March 31, 2010

Cream Horn Bakeoff

Cream hornI I absolutey love retro pastries. Shortbread, Vanilla Slice, Rock Cakes...mmm. But they're so hard to find nowadays. Take the Cream Horn for instance. It's rarely on offer in bakeries any more, yet brings back childhood memories for so many Australians. What is a Cream Horn you might ask? It's a flaky horn shaped pastry filled with mock or real cream. I've been told mock is the only way to go.

Most of the people in my office are nuts for them. One colleague in particular is an expert on traditional cakes, having ingested many a scone and cake from the Country Women's Association and been to cake making competitions all around Australia. Naturally she has sourced THE perfect Cream Horn. It's only available on order from a secret bakery in Western Sydney.

Then last week I was flicking through Masterchef winner Julie Goodwin's cookbook and discovered it was chock full of all those classic recipes from Nan's kitchen. So when I noticed a recipe for the old Cream Horn with Mock Cream I knew we needed to have a taste test. A Cream Horn bake off. Bought ones vs mine.

The verdict?

Leftovers part 1 – White Chocolate

Cherry white chocolate cookies

With the wedding cake project over letting two bars of white chocolate sit in the fridge was not an option. It had to come to some use. Since I’ve been wanting to try Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies for a while now that seemed like the perfect solution for my leftovers.

I used Bill Grangers classic recipe but I’ve substituted with cherries instead. Plus, I made them smaller than his because I don’t like massive cookies. I also baked them for longer to get for some crunch. Hate, absolutely hate chewy cookies.

March 22, 2010

Cake completed

egg yolks

Sorry about the break in blogging. I was in a wedding cake coma for about a week afterwards. My bins were full of empty egg cartons and sour cream tins, my cupboard purged of the staples like sugar, flour and baking powder. Luckily though my head still seemed to be attached even though I had been running around like a headless chook for most of the previous week.

Not that I was that stressed. Surprisingly I carried out the task quite well. It was more the sheer workload. I really had to get stuck into it. But I loved it. And that cake. 13 sponges later and not one failure. Now that’s a pretty reliable recipe in my book.

I won’t go into the math of it all at this stage. I’m still not entirely sure if there was too much or too little of everything. I was merely the sponge, mousse and butter cream making lackey. The wedding cake was put together by Rhianna at the venue. Let’s just say at least I hope it tasted nice. Somewhere down the track I’ll make a mini wedding cake and put up some pics. Right now though I’m a bit lavendered out.

 bowls of butter

Tonnes of butter were culprits in the making of this cake.


Beaters resting after having the crap whipped out of them with the mega batch of Swiss butter cream...

March 16, 2010

Wedding project 2

We decided on the filling for the wedding cake. White Chocolate Mousse sandwiched between lovely lavender cake. For the icing – Smitten Kitchen’s Swiss buttercream frosting. All I needed to do was put these new recipes to the test.
empty bowl
Decreased the amount of butter in the original Lavender cake recipe and popped it in the oven…

The recipe for Swiss buttercream frosting worked on the first go – wohoo! Velvety smooth and rich.
Swiss meringue in bowl
Then onto a batch of White Chocolate Mousse by Swedish chef Leila Lindholm. It has heaps of lemon zest in it and the sour cream really works with the sweetness of the chocolate and whipped cream. I could eat it by the bucketful.

Finally I put together a cake for Rhianna to take up to the in-laws for a taste test...
test cake log
We had to have some too. It was delicious. With less butter in it the cake was firmer but still moist with that hint of lavender. Leila Lindholm's mousse was delicately flavoured with white chocolate and the lemon zest really pulled it together. Covered with that velvety frosting...

If I say so myself it was pretty tasty. I was happy. And I couldn't believe my luck that the test recipes worked out. Time for the big one.
test cake
For the recipes...

March 15, 2010

The Wedding Project

Remember my colleague who wanted the Lavender cake for her wedding? Guess who ended up making it for her? Yep. My first ever wedding cake. I was so excited when Rhianna told me she liked the cake that I immediately offered to help. In fact I insisted.
Then I panicked.

Because it’s only after you read up about wedding cakes that you realise what a nightmare they can be.

I had three dilemmas: How much cake did I need to serve 150 guests? What fillings go with lavender? And can the original recipe which is extremely moist hold several tiers?

But a promise is a promise and I kept my angst to myself while secretly borrowing every cake baking guide at the local library, sneaking around Dymocks for cheat reads out of Rose Levy Berenbaum’s “The Cake Bible” and scouring the internet for every wedding cake recipe I could lay my paws on.

First – thanks to Rhianna who took care of the sizing maths. Secondly the internet kindly provided me with the answer for the filling. It’s simple. Chocolate and lemon go with lavender. And third. Cookbook author Mia Öhrn saved the day with her useful suggestion of taking out some of the butter in the original recipe to make a firmer cake.

March 13, 2010

Luscious Lavender Cake


A few months ago I made the most amazing Lavender cake from a Swedish cookbook called Mitt Eget Kafe (My Own Cafe) by Mia Öhrn. The recipe originally comes from Annika at the Swedish castle Sturehof just outside of Stockholm. Moist, with a subtle hint of Lavender it is so moreish and the delicious icing, a lime butter cream, really caps it off. It was a huge success when I brought it in for our springtime Afternoon Tea at work and they still talk about it. So thanks Mia, and thanks to Annika for one of the best cakes I've ever had the pleasure to make.

Here's the original recipe: