29.7.12

Blueberry Lemon Mini Cupcakes



Lilac and yellow is a graceful color pair such as the duo blueberry and lemon together in flavor. Perhaps they are one of my favorite combinations, and they were my inspiration for these mini cupcakes that I prepared for you, my dears.  I made this cake recipe for the first time a while ago using lemon brigadeiro and blueberry jam as filling, and I loved it. This time I made a miniature version with lemon and blueberry buttercream colored with natural colors.  I have noticed I've got migraine every time I eat a food that contains food coloring. So I decided to use the natural colors of the ingredients instead of synthetic food dyes.







The pigment that gives blueberry the blue hue is called anthocyanin. It’s also the substance with antioxidant activity that helps to prevent some diseases. This wonderful pigment is also a good option on cake decoration.  I prepared blueberry jam to get the lilac color for gum paste and the purple for  buttercream. Blueberries, such as apples, have some substances (enzymes) that react with oxygen when they are cut, producing a brown color on the surface. So if you cook them, or add sometimes acid (like lemon juice), you will avoid the oxygen contact and prevent the color change. On my first try, I just blended fresh blueberries, but they turned in a brown pure. So I made a blueberry jam to preserve the color and to intensify the flavor.




I cooked some blueberries with water, lemon juice and sugar until thick consistency. Then I added some of this jam to buttercream and I got a beautiful purple color. To make the buttercream roses I followed this tutorial using the Wilton's tip 104. For quite some time I have desired to try this technique. I have to say that I’m in loving with it.  How lovely are theses roses?





To tint the gum paste, I added small quantities of jam until the desire lilac shade. With this lilac gum paste I made little roses to decorate the cupcakes with lemon buttercream. I’m so happy how jam and gum paste worked well. I became even happier when I found lilac roses with the same shade at the grocery store. To the lemon buttercream, I prepared first lemon custard with egg yolks, cream, gelatin, lemon and sugar. Then I incorporated it on the buttercream. The yellow of the egg yolks was the pigment here, and it turned into a pastel yellow with the white of the buttercream.

I do really love these mini cupcakes. They are delicate and adorable. They are just as good as they look.






Blueberry Lemon Mini Cupcakes

Cupcakes
(adapted from Martha Stewart)
yield: about 10 cupcakes or 20 mini cupcakes

3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup skim milk
3 Tb canola oil
1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup fresh Blueberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cake: Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk together half sugar, the milk, oil, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl; set aside.
Put egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until foamy. Raise speed to medium-high. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
Add half of the flour mixture to the milk mixture; whisk until smooth. Fold in remaining flour mixture, alternating with the egg white mixture. Add blueberries. Fill each cupcake line full with batter.Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. 


Vanilla Buttercream
(from the book Miette)
yield: 6 cups
Note: For this cupcake recipe you will use about 2 cups.

2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
1/3 cup water
5 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 cups (1 1/2 pounds) unsalted butter, at room temperature.
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Cook the mixture until it reaches 248 degrees F, 5 to 10 minutes, keeping a constant eye on it.

Meanwhile, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.
As soon as the sugar syrup reaches 248 degrees F, immediately pour it into a heat-proof measurer. Pour a few tablespoons into the whites, away from the whisk, so the hot syrup doesn't splash, and whisk on medium speed for a few seconds. Be careful as the syrup is very hot. Pour in a little more syrup and whisk for a few seconds, until incorporated. Repeat until all the syrup has been added. Raise the speed to high and continue to whisk until the mixture cools to room temperature, 70 to 75 degrees F, 5 to 10 minutes.

Only when the meringue is cool enough should you begin adding the butter. Reduce the speed to medium. With the mixer running, drop in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting until each is incorporated before adding another. The mixture may deflate and begin to look curdle. Raise the speed to high and continue to add to add tablespoon-size pieces of butter, making sure each is completely combined before adding more. When all of the butter has been added, the frosting should be smooth and thick. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

Use the buttercream immediately, or cover and refrigerate until needed. Store in a zippered plastic bag for up to 1 week in the refrigerator and up to 2 months in the freezer. (To thaw, leave in the refrigerator over-night, not on the countertop).  To use the buttercream that has been chilled, remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, about 1 hour, or microwave in 15-second intervals, mixing in between each, until soft. If frosting has been frozen, this can take up to 2 minutes total. You can also soften the buttercream over a bain-marie or a double boiler. The frosting will soften from the outer edges of the bowl so mix from outside, folding the frosting inside. Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until soft and spreadable, 2 to 3 minutes.


