October was an exciting month, Season came out and my aunt and uncle came to visit from New Zealand. My aunt is an amazing cook and she taught me a couple of Goan dishes that I’ve been trying to get a better understanding of (more on that recipe soon - it’s going to be a December dish for the holidays).Read More
When I worked at the patisserie, I once slipped and fell in the freezer room because the floors were wet from a defrost. But I was also carrying two full sheets of tiramisu in my hands and just like a pancake or egg that's flipped midair whilst cooking, this was similar but with a more unsuccessful outcome. The pan inverted midair and the cake released with all its mascarpone and fell all over my face. I cleaned up and continued to work for the rest of the day but the smell and texture stayed with me. I haven't eaten tiramisu ever since, one day I will go back, I promise!
There are times when I want to spend more time on the cake and little time on the frosting. There are times when I crave a buttercream frosting and other times when I crave something a little less delicate like a mascarpone based one. Here is one of my favorite ways to use mascarpone and this is a good frosting that works with cakes that aren't too heavy (if your cakes in the layers are heavy, they will squeeze the frosting out so instead use less frosting in the sandwich but add a little more on top) .
hazelnut mascarpone frosting
Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups
2 cups mascarpone ( I used Vermont Creamery)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp strong leftover coffee (optional)
1 tsp hazelnut extract ( you can add a total of 2 tsp for a stronger flavor)
Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl until combined and smooth (there should be no lumps) and use as needed. The frosting tastes best the day it is made but will last for up to 3 days in airtight container in the refrigerator.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Vermont Creamery. However all opinions expressed are solely my own.
Good news folks, I just learned last week that my column for the San Francisco Chronicle, A Brown Kitchen is nominated in the Culinary Website category by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP)!!! This is such an exciting moment and one that I'm extremely thankful for. As always, thank for your continued support. Writing a recipe column to share the versatility and strengths of Indian cuisine has been a dream come true.
I wrote a little primer on how to establish your own Indian spice pantry at home, it's simple and straightforward with all the basic information to get you started. Check it out!
So to celebrate here's a Meyer lemon cake that I've decided to label "golden" because not only do the eggs and lemon give it a bright yellow color but I've thrown in a little bit of turmeric to bump those tones up. And.....I've made it a little boozy with this honey based liquor that M got for me from Brazil last year. If you can't find it make a simple syrup of honey and water (about 200ml) and add 30 to 40ml of honey bourbon, depending on how boozy you want it to be. Pinga com mel is a honey based liquor and if you can get your hands on some you will be thanking me a lot!
golden lemon and turmeric cake
makes one 12X8 inch cake
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (preferably meyer lemons)
2 sticks unsalted butter plus a little more to grease the baking pan
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs + 3 large yolks
1/2 cup pinga com mel
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
In a small mixing bowl or beaker, mix the milk and half of the lemon juice and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
Place a wire rack at midlevel and preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a rectangular 12X8 inch baking pan with a little butter and line with parchment paper.
Dry whisk all the ingredients from the flour to the zest in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer or electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Continue to whisk adding one egg at a time, followed by the yolks. Then add half of the whisked dry ingredients mixture and mix until no visible flecks of flour are seen. Add the milk-lemon juice mixture followed by the remaining flour and whisk until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is spongy yet firm to touch and a skewer when inserted comes out clean from the center. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Once the cake is cooled cut the cake into 1 inch by 3 inch rectangles.
While the cake is cooling, place the pinga com mel, remaining lemon juice, water and saffron in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a rolling boil on high heat. Remove from stove and allow to cool. Pour this liquid over the sliced cake, cover with cling film and allow to cool completely to room temperature before serving. (Note: you can discard the saffron strands but I like to leave them in) Alternatively, you can leave this alcohol step out if you don't want a boozy cake.
My friend Justin recently sent me a meme joking about how the rest of the country celebrates fall while we in California don't. We do, it's just a little late. Some trees will shed their leaves and the temperatures are relatively warmer but it's still autumn. My pomegranate and fig trees will shed their leaves soon and I will anxiously wait for them to breathe back to life next year but till then I will indulge and immerse myself in seasonal pies and flavors.
