BIRTHDAY CAKE

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No, this isn’t my end product, this is the foxy cake (from bloglovin) that made my heart skip a beat and fuel my desire to bake an orange and almond cake for my birthday.

Yes,  I baked my own cake because frankly, I don’t trust any of my friends in the kitchen, plus, wine comes first, I doubt any of them thought of organizing a birthday cake. It’s like the stork delivering babies, birthday cakes are just always there. No one really knows where it comes from, but ever-present on it’s post, the cake is like my mother with a camera, ready for action. Bring on the candles, spittle and sparklers.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups almond flour

1 t cardamom

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t salt

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup honey

1/4 cup melted butter (or extra-virgin olive oil)

thumb of fresh ginger, grated

2 oranges, zested and juiced

2T honey

GARNISH:

Fresh jasmine, roasted almonds, pistachios, forest berries, citrus blossom cream, anything, just put anything on there that would satisfy your heart and make your eyes sparkle.

METHOD:

Preheat your oven to 180ºC.

Prepare a round springform baking tin with butter.

In the bigger bowl, mix the dry ingredients, almond flour, cardamom, salt.

In another bowl, mix the eggs, honey, butter, ginger and orange zest. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients.

Fold in until just blended and pour into your prepped baking tin.

Bake for 45-50 minutes. Or just until it’s a gorgeous deep gold colour and the knife comes out clean from the center.

While the cake is bronzing away, heat up the orange juice and table spoon of honey to make a syrup.

The moment that cake sets it’s hot feet on the counter, drench it in the syrup. Allow to cool, even if it’s just slightly, before serving.

My personal serving suggestion would be an orange blossom or jasmine whipped cream, but people go nuts for pistachios, toasted almonds, toasted coconut or you could even make a wicked dark chocolate ganache.

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BITTER+SOET – die boek

Dit is met glashelder oe en sagte emosie woorde wat bekende kos skrywer Niel Stemmet deel van sy ervarings, geheime en erfeniskos. Jy voel die warmte van herinnering en liefde wat by sy mond uitspoel soos n dik vla, soet soos die skaam-wit skuim laag op n Sondag malva poeding.  Honger in die geelwarm kerslig is ons oë op Niel terwyl die Kaap wind om die hoek ruk en hy voorlees uit sy nuutste boorling Bitter+Soet.

– “ Hy het die soplepel gevat, die sop na sy mond geneem. Hy het my soetsuurdeegbrood dik met botter gesmeer en stuk vir stuk in die sop gedoop en mond toe gevat. ‘Weet jy, Mietha, ek is meestal ongelukkig, maar as ek by jou is dan is ek gelukkig.’ Agter sy oë was daar n damwal water wat ek kon sien hy hard moes keer om nie oor te loop en sy gesig te verdrink nie. ”

Die verhaal van Mietha Klaasen vertel deur Niel Stemmet is n boek van ‘wondervroue’ en hulle ‘seën- en trooskos’. n Erfeniskosboek met blaaie wat swaar hang onder die reuk van vleis en dik snye plaasbrood. Soet, sag en seer, en so bitterlik mooi.

WINTER CAME BY TODAY.

Winter came by today. Smacked me right in the face for not recognizing it, so obviously I had to right my wrong and hugged back with all my might.

I hugged in the form of molten chocolate cake slices with crème anglais.

1 x your top secret brownie recipe (or be lazy like me and buy a box of quality brownie mix)

250 ml fresh cream

1 vanilla pod (a whole one. Or some essence. But really the vanilla pod is perfect.)

80 g sugar

4 large egg yolks

Mix up the brownie batter and prep a cake tin with generous smears of butter. Get that beautiful baby in the oven. – It will probably bake the same amount of time as in your regular brownie tin as it’s a thicker bake and needs to be oozy and volcanic.

For the cream of angels, heat up the cream on medium heat with the scraped seeds and paste from the vanilla pod until bubbles start to form around the edges.

Whisk the yolks and sugar, slowly add the heated cream to the eggs little by little, continuously whisking, to avoid making a bowl of scrambled dessert.

Return the cream and egg blend back to the heat and whisk until the custard finds form and covers the back of a spoon.

Slice the brownies like a bread from the corner café, thick and crusty, and pour over the crème anglais just before you serve this hug with some milky tea.

