Daring Bakers

“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.

Pinktober Princess Cake,  PrinsesstårtaPrinsesstårta … a princess cake my way to mark Pinktober. Every October begins with a pink cake in support of breast cancer research, or Pinktober, as it is popularly known. October is the National Breast Cancer Awareness month. International campaigns are run each year to raise awareness and funds for research. In addition, the campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer.

Prinsesstårta, Princess cake for PinktoberThe first week of October sees Mr PABs birthday and he’s grown used to a pink birthday cake. I might be torn for time, tired to the bone, might not bake a cake on any other occasion but the Pinktober one is never missed. Neither is the ribbon. You can see the pink on my earlier  Pinktober posts, else catch them on my PINK board on Pinterest.

The pink ribbon is an international symbol of breast cancer awareness. Pink ribbons, and the color pink in general, identify the wearer or promoter with the breast cancer brand and express moral support for women with breast cancer. Pink ribbons are most commonly seen during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

pink-ribbon-296x300A Princess cake or prinsesstårta is the lads 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. We still remember how fantastic that cake was, a benchmark of sorts for birthday cake.

A princess cake (prinsesstårta in Swedish) is a traditional Swedish layer cake consisting of alternating layers of airy sponge cake, raspberry or strawberry jam, pastry cream, and a thick-domed layer of whipped cream. This is topped by marzipan, giving the cake a smooth rounded top. The marzipan overlay is usually green, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and often decorated with a pink marzipan rose.[1][2]

The original recipe first appeared in the 1930s Prinsessornas Kokbok cookbook, which was published by Jenny Åkerström, a teacher of the three daughters of H.R.H. Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland. The cake was originally called grön tårta (green cake), but was given the name prinsesstårta or “princess cake” because the princesses were said to have been especially fond of the cake.

Prinsesstårta, set upside downMy version of the prinsesstårta is a little off the traditional mark, just slightly. The layers of the traditional Swedish cake have jam and pastry cream. I skipped the jam as I thought my pastry cream was sweet enough. The dome of whipped cream wasn’t going to happen as I used a low fat 20% cream, so I stabilised it with gelatin. The dome happened in an upside down manner which is how I built up the cake and left it to set overnight.

PrinsesstårtaI hoped it would look fine the next morning …and it certainly did much to my delight! The other deviation was of course the marzipan cover for the cake. I made marzipan too that morning but it did not behave. At all. With October being unseasonably warm at 40C this year, the marzipan really sweated and wouldn’t roll out.almonds for marzipan

I had to do a rapid rethink as I didn’t want to jeopardise the poor stabilised dome. That would have been a disaster so my next best option was a chocolate coating, tricky but doable. The idea is to have the chocolate coating at a cool, or almost same temperature as the cream dome so that the dome doesn’t melt. It was touch and go. I won!! Sort of.

Prinsesstårta, Princess cake for PinktoberThe dome wasn’t as smooth as I expected it to be, or like I wanted it to be but given the weather, I was happy I had the cake covered! Left to set in the fridge, you can see the uneven bits, or maybe refer to it as an artisanal finish? Taking pictures was difficult again as the icing threatened to melt.

Prinsesstårta, Princess cake for Pinktober I used the marzipan to make a couple of hurried roses etc. Then the quintessential PINK ribbon. Minimalistic was the sensible and possibly only way to go. Stuck it all on and was just grateful to have a cake. Once cut, the honours done, it was fantastic to taste.

Prinsesstårta, Princess cake for Pinktober Much to my delight, the boy immediately exclaimed, “Yay, a Princess Cake! I just saw it on the Simpsons this morning.” What a delicious coincidence! The prinsesstårta layers behaved well while being sliced, the cake itself a winner on all counts {other than smooth looks!}. Light, airy, flavourful, creamy and a celebration! Try and challenge yourself to make this, right side up if possible, else use my way home. This is a cake every baker must make at least once. Must!

Swedish Prinsesstårta, princess cupcakes I’ve done a real fun version of Swedish Prinsesstårta Cupcakes with the Daring Bakers in May 2013. It was hot as hot can be back then, but much easier to do little cupcakes than one huge domed prinsesstårta. Also, then the marzipan was store bought and possibly more smoother and easier to handle than home made. If you rather do pretty cupcake prinsesstårta, then here’s the place to be.

