Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January, 2014

DSC_3884-001
Wow- what a fun bakers challenge this month!  Baumkuchen (which translated to tree cake) is a cake that is traditionally cooked on a spit, with a thin layer of batter spread on, then cooked, then another thin layer of batter, cooked, and so on, until many layers (as many as 30) are built up. It is then taken off the spit and stood upright. When cut into the slices look like the many rings of a tree. This cake is also extremely popular is Asia during weddings since it looks like a ring. During the 18th & 19th centuries these cakes were very popular in Europe, sometimes with 300 (!) eggs being used for a big occasion.

Since not many people own a spit, for this months Bakers Challenge, Francijn , from “Koken in de Brouwerij gave us  simpler version to try,  which is Schichttorte (layered cake, Schicht means layer). This is a simple version of Baumkuchen, with horizontal layers. The layers in Schichttorte are not dipped, but smeared, and the cake is not baked on a spit, but in a baking mould (tin) (pan) producing a flat multi-layered cake. It is Schichttorte that we will be baking for this month’s challenge.

I have two old pastry books that have information about Baumkuchen but I never thought I would be giving it a go, even in a modified version. My first version was made using Francijn’s recipe. It was moist and delicious, thanks to almond paste and 6 eggs. This cake definitely improves with age. The big problem with this cake? I didn’t brown it enough on top to get the distinct layered look.DSC_3868
And this is 10 layers of batter!. I was so afraid of burning it and drying it out that I lost the effect. I also had the oven rack in the middle of the oven when it should have been on the top, closer to the top burner. Not all was lost though, since it was really tasty. Next time I will try it with the oven on broil and see what happens.

For my next version, I decided to use a recipe from my own pastry book, Traditional Cakes and Pastries by Barbara Maher. This book is out of print, unfortunately. I used a 6 inch square pan for this one, so I halved the recipe (less temptation). A few tablespoons of cocoa powder went into half of that batter and orange zest (& a drop of color) into the other half.

Each layer takes about 4 minutes to cook so this is not a cake to make when you are busy doing other things. It’s also very easy – it just takes time. Bake On!

Baumkuchen

Prepare a  10-inch (25 cm) spring form pan or a 8×10-inch (20×25 cm) cake pan
Makes 12 pieces

Batter:

6 large eggs (room temperature)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml) (4-1/4 oz) (120 gm) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) (5-1/3 oz) (150 gm) marzipan
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons (1-3/4 sticks) (7 oz) (200 gm) softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup (180 ml) (3-1/2 oz) (100 gm) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (1 package) (8 grams) vanilla sugar or granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) (3-1/2 oz) (100 gm) all-purpose flour (sifted)

Glaze:
1/3 cup (80 ml) (3½ oz) (100 gm) apricot jam
2 tablespoons (30 ml) orange liqueur (optional)
1 cup (240 ml) (7 oz) (200 gm) dark chocolate couverture chunks
1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure coconut oil

oil to grease your pan parchment paper 10-inch (25 cm) spring form pan / 8×10 inch (20×25 cm) cake tin

Directions: Preheat your oven to hot 450°F/230°C/gas mark 8. Line your cake tin with parchment paper, grease both paper and pan.

Separate the eggs.

Beat the egg whites with the salt until nearly stiff, add the sugar and beat until really stiff.  Finely crumble the marzipan and beat it with the softened butter, confectioner’s (icing) sugar and vanilla sugar until soft and creamy. Add the egg yolks one by one and beat well between each addition. Add the stiff egg whites and flour and gently fold it into the batter, trying not to lose too much air.

Smear 1/12th to 1/10th  of the batter (about 2 tablespoons) on the bottom of the pan, keep the sides of the pan clean, and bake for (about) 4 minutes in the oven, until it is cooked and brown. Take the pan out of the oven, smear the next portion of batter carefully over the first, and bake for another 4 minutes or until cooked and brown. Repeat until all batter is used. If you need to flatten a bubble insert a tooth pick or similar to deflate the bubble.This is only 2 tablespoons of batter
Let the cake cool down for a few minutes, take it out of the pan, remove the parchment paper and let the cake cool completely on a wired rack. Trim the edges.  Heat the jam a little, pass it through a sieve, and add the orange liqueur (optional). Cover the cake with the jam and let it cool.
Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil in a bowl above warm water. Pour it over the cake to cover completely, move the cake to a cool place and wait until the glaze is dry
DSC_3865

Version 2
for a 6 inch square pan

125 g/4.5 oz butter, softened
125 g/4.5 oz granulated sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tbsp. rum
25 g/1 oz ground almonds
65 g/2 1/4 oz AP flour, sifted
65 g/ 2 1/4 oz potato flour, sifted

2 Tablespoons cocoa and zest of 1 orange. One drop orange coloring, if desired.

follow the same mixing method as above except before adding the stiff egg whites, split the batter in half. I used a scale to make this very easy but by eye is fine too. Add the cocoa powder to one half, then the zest and coloring to the other half. Now fold half of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and the other half of the egg whites into the orange mixture. Layer the batter and cook as above.

