Warm Nutella crêpes with fresh strawberries and toasted almonds… if only I could wake up to this on every cold winter morning!

STRAWBERRY NUTELLA CREPES

Ingredients:

2 large eggs, room temperature

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 1/4 cup full cream milk

1 cup all purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

Nutella hazelnut spread

200g fresh strawberries

50g almond flakes, toasted

Method:

  • In a medium sized bowl, combine eggs, melted butter, milk, water, flour and sugar. Whisk together until well combined.
  • Refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes to allow bubbles to settle. Preheat a medium frying pan over medium heat.

  • Transfer the mixture to a measuring cup. It should be almost 2 cups worth of batter. Grease the frying pan lightly with oil.
  • Once the pan is hot, pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan. Immediately roll the pan in a circular motion to thin out the crêpe.

  • Crêpes should be very thin, not thick like a pancake. Cook the crêpe for about a minute to a minute and twenty seconds.
  • Then flip it over with a spatula. The crêpe should be a light golden brown before flipping, if not, give it a little more time.

  • Once flipped, cook for another minute and transfer to a serving plate. Repeat the process until you run out of crêpe batter.
  • Spray the pan each time before pouring batter for a new crêpe. Allow crêpes to cool slightly before spreading with Nutella.

  • Fold into quarters and spread a thin layer of Nutella over one quarter. Add a few thinly sliced strawberries over the Nutella.
  • Fold it up again, top with almond flakes and drizzle with some more Nutella. Repeat the process for each crêpe. Makes 15.

Strawberry Nutella Crêpes

For the July Daring Baker’s Challenge, Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to bake a cake. But not just any cake; she asked us to add in a special surprise for our eyes as well as our taste buds! The focus this month is not on how the cakes look from the outside, they should have surprises inside. There are tons of ways to create “surprise inside” cakes, ranging from relatively simple to super complex. Look around for inspiration and techniques; no matter how the designs turn out, the results are always a sweet treat!

There are many techniques for creating patterns, designs and images within a cake. Some can be accomplished by layering different color batters in specific orders or patterns. You’ll need to be aware of how thick your batter is for how much you want the colors to spread or meld together. Other techniques involve fully baking cakes of different colors, then cutting them and piecing them together to create different effects. Then there are techniques that combine the two, where the cakes are baked in staged and shapes are hidden within the next type of batter.

Many of these cakes involve coloring batter to make designs. While traditional food coloring is probably the easiest way to accomplish this, do not feel limited. For those of us who are trying to reduce our use of chemical additives in our food, there are plenty of natural food colorings available: try using beets or berries, saffron or turmeric, or any other natural additives to achieve different color shades.

For this challenge, I chose to go along with the World Cup theme and was ‘inspired’ by the Surprise Pinata Football Cake from BBC Good Food. The cake itself is a sturdy dense butter cake that  has to be carved into to create a secret hiding place for the cute chocolate footballs that come tumbling out the moment the cake is cut. Paint the fondant scarf with your team colours and you’ll have have a stunning centerpiece for any sports themed gathering that needs a celebration cake.

SURPRISE PINATA FOOTBALL CAKE

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Cake

200g unsalted butter

200g soft light brown sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

150g self-raising flour

50g cocoa powder, sieved

1 tablespoon milk

For the Mint Cake

200g unsalted butter

200g caster sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

200g self-raising flour

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1/2 to 1 teaspoon green food colouring paste

For the Icing and Decoration

150g unsalted butter, softened

300g icing sugar, sieved

300g chocolate balls or foil-covered chocolate footballs

4 tablespoons sieved apricot jam, warmed

500g green ready-to-roll icing

350g white ready-to-roll icing

100g black ready-to-roll icing

Method:

  • Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and base line a 20cm round cake tin with baking parchment or grease and flour.
  • To make the chocolate cake, put the butter into a bowl and beat until soft. Add all the remaining ingredients and beat well.

  • The resulting mixture should be light and creamy. Spoon into the tin and spread level. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes.
  • Cool chocolate cake completely in pan before turning out. When cold, slice the top off the cake to make it level and set aside.

  • To make the mint cake, grease and base line your 20cm cake tin with baking parchment. Put the butter into a mixing bowl.
  • Beat until soft. Add the remaining ingredients and beat well until light and creamy. Spoon batter into the tin and spread level.

  • Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely.
  • Do not slice the top level as it needs to be rounded. To make the butter icing, put the butter into a bowl and beat until softened.

  • Gradually beat in the icing sugar. Slice the chocolate and mint cakes in half horizontally so you have four even layers in total.
  • Using an 8cm round cutter, stamp a circle from the centre of each layer. Place one chocolate cake layer on a 25cm cake board.

  • Spread with a little butter icing. Place the bottom green layer on top. Spread with icing and top with the other chocolate layer.
  • Spread with more icing and place the rounded green sponge on top. Fill the centre hole with chocolate balls, almost to the top.

  • Slice one of the 8cm green sponge pieces in half horizontally. Place one piece on the cake to cover the hole containing the sweets.
  • Spread with remaining butter icing. Roll out about 300g of the white fondant icing to a 20cm circle and place on top of the cake.

  • Brush the sides of the cake with apricot jam. Measure circumference and depth of cake. Add 2.5cm to the depth measurement.
  • Using these measurements roll out the green fondant to a long strip and attach around the cake. Snip roughly around top edge.

  • Make a cardboard template of a pentagon (5 sides). Roll out the black icing and cut out six pentagons. Place them on the cake.
  • With remaining white icing trimmings make a scarf and drape it over the cake edge. Add candles as desired. Serves 25 persons.

Take this ‘simplest’ brioche recipe from La Tartine Gourmande, add a handful of dried cranberries and a dash of orange extract and you will be rewarded with a tender, buttery brioche that is far from simple. I wanted to give them a bakery style finish so I baked these buns in my new flower shaped mini pans I got as a gift some time back. The icing sugar dusting was almost right after taking them out of the oven though they would have looked more authentic with some pearl sugar topping. This homemade bread will keep for a couple of days in a foil lined, moisture-free container but I cannot figure out who in their right mind would be able to resist that long. In the event you are making a large batch and are unable to finish the lot, I would recommend saving the stable bits for bread pudding, a well loved winter dessert.

CRANBERRY BRIOCHE BUNS

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour

2/3 cup whole wheat flour

1 sachet instant dry yeast

1/3 cup warm full cream milk

3 tablespoons caster sugar

1/8 teaspoons kitchen salt

1 teaspoon orange extract

100g butter, room temperature

2 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 tablespoons milk, for glazing

Method:

  • In a bowl, mix flours and yeast. Make a hole in the middle and add the milk mixing with the mixer’s paddle attachment.

  • Add the sugar, salt and orange extract, then add the soft butter, piece after piece, waiting so that each piece is absorbed.

  • Then one by one, add the eggs, mixing well between each. Work the dough until it is elastic and detaches relatively easily.

  • Cover and rest in a warm place, away from drafts, for two hours, until it doubles in size. Work cranberries into the dough.

  • Divide it in six balls. Place them on a greased baking sheet and cover. Let rise for an hour again. Preheat the oven at 400 F.

  • Brush the brioche buns with milk glaze after second rise. Place in the oven to bake for 10 min then reduce the heat to 350 F.

  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack before serving. Makes 6 cranberry brioche buns.

Cranberry Brioche Buns

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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