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Ferrero Rocher Cake

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

Ferrero Rocher Cake

We had an amazing cake tonight to celebrate my sisters birthday. It is called a Ferrero Rocher Cake, and it certainly captured the lovely flavours of one of my favourite chocolates.

Ferrero Rocher Cake

The cake was a lovely hazelnut sponge, light and fluffy and not too rich, with layers of hazelnut chocolate cream/icing and wafers. It was decorated with Ferrero Rochers and wafers (hazelnuts on the outside would have also worked very well, although the heat was affecting the icing and time was running out for us, so we decided against using the hazelnuts).

Ferrero Rocher Cake

We made the cake the day before, and had a bit of a failed attempt on our first batch, as the eggs were not beaten for long enough – causing the mixture to split and not rise. The second attempt, we used the whisk attachment and whisked it for a long time and it worked very well.

Ferrero Rocher Cake

We kept the cake in the fridge after decorating, which helped reduce some of the sweetness. I’m not sure how long you could keep it in the fridge before it affects the crunchiness of the wafers. I would definitely make this again.

Ferrero Rocher Cake

Ferrero Rocher Cake

Recipe from Let the Baking Begin

Cake Layers

7 large eggs, room temperature
½ cups sugar, granulated
2 cups finely ground hazelnuts or hazelnut flour
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
3 tsp baking powder

Frosting

300 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
2¼ cups (360g) chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
½ cup (120g) Nutella

Also

1.5 cup (40g approx) wafers, crushed

Decorating

10 Ferrero Rocher Candies
¾ cups hazelnuts, chopped / or ¾ cups wafers, crushed

Instructions
Cake Layers

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line 2 x 20cm round pans with baking paper.
Sift flour, cocoa & baking powder. Stir in ground nuts.
Whip eggs on high speed (in a stand mixer with whisk attachment), until frothy. Slowly add the sugar and continue whipping until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.
Fold dry ingredients into the eggs , in 3 additions.
Divide the batter evenly between 2 x 20cm pans and bake at 180C for approximately 20-30minutes, turning half way, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Once baked, leave in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Make the Frosting

Melt chocolate in microwave, on low heat, in short intervals, stirring each between each time. Bring to room temperature.
Whip chocolate, butter & Nutella until thoroughly combined. (I used a stand mixer with beater attachment)

Assembly

Once the cake is cool, split each cake in 2 even layers.
Crush wafers by putting in a ziplock bag, then going over them with a rolling pin or something heavy.
Reserve ¾ cup frosting for decorating.
Place a dab of frosting onto a serving platter.
Put 1 cake layer on top and press to adhere.
Put ¼ of the remaining frosting onto the cake and spread around evenly. Sprinkle with ⅓ of the crushed wafers.
Repeat above 2 steps with the remaining cake layers.

Ferrero Rocher Cake
Ferrero Rocher Cake
Ferrero Rocher Cake

Pipe 8 stars on top of the cake.
Cover the cake sides with reserved frosting.
Press the crushed wafers or chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.
Place 1 Ferrero Rocher candy on top of each piped star.

Notes
Keep refrigerated if not serving right away. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Pražský koláč (Prague Kolache) – Daring Bakers Challenge September 2014

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Kolache

The September Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat –Kolaches!

The challenge this month looked like lots of fun. (I missed out on last months challenge, but hope to make it up soon). A bready-cake topped with a crunchy cinnamon topping and filled with custard was highly likely to taste great.

Kolache07

All components were quite easy, although I was a little concerned when my cake didn’t rise much in either of the resting periods. It all turned out in the end and was so lovely, after eating our first slice, Nick and I went back for a second slice. This probably wasn’t the best idea, as it was a little rich as the custard wasn’t very cold.

There was a little bit of cake left over the next day, and it was devoured very quickly. The topping stayed surprisingly crunchy and everything was still lovely. I do enjoy trying new dishes, it’s so much fun!