[print_this]Recipe: Prinsesstårta, Princess cake for Pinktober
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Summary: Prinsesstårta. Light, airy, flavourful, creamy and a celebration! Try and challenge yourself to make this, right side up if possible, else use my way home. This is a cake every baker must make at least once. Serves 10-12

Prep Time: 1 hour Total Time: 2 hours plus cooling, chilling time

  • Strawberry sponge {Make 2 X 3 egg cakes}
  • 6 eggs
  • 170g sugar
  • 170g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp strawberry essence
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder {or vanilla extract}
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier {optional}
  • few drops red food colour {optional}
  • Simple sugar syrup
  • 25ml water
  • 50g sugar
  • Pastry Cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 100g sugar
  • 40g cornflour
  • 250ml milk
  • 200ml low fat cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • Whipped Cream
  • 400ml low fat cream, chilled
  • 1 tsp gelatin, sprinkled over 2 tbsp warm milk, cooled
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 1 tsbp Grand Marnier, optional
  • Chocolate coating
  • 200g 70% dark couverture chocolate
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 20g honey
  • Marzipan for roses and ribbon etc


  1. Sponge Cake
  2. Line 2 loose bottomed 8″ baking tins with parchment paper.
  3. Place the eggs and sugar in a large bowl and whip on high speed till thick and moussey, 8-10 minutes. Add the strawberry essence, pinch of salt, baking powder and vanilla bean powder {and liqueur and food colour if using} and beat again.
  4. Sift over the flour in 4 lots, gently folding in each time.
  5. Transfer the batter into the 2 tins and bake at 190C for 35-45 minutes until done.
  6. Cool on racks, then cut horizontally into 2 layers each.
  7. Pastry Cream
  8. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar with a wooden spoon in a big bowl until the mixture becomes pale and light. Stir in the flour slowly until it is thoroughly mixed with the egg mixture.
  9. Pour the boiling milk into the mixture a little by little while whisking continuously to avoid curdling. And then stir in the rest of the cream until the mixture is well combined.
  10. Transfer the whole mixture into a pot, with the seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, and heat it under low setting. Stir it constantly with the wooden spoon or spatula scraping the sides and bottom until it has thickened quite  a bit.
  11. Once the custard has thickened, take it off the heat, and strain it into a clean bowl. Cover top with plastic wrap, cool and chill.
  12. Once chilled, whip in 1 cup of the reserved whipped cream from below until silky smooth. The pastry cream will be quite thick.
  13. Thermomix Recipe
  14. Place sugar and vanilla bean in TM bowl, and process for 30seconds on speed 10.
  15. Add remaining ingredients, plus vanilla bean shell and cook on 90C/Speed 4 for 7 minutes {until thick}. Strain into a bowl immediately to cool. I chilled it overnight.
  16. Sugar Syrup
  17. Place sugar and water in small pan, simmer until the sugar melts. Cool.
  18. Whipped cream
  19. Whip cream and sugar on high speed until medium high peaks form. Whip in liqueur if using. Gently fold in the gelatin mixture. Reserve 1 cup for pastry cream
  20. Assemble
  21. Take a glass bowl the top of which can comfortably fit the cake {think upside down}. Line it with cling wrap overlapping the sides.
  22. Turn the whipped cream into the bowl, level out and place the first layer of sponge on it. Paint with sugar syrup, and add 1/3rd pastry cream. Level it out. Repeat with the remaining layers of sponge, using the sugar syrup and pastry cream.
  23. {I used mousse strips to keep the side of the sponge and pastry cream in place}
  24. Cover the bowl with cling wrap or foil, and lave to set in the fridge as is {cream side at the bottom}
  25. Next morning, turn the cake onto your serving platter, and gently peel off the plastic wrap that lined the bowl. {Refer picture}
  26. Chocolate coating
  27. Place chocolate, butter and honey in a heatproof bowl and melt over double boiler until the chocolate is melted. Stir until smooth. Cool to a nice room temperature {the chocolate shouldn’t be warm at all else it will melt the dome}
  28. Gently pour over the cake so that the chocolate covers the dome right around.
  29. Chill in fridge
  30. Garnish with marzipan roses etc if required.
  31. Chill until ready to serve.
  32. Slice with a sharp knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry to get neat slices.


