Sunday, 12 April 2015

Traditional "Mona de Pasqua" (Easter cake), did it my way

If you search in Google images "Mona de Pascua" (Spanish traditional Easter cake) you'll find so many options that it seems difficult to find the one and only traditional way. Depending on where you live, is one or the other, so, when I decided I would make the "Mona"this year, after looking and looking, I decided on one of these versions but my way. That is, where I use chocolate whipped cream maybe others use jam, or where I use cream others use butter.





So this is my interpretation of the "Mona" this year, there will be someone who likes it or maybe who thinks is an aberration of tradition. Either way, if the cake doesn't suits you for Easter, you can always change feathers and chickens for nice candles and it will be perfect as a birthday cake.


And so, if this my interpretation, why have I title this entry as "traditional"? Well, first of all because this cake looks exactly as the ones called "traditional" that always I have sawn in my neighbourhood bakeries. But above all, because it is the first cake I prepared with "no weird stuff" (here in Barcelona buttercream, cream cheese, red velvet, sugarpaste and this kind of things are new and often seen as "weird stuff" for people used to traditional baking). So, no buttercream or cream cheese or strange sponge cakes. Just "pa pessic" (traditional catalan sponge), a chocolate whipped cream filling and caramelized custard on top. As simple as this, even no atrezzo for the pictures! By the way, I found chocolate truffle much easier to make than buttercream, as more tasty as well!!!


MONA DE PASCUA
or CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM AND CUSTARD CAKE

Ingredients;

 For the sponge "Pa de pessic":
  • 6 eggs
  • 125 gr sugar
  • 125 gr flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
 For the chocolate whipped cream:
  • 500 ml whipping cream - very cold
  • 40 gr unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 75 gr icing sugar
For the custard:
  • 150 gr eggs (aprox 3eggs)
  • 150 gr sugar
  • 12 gr cornflour
  • 45 gr water
 For decoration:
  • Almond flakes
  • Brown sugar (for caramelized the custard)
For the sponge, line and grease a 20-22 cm round pan and preheat the oven to 170ºC - 340ºF. Separate the yolks from the white. Reserve the whites and beat the yolks with the sugar until they have a texture similar than butter. Add the flour and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs whites to form stiff peaks. Gently combine with the yolks mixtures carefully, until well combined. Put the mixture into the pan and bake for 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes clear. Let cool in a wire rack.

For the custard, mix the sugar and the cornflour. In a saucepan, beat the eggs with thewater, add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and put on low heat, stirring constantly for about 10-15 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool covered with plastic wrap touching the surface (to avoid a thick layer on the top of the cream)

For the chocolate whipped cream, whisk the whipped cream. Wait until soft peaks appers, and then add the cocoa powder and the sugar. Continue whisking until it's firm.

To assemble the cake, cut the sponge into three layers. Fill with the chocolate cream and cover also the sides. "Paste" the almonds. Put the custard on top, smooth it, cover with a little brown sugar and a burn it with a blowtorch.





Friday, 16 January 2015

Childhood memories: "Torta de Aranda"

On of my new year's resolution is bread. Learn about how to make and bake good homemade bread. I love bread, but most of the time I eat frozen baguettes from the supermarket, which are good and tasty only for 10 minutes. So I decided to start with a special kind of bred: "Torta de Aranda"


This kind of bread is a typical bread made with olive oil from Aranda de Duero, a town near Burgos, in north-western Spain. It's a super tasty bread. When I was a child, every summer, we used to travel to Burgos to visit my grandmother, and I used to eat this kind of bread all the time, and its flavour is one of those you keep in your memory forever.


It's not a diffiult recipe, and although the dought is a littlesticky, it's no imposible to handle. It has ben my first attempt making bread (with the exception of the ones I made with the bread machine), and I'm pretty happy with the results. The recipe is based on the one from the book Pan (Bread), from the catalan baker Xavier Barriga.


