29 March 2010

Daring Bakers March 2010 - Orange Tian

Phew, just in time for March too at the rate I was going. Yes this is two days late but better late than never.

The 2010 March Daring Baker's challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse's Cooking School in Paris.

I found this challenge to be a full on one, luckily done on a day when mum brings the dinner to us, else we wouldn't have eaten! Ha ha, it took me all afternoon from scratch.

Firstly I made the marmalade.

Very proud of that. Then the Pate Sablee, which was pretty straightforward. Then the whipping cream was easy too....and the caramel sauce was no problem either. All of the ingredients did what they were supposed to do in the process.

I made it in an 11cm springform tin as I didn't have enough pastry cases for small ones. However, I didn't take in the amount of time I needed the whole thing in the freezer for. I removed it and turned it up on the plate and voila! It looked AMAZING...for about 20 seconds. Then all the sides gave way and the whole thing fell apart. It looked a mess. Boo hoo!! All that time it took and it looked like I dropped it on the floor.
The family still ate it however, and although we didn't need much as it was very rich, it was actually quite delicious. Even despite the fact I don't like marmalade!

I also made a gluten and dairy free option which I much preferred, and it turned out great!

Omitting the cream and making a base from the egg whites that weren't used in the recipe, I then added some icing sugar and ground almonds and coconut and baked it for 12 minutes in the oven. Then I layered the marmalade and orange segments and caramel sauce and it looked really pretty. And Ashley my gluten and dairy free tester loved it. So everyone was happy tonight in the end.

Thanks Jennifer for a real challenging dessert, I thoroughly enjoyed making this, despite the disaster at the end!

Here's the recipe if you're keen to try it yourself.

Preparation time:
- Pate Sablee: 20 minutes to make, 30 minutes to rest, 15 minutes to roll out, 20 minutes to bake
- Marmalade: 20 minutes to make, 30 minutes to blanch
- Orange segments: 20 minutes, overnight to sit
- Caramel: 15 minutes, overnight to sit
- Whipped Cream: 15 minutes
- Assembling: 20 minutes
- Freezer to Set: 10 minutes

Equipment required:
• Cookie cutters . Ideally, you should have about 6 cookie cutters to build the desserts in and cut the circles of dough (see photo). The cookie cutters will be the size of your final dessert, so they should be the size of an individually-sized tart mold. If you don’t have round cookie cutters you could use an individually-sized cheesecake mold without its base.
• A food processor (although the dough could be made by hand too)
• A stand-up or hand mixer
• Parchment paper or a silicone sheet
• A baking sheet
• A rolling pin

For the Pate Sablee:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams

Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.

Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.

Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.

For the Marmalade:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
pectin 5 grams
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked

Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.

Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.

Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.

Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).

Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.

In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).

Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

For the Orange Segments:

For this step you will need 8 oranges.

Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.

[See YouTube video in the References section below for additional information on segmenting oranges.]

For the Caramel:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams

Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.

Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.

Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

[Tip: Be very careful when making the caramel — if you have never made caramel before, I would suggest making this step while you don’t have to worry about anything else. Bubbling sugar is extremely, extremely hot, so make sure you have a bowl of ice cold water in the kitchen in case anyone gets burnt!]

For the Whipped Cream:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner's sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.
[Tip: Use an ice cold bowl to make the whipped cream in. You can do this by putting your mixing bowl, cream and beater in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to whipping the cream.]

Assembling the Dessert:

Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.

Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.

Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.

Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.

Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.

Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.

Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.

Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.

Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.

Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.

28 March 2010

Daring Bakers...March edition

is coming, albeit two days late. Watch this space tomorrow for my post.

Cowboy Cookies

I made these cookies yesterday for a Country & Western themed disco at the Tennis Club.

I did heaps and I've got plenty of leftovers too, so anyone who wants to do a deal and take them off my hands is welcome to them. Else they'll end up in the kids lunchboxes and there's not enough school days left in the term for that.
Aren't they cute?

