Mini flourless orange cakes

flourless orange cake

These are the easiest thing to make when you have a couple of Oranges at hand. The whole Orange is used in this recipe, YES! the skin too. This can be made in steps so even if you have a busy schedule, it is still possible to whip his up without much hassle.

The best part of these dainty cakes in the syrup. Orange syrup helps keep the cake moist and enhances the flavor greatly. You can infuse the syrup with different flavors. I threw in a few springs of lemon thyme. You can spike the syrup with rum or Orange liqueur too. To enhance the Orange flavor, throw in an Orange peel. It’s your chance to be creative here!

flourless orange cake

These cakes are naturally gluten free, and the rising agent is the beaten eggs, just like in sponge cakes or sponge fingers. We beat the eggs and sugar to ribbon stage and then fold in rest of the ingredients. It is easy as that. But there are a few crucial steps, that you have to follow correctly, in order to get the perfect cake. I will highlight those steps with pictures below.

boiled orange

First up, the Orange/oranges need to be boiled for at least an hour or until it becomes soft. Submerge the orange in water when boiling, to remove bitterness. Discard the water and cut the Orange in to pieces, removing any pits and the top bit(where the stem used to be). Place in a food processor/ blender and grind into a pulp.

Orange pulp

This is how the Orange pulp or puree would look like. Place this in a bowl and move on to the next step. This pulp can be refrigerated in a closed container for a few days.

prepare pan

This step is to guarantee the easy removal of the cakes from the pan. Apply a thin layer of butter in the cases. Place teaspoon of flour (rice flour or all purpose flour) in each case and turn and tap the tray so that the inside of the mold is evenly coated with a thin layer of flour. Discard the remaining flour. Set aside.

It is a good time to pre-heat the oven to 160 C (convention/without fan) at this stage.

almond meal

Sieve almond meal and baking soda to remove lumps. The little amount of baking soda is used as a guarantee for the rise, but is not necessary. The sifting will also contribute towards a airy texture of the cakes.

beat eggs and sugar

Place the room temperature eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on medium high, until the mixture becomes pale and thick. You will start to see the streaks as it thickens up.

thick and pale

Check the mixture for the consistency. I call this the ribbon stage. You can draw a ribbon with the batter and it will stay for a second before disappearing. This is a crucial step. The air that we incorporate at this stage is what gives the body to the cake.

mixing

Carefully fold in the Orange puree to the beaten egg and sugar mixture. Be gentle and try not to knock out a lot of air out. Follow with the almond meal and once again, fold gently. If you mix vigorously, the batter will lose the air and deflate, resulting in flat, dense cakes. The final batter should have a considerable volume and should feel light and airy.

This mixture can be refrigerated for a day or tow, so it is such a good make ahead dessert.

fill the tray

Pure the batter carefully into the molds of the prepared pan. I like to use a piping bag to ensure clean edges and even, controlled distribution of the batter. Once done, smooth out the tops with a wet finger. You can fill close to the brim, as they will not rise. When ready, place in the oven.

Orange syrup

While the cakes are baking, make the orange Syrup. Place Orange juice and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer for a about 5 minutes until Syrup start to thicken and remove from heat. It is a good idea to pure the syrup in to a pouring jug and have it ready to use.

You can infuse the syrup with different things. Lemon thyme, lemon rind, rum or orange liqueur and some of the suggestions

baked cakes

They should be done in 30 minutes. Check for doneness by using a cake tester/skewer. If the tester or skewer comes out clean, they are done. You will notice the golden tops too. They will shrink a bit and release from the sides too. Remove from the oven and set aside for a couple of minutes.

prick a few wholes on the cakes while you wait. This will help absorb the syrup later.

Soak with syrup

Use a knife or a offset spatula to release the cakes. They should pop out effortlessly. Place on a wire rack and place a tray underneath to catch any dripping syrup. Heat the syrup if it has gone cold. then pure a generous amount onto each cake. let the syrup seep in and go for a second round. make sure the edges are covered too. Any remaining syrup can be poured when serving.

serve

Decorate however you like and serve with extra syrup

If you prep your Orange puree and the syrup before hand, this recipe would only take about 10 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to bake. The baked cakes stays fresh for longer due to the syrup.

flourless orange cake

I keep them in a air tight container, in the fridge for about 4 days. You can keep them even longer, but they honestly don’t last that long. You can even freeze these. If you plan to freeze, do not use the syrup. Instead, let the cakes, cool completely and place on a tray. Place the tray in a freezer for a bout an hour, place the frozen cakes in a zip lock bag or a freezer safe container and freeze for several days. I haven’t frozen beyond a month, so I cannot guarantee that.

flourless orange cake

To serve frozen cakes, bring them to room temperature, warm up in the oven or microwave and pour the hot syrup over. They will be as good as new.

