Top o’ the mornin’ to ye all…..and a Happy St. Paddy’s Day! Help ye’selves to one of my wicked Irish Moss Cupcakes! Wash it down wit a pint of ale and be merry! Today we are all Irish!
What is tat ye all are sayin’? It’s not St. Patrick’s Day today? It’s the 18th already? How can tat be? I started workin’ on tis post so much earlier but……aaaw…ye all caught tis lazy Irish colleen nappin again. ‘Appens more and more these days. And it was all tat ‘orrible Murphy fault anyways I tell ye. He has been hangin’ around here for te better part of tree weeks now – messin’ wit me ‘puter! And messin’ someting bad wit me head too! Well tats my excuse for tat anyway. I am hopin’ tat now he will leave me be and go chat up some other milk maids…… honestly ye’d all think he’d kissed te blarney stone wit all his blabbering! I won’t miss him one little bit I tell ye!
So I’m late, well just a wee bit for St. Patrick’s Day anyway, but in some parts of the world it is STILL the 17th so let me get on with this post quickly so I can at least not hang my head too low in shame. I really have had endless problems with my computer and today was a very bad day! But I seem to have it going so while things are looking up….here goes!
Last year I came across some cupcakes called Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes and I loved the sound of the ingredients although I felt that the name was rather offensive, even though there is a recognized alcoholic drink by the same name and many many links to cupcakes made from the same three alcohols used in the cocktail. So, I decided that I was going to bake the family some of these for St. Patrick’s Day this year (leaving the whiskey out of a bit of the ganache for the little boys). But, so as not to offend any readers all over the world who may have been affected in some way by the many acts of terrorism involving that despicable cowardly act, I decided to give my cupcakes a rather delightful name more suited to the day. I asked on facebook for ideas and one Irish friend came up with the name Dublin Moss Cupcakes. I rather liked that and decided to call mine Irish Moss Cupcakes…what do you think?
Now…..strictly speaking, there is absolutely nothing Irish about my cupcakes. My hubby could not find single cans of Guinness at our local bottle store and neither of us are ale drinkers so I decided to use a bottle of local Milk Stout that I had on the shelf in my pantry. Come to think of it now though I know a few leprechauns who would have relieved us of the other 5 cans! We did not have any Jameson Irish Whiskey in this house but we did have a bottle of J&B and of course there was no Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur either. There to save the day however was half a bottle of our delicious South Africa Amarula Cream liqueur in the cupboard So hey, these are a real twist on the original but let me tell you they are delicious! And because we are ALL Irish on St Patrick’s Day these are being passed on to you as my Irish Moss Cupcakes. Tell me that makes sense in an Irish kind of way please!
IRISH MOSS CUPCAKES
(inspired by and adapted from Sugar & Snapshots Blog)
Yield: 22 Cupcakes
Stout Chocolate Cupcakes
250ml Cocoa Powder
5ml Good Quality Instant Coffee Granules
250ml Stout beer or Guinness
625ml Cake or All-Purpose Flour
10ml Baking Powder
2 Extra Large Eggs
250ml Buttermilk or Greek Style Yoghurt (Sour cream could also be used)
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Line two muffin pans with paper cupcake liners
Melt the butter, stout and sifted cocoa powder together in a small saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave on high and whisk until smooth. Set aside and allow to cool while you make the batter
Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together, add the sugar and set aside
In the bowl of your electric mixer beat the eggs and buttermilk together until smooth
Add the vinegar and mix in
Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture with the mixer running on a low speed then turn up to medium until all combined
Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed until just incorporated. Don’t over mix at this stage
Pour the batter into the cupcake liners, filling each one about ¾’s full
Bake for about 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean
Allow to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting
Whiskey Chocolate Ganache
125 ml Cream
120g Dark Chocolate (I used 70% cocoa solids) roughly chopped
15ml butter at room temperature
Heat the cream in the microwave until just below boiling point
Place butter and chocolate in a small mixing bowl
Pour the hot cream over and leave to stand for 2 minutes before whisking together until shiny and smooth
Add the whiskey and whisk in. Set aside until needed, whisking every now and again. As it cools it will thicken in consistency
3 Egg whites
185 ml Vanilla Flavoured Castor Sugar ( I always have this – fill a Consol or Mason Jar with Castor Sugar, split a Vanilla Pod and stick it into the sugar and seal. Refill as needed with sugar)
375g Butter (at room temperature)
125ml Icing (Confectioners) Sugar – sieved
80 ml cream Liqueur (I used Amarula of course)
In the metal bowl of your mixer whisk the egg whites and salt until frothy
