Friday, October 28, 2016

The Daring Kitchen October 2016 Challenge: Decorated Swiss Rolls

My great thanks to Korena in the Kitchen for hosting this month's Daring Bakers challenge. I just love the decorated Swiss rolls. If you read my posts, you will see that I love almost everything about baking but I have to say that the decorated Swiss roll is very dear to me. Periodically, I try to force this love on the restaurant where I work by bringing in an "over the top cute" Swiss roll. But it does not get the joyful response that I think it deserves. I then start to plot another design or flavor combination that might turn the crowd around and they will adore the Swiss roll as much as I. Yes, I am bringing in this month's challenge and wish me luck that they will give the Swiss roll lots of love.

Like any loving relationship, there was a good amount of work. There was also a good amount of cleaning up to do so give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the process of the decorated Swiss roll. For the design, I chose Fall leaves as it is "peak" leaf peeping time here in New England. In retrospect, I perhaps should have tinted the "backdrop" cake batter a light brown or pale sky blue  so I may be trying this one again for Thanksgiving.

I loved the recipe that Korena gave us and I will list my Americanized version below but you can find her detailed instructions here. I want to mention that it is important to get the gel colors mixed thoroughly. I was a bit careless with the red and had some difficulty in making the red leaves NOT  look like blood stains. Gross, right? Other than that , the whole recipe goes very quickly. One thing I love about the Swiss roll is that it is thin and cools quickly. I love that I do not have to wait a long time to put it all together. And, because most of the decoration is done on the cake beforehand, you can pretty much roll and go.

Here is the recipe and happy rolling!

Decorated Swiss Roll

3 each large eggs, separated
35 grams granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus 2 teaspoons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
80 grams cake flour, plus 1 teaspoon
1 pinch salt
1 each large egg white
1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter, plus a pinch
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare a baking pan by spraying lightly with pan release. I used a 9 x 13 pan. Tape your parchment paper cut to size the pan over your desired pattern on the counter. You will transfer it to the pan later. Lightly grease the pattern.(I should have wiped the coating a bit on mine, it was a bit too greasy.)

In a large bowl with an electric mixer and whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks with the sugar on medium-high speed until very pale and thick. Add the water, oil, and vanilla and mix to combine. Sift together the 80 grams flour and salt and mix into the egg yolk mixture  to make a smooth batter. Set aside.

Place  1 Tbsp of the prepared egg yolk mixture in a small bowl and mix in the 1 teaspoon cake flour. Divide this mixture into as many small bowls as you need colors - ie, if you need 3 colors for your pattern, divide it between 3 bowls. Tint the mixture in each bowl with the desired food coloring

In a clean medium bowl, beat the single egg white with an electric mixer and whisk attachment until foamy, then add a pinch of cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form. Measure out  3 Tbsp of the egg white meringue (keep the rest for the main batter) and divide it evenly between the bowls of colored mixture. Mix to combine. Pipe the pattern onto the parchment paper. Put the parchment paper in the lightly greased baking pan.

Bake the pattern in the preheated 350° for 60-90 seconds, just until set (you don't want it to color/brown at all). Set aside on a cooling rack while you finish making the cake batter.

In a clean large bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer and whisk attachment on medium-high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the sugar, a spoonful at a time, until stiff and glossy peaks form. Mix in any remaining egg white the pattern part.

Mix the meringue into the reserved egg yolk mixture, folding gently with a spatula so as not to deflate the meringue, until the batter is smooth and no streaks of meringue remain.

Pour the batter over the baked pattern in the prepared cake pan and spread evenly. Lift up the baking pan a few inches and drop it onto the counter 2-3 times to dislodge any large air bubbles. Bake in the preheated 350° for 12-14 minutes, depending on the size of your cake pan, until just set and slightly springy. Try not to let the cake color/brown much, if at all.

Place a fresh piece of parchment paper on top of the cake and invert it onto a cooling rack. Lift off the pan and stencil and gently peel back the parchment to reveal the baked-in decoration. Place the parchment back on top and allow the cake to cool between the pieces of parchment paper. Make sure the cake is completely cool before filling.