Chocolate cacti pops, some cool vanilla and lemon boots and a chocolate sheriffs badge ought to please any cowboy or cowgirl.

And I'll even throw in a drawing of a cowboy by Katie for you...

27 March 2010

Passionfruit Sponge Cake

FINALLY I have succeeded at making a sponge cake that rises beautifully instead of being an awful dry pancake. The trick is to find the right recipe, and I found this one in my Cake Bible book.
Look at that height! That's a decent size cake ya think?

This cake is filled with passionfruit curd and fresh whipped cream. I would have topped this cake with a bit of passionfruit curd just for the look, however the birthday girl was picking it up and taking for dinner, so I left it in a wee container for her to use when it was ready to be served, else it might make the top of the cake a little soggy.

The great bonus of this cake is that it is made with cornflour rather than regular flour and therefore is gluten-free. So everyone can love it!

Here's the recipe

Ruth's Sponge Cake - taken from the Cake Bible
2 tablespoons chilled water
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups cornflour
2 teaspoons plain flour (optional - obviously I didn't use this)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
whipped cream and jam, for filling
icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 190 deg C. Lightly grease and flour two 20cm round cake tins.

Warm water and sugar in a saucepan. Whip egg whites until stiff. Add sugar syrup and mix well. Add yolks one at a time, and beat until thick.
Stir in sifted cornflour, flour (if using it) and baking powder. Lastly add vanilla.

Pour into prepared tins and bake for 20-25mins. If you are brave enough, take the sponge straight from the oven and, still in the tin, drop it on the floor to get rid of excess air.

When cool, fill with jam and cream and dust with icing sugar.

23 March 2010

Oh My Guinness...

So this is late if it was meant for St Patrick's Day, but it wasn't so it doesn't matter.

I bought 4 cans of Guinness to drink and salute to my Irish heritage last Wednesday, but couldn't summon enough fondness for the drink to drink another one, nor could Owen. So I decided to make a dessert with the two leftover cans.

Chocolate Guinness Goodness, the idea and recipe taken from Sprinkle Bakes (click here for the post and recipe).

Very yummy and the Guinness really enhances that chocolate flavour beautifully. Ever so delicious. I served it for pudding last night at Family night and it went down a real treat. Its an expensive dessert after buying the cans, cream and eggs so I don't think I'll be making it again in a hurry, maybe next year in time for St Patricks Day!

And thanks Heather for the idea!

22 March 2010


This adorable cake from the Cupcake Gallery is just so so so cute! The monkey eating part of the cake, so clever too.

What about this stunning wedding set up by Bella Cupcakes? Like Sandra from Kiwicakes says, it belongs in a magazine shoot. Simply stunning, her blog site is worth checking out for abs0lutely beautiful cupcakes.

Laurel Avenue Bakery in Hollywood do gorgeous lovely cookies and cupcakes. I love this idea of using stamps and food colouring to stamp on fondant. I'm keen to try this idea myself. Hmm Spotlight here I come....

Something like this maybe? Except obviously without the non edible ink part!

And as usual I'm chucking something non food related in here, as I just think this is such a cool lamp, but I'm pretty sure Johnny would love it and then break it. Its on display in London and is probably extremely expensive. But a gal can dream hey?

19 March 2010

Orange Cake - Gluten Free

I'm not a fan of marmalade. Or even the smell of marmalade. I was hesitant to try this recipe because it asked me to boil two oranges for an hour and then blend them in a food processor, and it smelled like...well, like marmalade.

But I've just tried it with a generous dollop of fresh whipped cream and I've gotta tell ya...its delicious!! Nutty, very orangey and just the right amount of sweetness. I ground my almonds quite large and with the skin on still so the look and texture is slightly different to what the recipe expected. But a nice cake on its own and a lovely dessert served with cream.

Also not bad in a large size too...

