Tag: yummies

New Sweet Treats to Try

German Buttercream Cake

My dad is German, and always goes on about how his mother used to make him a delicious buttercream cake.  With this in mind, we decided to make him a German Buttercream Cake for his birthday.

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You need to make a basic vanilla sponge cake – you could even just make a box sponge cake if you were feeling really lazy.  The most important thing here is the Buttercream icing, the recipe for which I found here:

Ingredients

450 grams (16 ounces) whole milk

2 vanilla bean pods, split and scraped, or 2 tsp vanilla extract

280 grams (10 ounces) sugar

40 grams (1 1/2 ounces) cornstarch

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

450-900 grams (16 to 32 ounces) of unsalted butter, at room temperature – Yes, it’s a lot of butter but this icing is like pure buttery goodness in your face.

1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

Method

1. If using the vanilla beans: bring the milk to a simmer along with the vanilla bean pods in a medium pot.  Turn off the heat and set aside to steep for at least one hour, or as long as time allows.  After steeping, remove the vanilla bean pods and use a rubber spatula to extract the thick vanilla goo from inside each pod.

2.  If not using the beans, continue to step 3.

3.  Bring the milk to a simmer (or return to a simmer if you’ve been steeping the vanilla pod).  Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar reserved vanilla bean scrapings, cornstarch, eggs and yolks in a medium bowl.

4.  Whisk about a half cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture – it will be thick at first but will loosen as the milk incorporates.  Continue whisking in hot milk until the egg mixture is fluid and warm.

5.  Now, return the tempered egg/milk mixture back into the pot of hot milk, whisking all the while.  Turn the heat to medium and whisk until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble sluggishly.  (This took ages, and Ross was recruited for this part when my arm felt like it was going to fall off.)  From that point, continue whisking and cooking for a full minute more; use a timer or you run the risk of not fully cooking out the cornstarch – it’ll be THICK and a bit of a workout stirring the custard, just make sure to keep it moving so you don’t end up with cooked egg pieces in your custard.  When the minute is up, pour the custard into a large mixing bowl.

6.  The custard may be cooled quickly by mixing it continuously in a stand mixer.  If time isn’t an issue, you can press a layer of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate until cool.  You can keep this mixture in the fridge overnight or up to a few days.

7.  Once the cooled custard has been whipped until creamy, begin adding in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Add the salt and continue to whip until the mixture is creamy and homogenous.

8.  If you’d like to flavor the buttercream with any extracts, melted chocolate or other flavorings, now is the time.

9.  Use immediately or refrigerate until needed. When ready to use, whip until creamy before proceeding.

photo 2Ice the sponge once it has cooled completely.  This is a very rich, and creamy icing – plus it’s delectably sinful – definitely not for you if you’re on a diet!

A Snickers Cheesecake Loaf

As part of our regular Scoff Club, I made a ‘Blokey Snickers Cheesecake Loaf’ from Saved by Cake by Marian Keyes.  This is one of my favourite recipe books, as it is honest and fresh – while it details her battle with depression and how baking helped her through it all.

I can understand the link, as I myself find baking very therapeutic.  In fact, I was feeling a bit down this weekend and immediately, all I wanted to do was bake.  The fact that I didn’t have the required ingredients is a whole ‘nother story, so I just sat on the couch feeling sorry for myself.

Anyway, I digress..  This was one of the recipes that always caught my eye – it’s a rugged, badass cheesecake that looks amazing, and I just needed to try it for myself.

Here’s the recipe, courtesy of Marian Keyes..

Ingredients

Base

150g Milk chocolate digestive biscuits

50g Salted peanuts

75g Butter

Filling

250g Mascarpone cheese

250g Ricotta cheese

200g Caster sugar

2 Eggs

200ml Sour Cream

4 Snickers bars, chopped into chunks

To Decorate

Toffee sauce (the one out of a squeezy bottle)

Handful of salted peanuts

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.  Line a 1kg loaf tin with greaseproof or baking paper.

2. In a food processor whizz up the biscuits and peanuts. If you don’t have a food processor, you could just pop them into a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to smash them up.  Don’t blitz this mixture too much, as it must look rough and rugged – plus, if you keep blitzing, you will make something like peanut butter which is a total fail.  You should still be able to see parts of the peanuts.

3. Melt the butter in the microwave and stir into the biscuit mix. Mix it really well, and even when you think you’ve mixed it enough, mix it some more.  Tip this into the lined loaf tin and flatten it out.  I used the based of a glass to press it down.  Bake the base for 15 minutes, then take it out of the oven and allow it to cool.  Once it’s cooled for a bit, throw it in the fridge to set for a few hours.

4.  For the filling, you need to preheat the oven to 170°C again.  In a mixing bowl, beat the 2 cheeses together with an electric mixer.  Add in the sugar and eggs and beat well.  Pour in the sour cream and throw the snickers pieces in, then mix it all together.

