Sunday, February 28, 2016

Orange Chiffon Cake with Marrionberry Jam

I've always loved chiffon cake but baking it perfectly isn't something that I've mastered yet.  Some days my cake will turn out right, some other days it will turn slightly dry and stuck to the pan.  When it happens, I curse myself for not making it right.  I always want to be perfect the first time around, though in the end I will realize that if it doesn't turn out right, I can always make it again another time.  It's only eggs, flour, sugar, and butter, right?

The texture of chiffon cake has to be soft with tender crumbs.  With proper folding technique, there shouldn't be any dense part at the bottom, it should be springy when done baking.  As for the embellishment, it can beautify with painted with frosting or drizzled with sumptuous glaze, or it can left bare with a side of melty jam or compote in a bowl to eat with.  I chose the latter.  And why Marionberry jam?  Because it's currently my favorite jam to eat (the original recipe includes an easy rhubarb jam). This cake is good and the flavor is right so the only complain I have is that it bakes darker than my other chiffon cake recipes.

There's always a room for improvement in making chiffon cake and I hope I'll get a chance to do it soon.

Orange Chiffon Cake with Marionberry Jam

Serves 8 to 10

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
6 large eggs at room temperature, separated
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
Pinch of cream of tartar

Homemade Marionberry jam or store-bought jam

Preheat the oven to 375F.  In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and the orange zest on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Gradually beat in the oil.  Working in batches, alternately fold in the flour mixture and the orange juice, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until very soft peaks form.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until firm, glossy peaks form.  Fold one-third of the whites into the cake batter until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites just until blended.

Scrape the batter into a 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom and lightly smooth the top.  Tap the pan once to release any air pockets.  Bake the cake in the bottom third of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly pressed.  Invert the cake pon onto a jar and let cool in the pan.

Run a thin metal knife between the cake the sides of the pan to loosen.  Invert the cake onto a cake plate and serve with the Marionberry jam.

Source:  Food and Wine, March 1998

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pretty in Pink Cake

My first attempt of making a naked cake and it turned out very, very pink!  I've always wanted to recreate this cake and this week seemed to be an appropriate week for a pink cake (*hint: Valentine's Day is this Sunday).

I've made this cake with the original fruit, which was strawberry, back when I just starting to blog.  Everything was so new and I was still in the process of learning how to bake and how to style my food so it would look good presentation wise.  In fact, I found the photo, which inspired me to make it again.  Here it is:

That photo was an embarrassment to my existence!  I don't know why I missed so many no-no's with food back then but I guess somewhere, sometime, I had to learn, right.  It was taken by a small Sony digital camera that ceased to function a few years ago, and it was my first digital camera.  Anyway, I honestly couldn't remember how the cake tasted at the time so by making it again I hope I can reacquaint my love for the cake.

It is basically a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting with the addition of strawberry preserves and decorated simply with fresh strawberries.  This time around, it is raspberry preserves with fresh raspberries and I swapped semisweet baking chocolate with a bittersweet one.  I did take out some of the sugar measurement out from the icing because I thought 2 cups was going to be too sweet for my taste.  And I was glad I did.  The raspberry preserves is a homemade one because my preserves is the best 😝.  I decorated the cake with simple decoration of frosting and fruit because I like this look the best with a naked cake.  In the end, I fell in love with the cake again!

Pretty in Pink Cake

Serves 4

Schnappy Chocolate Cake
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-ounce pieces
3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus 3 teaspoons
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon Wilderberry schnapps

Pretty in Pink Icing
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-ounce pieces
6 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1-ounce pieces
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
4 to 5 drops red food color

Make the cake:  Preheat the oven to 350F.  Lightly coat the insides of three 6 x 2-inch aluminum cake pans, using the melted butter.  Flour the insides of each pan with 1 teaspoon flour.  Shake out and discard the excess flour.  Set aside until needed.

Melt the chopped chocolate and the 2 ounces butter in the top half of a double boiler, or in a small glass bowl in a microwave oven and stir until smooth.

In a sifter combine the 3/4 cup flour, the cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  Sift onto a large piece of parchment or wax paper and set aside.

Place the granulated sugar and the eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle.  Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes until the mixture is frothy and slightly thickened.  Add the chocolate and butter mixture and mix on medium to combine, about 15 seconds.  Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Operate the mixer on low while gradually adding the dry ingredients; mix until incorporated, about 45 seconds.  Add the schnapps and mix on low for 10 seconds.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Immediately divide the cake batter among the prepared pans (about 2/3 cup of batter in each pan) and spread evenly (the batter is very thick, so this will take a bit of spreading).

Bake on the center rack of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake layers comes out clean, 15 to 16 minutes (do not overbake).  Remove the cake layers from the oven and cool in the pans for 15 minutes at room temperature.  Invert the cake layers onto cake circles or cake plates, then immediately turn the cake layers side up again.  

Make the icing:  Sift the confectioners' sugar onto a large piece of parchment or wax paper.  Set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle.  Mix on low speed for 1 minutes, increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until soft.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.  Beat on medium for another 2 minutes.  Add the confectioners' sugar and mix on lowest speed to combine, about 1 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.  Now beat on medium for 10 seconds.  Transfer the butter and sugar mixture to a small bowl.

Place the cream cheese in the same bowl.  Mix on low speed for 1 minute, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until soft.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.  Beat on medium for another 2 minutes until very soft.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.  Add the raspberry preserves and beat on medium for 1 minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the butter and sugar mixture and beat on medium for 10 seconds.  Add the food color and beat for 15 seconds.

Assemble the cake:  Use a cake spatula to spread 3/4 cup of icing evenly and smoothly over the top and to the edges of the 2 cake layers.  Stack the iced layers, then top with the remaining cake layer.  Gently press the layers into place.  Spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake using a combination of spatula and bench scraper.  Wipe excess frosting back into the bowl.  The cake is essentially getting a crumb coating so it will look naked.  If you want to make dollops of frosting on top of the cake, use a 1/2" plain tip and a French tip like I did.

Refrigerate the cake before cutting and serving. 

Source:  adapted from Celebrate with Chocolate by Marcel Desaulniers

Friday, February 5, 2016

Baked Eggs with Roasted Vegetable Hash

One of the protein sources we like to eat as a family is egg.  Egg is a constant our go-to choice for breakfast, it's very versatile, easy to fix, and it fills up our tummies :)  I was trying out a new recipe and this one is super easy and very satisfying.

Grated Fontina cheese is folded into the whipped eggs and then they're baked in the cast iron skillet until puffy and golden brown.  The sweet potatoes and mushrooms are baked in the oven until tender; they don't need a lot of adornment because they're inherently flavorful.  Afterwards, they're sort of thrown together in a plate, ready to be devoured.  I really like these flavors combination together, the way the earthiness of the mushrooms, the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes, and the nuttiness of the cheese comes together is very moreish .

Baked Eggs with Roasted Vegetable Hash

Serves 6

10 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces Fontina cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thinly
1 large sweet potato (8-10 ounces), peeled and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large shallot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
3 tablespoons olive oil

Put racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 450F.  Butter an 8-inch cast iron skillet or  a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

Whisk together eggs, milk, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until smooth.  Whisk in cheese.  Pour into baking dish.

Bake in upper third oven until puffed, golden, and set, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss together mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and shallot with oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper on a large baking sheet.  Spread vegetables out in an even layer and roast in lower third of oven, stirring twice after 10 minutes, until tender and golden brown, about 18 minutes.

Serve eggs with roasted vegetables spooned on top.

Source:  adapted heavily from Gourmet Today