Category Archives: baking

A piece of cake – Victoria sponge with orange zest.

As many of you who’ve been following my blog know.. I’ve been known to run away from eggs. Run, literally scamper out of the way. Just as an individual with a Parietal cortex stroke, my brain effortlessly used to come up with the most ridiculous of excuses to avoid buying them when my son asked me. It finally hit my head that it wasn’t fair to my son that I should deprive him of a food he was curious to try, and I began to gradually bake cakes. Yes, I still clear out the counter around the ‘future’ cracked eggshells like a bomb disposal squad clears out curious onlookers and for once, I’m extremely prompt in clearing up and washing the dishes that the eggs have been in contact with, just to ensure there is no trace of any ‘eggy’ odor. And for helping me get over my neurotic aversion, I have my Food52 friends, Cynthia, (the Solitary cook) & Mrs. Larkins, (a.k.a the Scone lady) to thank, they were instrumental in getting me out of this crazy loop.

My go to book for cake recipes is this magazine promotional book from Australia, published in 1985.  Yes, I used to bake way back then, with the same trepidation, but had mommy’s hand to hold on to for support, so the  fear never became apparent. Getting such books in India in the 80’s was a luxury and it was by sheer luck that my mother spotted this book at the local stationery store in Chembur, Mumbai. Each and every recipe I’ve tried from this book has been a straight forward success and I will post more recipe as I make them, with full credit to the source.

The only addition I’ve made to this recipe is the addition of orange zest,For the sandwich filling, I personally like warming up some marmalade and slathering it in between the layers, but chocolate ganache will work splendidly too.

Victoria sponge: (Recipe from Great Cakes, a magazine promotional book from Womans Day (Australia) & white wings brand Flour)

You need:
  2 cups (280 grams) Self raising Flour (I used the King Arthur brand)
2 sticks + 2 tablespoons (18 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1.5 heaped tablespoons finely minced orange zest.
Confectioners sugar for dusting.

For the filling:
1 cup warmed, melted orange marmalade
OR
1 cup chocolate ganache

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.

 

  • Cut out 2 nine inch circles of parchment paper. Grease the bottom & sides of 2 circular baking tins with butter. Carefully press down the parchment paper onto the base of the tins.
  • Measure out the flour and add the salt. Sift to combine.
  • In a stand mixer add the butter and Vanilla extract.Keeping the speed at the lowest setting, beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar gradually along with the orange zest, (increasing the speed slightly) and continue beating the mixture until it turns light and fluffy.

 

  • In the meantime, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl and whisk them. Add the mixture very slowly into the creamed mixture of butter and sugar. (adding the eggs quickly  causes the mixture to curdle). In case the mix does curdle, dont worry, simply add in a bit of the flour that you’ve measured out for the cake. Once the eggs are incorporated, gradually add in the flour and mix gently until all the flour (including the bits sitting on your paddle attachment) is well combined.

  

  • Divide the dough equally between the two baking tins and smooth over the surface using a large offset spatula.

  • Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 30 – 35 minutes until the center of the cake feels ‘springy’ to the touch of your finger tips.
  • Remove the cakes onto a cooling rack. Once the cakes are completely cool, sandwich together using either the warmed marmalade or the chocolate ganache. Dust the top with confectioner’s sugar as per your preference. Cut into wedges and serve with afternoon tea.

My kids & I decided to use the cakes from an earlier baking session to try our skills at decorating..  

Bon appetit!

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The ‘We Knead to Bake’ project 2013 : Baked Doughnuts



Doughnuts.. There are those who claim that America runs on these yeasted goodies from a certain international chain. And they may not be completely off the mark. Its hard for me to think of anyone who’s been able to completely resist these deep fried rings of dough, especially if they carry the label ‘Krispy Kreme’ ( the lighted ‘hot doughnuts’  sign on the storefronts has been known to elicit pavlovian responses in those that are fortunate to pass by it)

Thanks to my extended break from the kitchen, this post is technically a month late. It was originally supposed to be posted in June, (June 1st happens to be ‘National Doughnut day’), but then, as with all good things, Its a classic case of better late than never!Aparna from ‘My diverse kitchen’ picked this recipe from Lara Ferroni’s book  ‘Doughnuts’ and the primary reason for choosing this particular recipe is that its a baked version, instead of a deep fried one. I opted to keep it simple this time and just dunked the finished doughnuts in cinnamon sugar and coated in chocolate sprinkles.


 Baked Doughnuts: 
(Recipe by Lara Ferroni, adapted from her book ‘Doughnuts’)

You need:

1/4 cup superfine sugar
1 cup warm milk (45C/115F)
3/4 tbsp instant yeast (or 1 tbsp active dry yeast)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour (or 1tbsp cornstarch + enough all-purpose flour to make up to 1 cup)
1.5 1/2 to 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
100gm cold butter, cut into 1 inch cubes

For the topping:

 melted butter for brushing
1 cup superfine sugar + 2 tbsp powdered cinnamon as per taste
Sugar glaze (combine 1 cup of icing sugar with 2 tablespoons of boiling water.)
Chocolate sprinkles 

Method:

Combine the sugar, milk, yeast salt and vanilla in the bowl of the food processor and pulse about 5 times to mix all the ingredients. Gradually add the cake flour and about 1 cup of the All purpose flour. Process the dough, gradually adding the flour until the dough thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
At this point, add the pieces of butter one at a time. Process until there are no large chunks of butter left at the bottom of the bowl. Continue adding flour until the dough becomes soft and pliable, but not overly sticky.


 




Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased large mixing bowl., turning it to coat well. 



Cover with a damp towel and let it rise till double in volume. This should take about an hour.




Punch down the dough and roll out to a thickness of 1/2″ thickness. Cut out doughnuts using a doughnut cutter or whatever you have on hand to cut out 3” diameter with 1” diameter holes. Place the doughnuts and the holes on parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheets, leaving at least 1” space between them.




 

 Save the little balls cut out from the center of the doughnuts. They bake up into perfect little doughnut holes.



Re-roll the scraps and cut out more doughnuts. Allow the dough to rise for about 20 minutes or till almost double in size and then bake them at 200C (400F) for about 5 to 10 minutes till they’re done and golden brown. Do not over bake them.

Take them out of the oven and immediately brush them with the melted butter and then dip them into the cinnamon sugar mixture. To cover the doughnuts with chocolate sprinkles, allow them to cool completely, dip them in glaze and immediately dunk them into the chocolate sprinkles.






Bon appetit!



This recipe is being Yeastspotted.