Gastronomically Terrific

February 1, 2016

Tiramisu layer cake

Filed under: Cake, party, pudding, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 2:34 pm

To end my dinner party, I decided to make tiramisu for dessert. I’ve made tiramisu before a number of times, but I had never tried the one in Nigella’s Christmas cookbook. The majority of recipes from this book seem to come out well, and I knew that the likelihood of it being fairly alcoholic was relatively high.

Thankfully, nothing disappointed. The recipe was simple, there was plenty of alcohol, and it made for a great dessert.

I had bought a loaf cake to make this tiramisu with, but I was a little worried it was more coffee than chocolate flavoured, and I knew that without chocolate cake the coffee flavour was likely to be overwhelming. Luckily, earlier that week I had ended up making chocolate sponge traybake with my son, having failed to make sure I had the right ingredients to make apple crumble in the house (or rather, having had the ingredients but then somebody eating all the apples). So I used that in place of the shop-bought loaf I had.

Now, Nigella’s recipe states quite clearly that homemade sponge cake doesn’t tend to soak up the alcohol as well as shop-bought loaf cake. Not so my cake, which soaked up a lot of Kahlua… I had to use three times as much as suggested (I’m not sure what this says about my baking, but it meant extra booze, so I guess it’s a good thing). I was also using Kahlua rather than the suggested Tia Maria; simply because that’s what we had in the house. It seemed to work fine!

Making tiramisu is actually pretty easy – it’s mostly about creating layers. Other than beating together eggs, caster sugar, mascarpone, double cream and the Kahlua, all you need to do is layer up the cake.

Firstly, you soak the sponge in Kahlua. Then you add this to the bottom of a tin before adding a layer of the cream mixture. You basically keep going with soaked sponge and cream layers until you’re done, ensuring you end with a cream layer. It’s a good idea to use a spring-form tin because when you’re done the cream hasn’t set yet – it needs to go in the fridge for at least 12 hours for this to happen. Having a spring-form tin means the cream stays in one place – but once it has set, you can remove the sides and it looks pretty good around the edges. And tastes, hopefully, lovely and boozy!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 93-94

 

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July 5, 2015

Raspberry ripple cheesecake

RaspberryRippleCheesecake2Wanting to make something for our dating anniversary at the end of June, I went for this no-bake cheesecake which didn’t have too many ingredients, so we wouldn’t end up wasting any before we went away for three months. The recipe is from an Annabel Karmel recipe book, and as such I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult.

Unfortunately, it’s a pretty ‘stagey’ recipe. I knew that before I started. What I didn’t know was that the recipe tried to make each stage simple – too simple, meaning the amounts weren’t really correct.

My first problem was that the recipe uses gelatine. Because hubby is vegetarian, I use vege-gel as a replacement, and, I admit, I don’t get on with that well. I love it when I can use real leaf gelatine, because it’s so easy! With vege-gel, I often seem to end up with clumps of gelatine, and that happened here.

The biscuit base was easy – just digestives and butter. That I can do.

The next stage was to make a raspberry coulis – a mixture of raspberries, icing sugar and cornflour, which you then heat. This seemed to be working well, until I heated the mixture up together. There was way too much cornflour, meaning it became much, much thicker than intended. At least it did thicken I guess. The problem was, this mixture is meant to be blobbed on top of the cream cheese mixture and then swirled to make a pattern. Whilst blobbing it was easy, it was too thick to swirl.

The cream cheese mixture itself was easy to do – just cream cheese, double cream and caster sugar. The problem here was adding the clumpy vege-gel. In the end I had to reheat the vege-gel with some of the cream cheese (I admit, I should have done the vege-gel by itself first…) to get the majority of the lumps out (there were still some). So some of the cream cheese was wetter than it should have been.

Finally, I had to put more blobs of the raspberry coulis on top of the cream cheese mixture. This time, I didn’t even try to swirl it. I did cover the whole thing in strawberries and blackberries, with a hint of melted white chocolate, so you couldn’t see that pattern anyway.

In the end, the cheesecake, on the whole, tasted fairly good – even if it didn’t look quite as good as it should have. But it was a very faffy recipe for a not brilliant result. I’ve made much better cheesecakes (in terms of taste and looks) with a lot less effort. This isn’t one that will be added to my ‘go-to’ recipes.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Annabel Karmel book

May 12, 2015

Chocolate mallow cake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , — lawsonanna @ 10:22 am

Chocolate mousse cakeThis is an incredibly simple recipe that I found on The Teal Ribbon Girl’s blog (which they, in turn, found in a Sainsbury’s magazine). I wasn’t planning on doing any baking, but the recipe appealed to me not just because it was simple to make, but also because it used eggs, cream and chocolate, and little else. We just happened to have tons of eggs and cream to use up.

To make the cake, you beat together caster sugar and the yolks of five eggs. You then add dark cooking chocolate and whisk in hot water. You then need to fold in the five egg whites, which have to be whisked into soft peaks first. This cake mixture is then divided between two tins and baked for 20 minutes. Once the cake has been cooled in the fridge, you need to add the whipped cream and sandwich the two layers together. You can then dust the top of the cake with icing sugar.

Initially I wasn’t very impressed with the final result. I thought it looked a bit rubbish. This was entirely my own fault-I rushed baking the cake ad came very close to totally messing it up. Thankfully, once we had cut into and eaten the cake, it didn’t seem so bad after all. It looked a lot better on the inside and tasted pretty good too!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: From The Teal Ribbon Girl’s blog (originally from a Sainsbury’s magazine)

January 3, 2015

Yule log

43 Choc yule log CUOnce again, a recipe I have made before – last Christmas in fact. This time around, I made it because my family were visiting us this Christmas. This was the second chocolate log I made this year, and froze ready for the Christmas period.

The basic roulade mixture only contains 6 eggs, caster sugar and cocoa powder (this yule log is pure chocolate). The great thing about making the log this year was that for my birthday I had been bought a proper (9×12) swiss roll tin, meaning that the roulade came out the right size, and could be made the right shape. In the past I’ve used a square baking tin – which works, just not quite as well.

Both the filling and icing for this roulade are the same – which does at least make life easy. They’re basically just a chocolate icing mixture. I do think that the icing on my previous effort looked better, but this still wasn’t a bad attempt.

The thing that hasn’t changed since the last time I made this was how incredibly rich  and chocolately it is (which I have to admit, I had forgotten). We all ate some of this yule log for Christmas Day tea, and it prevented any of us being at all interested in trying in the Christmas Cake. Thankfully, Christmas Cake is fruit, so leaving it for a few days really didn’t matter!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Nigella Christmas, pg. 191-193

December 26, 2014

Shortbread stars

Filed under: biscuits, Christmas — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 10:31 pm

Shortbread starsHaving made quite a lot of bakes over the past few days, I wasn’t sure how many more I could be bothered to do of what I had planned. Then I looked at the recipe for these… they are so, so easy to make! Probably the easiest shortbread I have ever made, you simply mix together plain flour and caster sugar, and add lots of margarine. It takes a while to incorporate all the margarine into the dough, but once you have you just roll it out and cut out star shapes. Even that’s easy, because it’s shortbread so you roll the dough out fairly thickly.

You then put the stars into the oven for 15-20 minutes, let them cool, and add some melted chocolate (I just drizzled it over with  a spoon, but there’s no reason you couldn’t do something more fancy). The whole process took no more than half an hour – which was perfect as I made these sandwiched between making my Christmas garland fairy cakes and my aromatic Christmas ham. And they even taste pretty good!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Christmas, pg. 32-33

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