Sunday, 17 September 2017

Lego Cake - Gâteau Lego

J is obsessed with Lego so it wasn't a surprise when he asked for a Lego birthday cake! We spent some time researching Pinterest / watching Youtube videos and made a plan.
We also made a base out of Duplo (more details here).

I tried a chiffon cake, a molly cake, in the fridge, outside the fridge, etc. not satisfied with the results (I have a modular square tin which made the usual tricks impossible). In the end, I went back to the Zebra Cake recipe which is easy and works well even if it is kept in the fridge.
I did a practice run with sugar syrup and one without, both in the fridge and out. The sugar syrup/fridge version was as good as the one left out, winner!

Lemon cake:
I used the Zebra Cake recipe as a base (here), scaled up to 5 eggs but I should have done 6. I'm still having air bubbles issues, maybe I shouldn't add baking powder to the self raising flour... 
Baked in two batches, much better results than one tall cake. 4 layers in total, cut out the centre on the 3 bottom layers.

Sugar Syrup
2 part water, 1 part sugar, bring to the boil the cool and keep in a bottle in the fridge. I used a metal skewer to pierce a few holes in the top of the bottle.

Loganberry curd
I puréed and froze the loganberries from the garden. It would also work with raspberries (they would probably need less sugar).
400g loganberry purée
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cornflour diluted with about 1 Tbsp of lemon juice

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
300g egg whites
225g sugar
375g butter

The mini smarties were a nice surprise but they didn't like the fridge much...

Making the deco bricks (in the truck, in piles on top etc) was a doodle: My friend Helga very kindly lent me her silicone mold. I mixed a bit of Tylo powder into the fondant, pressed it in the mold, popped into the freezer for a few minutes so they would be perfect. I made them a few days ahead, they hardened nicely, job done.
Now for the base and the actual cake, it was a different story... I needed them thin and soft enough to be eaten. I used some leftover fondant with a good dose of Tylo to make molds (I borrowed J's Lego for this). They too were made a few days ahead. I then had to press the fondant and very carefully peel it off and cut it down to size. I find cutting a rectangle out of fondant tricky so imagine the nightmare...

J loved the cake and the family was impressed so we can call it a success! 
Oh, and it tasted nice too, double!

Lego Duplo Cake Stand

I needed a sturdy base for that cake so I borrowed E's Duplo...
More on the cake here.

The cake was going to be in a corner so I added a central platform so it would be stable.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Zebracorn Cake- Gâteau Zébracorne

Unicorn cakes/cupcakes/you name it... They've been everywhere for months! 
J and I have watched a lot of youtube videos and we decided to make a zebra version. 

I made a zebra cake (link to the recipe here) in a large tin and used templates to cut out disks. I scaled up the recipe to 6eggs (1.5 x each ingredient).


The horn is made out of grey fondant mixed with some tylo powder and then painted with edible glitter. The ears are hearts pinched at the bottom. The eyes were shaped around the same heart cookie cutter.

The cake is filled with chocolate ganache made with 200g cream and 200g good baking chocolate.
The cake stand is only a prop, see here for details.

White Cake Stand Props

Nothing fancy but coming handy as photo props! (just remember it is a prop and not cut the cake on the "stand"!)

small plate and mug

plate and bowl

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Warhammer 40k Cake

An afterthought, quick (kind of...) birthday cake for Mr! Totally out of my comfort zone: skulls, weapons and painting! Oh my... the painting... Anyway...

J and I baked a zebra cake (more info here) but went for a freestyle approach...
The cake was then cut into two squares and then leveled and sliced to give me 4 layers in total.

Note: there were some big air bubbles in the cake. I should have given the tin a few taps against the worktop before baking.

For the dark chocolate ganache:
300mL cream
300g good black cooking/baking chocolate, in small pieces

Take the cream to the boil then pour over the chocolate. Leave for a couple of minutes then stir carefully with a spatula until smooth and glossy.
Film and leave to cool and thicken at room temperature.

That was enough for the filling, crumb coating, final covering and lazy cake board covering (with brown sugar sprinkled over it).

I used a food marker to sketch the "insert the proper name of whatever that symbol means" Dark Angels Chapter Symbol. Thank goodness for miniature painting blogs! (If you want to make fun of me, here is the original miniature, pro standards...)
The cake was left overnight in the fridge.

Some of decorations got very soft in the fridge, I'm guessing because of the humidity of the ganache.
Maybe if everything was covered in fondant (the whole cake and the board) I wouldn't have had that problem? hmm...

