November 29, 2008

Caramel Cake - Daring Bakers

This month's Daring Bakers challenge hosts are Dolores of Chronicles of Culinary Curiosity, Alex of Blondie and Brownie, Jenny of Foray into Food and Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go. The recipe for the caramel cake comes from the pastry chef Shuna Fish Lydon behind the blog: Eggbeater.

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)

2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F.
Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients.

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.
Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely
before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

Caramel Syrup

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers.

Caramelized butter frosting

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

November 19, 2008

Vanilla Experiment

Being a bison fan, I could not resist to buy this beautiful entrecôte.

The only question was: how to prepare? Some days ago by accident I found a dose of vanilla salt in my pantry and it was clear that I am going to give the meat a vanilla touch. I fried it in butter together with a vanilla pod, sprinkeled with vanilla salt and hoped for a decent vanilla taste. Well I was a lot disappointed! No smell or taste of vanilla while eating. Anyone an idea why?

November 14, 2008

My mom's vanilla cream cake

This simple and delicious cake, that I learnt from my mom, has a very intense vanilla taste. Let me introduce the white beauty to you.

500 g flour
2 eggs
100 g powder sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoon milk
150 g butter

For the filling:
1000 ml milk
1 pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar

1 vanilla pod
5 tablespoon flour
200 g sugar
4 egg yolks
50 ml milk
250 g butter

Knead flour, eggs, powder sugar, in 1 tablespoon milk dissolved baking soda and butter to a dough. Cut dough in 4 or 5 pieces, depending on the size of the baking form you want to use. Turn a rectangle baking form on the top and butter it. Roll out dough about 3 mm thin, so that you can almost see through. Bake one by one on 200°C for 8-9 minutes.
For the cream heat milk with a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon sugar and a vanilla pod. As soon as it starts to boil stir in the following mixture: whisk flour, sugar and egg yolks with milk until mixed well. Cook the cream until it is thick enough and let it cool. When it is completly
cooled down stir in butter.

November 6, 2008

Colorful Carrot Salad

I would call this the rediscovery of carrot salad: simple and delicious. Nothing else but salt, pepper, white vinegar and hazelnut oil.

I really love all those different carrots you find on the market. Amazing colours! Agree?

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