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Cake! - The Lyorn's Den

Thu Aug. 12th, 2010

12:33 am - Cake!

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Weather last week was cool and damp and kind of unsatisfactory, work was stressful, I had trouble sleeping, and my shoulder hurt. So, what to do? Bake cake, of course.

Apple tarte with almonds

I got this recipe from some junk mail newspaper, the kinds which have 12 pages of adverts and 4 pages of recyled good advice and local gossip. But the recipe looked ok (except for a small bug), and August is the start of apple season, so: Apple tarte!

Started the dough with 250g flour as described, half a cube of yeast, 125 ml lukewarm milk and a tablespoon of sugar. The yeast was very enthusiastic because it was 24°C in the kitchen, and after 15 minutes the dough was bubbling nicely. Put in an egg, some vanilla sugar, 75g butter, and more sugar (to get to a total of 75g) and ended up with something like the cheese fondue at Curious Odus' palace in Geneva: the dough stuck to everything it touched, and utterly refused to form a nice ball that could have been pulled into a tarte shape. Letting it rise for half an hour did not help. (It never does.) So I added about about 75 to 100g flour, until the consistency was barely acceptable, left it to raise for 10 more minutes, than carefully beat it into shape on a countertop covered in flour, putting flour on top whenever the dough tried to stick to something. Finally it had the right shape and size to be put into the round baking form (26 cm), covering the bottom and forming a rim.

Some time before I had mixed 150g crème fraîche, one egg and some more vanilla sugar, and peeled and sliced four small apples. Poured the cream on the dough, then covered the whole with apple slices. Some of them sank, so I put another layer on top there. Put the whole thing in the oven at 180°C...

And then I remembered the sliced almonds, and got the brilliant idea of putting them on without taking the cake from the oven. Of course I burned my knuckles on the heating element and threw a handful of almonds all through the kitchen, but some, at least, landed on the cake.

After 30 minutes it was done. I heated 100g of apricot jam and a tablespoon of water in the microwave on low for, dunno, 30 seconds, stirred it to kind-a fluid, and spread it on the cake without shoving too many of the apple slices out of their foundation. Let cool some, and then put a little icing sugar on it.

I served whipped cream with a hint of cinnamon with it. Perfect.


Chocolate-pear-ginger cake

This I made the day before, and two days before would have been better. Base was a half-pound-cake again, with about 250g flour, eggs, and butter. Sugar was a little less, 100g white and 100g "Krümelkandis" -- medium fine brown rock sugar with a crystal size of about 2 mm. Plus 50g of baking cacao, this made a nice heavy and very very tasty dough. Added one and a half bars (150g total) of chopped Lindt half-dark chocolate, a diced pear, and 50g of finely diced candied ginger. Then I frantically looked for a baking form large enough. It was a very close call, but these heavy doughs (I used only 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder) do not rise much.

Recipe said to bake 45 minutes at 180°C. It took closer to 70, and when I got the cake from the form it tried to disintegrate. So I rolled it into strong tinfoil while still hot. The next day, it was a little crumbly but not on the verge of falling apart, and the day after even better because the tastes had really come together. The rock sugar did not melt but formed crunchy bits, which I'm not too sure about. Might use brown sugar next time. Maybe cover it with ginger syrup and put fine rock sugar on top. If it stays together long enough for that.


Frisian tea bisquits

To complement the other tastes, I went for a dry bisquit here with an understated buttery taste. Knead 250g flour, 100g diced cold butter, 75g sugar, a little vanilla sugar, a little orange peel and one egg into a nice, solid dough, form rolls form it, cool a litte, roll in coarse sugar ("Hagelzucker"), cool some more, slice into round bisquits and bake at about 12 minutes at 220°C. Don't let them get brown. These are best after spending a few days in a tin cookie jar.

***

Of course, now that all the cake was there, someone had to eat it. Forseeing that, I had invited a bunch of friends, of which Ceridwen, Gwyidon, Florian, I___ and H___ showed up, and together we were quite successful at reducing the baked goods.

Fun and cake. I think I'll do that again sometime.

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