Read Full Post »

DSC_3847

Happy New Year everyone. A very belated one but still sincere. I have taken some time off from blogging over the holidays so I can enjoy myself and live in the moment. My little girl and I were lucky enough to once again go to New York for 6 weeks to be with my mom for Christmas. This year was filled with many bonuses. Two of my sisters came home to spend Christmas with us as well ; it’s been 20+ years since any of my sisters spent Christmas morning with us. My sister Stacey brought her husband and 3 kids with her (it’s been 4 years since I have seen my beloved nephews and niece). Then 2 days before Christmas my husband calls to say he is flying in on x-mas eve, courtesy of his good brother! While my oldest sister flew back to Atlanta the day after Christmas, her daughter, who now lives in Toronto, called on the 30th to say she was driving down to spend New Years Eve with us. With her husband (who I had never met) and her new 6 month old baby boy! Seriously, when they talk about spending time with your loved ones during the holidays, this is what they meant. What a treat for us all.  New York Dec 2013

While I baked up some 16 varieties of cookies, 12 panettone, 4 cakes for church coffee hour, 2 birthday cakes, 2 stollen, and a buche de noel (whew!), I did not make time to write about it. It takes me hours to get a post up. I don’t know how people can post everyday. Truly I don’t.  I’m lucky if I do 2 or 3 a month. Or on this case, none. Maybe there is some secret I don’t know about…

Anyway, I have been back in Calgary for a week now  and already have loaded myself up with new cookbooks to look at. One of them is “The New Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. This is a revised edition (30 new recipes) of their bestseller Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day and is perfect for anyone who is a.) afraid of baking bread, b.) doesn’t own a stand mixer, or c.) loves bread. Much to my delight, I then saw that Jamie of Life’s a Feast picked a recipe from this very book for the Bread Baking Babes. Being a bread buddy is a delight of mine so I started right away with giving this a go since I had some chopped prunes already in the closet. An overnight soak in brandy helped (doesn’t it always?) deepen their complex flavor.

I still don’t understand how the gluten develops without any kneading, but who am I to question this apparently successful method. The dough is high hydration, almost more cake batter like when you mix it up, which is why it can stay in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, making it possible to have fresh-baked bread within a 2 hours notice. That is, as long as you have some dough in the fridge. The only downside I see to this book is that you have to prepare the dough in advance  at least the day before.  I still love the traditional way of baking though, there is something so organic about kneading, proofing, shaping, waiting some more and then baking. Or feeding your sourdough starter that’s been sitting on the counter and lovingly been attended to for months (or years). That being said, this is pretty darn cool, and easy. I will be trying a few more recipes from this book just to confirm this. Poor me, having to eat fresh bread….

So, on to this very interesting bread. It is bread, as in real bread, not like banana bread, which is cake-like. It is also deep and dark in flavor, thanks to dark cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, but it is not sweet. Perfect with a cup of coffee or tea (I tried both). I made three versions, one with prunes, one with dried cherries and hazelnuts and the last with just toasted hazelnuts. And more chocolate, of course, since bittersweet chocolate is good for you. so get your mixing bowls out and Bake On!

CHOCOLATE BREAD RECIPE (Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread)
Makes two 2-pound loaves. This recipe is easily doubled or halved.

2 ½ cups (565 ml) lukewarm water (100°F or below)
¾ cup (170 ml) vegetable oil
1 Tbs (0.35 oz / 10 g) granulated yeast
1 to 1 ½ Tbs (17 to 25 g) kosher salt – * use less if using fine table salt, more if using coarse salt
1 cup (7 ounces / 200 g) sugar
5 ½ cups (1 pound, 11 ½ ounces / 780 g) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (3 ounces / 85 g) dark, unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ cups (6 ounces / 170 g) bittersweet or sweet chocolate chips
Mixing and storing the dough:

Mix the oil, yeast, salt and sugar with the water in a 6-quart bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and the chocolate chips without kneading, using a spoon or heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). If you are not using the machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.

Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.DSC_3823-001

The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle with cold. Refrigerate the container of dough and use over the next 5 days. Beyond the 5 days, freeze the dough in 1-pound (about 450 g) portions in airtight containers for up to 4 weeks. When using frozen dough, thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before using, then allow the usual rest and rise time.DSC_3836-002

 

Chocolate Prune Bread:
Makes one 1 ½ pound loaf

1 ½ pounds (about 680 g – the size of a small cantaloupe) of the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread dough
Softened unsalted butter for greasing the pan
2 ounces (55 g) high-quality bittersweet chocolate – * use 6 ounces (170 g) if you did not add chocolate chips to the original Chocolate Bread Dough
¾ cup chopped pitted prunes
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbls water)
¼ cup (50 g) sugar for sprinkling over the top of the bread and preparing the pan

On baking day, generously grease an 8 ½ x 4 ½ – inch (22 x 11 ½ cm approx) nonstick loaf pan with butter, sprinkle some sugar evenly over the butter and shake the pan to distribute. Besides making a regular loaf pan I also used 3 medium-sized panettone papers.

Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 ½ pound piece (for the smaller loaves I used 12 ounce pieces) Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough into a ½ – inch-thick (scant 1 ½ cm) rectangle. As you roll out the dough, use enough flour to prevent it from sticking to the work surface but not so much as to make the dough dry.

Sprinkle the chocolate and chopped prunes over the dough and roll up the dough jelly roll style to enclose them. Fold the dough over itself several times, turning and pressing it down with the heel of your hand after each turn. This will work the chocolate and prunes into the dough; some may poke through.

January 21, 2014

With very wet hands (I floured my hands instead), form the dough into a loaf shape and place it into the prepared pan. Allow to rest and rise for 90 minutes, loosely covered with plastic wrap

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). A baking stone is not required and omitting it shortens the preheat.

Using a pastry brush, paint the top of the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar (I used Swedish pearl sugar) . Bake the loaf in the center of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes until firm. Smaller or larger loaves with require adjustments to baking time.

Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool on a rack before slicing and eating. Enjoy!

Please check out if and how the other Babes managed their own Chocolate Prune Bread:BBB jan 14

Bake My Day – Karen
Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire – Katie
blog from OUR kitchen – Elizabeth
Feeding my enthusiasms – Elle
girlichef – Heather
Lucullian Delights – Ilva
Living in the Kitchen with Puppies – Natashya
My Kitchen In Half Cups – Tanna
Notitie Van Lien – Lien

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: