Monday, May 19, 2008

Bavarian Orange Caramel Mousse & Chocolate Cake

I used to think that cakes were all about the baking. Baking is more of a science, get the temperature correct, whip the eggs right- a mini dictator in my kitchen. Now cakes are more about assembly, bringing different flavors and ingredients together to create a stunning flavor combination. That has put the FUN back in baking :). This cake that I made to take along for Mr and Mrs. S's potluck this weekend is a good example. The sketch below shows the layers that went into this cake.

Armed with just a few cakes in your repertoire and a few fillings; making tasty cakes is a wonderfully easy process. Juggling in fruits, whipped cream, Jams, sprinkles or M&Ms can unleash your creativity and have fun mixing and matching. You can play around this idea with boxed cake mixes to begin with.

I leave you with this potent idea and the recipe for the Bavarian Orange Caramel Mousse adapted from Flo Braker's, The simple art of Perfect Baking by Flo Braker. Enjoy.

Makes 3 cups

For the caramel:

1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 cup cream

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup concentrated orange juice( Take about 1.5 cups of orange juice, add some orange peels- only the orange part without the white pith, boil on the stove until volume reduces by atleast half- about half an hour)

3 tbsp water
2 tsp gelatin

1 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks

1 tbsp orange oil( available at cake shops ) optional

1. Make the caramel: Take the First three ingredients in a small heavy bottomed pot. Melt the sugar on medium low heat. Donot stir or your sugar will crystallize. Warm the half a cup of cream over the stove or microwave simultaneously. When the sugar turns a nice brown color, pour the hot heavy cream into it and stir to mix. The caramel will bubble but donot worry. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon.

2. Once the caramel cream mixture is cool, add the orange juice and milk in equal proportion to the caramel to get 1.5 cups of total fluid. Dont worry if the milk seems to separate when you add the orange juice. The next step will take care of that.

3. Make the creme anglaise: Stir the egg yolks to combine and add to the pot with the caramel cream and orange juice mixture. Place over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. If you have a candy thermometer, the mixture should register between 165 to 170 degrees. Sieve the mixture into another bowl to remove any solids.

4. Finishing the Bavarian cream: Soak the gelatin in the water for five minutes. Add to the caramel mixture and stir until it is dissolved. Wait until the mixture cools - about ten minutes. Whip the remaining one cup of cream in a chilled bowl until it is thick enough to create swirls in the bowl but is liquid enough to move when the bowl is moved. Fold the whipped cream into the caramel , mix thoroughly and referigerate for atleast four hours to set the mousse.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Summer Single Serve#2: Orange Chiffon Cake

Chiffon cakes were invented and popularised in the 1920s by a Southern California Baker( From Bakers Dozen). They are essentially angel food cakes with yolk and vegetable oil. Because of the fat from the yolks and oil, they have a smooth satisfying texture. Lemon is the traditional flavor, but chiffon cakes are endlessly adaptable. They are easy to make too little more than two steps.

Special Equipment required: Two empty cans. Using cans ! Why did I never think of this? The credit for this idea goes to a book called Small batch baking by Debby M Nakos. More recipes and ideas from this book later.

This particular recipe has been adapted from Nick Malgieri and David Joachims book, Perfect Light Desserts.

To make two servings

Ingredient Set 1:
1/4 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon + 1 tsp granulated sugar
1/3rd cup Orange juice
1 Large or Extra Large Egg yolk
1 small pinch salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon + 1 tsp vegetable or canola Oil. ( you can use melted cooled butter for an extra flavor punch)

Ingredient Set 2:
1/4rth cup Egg whites at room temperature( about 1 extra large egg or two large egg whites)
squeeze lemon juice
1 tbsp confectioners sugar

1. Preheat Oven to 350 degree F. Either grease the bottom of the cans only or place a circle of wax paper. Donot grease the walls of the cans.

2. Dump all the ingredients in Ingredient list 1 in a bowl and mix very well with a fork or egg beater. In another, preferably metal bowl, beat the egg whites with the lemon until soft peaks form and then add the sugar gradually and beat to stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the bowl with the Ingredient set 1. Mix gently and well.

3. Bake at 350 degree F for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is well browned. Invert cans on the counter and wait until thoroughly cooled. Run a sharp knife around the edges of the cake and then invert can and tap onto a plate.

4. This is the texture that you should end up with. Light and soft and spongy.I love it plain , but you could also serve it with Orange Caramel Sauce or some fresh whipped cream and berries.

Approximately 240 calories per serving.