Add the sugar and whisk on medium speed until incorporated
Now place your mixer bowl over a smallish saucepan of barely simmering water – the base must not touch the water
Continue whisking with a balloon whisk by hand until the sugar has dissolved into the egg whites and it is starting to look like meringue – test by rubbing a bit of the whites between your fingers and it is ready if no grains are felt. It doesn’t take too long to reach this stage – maybe 5 minutes
Return the bowl to the mixer stand and whisk on high until the mixture has cooled and is almost tripled in volume. It needs to be glossy and at the stiff peak stage
Divide the butter into 4 and add one portion at a time, whisking well to incorporate between each addition – it will thin the frosting down a bit but will build up again to a fluffy consistency
Add the icing sugar and beat in well
Pour in the liqueur and whisk well
I added a bit of green food colouring gel to make it a soft green shade
Fit a piping bag with a star nozzle and fill with the frosting
To decorate the cupcakes:
It seems that most people make a filling of the ganache by removing a scoop of each cupcake and piping in a bit of ganache but I was running late so just spread a thin layer of the cooled thickened ganache onto each cupcake with a spatula, allowed it to stand for 10 minutes and then piped the buttercream on top.
I have to say, this was the most amazing buttercream and I will most definitely use it often!
Enjoy! And I will be back as soon as I can with a delicious exotic mushroom and blue cheese risotto!
Happy week everyone! Almost Easter holidays and my two young hooligans will be invading my space again! Where does the time go?
Who doesn’t love a dense, moist, decadently dark, fudgey brownie? My tagline on this blog says “there is more to life than brownies….but not much!”
I think that chocolate cures just about anything! And yes, there is a reason that I am known as browniegirl……..and here it is! My signature dish Cheesecake Swirled Brownies – deliciously moist, heavy and fudgey. Delightful on their own straight out of the fridge….but best at room temperature a day or so after they have been baked. By this stage the texture has settled into darkly deliciously fudge like and moist. We love them as a dessert with a dollop of creme fraiche to cut through the richness and some fresh berries in season. But equally delicious with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream! Enjoy them however you choose to…..but do make these!
DECADENT DARK CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE SWIRLED BROWNIES
a decadently dark, rich, fudgey and dense chocolate brownie, swirled with cheesecake. What more could you want?
Original Recipe taken from “Cookies & Brownies” by Alice Medrich; Adapted by me!
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 16 squares (depending how you cut them)
125 grams Lurpak unsalted butter, cut into pieces
150 grams 80% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
250 grams granulated white sugar
Fresh Vanilla Bean – split and seeds scraped out with the tip of a sharp knife
2,5ml pure vanilla extract
2 Jumbo Free Range eggs – at room temperature
90 grams Cake (or all purpose) Flour
5ml Finely Grated Orange or Clementine Zest (optional)
Cream Cheese Layer:
250g Philadelphia Cream Cheese at room temperature
50ml Fresh Cream
70 grams granulated white sugar
2,5ml pure vanilla extract
1 Jumbo Free Range egg – at room temperature
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and place the rack in the center of the oven.
Melt a little regular butter then brush base and sides and line a 23 x 23 cm square baking pan with 2 sheets of baking paper across the bottom and up all four sides of the pan. The paper needs to come above the edges of the pan as you will use it to lift the baked brownies out of the pan. Brush the paper as well. Set aside.
In a large glass bowl melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave – you can do this over simmering water but I prefer the micro method. It only takes 1 -2 minute at about 50% power. Remove from microwave, stir well then stir in the sugar and vanilla extract and seeds and the zest if using.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (with a wooden spoon) after each addition.
Stir in the sifted flour and salt and beat, with the wooden spoon, until the batter is smooth and glossy and comes away from the sides of the bowl (about one minute).
Remove 1/2 cup of the brownie batter, cover with cling film and set aside.
Pour the remainder of the brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Then in the bowl of your mixer or processor (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese & cream until smooth.
Add the sugar, vanilla and egg and blend until creamy and smooth.
Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the brownie layer.
Spoon small dollops of the reserved brownie batter evenly on top of the cream cheese filling. Then with a table knife or wooden skewer, swirl the two batters a little bit (without mixing them together) to make a marbled effect.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until the brownies just start to pull away from the sides of the pan and the edges are just beginning to turn golden.
