30 May 2015

Schwarzwalder birthday cake

For my moms birthday I wanted to make something nice. For my dad's birthday I made the Oscar cake with an extra layer of panna cotta on the inside. Just to give it a different twist. Initially I wanted to make the same for my mom's birthday, but when I looked online I stumbled on this schwarzwalder cake made by Rudolph van Veen. I knew this had to make this cake. 
First I started with watching the video in which Rudolph shows how to make the cake. Then I went to the store to get the rest of the ingredients I needed.  

After that it was baking time. 

I started with making the cookie dough since this has to be chilled for a bit. This recipe was quite straight forward and all I needed was:
- 300 gr flour
- 200 gr butter
- 100 gr sugar
- 1 egg
oven temperature 180C

I put all the ingredients in a bowl and kneed them till it forms a dough. This dough I put in the fridge to chill.

After that I stared on the chocolate biscuit:
- 250 gr dark chocolate
- 125 gr butter
- 3 eggs separated in yolks and whites
- 125 gr brown sugar
- 80 gr self rising flour
- 50 gr almond powder
oven temperature 200C

I started with melting the chocolate and the butter on a double boiler. Then I whisked the egg yolks with some sugar till fluffy and mixed this into the chocolate. I carefully incorporated the flour and the almond powder in the chocolate mixture. In the meantime I mixed the egg whites with the rest of the sugar till fluffy. To this I incorporated the chocolate and spread the mixture out on a baking tray. I baked it for about 15-20 minutes till the biscuit was fully baked and let it cool.

This recipe was too much for my baking tray resulting in a thick layer of chocolate biscuit. Next time I would half the recipe and half the banking time.

While the biscuit was baking I took the cookie dough out of the fridge and put it in my baking pan. As I didn't want to waste any dough or do anything else with it, my cookie layer was a bit thicker then the recipe called for. Next time I would just half the cookie recipe. I baked the cookie till it was golden. I think it took about 30-40 minutes because it was a thick slice. This also had to be cooled.
For the cherry stuffing I needed:
- 200 ml whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 130 gr cherries in a jar
- 1 gelatin sheet soaked in water

Because I had more cherries (and again didn't want the rest to go to waste) I doubled the recipe. I made the cherry stuffing twice since the first time the whipped cream didn't turn out the way I wanted to. What I did was whipping up the whipped cream with the sugar, heating up some of the cherry juice, to this I added the cherries and the gelatin and this all I mixed into the whipped cream. As it had to much juice the cream started to curdle and I had to through it all away. 

The second time I added the cherries (without the juice) to the whipped cream first and then slowly incorporated the juice. This gave a slightly better result. Next time I will wait till the gelatin has firm up the cherries and juice mixture first and then incorporate the whole thing with the whipped cream. 
Now it was time to ensemble the interior of the cake. I used a cutter to cut out 3 circles of the chocolate biscuit. As my baking tray was too small I could only get 2 whole circles and 2 half circles. I started with a layer of one whole circle of chocolate biscuit in the cutter. On this I sprinkled some amaretto liquor and I spread a layer of cherry whipped cream. I topped it with another layer of chocolate biscuit. Again another dash of liquor and a layer of cherry whipped cream and I finished with the two half circle of biscuit. Next time I would just use the two half circles for the middle layer, but I didn't know if I would have enough cherry whipped cream so I wanted to use the whole circles first, just in case. 

I placed the cookie on the interior and used a bigger cutter for the outside rim. This rim will be filled with chocolate mouse using this recipe:
- 110 ml milk (I didn't had milk so I used whipping cream instead, which worked just fine)
- 2 egg yolks
- 30 gr sugar
- 180 gr chopped pure chocolate
- 375 gr whipping cream

Actually I used this recipe times 1,5 since I didn't want to end up with not enough mouse. And luckily I did, because I didn't end up with much after using it all. 

