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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
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
- 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
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
- 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
For all white chocolate lovers out there…
WHITE CHOCOLATE MUD CAKE
For the White Chocolate Mud Cake
100g unsalted butter, chopped
100g white chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup caster sugar
6 tablespoons milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, room temperature
For the White Chocolate Ganache
4 tablespoons whipping cream
100g white chocolate, chopped finely
- Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a deep 15cm round cake pan and line the base and sides with baking parchment.
- Combine chocolate, butter, sugar and milk in a medium saucepan; stir over low heat until smooth and melted.
- Cool for 15 minutes. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract and egg. Pour mixture into pan.
- Bake, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Cool the cake in pan. Meanwhile make ganache by bring the cream to a boil.
- Pour over chocolate in a heatproof bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until chocolate is melted. Cover bowl.
- Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes until thick and spreadable. Turn the cake, top-side up
- Place on a cake stand. Spread ganache over top and sides of the cake. Decorate with chocolate curls, if desired.