Fruit Club

As 2011 dawned fresh and sunny, and Cake Club slowly awoke to a new year of cakin’ delights, Kat, Pen and Janine provided a light and fluffy start to the next 52 weeks of digestive challenges. Fruit Club, designed especially to sound almost healthy, but in the end living up to the Cake Club ideals of high fat and sugar, with a dash of alcohol, went down very well with the troops. The recipes follow.

Fruit salad

Blueberries
Raspberries
1 nectarine
4 plums
1 peach
apple juice to cover
dash of peach schnapps (or whatever you can find in the Party Box)

Mix. Stir. Consume.

Whipped cream

Whip up a bottle of cream. Add a couple of spoons of icing sugar and a yon of vanilla essence.

Fresh Fruit Ice-cream (from Page Lawson)

4 parts fruit
2 parts cream
1 part sugar

Best made with frozen fruit that has been half defrosted.
Mix cream and sugar in a food processor, add fruit and process until smooth.
Freeze and eat (best taken out of freezer half an hour before eating).
You can always add extra chunks of fruit just before half way through the freezing process e.g. passionfruit (or passionfruit syrup) or blueberries or pieces of chocolate

Flavours for fruit club
Banana and passionfruit…stir in the passionfruit once the icecream is partially frozen
Blackboy peach
Apricots

Raspberries or any other fresh fruit will also work.

Pavlova

Recipe to come…

Cake-Off Challenge: Brandy Muffins

The fifth and final cake to be tasted and tested in Round 3 of the 2010 Christmas Cake-Off Challenge was Richard’s Brandy Muffins. “I took a Christmas cake recipe and cooked it in a muffin tray,” he explained. “But I multiplied the brandy content by about four, and then poured a bit more on top. Oh, and I soaked the fruit in brandy for about two weeks beforehand too.”

Guest Judge, Lord Forrester of Governor’s Bay, had this to say about the creation:

The wafer of the fruit cake world. Almost a florentine like texture. The most Christmas tasting of our offerings this festive season.

Other comments from the assembled tasters included “Definitely tastes of Christmas (but not turkey curry),” and, “Gnomphphnomomnomph.”

Vote for Richard’s Brandy Muffins in the 2010 Cake-Off Round 3 Poll.

Published in: on December 21, 2010 at 20:45  Leave a Comment  

Cake-Off Challenge: Fish in the Ocean

The first cake to be tasted and tested in the third and final round of the 2010 Christmas Cake-Off Challenge was Sam’s Fish in the Ocean, or “My two mistakes.” Having originally come up with an exceedingly novel idea involving strawberry-fed snails and swiss roll, which was shot down by several friends on the grounds that cakes should not involve meat, Sam intended to create a giant chocolate fish. A large mould was duly layered with chocolate, and a filling of kahlua ice cream inserted. A pavlova side was to accompany. Alas, the ice cream came out leaving the chocolate behind, and the pavlova collapsed. Nonetheless, the resulting Eton-esque Mess was truly original and delicious, and the fish still clearly visible.

Guest Judge, Lord Forrester of Governor’s Bay, had this to say about the creation:

You can really taste the Kahlua – yum. Very good effort. She knew the bar was set high and she delivered. Ice cream very tasty, and cream meringue aka mess creamy and chocolatey delightful.

Other comments from the assembled tasters included “Almost speechless with delight,” and, “Wow!”

Vote for Sam’s Fish in the Ocean in the 2010 Cake-Off Round 3 Poll.

Published in: on December 21, 2010 at 20:25  Leave a Comment  

Cake-Off Challenge: Praline meringue layer cake

The third and final cake to be tasted and tested in Round 2 of the 2010 Christmas Cake-Off Challenge was Gareth’s praline meringue layer cake, with whipped cream and fresh strawberries, and a mixed berry and Cointreau coulis. He earns extra points by putting down one large cake, disappearing back to the kitchen and returning with a second plate filled with mini praline meringue layer cakes, when he saw how many hungry Cake Clubbers had turned up eager for the tasting session.

Guest Judge, Lord Forrester of Governor’s Bay, was beginning to suspect that he couldn’t fit much more cake in in one session, but nonetheless devoured his slice with great satisfaction, adding:

Good meringue – crisp and chewy. Real praline taste. That was delicious. Thank you contestants, that was a remarkable experience.

Other comments from the assembled tasters included, “Beautiful,” and “A spectacular ending to the round.”

Vote for Gareth’s praline meringue layer cake in the 2010 Cake-Off Round 2 Poll.

Published in: on December 14, 2010 at 19:59  Leave a Comment  

Cake-Off Challenge: Rhubarb & Strawberry Tarts

The first of the Christmas Cake-Off 2010 Challenge Cakes to be tasted on this fine December morning was the rhubarb and strawberry tarts by Nina. The original recipe called for a single, large tart, but our budding baker come chemist decided to down-size and up-booze. “I realised that they would have less time in the oven as small tarts, so I boiled the rhubarb first in red wine. On reflection, I recalled that my previous cake club offering had a disappointing alcohol content, so then I soaked the strawberries in white wine. Overnight.”