When the cake is completely cool, peel off the parchment paper and turn it over so that the pattern is facing down and horizontal (for a 9"x 13"  cake, make sure the short edges are at the top and bottom and the pattern is at the top).

Whip the cream until soft peaks form, then add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until firm peaks form. 10 If you're using jam or another spread (I used Nutella), spread it evenly over the surface of the cake, Spread the whipped cream evenly on top

Tightly roll up the cake from the bottom edge, using the parchment paper to help.  Once rolled, twist the parchment paper ends like a candy wrapper to secure the cake in a log. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour until the filling is firm

To serve, unwrap the parchment paper and trim the ends of the cake with a serrated knife. Roll it up in parchment again and re-shape if necessary, then transfer to a plate. Cut slices with a serrated knife, wiping it clean between each cut.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


One of the things I love most about life is the pleasantly  unexpected occurance. Many times, when I am humming along in life, something completely random happens and happily changes my way of thinking. I would be crazy to suggest that the negative side of that equation does not happen and probably far more than the positive. Perhaps that is why I get almost giddy when there is the happy surprise. So, with that "deep thought" lead in, I introduce the Daring Baker challenge this month as my most recent happy surprise. I am not sure what I was expecting but overwhelming love for this cake was not it. My work buddies loved it. My family and friends loved it. They requested I make it again...and this cake makes a lot of servings. Everything about it was delicious.Many thanks to Jason and the Daring Bakers for this month's challenge

Click on : Jason of Daily Candor to access his post to Daring Bakers for background information on the cake and some alternate recipes for the cake. The cake ingredients are very easy to find and alternatives,for me,were easily substituted. For the recipe below, I took elements from Jason's recipe suggestions and the recipe from  John garnished his beautifully with figs but I left mine plain to emphasize the massive topping that is meant to honor the craggy mountains of the area.

John of has very strict rules for sharing his information so I will direct you to his blog above and remark that I added a tablespoon of Grand Marnier to the cake batter. I also used a mixture of nuts for the topping, pecans, walnuts and almonds. As heneedsfood advises, this cake freezes beautifully. That is, if you have any left to freeze. I had to hoard a section of the cake just to test the theory.

 This cake, pronounced huh-rap-choose-sa, does not have a lot of ingredients but the ones it uses are in large quantities. Fourteen eggs in one cake, 2 1/2 cups sugar for the topping alone and every single nut in my house went into making this recipe. From looking at Google earth pictures of the area, I would love to visit and taste a sample in a a cafe in Bol overlooking the water.

Recipe pictures in progress:

Cake Batter

Lots of nuts

Watch the topping so it does not stick and burn ton the bottom

Baked cake

Final baking

Moist and yummy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Daring Bakers is evolving and now will be called The Daring Kitchen. The main change is that the challenges will extend out side the scope of baking. I am very excited about this change and look forward to lots of fun in the kitchen with my daring friends. This month, Shillpa Bhaambri from Cakeline the Journey, a Baker and Cake designer living in Mumbai, India is hosting the challenge. Her challenge is a cake design challenge. Here is the link to her challenge with lots of great ideas and recipes.

Here is the exciting part of Shillpa's challenge for me. I returned home yesterday from a course with Nicholas Lodge of International Sugar Art Collection in Atlanta GA. I took a PME certification course in Rolled Fondant Techniques. This visit was not my first to the school. I have been going every year for the last 18 years. I love the school and I always learn new techniques. I could go on and on about how wonderful the experience is there but I think you have to see for yourself. People  from all over the world come to learn from Nick and I have made some great friends at the school.

For the PME certification class, we worked with fondant, gumpaste and a combination of the two media. Having taken a lot of gumpaste classes with Nick, I have memorized his recipe. I find it very easy to make. Shillpa has the recipe in her challenge so hit that link above if you want to make it.
For fondant, I always buy it. I am not lazy...ok I am a little lazy. If I thought I could make fondant as nice as some of the commercial brands I use, then I would definitely make it. But I am loving the Renshaw brand of fondant and find it economical as well as delicious and easy to use.

