Monday, November 28, 2016

The Baking Bible: White Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Mousseline

This is our second-to-last recipe! I can't believe it! (I still have about 10 or so recipes left to bake, but the official bake-through is coming to an end.)

Marie has decided we should be ending our two year long baking adventure on a couple of easy recipes, and I'm all for it. These cupcakes are a re-tread of Rose's popular White Chocolate Whisper Cake from the Cake Bible, scaled to make 16 cupcakes. The mousseline is another popular buttercream from the same book. Rose discovered a new way to pipe frosting on a cupcake that looks rather like a rose, so she decided to create this recipe to show us.

The batter for the cupcakes comes together lickety-split, including melted white chocolate which gives them a very tender crumb. Rose gives the weight for each cupcake so filling each cup is extra easy (if you own a scale). I decided to use my silicone cupcake cups as I only have one cupcake tin and I didn't want part of the batter waiting in the refrigerator. The cups were placed on a wire cooling rack on top of a baking sheet to bake, so that there would be airflow underneath the cups as well.

The mousseline took the better part of the morning. First up was making the raspberry puree, which requires concentrating raspberry juice (easy but messy in the microwave) and sieving the pulp to remove the seeds (takes forever; hate doing it). The pulp is mixed back into the concentrated juice and half the volume of sugar is added.

Then you can get to the making of the buttercream. Mousseline is Rose's take on Italian meringue buttercream and I'm not sure if it really is so different on end result. Certainly it is more fiddly and dirties more bowls. There might be more butter proportionally in mousseline than in Italian meringue buttercream, but that's just me guessing.

So anyways, butter is whipped in the mixer for a bit then set aside. In another mixing bowl, egg whites are whipped to stiff peaks with some sugar to stabilize (I skipped adding the cream of tartar, which also stabilizes the meringue). Meanwhile, a sugar syrup is boiled on the stove. Then the syrup is drizzled into the meringue while the beaters threaten to spin the sugar all over the sides of the bowl. Then the Italian meringue needs to cool down to about 70F. Then you whip up the butter again, add the meringue, and mix like crazy while the whole mess curdles, falls apart, then eventually turns into something decidedly creamy. It is nothing short of a miracle when that happens. Then a bunch of the raspberry puree is added in, which instead of turning my buttercream a pretty pink color turned it a bit of a mauve. Which is ok and still looks pretty, and works for a rose.

Then the dreaded piping happens. I actually am really surprised how well things turned out over here as I am not the best piper of frosting.

They are a wonderful cupcake; so light and soft. They look pretty and delicate and taste as such. I immediately wanted another cupcake, but in an attempt to model good behavior for Eliot I did not. He is in bed now, and of course I am eating another cupcake!

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Baking Bible: Chocolate Sweetheart Madeleines

I have never tried a madeleine so I have no idea if this is true to the original or not. It is a lovely soft little chocolate cake. Rose says the big problem of the madeleine is that they get stale so quickly so she based the recipe on her Chocolate Domingo Cake and glazed them in a thin ganache.

I don't know, people. Is this a true madeleine? All I see are the packaged madeleines at the Starbucks. However, I know already that these are 5,000 times better than anything that could come in a plastic package.

They are easy to make, and pretty quick. I bought a normal sized madeleine pan (the recipe was for either mini mads or regular) and since it was non-stick I just used a non-stick spray instead of spray and flour. I spooned the thick, creamy batter into the molds (thankfully Rose tells you how much batter to put in the molds) and smoothed it out with an offset spatula. The recipe says it will make 25 normal sized mads but the pan makes 12 at a time, so I decided to just eat the last 16 grams of raw batter instead of baking just one little cake. I called it baker's treat. The batter is like soft serve ice cream.

These are dangerously easy to eat, and so enjoyable. I kind of have to forget they are in the kitchen. That is a good problem to have.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Baking Bible: Prune Preserves and Caramel Cream Cake Roll

This was a really good cake, and the caramel cream is wonderful. All in all, there are 5 components to make but each one is pretty easy and, aside from wait times, fairly quick. It is also one that can be done in fits and starts, which is a plus for me.

The first thing I made was the soaking syrup for the cake, as it can be made days in advance and hang out at room temperature until needed. There was an option to use either vanilla booze or just vanilla extract and I opted for the extract.

Second I started the prune lekvar by soaking the prunes in water. They were supposed to hang out for a couple hours before getting cooked but I think it took me 4 hours to get back to them.

In the meantime, I made the caramel for the caramel cream. This also can hang out at room temperature for a while before getting mixed with the whipped cream.

Then I baked the biscuit cake. Rose reminds that the cake takes about 10 minutes to mix and 10 more to bake which is about true for me. And thankfully; if I had to do a more complicated cake I may have just skipped this week altogether. I rolled the cake up in my silpat instead of a kitchen towel and left it to cool.

Then it was back to the prunes and time to finish the lekvar. The very well-soaked prunes simmered until they were soft and by that point almost all the water had cooked off. I pureed them with the lemon zest and sugar, plus a little extra water, in the magic bullet until smooth. Then the puree goes back on the stove to simmer for a little longer, until thick and a bit caramelized. This gets to hang out and cool.

While the lekvar cooled I whipped up the heavy cream and mixed in the caramel. This component is easily my favorite and I think I would like a bowl of just caramel cream and a spoon one of these evenings.

Finally the cake is unrolled and the lekvar spread over. Then the caramel cream is spread in a thick layer and the cake gets rolled up. There was a little caramel cream spillage but I ate it up off the counter pretty quick.

Lastly, the ganache with a bit of caramel is put together and drizzled over the cake. Eliot exclaimed, "we are making a tiger cake!" Then he asked where we were going to put the tiger head. I told him him we made a headless tiger cake. He seemed okay with that.

We all liked the cake, and I love the feathery lightness of the biscuit. The prune lekvar is really good and pairs well with the caramel. It actually felt like a great autumnal dessert, and a nice departure from all things pumpkin and spice and apple.

(The photos are from the next day, so the caramel cream looks a bit spongy.) 

I can't for the life of me figure out how to rotate this photo. Boo.