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The October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Korena of Korena in the Kitchen. She took us to Austria and introduced us to the classic European-style chocolate cake: the Austrian Sachertorte. It is an elegant chocolate cake filled with tangy apricot jam, covered with a smooth, fudge-like chocolate glaze, and decorated with chocolate piping and the word “Sacher” written across the top. Each slice is served with a generous portion of schlag/unsweetened whipped cream to balance the sweetness and texture of the Sachertorte.

The Sachertorte was first created in Austria in 1832 when Prince Metternich requested a fancy dessert for his dinner guests. His pastry chef was ill that night, so the task fell to the apprentice, Franz Sacher, who came up with the now famous cake that bears his name. Franz built a career on that cake, and his son Eduard later opened the Sacher Hotel in Vienna where Franz’s cake, made according to the hotel’s original and closely-guarded secret recipe, is served to this day. The cake is so popular in Vienna that it has become an integral part of the city’s kaffeehaus tradition.

SACHERTORTE

Ingredients:

For the Cake

¾ cup (180 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped

9 tablespoons (135 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) unsalted butter, softened, room temperature

1 cup (240 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar or powdered sugar)

6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

½ cup (120 ml) (7 oz) (200 gm) granulated sugar

1 cup (120 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour

Pinch of fine grain salt

For the Apricot Glaze

1¼ cup (300 ml) (14 oz) (400 gm) apricot jam or preserves

2 tablespoons (30 ml) rum (or other liquor) or water

For the Chocolate Glaze

1 cup (240 ml) (7 oz) (200 gm) granulated sugar

½ cup (120 ml) water

(4 oz) (115 gm) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped

For the Writing Chocolate

¼ cup (60 ml) (1.8 oz) (50 gm) chopped good quality chocolate

½ – 1 teaspoons vegetable oil

For Serving

1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream, cold

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to moderately hot 375˚F/350°F fan/190˚C/gas mark 5 with a rack in the centre of the oven.
  • Butter and flour the sides of a 9-inch (23 cm) spring form pan, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.
  • Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and heat over a small saucepan of barely simmering water until just melted.

  • Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer until light and creamy.
  • Add the confectioners’ sugar on low speed, then increase to medium speed and beat again until light and creamy.
  • Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla.

  • Beat until well-mixed and very light and creamy, scraping down sides of the bowl, until mixture is homogenous.
  • In a scrupulously clean bowl using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites with about one tablespoon of sugar.
  • Beat on high speed until foamy. Gradually add the rest of the granulated sugar and continue beating the whites.

  • Beat vigorously until the whites form soft, shiny peaks. They should hold their shape but flop over on themselves.
  • Stir about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in remaining egg whites.
  • Use a spatula and fold until just a few wisps of egg white remain. Be careful so as not to deflate the egg whites.

  • Stir together the flour and salt and sift half of it over the chocolate mixture. Fold in until almost incorporated.
  • Sift over the remaining flour and fold to combine completely. Spread the cake batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  • Bake in the preheated moderately hot 375˚F/350°F fan/190˚C/gas mark 5 oven for about 35 to 45 minutes.

  • The cake will flatten out as it cools. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen from pan.
  • Carefully invert onto a rack, remove the bottom of the pan and parchment paper, then turn the cake right-side up.
  • Allow to cool completely. For the apricot glaze, boil jam and rum/water in a small saucepan over medium heat.

  • Cook the glaze, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and drips slowly from the spoon, for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Strain through a wire mesh sieve, pressing firmly on the solids. You should have about 1 cup of glaze. Use warm.
  • For assembling, turn the cake upside-down so that the perfectly flat bottom of the cake is now the top of the cake.

  • Cut the cake horizontally into 2 even layers. Place 1 cake layer on the 8½-inch (22 cm) cardboard cake round.
  • Spread it generously with about half of the apricot glaze. Allow it to soak in. Place the second cake layer on top.
  • Spread the top and sides with the remaining apricot glaze. Work quickly before the glaze has a chance to set.

  • Use a metal offset spatula to smooth the top. Place the cake on a rack set over a plate lined with waxed paper.
  • Allow the apricot glaze to set. To make the chocolate glaze, place sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  • Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Attach a candy thermometer and cook.

  • Stir and cook until the mixture reaches 234˚F/112°C, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Whisk in chocolate. If it thickens up, return it to low heat and add few drops of water if necessary to thin it out.
  • It should be of a runny, pourable consistency. The glaze should be smooth and shiny. Stir for 30-60 seconds.