Remove from oven and place pan on a wire rack to cool.
Once cool refrigerate the brownies (still in the pan covered with foil or cling film) for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.
Once chilled, remove the brownies from the pan by lifting with the ends of the paper and transfer to a cutting board.
With a sharp hot dry knife, cut into 16 squares. It is a good idea to have a damp cloth handy to wipe your knife between cuts.
These brownies can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. Bring to room temperature before serving if you want the fudginess! Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Delicious with a scoop of ice cream or creme fraiche, mascarpone and fresh berries in season – or just alone straight from the container
Don’t use a mixer when you make brownies….you don’t want to incorporate any air into the batter which will not result in fudgy dense brownies
Don’t use any leavening agent in your brownie mixture
Don’t over bake – You want your brownies to be a little bit moist in the middle when you take them out of the oven
Do use the best quality ingredients that you can afford to buy. These days you can get a very good comparable local cream cheese called Lancewood Superior (South Africa) which I have started using.
Pegs come in very handy in my kitchen. Use them to peg the paper firmly into place onto the edges of the pan. Once the batter is in the pan you can remove the pegs but if you use wooden pegs you can put the pan into the oven with the pegs attached
This recipe was featured in Issue 13 of Crush! Online Magazine. If you are not already subscribed to this fabulous, classy food and wine magazine go on over and subscribe. It is free and is delivered monthly to your inbox!
I almost missed the boat on this one…….almost, but not quite! A couple of days ago I was taking a look at my timeline on twitter and came across a tweet from Tandy over at Lavender and Lime about a competition and challenge issued by her – bake something sweet and stand a chance to win a Le Creuset Cassis bakeware set! Well, I do love competitions! And lately they seem to rather like me too. I hope that doesn’t change anytime soon hehe! My brother is literally begging me to give him 6 lucky little numbers for the lotto! And he is adamant it has to be in secret via sms or skype and not in public (ie on facebook) so that the “vultures”, as he calls the rest of my family and friends, will not be able to see the numbers I give him. Think I should help him out?? Anyway…..loving Le Creuset products as much as I do and enjoying baking and competitions I just knew I had to participate in this event. Of course I’m just screeching in once again as this competition closes at midnight tonight. The challenge was to bakes something sweet that you have not baked before and for a while now I have been thinking of trying my hand at a crème brûlée. Or Burnt Cream if you want the English translation. I love this fabulously simple dessert but more often than not when you eat out at restaurants you are disappointed when you crack through the burnt sugar shell and find either runny or stodgy, dry, sometimes split and oily or stale tasting custard beneath. So last week I saw George from Masterchef Australia show the contestants how to make his crème brûlée that he has in his little red book. And when I saw Tandy’s tweet a couple of days later I knew what I would be making for the challenge – crème brûlée! The first challenge of course was that I do not possess any little ramekins but a suggestion by a friend to use teacups did the trick! Then I looked around for a recipe that I fancied but eventually made up my own based on a few others that I read through. The ingredients are pretty basic so it was just a matter of kicking up the flavour a notch and hoping that my custard came through for me. I am very happy to report that I can honestly say I make a very, very good crème brûlée The sugar topping was just perfect to crack the spoon through and I held my breath as I dug the the spoon through the hard topping into WHAT LIES BENEATH! Sounds like a good novel or movie to me! The baked custard….oh the baked custard! It was rich, smooth like velvet, set just enough to hold its shape, very delicate vanilla and lavender flavours, dotted with the tiniest black speckles from the vanilla bean seeds. It was…..PERFECTION!! Better than the best I have ever tasted in the best restaurant I have ever eaten at! Seriously! I am so thrilled with how this turned out. So here is my crème brûlée entry into Tandy’s challenge to stand in line to win the Le Creuset rectangular bake set…..
