Saturday, January 21, 2012

Baking Day Recipes

Whew! It's been three days of baking. Each day I am totally wiped out, but wake up (late) the next morning ready to begin all over again. The thing about baking in the holiday seasons is that I don't have to return everything to the pantry cupboard. Everything's sitting out nice and convenient, so it takes me only fifteen minutes to whip up a Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake from the Bread Bible. 

Today I made three kinds of cake. That must be a kind of record for me. I've been so inspired by the Amish people. I bet one Amish baker could whip up six kinds of cake and knock up twenty pies of nine varieties in one afternoon without skipping a beat (I meant "breaking a sweat"). 

I woke up at eleven today. I must have slept at about one last night. I sat down to sew, and did not rise up until I decided I had better get to sleep. I was stitching a kapp for my Amish doll. I already have her Satin green cape dress almost finished - and what a dusky, serviceable shade of green. It's nice. She's a good friend to my Pioneer Doll with a red gingham bonnet and a yellow print dress. 

Quickly I got into a pink dress and a baking apron. Then I made a green chiffon cake. It turned out sufficiently green because I used less water in the making the screwpine (pandan) paste water. That's made from blending long screwpine leaves in water, and draining out the leaves. I put the leafy pulp on a tray on the currently-not-in-use BBQ grill to use and reuse for tea. 

We use that herb water as a cake flavoring. Usually if you order the green pandan chiffon cake in stores, you get a weird shade of green that comes from those little dark bottles of cheap food coloring. No artificial food coloring for me, thank you! And the fragrance was fantastic. 

Rose Levy Beranbaum's Lemon/Orange Glow Chiffon Cake in the Cake Bible was my base. All I did was to replace all the water and lemon juice with fragrant pandan juice and omit the zest altogether. She uses 7 egg yolks and 10 egg whites, the disparity making the cake extra fluffy and light without compromising lightness. Perfect! Most recipes use the same amount of egg whites and yolks, but Rose Levy Beranbaum's addition of extra egg whites is a groundbreaking innovation, which is really elementary in actual fact. It just takes someone who thinks outside of the box. 

Once the pandan cake was in the oven, I washed up and postponed lunch so that I could whip up my brownie cake recipe, which was so yummy, because I used some coffee chocolate chips alongside the usual kind, because I was out of the usual kind. Now, I always add 1/2 tbsp of baking powder to the brownie cake and mix it as per the Cake Bible. It's my favorite, most moist chocolate cake. After three years of wild experimenting, I think I have my recipe right where I want it.

Beka's Latest Brownie Cake: 

Ingredients

    • 230g cooking chocolate
    • 236g (1cup) water
    • 227g salted butter
    • 6 large eggs
    • 100g castor sugar
    • 280g all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 340g chocolate chips

Method

    1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Place rack in such a way that the brownies will be baked in the centre of the oven on top of an oven stone, if you have one.
    2. Grease the cake pans. I used shortening today because it's so effective, but it also "poisonous".  It is necessary to flour the pans when baking with chocolate. Put some flour in the cake pan, then tap and shake until the insides are completely coated. Tap out excess flour into next pan, repeat, and discard the rest of the flour.
    3. Measure out ingredients in bowls. Sift the flour into a bowl over the weighing machine.
    4. Pour water into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then remove from fire and add in the cooking chocolate. Once the chocolate is added, put the saucepan on the stove and allow the mixture to boil. Then let it simmer for five minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the water has mostly evaporated and mixture is very much thickened. Use the wooden spoon to scoop and drop back a little chocolate. It will form a pattern on the surface of the chocolate and dissolve in a little while. 
    5.Break the eggs, and whisk them a little. Then add in the warm chocolate mixture a little at a time, so that it does not get  "scrambled". This is the liquid mixture.
    6.In the Cake Mixer bowl, mix all the dry ingredients - the flour and the baking powder.
    7. Add all the butter and half the liquid mixture to the flour mixer. Beat until incorporated, then beat on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes to strengthen the cake. It will not turn out hard, don't worry.
    8.Add in the rest of the liquid mixture in two batches, beating 20 seconds after each time.
    9.Fold in the chocolate chips.
    10. Pour the brownie cake batter into a nine-inch round bundt pan.  Bake the brownies for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
     


    You can follow the instructions in my link above to the original recipe if you want to decorate the cake with a water ganache. 


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    Then I had a pot of stew and rice seasoned heavily with pepper and painful bird's eye chilli sauce, together with The Story Girl on my PC. The Story Girl series is my favorite of L. M. Montgomery's works. I love the comradeship and characterization, as well as her beautiful, humorous descriptions. It's wholesome and fun to read, full of stories and portraits of life. 



    Finally, I baked the Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake and cleaned the entire kitchen. 



    So here in the house now (don't think of  stealing) we have 1.6 kg of melting moments, 8 tubs of chocolate chip cookies (baked last night), a Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake, a gobsmacking, sweet, rich, goeey, Brownie Cake, and a fragrant, sweet, and airy Chiffon Cake. 


    Tis' the season to eat mandarin oranges!


    Shalom.



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