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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016 to the lovely members of the Daring Kitchen. Hope you have a year of complete Baking and Culinary bliss! Let 2016 unleash your unbound creativity and raise the bar of this platform. This month’s challenge is hosted by Shillpa Bhaambri from Cakeline the Journey, a Baker and Cake designer living in Mumbai, India. She runs a cakery, aptly called Cakeline that specializes in customized cakes and desserts. Cake designing is an extension of baking. It is a surging craft, hobby or profession in today’s times. Making plain cakes look visually stunning has become a unique artistry and a professional baker who specializes in making and decorating cakes is called a cake artist.

In this challenge Shillpa explains in detail about some edible mediums used in cake decoration, including “edible clays” like Fondant; Modeling paste, Gum paste and Modeling chocolate. They are used by cake designers to recreate mind blowing concepts and themes on cakes. Fondant in cake designing context, refers to rolled fondant or sugar paste, which is primarily used to cover cakes and boards. This is soft sugar dough that cuts through instantly with a knife. It easily rolls out and is quite malleable. Fondant stays fairly soft, even after it has been shaped. Designing cakes with it gives them a smooth and polished finish, and it can be colored or flavored to taste.

FONDANT/SUGAR PASTE

Ingredients:

800g / 6 2/5 cups icing sugar, unsifted

100g / 7 tablespoons white butter or shortening

1 tablespoon powdered gelatin or agar agar

30ml / 2 tablespoons cold water

100g / 1/3 cup liquid glucose

15ml / 1 tablespoon glycerin

Large pinch of kitchen salt

5ml / 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

7g / 1/2 tablespoon white butter or shortening

Method:

  • Measure all the ingredients and set aside. Sieve the icing sugar and keep 300gms / 2 2/5 cups of it aside.

  • Soak the gelatin in the cold water and melt it in a microwave or double boiler. Melt the butter/shortening.

  • Mix butter/shortening into gelatin. Add liquid glucose and glycerin and mix well. Warm it for 20 seconds.

  • You can do this in a microwave oven. Add clear vanilla extract and salt. Take 500gm icing sugar in a bowl.

  • Stir in the liquid mixture, a little at a time. Keep blending and adding the liquid, slowly to the icing sugar.

  • To make colored fondant, add the required amount of edible gel color to warmed gelatin glucose liquid.

  • Move mixture onto a smooth kitchen counter. Keep kneading gently and adding the reserved icing sugar.

  • Add as much icing sugar the dough can take in to make a pliable texture. It should not stick to your hands.

  • Lastly smear 7g / 1/2 tablespoon butter or shortening onto the counter. Knead gently to absorb all the fat.

  • Roll and shape the fondant into an oblong. Wrap fondant tightly with cling film.  Makes about 1kg fondant.

Fondant Icing from Scratch

I am somewhat late with this post because December was such a busy month that I hardly had time to sit down and figure out exactly what to blog about this month. With all the Christmas shopping, gift hampers, last-minute gift hunting for those who were not on my original guest list, it was quite a semi-marathon to get everything ready in time. In spite of all, I really hope you had a wonderful time this Christmas with your family and friends around you. I could not help being on duty on Christmas eve but the festive mood was strong even on our hospital premises. Our team of doctors and interns managed to cook up a jolly good Christmas dinner with Creamy Chicken in Mushroom Sauce, Potato & Chayote Gratin and my own contribution, a coffee flavored Bûche de Noël with chocolate dipped strawberries. The bûche fortunately turned out well, overcoming my fear of baking a totally foreign kitchen.

My enthusiasm to get back home and rip open my Christmas gifts, however, was unparalleled to none. The trip back home was a painfully long one but when I got there, I was rewarded by a beautifully wrapped book: Le Larousse du Chocolat by Pierre Herme and a huge box of Lanvin assorted chocolates: Noël à Paris. Since I was not going to work today, it was sheer pleasure for me to bake this Bûche de Noël au Chocolat et à l’Orange from my new cookbook. I did get a bit impatient over the long chilling time towards the end but found nothing to complain about when I tasted the brilliant combination of rich dark chocolate and candied orange peel with a faint whiff of fresh vanilla. With so many new chocolate flavored possibilities at hand, I cannot wait to start on another recipe from this absolutely gorgeous book which is, indeed, a bible for chocolate connoisseurs.