Lemon Buttercream

Scant 1 cup (225 g) heavy cream
2 egg yolks 
2 gelatin sheets
1/3 cup (65g) superfine granulated sugar
1 lemon
Lemon zest of 1 lemon
1 cup (250 g) Buttercream

Make the Lemon Custard: Soak the gelatin in cold water for 20 minutes. In a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. Pour the boiling cream over the egg-sugar mixture, beating hard. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook, stirring, just until it reaches a temperature of 185°F (85°C). Remove from the heat. Drain and squeeze the gelatin of excess water and incorporate it into the custard. Add the lemon and lemon zest, blend with a handheld immersion blender and set aside to cool.

In a bowl, blend the custard with buttercream with a handheld immersion blender to get a smooth cream.Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a star tip.


Blueberry Buttercream

1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 Tb sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup water

Make the Blueberry Jam: Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes (jam will continue to thicken as it cools).
Force jam through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding skins. Let it cool.

Add blueberry jam to 1 cup buttercream until color desired. Blend buttercream with a handheld immersion blender to get a smooth cream. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a Wilton tip 104.






25.7.12

Savarin



The famous cake Baba was an invention of the former King of Poland and Duke of Lorraine, Stanislas Leszczynski. During his exile at Lunéville in 1760, finding a raisin brioche too dry and hard, he had the idea of soaking it with Malaga wine. So he named it as “Ali Baba”, in memory of the character of the Thousand and One Nights.

In 1835, The Stohrer patisserie in Paris replaced the Malaga wine for rum syrup, calling it now as "Rum Baba". Then in around 1845, Julien Brothers, Parisian pâtissiers, adapted the baba recipe using a ring cake mold instead of the simple cylindrical form. They filled the center with pastry cream and fruits. They called it Savarin, which became a classic French pastry. They chose this name in homenage to the famous gastronome Brillat-Savarin.

I used a Savarin recipe from the book Ladurée Sucreé. It consists of a buttery cake soaked with rum citrus syrup and decorated with whipped cream and a fresh fruit. I enjoyed this classic dessert chilled with a fresh strawberry and I loved it!





Savarin
from the book Ladurée Sucré

Baba dough

½ oz / 12g fresh yeast
2 tbsp (20g) water
2 cups/ 250 g cake flour
1 pinch of fleur de sel (or other coarse sea salt)
1 ¼ tbsp (15g) granulated sugar
4 eggs
5 tbsp / 75 g butter + 1 ½ tbsp butter for molds

Rum syrup
4 ¼ cups / 1 litre water
1 ¼ cups / 250 granulated sugar
1 lemon, unwaxed
1 orange, unwaxed
1 vanilla bean
½ cup / 120 ml aged rum (rhum agricole if possible)
+ ½ cup /125 ml aged rum for finish

Sweetened whipped cream
2 ¾ cups / 325 g sweetened whipped cream
Seasonal fruits for decoration
Equipment: 8 savarin molds, 2 ¾ inch/ 7 cm diameter rings
Piping bag without tip
Piping bag fitted with a 1/2 – inch / 10 mm star tip


Baba dough
If you have a stand mixer, prepare the dough in the bowl of the mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. You can also mix the ingredients in a food processor. Cut the butter into small pieces and allow to soften at room temperature. Break the yeast into small pieces with your fingers and dilute in the water at room temperature. In a large bowl, place the flour, salt and sugar. Add the diluted yeast and 2 eggs., and start to mix with a wooden spatula until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl again, and repeat this process with the lat egg. Incorporate the softened butter and continue to work in to the dough until it once again pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Cover the dough with a damp dish towel or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to double in volume at room temperature (approximately 1 hour).

Preheat the oven to 340°F/ 170° C / gas mark 3.
Butter the molds.  Transfer dough to the piping bag without tip and fill molds. Allow the dough to double in volume and rise up to the edges of the molds. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Rum Syrup
Pour the water and sugar into a saucepan. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of the lemon and orange (avoiding the bitter white pith). Juice both citrus fruits. With a sharp knife, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using the tip, scrape the interior to remove the seeds. Add the vanilla pod, vanilla seeds, pressed citrus juice and zest to the saucepan with the water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, strain through a fine mesh sieve to discard all solids, and add the rum.
Transfer the syrup to a baking dish that is large enough to hold the baked savarins. Turn pastries around in the syrup, dipping the tops and bottoms, until well soaked. Place a wire rack on a large dish or rimmed baking sheet, and place savarins on the rack. Reheat the remaining syrup and when hot, drizzle over the cakes several times. Allow to cool.
Assembly
Place savarins on a serving platter and drizzle generously with rum. Using the piping bag fitted with a star tip, top each cake with sweetened whipped cream. Decorate with seasonal fruits.