TORTA DE ARANDA (Olive Oil Bread)

Ingredients (for two small pieces or one big)

  • 250 gr bread flour
  • 5 gr salt
  • 150 ml water
  • 2,5 gr fresh yeast
  • 30 ml extra virgin olive oil (plus a little more for spreading the bread)
In the stand mixer bowl, with the dough hook attachment (you can use just your hands), mix all the ingredients except the oil and the yeast for about 5 minutes at medium-low speed. Without stop mixing, add slowly the oil and the yeast, and mix for 3 or 4 more minutes.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest about 90 minutes. This kind of bread, as it's made with little yeast, do not rise very much, so do not worry if it doesn't rise too much.

After this time, divide the dough in half if you want to make two pieces, and flatten it with your fingers to form a circle of half an inch thick. Preferably place cakes on a linen cloth dusted with flour (as I have no linen cloth I used baking paper). Cover with a damp cloth, so the dough does not dry out, and let ferment for two hours.

If you prefer to prepare the dough in the afternoon but bake it in the morning, let rest the dought only for an hour and a half, then cover it with plastic wraps. Let the pieces in the fridge overnight.

Pre heat oven to 250º, generating steam (to do so, place a pot with wet cloths inside the oven). Just before placing the pieces, pulverize the walls with water. Place the bread in a preheated tray (or on a baking stone if you have on). Reduce oven temperature to 210 ° and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the bread pieces from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Six minutes and a cookie

We all know that the Internet is an endless source of knowledge, but it still amazes me. And today, walking along a few websites looking for a perfect lemon cake recipe (then I've remembered that I have a good one from the Primrose Bakery book that I'm sure it will work perfectly), I have found this: Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Cup. The first thing I thought has been: "I have to try it and see if it works".

And yes. It works.


It doesn't have "buts": Not one at all. really. It's a fast, simple, clean and, the most important, delicious.


Well, there's one "but". But it doesn't count. As the cup is very deep, photos don't look as good as I would like. But you don't really care about that, do you?



CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE IN A CUP (in microwave)

Ingredients:
  • 15 gr (1 tablespoon) of butter
  • 15 gr (1 tablespoon) of white sugar
  • 15 gr (1 tablespoon) of brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 28 gr (a little less than 1/4 cup) of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips
You only need a cup for everything (mix the ingredients, bake and eat). It's all about add and mix.

In the microwave, melt for 20 seconds the butter. Then add the sugars and the vanilla extract and mix. Add the egg yolk and mix. Then add the flour, mix, and finally add the chocolate chips and stir until are mixed with the dough.

Put the cup in the microwave and heat for 60 seconds (800W power)

And that's all.

Let cold until its warm and enjoy.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Roses & Books

Last week, on April 23th, in Catalonia, we celebrate St George's day.


There's legend about a dragon and a princess (it's a long story, but I'll resume it, specially because I don't dare to translate it to English). The fact is, there was a dragon about to eat a princess. but then, Saint George appeared, killed the dragon and save the princess. From the blood of the dragon sprouted a rosebush, and that's why, in Catalonia, every April 23th, men give their beloved a rose.
 

And, as April 23th is also Book Day, women give their beloved a book.


So, it was very easy, I celebrate Saint George's with these cupcakes decorated with a rose and a book. 
These ones are basic chocolate cupcakes with an extraordinary buttercream made with butter and cream cheese (taken from the last Peggy Porschen's book). I promise to give you the recipe in the next entry!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Yes, I'm a chocaholic - Chocolate Bund Cake

I know, I'm not helping if you're trying to follow a diet. In two months, or less, we'll have to deal with our last year bikinis and dresses, and what do I offer? Chocolate.
But you can balance this delicious cake with five or six spinning classes in the gym, but I promise it will be worth.


The photos are not the best, but it was the third time I make this cake and I wanted to share it with you, It's super easy to make, and everybody will like it. I took the recipe from the blog Food & Cook.


CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:

  • 225 gr butter
  • 410 gr sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 240 ml buttermilk
  • 360 gr all purpose flour
  • 15 gr bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • 160 ml water
  • 65 gr cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180ºC  (355º F) and grease a bundt pan taking care all the edges get greased.

With a stand (or hand) mixer, mix the butter and the sugar. Then add the eggs, one to one, until well combined.

Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda  and salt and add top the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk.

In the microwave, heat the water about one minute. Add the cocoa powder and mix well with a whisk until the cocoa is completely dissolved.

Add to the mixture beating at low speed until it's completely combined. 

Pour the mixture into the bundt pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes, inserting a stick to check it's completely cooked.

Let rest for 10 minutes, and then unmold and let it cold completely in a rack.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Fall into temptation: Nutella Muffins

Things I should stop doing if I want to wear a bikini this summer: write "Nutella" in Pinterest's search box.

Really, it has to be considered as high-risk sport. If you don't believe, try it. I challenge you to try, and then, tell me if you have been able to resist the temptation to bake some of the delicious recipes that you can find in it. As you can see, I could not. Actually, the main problem has been to choose only one. But this can be fixed easily. There are more days to bake...


 This week temptation are those Nutella Muffins, although you can find it in Pinterest as self-frosting Nutella Cupcakes, but I find they're more muffins than cupcakes.

The recipe is super fast and easy (what more could you ask for?). It's just a dough mixed with Nutella at the end. Wanna try?


NUTELLA MUFFINS

Ingredients, for 12 muffins

  • 55 gr butter
  • 50 ml vegetable oil
  • 165 gr sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 260 gr all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoon Nutella
Preheat oven to 160ºC (320ºF) and prepare a 12-hole cupcake pan with cupcakes liners (you can also grease the pan and not use liners)

Beat the sugar, butter and oil until well combined. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat again.

In a bowl, mix flour and baking powder, add to the dough and mix at low speed until it's completely mixed.

Divide the dough between the 12 cupcake liners and add half tablespoon of Nutella. With a stick, mix the Nutella with the dough making a swirl.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, remove form the oven and wait 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and let them cold in a rack. You can eat the muffins before they're completely cold.

Enjoy!!!




Thursday, 14 February 2013

Valentine's Day tastes like chocolate

Today's Valentine's Day. And I think there is nothing which best deines Valentine's than hearts and chocolate. So, for a chocoholic me, there's no better excuse ...



So, here is... The Total Chocolate Cake: Chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache, covered with chocolate fondant.

I wanted the decoration very simple, so I made little royal icing dots forming a heart.

If you don't have chocolate rolled fondant, you can cover the cake just with the ganache, it will just as good.


CHOCOLATE CAKE, CUBED


Ingredients (for the cake using a 6/7 inch round pan)
  • 150 gr bitter chocolate, chopped
  • 115 gr  butter, room temperature
  • 230 gr light soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 250 gr flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 335 ml semi-skimmed milk, room temperature
  • 1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate ganache:
  • 200 gr bitter chocolate
  • 200 gr whipping cream/double cream
We'll also need chocolate rolled fondant (I used Satin Ice)

We started making the ganache (it's better to prepared the night before)
Heat the whipping cream in the microwave for two minutes. Add the chocolate chopped and mix with a whisk until it's completely melted. Let cold completely and put it on the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic touches the surface of the ganache. You'll nedd to take off the fridge the ganache two hours (more or less depending on the temperature of your house) before assembling the cake.

Now, let's make the cake.

Preheat oven to 190ºC (375ºF)

In the microwave, melt chocolate (previously chopped) heating in 30 seconds burst until it's completely melted. Let it cool.

In a mixer, cream the butter, add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is creamy. Beat the egg yolks in a clean bowl. Add them to the butter and sugar mixture and mix until it's completely integrated. Then add the chocolate and beat again until all ingredients are perfectly mixed.

In a jar, mix well milk and vanilla extract. Sift flour with baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add 1/3 of the mixture of flour and 1/3 of milk and vanilla and beat until completely mixed. Repeat this process two more times.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, add them to the mixture and stir with a spatula making soft enveloping movements until fully incorporated.

Put the mixture in the pan and bake about 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let stand about 10 minutes. Unmold and let cool on a rack.

For assembling, first level the cake, then cut into four layers.Fill it and cover it with the ganache, as smooth as possible, and then, cover it with the fondant. Decorate as you want and that's it! Enjoy it with that special person.

¡Happy Valentine's day!