Friday, June 29, 2012

Lemon Chiffon Cake with Vodka and Lemon Curd Whipped Cream

“it's a smile, it's a kiss, it's a sip of wine ... it's summertime!” 
― Kenny Chesney

Summertime.
And the most appropriate word-Chiffon...
Yash Chopra and his sensuous heroines come to mind!
Light and airy and gossamer!
Almost there and yet not.
A new movie coming up this summer,and you can bet that Katrina Kaif will be wearing ...CHIFFONS!
You have to behave in a very lady like "propah" manner when you dress in chiffon...so yours truly generally avoids this delicate fabric...I prefer crepe de chine.
Back to the edible stuff!
Cake...enchanted by the beauty  of it!
My piping skills are not extraordinary...but they can make you go mmm!
A kiss of lemon in  the sponge and a veritable kick of lemon and vodka in the frosting. A perfect end to a sunday lunch.And my all time favourite...Lemon Curd!
I so love cocktails...so what if this was an incomplete martini.I had to feed little chilldren too,thus had to use some restraint...only a small swig of vodka in the frosting.
After I saw a Lemon and Lavender Cake made by Deeba here, I was dying to try this out..onlt the main ingredient Lavender was missing.Minor changes from the original recipe...but it certainly made all happy!
I searched high and low, and even pestered my mum, but the Delhi heat ensured that Lavender was not coming from that aisle too.
So I skipped ,added the vodka.
You need some compensation, right?
Even if it is miniscule!

And this was my first all American type cake with three layers. I could have done four, but that would have stratched my luck. Next time.
On the cake platter.No less.

And the cake rose and rose...double in volume and held its shape. It also taught me a valuable lesson.
Pay attention!(One thing my teachers could not make me do in school or in college.)
And follow instructions.(Again, I prefer to learn the hard way.)
No...it depends on you, which path you want to take .

for the 

Lemon Chiffon Cake with Vodka and Lemon Curd Whipped Cream ...

you need

6 eggs
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 tbsp/ 90 mils water
1 tsp baling powder
1/2 tsp lemon zest..no lavender so...
1 1/3 cup flour (remove 3 tbsp flour and substitute it with corn flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartare or a few drops lemon juice

sugar syrup
1/4 cup water or vodka or a mix of both
juice of 2 lemons 
3 tbsp sugar

frosting 
400 gm non dairy whipped cream
1/2 recipe lemon curd(coming up)
30 mils or more vodka

Lemon Curd


Click here
Oven on at 180C/350F, once you start with the batter ,you'll realise urgency takes on a different meaning.
Start with the sugar...sift it so that there are no lumps. Reserve 1/2 cup and proceed.
Separate the eggs carefully, the summer months make the eggs aquire a "loose" character, the yolks love to run away,careful is the buzz word.
The dry stuff, flour, cornflour,salt and baking powder, sifted.
The oil and water into the yolks,whisk lightly.
Into this add in the reserved half cup of sugar and the flour mix. Just whisk together and set aside.Add the zest, if you are using it now.
Start with the whites and lemon juice. ?Begin to whisk them with a vengeance.
Mid way add in the sifted sugar ,bit by bit, whipping till soft peaks form. soft peaks?When you lift the beater the peaks should hold like the ones in the picture.
Now, a spoonful of the whites into the yolk mix. mix in to lighten the batter.
You should actually fold in the whites into the yolk mix, but my bowl was smaller, so I poured the yolk mix into the whites and then GENTLY folded them all together.Dont go all loco, just fold.Save your energies for the whipping cream.
This should have been done first. A tall cake mould, no greasing or flouring needed. Just a sheet of non stick baking paper cut to shape the bottom. I do all my baking at night, and(as usual) could not find the roll of baking paper. So this was regular A4 paper. I'm not saying that you must use this , but if you are as un organised as me..A4 is great too.
Batter in, Only half way through.
In for 35 minutes, I was happy when I saw this dome...the cake was so happy!
It came out all well done too. You need to leave it till it cools,dont try to wrangle it out of its mould before it has completely cooled....that is what was instructed. Only they did not say why. Well, I'll tell you why, and if you have ever worn chiffon and it has rained down upon you...you'll know!
It shrinks!
I remember once carrying a chiffon scarf, and getting wet in the rain...and when I came back home,  my scarf was no bigger than hubby dear's handkerchief.
That is why this is a chiffon cake.
I just wedged a bit off the side and left it overnight....covered, and in the morning I thanked my stars I had'nt tried any gymnastics with the cake.
It came out super easy, just ran a knife around the rim and popped it out.
The whipped cream...
All the cream I blended in with about 30 mils of vodka(kids here..) and half the lemon curd(find the recipe here.)
And that is the soaking syrup...I used half vodka ,half water.
One slice, brush on about a third of the syrup, slather on the lemon frosting, cover, second layer, brush the syrup and frosting....
Third layer, remaining syrup and frosting. Smooth on...
Clean now...
Left over frosting I tinted purple...
And piped on...
And some bits of lemon on top.
The proof of the pudding, after being chilled for about 6 hours, the vodka was mellow...and the flavours rich.




