Friday, 26 February 2016

Toasted marshmallow & ginger cake

Decorative Italian meringue masks a spicy, most ginger cake layered with ginger buttercream-an amazing bake !

  • 100g butter, plus a little extra for greasing
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • 100g black treacle 
  • 140g golden sugar
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 125ml whole milk
  • 3 medium egg yolk, whisked with a fork (save the white for the icing)
 For the ginger buttercream
  • 140g butter, softened
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 4 smalls stem ginger,finely chopped, plus 1 tbsp syrup 
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
For the toasted marshmallow icing
  • 3 medium egg white
  • 175g golden caster sugar

Melt the butter, sugar, treacle and syrup in a small saucepan, whisking until smooth. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan oven. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.

In a bowl, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger, cinnamon and 1/2 tsp salt. Pour in the warm syrup mixture and the milk, followed by the egg yolks. Whisk until you have a smooth batter. Pour into the tin and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes then slice off the top to give you a smooth surface. Flip onto a wire rack and remove the baking parchment. Leave to cool. Can now be covered with cling film and kept for up to 5 days.

To make the buttercream, put the ingredients in a large bowl and mash together with a fork or spatula ( this will prevent the icing sugar from going everywhere). When roughly combined, blend with an electric hand whisk until smooth. 

Now to make the marshmallow icing. Put the egg whites, sugar, 1 tbsp water and a good pinch of salt into a heatproof bowl. Place over a pan of simmering water, make sure the bowl doesn't touch the hot water, and whisk until thick and leaving a prominent trail from the beaters- this will take about 4 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue whisking for another 3 minutes until cooled slightly and really stiff. Transfer half to a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle and set aside.

When ready to assemble, slice the cake lenghtways into 3 even layers. On a cake stand or plate, reassemble the cake, with the largest slice on the bottom, layering with the buttercream. 

Using a small offset palette knife or a small butter knife, cover the cake with the marshmallow icing left in the bowl. Use the palette knife to create vertical lines along the edges. Now use the piping bag to pipe spikes of meringue over the top of the cake. Use a cook's blowtorch to toast the meringue to a golden brown. 

Serve straight away or chill for up to 2 days, removing from the fridge 30 minutes before serving. Can decorate with sparklers if preferred. 

Monday, 8 February 2016

Carrot cheesecake

Most people would agree that the cream cheese frosting is the best part of any carrot cake, so it makes perfect sense to replace it with a thick layer of creamy cheesecake 👍


Carrot cake:

  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, plus more, chopped, for garnish
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 11/2 cups shredded carrot
  • Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp lemon zest plus 2 tbsp lemon juice ( from 1 lemon juice>
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Sour cream topping:
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/4 vanilla extract 
  • Pinch of salt 

For carrot cake:  Preheat oven to 180C/160C for fan oven. Spread 1/2 cup of the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden and toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool, and then finely chop.

Combine the pecans, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and 1/4 tsp salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil, sugar and eggs in a separate bowl. Stir the carrots into the egg mixture. Fold the carrot-egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Pour into an ungreased 9-inch springform cake pan and tap it on the counter to even out the batter. 

Bake until the cake bounces back when pressed and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. The cake can be made a day ahead and stored in the pan.

For the cheesecake:  Preheat the oven to 180C/160c for fan oven. Beat the cream cheese, sour cream and granulated sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth  and creamy, about 5 minutes, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the flour, lemon zest and juice and vanilla, about 1 minute.

Pour the cheesecake mixture over the carrot cake. Wrap the bottom and the sides of the pan with a large piece of foil. Put in a roasting pan or a large baking dish and fill halfway up the sides of the cake pan with water. Bake until the cheesecake is pale yellow and just jiggles slightly in the centre, about 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest in the hot oven for 30 minutes. Remove, run a sharp knife around the edge and let cool completely on a rack. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. 

For the sour cream:  Whisk together the icing sugar, sour cream, vanilla and salt. Spread on top of the cheesecake; garnish with chopped pecans. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Cut into slices before serve.