flourless orange cake
Mini flourless orange cakes

cakes

Servings: 10 -12 cakes

flourless orange cake

Ingredients

    For the cakes
  • 1 large Orange washed and cleaned
  • 140 g almond meal
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    For the syrup
  • Juice of one Orange
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Boil the orange in a large pot of water until soft
  2. Discard the water and puree the orange. Remember to remove any pits
  3. Prepare a 12 hole muffin tray and set aside. Use butter and flour to make it none stick. Check instructions in the post
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 160 C ( without fan)
  5. Whisk eggs and sugar using a stand mixer, until thick and pale
  6. Fold in the Orange puree followed by the almond meal and baking soda
  7. Deposit batter evenly into the prepared muffin tray
  8. Bake the cakes for 30 minutes
  9. Always check at 20 minute mark and if top is browning too quickly, cover with a foil
  10. To make the syrup, bring sugar and Orange juice to a boil and let it simmer for about 5 minutes until syrup thickens a bit
  11. Once cakes are done, done remove from oven and leave to cool for few minutes
  12. Remove the cakes, prick with a tooth pick and soak with warm syrup
https://myloveofbaking.com/mini-flourless-orange-cakes/
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Pineapple macarons

macarones

I still remeber clearly, the first time I bit into a proper macaron, about 8 years ago, at Ladurée in Paris. I was amazed by the elegant, classy spread of pastries and other sweets sitting in that luxurious gold framed cabinet and the macarons caught my eyes immediately.

A picture I took at the Laduree

I had always thought of it as an overly sweet candy full of calories. But, these Oh my God! the not too sweet, yet flavorful, fragile smooth exterior with the soft chewy center….the experience kind of registered in my brain forever!

laduree
Boy! I wanted to buy the whole place

I wasn’t into baking back then, had only made a few cakes here and there, but I tried to replicate the macaron when I returned home. I couldn’t find almond meal (wasn’t common in Sri Lanka back then, not sure about now)so I used peanut flour and came quite close but I wasn’t happy. Long story short, this became one of the many bakes I enjoyed making later after I migrated to Australia, where finding ingredients wasn’t a problem and I was way ahead of my baking game by then.

macarones

So I had several failed attempts like everyone else. But every time, I learnt something new and moved forward. Also I learnt making macarons in bakery school, but they were my least favorite so far. Because the recipe is fool-proof, it uses a different technique, which resulted in a hard, grainy macaron, but they were quite stable of course (bakery style). So I stick to this recipe which is fiddly, tricky yet produced a much delicate and elegant macaron shell, which is very closer to the one I had in Paris years ago.

I will explain the most crucial steps. If you get these steps right, you’ll get the macarons right the first time!

flour mix

Getting the dry ingredients right is very important. Grind the icing sugar and almond flour mixture in a food processor and sieve it twice. If you think the particles are not fine enough, process again and sieve once more, until they are very fine to the touch. There shouldn’t be any grainy bits or lumps.

egg white

Next is getting the meringue ready. For best results use a day(or more) old egg whites. Separate the egg whites, place in a container, close the lid and refrigerate for at least a day. This will remove some of the moisture.

Bring the egg whites to room temperature and beat them to soft peaks before adding sugar.

You can add a pinch of cream of tartar or a drop of vinegar to stabilize the meringue (I have not)

merigue

Use super fine castor sugar for best results.

Add sugar bit by bit while beating the egg white on high speed. When the meringue is thick and glossy, add the gel coloring and the essence. Beat a few seconds to incorporate. Taste the meringue to check on flavor and adjust.

Meringue should be shiny and very stiff. (same consistency you get to make a pavlova)

mixing

The most important step out of all is the mixing of flour mixture and the meringue. Add half the dry mix and fold a few times. No need to mix all the way. Add the other half in one go. Now start mixing using a spatula. Fold and cut through the middle and repeat, until flour is incorporated. Now you have a thick batter. Keep mixing until you reach the ribbon consistency. That means, you should be able to draw a figure 8 without breaking and the figure should disappear slowly into the batter. At this stage STOP mixing!

One more stoke could ruin your batter

stencil

If you don’t have a fancy macaron mat, use a stencil like shown in the picture. Place it underneath the parchment and remove it once you have piped and reuse it!

I like parchment paper over silicon mat, as it dries out macarons really nicely

piping

Transfer the batter in to a piping bag fitted with a round tip (13 mm).

Hold the bag perpendicular to the tray and pipe a dollop. It shouldn’t cover the whole circle. Because the batter is going to spread a bit and we are going to tap the tray later. So pipe a smaller circle than you actually want it to be.

piped macarones

Once done piping, bang/tap/drop the tray on the table several times. This will release any over sized air bubbles trapped inside the batter. Trust me there is a lot. If you didn’t do this then you will see cracks everywhere and big blisters on the surface, when baked.

If you are like me, take a tooth pick and pop any visible air bubbles on the surface. This is optional 🙂

dry to the touch

Now that you are done piping and tapping, leave the macarones in a cool area to dry out. This may take anywhere between 30 – 60 minutes or more in very humid atmospheres. You can use an exhaust fan or a normal fan to speed the process up!

They should be dry to the touch. You should be able to touch the surface without batter sticking to your finger. It is almost like a skin has formed on top. This skin is what gives the nice feet!

baked

Bake the macarones in a (150 C) 300 F oven for 17 – 19 minutes. But check them at 15 minutes, every oven is different. They should peel off easily once fully done, without anything sticking to the paper.

cool

Once baked, let the shells cool completely. If you are not filling them, on the same day, you can pack them in an air tight container and store in the refrigerator or at room temperature in cooler weathers (18 C – 19 C) Humidity/moisture is their main enemy.

pineapple jam

I’m using a simple butter cream and some homemade pineapple jam to fill these. You can use cream cheese or pineapple flavored butter cream instead. Even store bought jam works too. So be creative with the filling.

filling

This is how I chose to do it!. Apply a light butter cream later on both shells to prevent shells going soggy. And pipe a ring of butter cream on one side. Fill the center with pineapple jam. Place the other shell on top and press to sandwich.

macarones

As bizarre as it may sound, the macarones need to mature a day or two for maximum enjoyment. Place the sandwiched cookies in an air-tight container and refrigerate. This will help firm up the cookie and the filling and also give it’s characteristic texture to the macaron. But nothing is stopping you if you just want to pop them in your mouth right there!