And here's the recipe:

Gluten Free Orange Cake

2 oranges
6 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon
300g ground almonds

Boil the 2 oranges for 1 hour approximately, then when cooled slightly cut them, take out any pips and blend in the food processor.
Add the eggs one at a time and then add the sugar and lemon juice.
Blend for 2 minutes.
Add in the ground almonds and pulse until combined.
Pour into lined (very important as the cake is VERY moist and WILL stick to the cake tin otherwise) cake tin. I found that this makes a very large cake or two cakes. I made a cake in a 20cm springform tin and a couple of smaller cakes in my pudding moulds. Either way its a great size to serve lots of people!

Bake for 30-40 mins in a 180 deg C oven and cool.
Serve with whipped cream and some shavings of orange peel (or candied orange peel) for a garnish.


15 March 2010

My sweet girl

Aww look at her.

What a gorgeous thing she is.

And she's 8 now. According to her that's properly nearly grown up. Bless. Sadly she spent all of last week on the couch thanks to a nasty bout of tonsillitis, so I was so pleased she had recovered in time for her special day.

Every year she asks for a butterfly cake and every year it is a last minute rush to get it done, and this year was no different.

See these? Both times were the shape out of the Australian Woman's Weekly Kids Cakes book. Awesome book which has been around since I can remember. I was super jealous of my friend whose mum made the pool party cake with the jelly and the chocolate fingers.

I had decided to do something I've not done before but I've seen it done well, and that is to use a chocolate transfer on fondant. Aaaand it didn't work for me.

I don't know whether I took it off too soon, or didn't put a cool enough iron on or what it was that I did, all I know it didn't work and some of the fondant also stuck to the transfer sheet and ruined some of it.
I was so gutted. Maybe if I had been more patient and this had worked well it would have looked so great, and I wouldn't have needed to add more swirls and the super big butterfly to cover up the uneven patches. Oh well, its all a learning experience isn't it?

The main thing with birthday cakes though, is that the birthday boy or girl must love it. And if they love it then that's all that matters. And I'm happy to say Madeline loved her cake, which because she actually ate it this year instead of vomiting up after looking at it, means it's an improvement on last year!

P.S it still tasted fab though!

And the winner is.....


With her winning submission of a variety of cupcakes (I didn't say you only were allowed to do one) I was impressed at the variety of uses of icing; different piped buttercream techniques, fondant and even a cookie monster. So well done Narelle, a wicked effort!
You win yourself one of these (you can choose);

made by Amy Bowyer of cuteandsweet jewellry. Hooray!

I absolutely had to do a runner up because of this entry from Abbie McGarvey who for a 7 year old is showing some serious cupcake skill with her Cats By Night entry; so Abbie you get second choice on a pair of earrings.

Next is Sandra Boston who submitted a super pretty Christmassy snowflake cupcake;

Molly (10) showing excellent use of fondant and piping. Look at that little snowman! So cute!

Amy and her awesome blue cupcakes that were the only ones that were actually blue inside too. Pretty!!

By Meg (12)

Noah (9) and his Dinosaurs Beach Party

and Sharks in the Sea by Madeline (8)

And finally, although not a cupcake, this was submitted by Claire. An awesome blue iced cake for her son's birthday. May I just add that this is the first birthday cake she's made and iced. What a great job she's done!! I love it when people think something is too hard and then they give it a go anyway, especially when it comes to baking!

Thank you to everyone who submitted their entries, I'm sure this won't be the last competition I'll run as it was such good fun!

13 March 2010

Saturday Baking

Today's menu:

Blue macarons sandwiched with a dark chocolate ganache.

Lemon and coconut cupcakes

Apple & cinnamon muffins

Vanilla cookie pops (and my attempt to make some of them look like tennis racquets!)

and ginger cake.

if anyone wants any recipes for these just ask :)

We're off to the beach now for a twilight picnic for the lovely Emma!