Guest Judge, Lord Forrester of Governor’s Bay, had this to say about the tarts:

Very short pastry. A nice tartness between the strawberries and rhubarb, with a hint of Christmas in the jus.

Other comments from the assembled tasters included “The pastry is so light,” and simply, “Yum.”

Vote for Nina’s strawberry and rhubarb tarts in the 2010 Cake-Off Round 1 Poll.

Recipe

2 cups flour
Rind of 1 orange
Pinch of salt
200g unsalted butter
Some fluid, originally ice water, but things like orange juice or champagne also work well
1 cup sugar
2 tbs tapioca
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tsp corn starch
500 g chopped rhubarb
50 ml orange juice, or white wine
500g coarsely sliced strawberries
Some flakes of butter

Dough: in bowl combine flour, orange rind and salt, cut butter in small pieces and cut through flour with 2 knifes. With a cold hand knead, add fluid as needed for all to stick together. Then put in fridge in plastic wrap.

Combine rhubarb, sugar (I usually use less than the 1 cup, because I like it to be a bit sour still, but it is usually pretty sour like that), tapioca and corn starch (I sometimes omit those, you will have a juicy pie then), salt, nutmeg and the orange juice/wine.

Roll out 2 thirds of the dough on a floured surface and put it in a greased 20 cm springform. Fill it with rhubarb and the strawberries on top. Roll out the remaining dough as well and cut out (heart) forms, or alternatively cut into strips and criss-cross them over the pie. Put some butter flakes on top.

Bake 15 minutes at 220C (preheated), and then about 30 minutes more at 180C, until pastry is golden and filling bubbly. Let cool slightly before serving.

For the Christmas bake-off I first applied basic mathematics and instead of 1 big pie, made several smaller tarts. Realizing that the baking time would be less, and the rhubarb thus less well cooked, I decided to first lightly boil the rhubarb in red wine. That in itself was very successful and I cooked all the remaining rhubarb with wine and sugar and preserved it. While doing so I also realized this was already beyond basic chemistry, as I was boiling together intricate and complex molecules: oxalic acid of the rhubarb and tannins from the wine. Both substances play a role in my research, how is that for multidisciplinary baking.

Everything else was according to recipe: rolled out the dough and lined approximately 20 muffin forms with them (difficult), added the mushy rhubarb (it was a little too mushy), the strawberries, topped it off with another piece of dough (heart shaped)and baked it basically as long as I would have the full pie. But: I also soaked large strawberry halves in my favourite white wine overnight, and decorated the tarts with those in the morning.

Published in: on December 7, 2010 at 19:04  Leave a Comment  

Caribbean Chocolate Rum Cake

Hot on the heels of previous chocolate cakes came Amy’s boozy rum cake. Described by the cook as “a ripper cake,” this contender for New Zealand’s hottest work baker went down in double quick time, to a calypso beat tapped out with spoons on the table, by dozens of Cake Clubbers hungry for seconds. Amy’s report follows.

Caribbean Chocolate Rum Cake

115 g butter
0.25 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas
2 Tbsp desiccated coconut
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 cup self-raising flour
3 Tbsp cocoa
0.5 tsp baking soda

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, then add bananas, coconut and sour cream. Fold in flour, cocoa and baking soda. Bake in a ring tin at 180°C for 45-50 mins. Turn from tin and leave to cool completely.

Syrup

0.5 cup castor sugar
2 Tbsp dark rum
50 g chocolate

Syrup: Gently heat sugar and 4 Tbsp water in a pot, stirring continuously until sugar has dissolved. Boil rapidly for two minutes and remove from heat. Stir in rum and chocolate until mixture is smooth. Carefully spoon over top and sides of cake. Decorate with tropical fruit and chocolate shapes or curls.

The recipe is from The Chocolate and Coffee Bible. Because I am lazy, I made the entire cake in the food processor but I’d recommend putting the sugar in before the (softened) butter or you end up with 0.5 cm of butter stuck in a solid layer on the bottom of the whizz! The syrup made enough for two cakes but it is also good on ice cream (or porridge if you need help getting started in the morning).

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 04:26  Leave a Comment  

Brandy Alexander Pie

In the second of the winter cake updates, we have Andrea’s Brandy Alexander Pie. This came pre-sliced, and shockingly had to be photographed using a mobile phone, as the usual artist was away and the photographer de jour was ill-prepared. Nonetheless, the word came back to your diligent blogger that this was a pie deserving of high praise and accolades, and was greatly enjoyed by all present. Andrea’s recipe follows.

3 packets Griffins Afghan biscuits
180g butter
Blend in food processor
Press biscuit mixture onto bottom and up side of shallow 20 to 25 cm diameter pie or flan dish

175g butter
225 g icing sugar
120 g plain chocolate, melted
3 tablespoons brandy (or rum or whisky)
150 ml whipped cream
Cream butter and icing sugar in food processor
Add melted chocolate and brandy to creamed sugar/butter mix and whizz in food processor again
Whip cream
Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture

Spoon mixture onto biscuit crust
Decorate pie with chocolate curls
Refigerate at least 1 hr before serving

Serve with whipped cream or fresh fruit or both.

Published in: on July 5, 2010 at 21:33  Leave a Comment