Moist Chocolate Feijoa Cake


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I’ve been blessed by friends giving me a whole lot of feijoas recently and our kitchen has been churning out lots of dishes with feijoas – feijoa macarons, feijoa jelly and now of course the much awaited chocolate feijoa cake.  I must admit, this was my cunning plot to get J to eat feijoas – for she will not turn down anything that has chocolate in it. I’ve added chocolate ganache in between the two layers and on the outsides of the cake, but you can equally leave that out and serve it as it is, if you have a reason NOT to have chocolate ganache.

This is a moist cake which is best served the next day, and even better the day after that.

Moist Chocolate Feijoa Cake

Ingredients
1.5 cups feijoa flesh
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
185g butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, size 8
1.5 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup sour cream (or buttermilk or greek yoghurt)

Chocolate ganache

300g Dark chocolate (62% cocoa)
320ml cream
50g butter

Instructions

  1. Lightly oil or spray two 6″ round tins. Line the bottom of the tins with a round of baking paper. Heat the oven to 180C. You can also bake these as small muffins for the lunch box.
  2. Cut ripe feijoas in half, scoop flesh out and then slice thinly.
  3. Measure 1.5 cups of the sliced fruit and place in a bowl with brown sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Cream the softened butter and caster sugar in a small bowl with an electric beater.
  5. Beat in the eggs one after the other, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
  6. Stir in the prepared feijoas, the dry ingredients and add the sour cream, ideally in two batches.
  7. Transfer the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top evenly.
  8. Bake at 180C for 28 minutes, or until a skewer exits cleanly from the middle of the cake. If you baked them as small muffins, adjust the baking time to 18 minutes.
  9. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and remove the baking papers. Allow to cool completely.
  10. Make chocolate ganache by placing chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Heat cream in a pan and when it starts to boil, pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for 2 minutes before you stir to allow the chocolate to melt gently and smoothly. Leave in the fridge to cool and firm up for 1-2 hours.
  11. Spread chocolate ganache onto the top of one cake, then place the other bottom side up on top of the first cake. Spread chocolate ganache over to cover the top and sides.
  12. Garnish as you wish, with berries, confetti sprinkles or chocolate shards.

Baileys Chocolate Luxe Bundt Cake


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This is quite a boozy cake – not at all a surprise since there is a whole cup of Baileys in here. What I didn’t expect was how much the children liked this cake (the alcohol has been cooked off so no children inadvertently got drunk from consuming this cake). This cake is quite indulgent and rich, please do serve in smaller portions – you can always go back for seconds. I’ve used the special chocolat version of Bailey’s here, by all means use what you havešŸ˜‰

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Ingredients For the Bundt Cake:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Equagold)
  • 1 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 3 Tbsp instant coffee granules (Moccona)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup oil (rice bran)
  • 1 cup Baileys Chocolat Luxe Irish Cream liqueur
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (Equagold)

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Ingredients For the Toppings: 

  • 120g chocolate drops (I used Equagold 70% Ghana dark chocolate)
  • 120ml cream
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel 
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces, for sprinkling over the icing (I used a few Valrhona batons, broken into small pieces)

    Directions:

      1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Prepare a 8-10 cup bundt cake pan by spraying with baking spray. I used a silikomart high cathedral pan here.
      2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer on low to break up any lumps and then slowly add in the wet ingredients. Mix until smooth, about 2 minutes.
      3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to rest and cool for at least 30 minutes before flipping onto a wire cooling rack and cool to room temperature before any icing is poured on (so that the icing doesn’t get soaked in).
      4. While the cake is cooling, warm the cream till it just comes to a boil on the stove. Remove from heat and pour over the bowl of chocolate. Let it sit in the cream for 5 minutes then stir to combine. Once combined, leave it to cool for 30 minutes before drizzling. Warm the caramel. Set aside.
      5. Place a piece of baking paper under the wire cooling rack. Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate ganache over the cake. Drizzle salted caramel over the cake. Sprinkle the dark chocolate pieces over the top of liquid toppings. 
      6. Serve straightaway if you can’t wait, but it tastes even better the next day. 

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    Peanut butter parfait, chocolate feuilletine crumb, salted caramel and butterscotch sauce


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    Having had the most amazing dessert at The Sugar Club, I set about recreating this dish. Turns out it isn’t as difficult as I imagined it to be,Ā albeit slightly simplified. The flavours and textures are all present though.