That is it! You have made a batch of macarones. There are many recipes and blog posts and videos on the internet, about getting the perfect macarone, and they all are great!. If you can find time, I suggest, that you check as many as you can. Every person has their little secret and you can learn more by watching a video/tutorial. This is just my two cents!

pineapple macarons

No matter what flavor you want, the basic steps are the same. So try basic vanilla ones if it is your first time. Work on getting the technique right. Once you are there, then play with different flavors and colors. It will be really fun.

close up
Here’s a close up for your maximum enjoyment

Following are some matcha macarones I made some time back, using this same recipe, method and techniques. I only added 2 tablespoons of matcha powder to the flour mixture and sandwiched the cookies with lemon cream cheese.

matcha macarones
Matcha (green tea) and cream cheese macarons
Pineapple macarons

cookies, dessert, snacks

Pineapple macarons

Ingredients

  • 3 (90 g) egg whites ( day old) at room temperature
  • 70 g super fine castor sugar
  • 100 g almond meal
  • 170 g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp pineapple extract or more to taste
  • few drops of yellow coloring ( Jell paste works best)
  • Pineapple jam ( 2/3 cups)
  • Buttercream frosting ( 1 stick butter + 2- 21/2 cups icing sugar + 1 tbsp milk)

Instructions

  1. Separate eggs and refrigerate the egg whites, in a closed container, at least a day prior to making this recipe
  2. Prepare trays lined with parchment paper and get a stencil ready if you like
  3. Bring the egg whites to room temperature ( let them sit for 30 minutes on the counter)
  4. Grind and sieve the almond meal and icing sugar to obtain a finer texture. See picture and explanation above in the post
  5. Whisk egg whites (using stand mixer) to soft peaks stage
  6. Start adding sugar a tea spoon at a time and continue to whist on high speed
  7. Do this until all sugar is gone and the meringue reach stiff peaks
  8. The meringue should be very stiff and shiny
  9. Add the flavor and color at this stage and whisk to incorporate
  10. Add half of the dry mix to the meringue and mix just to start combining
  11. Then add the rest and mix to incorporate using a spatula
  12. Read the instructions on the post for more details
  13. Keep mixing until the desired batter consistency is achieved (check the post for details and photo)
  14. Transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a 13 mm round tip
  15. Pipe circles onto the prepared parchment paper
  16. Leave space around
  17. Once piped, tap the tray several times on the bench
  18. And leave the macarones to air dry for 30 minutes or more
  19. The top should be dry to the touch
  20. Preheat oven to 300 F or 150 C
  21. Bake the macarones one tray at a time for 15 -19 minutes
  22. Always keep an eye and check them at 15 minute mark ( the size of the macarone will affect the time)
  23. Once done take the trays out and let cool for a few minutes
  24. If macarones are releasing without any effort, then they are ready, otherwise they need another 2 minutes or so.
  25. Once done let them cool completely before handling/filling
  26. Fill the macarone with butter cream and pineapple jam. Check post for more information
https://myloveofbaking.com/pineapple-macarons/
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Summer Sponge Roll Cake

sponge roll cake

I use this recipe(orthodox) when I need a more stable product that I can store in fridge for a couple of days or transport to places or served in outdoors. The sponge is very stable, moist and fluffier than the one that use whipped egg whites. Rolling could be a little tricky as the sponge is thicker and I find it a little less flexible, but the flavor is unbeatable.

Fluffy and moist crumb

Eggs and sugar are whipped to ribbon consistency and dry ingredients are folded in carefully. It’s important to not to knock out too much air out or the sponge will be flat and dense. 

the ribbon stage

These kind of sponges are baked for a shorter time at a higher temperature. It’s ready when the sponge is dry and springs back when pressed. Let the sponge cool down for a few minutes on a wire rack before removing the paper.

sift flour in

Use a generous amount of fine sugar on a parchment paper when flipping the sponge sheet over to remove from the baking sheet. This will stop it from sticking to the paper or use a clean tea towel. I prefer the tea towel method. While it is still warm, roll the sponge sheet and then let it cool completely. This initial rolling helps keep the roll from cracking later when we roll with the filling inside. It acts as a memory 🙂 so the sponge knows where to bend. This step is crucial to a smooth finish!

Roll while still warm

The filling I am using for this is a very refreshing and less sweet alternative to jam or butter cream. I’m using cultured sour cream. It’s got a sharpness and slight tang to it. Any verity of sour cream would work just fine.

cultured sour cream

I’m also using thinly sliced strawberries. I have coated the strawberries in honey and orange juice.

soaked in orange juice and honey

If you have over backed edges, just in case, just trim them off and apply some sugar syrup to moisten up. When filling, unwrap the roll and leave it on the tea towel or the parchment paper. Spread sour cream evenly and leave a little room( about 1/2 an inch) at the end so it will not overflow when you roll the last bit.

sponge roll cake
Spread sour cream and strawberry slices evenly

Use the paper or the tea towel underneath to guide the sponge sheet when rolling. Do not roll too tightly, as it will rack. Once rolled out completely, do not remove the paper/tea towel but place the roll seam side down, and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to set.

