Peoplewhoeat’s Weblog

August 4, 2008

dark chocolate and orange…

Filed under: Baked items, Dessert — Tags: , , , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 1:36 am

Since returning home about a month ago, ive rarely ventured into the kitchen… barring the occasional snack raid. My grandma and aunts are always refusing any kind of assistance while preparing lavish feasts for the family (nearly every weekend)…. and if its not that, i find myself dining out almost every other day as there are always new places to try out and people to catch up with.

Worried that i might lose that baker’s touch (yes, i sometimes like to believe that ive been bestowed with such a gift), i decided try out a recipe that i found in one of the books my aunt had lying around. I found the exact same recipe on BBC Good Food so im going to shamelessly steal the picture from there. My cake looked pretty simillar to this one, except it was a square cake and i decorated it with a dusting of confectioners sugar as opposed to candied orange peel.  

While the cake turned out amazingly moist (thanks to the sunflower oil), the orange flavour is very VERY subtle. This may be due to the fact that i didnt bother looking for a seville orange.. and just used what was lying in my fridge. Also, reducing the sugar by about 50 grams is a good idea, as the dark chocolate ganache more than makes up for it.     

Ingredients :

  • 1 Seville orange
  • a little melted butter , for greasing
  • 100g plain chocolate , broken into pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 240ml sunflower oil
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 250g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • orange candied peel , to decorate
  • Method :

    1. Pierce the orange with a skewer (right through). Cook in boiling water for 30 minutes until soft. Whizz the whole orange in a food processor until smooth; let cool.
    2. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4/fan 160C.Grease and line the base of a 23cm/9in round cake tin. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave for 2 minutes on High, stirring after 1 minute. Let cool.
    3. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs, sugar and oil. Gradually beat in the puréed orange, discarding any pips, then stir in the cooled melted chocolate. Sift in the cocoa, flour and baking powder. Mix well and pour into the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 55 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the middle. (Check after 45 minutes and cover with foil if it is browning too much.) Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
    4. Make the chocolate ganache: put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to the boil and pour over the chocolate. Leave for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth. Set aside until firm enough to spread over the cake – up to 1½ hours.
    5. Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Using a palette knife, swirl the ganache over the top. Decorate with strips of candied orange peel.
    6. Since my cake tin was slightly smaller in width, my cake turned out to be slightly taller. So, once it cooled down, i sliced the cake into half (horizontally), spread some ganache on one slice, then placed the other slice on top and finally swirled it over the whole cake.


    Eat well… because life’s too short not to!



    May 3, 2008

    A party without a cake…

    Filed under: Dessert, Special occasions — Tags: , , , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 10:12 pm

    What’s a birthday party without a cake? Well, I guess it can be a perfectly respectable affair, but to me it just lacks a certain celebratory flair. When a friend’s birthday came our way, we knew we had to bake something special and beautiful. There were only two criteria: it couldn’t be a chocolate cake, and, as students with limited kitchen facilities (not even a handheld mixer!), it had to be something simple and easy to put together. Since we even lack round baking tins,Tina and I opted for a yellow, vanilla-flavoured sheet-cake which could be baked in a rectangular brownie pan, the recipe of which we found on Baking Bites.

    Since we made this all by hand, the cake was dense rather than fluffy, but it was absolutely wonderful and came together quickly and easily. The icing was a spectacular surprise; although caster sugar is used, the result is smooth and buttery, with absolutely no crunchy bits of sugar throughout.

    the beautiful finished product, which we decorated with decorative sugar flowers and candles bought from Waitrose. The dark splodges on which we’ve placed the white flowers are little dollops of dulche de leche (Argentinian milk jam) which Tina bought at Borough market some time ago. The dulche de leche also makes a great topping for a classic banana cake…

    Sheet cake (the instructions reflect what we did, lacking a mixer)

    2.5 cups cake flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1.5 cups sugar (we used golden caster sugar)
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    3 eggs
    1 cup milk
    2 tsp vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celcius
    Grease 9×13 inch sheet pan with vegetable oil
    Sift cake flour, baking powder and salt into bowl. Note: we don’t have a sifter, so we improvised by tossing the dry ingredients around a bit to aerate them. This might have contributed to the cake’s denseness, so if you like a denser, moister cake, don’t sift the ingredients.
    Add sugar and mix to blend
    Cut butter into four or five chunks. Drop into bowl with flour (we cut the butter into small pieces and rubbed them into the flour mixture). Blend until mxiture looks sandy and no chunks of butter remain (one or two minutes with an electric mixer on slow)
    Combine milk, eggs and vanilla in large measuring bowl. Beat lightly until combined, using a fork.
    Pour one cup of this egg mixture into bowl with mixer on low. Turn speed up to medium and mix for one and a half minutes (we mixed this until smooth. You could use a fork, spatula or even just your hands for this).
    Reduce speed back to low and pour in the rest of the egg mixture. Continue to beat at low speed for about 30 seconds (or until smooth! It does take a bit more time by hand) until liquid is fully incorporated. Scrape down sides of the bowl and beat for a few more seconds if necessary
    Pour batter into prepared pan; spread it evenly with a spatula. Tap gently a few times to eliminate any bubbles
    Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes clean
    Let cool for 30 mins in the pan before tuning it out onto a rack to cool completely

    Vanilla Frosting

    the paste of flour, milk and salt. It is not tasty, but it is the start of something beautiful (and tasty). Anyway, once you have this product, let it cool for about an hour and a half before adding it to the butter and sugar

    the fluffy gorgeousness of this sweet, rich frosting

    1 and 1/3 cups milk
    1/4 cups flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 and 1/3 cups sugar (we used golden caster sugar)
    1 and 1/3 cups butter, softened
    2 tsp vanilla extract

    Combine milk, flour and salt in medium saucepan with heat turned off. Whisk until smooth.
    Cook over medium-high heat, whisking, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 5 – 7 minutes.
    Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat
    Strain into medium bowl and cover. Cool to room temperature, about 1.5 hours
    When flour mixture is cool, beat together sugar, butter and vanilla until mixture is creamy and light (it is possible to do this with a fork and whisk, as we did, it just takes a bit longer!)
    Add flour mixture a dollop at a time, beating it in until frosting is creamy and light

    Original recipe is here, original frosting recipe is here

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