Then it was time to get my brushes out, the food colouring and some vodka (to dilute the colours, not for Dutch courage!). I was rather pleased with myself then was nicely told that I needed to work on my technique... Cheeky!

The great news about that cake: it wasn't dry at all, probably because there is no butter in it (mix of oil and milk) and the ganache went really well with it. Thumbs up!

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Blackcurrant and Rosemary Cheesecake - Cheesecake au Cassis et au romarin

Fruit season is well underway and we've been eating kilos of soft fruit. Blackcurrants ripen all at once so I needed a plan... I had a look at my recipes and decided to freeze half (whole, sprinkled with sugar) and make a compote to use in a couple of recipes. I still have some blackcurrant liqueur left from last year, otherwise I would have made some of that too!
I loved the idea of the blackcurrant and rosemary cheesecake from "The allotment cookbook through the year". I made it last year but needed to tweak it... So here it is!

Blackcurrant and Rosemary Cheesecake (adapted from The allotment cookbook through the year)
for 8 ramequins (you might need to adjust quantities depending on the size of your ramequins)

for the base:
200g digestive biscuits (crumbs)
90g melted butter
1tsp of fresh rosemary very finely chopped (I also tried with 2tsp but we found it too much)

Gently press the crumbs into the base of the ramequins. As you're not going to release or slice the cheesecake, you don't need to press it hard.

for the cheesecake:
300mL crème fraîche (room temperature)
280g cream cheese (room temperature)
2 eggs (room temperature)
50g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla

Beat the cream cheese and the crème fraîche then add the remaining ingredients.
Pour on top of the base then bake in a water bath at 160°C Fan for 20-25min - it should be set with a slight wobble.
Let them cool down then chill until serving.

for the blackcurrant topping
250-300g blacurrant
4Tbsp water
sugar to taste
1tsp of arrowroot powder mixed with 1tsp of water (I guess it could work with cornflour... let me know if you try it)

Stew the blackcurrant with the water until soft. Add the sugar to taste.
Stir in the arrowroot-water and cook until thick.
Leave to cool then store in a container in the fridge until serving.

Note: you can still tweak the sweetness later, using icing sugar as it will dissolve easily.

Note 2: we also tried a no cook cheesecake (300ml crème fraîche-280g cream cheese-1tsp vanilla-3Tbsp icing sugar)  but found the texture didn't work as well as the cooked cheesecake.

It's obviously a great recipe to adapt to whatever soft fruit you have available. Blueberry-Lemon, anyone?

La saison des fruits d'été bat son plein et on en a dejà mangé plusieurs kilos! Le cassis murrit tout ensemble (c'est bien français, ça?) donc il faut un plan d'attaque. Après avoir jeté un oeil à mes recettes, j'en ai congelé la moitié (grains entiers avec un peu de sucre en poudre) et fait une compote avec le reste. Il me reste encore de la crème de cassis de l'année dernière, sinon j'en aurais refait aussi!
J'aimais beaucoup l'idée du cheesecake cassis-romarin de "The allotment cookbook through the year". On l'avait déja goûté l'année dernière mais il y avait des petites choses à peaufiner... c'est chose faite!

Cheesecake Cassis-Romarin (adapté de The allotment cookbook through the year)
pour 8 ramequins (il faudra peut être adapter les quantités en fonction de la taille de vos ramequins)

pour la base:
200g biscuits anglais digestive, Petit Beurre ou sablés (en miettes)
90g beurre fondu
1cc romarin frais, hâché très très fin (j'ai aussi essayé avec 2cc mais on trouvé que ça faisait trop...)

Presser doucement quelques cuillérées au fond des ramequins. Comme le cheesecake ne sera pas démoulé ou tranché, ce n'est pas la peine de le tasser énormément.

pour le cheesecake:
300mL crème fraîche (température ambiante)
280g fromage frais type Philadelphia (température ambiante)
2 oeufs (température ambiante)
50g sucre 
1cc vanille

Mélanger le fromage frais et la crème fraîche puis ajouter les autres ingrédients.
Verser sur la base et cuire au bain marie à 160°C chaleur tournante pendant 20-25min - le dessus doit être pris mais le centre doit trembler un peu, comme de la gelée.
Laisser refroidir puis réserver au frais.

pour la compote de cassis
250-300g cassis
4cs eau
sucre au goût
1cc de poudre d'arrowroot mélangée à 1cc d'eau (Kézako? Après avoir demandé à mon ami Google, il semblerait que ce soit un épaississant genre Maïzena mais qui ne "blanchit" pas la préparation, et ne change pas de consistance si la préparation doit rester au frigo longtemps. En Angleterre ça se trouve au supermarché avec les levures, fécules etc.)