Sliced and served...
And sweet child and I justify these words.
“Life itself is the proper binge.” 



















Soft and dreamy, just right for this crazy summer.
Even the colours soothe...

Coming up , the buzz that is Lemon Curd!
ASAP!
PS, if you want to , you can skip the vodka totally!

So what are you baking today???








Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Battenberg/Battenburg Cake Daring Bakers Challenge June 2012


It’s that time of the month again...no, nothing to with the human body...just the Daring Bakers!
Long, long ago, I had read about this historical cake...it was made to celebrate the wedding of queen Victoria’s daughter(more historical details here.)
This had been on my "To Do" list for the longest time ,eight years.


Do"ing" has been so  time consuming...imagine, this cake took me eight years.
Agendas!
Also on my agenda are macaroons!
Anyway the daunting factor for me is not the cake or the baking ...it’s the marzipan!
Neither I nor sweet child is too fond of marzipan...
Whatever could go wrong this time went!
And as they say, disasters do strike in three's...only this time they did in FOURS!


Maybe Five!

Limits and Murphy’s Law must have originated out of situations like this!
The fourth tile I am trying to post this recipe…each time blogger has been so Roman!
Et tu Blogger???
The curse of the disasters has struck me in the fives…
The first time was an oversight on my part. Totally forgot the dates and suddenly remembered that the 27th looms so close.
The second, 26th was a Tuesday. Now technically my family and I do not eat eggs on a Tuesday, but I thought that the gods would be kind.
But noooooo(you should hear the accentuated no!),the minute I popped the cake pans into the oven, the electricity did a u turn and went back home. So after a delay of about 20 minutes the cakes were not as soft as I wanted them to be.
Then as I posted…blogger played hokey!
Again and Again…
This is my fifth try….

Finally!
Blog-checking lines:
Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

Five has to be lucky.
All the drama does not take from the fact that the cake is pretty , and surprisingly light and tasty.
I was so struck by the colors that I found here. , only could not recreate the purple…it is more like a faux purple…magenta really. And I used fondant.
Spectacular dessert, more like a tea time cake, but whatever…it is still a nice way to eat cake…



For the

Battenberg/Battenburg Cake Daring Bakers 

Challenge  June 2012…

You need

3 eggs
2 cups plain flour
1 cup castor sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup butter/ neutral vegetable oil
1 tsp almond essence
1 tsp baking powder
3 -4 tbsp cold milk
A few drops food color
200 gms apricot jam(I used strawberry)
1 cup Buttercream frosting
1 cup marzipan/fondant
Silver dragees to stud…

Fairly standard here, but I would recommend starting with a prayer…for the electricity.
Oven on at 180C/350F .

Start with the eggs and t he sugar. If you want to use butter, whip the butter, then add the sugar and then the eggs one at a time.


Whip the egg and sugar mix really well.
Show your  ambidexterity ,sift the flour and the baking powder with the salt.


Now pour the oil into the egg mix. 

Add in the essence  and mix.

Greased and floured loaf tins, you can separate  the two colors with non stick paper, only easy is always good.


Fold the flour in. the batter was a little dry, so I added the milk .


One half , or a nicer way to say it, the better half of the batter into another bowl. Food color to tint, a little darker that you want it. 

The color lightens on cooking. Pretty pink!

Lovely combo- magenta and orange, orange and blue would have rocked too!


See my fascination with color, while the cakes bake…. I painted panel blue…this is the first coat!


I tried to heat and ,melt the jam, believe me- nothing works like violence! A fact corroborated by sweet child- his current obsession being God of War! A whip with a whisk was easier to make the jam smoooooooth!


Once the cakes were cooked(in 22 minutes) and cooled(the entire afternoon) I trimmed the cakes to fit one on top of the other.


Four long slices, we need a checkerboard.


Joined at the hip with the melted jam, brushed liberally.