Kolache09

Pražský koláč (Prague Kolache)

Servings: 8 – 10 (original recipe in metric)

for cake:
1¾ cups (420 ml) (9 oz) (250 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour
½ cup (120 ml) (125 gm) mayonnaise (store-bought or home-made), room temperature
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (1 oz) (30 gm) granulated sugar
1 small egg, room temperature
15 gm (½ oz) fresh yeast or 1 packet (2 teaspoons) (7gm) dry active yeast
5 tablespoons (75 ml) milk, warm
½ teaspoon (3 gm) salt
for cream:
2 cups (500 ml) milk, divided
½ cup (120 ml) (3½ oz) (100 gm) granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon (½ oz) (15 gm)vanilla sugar
½ cup (120 ml) (2-2/3 oz) (75 gm) vanilla pastry cream powder
1 stick (½ cup) (4 oz) (125 gm) butter, room temperature
5 tablespoons (75 ml) double cream, chilled
for streusel topping:
1/3 cup (1¾ oz) (50 gm) plain flour
¼ cup (60 ml) (1¾ oz) (50 gm) butter, chilled and diced
¼ cup (60 ml) (1¾ oz) (50 gm) caster (or granulated) sugar
½ teaspoon (2 gm) ground cinnamon
for finishing:
1 small egg, lightly beaten

In a bowl of your stand mixer, sift flour and make a hole in the middle. Crumb the yeast into the hole, add 1 teaspoon sugar and about 3 teaspoons warm milk. Mix yeast, sugar and milk with fork and lightly sprinkle the surface with flour. Cover the bowl with towel and let rise for 10-15 minutes.

Kolache01

Add rest ingredients (mayonnaise, sugar, milk, egg and salt) and knead with dough hook on low speed for 10 minutes, until you have smooth dough.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cover with towel or clingfilm and let rise for about an hour to double its volume.

Kolache02

Form the dough into a ball and place it onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. With your palms and fingers press the dough and shape it to disc about 20–25 cm (8-10 inch) in diameter and 2–3 cm (¾-1 inch)thick. Let rise for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat your oven to moderate 320°F/160°C/gas mark 3 and make streusel topping. In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add cold butter and with your fingers, mix all ingredients until crumbly.

Brush the cake with eggwash and sprinkle with generous amount of streusel topping.

Kolache04

Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

Kolache05

Prepare the cream.
In a small bowl, mix well ½ cup (125ml) milk with the vanilla pastry cream powder. Set aside. In a saucepan, mix the rest of the milk 1½ cup (375ml) with the sugar and vanilla sugar and bring it to boil, stir occasionally. Add the milk-pasty cream powder mixture and boil for 3 – 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Transfer the mixture into a bowl of your standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment and let cool completely, while stirring constantly on a low speed. Add diced butter and mix together.
Separately whip the double cream until stiff. Mix with vanilla cream.

Kolache03

Cut cooled cake lengthwise and spread the cream onto the bottom part. Cover with upper part. Cut into 8 to 10 pieces.

Kolache08

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Layer Cake

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

When it came to my sister’s birthday (last year), she had the exact main and cake decided upon, which made planning very easy.

The main was a beautiful slow cooked beef parpadelle, which I will have to make again and post – it is divine! And the cake was this gorgeous chocolate hazelnut mousse layer cake. The cake tasted amazing and worked beautifully with the mousse.

If you’re afraid the cake might taste too much like coffee, don’t worry it didn’t, and I cut down the coffee for the mousse, as I wanted to enjoy it too 🙂 Everyone else had to suffer with the reduced coffee flavour.

Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut Mousse

Recipes from: Erica’s Sweet Tooth

1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare you 8″ cake rounds by greasing and flouring them

– Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl and mix until well combined

– In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry

– With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine

– Split the batter into the prepared pans

– Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean
– Cool in pans for 30 minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack to cool completely
– Once cooled, use a large serrated knife to evenly split each layer into 2 and level off any domes from baking
– Layer cakes and mousse, sprinkling toasted hazelnuts between each layer for a nice crunch

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse

3 cups (750ml) whipping cream
1 cup Nutella spread
4 tbsp hot water (not boiling)
4 tsp instant espresso (I used about 1 teaspoon)
Dash of Kahlua

– Dissolve instant espresso in hot water in a medium sized bowl
– Add the Nutella and Kahlua, beating until smooth
– In a mixer, whip the whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks
– Gently fold the nutella mixture into the whipped cream until the color is uniform
– Divide mousse between layers of cake

Eve

Friday, February 14th, 2014

One of my biggest cooking challenges since giving birth, was this cake, but I had desperately wanted to make it for Valentines day (as I knew Nick would probably prefer a different cake for his birthday), so the next best excuse was today (even though we don’t normally celebrate the day).

Eve was made by Kirsten Tibballs from Savour Chocolate and Patessiere School on one of the MasterChef episodes in their “Love” week last year. Having been lucky enough to do a short course at Savour a while ago, and tasting their wonderful creations, I was looking forward to making this cake. I have also noticed Kirsten has a cookbook released recently which looks lovely and one day I would like to get my hands on it.

The cake turned out extremely well, and it was extremely rich (you only need a small slice). I was happy with all three components, although a number of people thought a little less cremeux would be good. It looked quite impressive once put together and I was super happy with the result.

My notes and troubleshooting:

I had trouble with the red colouring for the mushrooms. The powder I used wasn’t turning the chocolate red, more of a brown colour, so then I added some of my Wilton colouring gel, and although it turned it a maroon colour (and not vibrant red initially), it also seized the chocolate, meaning it was hard to pipe – I had to pipe it best I could and then use a spoon or knife to spread it into a shape.

For the stems of the mushrooms, I ended up seizing the chocolate too much, so couldn’t pipe it – it was so solid I ended up just moulding it with my hands (like fondant).

I cut the cake into two, as it was quite large and I thought the decorations wouldn’t look in proportion if the cake was left its original size.

I used less chocolate for many aspects (mushrooms and toppings), as I didn’t want much left over. I also just used what chocolate I had available, e.g. cooking chocolate that didn’t require tempering

For the hazelnut praline paste I halved this recipe from Sweet as Honey. I added a bit of water, but it didn’t really get as liquidy as the photos on that website. Therefore for the crispy almond layer I needed to add more melted chocolate and some hazelnut spread.

Eve Cake

Recipe by Kirsten Tibballs
*You will need a 33cm x 23cm cake pan for this recipe

Pistachio dacquoise
145g egg whites, at room temperature
2g cream of tartar
64g caster sugar
2 drops green food colouring
128g ground pistachios, sifted
100g icing sugar, sifted
24g plain flour, sifted
Good quality raspberry jam, for brushing

Crispy almond layer
70g Callebaut dark chocolate, broken into pieces
180g Hazelnut praline paste, or increase chocolate by 40g and add 1 tablespoon almond oil (I made my own hazelnut praline, but also added 50g more chocolate and 1 tablespoon Nutella)
172g slivered almonds, roasted
30g Callebaut cocoa nibs or almonds (I used the almonds)

Chocolate cremeux
690g thickened cream
156g egg yolks
76g caster sugar
265g Callebaut milk chocolate (33.6% cocoa), broken into pieces
265g Callebaut dark chocolate (60% cocoa), broken into pieces

Chocolate leaves and bark
100g good quality dark chocolate (57.8% cocoa) (I used only about 30-50g)
Assorted fresh leaves, washed and dried with paper towel

Chocolate mushrooms
150g Callebaut W2 white chocolate (28% cocoa) (I used only 50-100g)

Red chocolate heart tops
200g Callebaut velvet white chocolate (I used only 50-100g)
20g red soluble oil based powder

Edible pebbles
30g pistachios, roughly chopped
Edible green metallic (I used gold)

Pistachio dacquoise
1. For the pistachio dacquoise, preheat oven to 170C.
2. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer to soft peaks, on medium speed.
3. Increase speed to high, then gradually add caster sugar while mixing continuously to allow sugar to dissolve. Add food colouring, whisking to combine.

4. Meanwhile, combine pistachios, icing sugar and flour in a bowl.

5. Gently fold meringue into bowl with pistachio mixture until just combined.

6. Using a palette knife, evenly spread mixture into a 35 x 25cm Flexipat or same-size tray lined with baking paper. Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes, then remove, and set aside to cool completely.

7. Trim dacquoise to 33cm x 23cm rectangle.

Crispy almond layer
1. For the crispy almond layer, grease and line the cake pan with baking paper.

2. Melt chocolate to 36°C in a microwave in 30 second increments. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

3. Evenly press mixture into cake pan. Set aside until just before the almond layer sets, then place dacquoise layer on top.

4. Brush a thin layer of jam over the top of the pistachio dacquoise.

Chocolate cremeux
1. For the chocolate cremeux, bring cream to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat.

2. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until well combined. Whisking constantly, slowly add half of the warm cream to bowl with egg yolk mixture until combined.

3. Pour egg yolk mixture into pan with remaining cream, and place over low heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until mixture reaches 80°C, and coats the back of the wooden spoon.

4. Meanwhile, place chocolate in a medium bowl. Strain cream mixture through a fine sieve over the chocolate, and stir until melted and combined.

5. Pour crémeux over the raspberry jam layer.

6. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. You can freeze for up to 1 month in the freezer.

Chocolate leaves and bark
1. For the chocolate leaves and bark, temper dark chocolate as per instructions below.

2. For the bark, brush a thin layer of chocolate onto a piece of baking paper and roll up and set aside.

3. For the leaves, brush a thin layer on each leaf, until you can’t see the leaf. Once the chocolate has set, carefully remove the leaf.

Chocolate mushrooms
1. For the chocolate mushrooms, temper chocolate as per instructions below. Add a few drops of water at a time, stirring until the chocolate thickens to a piping consistency. With a disposable piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle, pipe 3 mushroom bases onto a tray lined with baking paper. Set aside until firm.

Red chocolate heart tops
1. For the heart tops, temper chocolate as per instructions below. Sift the red powder into ¾ of the white chocolate and mix until combined. Transfer red chocolate to a piping bag made of baking paper. Pipe red chocolate into heart shapes, using a template as a guide underneath a sheet of baking paper. (see last page) Set the chocolate for 20-30 minutes before removing from the paper.

2. Use the remaining white chocolate to pipe white dots onto the mushroom tops, and to stick the tops and stems together.

Edible pebbles
1. Place pistachios in a bowl and add green metallic, tossing to coat.

To Assemble
1. To assemble, temper the dark chocolate as per instructions below. Brush a thin layer of chocolate onto the surface of the cake to create a rough texture. Brush with gold metallic once set.

2. Garnish with chocolate leaves, bark, chocolate mushrooms, pebbles, raspberries and hazelnuts.

Tempering chocolate
1. Place required chocolate in a plastic bowl (glass retains too much heat).

2. Melt chocolate in a microwave for no more than 30-second increments, stirring in between.

3. Melt chocolate until you have 50% solid chocolate and 50% melted chocolate. Continue stirring without applying any additional heat. It may take a few minutes for all of the solid chocolate to melt. Stir continuously during this time.

4. If the chocolate does not melt completely, apply gentle heat with a hair drier. Do a test by spreading a small amount of chocolate onto a piece of baking paper, in a room at a temperature no higher than 22C. The chocolate should set at room temperature in 5-10 minutes.

a. Dark couverture should set in approximately 5 minutes.

b. Milk couverture should set in approximately 7 minutes.

c. White chocolate should set in approximately 10 minutes.

5. It is necessary to maintain the chocolate in a liquid state by reheating if necessary. Be sure to take a new test every time you reheat.

6. To test if your chocolate is tempered correctly, dip a teaspoon or a square of acetate in the couverture and leave it to set. This should take around 5-10 minutes at room temperature. If the couverture does not set after 10 minutes, it is not tempered correctly. If it sets but there are streaks on the surface, you will need to continue stirring the couverture, then take another test.

