttermilk Sorbet & Mulberry Jam Mulberry Strawberry Buttermilk Sorbet & Mulberry Jam! Here we go round the mulberry bush tree, and looks like I’m going to stay right under it! We’re enjoying a very short and very sweet mulberry season. I feel so inspired! Seems like it’s going to be mulberries all the way.

Mulberries

Mulberries are actually a good source of raw food protein, a rarity in the fruit kingdom. They are also a good source of magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, iron, calcium, vitamin C, and fiber. One of the mulberry’s greatest health assets is it’s high concentration of resveratrol, an antioxidant currently being studied for its effects on heart health.

Mulberry Strawberry Buttermilk Sorbet 1The sudden mulberry distraction {maybe madness} arrived unannounced as usual. This post is more about the story around the fruit, than the sorbet or jam itself. The latter would barely spin a tale, though the sorbet recipe is a real winner!

Mulberry Strawberry Buttermilk Sorbet A large number of us joined the very large hearted and talented Neel at Learn Food Photography to polish our photography knowledge and skills. A few of you might know that I am still very lost about the technicalities behind the camera and am a compulsive auto shooter.

Learning food photography...So thanks to this 30 day exercise, we are down almost 3 weeks doing what we like to do best. That includes virtually meeting and interacting with a huge like minded community. {The photograph below is one of my favourite shots from last week.}

Day 17 – Create Harmony and BalanceIn addition to some serious photog learning, the interactions are also a huge take away. It’s fascinating to see how food photography can reunite folk from India to Mexico!Mulberry Jam Together we’ve played with light, angles, DOF, backgrounds, props, diffusers and so much more. Maybe you can catch bits in my photographs. You can see the sorbet in many different hues, from an early morning shot, to a rather deep pink late evening one. An enriching experience!

Mulberry Strawberry Buttermilk Sorbet & Mulberry Jam 4It was on the forum that I chanced upon a photograph of mulberries that Ozan from Turkey shared. That made me sit up. What happened to our mulberry season? Why didn’t I remember? Man Friday was immediately summoned and commissioned with ‘the mulberry task’.

MulberriesHe never fails…never! He soon brought me a bag of pretty, juicy mulberries, sweet as sweet could be. Morning saw me stirring mulberry jam! Nothing to the recipe. Just the berries with equal sugar, a vanilla bean, a dash of lime juice.  I threw in some aged balsamic too. Simmered until soft over low heat, then cooked until it thickened somewhat. TADA! Jam! No pectin, nothing!

Mulberry Jam I get a HUGE bagful every alternate day. I’ve frozen some. Throw them into smoothies for the kids. A strawberry mulberry smoothie is beautiful. Then I wanted to make something I’ve waited long to  make, a buttermilk sorbet. I added some mulberries  instead of just a strawberry sorbet. Delightful!

Mulberry Strawberry Buttermilk Sorbet This mixed berry sorbet is light, refreshing, summery and beautiful! I shot it in many different ways in the ongoing LFP exercise. It included styling – napkins, garnish, Pinterest inspiration etc. I got some right shots, and some very wrong.  So much fun, and so much to learn.

Mulberry Strawberry Buttermilk Sorbet It was three days of ‘mulberry shots‘! Another huge bagful came in this morning so the head is buzzing with mulberry coloured thoughts again. Any recipe suggestions are more than welcome. Hopefully I’ll have another mulberry centric post out this month!

Mulberry Strawberry Buttermilk Sorbet Until then, please help yourself to really really refreshing and pretty Mulberry Strawberry Buttermilk Sorbet. The Mulberry Jam is quite sweet and makes for a nice addition in a berry dessert sauce, added to whipped cream into a fool, dolloped over breakfast cereal or slathered onto a warm buttery toast! I love cooking in season!

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

Baking | Bittersweet Fallen Chocolate Gateau with Crème Patisserie & Balsamic Vanilla Strawberries … my feature in Mail Today #mailtoday #thecocoatrees

“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.”
Katharine Hepburn

Bittersweet Fallen Chocolate GateauA Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Fallen Cake adapted minimally from an Alice Medrich recipe. This gateau is like an ugly duckling, almost flourless cake, which gets dressed up to go out. Reminds me of a shakespearean tragedy as it bakes ; the rise and then the tragic collapse. Left ‘undressed’, it’s a moorish, rustic sunken cake, beautiful in my eyes. Barely any flour makes this cake more special.