Modeling chocolate aka candy clay and I have a love/hate relationship. I have moderate success in making it. I find it expensive to buy BUT when all the stars align, it is my favorite sugar medium to use. Modeling chocolate tastes like chocolate. Yum! Also, I can make decorations and not have to wait for them to dry as I would for fondant or gumpaste. Once they cool they are ready. Great news for the last minute, sort of lazy decorator that I am from time to time.

For this blog, I will talk about the cake that I did in class last week. The cake is a dummy cake which means that the parts that looks like cake are Styrofoam. I can keep this forever or until I turn my back and someone pokes on it breaking the decorations. Speaking of which, I would like to send nasty glares to the Atlanta TSA who somehow managed to start my cake, in its box, right side up through the scanner and return it to me upside down. There was minimal damage, thankfully, due to the fantastic packing job at I.S.A.C.
Below are some pictures the cake project. Hopefully, I will meet some of you in class someday. I am already saving my money for the next visit.

Gumpaste decorations drying in foam

As a sampler cake, we did many designs all over the cake.


Two kinds of draping- above and below

His talent is amazing. His generosity and kindness is  fantastic!

Friday, November 27, 2015


Today is the day after Thanksgiving. While I love Thanksgiving  with the gathering of friends sharing lots of food and fun, my most thankful feeling is that it is over. I cook too much. I eat too much and I make a monumental mess. The mess is not limited to the kitchen where thankfully my dear friends help straighten my mess. I will be sorting through piles of  mess throughout the house for a week.

Today is also Black Friday where everyone goes shopping and stands in line to save a penny. Not me!  I am waiting for Cyber Monday although I think Cyber Monday actually started last Thursday and Black Friday started last August. I find it hard to keep up as every business seems to have its particular spin on the dates and deals.
So what has this got to do with this month's challenge?? Umm nothing really, I am just ranting.

For the month of November Krista & Nicole of “Two Cups of Sugar.”challenged us to make our own version of cheesecake crumble pie.
This month's challenges was very interesting to me and I made the pie  early in the month. I did not make it for Thanksgiving because I experimented a bit, as challenged by Krista and Nicole, and found a cheesecake pie that worked a little better for me .

Here is the link to their challenge. The last recipe in the challenge, BLT cheesecake Pie,  is now on my bucket list.  I need to recover from cream cheese overload for a little while before I tackle the recipe so I am keeping the recipe on file for the rapturous time when tomatoes are in season here again.
Making the cheesecake pies is fairly easy. I used my usual pie crust recipe which works well for me.

Add caption

The filling recipe is really nice and there were no unsightly lumps of cream cheese floating in the batter. Yes, that sort of thing happens if I do not coddle and hover over my cheesecake batter.

 I used raspberries and blackberries and they seemed most appropriate for a crumble pie which is typically very sweet. The lemon zest in the recipe also blended nicely with the fruit. The recipe for the topping made a lot and seemed drier than the the challenge picture. I covered the pie as much as I thought useful and
kept the rest for another project. It should freeze well.

The pie came out really nice. The baking method is to start with a high heat, reduce the heat after 10 minutes and baking for an hour. Then, turn the heat off and  leave in the oven with the door ajar. for 30 minutes.

 I think that I should have turned the heat off in the oven  sooner. I think a little less cooking would have given creamier filling results though the longer cooking time created a nice pie crust and a lovely golden topping. The taste was sweet, fruity and very rich. Small slices of pie  are manageable which is great is you are serving a crowd.