I started with heating the milk or in my case the whipping cream. In the meantime I mixed the sugar in the egg yolks and to this I add a splash of warm whipping cream to avoid lumps. The egg mixture went into the rest of the warm whipping cream till the mixture was as thick as custard. Then I took the pan of the stove and mixed in the chocolate. While this mixture cools I started with whipping up the rest of the whipping cream. I poured the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream and mixed it till the chocolate is fully incorporated. I poured the mouse in a zip lock bag and after I took the cutter off my chocolate biscuit I piped the mousse all around the interior. Unfortunately my interior was slightly higher then the outer rim so my cake looked slightly different then the original. After everything was covered with the mouse I put the cake in the freezer.

The next day I made the chocolate glaze using the same recipe as the one from the Oscar cake"
- 280 ml water
- 360 gr sugar
- 260 gr whipping cream
- 120 gr cocoa powder ( I only had 100 gr, which also worked)
- 6 gelatin sheets soaked in water

I put all the ingredients in a pan and cooked it till it was ready. Then I added the gelatin and let it cool till about 40C.
I took the cake out of the freezer and start pouring the glaze all over starting with the rim. After the cake was covered I put it on a cake stand and held it on my lap while we drove to my mom's. Although it was an hour drive the cake was still frozen when she tried to cut it. I guess with a cake this big it needs at least two or three hours to defrost. The rest of the family couldn't wait so they digged in. Frozen or not it was a great birthday cake. Normally I would test a recipe first before making it for "real" so for a first timer it wasn't bad at all. Next time it would be much easier and faster to make this cake and I'm sure I will be making lots of them. It was that good!

13 May 2015

Baby boy 1st birthday cake

For my nephew's first birthday party I wanted to make something he could enjoy as well. I decided on making a two tier cake with one extra little cake for him only to enjoy. So for the adult cake I could go all out since he won't have any of it anyway.

For the baby cake (4 inch square baking tin) and the top tier (6 inch square baking tin) I used 1,5 times the biscuit recipe so;
- 300 gr eggs
- 150 gr sugar
- 150 gr flour
- pinch of salt
- lemon zest

This is enough to fill the two tins. 

For the bottom tier (8 inch square pan) I used the same recipe, but next time I would double the recipe to:
- 400 gr eggs
- 200 gr sugar
- 200 gr flour
- pinch of salt
- lemon zest

I think this would make the bottom tier higher. And maybe next time I will use even less flour, maybe the cake would be more moist.

For the butter cream I doubled the recipe and this was more then enough since I also used some for my maccarons. Part of it I kept plain for the baby boy and the other parts I divided it in two so I could make mint butter cream and blueberry butter cream. The mint butter cream would be used as a crumble coating. 

I baked the biscuit the day before to save time, but next time if possible I would bake it the same day. I think that might make a difference as well. 
I started with the baby cake first and cut the biscuit in three parts. On the first part I brushed some sugar water to keep the biscuit moist. Then I spread a layer of crème pâtissière and topped it with some blueberry jam. The second layer was the same. Then I crumble coated it with some butter cream. The cake had to be refrigerated before I could decorate it. 

Then I started with the bottom layer since this was the biggest. I also cut the biscuit in 3 parts and this time I sprinkled the biscuit with some mint liquer sugar water. Then I thinly spread some crème pâtissière added the blueberry jam and the blueberry butter cream. I did the same for the next layer. Then I crumble coated it with the mint liqueur butter cream and put it in the fridge.

For the second tier I had some mint butter cream left so I used part of it in the filling, but the rest was also similar to the bottom tier. 
As for the decorations I looked online for some inspiration, but ended up with my own design of the cake. The bottom tier was covered in white fondant and the second and baby cake in baby blue fondant. As I still had lots of blue and gray fondant I decided to go for a blue and gray color scheme. My nephew loves birds and ducks so birds in the blue sky and ducks on the bottom tier. I didn't really wanted to make clouds so I just made some white decorations, also to cover the not so nice parts up. With a letter cutter I cut out his name and with a number cutter a "1".
I started with covering all the biscuits with fondant, starting from big to small. Then for decorating I did the top tier first. As I wanted the baby cake to be similar to the top tier I started decoration this one after. Last I decorated the bottom tier. 

I'm very proud of the cake, but next time I will need to cover up the flaws a bit better. But the important part was that everyone loved the cake and I absolutely loved making it for my baby boy who is now a toddler. 

Coconut versus Champagne "dessert"

I was very exited about this class and when I first saw the recipe I though it would be difficult to put it together. I guess it can be quite difficult if you have to do it by yourself, but this time we worked in a team of 5. Normally it would be 4, but we had one extra person. And also so parts of the dessert was pre-made for us so that made it easy also.

We splitted in two teams; one team started with making the batter for biscuit roulee and the other team started making the dough for the cookie bottom. We used the recipe for "bretonsdeeg":
- 150 gr butter
- 120 gr sugar
- 1,5 gr salt
- 20 gr egg
- 8 gr baking powder
- 1,5 gr oxygen powder
- 230 gr flour
oven temperature 175C

We put all the ingredients in a bowl and used the dough hook to mix it all together. When it comes together we rolled it out and used a cookie cutter to cut out the rounds we needed for our molds. Since this is quite a buttery dough and it has a rising agent we need to bake it in a mold otherwise it would not have the shape we needed. We baked the cookies till they were golden and let them cool in the mold.
As we still had some dough left, we made some fun cookies. 

The other part of the team made the biscuit roulee, which is basically a biscuit filled with jam and rolled up. The recipe was for two people, but since for this dessert we only needed a thin slice this recipe was enough for the five of us:
- 220 gr egg white
- 225 gr sugar
- 175 gr egg yolk
- 165 gr flour
- 10 gr custard
oven temperature 225C

First we started with beating the egg whites with the sugar till soft peaks. Then we beat the egg yolks till they were fluffy.  We folded the egg yolks into the egg whites and folded the flour and the custard in last. 
We thinly spread the batter on a baking sheet and baked it till it was done. After it cooled we spread some jam on the baked side and rolled it into a log. Then we wrapped it in some plastic and put it in the freezer. 
The coconut dessert had a coconut filling which was already made for us. The same goes for the champagne dessert, but instead of coconut it had an apricot filling. The recipe for the coconut filling is:
- 300 gr coconut puree
- 15 gr confipec
- 180 gr sugar
- 180 gr dried coconut

Instructions are quite simple. You cook the coconut puree and add the confipec with the sugar to it. This you bring to a boil for a bit and then add the dried coconut. After that you pip this mixture in a mold and put it in the freezer. When it's frozen you dip it in some chocolate.
For the apricot filling all you need is:
- 500 gr apricot puree
- 60 gr sugar
- 6 gr gelatin

Heat up the apricot and dissolve the sugar and gelatin in it. Then pour it into mold and freeze them. 

Since this was already done for us all we had to do now was to make the bavarois. Again we split the group so one could make the coconut bavarois and the other group the champagne bavarois. 
For the coconut bavarois we used:
- 430 gr coconut puree
- 6 gr lemon juice
- 14 gr gelatin powder (soaked in 70 gr water)
- 550 gr whipping cream
- 3-4 tablespoons of sugar (not in the recipe, but we like it sweet so we tweaked it)

We started with heating up the coconut puree. Then we heated the gelatin and added it to the coconut together with the lemon juice. Then we took it off the stove and waited till the mixture started to thicken up a bit. In the meantime we beat the whipping cream with some sugar till soft peaks. When the coconut mixture started to thicken, we folded that into the whipped cream. We piped it in the mold and let it freeze up in the bast freezer. As the bavarois continues to firm up we couldn't wait long. So after a few minutes we took the mold out and put the coconut filling in. Then we covered it with some more bavarois. Last we put the cookie on top and put the mold back in the freezer. 
For the champagne bavarois we use:
- 350 gr champagne
- 20 gr marc de champagne
- 35 gr custard powder
- 150 gr egg yolk
- 120 gr sugar
- 12 gr gelatin (soaked in 60 gr water)
- 500 gr whipping cream

We started with mixing the custard powder with a dash of champagne. Then we cooked the rest of the champagne and used the custard powder to bind it. This has to be cooked through for a bit. Then we added the gelatin. In the meantime we beat the egg yolks with the sugar till it was airy. Then we mixed in the hot custard and let it cool. Then we whipped the cream till soft peaks and folded the custard in. 

In the meantime we took the biscuit out of the freezer and sliced them as thin as possible. then with a cookie cutter we cut out the right size and put that into a mold. Then we piped in the champagne bavarois and put the apricot filling in. We covered it with a bit more bavarois and sealed it with a cookie. This mold also wend into the freezer. 
Two teams prepared the jelly for the finishing touch so when the bavarois were frozen enough we took them out of the mold and dipped it in the jelly. We also had time to make decorations so we could doll them up. 
Also since we had plenty of bavarois mixture left we piped them into some molds and froze them as well. Then we rolled them into some dried coconut and some crunchy nuts. 
So instead of 6 desserts we ended up with a bit more.

Next week no more cooking or baking, but wine and dessert tasting. 

10 May 2015

Nougat & Marshmallow & Chocolate fudge & lolly pops

It's all about sweets today.The day stared with a demo about making marshmallows and nougat. As much fun it was to look at, it was of course a lot more fun making it ourselves. 
This time we were in pairs again and we started with making marshmallows using this recipe:
- 300 gr sugar
- 100 gr glucose
- 18 gr gelatin powder soaked in 90 gr water/juice/liquor or 9 gelatin sheets
- 180 gr egg whites
- optional color

For a nice flavor and some color we soaked the gelatin in some mint liquor first. Then we cooked the sugar with the glucose and a dash of water till 121C. When the temperature reaches 115C we beat the egg whites till soft peeks. To this we added one part the hot sugar mixture of 121C and to the other part we mixed in the gelatin. Then the whole thing went into the egg whites and was mixed till the bowl cools. 
We oiled a baking mold and sprinkled it with some powdered sugar and some dried coconut. When the marshmallow mixture was ready we scooped it in the mold and let it dry for an hour or so.
Now we started with making nougat. I never made nougat before but it was easier then I thought. We made it with:
- 450 gr sugar
- 225 gr glucose
- 60 gr egg white
- 150 gr nuts (mixture of hazelnuts and almonds)
wafer sheets

Nougat is made with sugar that has been cooked the first time till 121C and the second time till 149C. So we started to cook the sugar and the glucose with a dash of water till 121C. In the meantime we beat the egg whites till soft peeks. About 1/4 of the sugar mixture was mixed in the egg whites and when the rest of the sugar reached 149C this was added as well. Then all we could do was wait till the mixture has the right consistency. This can take some time, but once you notice that it doesn't mix well anymore the mixture is done. We added the nuts and scooped the nougat on some wafer sheets. With another wafer sheet on top of the nougat we could press it down as much as we wanted. After the nougat cools we sliced them in the shape we wanted. 
Now it was time for some fudge. There were two fudge recipes, one for a "basic" fudge and one for a chocolate fudge. Of course we were making the chocolate one"
- 450 gr sugar
- 190 gr whipping cream
- 75 gr glucose
- 30 gr cocoa powder
- 50 gr butter
- 100 gr nuts

We mixed together the sugar, whipping cream, glucose and the cocoa powder and headed it to 117C. Then we took the pan off the stove and added the butter. We left it to cool for a bit, added the nuts and tempered it on a marble slab till about 45C and it's no longer glossy. Then we put it on a plate till it cools. 

We didn't make the basic fudge but this was the recipe for it:
- 300 ml whipping cream
- 600 gr sugar
- 3 tablespoons of glucose
- 5 gr salt
- 1 table spoon butter

You cook the cream, sugar and glucose till 117C, then add the butter and salt and let it cool till about 45C. We sprinkled some dried coconut on the bottom of a tray and poured the fudge in. Then we sprinkle some coconut on the top. 
Now for the part that didn't work out: lolly pops. Well that's what happens when you don't follow the recipe:
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of glucose
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1,5 tablespoons of citrus juice
- 1 tablespoons of citrus zest
optional: food color

What we did right was heating the sugar with the glucose and the water till 143C. Then we added the juice and the zest and poured it into some molds we greased earlier. Then all we had to do was wait till it cools. The only problem was that we had to much juice in the mixture. We ended up with this sticky  candy that was good, but not anything close to a lolly pop. So next time: we will follow the recipe!
As we had time left we tempered some milk chocolate and dipped the marshmallows in. We even dipped some of the nougat and used some to decorate the fudge. It can't get any sweeter then this. 