21.7.12

Cherry Cupcakes





When I started this blog, I had never made a cupcake even being in love with this gorgeous treat. I thought that some of the cutest cupcakes should have a pink frosting with one cherry on top. So I drew this cupcake to use as a logo to my blog. But until now, I hadn't made a real cherry cupcake. 






Cherries are in season, so I decided to recreate my draw in a real and delicious cupcake. I made a vanilla cupcake filled with cherry brandy compote. I prepared a white chocolate ganache for the frosting, then I incorporated some cherry compote to add pink color. How beautiful are they with the fresh cherries on top?

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!



Cherry Cupcakes
Vanilla Cupcakes
makes 6

1 cup cake flour, sifted
½  cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
½ cup butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoon milk
6 fresh cherries

Line 6 cupcake cups with papers lines. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer bowl and beat with the paddle attachment for about a minute or until light and creamy.
Fill each cupcake line two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until risen and just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Assembly: With a small paring knife cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake. Add about 1 tablespoon cherry brandy compote (recipe below).  Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the cherry white chocolate ganache (recipe below) and pipe on the cupcakes. Add one fresh cherry.


Cherry Brandy Compote

1/3 cup Brandy
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tb glucose syrup
1 Tb lime juice
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon about 10 minutes.


White chocolate and cherry ganache
  
 1/2 cup heavy cream
16 ounces white chocolate, chopped 
1/4 cup cherry brandy compote

Bring cream just to the boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, add chocolate, stand until melted (5 minutes), and stir until smooth and glossy. Refrigerate until firm yet still pliable (45 minutes-1 hour) then stir until smooth. Pour the cooled ganache into the bowl of a mixer and beat on high speed with whisk attachment for 5 minutes. Add the brandy compote and mix with a spoon to get a smooth cream. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted a star tip.




Foodbuzz Today's Top 9

18.7.12

My Birthday Cake





Hi my dearest friends! As I promised, here I am with the recipe and photos from my birthday cake. First I would like to thank you for all the birthday wishes. They made my day even better! Turning 30 years old was not as scary as I thought it would be. In fact it has been the most beautiful time of my life. I’m wonderfully married and I’m learning and making what I discovered to be my passion: baking, photographing and making sugar flowers.



A date so special like this deserves a soul pleasing cake. After think a lot I ended up with an almond sponge cake, soaked with almond rum syrup, filled with dulce de leche custard with hazelnut almond praline, and covered with toasted hazelnut marzipan. For me, nuts with dulce de leche are always a delicious combination and it’s difficult to go wrong with that. I spend two days making and decorating this cake and it was a delight. I learned a lot while I was making the marzipan and blanching the almonds. And for my first time, I learned how to make dulce de leche from sweetened condensed milk too. It was a realization in so many ways. Bake your own birthday cake made this day much more special.




Dulce de leche is a great sweet by its own and it makes a delicious filling for cakes even when it is used plain. As you may have noted, I love dulce de leche. That's why I used it a lot on my recipes. But for my 30th birthday cake, I desired to make a more complex filling. Normally I prepare my own dulce de leche using milk and sugar. But this time I used sweetened condensed milk. I adored the result! Then I mixed it with mascarpone and custard, that I prepared with heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar and gelatin. That was just the first part of the filling. The second part was the hazelnut and almond praline. Praline is a confection made from nuts and sugar syrup. It is not so difficult to prepare. Toast the almond and hazelnuts for some minutes, and then mix them with sugar syrup.






Making the marzipan maybe was the most exciting part. It consists in a paste of blanched almonds and sugar syrup. It can be used in confections or to decorate cakes. When it is applied before the fondant, you will get a smooth and perfect finishing for your cake. So I decide give it a try. As I used toasted hazelnuts on the praline filling, I decided to make a toasted hazelnut marzipan recipe from this book. I was surprised how easy blanch almond is. Just boil water, turn off the heat, add the almonds and let soak for some minutes. After that, just squeeze to slide skin off.

Now about the sponge cake recipe... Recently I discovered that incorporate potato starch on the batter makes the cake fluffier and gives it a wonderful texture. For this sponge cake recipe, I used only almonds, potato starch, eggs and sugar. I also made almond rum syrup to moist and add a deep flavor.