Cuire le cassis et l'eau jusqu'à ce que le cassis soit bien tendre. Ajouter le sucre au goût.
Ajouter en mélangeant bien la poudre d'arrowroot-eau et cuire jusqu'à épaississement.
Laisser refroidir et conserver au frigo jusqu'au moment de servir.

Note: c'est possible de rajouter du sucre glace plus tard si besoin..

Note 2: on a aussi essayé un cheesecake sans cuisson (300ml crème fraîche-280g fromage frais-1cc vanille-3cs sucre glace) mais on a préféré la texture du cheesecake cuit.

Bien sûr c'est une recette qui peut s'adapter à plein d'autres fruits. Myrtilles-citron, ça vous tente?


Et pour finir, le verdict en images... E - 2 ans, J - presque 5 ans. Tout est dit!

Friday, 23 June 2017

Rhubarb Bars - Barres à la rhubarbe

Inspired by this recipe from Bromabakery. 

Après avoir vu cette recette sur le blog Bromabakery et de nombreux essais, on a enfin une version de ces barres qu'on adore!

Rhubarb Bars - makes 16 bars

For the Rhubarb Purée:
about 400g roughly chopped rhubarb
about 100g sugar (you can add icing sugar to taste later)
1/4 cup water

Simmer until the rhubarb is well cooked. Use a blender or processor to purée the rhubarb.
I've been making more and freezing it in portions.

For the Shortbread base:
225g plain flour
125g butter
50g golden caster sugar

Mix all the ingredients until sandy.
Press in the pan, lined with parchment paper. Use the back of a tablespoon to make it as level as possible.
Bake about 12min at 170°C fan.

For the Rhubarb topping:
1cup rhubarb purée (not boiling hot)
4 eggs
70g sugar
2tsp vanilla
3Tbsp water (more or less depending of your purée)
40g flour
a few drops of red food colouring (optional but homegrown rhubarb might give you an unappetising brownish mix)

Beat together the rhubarb, eggs, sugar, vanilla and water.
Add the flour and the food colouring if using.
Pour over the shortbread and bake for another 15-20min, until set.
Let it cool then place in the fridge.
For neat bars, don't try to peel the parchment off the sides but simply cut off the edges (perfect excuse for quality control!). Cut into 16 bars.
Keep the bars in the fridge and dust with icing sugar before serving.

Notes: We tasted them both cold and at room temperature and we preferred them cold.
I also tried to pair the rhubarb with lemon and orange, but in the end thought you couldn't beat rhubarb with a hint of vanilla.

Barres à la rhubarbe - pour 16 barres

pour la compote de rhubarbe:
environ 400g rhubarbe coupée grossièrement
environ 100g sucre (goûter la purée et ajouter du sucre glace en fin de cuisson si nécessaire) 
1/4 tasse- 70mL eau

Cuire tous les ingrédients à petit feu jusqu'à ce que la rhubarbe soit bien cuite. Passer au mixer pour obtenir une compote bien lisse.
J'en ai fait plus et je l'ai congelée en portions.

pour la base sablée:
225g farine
125g beurre
50g sucre blond (si possible)

Mélanger le tout pour optenir une texture sableuse. 
Presser dans le moule, chemisé de papier sulfurisé. Utilisé le dos d'une cuillère à soupe pour bien égaliser la surface.
Cuire environ 12min à 170°C chaleur tournante.

pour la crème à la rhubarbe:
1tasse/250mL purée de rhubarbe (pas brûlante )
4 oeufs
70g sucre
2cc vanille
3cs eau (plus ou moins selon votre purée)
40g farine
qq gouttes de colorant alimentaire rouge (en option, mais la rhubarbe du jardin donne une mixture de couleur peu appétissante)

Mélanger rhubarbe, oeufs, sucre, vanille et eau.
Ajouter la farine et le colorant si besoin.
Verser sur le sablé et cuire15-20min, jusqu'à ce que le dessus soit ferme.
Laisser refroidir et mettre au frigo.
Pour des barres nettes, ne pas essayer de décoller le papier sulfurisé des côtés, juste couper les bords (la bonne excuse pour un contrôle qualité!). Couper en 16 barres.
Garder les barres au frais et soupoudrer de sucre glace au moment de servir.

Notes: On les a goûtées à température ambiante et froides et on les préfère sorties du frigo.
J'ai aussi fait des essais avec du citron et de l'orange mais au final la pointe de vanille était parfaite pour nous.