And then there are pomegranates! Pomegranates are one of the most beautiful fruits to behold during a season that's usually enveloped in shades of yellow to brown. This pink fruit stands out in every way possible. The perfect balance of color, sweet and tartness enclosed in a ball.
This layer cake is my ode to the pomegranate. It draws inspiration from the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the South, it's a cake as diverse as its flavors. Sticky sweet pomegranate molasses in crème fraîche, a cinnamon sponge cake made with crème fraîche and a simple syrup of honey bourbon to flavor the cake.
This sponge cake is made with whole-wheat pastry flour from Bob’s Red Mill's . It's probably one of the best whole-grain pastry flour mixes I've baked with because it's light and the gluten content is low enough to work with in cakes and pastries, and the resulting cake texture it produces is always impeccable and delicate just like it did in this cake.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this cake;
- In this genoise sponge cake, folding the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients will cause some deflation of the foam, be quick and fold carefully but don't worry if you lose a little volume.
- When adding the pomegranate molasses to the crème fraîche, taste and adjust the amount as needed since it is a sweet yet tart liquid with a lot of flavor packed into a tiny spoonful.
- I recommend keeping this cake in the refrigerator if you can't finish it up the day of, since the acidity of the pomegranate molasses can break down the crème fraîche over time.
- If you have access to Brazilian Pinga Com Mel then try and flavor your cake with that versus honey bourbon. It's a honey based alcohol which is delicious!!!
for the cinnamon sponge cake
yields: 2 X 9 inch cakes
2 cups (228g) sifted Bob's Red Mill whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
8 large eggs
1/5 cups (300g) superfine baking sugar
2/3 cup whipped crème fraîche
1. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 350F. Line two 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper and keep aside.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt three times in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. Using the whip attachment whisk the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer at medium-high speed for about 5 minutes. Then in a slow steady stream pour the sugar from the side of the bowl while continuing to whisk the eggs for about 5 to 6 minutes until the eggs turn pale yellow in color and the entire mixture gets thick in consistency.
4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift 1/3 of the flour mixture over the eggs and fold with an outward to inward motion using a silicone spatula. Then fold 1/2 of the whipped crème fraîche. Repeat and fold in 1/3 flour and remaining crème fraîche. Fold in the remaining flour and divide and transfer the batter equally to the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the preheated oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch. Remove from oven and allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 5 to 6 minutes, then run a pairing knife between the edges of the cake and the pan and transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. At this point you can also wrap the cakes with cling film and freeze for up to a month before using.
for the bourbon syrup
yields: 1 cup
3/4 cup simple syrup (1:1 mixture of sugar and water)
1/4 cup honey bourbon
1. Mix the simple syrup and honey bourbon together in a small saucepan and bring the contents of the pan to a gentle simmer and cook for 2 minutes with occasional stirring. Remove from stove and transfer to a container and refrigerate to chill before use.
for the pomegranate molasses frosting
16 ounces (454g) crème fraîche
1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 1/2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl on ice, whisk all the ingredients for about 2 to 3 minutes until firm peaks form.
Preparing the cake
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Take one cooled cake and place on a cake stand. Spray/brush the surface of the cake generously with the bourbon syrup. Place half of the pomegranate crème fraîche mixture and spread to cover the surface of the cake with an offset spatula. Place the second cake over the frosted cake and repeat. Garnish with pomegranate arils and dust with cinnamon. Allow the cake to rest for about 20 minutes before serving. This cake will last for a day or two.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Bob's Red Mill, however all opinions expressed are solely my own.
This week marks the four year anniversary of this blog. It's been one amazing journey and I'm grateful for all the friendships and opportunities it has brought along the way. The start of this week also marked an important "holiday" one that I hold dear to my heart, National Ice cream day and though, I'm two days late, an ice cream cake seemed the perfect way to celebrate. And of course, I'll do anything to stay cool in this hot weather.