And finally the decoration. I had the idea to make these flowers on top of the cake when I was taking the photos of those roses.

The amazing thing about this cake is that everything tastes incredible good as I planned. The sponge cake was very flavorful, and the rum syrup kept it moist. The dulce the leche cream with the praline paired perfectly and the marzipan, made a good base for the fondant. I loved so much the final result with its layers of flavor and satisfaction.
.



My Birthday Cake

Almond Sponge Cake
(inspired by the book Laduree Sucre)
makes 4 discs 8-inch

1 cup /120 g whole almonds
2/3 cup / 120 g potato starch
10 eggs
½ cup +2 tbsp / 125 g granulated sugar

Place the almonds and potato starch in a food processor. Process until the almonds are finely ground.
Separate the egg whites and yolks.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with half of the sugar until pale. In another large dry bowl, with a clean whisk, bring the egg whites to foam. Once they are white and frothy, add the remaining half of the sugar and continue to whip until firm.
Right away, gently fold the sugar and egg yolk mixture into the whipped egg whites with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the ground almond and potato starch over the mixture. Gently combine: start with the spatula in the center of the bowl, work up the sides of the bowl and bring the mixture back down towards the center, all the while turning the bowl regularly. Continue until you have a smooth and homogenous mixture.
Preheat the oven to 340°F/ 170°C.

Transfer the batter to greased 8-inch baking pan and bake for approximately 20 minutes until lightly colored. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Almond Rum Syrup

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup rum
1 tsp almond extract

Heat sugar, rum, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Let cool completely before soak the cake.


Dulce de Leche Custard
(inspired by the book Pierre Herme Patries)

2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 gelatin sheet
Scant 1 cup (225 g) heavy cream
 2 ½ egg yolks (50g)
1/3 cup (65g) superfine granulated sugar
1 cup (250 g) mascarpone cheese 

Soak the gelatin in cold water for 20 minutes. In a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. Pour the boiling cream over the egg-sugar mixture, beating hard. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook, stirring, just until it reaches a temperature of 185°F (85°C). Remove from the heat. Drain and squeeze the gelatin of excess water and incorporate it into the custard. Blend with a handheld immersion blender and set aside to cool.
Place the sweetened condensed milk in a sauce pan and over medium heat stir until dark caramel. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, beat the mascarpone by hand with a whisk until smooth, and then incorporate the custard and the dulce de leche. Blend with a handheld immersion blender to get a smooth cream.Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted without a tip. 

Almond Hazelnut Praline
(from here)

Vegetable oil, for baking sheet
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds, toasted

Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Heat sugar, corn syrup, and 3 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook, without stirring, until deep amber. Stir in nuts. Spread mixture into prepared sheet. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Break praline into pieces, then coarsely grind in a food processor.

Toasted Hazelnut Marzipan

215g/7,5 oz almonds, whole, untoasted
215/7,5 oz toasted hazelnuts
110g/4 oz glucose syrup
120g/4 oz water

Blanch the almonds and toasted hazelnuts in boiling water. Cover, remove from heat, and allow to soak for 5 minutes. Drain the nuts.
Coarsely grind the nuts in a food processor.
Combine the sugar, glucose syrup, and water. Cook to 114C/244F.
Pour the hot syrup over the chopped nuts in a stainless-steel bowl. mix together lightly.
Pour the syrup-coated nuts onto an oiled marble slab. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Grind half of the batch at a time in a food processor until it reaches the desired fine consistency. (This may take 10 minutes or more.) If the marzipan separates during the grinding process, add a small quantity of liquid, such a spirit or boiled syrup, to restore the emulsion.
Combine the ground batches of marzipan. Allow to cool to room temperature, roll, and use as desired. It may be made up days in advance if desired.

Assembly: Place one layer cake on a serving plate. Brush with 1/4 cup rum syrup. Spread 1 1/2 cups dulce de leche cream over top. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup praline. Repeat to make 2 more layers of each. Top with remaining cake. Cover with remaining dulce de leche cream. Cover with marzipan. Decorate as desired.


14.7.12

Today is my Birthday!



Today is a very especial day for me.  I just turned 30 years old.
My plan was to publish my birthday cake just next week with a photo of the cake slice that I will cut tonight. But I thought it was so beautiful that I couldn’t resist showing you a photo of it today. This is an almond sponge cake with dulce de leche mascarpone and hazelnut almond praline filling.
I will be back next week with this delicious recipe and also more photos. See you soon my dear friends!

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