Last night Esme demonstrated for the Whangarei cake guild. Earlier in the day, she made 2 gorgeous chocolate cakes (see recipes below) She used gorgeous fairtrade sugar and cocoa, which I recently purchased from Tradeaid. The cane sugar, has a wonderful golden colour. Esme and I were discussing it and she and I agreed, it was very similar to the golden caster sugar often used in British recipes. Esme tells me, it gives a more caramel top note to your cake YUM!. The chocolate was Whittaker's fairtrade Dark Ghana.
She wowed all of our guild ladies with her Swiss meringue buttercream (she used this recipe on the first challenge on Chelsea New Zealand's Hottest Home Baker" last year). Most of us admitted to never having made it before. We'd had a request from a guild member to pipe a cake using the Wilton 2d tip so Esme opted for an Ombre style cake. Everyone agreed it tasted delicious. A fun night was had by all
Esme's Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Right. Now this is a bit of a different recipe, the above ingredients are weighed in ratios i.e. 1:2:2.5
Example, 150 grams of egg whites, 300 grams of sugar, 425 grams of butter.
Put your egg whites and sugar in a bowl of a pot of simmering water. Stir regularly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture if quite hot to the touch. Rub some inbetween your finger and thumb and if you can't feel any grains of sugar its ready!
Pour the mixture into your stand mixer and whip with the whisk attachment until the mixture if thick and it is at room temperature (will still be a little warm, but you don't want it to be too hot that it will melt the butter).
Now change to the paddle attachment and add the butter 50g at a time. Do this on a low speed, otherwise you run the risk of whipping out all the air. Take your time with this part. I sometimes find I don't need all the butter, but keep adding it until your buttercream comes together. It may look soupy/curdled at one stage, but do not fear, continue with the butter and beating and it will come together to form a luscious mousse like buttercream that is not too sweet.
You can add any flavourings you like at this stage e.g. melted cooled chocolate, essences, fruit puree/powders. Refer to Note below regarding cream cheese.
The weights I gave above are enough to pipe generous swirls on 24 cupcakes or fill/ice/decorate a 23cm cake.
Whilst this is quite an expensive calorie rich buttercream, it is a real decadent treat and well worth the extra effort!
Cream Cheese SMBC
You can turn this into a cream cheese frosting, but there are some rules you must follow to ensure success.
To this recipe you can add 250g cream cheese.
First, you want the cream cheese to be at room temperature. Then you need to beat it until light and fluffy. A stand mixer is good for this. Turn the mixer down to low.
IMPORTANT, you need to add the buttercream to the cream cheese (not the other way around or you will split the delicate buttercream).
Take a big dollop and with your mixer on low add it to the cream cheese, keep adding in 4-5 more parts and mix until smooth. Do not over beat. You want to mix it on low until it just comes together.
Esme's Chocolate Mud Cake recipe
1 cup milk
1 T vinegar
250g dark chocolate
1 cup boiling water
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup oil
1 t vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
Pour hot water over chocolate, add coffee. Leave while you prepare the rest of the ingredients and tins (1 x 23cm or 2 x 20cm).
Mix vinegar and milk together. Sift dry ingredients. Stir in sugar.
Whisk the chocolate mixture until melted and smooth. Whisk in oil, mik, eggs & vanilla. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together, with a whisk until mixture is smooth. Pour into prepared tin(s) and bake for 40-45 minutes for the 2x 20cm tins or 50-55 minutes for the 1x 23cm tin.
This is a lovely moist chocolate cake, which you can ice/decorate as you wish. It is equally delicious served warmed with custard and fruit. This cake keeps for several tins in an air tight container - if you figure out how to make it last that long please let me know!
Happy Baking :)