LAVENDER VANILLA CRÈME BRÛLÉE WITH A PISTACHIO SUGAR TOPPING
500ml Fresh Cream
200ml Full Cream Milk
6 Jumbo Egg Yolks (the whites are ageing for macarons)
90g Castor Sugar
1 Vanilla Pod – split lengthwise and the seeds scraped out with the tip of a knife
1 Lavender Flower, washed
100g Castor Sugar or Flavoured Sugar for the topping (Demerara apparently works well but I didn’t have any)
Preheat oven to 150deg Celcius
Place 6 – 8 ramekins onto a flat folded tea towel in a large roasting tin (depends on the size of your ramekins)
Fill the kettle with water and switch it on
Place the cream, milk, vanilla seeds and pod and the lavender flower into a small saucepan and place over a medium heat to scald – don’t boil it. Take it off the heat just as the bubbles start forming around the sides of the saucepan
While the cream is heating up whisk your egg yolks and sugar together very well until very pale and thick
When the cream is ready strain it through a sieve into a jug then pour it gently into the bowl with the eggs while whisking all the while. You do NOT want it to start scrambling the eggs so constant whisking is essential
Once all incorporated pour the custard into the ramekins almost filling right to the top
Place the roasting tin as close to the oven shelf as possible then pour in the boiling water from the kettle to come about half way up the sides of the ramekins (I find it much easier to have the empty roasting pan close to the shelf
otherwise you carry the heavy pan with boiling water all the way to the oven!
Cover loosely with a sheet of tin foil then place on the middle rack in the oven
Bake for about 1 1/2 hours – the top should be well set but the custard can still wobble a bit underneath
Cool completely then cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight
When ready to serve the dessert sprinkle an even layer of sugar over the top of each one then caramelize with a blow torch or under the very hot grill for a few seconds
I tried both methods and found the little kitchen blow torch absolutely ideal for this. You don’t want the custard to start melting underneath
Repeat the process once more if you want a thicker burnt sugar topping then allow to harden and cool for a few minutes before serving
Do you remember those beautifully elegant black boxes that contained an assortment of chocolates? In days gone by if you wanted to show your appreciation to someone you would go out to the grocery store and purchase one of these boxes as a gift. Black Magic! I always used to pick out the dark chocolate ones and hide them until I could savour their richness all on my own. I’ve always been a bit of a dark chocolate lover, even as a child. But it has only been in the last couple of years that my appreciation for the silky smooth, melt in the mouth richness of dark chocolate has really developed. My favourite treat these days is a block of dark chocolate with sea salt…..I pop it into my mouth and allow the warmth to gently melt the chocolate, the little flakes of saltiness just cutting perfectly through the rich darkness of the chocolate! I’ve become really adventurous and have even started using it in my cooking…..grated into a risotto, in a rich mole sauce, in a sauce to top a perfectly grilled fillet steak.Heck, last week I even used it in my caramelized onions for a topless tart that I was making! That however is for another posting….maybe tomorrow!!
Sometimes you see something and it rings a bell in your subconcious about something that you have hidden there for some time…..waiting for the right moment, but not knowing when exactly that right moment will be. A little while ago I was surfing the internet (as I often do) and I came across a recipe for the River Cafe Chocolate Nemesis cake on my friend Sam’s blog Drizzle and Dip. This was totally unrelated to my search by the way. I don’t even remember what I was googling when I came across it. But it rang that bell. I remembered reading comments from people who had tried the cake and it had flopped, others had given different recipes for the same cake. Lots of advice accompanied the posts. Sam mentioned that she had one of the River Cafe pocket books: Puddings, Cakes & Ice Creams by Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers and in it was a recipe for the “easy” version of the Nemesis Cake, which she had made very successfully. I had filed recipes of the cake in one of my earliest recipe files…circa 1995 I think….put away for a time when I was ready to attempt this contrary sounding cake. And I had never gone back to them…!
Last week I was deciding what to bake for my birthday when I suddenly remembered that lurking in that same cake recipe file I had saved a recipe for something that I dreamt about for awhile…..something so dark and decadent that it sounded almost indecent! Even the name had played havoc with my psyche at the time…..Bête Noir…..black or dark beast……..it hardly bore thinking about in my conscious moments…..
Wikipedia gives this explanation: The term bête noire (pronounced /ˌbeɪtˈnwɑr/ or /bɛtˈnwɑr/; French: [bɛtnwaʁ], “black beast”) is used to refer to a person, object or abstract idea that is particularly disliked or avoided. The term may also refer to:
In culinary arts: Bête noire (cake), a rich, flourless chocolate cake
It was time to haul out my feather duster and brave the dust in the archives and find that recipe! When I did find it I realized that I was right. It was almost identical to the famous River Cafe Nemesis Chocolate Cake. I felt that I was ready….and celebrating my birthday in dark style was exactly what I felt like!! I studied it for a day or two, made one or two little tweaks ( I AM, after all, the queen of recipe pimping) then called my dear heart and asked him to bring me home 400g of the darkest chocolate that he could find…..well, I got calls from the shop…”there isn’t any plain dark chocolate here”….”I have to have it” said I so he hot footed it over to another store….eventually I got that one call after 3 or 4 others inbetween….”found some 85%. Is that dark enough for you?” Was it ever??? Oh he moaned about the grotesque price of the chocolate but it WAS my birthday after all and after a gentle reminder about that fact he put the phone down and bought the chocolate….and the unsalted butter and fresh free range eggs. I was most explicit in my instructions and he followed them to the letter!
