About MissCakeBaker

I spend the week running in heels and the weekends in my apron.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Mallorcan Almond Cake

I spent  a week in a Mallorcan mountain village in July which was completely idyllic.  There was an abundance of local produce from the sweetest oranges I've ever had to almonds harvested a few months earlier.  The village had a lovely bakery to which we made regular visits. My favourite purchase was definitely this local cake.  

A search of the internet has brought up this recipe for Mallorcan Almond Cake. I think my version used grated orange as opposed to lemon zest. This is the perfect cake to have with a cup of tea to remind me of the sunny days of summer holidays.

The Recipe

Unsalted butter and plain flour or preparing cake tin
8 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
2 cups coarsely ground almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Butter an 11-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides and then dust it with flour, shaking out any excess.

2. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar an whisk together until smooth and foamy. Add the lemon zest, cinnamon, and vanilla, if using, and mix well. Add the ground almonds a little at a time, mixing well after each addition to incorporate fully.

3. Using a whisk or a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Scoop about one-third of the whites onto the egg yolk mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold them in to lighten the mixture. Then add the remaining whites and fold them in gently but thoroughly, deflating the batter as little as possible.
4. Transfer the batter to the prepared tin Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and, holding the cake pan 6 inches above a countertop, drop the tin onto the counter. This simple dropping action shocks the cake, making it easier to remove from the pan.
5. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool in the pan until warm. Run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake sides and then invert the cacke onto the rack and lift off the pan. Place the cake upright on a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream, if desired.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Southern Chocolate Mud Pie

I don't know where time has gone. I blame the Jubilee, Olympics, holidays, weekends away and myself for losing my baking mojo a little over the last few weeks. Anyway, in an attempt to redeem my lack of posts I thought I'd make something new and indulgent. Eric Lanlard's Southern Chocolate Mud Pie from his book 'Tart it Up' fits the bill nicely and is the perfect afternoon treat for this dreary drizzly South London Sunday.

This pie is delicious - oh so dense and moreish - perfect with a dollop of creme fraiche to counteract the sweetness.  It was the first time I'd make chocolate pastry and it was relatively easy and quick to do.  Eric has kindly let me reproduce his recipe here along with his photo of the finished article. As you can see my version wasn't quite as elegant but its taste more than made up for its looks. 

The Recipe

200g (7oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
175g (6oz) unsalted butter, softened
350g (11½oz) dark muscovado sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
4 tbsp pure cocoa powder
400ml (14fl oz) double cream
2 tsp chocolate extract (optional)
1 x blind-baked chocolate
shortcrust pastry case in a 25cm (10in) diameter, 6cm (2½in)
deep tart tin or ovenproof dish
500ml (17fl oz) whipping cream
3 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp finely grated dark chocolate

1. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl.  Put to one side to cool.
2.  Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan 140°C)/325°F/gas mark 3. Cream the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy using an electric hand whisk or a freestanding mixer. Gradually beat in the eggs one at a time on a low speed. Sift the cocoa powder and stir in, along with the cooled melted chocolate. Stir in the double cream and the chocolate extract, if using.  Pour the mixture into the cooked pastry case and bake in the oven for 45–50 minutes, or until just set. Leave to cool, then chill in the refrigerator.
3.  Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Whip the whipping cream and vanilla sugar to soft peaks. Pile on the top of the pie and sprinkle with the grated chocolate.