My Little Cupcake

Friday, February 14th, 2014

It has been a while between posts, and I have mainly been posting Daring Bakers Challenges for quite some time too. I haven’t stopped cooking, I have been making and eating some very lovely foods, just a little busy to tend to my blog.

I’m not suggesting that this will be the start of me posting heaps of recipes, quite possibly the opposite, although I did want to share my happy news that I have recently had a ‘bun in the oven’ and my little cupcake has recently been born, and we are super super happy!

Best wishes to you all!

Photo courtesy of Lauren Erickson Photography

Pink Dessert Table

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

For quite a while now I have wanted to make a dessert table, but that much sweet food is too much for even my family, so I had to wait until we had a party at our place.

I was very fortunate to receive some lovely lolly jars as presents for my birthday last year, as I had pointed out how much I adored them. I also received the very pretty pink pom-poms, which required a bit more work than I had anticipated – and required a few nights to make (only because I got a little bored, and they made a bit too much noise to assemble whilst watching TV).

I could also use my beautiful wedding present crystal cake stand, with matching knife and server.

Due to the number of things I wanted on my table, I planned ahead, firstly making two double batches of ice cream, one strawberry and the other pavlova flavoured.

Brownies and Almond Butter biscuits were made the Friday before.

The Carrot Cake was made the day before, and piped on the day with double cream cheese frosting, using some of the piping taught at the recent cake decorating class I attended.

The macarons were also made the day prior and placed in the fridge, as the filling wasn’t setting.

I made the fruit salad in the morning, as I needed to make sure there was something healthy on the table, considering I had filled other containers with marshmallows, musk sticks, jaffas, and any other red, pink or white lolly.

Very happy with how it all turned out, although it seemed I may not have catered enough – I guess I will need to make more for my next one!! 🙂

Gingerbread House Template

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

You may remember a few years ago I made this gingerbread house for a Daring Bakers Challenge – based on an image I found on the internet. I had to design the house from scratch, and there were quite a few difficulties.

Over the years I have had many requests for the pattern, although it had been pushed away in a drawer, all cut up. I finally got a chance to trace it out nicely and have attached it to this post for you to use. Apologies to all those who have waited and missed out on making it in previous years.

Please note:
1. when printing – Do not scale to fit. (make sure there is no scaling)
2. Check the measurements with a ruler before cutting (the roof and walls seem to get cut off a bit – although as these are straight lines you can draw this in).
3. Make a demo house and check all the sizes match up and that the house and roof all work together – adjust if necessary.
4. Please see my original post for extra info and any troubles I had with the construction.

Click below link for a copy of the template in pdf.
LRfDGingerbreadHouse
(please note: the above link does not show some of the right hand measurement on the front of the house (which can be seen in the images below) – as it had to be cut off to allow printing margins)


Pipers Brown Butter Short Bread – Daring Bakers Challenge November 2012

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Blog-checking lines: Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.

We were given the choice between 12 different cookie/biscuits recipes for this months challenge. I chose the brown butter short bread, as it has been quite a while since I have browned butter for anything. The flavour in these biscuits is beautiful, with the brown butter combined with the brown sugar making these biscuits quite different to any I have made before.

Everyone loved the short bread, it had a lovely flavour and texture (It lasted about 3 days in a container). Making the short bread was quite easy too, although it was a little time consuming waiting for the butter to brown, and then let it cool to a softened butter stage.

I noticed I also needed to set it in the fridge, but didn’t have the time, so I tried to pipe it into biscuits – although only got through 4 biscuits before I called in Nick to pipe it for me. After piping one tray, I rolled the next into balls, both looked great and cooked well, although the later was much easier. (I was using a piping bag – perhaps a special cookie piper would be easier.

I would definitely make these again, I think they would be great in with some other mixed biscuits for a present.

Thanks to our host Peta and all the Daring Bakers.

11 Pipers Brown Butter Short Bread

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time:10 minutes

Makes about 48 cookies or one 20cm – 22cm (8 – 9 inch) shortbread round. Or when piped about 100 depending on how you pipe them. (My piped or rolled biscuits made about 24 biscuits)

Ingredients
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) unsalted butter
2/3 cup (130 gm) (4½ oz) dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla bean paste
1-2/3 cups (230 gm) (8 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (12 gm) table salt

Directions:

Step 1
Cut the butter into smallish pieces and place in a saucepan over a low heat. Melt the butter and cook until it starts to brown and gives off a warm, nutty aroma. Stir from time to time to make sure the butter browns evenly. As it gets close to being browned enough it will foam up and you will see little brown bits in the foam. Remove from the heat and pour into a heatproof jug or bowl. Set aside to cool slightly and then refrigerate until it starts to set again but is not too firm. It should be the consistency of softened butter. Don’t strain out the little brown bits they taste great.

Step 2

1. Preheat the oven to moderate 300°F/ 150°C/gas mark 2.
2. Line 2 large baking sheets with silicon baking paper if making the cookies or line a loose-bottomed tart tin if making one large shortbread round.
3. Add the sugar and vanilla to the browned butter and beat until very light and fluffy and the sugar is dissolved.
4. Finally, add the flour and salt and mix for at least 2 – 4 minutes to form a soft dough.
5. If making one large shortbread round, press the dough into the tin and flatten the surface with a fork for a bit of texture. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking. Bake the large shortbread round in a preheated moderate oven for about 20 – 30 minutes. If baking the large round, let cool completely in the tart tin and remove when cooled. Store in an airtight container.
6. If making cookies, flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up. Roll out the pastry to about 1/6-inch (4-mm) thickness and cut into cookies. Place the cookies on the baking sheets and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This will make sure the cookies keep their shape as they bake. Bake the cookies in a preheated moderate oven for about 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. You may need to rotate the sheets half way through baking to ensure even browning. They will be a golden colour when cooked.
7. You may pipe this recipe – To do so beat the mixture for ten minutes then pipe as in the Piped Shortbread Rings recipe. If you would like to do little stars you will need a star icing tip. I used a Wilton 6b or 8b.




Summer Layer Cake – based on Iced Vovo biscuit

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

When asked to make this cake for an important birthday of my Sis, I said, of course I will make you that cake. Anything you like. 🙂

What better than a request for something that looked and sounded amazing. This Summer layer cake is on the front of the Delicious magazine February 2012. Hopefully the recipe will come up on Taste later, so keep your eyes out for it, if you don’t have a copy of the magazine.

Does my cake look as good? no… but it sure tasted lovely.

When I started this recipe, I saw it required two 20cm round tins. I thought, two 22cm tins should be fine right? Whenever I use a slightly smaller or bigger tin for other recipes they turn out fine, why would this be any different? Wrong… I put the mixture into the two tins, and thought it was a little thin, and then thought it would rise during baking, wrong again. Once they came out of the oven the cakes were way too thin to split, and it would have looked quite funny being a short cake with just two layers.

So I decided to make another two cakes, the night was getting quite late, although I needed to get all the layers made and the mousse made, and assembled so it could set in the fridge overnight. Once the two extra cakes were made, I was quite tired, and didn’t bother slicing the tops to make them even (as they hadn’t risen much and looked reasonably even) – another mistake. Oh well – I assembled it all and placed it in the fridge overnight.

Soon before serving I made the Italian meringue to go on top, and it turned out beautifully. All in all the cake was quite tall and I was quite proud of it. There were some downsides to my unexpected changes, like the larger cake to mousse ratio (the mousse was a lovely flavour and texture, and this was a little lost with the amount of cake there was). Although I think my sister appreciated the effort and taste.

I think I should go and buy myself some 20cm tins, don’t you?

I don’t think the recipe has made it’s way on to Taste’s website, but it has been posted on the Add Four Sisters website.

