Sunday, 25 August 2013

Angel Food Cake with Raspberry Drizzle

I'm sure that even if you aren't a fan of baking, you are aware that the Great British Bake Off is back! Sadly I'm always a day behind in watching it as I watch it with my sister who comes over to my house every Wednesday. This means I have to avoid Twitter on Tuesday otherwise I risk blow-by-blow spoilers! I don't usually warm to any of the contestants until a couple of shows in but they seem to be quite a good bunch this year. However I was so annoyed when that man used salt instead of sugar in one of his bakes!

This year I will be challenging myself to bake along to the show with some of my favourite bloggers over at Bakers Anonymous. The brain child of Hannah and Stephanie, Bakers Anonymous is the newest baking community where you can share what you've made minus the competitiveness.


This week's technical challenge was Angel Food Cake. The sponge consists of whipped egg whites, sugar, flour and cream of tartar, which means the sponge is light and almost melts in your mouth. It will make your house smell like marshmallows whilst it's baking. As the sponge is so sweet I felt pairing it with a raspberry drizzle would be the perfect contrast.

When making an Angel Food Cake you must NOT grease the tin as the egg whites are the only raising agent in the cake, it also allows the cake to stick to the sides of the tin as it rises.

This recipe will make a 23cm cake, in a non-greased spring form pan. The recipe is adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten. The raspberry drizzle is adapted from Ina Garten's Food Network recipe.

For the cake
200g caster sugar
160g plain flour
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Handful of fresh raspberries for decoration

For the raspberry drizzle
250g fresh raspberries
150g caster sugar
1/2 cup water



Method

1. Preheat the oven to 18 degrees C.

2. Combine 100g of the sugar with the flour then sift them together 4 times. Set aside.

3. Put the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer (you can use a hand whisk if you like!) and whisk on high until you have medium peaks. This should take a minute and a half. Slow the mixer down to a medium speed and sprinkle in the remaining 100g of sugar. Turn the mixer up to a high speed and whisk until the mixture becomes thick and shiny. Add the vanilla and whisk for a further minute.

4. Sift one fourth of the flour and sugar mixture over the top of the egg whites and gently fold in. Repeat until incorporated.

5. Pour the batter into the spring form pan, smoothing the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.

6. Remove the cake from the oven and place upside down on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before running a knife around the sides of the cake, then the spring form sides can be unclipped.

7. To make the raspberry drizzle place the raspberries, sugar and water in a sauce pan and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Sieve the mixture discarding the seeds. Boil the remaining liquid for around 5 minutes or until it becomes syrupy. Allow to cool then drizzle over the cake. Place a handful of berries in the middle of the cake and serve.


I've never made an Angel Food Cake before but I think it could become a favourite! I love how the mixture is similar to that of a meringue. The sponge is so light and it smells like candy floss and marshmallows. If you didn't want to serve it with a raspberry drizzle it would be delicious with ice cream or a chocolate sauce.

If you've been inspired by the Great British Bake Off and want to bake along with us, come and say hello over at Bakers Anonymous. I believe next weeks episode focuses on bread, so I've been making mine ahead of time this weekend. I can't wait to share it with you!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Speculoos Baklava

Hello there! I seem to have taken an unintentional break from my blog. I actually made this Baklava way back at the beginning of the accidental break. I've been feeling very 'blah' about almost everything recently. Work is stressful and busy, I have plans every weekend and just never seem to have time for me and Mark. It really got on top of me and I needed some time to step back and do things without worrying about having to bake and write and take pictures.

My weekends have been full of friends going through big life events. Last weekend I went to a hen do, the wedding is in a few weeks time and in 2 weekends I'm throwing a baby shower with my best friend Natalie. We are going to host a full afternoon tea and I'm baking vanilla cupcakes - some with pink frosting and some with blue!

The most exciting news is that Mark and I have booked flights to New York City next May so that we can get married. We always wanted to get married in NYC and I never imagined it would happen, but it's such a brilliant feeling! My Mum, sister and her boyfriend have booked their flights and accommodation. I'm so excited for them to experience the city, and I can't wait to eat all the amazing food!

I don't eat Baklava very often but when I do it feels like such a treat. Sticky and sweet and the pastry is golden and crisp.


This recipe will make 25 pieces in a 23cm square tin. The recipe is adapted from Stacie Bakes.

For the Baklava
200g Pistachios, toasted
200g Hazlenuts, toasted
100g Almonds, toasted
175g caster sugar
4 tablespoons runny honey
1 pack Filo Pastry
200g unsalted butter, melted
200g Speculoos spread, melted
100g crushed Pistachios to top

For the syrup
200g caster sugar
175g runny honey
Juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup of water


Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line the baking pan and set aside.

2. Crush the Pistachios, Hazlenuts and Almonds in a food processor. When they resemble breadcrumbs with a few larger lumps, place into a bowl and stir in the caster sugar and honey. Set aside.

3. Gently unwrap the Filo and set aside, covering with damp kitchen paper to stop the pastry from cracking. Place a sheet of Filo into the tin, brushing with the melted butter. Repeat 3 more times, sprinkling a third of the nut mixture of top of the fourth layer. Drizzle a third of the melted Speculoos spread over the nuts.

4. Top with another 2 sheets of Filo, brushing each with butter. Sprinkle over another third of the nuts and melted Speculoos. Repeat for a final time.

5. Finally, top with a final 4 sheets of Filo, brushing each sheet with butter. Cut into 25 small squares and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

6. To make the syrup put the caster sugar, honey, lemon juice and water in a pan and bring to the boil. Turn down to simmer until the mixture resembles a syrup. Pour over the warm Baklava and sprinkle with the crushed Pistachios. Allow to cool and then place in the fridge for 3 hours.

After making this, I'm not sure why I've never made Baklava before. When I've bought it from a shop, it's seemed really complex but it's so easy to make at home and looks really impressive. Mark was over the moon that he effectively had his own tray of it.




As usual I do have plans for next weekend but they are food related: it's the fourth Oxford Foodies Festival. I'm so excited to eat lots and to watch the chefs they have lined up. I just hope the weather stays good.

I'm pleased to have blogged again and thank you for sticking with me whilst I took a break!
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