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“In the history of art there are periods when bread seems so beautiful that it nearly gets into museums.”  Janet Flanner

Savoury  Hungarian Kalács, Twisted Buns; Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread... bread art with the Daring BakersSavoury  Hungarian Kalács, Twisted Buns; Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread … it was a LOT of bread baking for someone who’s been off all purpose flour for a while now. Yet the Daring Bakers challenge this month made me sit up and take notice. Bread art? Huh? Why had I missed it all along?

Warning: Long post with lots of delicious bread!

Twisted Buns; bread art with the Daring Bakers

Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of chef in disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste?

Savoury  Hungarian Kalács ... bread art with the Daring BakersSo much so for being a baker and being passionate about it. I do love artisan breads and rustic whole grain breads of all sorts, but one look at The pinterest board of Chef in Disguise had me smitten. I dusted the cobwebs off, crawled out from under the rock and entered an area I didn’t know even existed! 

Whole Wheat Bread 3Not sure about the origins, but from the pins shared on the board, bread art appears to have roots in East Europe, Ukraine and Russia, though I might well be wrong. The only downside is that beautiful breads for bread art need smooth dough {read plain flour} as they involve intricate cutwork and folding etc. In the end the bread is a sight to behold!

Savoury  Hungarian Kalács, Twisted Buns; bread art with the Daring BakersThis challenge is just a beginning for me;  I might well try bread art in the near future with part whole grain dough. For a first time, this was fun, although my efforts didn’t result in very stunning ‘bread art’. That said,  making the Savoury  Hungarian Kalács, Twisted Buns; Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread was very enjoyable. They were extremely delicious too!

Twisted Buns; bread art with the Daring Bakers My love for savoury food meant that Savoury  Hungarian Kalács were going to happen very soon, the recipe adapted minimally from here. It’s a really nice dough to work with, and I flavoured it to add a burst of garlic and cheese. Loads of garlic and some mature cheese later, the dough smelt delicious; it was smooth and supple.

Savoury  Hungarian Kalács ... bread art with the Daring Bakers Every flour absorbs liquid a little differently and my dough wasn’t very firm. It baked fine though! I chose to keep the bread vegetarian, so adjusted fillings accordingly.Savoury  Hungarian Kalács, Twisted Buns; bread art with the Daring Bakers The original recipe for Savoury  Hungarian Kalács is a non vegetarian version and much prettier too. It shines with an almost gold hue due to the egg wash which I skipped.

Twisted Buns; bread art with the Daring Bakers The taste? Excellent! It was a battle to keep the kids off my precious bread! One finger gone, then another, and another… it was addictive good they claimed, the best bread ever! So cheesy and garlicky declared junior. Just one more piece begged senior! 

Twisted Buns; bread art with the Daing Bakers 4The Savoury  Hungarian Kalács were declared winners! And so were the little Twisted Buns … just two of them with leftover dough. Really interesting to make, and just enough for a handy dinner for the kids. Thought I’d serve them with crumb fried chicken and a salad on the side.

Twisted Buns; bread art with the Daring Bakers Time wasn’t my best friend as usual, so I sliced them horizontally and grilled them into chicken sandwiches! Best sandwich ever declared the lad; I’ve never had better flavour! All was good and I was pleased at such an inspired Daring Baker challenge!

Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread... bread art with the Daring BakersEgged on by the brilliance of experiment number one, I decided to use the same dough for a sweet version, albeit just half the dough. ‘We’ love sweet stuff in the PAB household, so this was fun again! I had ideas for flavours, and they reminded me of an all time favourite bread, the Povitica!Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread... bread art with the Daring Bakers In went anything and everything on hand…that half tub of Nutella left over from an eggless chocolate pudding experiment, some almond nut praline in the freezer ex a recent recipe development, and some homemade bitter kumquat marmalade! Kumquats are in season {read abundance} and I LOVE using them!

Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread... bread art with the Daring Bakers Even though the bread didn’t look like a piece of perfect art, it tasted brilliant. Such a great combination of flavours, sweet just right, the crunch from the pralines, the undertones of the bitter kumquat marmaladebrilliant! Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread... bread art with the Daring Bakers

I was so glad I pushed my limits to try both savoury and sweet versions of bread art this month. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Sawsan. Do stop by here and check out the fab bread art the talented Daring Bakers have drawn up! Thank you too Ivonne of  Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!!


Recipe: Savoury  Hungarian Kalács & Twisted Buns your picture

Summary: These Savoury  Hungarian Kalács make great party of finger foods and are bursting with flavour. Use fillings of your choice to play around. This savoury bread is sure to please! The Twisted Buns are another variation using the same dough and filling. Serves 8-10

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes plus rising time Ingredients:

  • Savoury dough
  • 325g all purpose flour
  • 25g Grana Padano {or parmesan}, grated
  • 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200g milk, tepid
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15ml yogurt
  • 40 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Filling
  • 50g cheese spread
  • 1 small bunch fresh oregano
  • 2 small fresh red chillies {or 1 tsp red chili flakes}
  • 50g walnuts, finely chopped
  • 75g mature cheddar, grated
  • 15ml milk {or 1 beaten egg} for wash
  • 10g melon seeds {or sesame, pumpkin etc}
  • 20 ml extra virgin olive oil to brush over


  1. Savoury  Kalács
  2. Place the flour, Grana Padano {or Parmesan}, yeast and salt in the bowl of food processor and pulse on high speed to mix.
  3. Add the milk, cloves, garlic and yogurt and knead to a smooth dough.
  4. Rest for 15 minutes, then knead in olive oil. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, seal with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for dough to double.
  5. Assemble
  6. Once the dough has doubled, preheat the oven to 200C.
  7. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  8. Divide the dough into two.On the lightly floured surface {or on parchment paper}, roll one half into an 10″ circle.{My tray wasn’t big enough, so I kept reserved some dough to make twisted buns with the same filling.
  9. Transfer the circle to the baking sheet and spread the cheese spread uniformly. Sprinkle over chopped fresh herbs and red chillies, followed by the walnuts, and finally the cheddar.
  10. Roll the other half of the dough to another 10″ circle and place over the first half, pressing down gently.
  11. Place a glass in the centre and cut the remaining dough 4 times, then divide each into a further 4. You will get a total of 16 spokes {refer pictures}
  12. Gently lift each spoke and twist it 3 times. Brush over with milk gently and sprinkle melon seeds over the centre. {You can always brush with a beaten egg to get a beautiful glow. I wanted to keep the bread vegetarian}.
  13. Bake for 30-35 minutes until light golden brown and firm to touch.
  14. Cool on tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to rack. Serve warm or room temperature.
  15. For Twisted buns, please see this image on the Chef-in-disguise bread art pinterest board {the board is a visual treat!}

Recipe: Sweet Yeasted  Nutella, Marmalade & Almond Praline Skillet Bread your picture

Summary: This yeasted sweet bread is bursting with delightful Nutella and praline flavours, with gentle undertones of bitter kumquat marmalade. This is a winner at an tea table. Serves 6

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes plus rising time Ingredients:

  • Sweet dough {can be easily doubled}
  • 160g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • 100ml milk, tepid
  • 5ml {1 tsp} yogurt
  • 20g unsalted butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 100g Nutella
  • 100g almond praline, coarse ground {or walnuts, chopped}
  • 50g bitter orange marmalade
  • 25g unsalted butter, melted, cooled


  1. Dough
  2. Place the flour and yeast in the bowl of food processor and pulse on high speed to mix.
  3. Add the milk, yogurt and butter and knead to a smooth dough.
  4. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, seal with cling wrap and leave in a warm place for dough to double.
  5. Once the dough has doubled, preheat the oven to 200C.
  6. Line a skillet or round tin with parchment paper.
  7. Roll the dough into a large rectangle over a floured surface. Dont make it too thin or it will be impossible to spread the filling.
  8. With an offset spatula, spread the Nutella over the entire surface, followed by the bitter kumquat marmalade, then the melted butter ans finally the praline.
  9. Begin rolling the longer length up, nice and tight to get a long rope.
  10. With a sharp knife, slice vertically down the center to get two long open end stirps.
  11. Intertwine the two, cut side facing up to make a braid of some sort. Pinch the open ends together.
  12. Wind the two together to form a circle and transfer to parchment lined skillet.
  13. Preheat oven to 200c.
  14. Place skillet in hot oven and bake for 30 minutes, until crisp, gooey and golden.
  15. Cool in skillet for 30-45 minutes before gently easing out with a fish slice or offset spatula.