Bittersweet Fallen Chocolate Gateau The Mail Today, a daily in India, invited me for a photoshoot with some selected women home bakers in the National Capital  Region. I was asked to carry something I baked for the shoot. It was a last minute thing, and I was all set to go out for an Old Delhi trek with my girlfriends, something we had long planned.

Old Delhi TrekConsidering I was the only ‘non commercial‘ home baker amidst all these very talented girls, the oldest among them too {dinosaur age…blah blah blah}, I thought I’d make something different. The Bittersweet Fallen Chocolate Gateau was it! It’s an adaptation of Alice Medrich’s earthy rustic style of baking. It really appeals to me.

Mail Today featureOne look and I thought it would be good; Alice Medrich never fails. Baked within an hour, it was done as I raced off to catch the metro into Delhi. On the train, I made mental plans on how to dress up the cake as I’d be home late, and the shoot was early the next morning. { Also made a teenie cake for home just we knew if it tasted alright}.

Balsamic Vanilla Basil StrawberriesI had a batch of crème patisserie in the fridge.  It’s always handy to have on hand. A L W A Y S! Fold in whipped cream to sandwich a cake with, pipe it into eclairs or profiteroles, serve it over cake or fruit, or then just make it into ice cream. So versatile, and so fun!

Bittersweet Fallen Chocolate Gateau And there was also a nice little jar of balsamic vanilla basil strawberries in the fridge from the day I made Strawberry frozen yogurt. That would be UPLIFTING and would contrast nicely with the chocolate and crème patisserie. A few fresh strawberries on top, and a sprinkling of mint leaves and I knew I was set.

Bittersweet Fallen Chocolate Gateau So simply constructed that I had time to spare the next morning. Thats when I got ambitious and made a dark chocolate lace border to embrace the cake. Once done, the hour drive into Delhi at 30C was not something I had taken into mind. Fortunately for me, the gateau survived.

At Shiro, Samrat, New Delhi. Mail Today shootMail Todays ‘femail magazine’ editor is the very young and sweet Lipla Negi. Bubbly, energetic, considerate she effortlessly brought the group together. We were meeting each other for the first time, and within half an hour had hit it off.

At Shiro, Samrat, New Delhi. Mail Today shoot It’s always nice to meet like minded folk. It doesn’t get better than a bunch of women home bakers I tell you! {The shoot took place at the beautiful Shiro, Samrat Hotel, New Delhi.With it’s signature high ceilings,  majestic statues, stone and water interiors, an aura of splendour hits you as you enter.}

Bittersweet Fallen Chocolate Gateau As for my  Bittersweet Fallen Chocolate Gateau, it was special.  Bittersweet chocolate is my first love, and into this gateau went a beautiful Belgian dark 72% chocolate from The Cocoa Trees. It’s one of 40+ varieties of premium chocolates they have on offer. They sent me a variety of dark chocolates to sample – Chocoholic Dark, Belgian dark 72%, Fry Extra Dark 85%, Cadbury Old Gold Dark Original & Old Gold Dark Peppermint. Chocolate heaven I tell you.

The Cocoa Trees is a chocoholic’s dream come true offering over 40 plus varieties of international chocolate brands which include the fine cocoa filled mouse from Ritter Sport, dark smooth chocolate of Anthon Berg, the unmistakable heavenly crunch of Ferrero, chocolaty pralines from Sorini, and many more. The Cocoa TreesA Singapore based chocolate boutique store, The Cocoa Trees, offers a delicious spectrum of branded chocolates which cater to a variety of individual needs. Since its launch in 2011, the boutique store has expanded its presence with its launch of its two new stores at Nature’s Basket, Bandra and R City Mall, Ghatkopar. You can also find one at the Domestic Terminal {T3}, IGI Airport, New Delhi.

Each bar was of premium quality, and divinely delicious. The Cadbury’s Old Gold collection true to it’s name … exquisite. I enjoyed each one of them, deeply satisfying. I also enjoyed the quality it leant to my gateau. Your bake will only taste as good as what goes in.

Bittersweet Fallen Chocolate Gateau Thank you The Cocoa Trees for sending me this fine selection of dark chocolates. The promise of dark chocolate marries really well with strawberries. The Bittersweet Fallen Chocolate Gateau reflects my love of baked desserts, bittersweet chocolate and including fruit in almost everything I do. Thank you Mail Today for the generous feature. Last but not the least, thank you Urban Dazzle for the Cake Plate. I love it and use it often!

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

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