Aimi’s Chocolate birthday cake!

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For the cakes:

 525gr plain chocolate (39 per cent cocoa solids), broken into pieces

10 large eggs, separated

2 large eggs, whole

425gr caster sugar

275gr ground almonds

2 ½ teaspoons freshly made black coffee

75gr apricot jam

Raspberry Coulis:

750gr raspberries

220gr icing sugar

Double cream

Pre-heat the oven to 190 ° C/ Fan 170 ° C. Lightly grease a 15 cm (6 in) and a 20 cm (9 in) deep topsy turvy cake tins then line the base and sides of each tin with baking parchment.

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave at low heat stirring occasionally and then leave to cool slightly. Combine the yolks, whole eggs and sugar into a large bowl and beat until thick and light. Add the melted chocolate along with the almonds and the coffee. In the mixer bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold carefully into the chocolate mixture and then divide the mixture between the prepared tins. I was filling the topsy turvy tins up to half way on the shorter side.

Bake in the pre-heated oven.  The small cake will take about 40 minutes, the larger cake about 1– 1 ¼ hours. I did cover both of the cakes with foil half way through. Test the centre of each with a skewer, which should come out just about clean. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the baking parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack. Push the apricot jam through a sieve, then brush over the tops and sides of the cakes. I did brush them with some brandy as well.

I decorated this cake with sugar work. Covering wonky cakes is very similar to standard round cakes. Cover the larger layer first as it is easier. Roll out the sugarpaste to a thickness of 5mm and use to cover the cake. Carefully ease in the fullness of paste around the sides of the cake: start near the top of the sides and, using a cupped hand, stroke the paste in an upwards direction, gradually lowering your hand down the sides until all the paste is eased in. If the paste seems to be forming a pleat, lift up the sugarpaste around the pleat to redistribute the paste and try again. Smooth the sugarpaste, by firstly using a smoother to iron out any irregulars in the surface of the icing and then using the base of your hand to smooth and polish the top edge. Next, take the smoother and, while pressing down, run the flat edge around the base of the cake to create a cutting line. Cut away the excess paste with a palette knife. I did have to use dowels for this cake. The only difference was that each dowel position was measured and that the tops of the dowels were cut at the same angle as the cake so that they will be flush with the icing. The extra sugar decorations were fixed using eatable glue on the cake.

Put the raspberries in a food processor and blend until they form a purée, then push the purée through a nylon sieve into a bowl to remove the seeds. Gradually whisk in the icing sugar. Serve the cake with the coulis and double cream. Happy Birthday Aimi!IMG_0244

Pork with Celeriac and egg lemon sauce.

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Ingredients:

100gr of unsalted butter

1/4 cup olive oil

1.5 Kgr of pork shoulder or pork leg , trimmed of fat and cut into pieces

1 celeriac root, diced

2 leeks, diced

1 large onion

1 large carrot

2-3 cups of vegetable stock

1 tbsp white wine vinigear

1 Kgr of large stalks pascal celery (with leaves) cut into pieces

Juice of two lemons (strained)

2 large eggs (at room temperature)

1 tbsp corn flour or arrow root

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

We wash the pork and place it in a bowl covering it up with water and the tablespoon of vinegar for 10 to 15 min. Part boil the celery chunks and let them dry in a colander. In a stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil together over medium high heat and add the onion. Season the pork chunks with salt and freshly ground black pepper and then saute until nicely browned on both sides. Cut the leeks into pieces and add them to the meat as well as the celeriac root cut in cubes. Add one cup of the stock and let it boil in slow heat for 40 minutes, adding more stock when needed. Add the celery pieces and carrot and cook for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, making sure you are left with about 1 cup of stock in the pot.

Prepare the Avgolemono (egg lemon) sauce: Using the mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks. Then add the yolks and slowly whisk in the lemon juice and one cup of the pot liquid (at room temperature). Into o sauce pan transfer the egg lemon and stock liquid and add the 1 tablespoon of corn flour dissolved in cold water. On slow heat bind the sauce by whisking constantly

until the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Add this mixture to the casserole and shake the stock pot slowly to introduce the sauce everywhere. Enjoy!

Valentine’s

Red Velvet Cake 😉 Family loved it! DO give it a try. They are so many recipes out there, i am just going to post the one i used this weekend and we all loved it. I hope you enjoy it as well.

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For the cake:

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

3 tablespoons red food coloring (really intense red)

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 cup buttermilk

2 1/4 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vinegar

Cream cheese frosting:

350gr cream cheese

6 tablespoons of unsalted butter at room temperature

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 cup icing sugar

1 teaspoon lilac food coloring

Alternative frosting:

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup of butter

Preheat the oven at 175C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
Shift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt into a bowl. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla and red food colouring. Into the mixer bowl beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Keep beating (scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time) until the mixture is much lighter in colour and very fluffy in texture. Add the eggs and then start adding the flour mix altering with the buttermilk mix (2 spoons of buttermilk and 3 spoons of flour mix) until all is combined. Dissolve the baking soda in the vinegar and combine with a wooden spoon in the mix not too vigorously conserving the airy mixture we have created.
Divide the butter evenly into 3 greased and floured 8″ cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes. I like my cake layers quite thin so i but less butter in the tins and bake for 15 minutes instead. Set the tins on a wire rack remove the cake layers and leave to cool completely.

Get on with the frosting: In the mixer bowl beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until light and fluffy. I usually cut the butter in small cubes and that helps a lot in creating a smooth mix. Gradually shit in the sugar (scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time) until is thoroughly combine. Take half the frosting out for filling the layers of the cake and combine the rest with the lilac coloring for frosting the outside of the cake.

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Alternative frosting: shift the flour in the milk and cook flour in a low heat until very thick, stirring constantly. Let it cool completely. Cream the sugar, butter and vanilla until fluffy and light then add the cooked mixture of flour and milk. Beat in high speed until very fluffy it will look liked whipped cream. Take half the frosting out for filing the layers of the cake and use he rest for covering the cake on the outside. I actually used a very thin layer of jam as well in the middle but you can just use the frosting only.

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Sky is the limit. Fabulous cake.