5. Pour the mixture into the tin on top of the biscuit base and bake for an hour and a half.

6. You may look through the oven and find it is looking super dark and fudgey – apparently this is what it’s mean to do – so don’t have a panic attack like I did.  Also, I found my Snickers bars bubbled up and melted over out of the tin and into the oven causing what seemed like someone threw a smoke bomb into our apartment, Call of Duty style.  Keep smoke mask handy at all times.

7. After the hour and a half, turn the oven off and leave the cake sitting in the heat of the oven for ages, don’t open the door, don’t take it out.  Leave it as long as you possibly can.  I was tired, went to bed and took it out the next morning, but I’m sure an hour or two would have sufficed.

8. Leave the cake to cool for a while then refrigerate overnight – again it helps the cake set properly, and you will definitely be glad you did this!

9. I surprisingly found it easy enough to remove the loaf from the tin just by holding onto the baking paper, and I found the tin slid off nicely.  Whew.  Serve with the toffee sauce drizzled all over the top and throw some of the peanuts over it too. I couldn’t find toffee sauce ANYWHERE (perhaps it’s more of a Brit thing) so I used Caramel squeezy sauce (I figured toffee is pretty close to caramel anyway) and it seemed to work well.  I suppose, if you’re an overachiever, you could just make your own toffee sauce, but I’ll leave that up to you.

For service, I wanted it to look as rustic as possible so I popped the loaf onto my big wooden chopping board and decorated in a careless manner.  I love the way it looked.  SUCCESS!  It was also rather delicious.  It’s not overly sweet (which I was worried it would be), but it seems the cheeses really balanced out the sweetness of the Snickers bars and caramel sauce.

You’re welcome! ;)

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Crunchies

Seeing as it is exam season, I just have to share this Crunchie recipe with you.  My mom always made these for my brother and I, not only during exam time but throughout the year.  It is a great study snack, they give a boost of energy and these crunchies are delicious.  I made a batch for Ross while he was studying for exams recently and needless to say, they didn’t last very long.

Ingredients

125g butter

250ml brown sugar

15ml golden syrup

5ml bicarbonate of soda

250ml rolled oats

250ml cake flour

250ml dessicated coconut

Method

1.  Preheat the oven to 180˚C.  Grease a rectangular baking tray (24cmx34cm).

2.  Place the butter, brown sugar and syrup in a saucepan and heat over a low temperature until all the butter has melted.  Add the bicarb and stir until mixed.

3.  Mix the rolled oats, cake flour and coconut in a mixing bowl and then pour in the syrup mixture.  Stir until mixed and then place the mix in the prepared tray.  Press it down evenly with the back of a spoon and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

4.  Remove from the oven and cut into squares while the crunchies are still warm.  Allow to cool in the baking tray before lifting out the squares.

 

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Yuppiechef’s ‘The Art of Baking’

I discovered this course from Jess the other day, and just had to share it.  Join Sarah Graham and Yuppiechef for an awesome course called ‘The Art of Baking’.

I’ve been spending my spare time watching the lessons, and doing the quizzes and have found it so helpful and interesting.  Throughout the course, you learn to make different things like cake, cookies or bread, and in the process, you learn about the art of baking, along with interesting tips and tricks.

You can take your time with each lesson, and there is no limit on how long it takes you – you don’t even have to make the recipes taught.

Check it out.  I think I deserve a noddy badge because I got 100% in the first quiz.  BOOM.

Scoff Club

Two weekends ago, Ross and I hosted Gary and Jess for our regular family Scoff Club.

We decided to do things a little differently.  Usually, what happens is that we keep what we’re cooking a surprise until the guests arrive and find out what they’re being served.

Instead, we created an entire restaurant chain called Andross Burgers specializing in gourmet burgers.  Ross created a website from scratch, complete with pictures, a menu and even an order form.  Our guests had to order in advance via the website, for a bit of extra fun.

The burgers were delicious.  Ross and Gary had ‘The South African’ which was a lean lamb burger topped with chunky apricot chutney, grilled feta cheese, sauteed onions and cucumber ribbons.

photo 1(1)Jess had ‘The Hawaiian’ which was a chicken fillet burger with tomato relish, served with slivers of grilled pineapple and onion, crispy bacon, topped with melted cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and cucumber ribbons.

I had ‘The Paraguayan’ which was a chicken fillet burger with tomato relish on a bed of greens, smothered in a peanut cashew sauce, topped with fresh banana and cucumber ribbons.

All the burgers were served with sweet potato wedges.  It was all so delicious, if I do say so myself.

For dessert, I made a ‘Blokey Snickers Cheesecake Loaf’ – I got the recipe from the Marian Keyes recipe book.  I could only have a tiny slice (a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips), but from what I tasted, it was pretty yummy too.

photo 2I have no clue what we’ll make when it’s our turn to host again – we’re running out of ideas FAST!