This black forest cake, is an ice cream version and it uses the cherry labneh kefir ice cream I shared last week. I took a lot of liberty with the flavor combinations so it's not one hundred percent a black forest cake by definition. At first I was tempted to layer the cake with chocolate ice cream and throw in some chopped cherries but that would overwhelm the strong chocolate flavor of the cake and it would be flat. But with this flavor combination you can taste the chocolate and cherry flavor in every bite... and the ice cream has chunks of chocolate.
The buttermilk based chocolate layer cake recipe is from one of my favorite baking books, The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book. The cake has a soft crumb and is very moist and is a great recipe to use when making other chocolate layer cakes. This cake is also loaded with a good amount of chocolate flavor and the best part, it's relatively easy to make at home.
In other news, I'm also writing a new column at Food52 on easy Indian cooking at home and besides recipes, I will also share tips and hints on what you need to have in your kitchen to cook a tasty Indian meal.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this cake;
- Both the cakes and the ice cream can be made a day in advance. If you assemble the ice cream cake the morning of and then let it sit in the freezer to set for several hours before serving.
- I didn't do this but you can spray the chocolate cakes with a little kirsch to bump up the cherry flavor. There is no need for simple syrup to moisten the cake as it will crystallize
- This chocolate buttermilk cake has a very tender crumb but it is also easy to handle. For an even layer trim the tops of the cakes with a serrated knife to create a flat surface.
- You can also fold 1/2 cup of chopped maraschino cherries into the ice cream to add more fruit.
Here are some other recipes you might like:
- Matcha Chocolate Mousse Cake
- Masala Chai Carrot Cake
- Mint and Peach Lassi
- Black Peppercorn and Raspberry Sauce Ice Cream
black forest ice cream cake
yields: one 9 inch layer cake
cherry labneh kefir ice cream - one batch
chocolate buttermilk layer cake (from The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book)
yields: 2 x 9 inch cakes
4 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate chips (65% cacao)
1/4 cup (21.26gm/ 3/4 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling hot water
1 3/4 cups (347.28gm/ 12 1/4 ounces) fine-grain sugar
1 3/4 cups (248.06gm/ 8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon fine-grain salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon kirsch
4 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1. Place a wire rack at mid level in the oven and preheat to 350F. Grease and line two 9 inch circular cake pans with parchment paper, keep aside until ready to use.
2. Place the chocolate and cocoa in a medium-size mixing bowl. Pour the boiling hot water into the bowl and stir with whisk until all the chocolate has melted. Add 1/2 cup sugar to the melted chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Keep aside until cool.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, dry whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, stir the buttermilk, vanilla and kirsch together.
4. Add the eggs and yolks to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium-low speed until just combined for around 10 seconds. Pour in the remaining sugar and increase the speed to high. Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy but pale yellow, for about 3 minutes. Remove the whisk and replace with the paddle attachment.
5. Add the cooled chocolate mixture from step 1 into the bowl and mix on medium-low speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed with a silicone spatula. Then add the butter, one teaspoon at a time and mix for 10 seconds after each addition.
6. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk mix in the last two additions. Mix at medium-low speed until completely combined and no visible flecks of flour can be seen. Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans and bake them in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, rotating them halfway through the baking process. The cakes are done when a skewer comes out clean from the center after insertion.
7. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove the cakes from the pan by running a knife along the edges of the cake. Cool completely for at least two hours. Wrap the cakes individually in parchment paper and then aluminum foil. Freeze for at least 4 hours before using.
To assemble the cake:
1. Leave the ice cream outside to soften for at least 10 minutes. It should be soft enough to manipulate but not runny.
2. Line a 9 inch springform cake pan on the bottom and sides with parchment paper. You can also use an acetate sheet cut to size to get a smoother finish. Unwrap one of the frozen cakes and place it at the bottom of the springform pan. Layer the surface with about 2 cups of the softened ice cream. Quickly place the second cake over the ice cream and repeat the layer of ice cream. Smoothen the layers of ice cream using an offset spatula. Cover the entire cake with aluminum foil and freeze for at least 6 hours before serving. Store in the freezer.
3. Pop the springform mechanism to release the cake and peel the parchment paper off. Decorate the cake with fresh cherries and semisweet dark chocolate shavings. The cones are optional.