playing with flour

Category: Berries

Buttercake with Berry Buttercream

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For the last few days all I’ve wanted is cake. Fluffy, buttery cake with frosting. Loaded with sugar and sweetness and perfect for undoing any hard work at the gym but worth it because it is just so satisfying. Rather than give in and buy one of those overpriced individual cupcakes from a bakery I whipped up this super simple recipe that makes about thirty cupcakes instead. Seemed like a good idea at the time but now I have to stop myself eating them all!

I’ve always found it tricky to find that perfect vanilla buttercake that is light and fluffy but still has a crumbly texture – you know, the one that pairs well with anything. Usually I find they’re just too dense or don’t rise enough which is incredibly frustrating. This recipe however lives up to its promises. The addition of buttermilk gives a light creaminess while the cornflour makes for an awesome texture.

You could pair the cake base with pretty much anything but I went with a classic berry buttercream for a bit of tartness and colour. If you really hate seeds in your berries you can sieve them out before adding to your mixture but I really don’t feel it’s worth the trouble. Plus the seeds look pretty in the frosting! If you wanted to make a large cake instead of cupcakes that could easily be done, just increase the baking time by about 10 minutes.

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Buttercake with Berry Buttercream

170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
350g plain flour
300g caster sugar
40g cornflour
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 180° and prepare your baking cases. In a bowl sift together the flour, cornflour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix through. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.

Stir through the buttermilk until well mixed, the mixture may look curdled at this stage. Mix through small amounts of the dry ingredients at a time until just mixed. Spoon into cases and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

Berry Buttercream

½ cup frozen berries
240g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups sifted icing sugar

Puree the frozen berries until smooth. If desired you can pass through a sieve to remove the seeds. Mix the butter until light and fluffy in a large bowl then slowly mix in the icing sugar until well mixed.

Mix through the berries until the colour is even. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and enjoy 🙂

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Sour Cherry Torte

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When we first moved cities for work I was worried that I wouldn’t being having spur of the moment dinner parties with a group of fabulous people anymore. Last week I was definitely proved wrong. After a rough week on evening shifts all I wanted to do was have a glass of wine (or two) and eat a lot of food. I was lucky enough to rope in some new friends from the hospital and also convinced a couple of med school friends to travel up to join me. The result was a fun night of conversation and games that was finished off with an awesome dessert.

This torte is fantastic. Crunchy biscuit layer topped with sour cherries and topped with smooth sour cream. Personally I think the biscuit layer was a bit thick, so feel free to use a bit less of the mixture if you’d prefer it a bit thinner. Having said that, it is quite a crunchy base that doesn’t go soggy so a thick layer isn’t a big problem. You could use any sort of berries for the middle layer but I found these fantastic sour morello cherries that worked so well. If you can, I’d highly recommend hunting these down, they work perfectly with the sour cream.

The torte takes quite a while to cook and does tend to go quite brown on top which I was initially a bit concerned about. Don’t stress, this is how it should be. Once the topping appears set it’s ready, just allow to cool completely in the pan and make sure you run a knife around the edges to ensure no juicy bits are stuck before removing the tin. We’ve been eating the leftovers straight from the fridge which is pretty delicious but it is a bit better served at room temperature.

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Sour Cherry Torte

Base

1.5 cups plain flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup almond meal
1.5 tsp baking powder
4 oz unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 200º and prepare a springform pan. In a food processor combine all the ingredients and pulse until you get well combined crumbs. Pour into the pan and press in evenly. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool.

Sour Cherry Filling

700g morello cherries in syrup
1/4 cup caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cornstarch

Drain the cherries reserving 1 cup of the liquid. In a saucepan combine all the ingredients with the liquid and heat over low to medium heat stirring for 5 minutes. The mixture should thicken and become fragrant. Allow to cool somewhat before pouring over the biscuit base.

Sour Cream Topping

500g sour cream
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until combined. Pour over the cherry filling and smooth with a spatula. Lower the heat in the oven to 180º and bake the torte for 45-50 minutes or until the topping is set. Allow to cool completely in the pan before removing the tin. Enjoy.

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Blueberry Friand Slice

As much as my husband would disagree, I don’t own every piece of baking equipment there is. If I could get away with it I would love to buy myself a madeleine tin, mini muffin trays or a bundt pan. And I would definitely buy moulds for friands. I’ve always thought of friands as a grown up version of a muffin or cupcake. Dense yet light, full of almond meal and sold individually (and often more expensively) these miniature cakes are full of class.

Rather than purchase yet another baking tin I decided to adapt a standard friand recipe to make a friand slice instead. While you could pour the batter into a standard muffin tin, I was curious to see how a slice would turn out. The cake is soft and moist and quite sweet and the blueberries burst full of juice when you bite into them. The centre pieces obviously don’t benefit from having the crunchy edge you get on a usual friand, but the taste more than makes up for it.

I was lucky enough to find some out of season blueberries on special, but any berry would work well in this recipe. I poked my berries into the batter before baking but they do sink somewhat anyway so if you like you can just scatter them over the top. If you can afford the luxury of using a vanilla pod I would highly recommend it. Not only do you get to see the tiny black specks within the slice but the vanilla taste is prominent throughout.

This slice goes really well with a cup of tea and is perfect still warm from the oven, with just a dusting of icing sugar.

Blueberry Friand Slice

4 egg whites
100g unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
125g almond meal
160g icing sugar
50g self-raising flour
1 vanilla bean
100g blueberries

Preheat the oven to 150° and line a 20 x 30 cm baking tin with baking paper. In a large bowl whisk your egg whites by hand until combined and frothy. Sift in the flour and icing sugar then add the butter, milk, extract and almond meal. Mix to combine.

Cut the vanilla bean lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Add to your mixture and gently stir until smooth and even. Pour into your prepared tin and smooth surface. Scatter the blueberries over the top and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and springy to touch.

Allow to cool in the pan then transfer to a board to cut. Dust with icing sugar prior to serving.

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