Once I had the ingredients I went into the kitchen with heart pounding…..printed out recipe in my hand. Would it work for me? What if it flopped and I had just made my hubby spend a small fortune on the ingredients? I had a house full of guests arriving the next day for lunch and they were expecting homebaked cake for tea! I donned my apron and set to work.
This recipe for Bête Noir cake is attributed to author, spokesperson, lecturer, cooking instructor and business owner Lora Brody who has written 22 books, a number of which have been best sellers and it comes from her cookery book “Growing Up on The Chocolate Diet” I could definitely grow up on THAT diet!
BÊTE NOIR ULTIMATE DECADENT CHOCOLATE CAKE – AND YES, IT IS COMPLETELY GLUTEN FREE!
Slightly adapted by me
This is what you need:
360g Dark Chocolate – use the darkest that you can find. I used 85%
250g Unsalted Butter – at room temperature
5 Extra Large Free Range Eggs
280g Superfine Castor Sugar
1/2 Vanilla Pod – slit with a sharp knife and seeds scraped out (Bury the used pod in some castor sugar in a bottle with a lid and you will have wonderful vanilla sugar to use in future baking expeditions)
1 Orange – finely grated zest only – this is entirely optional, I just love orange with chocolate
250ml Boiling Water
This is how you make it:
Preheat oven to 160deg Celcius
Place oven rack in the centre of the oven
Brush a 20cm deep cake pan with soft butter and dust lightly with cocoa powder – I used a mixture of flour and cocoa but if you are gluten intolerant use only the cocoa powder
Line the base of the pan with baking paper which you also brush with butter
Chop the chocolate into rough chunks and cut the butter up into cubes
Place the boiling water into a medium saucepan on the hob. Add 3/4′s of the sugar, stir until dissolved then boil rapidly over high heat for no longer than 3 minutes to reduce it to a sugar syrup
While the water is boiling crack your eggs into the bowl of your mixer, add the remainder of the sugar and beat until you pale and thick
Turn off the heat!!
Add all the chocolate at once to the just boiled sugar syrup and whisk with a balloon whisk until all melted
Start dropping in the butter one or two cubes at a time and whisking it into the chocolate mixture until it is all melted in and the mixture is thick and glossy – set aside until you are ready!
Add the vanilla seeds and orange zest to the eggs and beat in
Now add all the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and fold in gently until combined. Don’t overbeat as you don’t want to introduce air bubbles at this stage
Scrape all the mixture into the prepared cake pan
Set the cake pan on a folded tea towel (stops it from slipping) into a slightly bigger pan and fill up to the brim of the cake pan (without getting any of it into your cake mixture) with hot (not boiling) water. I find it easiest to do this once I have already placed the pan into the oven. Pouring water to the brim of the cake pan allows for really even baking
Bake the cake, in its water bath, for approximately 30-40 minute. It needs to be firm on the top but still have a slight wibble wobble when you move the pan. A cake tester inserted should come out with some sticky crumbs attached
Remove from the water bath and cool, in the cake pan, on a cooling rack. Once cold you can wrap tightly with glad wrap and put into the refrigerator for the night
Remove from refrigerator an hour or so before you are going to be eating the cake
To remove it from its cake pan, run a spatula around the edge of the cake then set it onto a hot plate for a second or two. I have a chefs blowtorch which did the job perfectly for me. I just heated all around the sides of the pan and the base of it then turned the cake out onto a plate.
Remove the baking paper and then invert the cake onto another plate so that the top is upside.
You can frost this with chocolate ganache if you wish but this cake is just so utterly decadent and rich that I simply dusted it with sifted icing sugar and served it with a dollop of créme frâiche and a few fresh raspberries which cut wonderfully through the richness of the chocolate. A thin wedge is more than enough for a portion.