French Food Safari

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

I was grateful to receive a Gourmet Safaris voucher from some lovely friends recently. You can choose either a bus tour or a walking tour, and I decided a bus tour would be nice (even though a bit of walking whilst eating is a good idea). I love French food, and seeing as the earliest one I could make was on a Wednesday, I decided a break in the middle of the work week would be nice.

We had one of the smallest groups our host Marie had taken, and at 18 people it was a nice number being not too big.

We started our day with a visit to Ganache Patisserie in Castlecrag, where the owner and chefs showed us how they make croissants and other pastries and the techniques they use to decorate their cakes. It was a very interesting process where you watch as the cake is transformed. Each addition makes it looks more complete, until the finishing touches are added and the cake is complete.

After the demonstration, Garanche Patisserie served us a French breakfast, or by this time for me, it was morning tea. We were given a large bowl of hot chocolate or coffee (or whatever you wanted to order), with a basket of cut baguettes, chocolate croissant and another croissant type pastry served with butter and apricot jam. I never buy or eat apricot jam as I can’t stand any that I have tried – until now, this was amazing jam – so amazing I had to buy some and take it home. The baguettes were the best I have tried. Crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, and they worked perfectly with the butter and jam. We were unfortunately too late (at 10.30am) for me to try an almond croissant (a favourite of mine), as they had sold out. I would have loved to have tried it. Perhaps I will have to go back on my own sometime.

Next we went to a butcher that was nothing like anything I had ever seen – Victor Churchill in Woollahra. The display in the front window looked like it was from a jewellery store. With a Valentines theme, different types of meat were placed on ingredients they were “made for”. Beautiful meats were visible in the cold-rooms behind glass, while the experienced butchers prepared meat in front of the customers behind the glassed preparation areas. They had their own drying and salting room, which had glass walls, except for the one at the back which was made of salt “bricks” which help remove the moisture for the meat as they hang and age for 28 days. We were able to try some of their prosciutto and pork rigullettes, which were both gorgeous.


The Essential ingredient in Rozelle was next, and for most of us foodies was somewhere we had been before. To begin with there was a demonstration of some of their French items, which would be good for someone who is in need of some new items, although many of the brands were just too expensive for me. I was lucky to get a Le Creuset pot for Christmas which I am very grateful for, so I didn’t really need to buy any more cookware. I did stock up on a few other items for my pantry though and a few nice serving-ware pieces.

For lunch we went to La Grande Bouffe, just down the road from the Essential Ingredient. The staff and chef were friendly and very attentive. We were greeted with a glass of champagne and baguette. The Chef came and described what we were having for lunch and was happy to answer any questions. We were served a Gruyere cheese soufflé to start with, which had a beautiful in texture and taste. Next came the main with white or red wine. The main was salmon with pesto, caper, olive, capsicum salad. Everything was cooked beautifully and the wine kept coming.

After lunch came chocolate (the chocolate only came before cheese due to the locations of the places we were visiting). We visited Belle Fleur Chocolates in Petersham and met Jan Ter Heerdt who is a very experienced chocolatier and owner of Belle Fleur Fine Chocolates.

Jan went through how chocolate is made, with samples of the cocoa bean, 99% cocoa chocolate, single origin chocolate, 66% cocoa chocolate and an amazing 4 or so flavoured and hand made chocolates from their range. One of these was my absolute favourite, which is what Jan called a traditional Belgium chocolate. It was dark chocolate encasing caramel, cream and a milk chocolate cream topping. It was lovely.

Last but not least we visited Simon Johnson in Alexandria for our cheese fill for the day. We arrived to be greeted by a very large amount of cheese to sample. I was more than happy to have a past bad experience with goats cheese now corrected. My two favourites (and the most mildest) were the goat’s milk cheese: Caridoux and the cow’s milk Fromage de Meaux.

The day complete, we left with cheese, jam, chocolate and some serving-ware. I just wish I had bought a baguette earlier in the day – like most of the other people on the tour did…

I really enjoyed the tour, and have seen quite a few others on the Gourmet Safaris website that I would love to go on.

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