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Basbousa is a soft, somewhat crumbly cake traditionally made with semolina and, sometimes, coconut. The warm cake is soaked in sugar syrup flavored with orange flower water or rose water until it absorbs most of the liquid. Almonds or pistachios are the usual nuts used to garnish basbousa which is served cut into squares or diamonds. I found it best to leave the batter covered overnight as this allows the yogurt-butter mixture to soften the semolina grains before baking. The exact origin of basbousa remains subject to debate since cakes made out of semolina are popular in many countries of the Middle East. This recipe from Rathai’s Recipes does not claim to be authentic but I chose it for being eggless and without milk. It smells heavenly from the rose water and tastes even better after it has aged a couple of days.
For the Cake
2 cups (350 g) fine semolina
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (35 g) desiccated coconut
1/2 cup (100 g) caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt
150 g unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup (200 g) plain yogurt
20-30 blanched almonds
For the Sugar Syrup
1 cup (225 g) caster sugar
1 1/2 tbs rose water
3 tsp lemon or lime juice
1 cup water
- To blanch the almonds, boil the water until it is hot and bubbly. It will take about 7-8 minutes with the lid on.
- Place the raw almonds in a small bowl and pour about half of the hot water over the almonds and put a lid on.
- Allow the almonds to soak in the hot water for about 10 minutes. Take an almond out, rub it between fingers.
- Start blanching almonds. Spread almonds on a dry towel and pat dry and keep them in the towel overnight.
- The syrup has to be at room temperature and the cake warm; the syrup should be prepared before the cake.
- To make the syrup, boil sugar along with the water at medium heat. Stir until sugar has completely dissolved.
- Then add lemon juice and remove the scum that floats to the top. Add rosewater and boil till syrup thickens.
- Do not let the syrup boil for a long time and thicken up too much. It should take about 15 minutes to be ready.
- Once ready, remove from stove. Bring to room temperature. In a large bowl, mix semolina and baking soda.
- Then add coconut, sugar and salt and mix well. Add the melted butter and yogurt and mix well with a spoon.
- The mixture should be well combined and come together. Lightly butter a 27 cm/10″ cake pan or a pie plate.
- Line with parchment paper and then lightly butter the sides and the bottom of the pan. Spoon in cake batter.
- Even it out on top with a spoon. Allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes. Then score cake into diamonds or squares.
- Place blanched almonds in the middle of each diamond or square and gently press each almond down a little.
- Bake at 175 oC (350 oF) in a preheated oven, in the middle rack for about 20 minutes first. Take the cake out.
- Gently cut into diamonds/squares again. If you cut the cake when it is fresh out of the oven, it might crumble.
- Place cake back into the oven, bake for another 20-25 minutes until the cake looks golden and crisp on top.
- Take the cake out and spread the syrup slowly and evenly on top of the cake. Allow cake to soak up the syrup.
- Leave for a couple of hours until it has cooled down to room temperature or leave overnight then cut again.
- Keep covered and refrigerated, and warm for few seconds in the microwave before serving. Makes 20 pieces.
Basbousa – Semolina Syrup Cake
Raffaello is a crisp coconut speciality produced by the Ferrero company with a whole almond in its creamy white chocolate centre. The recipe is a harmonious blend of carefully selected ingredients: White Californian almonds and coconut from the Pacific Islands. This amazing cake from Will Cook for Smiles is inspired by the Raffaello candy. The soft coconut cake, soaked in smooth white chocolate cream, is topped with freshly whipped cream, sweet coconut flakes and crunchy almonds and of course, Raffaello candies.
For the Coconut Cake
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites, room temperature
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon kitchen salt
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons buttermilk
For the Chocolate Cream
3/4 cup white chocolate
3/8 cup condensed milk
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
For the Cream Topping
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 box Raffaello candies
- Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9 x 13 baking pan. In a bowl, beat butter for about thirty seconds.
- Add sugar. Beat for about a minute, until light. Add egg whites one at a time, beating after each addition.
- Add vanilla and combine. Sift flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder together. Turn mixer speed to low.
- Alternating, add flour mixture and coconut milk then buttermilk, start and end with the dry ingredients.
- Mix until just combined. Transfer the batter into the baking pan, spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- A toothpick inserted in the cake center comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.
- For the cream, combine the butter, white chocolate, condensed milk, vanilla extract and coconut flakes.
- Cook in a small sauce pot, over medium heat. Whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
- Take off heat and cool to room temperature. For the topping, whip heavy whipping cream in a cold bowl.
- Starting at low speed, start whisking, gradually raise the speed to high. Slowly pour in the caster sugar.
- Beat until stiff peaks appear. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use. Poke holes all over cooled cake.
- Pour the white chocolate mixture over cake. Sprinkle coconut and almond, top with Raffaello candies.
This simple moist butter cake is flavored with lemon zest, lemon curd and lemon extract for some extra zing. A lovely cake from Baking Joy, it brings sunshine into my kitchen with its gorgeous golden crumb and the smell of fresh citrus peel. I have not been devoting much time for baking lately so I have quite a bit of catching up to do with all the recipes I have bookmarked in my recipe books or saved under ‘My Favorites’ tab since the start of this year. I hope to be able to reschedule my baking timetable as I settle down in Gynae & Obs so that I have more baking experiments and posts to share with you on a regular basis.
LEMON CURD YOGURT CAKE
175 g soft unsalted butter
175 g golden caster sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons lemon curd
Zest of 1 medium lemon
100ml plain yoghurt
1 teaspoon lemon extract
200 g all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
- Preheat oven to 170o C. Line a 9-inch loaf tin with baking paper or butter and lightly flour pan.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy with a mixer. Mix in 1 tablespoon flour.
- Add eggs, yogurt, lemon curd, zest and lemon extract and mix well. Sift flour and baking powder.
- Take care not to over mix the batter. Spoon batter into prepared tin and bake for around 1 hour.
- Cake is done when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave cake to cool in pan.
… Make Lemon Curd Yogurt Cake!