Apple dessert and apple strudel

I can't believe we are almost at the end of the course already. In this new phase we are going to make different kinds of desserts and sweets, starting with this very cute apple dessert and an apple strudel. This time instead of working in pairs we were working with a group of four. 

Two of us started to make the dough for the apple strudel and the other two the dough for the apple dessert. For the apple strudel dough we use this recipe:
- 1000 gr flour                                               - 250 gr four
- 50 gr sunflower oil                                      - 12,5 gr sunflower oil
- 50 gr sugar                                                 - 12,5 gr sugar
- 1 egg                                                          - 1/4 egg
- 100 ml vinegar                                            - 25 ml vinegar
- 550 ml water                                               - 137,5 ml water
- pinch of salt
oventemperature 200C

As this recipe is for 4 decent size strudels but if you only want to make one then use the second column. 

It was fairly easy to put the dough together. We basically put all the ingredients in a bowl and let the stand mixer (with the dough hook) do all the work. Then we put it in an oiled baking tray, covered it with some plastic and let it rest in the fridge for about an hour. 
For the apple dessert we use this recipe for making the dough:
- 180 gr butter
- 150 gr light brown sugar
- 22 gr egg
- 2 gr salt
- 275 gr flour
- 9 gr baking powder
- 1 gr carbon dioxide powder 
oventemperature 150C

Again we put all the ingredients in a bowl and used the dough hook to mix it all together. Once the dough was ready we rolled it out and used a cookie cutter to cut out small rounds to fit in the muffin mold. 
Then we mixed 250 gram of almond past and 250 grams of crème pâtissière and one egg to make it liquid enough to pipe little rounds on top of the dough. We baked the dough till they were ready and let them cool in the mold. 

In the meantime we chopped a lot of apples for the apple dessert and for the apple strudel. For the strudel stuffing we used:
- apples
- nuts
- raisins
- cinnamon
- cake crumbles
- sugar

According to the recipe we should end up with about 3400 grams of stuffing. I think we ended up with a bit more. I took the left over stuffing home and used it as topping for a cake so nothing would go to waste. 

For the apple dessert we did measure it all so we used:
- 600 gr very small cubed apples
- 115 gr sugar
- 115 gr apricot puree
- 10 gr quelli

We mixed the quelli with the sugar. I stir fried the apples with some butter till they were just cooked and added the apricot puree to it. Then the sugar mixture went in. Quelli is a brand name for a mixture that has a similar usage as gelatin or agar agar. The only difference is that quelli doesn't have to be cooked to bind the ingredients. 

We scooped the apple mixture in a sphere shaped silicon mold and pressed the cookie we backed earlier on top. While this was freezing in the freezer we stared to ensemble the strudel. 
We started with covering the table cloth with some flour. Then we putting the dough for the strudel in the middle and used a rolling pin to flatten it out a bit. Then the four of use each took a side of the table and gently stretched the dough out bit by bit with our hands only using our hands top up. When it was stretched enough we brushed the top with butter and piled up the stuffing. I wanted to have two little strudels instead of one big one so I made two piles. With the table cloth we slowly rolled the dough over the stuffing. Then we cut out the strudels and tucked in the ends. Now they were ready for baking. I didn't want to bake them yet so I took them home and put them in the freezer for a rainy day.
In the meantime the apple desserts were frozen enough to be taken out of the mold. There was some jelly already prepared and all we had to do was sprinkle some cinnamon on top and dip them into the jelly so a nice thin layer would keep the apple bits together. 
It was a big hit. Everyone loved the apple desserts. I just wish we could make more. As for the apple strudel, I don't think I would be making that again. It was a lot of effort of making the dough and as I like my strudel flaky I  prefer to use phyllo dough.