The second pie recipe is Pecan Cheesecake Pie that I got from a Southern Living magazine and combines my two favorite desserts, pecan pie and cheesecake. There is a layer of cheesecake and a layer of pecan pie that magically transforms into a plate of pure joy. This pie has a couple of separate elements that at first sight might seem cumbersome but whip together easily.  I did serve this pie(along with a lot of other desserts) for Thanksgiving. This is one recipe I will make again next year.
When making the Pecan Cheesecake Pie, be sure to use a deep dish pie pan or else there won't be enough room for both fillings. I made that mistake on my first try with the pie. If you don't have a deep dish pan, then I recommend that you use all the cream cheese mixture, top with the pecans and  fill to the top with the corn/syrup egg mixture. You will have some leftover corn syrup/egg mixture but the pie will still be really good. I believe this is best served slightly chilled so I advise removing the pie from the fridge about an hour before serving. Unlike most cheesecakey desserts, this pie will keep well in the fridge for a few days or until you have sneaked enough "slivers" while cleaning up the Thanksgiving mess. Not that I would know anything about that!
Pecan cheesecake pie is top picture and  top dessert dog over red velvet cupcakes and apple pie!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Autumn in New England is apple time. We love our apples! My local farm stand has them front and center. There is usually a small crowd gathered around them admiring the abundant varieties. The apples have exotic names that give no clue to their sweetness or best use leading to serious discussions about which apple should be used for what purpose from those "in the know".

I have been sitting (not literally) on this recipe all summer. I got the recipe from Marmiton. It is a French cooking site and has the most wonderful recipes. I am like a kid in a candy shop when I visit the site and have spent  many evenings looking at their videos and reading the recipes. I started with this site to help brush up on my French for a recent  trip to Paris. The original title for this dish is Verrine de mousse au chevre. Verrine means jar in French and the layers are beautiful to see so I recommend using a glass vessel of some sort to serve the salad. The salad is cute as can be and made the evening seem much more special than a mundane Wednesday night.  I think  a lovely way to start a dinner party is with the salads already sitting at the table.

Here is the link to the original recipe. I adapted it a bit to fit my needs. Also, I had not yet made the trip to Paris  so I did not have any Espelette de piment. I used smoked paprika as advised by another source and it was really nice. I used  Gala apples for the salad. Gala apples have a sweet flavor but stand up well to heat of the  saute pan so there are some nice textures in the salad. There are two kinds of goat cheese, the regular log style that I see in every cheese bin at the grocery and fresh goat cheese which I found locally at an upscale Whole Foods market. The fresh goat cheese was more of a cream cheese consistency and had a milder cheese flavor. I used Fage plain flavored yogurt. Fage is very trendy  in my area right now. I like it because the texture is creamy and the consistency is a little firm. I don't think the brand of yogurt  will make or break this salad.

I served this salad with some thick sliced,grilled pork chops and roasted spaghetti squash. Because I had a lot of Parmesan tuiles leftover, I kept them out for snacking during the week.

Here is the recipe:

Verrine de Mousse au Chevre -adapted for Evelyn's house

3 apples
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ounces yogurt, whole milk
2 ounces goat cheese, log style
1 ounce goat cheese, fresh
1 bunch arugula leaves
6 ounces Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika, or piment espelette

1. Make the Parmesan tuiles: Preheat the oven to 350 °. Line a small cookie sheet or sheetpan with parchment paper. Drop a small pile of shredded Parmesan onto the cookie sheet. Bake until tuiles have turned a light golden on top about 6 to 7 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they will burn quickly. Remove from the oven. Using an off set spatula, immediately transfer the tuiles to a drape over a rolling pin and allow to cool. This will give them the slightly curved shape. Yes, they were that easy!!

2. Peel apples and cut into small cubes. Melt butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add apples and saute until browned and softened. remove from heat and set aside to cool.

3. Mix together the yogurt, goat cheeses in a food processor and blend well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Make a vinaigrette by whisking together the balsamic vinegar, oil and either smoked paprika or espelette pepper, if available. Toss the vinaigrette with the arugula. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. To assemble: Use a clear container such as a jar or deep martini glass to best show off this salad. Spoon the apple among the 6 glasses. Top with the goat foam. Then top with the arugula. Garnish with the Parmesan tuiles.

Merçi Marmiton