    The parfait recipe here is an adapted version of Geoff Scott’s (Vinnie’s) and the Cordon Bleu cookbook. It doesn’t contain gelatine and I will make another one later that uses gelatine to test the difference. The rest of the elements are things I make quite often for my macarons, cakes and entremets. So while it may seem like a long list, there are often at least 1 or 2 elements readily made in my fridge at any time. I encourage you to follow suit in case of dessert emergencies.

    Peanut butter parfait

    • 120g caster sugar
    • 80ml water
    • 8 egg yolks
    • 1 teaspoon Equagold vanilla paste
    • 150g best crunchy peanut butter (I used Pic’s from Nelson, New Zealand)
    • 500ml cream

    Instructions

    1. Lightly whip the cream until soft peak stage. Set aside. (I do this step first as I only have 1 bowl for my mixer. If you have alternate means, do this step after step 3 below).
    2. Place sugar and water and in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook for 7-10 minutes until it reaches the soft boil stage at 118Ā°C on a thermometer.
    3. While the sugar syrup is coming up to temperature, whisk the yolks and vanilla paste with an electric beater until pale and thick, continue whisking and slowly pour the hot sugar syrup in a trickle down the side of the bowl (like making Italian meringue). Whisk till it has cooled, about 6 minutes. The mix should be thick and aerated. Mix in the peanut butter paste.
    4. Take a third of the cream and gently fold into the yolk mix. Add the remaining cream and gently fold through. This step is crucial, do it gently to maintain the lightness in the mixture.
    5. Line a large loaf or square pan with greaseproof paper then pour in the mix. Freeze overnight. Tip out onto a board and remove paper. Pre slice into thick slices and keep in the freezer until ready to serve.
    6. Tip: I found it hard to cut through a deep solid block. Using a square pan would help as the parfait would not be as high as it would reach if it was in a loaf pan. Far easier to cut neat rectangular slices out this way.

    Chocolate feuilletine crumb

    • 125 g 70% cocoa dark chocolate (I used Equagold)
    • 1 cup Feuilletine

    Instructions

    1. Melt chocolate over a pan of simmering hot water.
    2. Remove from heat.
    3. Add feuilletine, stir to mix and pour in a baking paper-lined tray. Cool in fridge.

    Salted caramel (this produces a large quantity, feel free to reduce if you have to, but I would suggest keeping to the quantity as you would *always* need salted caramel available, right?)

    • 200g castor sugar
    • 125ml fresh cream
    • 50g butter, cubed
    • 5g good quality salt flakes
    • A few drops of vanilla essence

    Instructions

    1. Heat the sugar in a wide saucepan until it is melted.
    2. Be really careful and wait for it to turn amber/ golden and slightly smoke.
    3. Carefully add the cream in slowly, continuing to whisk but be aware of the resulting vigorous bubbling.
    4. Add the butter in gradually until it is melted and combined.
    5. Add in salt flakes and vanilla essence.
    6. Cool in the fridge for a few hours.

    Butterscotch sauce

    • 60g butter
    • 60ml glucose syrup
    • 1 can condensed milk (320g)
    • 290g brown sugar
    • 180ml cream

    Instructions

    1. In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter and add rest of ingredients.
    2. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium high heat till it reaches 118C at the soft ball stage.
    3. Pour half into a jar for another time or onto a baking -paper lined tray to make toffee squares, like the Mckintosh Toffees.
    4. Add cream to the remaining butterscotch toffee in the pan and stir till it becomes homogenous.
    5. Pour into jar to cool.

    Assemble

    1. Put a dollop of the salted caramel near the top of the plate, off centre.
    2. In a quick motion, “schmear” it straight down or across confidently.
    3. Place a piece of the parfait on the schmear.
    4. Scatter over the chocolate feuilletine crumb and pour the butterscotch sauce over.

    Gingerbread macarons


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    Since it’s Christmas, I’m sure you’d agree with me that it’s appropriate to have macarons flavoured for the merry season.

    It’s been a while since I’ve designed a new flavour for my macarons, as I’ve been far too busy dreaming up other desserts [see previous posts for Tarts]. However as I prepare for our trip to HK, I’m yet again faced with a dilemma – what flavours should I make and bring?