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“Never doubt that a small, committed group of people with pies can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Subcommandante Tofutti

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie PiesWholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies …  come December and the Daring Bakers challenge to end 2013 was to bake whoopies. Given all the frenzied baking over Christmas, these were fun. Whoopies always are. Relaxed, super creative and ‘in sync with the holiday season‘, they were a wonderful pick to end the year!

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies

The December Daring Bakers’ Challenge had us all cheering – the lovely and talented Bourbonnatrix of Bourbonnatrix Bakes was our hostess and challenged us to make fun, delicious and creative whoopie pies! Delicious little cake-like cookies sandwiching luscious filling in any flavors we chose… What else is there to say but “Whoopie!”

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies I still remember my first whoopies, Oatmeal Nutella Whoopie Pies adapted minimally from a great recipe from Ree @ Pioneer Woman. Those were a big hit with the kids and adults alike. At the time Mr PAB did say they were oversweet. I reduced the sugar this time around. They were perfect!

Whoopie pies are a cross between a cookie and a cake (not a pie!), with two round, mound-shaped halves sandwiching a sweet creamy filling. According to Wikipedia, Whoopie pies are considered a New England phenomenon and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition. It is also Maine’s official state treat. The traditional Whoopie pie consists of a chocolate cake and a vanilla marshmallow filling, but pumpkin and gingerbread cake is also common enough. 

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies Onto this challenge, I knew I was going to go wholegrain, so half my work was cut out. I based my recipe on the Oatmeal Nutella Whoopie Pies measurements, changing a few bits and bobs here and there. It worked quite well actually. The Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies began disappearing at an alarming rate!

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies Of course they aren’t as light, cakey and airy as all purpose flour whoopies. These are heavier to bite, more earthy, more rustic and definitely more healthy. I was glad I did the challenge pretty early in the month with red and green firmly in place. Later, each day raced into the next, the month literally galloping towards the end.

Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies One look and bite into the whoopies and both kids {and Mr PAB} exclaimed, “You’ve made these before!” Bravo to good food memories! I had made my first whoopie pies back in May 2012 fresh from an invigorating trip into Old Delhi, one of my favourite places to be in. Time flies ….

It’s difficult to believe the year’s almost drawing to an end. December has almost vanished. It’s been a busy year. Being a Daring Baker is always a positive part of every year, though losing our co-founder Lis unexpectedly left us crestfallen. Knowing her, she would like the whisks in the kitchen to mix non-stop. Through these challenges, her spirit lives on.

Daring Bakers 2013 challengesThe challenges I have enjoyed through 2013 include Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Peanut Butter FillingSwedish Prinsesstårta Cupcakes, Mango Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk CakeMomofukus {Infamous} Crack PieSavoury Phyllo Pot Pies and Rye Cheddar Crackers & Pizza Dough Crisps.

Do stop by here and check out some real cutie pies the talented Daring Bakers are whooping with! Thank you Bourbonnatrix for the fun challenge. Thank you too Ivonne of  Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!!

[print_this]Recipe: Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies
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Summary: Earthy, rustic and definitely more healthy that the normal whoopies, these Wholegrain Chocolate Nutella Whoopie Pies are worth the bite. If you don’t have Nutella on hand, you could do a peanut butter or salted butter caramel filling instead. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

  • 75g unsalted butter, room temp
  • 175 g vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg
  • pinch salt
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 100g whole wheat flour
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 50g dark chocolate, chopped
  • Method:
  1. Place the wholewheat flour, oats, baking powder, cocoa and chocolate in bowl of food processor. Blend to fine mix. Reserve.
  2. Beat the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract, egg and salt and beat again.
  3. Mix in the baking soda into the boiling water. Beat into the butter mixture.
  4. Fold in the dry mix.
  5. Measure out tbsp scoops onto a prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes / until slightly firm to touch.
  7. Cool completely on racks and then sandwich with Nutella.


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