Once set, it’s easier to cut. Use a clean sharp serrated knife. If you are not serving it on the same day, then wrap the roll cake in a cling wrap to make it air tight and refrigerate.

Summer Sponge Roll Cake

cakes, dessert

Servings: 1 roll cake

sponge roll cake

Ingredients

    For the sponge
  • 70 g castor sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 60 g all purpose flour
  • 25 g corn flour
  • 1 tbsp white rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
    Filling
  • 1 cup sour cream (cultured preferred)
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • Icing sugar to dust
  • More strawberries to decorate

Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven to 180 C
  2. Line a cookie sheet or a 9″ by 13″ baking shallow baking sheet(could be slightly bigger)
  3. Weigh the sugar in to a glass bowl and break the eggs in
  4. Place the bowl on a bain-marie or water bath, and whisk until the mixture is at blood temperature 35 C – 38 C (slightly warm to the touch)
  5. Be careful not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water, else the eggs might curdle.
  6. Once mixture is warm enough, transfer to a bowl of a stand mixer attached with a whisk.
  7. Whisk on medium-high speed until mixture doubles in volume (for about 5 – 8 minutes)
  8. The batter should be at ribbon consistency. Check the images in the post
  9. Once done stop the mixer, remove the bowl
  10. Mix all the flours in a separate bowl and sift directly on to the egg, sugar mixture.
  11. Add salt and then fold lightly using a spatula
  12. Do not knock too much air out. But make sure all the flour is incorporated.
  13. Pure the batter on to the prepared baking sheet, spread evenly using an offset spatula.
  14. Tap to release any big air bubble trapped inside
  15. Bake for 12 minutes
  16. Remove from the oven once done, let cool slightly on a wire rack
  17. Use a clean tea towel/baking paper dusted with sugar and tip the sponge over and remove the paper stuck to the bottom
  18. Roll the sponge along with the tea towel, while still warm and let it cool down
  19. In the mean time, thinly slice the strawberries and mix 1 tbsp honey(you can use sugar too) , orange juice and let sit
  20. Once the sponge is cool, unwrap and spread sour cream evenly. Place the strawberries in a single layer
  21. Using the tea towel/parchment as a guide, slowly roll the sponge applying gentle pressure
  22. Do not remove the tea towel/parchment, but wrap the whole roll and tuck the seam side down
  23. Place the roll in the fridge for at least 15 minutes
  24. Once set, decorate with more strawberries and dust with icing sugar
  25. Use a clean sharp serrated knife to slice
https://myloveofbaking.com/summer-sponge-roll-cake/
sponge roll cake
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Vegan sourdough donuts

vegan sourdough doughnuts
vegan sourdough doughnuts

Veganism has been embraced by many over the world and it is definitely a growing trend. It is a very unique dietary practice and if you ask me, I am not a vegan myself, but I am fascinated by the idea as always. As a baking enthusiast, this challenges me to create new things and experiment on substitutes.

vegan sourdough doughnuts
bomboloni

So this quest was to re-create the vegan version of the sourdough doughnuts. If you really think about it, scientifically, if you can substitute the animal products with a plant counterpart, then you have solved the puzzle right there. But it might not be this simple. Well one, you can’t really find the match from the plant world. And second, they taste differently. So this has to be a harmonic balance between a few ingredients, rather than just one.

vegan sourdough doughnuts
vegan sourdough doughnuts

Lets see what we need to replace, in a basic sweet dough, to make it plant-based.

Butter: This can easily be replaced by oil. My favorite in this case is the coconut oil. Use a good quality coconut oil, that doesn’t have a strong smell or flavor. (well if you are a coconut fan, by all means, use the strong flavorful version). Other substitutes will be canola oil, rapeseed oil, vegetable oil. I wouldn’t recommend using olive oil, peanut oil or sesame oil as they are have go a very strong flavor which might be not pleasant if used in these quantities.

vegan sourdough doughnuts
vegan sourdough doughnuts

Eggs: Well you can omit eggs altogether! But it is going to take that extra richness away and we don’t want that, right! So my substitute for eggs in this recipe is tofu. I am using silken tofu. It can be either soft or firm, doesn’t really matter. This adds protein to the dough, same as egg white.

Milk: Yes you can skip this one too if you like. But again the dough won’t be as soft. So why not substitute this with a plant milk. Well we have so many options there don’t we? But guess what? I am going with thick coconut milk. It is richer and silkier than most plant milk. Choose a brand that don’t use thickeners. Coconut milk has got a high fat content too, not to mention the all the other good stuff that comes with it!

So there we have it! Now it is only a matter of mixing these in the right proportions. The recipe below does just that!

If you want to know about sourdough starter, read my post about making, feeding and maintaining a starter. This recipe can be executed on the same day or the dough can be retarded overnight(several hours) for convenience.

dough
bulk fermented
dough
punched down

If you are retarding the dough, cut down on the initial bulk fermentation. may be take an hour away. This really depends on the room temperature and the final dough temperature.

vegan sourdough doughnuts
cutting shapes

The shaping is really up to you. If you have a doughnut cutter, use that, or simply make bomboloni. Or cut the dough into squares! Just make sure they are not too big (shouldn’t be bigger than the size of your palm) the smaller they are, the faster and better they will cook. It is easier to handle smaller dough pieces, once proofed.

If it the dough is warmer, it will continue to ferment rapidly in the fridge until, its completely chilled to the core.