  • Cool slightly, then immediately use it to glaze the cake. Pour it over the top of the cake, first around the edge.
  • Then pour the glaze in the middle. Spread the excess glaze over any bare spots using a metal offset spatula.
  • Before the glaze has a chance to set, move cake to a serving platter. Now, make the writing chocolate for piping.

  • Heat the chopped chocolate until just melted, then stir in enough vegetable oil to get a good piping consistency.
  • Place chocolate in a piping bag and snip off the tip to make a small hole. Cool slightly so that it is not too runny.
  • Pipe the word “Sacher” in the middle of the cake and add any decorative flourishes with the writing chocolate.

  • Chill the cake until the glaze is completely set, at least 1 hour. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.
  • Whip the cream to soft peaks. Cut the Sachertorte into wedges with a large sharp knife dipped in hot water.
  • Wipe off the blade between cuts. Serve each wedge of cake with a large dollop of whipped cream. Serves 12-16.

Daring Bakers September Challenge – Sachertorte

One of my favourite coffee cakes, from A Word From AuntB, this pound cake recipe has undergone some degree of experimentation in my attempt to find the type of sugar that leaves a distinct signature to set my pound cake apart from all others. At last I found the correct formula with Sucre Brun Clair Mou that can be bought exclusively from the Aventure du Sucre Boutique in Beau Plan. This unique variety of sugar, produced only in Mauritius, imparts a delicate caramel flavour to the cake and transmits a sweet fragrance to the kitchen throughout the baking process. I usually divide the batter into halves and bake them as individual cakes in mini Bundt tins. The finishing touch to this gorgeous teatime treat is nothing more than a generous dusting of icing sugar and a sprinkle of coarsely chopped toasted pecan nuts.

BROWN SUGAR POUND CAKE

Ingredients:

100g unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/ 2 cup granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup cold sour cream

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups pastry flour, sifted

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Method:

  • Cream the butter and sugars together in a food processor with a paddle attachment or with a hand-held electric mixer.
  • With the mixer running at slow speed, add the vanilla then the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  • Mix until you have a smooth batter then transfer the batter to a very large mixing bowl. Keep the electric mixer aside.

  • Stir the baking soda into the sour cream and let it sit for about 5 minutes. The sour cream will increase in volume.
  • Whisk the salt through the flour so that the two are well combined. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the cake batter.
  • Stir just until it has been absorbed. Add in 1/2 of the sour cream and mix until just incorporated. Try not to over mix.

  • Repeat steps, ending with the final portion of flour. Finally fold in the chopped pecans nuts carefully into the batter.
  • Oil a non-stick Bundt pan or butter and flour a regular Bundt pan. Do not omit this step even if the pan is brand new.
  • Preheat oven to 275F. Layer the batter into the prepared cake pan; it should be about three quarter full with batter.

  • Place the pan on the middle rack of your preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Increase the heat to 325F.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes more, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time until cake turns golden brown.
  • If it is still not done after 50 minutes, return to oven, turn off heat and finish baking in the residual heat of the oven.

  • Once the cake is baked, let it cool completely before turning out of the pan. Frost cooled cake with caramel if desired.
  • This cake may be served plain but can be garnished with fruit and whipped cream or toasted and served with ice cream.
  • It keeps quite well in an airtight container and freezes very well if double wrapped, first in waxed paper and then in foil.

Brown Sugar & Pecans

Happy Birthday Mum!

STRAWBERRY SPONGE CAKE

Ingredients:

6 eggs, separated

175g caster sugar

1/4 vanilla pod scrapings

90g butter, melted

150g self raising flour

200ml whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

500g fresh ripe strawberries

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Butter two 20 cm tins and line the base and sides with baking or parchment paper.

  • Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and set aside. Beat egg yolks, sugar and vanilla seeds until thick and creamy.

  • Add the warm melted butter and sift on the flour, but do not stir. Now add a third of the whipped egg whites.

  • Using a whisk to fold everything together gently but thoroughly. Fold in the rest of the egg whites into mixture.

  • Gently spoon sponge cake batter into the prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

  • Allow the cakes to cool completely. Whip the cream with vanilla extract until soft peaks form, then chill slightly.

  • Spread one sponge cake with a layer of cream. Top with sliced strawberries, cover with the second sponge cake.

  • Spread top of cake with remaining whipped cream. Decorate with fresh whole strawberries. Makes 10 servings.

Adapted from Adrian Richardson’s Strawberry Sponge Birthday Cake

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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