HONEY DARLING SWEETNESS

In my younger days, tv was an absolute luxury. We had one, hidden in a double door oak cabinet with Manet and Monet for company, but it was never allowed to chat with said neigbours.

It was only recently that I discovered with a confession from mother, that it was for her own good the beast rarely roared to life. Nature’s babysitter even for adults.

We were visiting my mother’s sister who’s tv always hosted the best leather couch; when you sit down, it’s sweet surrender to the husky embrace of leather, tabacco and whisky. (For the story lets include poor old mahogany as well.)

While sinking into Utopia, the naughty kitchen adulteress, Nigella winked from the one eyed beast and I reached out to the golden light: Honeycomb.

I don’t have a sweet tooth but man oh flipping man does this sugar babe make me weak in the knees. (for those of you who don’t know what honeycomb is, think of a Crunchie, it’s that bubbling sugar sea sponge bar coated in milk chocolate)

Her Majesty called this hokey pokey if I can recall. And here’s the recipe.

100 g Sugar (white, brown, caster, pick your fancy)

4 T golden syrup (could probably be substituted with honey if you wish to be healthy but let’s just quickly clear this out: there’s NOTHING healthy about this recipe, mkay. Oh for the taste you say? Sure go wild you maniac.)

1 t bicarbonate of soda

Now, sugar can be sly. Mix your sugar and syrup/honey, THEN place on the heat in pot or pan. Please do not stick a spoon or utensil in the mix, if you want to stir, swirl your pan. If you spoon, there will be trouble and sugar won’t cooperate.

Prep a baking tray, bowl with baking paper and cooking spray.

Once the toffee has turned at the 150ºC mark, for those of you who have a candy thermometer, it has to be at the ‘cracking’ stage. Test in a glass of water with a drop. If it cracks, presto!

The following has to happen in one movement, no panic necessary, just rolled up sleeves and your favourite tune. Take it off the heat and immediately WHISK your bicarb into the fold then pour into your prepared container with the sprayed baking paper.

Please allow for it to cool before you look like a fool.
Crack and crunch to your hearts delight. Dip it in chocolate, crush it with a maximum packed pavlova, serve on top of a buttercream frosted birthday cake or try with Sunday pork belly.

PS. Store in an airtight container to avoid wet toffee.

Image: Flickr.

MA PETIT MACARONS

Always intimidated by the giant shadow who’s name still eludes me; macaron? mungo? meringue? Either way, this itty bitty treat is a sweet pill for painstaking hours spent in the kitchen.

One day, I was feeling rather cheeky and decided to move while the feeling lasted. What with baking not being my big gift to man kind one has to act!

Guess what? As I pumped the foreign on my speakers (a la Edith Piaf) and from my oven, les petits macarons ont été un succès. OUI!

Here’s the recipe. Now just can everybody calm down, no need to pretend to be uppity. Just be cool. Macarons can smell fear.

100 g almond flour

3 T cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups caster sugar

4 egg whites

Sift the flour and cocoa.

In a super clean grease free bowl, whisk your egg whites with an electric beater until frothy. Add the castor sugar little by little and whisk away until the meringue turns sticky and super shiny.

Fold the dry mix in 2 batches into the meringue. Have your baking trays ready with silmat/baking paper and pipe little dots to your fancy. (well spaced from each other mind you.) Whack the tray a couple of times on the counter and scream something French.

Have your oven ready at 170ºC. Let your babies rest for 20-30 minutes until a layer has formed that isn’t sticky to touch.

Bake for something around 14 minutes, turning your tray at halftime.

Remove and allow to cool.

Ganach filling:

1 slab dark choc

30 ml cream

a tot of whisky perhaps?

Heat the cream, add the chocolate in pieces and stir until melted through. (Don’t apply any more heat). Add the tot of whatever tickles your tastebuds. Scoop into a piping bag and wait for the little devils to cool down.

Pair the best suited halves and pipe the ganache onto a half, sandwich et voila!

PLEASE REMEMBER. THIS RECIPE MAY NOT WORK FOR YOU. JUST PLAY UNTIL YOU FIND YOUR METHOD. Ovens, outside temp, your mood, etc may all play crucial parts in the prep.

Bonne chance!

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