Orange and purple and purple and orange!. Wow!


The butter cream, I used half butter cream and half lemon curd(recipe follows…the frosting for the lemon chiffon cake). Slathered on three sides.
Fondant rolled out thin. Bigger than what was needed…safe!
Frosted side down, and then the last side covered and fondant wrapped.
Fondant is HARD to work with in this humid sultry weather that is now Ranchi…the monsoons came and just disappeared…..leaving behind the frogs croaking for more.

I can tell you, almost every day I catch one…they jump  into my house from the garden…and sweet dog barks his head off…he tried to catch one once….it almost whacked his nose. So I run after them with inverted zip pouches on my hands like a mitt…catch it and turn the zip pouch over and seal it.

I also give instructions on frog catching!



Back to the Battenberg/Battenburg.
Chilled , I made criss cross patterns with the back of a knife and sweet child studded the silver dragees.


Royal…


Sliced ..
The sponge and the lemon curd butter cream and the fondant…awesome!
So worth locking horns with Mr Murphy for this.


Thank you daring bakers for a lesson in history…can't wait to see what comes up next month! I will try the blue and orange Battenburg too…

Try this…fun cake. Colors and history…almost like watching television.

So what are you baking today????

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Challah Bread Revisited-Egg Less/Egg Free Daring Bakers Challenge May Part II

My quest for a soft, delectable, well made challah made without eggs has just come full circle.
I made my first egg less challah and I am so happy,I don't think I need to look for another recipe!
Perfect!
I had my doubts the second proofing ...but was my doubting mind silenced!
When I saw the soft dough and how well it Had risen...
I was happy.
Simple.
Simple Pleasures of life.
A wonderful loaf of bread and the love of your life.
A soft crumb, great taste...
What more can you ask for???
No wonder  Marie Antoinette asked people to eat cake .Bread is better...most of the time.
This is the first time I used baking powder and yeast in bread,with doubts ,of course.
But my doubts were soon laid to rest, when these pretty knots and prettier Challah Bread spread its love all around my house.
Temptations!
I found this recipe in the DARING BAKERS forum..from here and wondered about the baking powder. I am familiar with bicarb of soda...Irish bread and scones...
I remember the first time I read about soda bread,way back in 1998 in the book Tara Road by Maeve Binchy and loved the thought of Ria Lynch and Marilyn Vine...and their story. PS a similar storyline starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet and the super drool worthy Jude Law is worth watching. Totally soppy, total tearjerker...but a happily ever after , just like this Challah Bread.


for the

Challah Bread Revisited-Egg Less/Egg Free Daring Bakers Challenge May Part II...

you need

2 1/2 tbsp yeast
1 cup tepid water
3 cups flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cups sugar
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
for the buzz
3 tbsp oil
 3 tbsp warm water
 2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cold milk to glaze

Yes , there is the BUZZ! but we wait for that.
Start with the warm water in a large bowl and dump all the yeast into it, and stir.
Set aside for 5 minutes.
Now pop in the sugar ,oil and salt in and mix.
The Buzz!
Mix the oil and the water and add to it the baking powder.
With a large spoon mix in the flours a cup at a time( you can use all plain flour or all whole wheat ...I used this combo) and mix till you can mix no more.
Knead at least 6 to 7 minutes till the dough does not stick to your hands.
Now back to the large bowl...my maid threatens to walk away....I leave too many dirty dishes in the sink...so I rinsed and oiled the same bowl.
What power she has over me!
Covered and set aside in a warm place for an hour...almost double in size.
Ranchi is now just wet and miserable...and warm and humid...so bread does very well here. If you are attempting this in the winters, ensure you keep it warm.
Second time round, punch and knead ....
Cut into two.
One part I made into a pretty Challah...I am getting to be an expert in this now.
Second part are the knots...eight of them...all different shapes and sizes. Unique in their own pretty way.
Covered with film and set to rest an hour...and they are double and soft again.
Set the oven to heat at 230C/ 450F and then brush with milk.
I forgot the seeds in a telephone call...but you can sprinkle any and as many as you want.
In for about 40 minutes and the aromas wafting are SUPERB!
Sweet Child and hubby dear made a dinner out of the rolls ...
So Only the loaf loved to tell the tale.
Soft and surprisingly good.
Try the bread...its nice to have home made bread for a change.
Bread making is an exercise for the soul...really connects you to growth...yeast grows ,right?
This is my new yeast spotting!


So what are you baking today???



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