Food, glorious food... done my way. Pretence of perfection

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Daring Bakers - July: Strawberry Mirror Cake

I had mixed feelings about this cake. After my last contact with gelatine, Bavarian cream and the Daring Bakers I knew I had to make this work. And try to follow the recipe exactly (or risk incurring the [justified] Cream Puff Rough Justice(TM)) . So this is why, this time, I did my best to omit the booze from the cake.

The various shops/liquor stores/distilleries I visited trying to find the kirsch were all out. I knew I'd regret that strawberry liqueur bender I went on around the last days of June... who knew it would be so easy to dry up all the sources within 50 miles... and what chronic bad timing!

Anyway, as you can see the recipe was followed precisely. Apart from the big flat rectangular sponge bit. And the measuring the dimensions of cake tins bit. And American
cup sizes bit... oh and the powdered gelatine bit... hmm precisely... what's baking without a little edge of your seat re-jigging of things hey? Hey?!?!?!

A few DBs had there birthdays this month, I decided to take my cake into work. bet none used plates like this!:

Yes, I bet my bosses were very impressed... :-)

I don't even like Pooh et al but it's a birthday cake, novelty plates were called for!

The smart (or picky) people reading this would notice that there was a slight darkening of the sponge along the bottom. Any chef worth her/his weight in salt would have removed these. But I thought, no, it's up to me to show people what happens when you make basic errors. Consider yourselves taught, I won't be showing you again... The recipe called for a large flat sponge. I didn't have a baking sheet like that so I improvised. I put it in a cake time and made it twice (plus) as tall and sliced it in half...

Also, measure how high your sponges are before putting them into your cake mould. Otherwise you'll look like a right Muppet when you can see a halo of cake under your mirror... ha ha... *cue much nervous laughter*

The cake was a right pain getting to work (it's tradition to buy everyone cakes at our office). I took pics of the mirror top before I wrapped it to take to work. It was perfect when straight from the fridge, in it's little cocoon... The top got a little smudged on the way to work, I think it hadn't set properly... it was super concentrated strawberry syrup it was made from, maybe that didn't help...
The concentrated topping was needed since I'm not a big sponge fan... bit bland for me. I'm not a big cream fan either to be honest... still, how many people had one of these for their birthdays!

Would I make it again? No. Was it fun to make? I certainly wasn't bored! It was different. I'm usually a stickler for perfection, but I don't feel the need to perfect this cake like I do the Gateau St Honore...

Anyway, thanks to Peabody for choosing this challenge. It was certainly something I've never seen before, and I guess I enjoyed making it too. :-)

Check out the other Darers here!

Recipes are for the... well, prepared...

Looks like a veggie feast doest it?!

Well apart from the chunks of black pudding sausages it is! :-D Those are the purple looking things. There's also goats cheese, onions, garlic, shredded cucumber in there too. The "filler" is just eggs and a dash of double cream (with salt and pepper). I used store-bought shortcrust pasty because I have a life; blind baked it using greaseproof paper and dried beans to keep the base from rising.

The onions were cooked under the sausages under a hot grill; Then put into a frying pan with crushed garlic and, right at the end, the shredded cucumber (that's the healthy bit kids ;-)).

I cooked it for about 20 mins at 190C, or until the goats cheese had bronzed and the centre had solidified somewhat. I didn't want it rock hard though.

A drizzle of EV olive oil would have been lovely, but I used Worcestershire sauce instead :-)

I made this bread a week before the quiche, but it would have been nice together I guess. It's your basic loaf of bread, but I added some poppy seeds and some saffron to the mix. Interesting... gives it a nice colour, and the poppy seeds work really well with cheese...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Poppy Explosion

Yes, the long thin one was the perfect size for a hot dog. If I ate such rubbish... *ahem* I experimented more with this batch of bread. I wanted some nice airy rolls to soak up the sauce for my dinner... (lamb in an anchovy, rosemary and red wine sauce since you ask, but no, no pics, maybe tomorrow).

As well as trying different sizes and forms, I added more yeast then the recipe called for. And a little bicarbonate of soda. They were definitely more fluffy than usual, maybe a push it a little more next time though.

PS some people say that cockroaches will outlast a nuclear bombardment... I will still be finding poppy seeds in my kitchen until the last star in the universe puffs out it's last light particle!

PPS that's a long time from now.

PPPS there are no cockroaches in MY kitchen!