This is seriously the most deliciously decadent rich mousse like cake that I have ever baked or eaten. It just melts in your mouth…no chewing necessary. Besides, you need to be able to moan softly when you eat it
Don’t say I didn’t warn you…..I have been dreaming about it ever since. I simply HAVE to make it again…..very soon!! I’m thinking next time I might add 1tsp of coffee granules to the boiling water and omit the orange zest…..endless possibilities!
A fantastic cake to bake for Easter!
PS Thank you so much to everyone who left birthday wishes for me. I so appreciated them all.
I had a wonderful day surrounded by family and loved ones. Lots of fun, laughter and good food! And of course spoiling
FoodNetwork UK is running a challenge on their facebook page where you can create a virtual wedding cake (Royal Wedding fever has struck!) using their Cake Creator app. Go on! You know you want to……unleash that creative baker that is lurking inside you!
And while you are there….please vote for my cake that I designed. Food Network are going to be giving away 5 copies of Eric Lanlard’s cookery book “Master Bakes”
You will find my cake under the Most Voted in the Gallery. Just scroll to the right until you get to Colleen Grove That’s me…..I need about 100 votes to catch up to the leader so could really use some kindness about now. Thank you! And if you create a cake…let me know and I will return the favour!
That saying has always fascinated me and when I was young I often used to wonder what time goes by or where and when? I know firsthand now that it actually just goes by! And fast! It doesn’t wait, it doesn’t respect your requests for it to slow down at all. It just relentlessly keeps on going by!
I am sitting here in my small, overheated study, the window flung wide open to catch any recalcitrant breeze and the curtains fully parted as the sun has already passed the mark where it shines on my screen and prohibits me from seeing what I am typing or reading. I am listening, as I type, to the lazy buzzing of the bees busy at the lavender blossoms below the window, the heady calming scent reaching my nose enticing me to go out into the fresh air rather than sit cooped up here on such a magnificent day. But sit here I must! I have put off long enough doing what I love doing and giving in to the lazy side of me that wants to give in to doing nothing at the moment…..a sure sign of that post traumatic stress disorder rearing its unwanted head in my life again. All the work done to organize FBI2011 has taken it’s toll and I am exhausted and in need of a little bit of time out but it just doesn’t happen here. And so I should learn that I am neither as young or as strong as I imagine I am and to just give in to the need to sit and do nothing for a while, except maybe get lost in a good book….but that essentially leads to a session on the pillow with my feet up and my head in dreamspace…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!
It is a stunning summers day down by the bay – odd that as it is officially autumn and it should be a lot cooler than 30deg Celcius, we should be having north westerly breezes blowing up bad weather from the north, bringing some much needed rain. Instead the sun is blazing down from a deep cerulean blue sky, not a breath of wind is rustling the leaves on the windblown, salt browned plants in the garden and it is hot!
My daughter celebrated her birthday yesterday on a day exactly like today. All her younger life she wanted a swim party, every year it was the same request - “Please can I have a pool party this year Mommy?” Only to be bitterly disappointed time after time as the weather had always turned to winter never mind autumn by the the 27th of March and she had to settle for jackets, socks, boots and indoor parties instead of bikinis, sunscreen, sun hats and al fresco eats on the lawn under the tree. Looking back to those days and looking at the weather we are enjoying I see how the seasons have changed and I wonder what is to come still?
Of course, being a baker and being a mom of a daughter with a birthday I had to bake her a cake didn’t I? I turned to my “go to” seriously easy boiled milk vanilla sponge. It is always such a pleasure to bake this cake and it turns out beautifully every time. It never disappoints, rather it is a source of great delight. I have taken to using Kapruka coconut oil instead of vegetable oil or butter in the batter and it just lifts this cake to another level, so light, a wonderful crumb and a very delicate coconut flavour. My daughter asked for citrus flavoured frosting and, coupled with the salted caramel filling, it was a winner! Even my orange hating son gobbled down his slice (or three) without muttering! I am submitting this post to Tandy’s challenge for this week. I used the recipe as in my cake link above and added finely grated zest from half a lemon to the batter and finely grated zest from an orange to the frosting! My first challenge entry for a while Of course my son had the last word……he asked what the dust particles were in the cake. Vanilla bean seeds son, vanilla bean seeds!!
I had a little helper with the frosting…..he makes an excellent licker or anything with frosting on it Every bakers kitchen needs an elf like this…….
Happy Birthday my beautiful girl….love you!!
Have a good week everyone. I have so many recipes to post. Just need to get my mojo going so that I can edit some photos to go with them. Hope to do that this week.