BUCHE DE NOEL AU CHOCOLAT ET A L’ORANGE

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Sponge

4 eggs, separated

100g granulated sugar

75g all purpose flour

25g cocoa powder

For the Orange Syrup

125ml fresh orange juice

75g granulated sugar

For the Chocolate Filling

200ml whipping cream

200g dark chocolate [70%]

60g candied orange peel

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 220oC. Prepare the sponge by beating egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer.

  • Beat for about 5-7 minutes until it is pale and frothy. Sift flour and cocoa powder into egg mixture.

  • Whip egg whites until they form soft peaks. Carefully fold whipped whites into chocolate mixture.

  • Spread batter over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake it for about 8-10 minutes.

  • Remove from oven and lift off parchment paper. Transfer to cooling rack, cover with a dish towel.

  • Prepare syrup by bringing orange juice and sugar to boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat.

  • Set aside to cool. Next, prepare the filling. Bring 4 tablespoons of cream to the boil in a small pan.

  • Chop chocolate coarsely and add to hot cream. Stir well until melted. Whip the remaining cream.

  • Carefully fold the cooled melted chocolate into the whipped cream and combine till homogenous.

  • Place chocolate sponge on a sheet of cling film or wax paper and brush with cooled orange syrup.

  • Spread half of the chocolate cream over the sponge and sprinkle the candied orange peel on top.

  • Roll up sponge tightly and wrap it in the cling film or wax paper. Chill sponge for at least 2 hours.

  • Remove from fridge and unwrap the cling film or paper. Spread with remaining chocolate cream.

  • Using a fork, create parallel lines across the chocolate surface that it resembles the bark of a tree.

  • Decorate with more candied orange peel. Chill for another 2 hours before serving. 6 to 8 servings.

With the End of Year festivities closing in, it has been a awkward juggle between work, dinner parties, Christmas shopping and cleaning for me. I had initially planned a long list of things I wanted to bake this December but I’m afraid I will have to rewrite them on my 2016 to-do list. There have been requests from work colleagues for old favorites like the Tres Leches cake and the classic Tarte Banane so I have been mostly revisiting existing recipes instead of dabbling with new ones. This Triple Chocolate Swirl cake, from Taste.com.au, unexpectedly happened because I was stuck at home on a cloudy [about-to-rain] afternoon and had all three types of chocolate the recipe call for. This rich butter cake makes a nice tea-time treat and can be stored for days, if well wrapped in aluminum foil, without losing any of its freshness. It can be easily turned into a stunning celebration cake by a simple white ganache coating and chocolate candy toppings and curls for a sophisticated finish.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE SWIRL CAKE

Ingredients:

200 g unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup caster sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

2 cups self-raising flour

3/4 cup full cream milk

100 g dark chocolate, chopped

100 g milk chocolate, chopped

100 g white chocolate, chopped

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

2 tablespoons golden syrup

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 7-cm deep, 20-cm round pan. Line its base and sides with baking paper.

  • Beat butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

  • Add flour and beat on low speed, gradually adding 1/2 cup milk until combined. Divide between 4 bowls.

  • Place dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high (100%) for one minute until smooth.

  • Stir with metal spoon halfway during cooking. Repeat with milk and white chocolate, in separate bowls.

  • Add dark chocolate, cocoa and 1 tablespoon remaining milk to 1 portion of batter. Mix well to combine.

  • Add milk chocolate to 1 portion, mixing well. Add white chocolate and golden syrup to another portion.

  • Add remaining milk to remaining batter. Drop tablespoons of the mixtures, alternating colors, into pan.

  • Run a butter knife back and forth through mixtures to create a slight marbled effect, do not over-marble.

  • Bake the cake together for one hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

  • Cover with foil if over-browning. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Decorate the cake with chocolate melts, M&Ms and sprinkles. Cut into slices to serve. Makes 24 pieces.

This calls for a Celebration!

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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