    Salted caramel and creme brulee have been past favourites and an idea was formed one afternoon while I was sipping a spiced vanilla creme brulee drink – it tasted totally like gingerbread biscuits…! And so this is how this recipe came about…Merry Christmas!
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    Macarons shell ingredients
    (makes about 40 macarons)
    150g icing sugar
    150g almond meal
    110g egg whites, split into 2 bowls of 55g each
    150g caster sugar
    38ml water
    1g meringue powder
    2 drops of gel colouring, I used brown for half my shells and sky blue for the other half.

    Spiced chocolate and caramel ganache
    1/2 cup Salted caramel (See recipe in salted caramel macaron recipe)
    120g 28% cocoa White chocolate
    60ml cream
    1 star anise
    2 tsp ground ginger
    2 tsp ground cinnamon

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    Instructions

    1. Follow my basic recipe to make the shells.
    2. Heat cream and the star aniseĀ till it just begins to boil. Remove the star aniseĀ and pour over white chocolate that has been broken up into small pieces in a bowl.
    3. Wait for a minute before stiring. Leave in the fridge for 10 minutes for it to set a bit and mix in with your half cup of salted caramel.
    4. Mix in spices.
    5. Spread or pipe a teaspoon of your spiced chocolate ganache on half of your shells and top them with the remaining half of your shells.
    6. The filled macarons need to be kept in the fridge for 24 hours for the filling to soften the shells and also for the flavour to fully develop.

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    A tale of two tarts: salted caramel or hazelnut?


    1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut and nutella tart 2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

    It’s the school holidays and J wanted to make chocolate mousse, while I wanted to test out my newly purchased Gobel tart rings. I usually make tarts with ganache but thought hey I could use mousse! We discussed the elements and J came up with a plan, a cross-sectional drawing of her mousse design.

    After a bit of debate, we had two ideas:

    1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut, Nutella tart
    2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

    For the hazelnut tart, a thin layer of Nutella (you can of course use chocolate ganache) was spread on the base of the tart, then a thin layer of roasted hazelnut paste and then topped with the chocolate mousse.

    For the salted caramel tart, a thin layer of salted caramel was first spread on the base of the tart, then topped with chocolate mousse. Some freeze dried strawberries were added to give a contrasting taste to the sweet and salty caramel.

    For both, cocoa nibs, crunchy chocolate pearls and feuilletine shards were added for texture.

    I like how I can do the components separately (to fit in with school holiday activities) and then assemble right before serving.

    Hope you will enjoy these!

    Sweet almond tart base
    Makes 10 x 9″ ring tart bases
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    200g all-purpose (plain) flour
    40g ground almonds
    100g icing sugar
    100g butter, cold and cubed
    1 egg (I use size 8)

    1. Sift and combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
    2. Add the butter and ‘rub in’, working the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until it resemble small crumbs
    3. Add the egg and incorporate it into the dry ingredients.
    4. Work the dough lightly by gathering the dough with your fingertips and folding it over with a downward push of your palm. Work quickly and lightly, till it comes together.
    5. Wrap up the dough inside a folded sheet of baking paper, gently roll flat with a rolling pin and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
    6. While the dough is resting, prepare the tart rings by buttering them.
    7. When the dough is ready, lightly sprinkle some flour on your bench or chopping board.
    8. Roll out the dough on the board with a rolling pin to a thickness of 2-3mm. You may need to add more flour to keep it from sticking as it is a very soft dough.
    9. Cut out a circle of dough larger than your ring and place onto the buttered tart ring or mould.
    10. Press well onto the sides. Use a glass to flatten the bottom and sides to ensure you have straight edges.
    11. Cut off excess dough by going over the top of the tart ring with the rolling pin.
    12. Pinch the edges up slightly.
    13. Prick holes at the base with a fork.
    14. Rest in the fridge for 30 – 60 minutes to stop it from shrinking.
    15. Preheat the oven to 180C.
    16. Using ceramic baking beads or rice, blind bake at 180 degrees C for 15-20 minutes or when browned all over. Set aside to cool completely

    1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut and nutella tart 2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

    Putting it all together
    Chocolate mousse, hazelnut, Nutella tart

    • Cooled tart base
    • Nutella (or melted chocolate)
    • Roasted hazelnut paste (Equagold)
    • Chocolate mousse (Mousse recipe)
    • On the top – Chocolate crunchy shards, pearls, cocoa nibs

    Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

    1. Chocolate mousse, hazelnut and nutella tart 2. Salted caramel, chocolate mousse and strawberries tart

    These turn out more rustic than elegantšŸ˜‰ still delicious regardless!

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