Once they are proofed, deep fry them until nice and golden all around. Make sure to test oil temperature. I use a small dough ball for this. If it browns too quickly, its too hot. Ideally it should take about 30 seconds to start browning and there shouldn’t be a lot of smoke. If you have a candy thermometer, make sure oil is at 190C/375F.

vegan sourdough doughnuts
ready to be fried

Once fried, let them drain for a couple of minutes before coating them with cinnamon sugar. Wait until they are cooled to fill them, else the filling would melt and ooze off.

You can fill these with either jam, nutella or my vegan custard. It is an easy custard to make, but make sure you make it ahead of time and chill for at least a few hours or overnight.

vegan sourdough doughnuts
Fill them… with your favorite filling

You can also serve bomboloni as is, or drizzled with chocolate or a dipping of your choice. But seriously, these are so tasty on their own too.

Vegan sourdough donuts

Bread, dessert, snacks

Servings: 3 dozen bombolini/ 15 donuts

vegan sourdough doughnuts

Ingredients

  • 400 g all-purpose flour
  • 12 g salt
  • 85 g castor sugar
  • 160 ml coconut milk (full fat)
  • 30 g coconut oil
  • 75 g silken tofu
  • 150 g active starter
  • 2 tbsp water (if necessary)

Instructions

  1. Weigh all the ingredients except water in to the bowl of a stand mixer. (you can mix by hand too)
  2. Start mixing on low speed until everything is incorporated.
  3. If the dough is tough use the 2 tbsp of water.
  4. Scrape the sides and mix on medium for 5 minutes.
  5. If the dough is too firm for the mixer, kneed it by hand on the bench top.
  6. Let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  7. Then mix for another couple of minutes and take on to a floured surface.
  8. Stretch and fold lightly until dough is smooth.
  9. It should be a soft smooth dough.
  10. Place the dough in a bowl and leave to bulk ferment for about 4 – 5 hours.
  11. If you are retarding, then bulk proof for 3 – 4 hours, punch the dough down and refrigerate covered.
  12. Dough should be close to doubled it’s size at 5 hour mark. This depends on the room temperature. Place the dough in a warm spot to speed up.
  13. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for 10 minutes, covered.
  14. If you have retarded, the dough, take out of fridge and let thaw for about 20 minutes (until the dough has softened)
  15. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut doughnut shapes (either round or square)
  16. Or divide in to dough pieces and mold in to dough balls to make bomboloni.
  17. Place these on a lined tray leaving enough space all around, as they will expand.
  18. Leave in a warm place, covered, for the final proof. (dough doesn’t have to be doubled in size)
  19. This could take anywhere from 3-5 hours.
  20. They should look bigger, softer to touch and wobbly.
  21. Heat the oil to 190 C
  22. Fry the doughnuts until golden brown
  23. Leave to drain excess oil
  24. Coat with cinnamon sugar
  25. Let them cool completely before filling them
  26. Best eaten on the same day!
https://myloveofbaking.com/vegan-sourdough-donuts/
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Homemade caramel

caramel

I am a caramel fan, for sure! And I hate the artificial flavoring that deceive your nostrils and disappoint your taste buds. I have always loved the most authentic version of any food and the way to get that is to make it yourself. This is one of the main reasons, why I learnt to bake and cook my own food. From the most simplest to the most complex.

I have a few caramel recipes I use, depending on the requirement. If your palate is like mine (it is very picky), you will understand the need to have different types of caramels in your food.

I love a pouring caramel on ice cream and stuff, so for that I whip up a simple caramel sauce, by just melting dark brown sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan. I would sometimes add a bit of liquor (rum, brandy or bourbon) This is a quick easy recipe and goes with most desserts. But the main thing this lacks is the distinct deep almost bitter burnt taste, which is what I love. This is why I make the real thing once in a while, when the cravings hit!

caramel
Caramel sauce

This caramel can be pre-made and stored for several days, which is very convenient. I used to make this caramel by the gallon, back in the days when I worked as a pastry chef in a small yet sort-after bakery-cafe.

One main issue with caramelizing sugar is the formation of sugar crystals. I used liquid glucose in professional kitchens, but at home, I just go with some lemon juice. But this is optional, all you have to do is, let the sugar and water do its work. If you see sugar catching up the sides of the saucepan, just brush it off with a pastry brush dipped in water.

This recipe can be adjusted to achieve different consistencies.

  • 1 cup cream – caramel sauce good for dipping and pouring
  • 3/4 cup cream – thicker good for spreading
  • 1/2 cup cream – very thick, sets with time, good for tart filling
caramel
Thinner while still hot
caramel
It starts to thicken up as it cools

Don’t stop there, play with the ratios of cream and butter and you would find a perfect caramel to your liking. Saying that, I have made this without butter and it is still great and rich enough.

So here is the recipe. Go play!

Homemade caramel

dessert, Toppings

Servings: about 1 1/2 cups

caramel

Ingredients

  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup cream (adjust cream according to your liking, the lesser the cream, the thicker the caramel)
  • 3 tbsp of butter (optional)
  • few drops of lemon juice/ tsp of liquid glucose/ maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt (or more for salted caramel)
  • flavor (vanilla/bourbon etc.) optional

Instructions

  1. Place sugar and water in a heavy saucepan. Add the lemon juice/liquid glucose or maple syrup
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Stir until most of the sugar dissolves
  4. Brush the sides of the pan with some water to get the clinging sugar particles out
  5. Let this boil on medium-high heat until it starts to color
  6. Once the color starts to show up, gently swirl the sugar syrup to prevent burning
  7. Reduce heat if it is caramelizing too fast
  8. Keep an eye and do not let the caramel go too far
  9. Once it reaches the desired amber color, reduce heat and add cream slowly string with a wooden spoon
  10. It might spit, so be careful and go slow at first and when the sauce settles, add the rest of the cream in one go
  11. Then add the butter if you are adding
  12. Keep string and let this simmer for a couple of minutes
  13. Take off the heat and add salt and any other flavoring, if you desire
  14. Always taste before adding more salt
  15. The sauce is thinner when hot and will get thicker as it cools
  16. Pour in to a glass jar and store away or use as desired
https://myloveofbaking.com/homemade-caramel/
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Sourdough doughnuts

doughnuts

That title may sound odd to some of you, but I can guarantee that the end results are always yummy. Yes! it is possible to make your favorite doughnuts using natural yeast.

If you have already mastered making sourdough bread, then this process will be familiar to you. But if this is your first time, worry not! I will walk you through the whole process every step of the way. Come along!

doughnuts
chocolate (malt) doughnuts

As a first step, we need to get the starter ready! So if you want to know more about the starter and how to get it ready, I have written a whole post dedicated to that single topic. A bubbly active starter is the key to a fluffier doughnut.

So feed your starer at least 6 hours prior to using and have it ready. It should be at it’s peak. If you think your starter has depleted, feed it half the normal portion and let it get activated.

Making the dough is easier than one would imagine. I use this straight forward method as it is easy to remember and require less time. Weight all the ingredients into the same bowl. Give it a good mix using a spatula. Then transfer to the mixer fitted with a dough hook. This helps bring ingredients together easily without having to stop and scrape your mixer bowl several times. Then let the mixer do all the hard work.

Mixing the dough till the right stage is important. First let the mixer run for about 5-8 minutes on slow speed. If the dough is tough, add a teaspoon of milk at a time and get it to the right consistency. The dough should be loose and easy to mix but not runny. Initially the dough will be stickier. This is okay. As you mix, the stickiness will disappear and the dough will start to look shiny and smooth. At this stage let the dough rest for a couple of minutes and then mix on medium- high speed for about two minutes. Scrape the sides and dust the sides with flour as you go. The dough will be much manageable now and it will start to come together and off the sides of the bowl. At this stage, remove the dough to a floured surface and knead by hand. Use flour to stop it from sticking to your hands or the bench. Form the dough into a smooth dough ball.

dough
dough after 5 hours

Now the dough is ready to be proofed. Place in a large glass or plastic container, cover and let it sit until doubled in size. This can take 5 to 8 hours depending on the room temperature. Leave in a warm place to speed up the process.

The longer it takes the intense the flavor gets. If you don’t like the sour taste in your doughnuts, speed up the process. the sour taste isn’t very pungent, it is very subtle and almost like an after taste, mostly pleasant when paired with a sweet filling.

doughnuts
a sweet filling…like this

Once doubled in size, de-gas the dough (punch it down to release most of the air) and form in to a ball again and place in the same container. Cover tightly and place in the fridge for the retardation process. This will develop flavor and also a good way to time your final product. If you want to make the doughnuts on the same day, then leave the dough outside and let is double in size again.

dough
de-gassing

Shaping doughnuts is easy. Take the proofed dough on to a floured surface. This time, do not punch the air out, but slowly flatten the dough. Use a rolling pin and dust the dough with flour to stop it from sticking. The dough should be of at least 3/4 of an inch in thickness. Cut out doughnuts using a round cookie cutter. (Use a thin drinking glass if you don’t have a cookie cutter/ or anything that does the job works fine). You can even cut them in to square shapes too.

Too much thickness will destroy the shape and it won’t sit flat once proofed. If you roll out too thin, then the doughnuts will be flat and we won’t be able to handle them or fill them with tasty filling.

doughnuts
a plump doughnut can be filled easily

Line a baking tray/cookie sheet with baking paper. Dust the paper with a light coating of flour. Place the cut out doughnuts on the trays wide apart. Leave about half an inch gap all around as they will expand.

doughnuts ready for final proof

Now cover the trays with a cling warp/plastic and leave aside until the doughnuts have doubled in size. They will look plump and wobbly, so you will know when they are ready. Keep an eye, as they might over proof.

Do not throw away any left-over dough. Simply kneed them together, wrap and leave for 15 minutes to rest. Roll out again and cut more doughnuts or make small balls which can be fried into bomboloni later.

doughnuts
Ready to be fried

Fry the doughnut in moderate-hot oil. I don’t measure temperature usually. Instead use some left over dough to test the oil. If the dough browns too quickly or you get lots of bubbles and splashing, the oil is too hot. It should take about half a minute for the dough to turn golden. So half a minute each side and the doughnut will be cooked. A cooked through doughnut is light and when you tap slightly, will sound hollow.

doughnuts
Fried doughnuts

You can use, vegetable, canola, sunflower, grape seed or even coconut oil to fry these.

When the doughnuts are cooked, let them rest on a paper towel for a few seconds and then roll out on cinnamon sugar. Be creative. I sometimes use just sugar, or mix chocolate malt powder with sugar (like these ones in the picture) or use other spices like cardamom, cloves etc. They can be plain too, if you want to glaze them or dip them in chocolate.

doughnuts
Filled with ganache

Fill the doughnuts with any filling. Jam, custard, lemon curd, nutella, ganache, caramel, pretty much anything works!

doughnuts
Filled with custard and strawberry jam

I have used a chocolate ganache mixed with chocolate malt powder. Simply add 1/4 cup malt powder(oveltin) to the cream once boiled (250 g cream to 250 g dark chocolate)I used a bitter sweet dark chocolate (62% cocoa) and this gives a nice deep rich chocolate intensity. Add a table spoon of honey to balance out the bitterness if you like.

ganache
chocolate ganache with malt powder
Sourdough doughnuts

dessert, snacks

doughnuts

Ingredients

  • 400 g flour (all purpose or half bread flour)
  • 10 g salt
  • 2 eggs + 1 yolk
  • 110 g castor sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of butter melted
  • 200 ml full fat milk
  • a drop of vanilla (optional)
  • 200 g starter

Instructions

  1. Weigh the ingredients in to a bowl
  2. Mix with a spatula until just mixed and everything sticks together
  3. Transfer to a stand mixer OR kneed by hand
  4. Mix for 5 minutes in the mixer on low speed (10 minutes or more by hand)
  5. Let rest for a 5 minutes
  6. Mix on medium-high speed for a couple of minutes
  7. Scrap the sides, and use extra flour to help dough come away from the bowl
  8. If doing this by hand, keep stretching and folding until dough is smooth (use extra flour to dust)
  9. Form a dough ball, cover and let double in size.
  10. Once doubled, punch down and form into a ball again.
  11. Retard in a refrigerator over-night or several hours until doubled in size
  12. Or let it rise again at room temperature (r in a warm place) until doubled, if you don’t want to retard
  13. Prepare trays lined with baking paper, dusted with flour
  14. Once ready, flatten dough on a floured surface and cut out doughnuts (any shape you like)
  15. Use leftover dough to make more doughnuts or bomboloni
  16. Place on a prepared tray leaving space around them
  17. Let the doughnuts rise (almost double their size)
  18. Heat the oil to moderate-high temperature (test oil with a dough piece)
  19. Fry the doughnuts until golden brown (roughly about half a minute each-side)
  20. Drain and roll out on sugar if you are doing so or leave them until cool enough to glaze
  21. Fill the doughnuts as desired
https://myloveofbaking.com/sourdough-doughnuts/
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Lemon curd

lemon curd
Lemon curd

There is nothing like home made lemon curd. Thick creamy sweet and tangy spread that is so versatile that it is a staple in many households. I love anything that has lemon in it and lemon curd is my favorite thing to make when I have excess lemons at hand.

It can be used as a spread on toast on biscuits or biscotti. It can also be used as a filling for tarts or decorate desserts. I use lemon curd whenever I want something to cut through a supper sweet dessert.

Lemon curd
Lemon curd

Varying the amount of lemon juice you incorporate will intensify or mellow down the tanginess. It is supper easy to make and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Lemon curd

dessert

lemon curd

Ingredients

  • Juice of three lemons
  • Zest of two lemons (optional)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 125 g butter cubed
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks

Instructions

  1. Whisk eggs, egg yolk, sugar and zest until a smooth paste like mixture is formed.
  2. Place in a heavy based saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add the lemon juice and butter.
  4. Stir until all butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
  5. Then whisk the mixture until it thickens up a bit (you will feel the resistance when you stir) and just starts to boil.
  6. This can take about 8-10 minutes.
  7. Let the mixture boil for a few seconds and make sure to stir all the while.
  8. Then take off the heat and pass through a sieve to get rid of any lumpy bits(mostly some cooked egg whites and some zest).
  9. Let it cool down and you will see it starts to set. This will set even more in the refrigerator when the butter begins to harden.
  10. Place covered, in refrigerator until you are ready to use or fill some mason jars and store in fridge up to a week.
https://myloveofbaking.com/lemon-curd/
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Italian meringue

Italian meringue
Italian meringue

Italian meringue has several uses in dessert world. It is the most versatile element when it comes to decorating cakes, mousses, tarts and other desserts. The fact that it can be piped in to any shape you like gives you space to be creative and make dessert plates look stunning. Also when burned using a torch, the meringue changes the look completely making a simple tart look elegant. It is not difficult to make Italian meringue as long as all the steps are followed correctly.

It is a mixture of egg whites and sugar just like the easy Swiss meringue, but the sugar is added as a hot syrup. The trickiest bit is to get the sugar syrup to reach 113 °C- 115 °CAlso the egg whites has to be whisked to soft peak stage before adding the syrup. The best way to do this is to start whipping the egg whites when sugar syrup reaches 110 °C. Use a candy thermometer to read the temperature. As soon as the temperature is right, you can start beating the egg whites again and drizzle the syrup until every thing is combined. The mixing ball will feel very warm to touch at this stage. Keep whisking on high speed until the bowl feel cold to touch. By this time the meringue will be looking nice and shiny and thick.

Italian meringue
Italian meringue

Do not leave it for too long as it will deflate. The firm meringue is stable and could be piped to any shape. You can either burn it using a blow torch or leave it as it is.

Any left overs can be baked in a slow oven to make meringue kisses, bird nests or mini pavlovas. To do this, use a pastry bag fitted with a tip of your chose and pipe small kisses on to a lined baking tray or a silicon mat. Then bake the in 120 °C oven for about two hour and then let them dry out in a switched off oven. Remove when done. Store in a air tight container.

Italian meringue
Italian meringue
Italian meringue

dessert

Servings: 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 225 g sugar
  • 125 ml water
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (or few drops of vinegar)

Instructions

  1. Place water and sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase heat and bring sugar syrup to a boil.
  3. Keep boiling until temperature reaches 110 ºC.
  4. At this point start whisking the egg whites and the cream of tartar to a soft peak stage.
  5. Meanwhile let the boiling sugar syrup reach 115 ºC and take it off heat.
  6. We are going to add this syrup into the beating egg whites next.
  7. While whisking the egg white on medium-high, drizzle the hot sugar syrup in a steady, consistent flow until all of syrup is being used.
  8. Increase speed to high and keep whisking until the mixture cools down and a shiny stiff meringue is developed. This usually takes about 5-8 minutes.
  9. Use the meringue as desired.
https://myloveofbaking.com/italian-meringue/
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Cheesecake and lemon-curd surprise

cheesecake & lemoncurd surprise
cheesecake & lemoncurd surprise

This is my version of Bomb Alaska for the winter. The burned meringue is hiding a creamy baked cheesecake and a generous layer of homemade lemon curd. This dessert strikes a perfect flavor balance between sweet and tangy with different textures ranging from creamy to crispy.

The main element of this dessert is the cheesecake which is an all season dessert for me. I love to top the cheesecake with seasonal fruits or berries. Sometimes I like to have it plain or with maple syrup. But my latest addiction is lemon curd. I love how the lemon curd cuts through the creamy richness of the cheesecake. So I decided to use the combination for this dessert.

cheesecake & lemoncurd surprise
cheesecake & lemoncurd surprise

You can find my lemon curd and Italian meringue recipes on this blog. Always use freshly squeezed lemon juice for best results when making lemon curd. And you can make lemon curd ahead of time. They keep well in the refrigerator for up to a week or more if you bottle it properly. I always have a jar or two of lemon curd in my fridge. I think it is a good way to use up lemons when they are in abundance.

The Italian meringue, even though made out of a lot of sugar, is not over powering at all. Instead it balances the textures of a dessert. In this dessert this is also the sweet element. A thick meringue coating is used here to cover the entire cheesecake while the generous layer of tangy lemon curd cuts through the sweetness perfectly, making you want to go for more.

cheesecake & lemoncurd surprise
cheesecake & lemoncurd surprise

Cheesecake needless to say is creamy and cheesy which is very neutral so you can pair it with other flavors as you wish. This is a simple cheesecake with just cream cheese, eggs and sugar. But I have made the biscuit base a little bit thicker than I usually would. Because I needed a lot of crunch to balance out all the soft textures piled on top of each other. And an extra pinch of salt in the biscuit crumb, which will enhance it’s flavor even more.

The meringue recipe makes about a two cups which is a little too much for this dessert. But the leftover can be used to make meringue kisses. Just pipe small dollops and bake for about 2 hours at a law temperature (150 °C) until crispy and lightly browned. These crispy meringues are perfect to be served with tea or coffee or served as a separate dessert, paired with some cream and berries.

cheesecake & lemoncurd surprise
cheesecake & lemoncurd surprise

This dessert is best eaten on the same day of making as the meringue will not last long and cannot be refrigerated. Also once sliced, the lemon curd will start oozing. This is why I make a small cheesecake so this could be finished in one sitting. Perfect for a group of 4 – 6 people. For a larger group, you can double this recipe without a problem.

Try this out when you want to please a crowd next time. It will definitely be a show stopper !

Cheesecake and lemon-curd surprise

cheesecake, dessert

Servings: 6-8 servings

cheesecake & lemoncurd surprise

Ingredients

    For the cheesecake base
  • 8-6 Digestive biscuits
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter
    For the cheesecake
  • 250 g cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 50 ml of milk
  • 3/4 cup of icing sugar (sifted)
    For topping
  • 1 cup lemon-curd (find recipe here)
  • 1 1/2 cups of Italian meringue (find recipe here)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 160 ºC.
  2. Prepare a 6 inch baking tin or a ring, lined with parchment paper.
  3. Melt the butter and let cool down.
  4. Place digestive biscuits in a food processor and process until fine. (or place the biscuits in a plastic bag and beat with a rolling pin)
  5. Add sugar and process to combine.
  6. Add melted butter and process until crumbs come together.
  7. Use the crumb mix to create a base in the tin or ring by pressing evenly. No need to cover the sides. Place this in the fridge until you prepare the cheesecake batter.
  8. In a bowl of a mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese until soft.
  9. Add the icing sugar and continue to mix.
  10. Add one egg at a time clearing after each addition.
  11. Finally add the milk and baking powder and stir until smooth.
  12. Pour in to the prepared tin or ring.
  13. Bake for about 1 hour until top is firm and center is still just wobbly.
  14. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool down in the tin.
  15. Once cooled, unmold the cheesecake on to a serving platter.
  16. Spread lemon-curd on the top of the cheesecake and smooth out.
  17. Pipe or spread the meringue over the cheesecake and the lemon curd starting from the outside.Once the whole cake is covered, pile some more meringue over the top and give some texture using the back of the spoon.
  18. Lightly brown the meringue with a blow torch.
  19. Best served on the same day.
  20. Store in a cool place covered for up to two days
https://myloveofbaking.com/cheesecake-and-lemon-curd-surprise/
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