Acts of Kitchen: Cherry Cakes

AoK_logo_v2In which I talk about waffles and I get to talk to Cherry, of Cherry Cakes, and marvel at her baking prowess.

We’re sitting at John Gorilla Cafe, which is why it’s a bit noisy; if you want to try Cherry’s products for yourself that’s an easy way to do it!

Cherry Cakes – for your dessert catering needs

Cherry on Instagram: I just… these cakes are amazing

Caroline Khoo’s I’m Just Here for Dessert: the book, and the food9781743368824

 

Acts of Kitchen: Shalini on food and family and the CWA

AoK_logo_v2In which I experiment with not-meatballs and Shalini talks about growing up Fiji Indian, curries, baking, experimenting, and being a founding member of a new, city-based CWA (Country Women’s Association).

The not-meatballs I made.

I set up a Patreon page!

Acts of Kitchen: Monday Morning Cooking Club

AoK_logo_v2In this episode, I CONQUER A NEMESIS – sponge cake! – and cook from The Feast Goes On, and talk to Natanya and Merelyn from the Monday Morning Cooking Club (you should totally check them out) about their books and cooking in general.

mmccthefeast

The sponge cake recipe to DEFEAT ALL ENEMIES. Look what I created! img_1318

My bagels: 

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Desserts, baby

IMG_1123.JPG1. A dessert that worked.

This is from Indian Made EasyThey’re carrot and orange balls, where those things have been simmered in milk until they go mushy and then the mush is fried in butter and cardamom for a while. Then the mixture is formed into balls, once cold, and then drizzled with chocolate and pistachio (which is what I tried to do artistically on the plates at the back). They were delicious.

2. A dessert that didn’t work.IMG_1128.JPG

Recipe from BakeClass. What I really have to say here is I HATE YOU SPONGE. I really thought that I had mixed it properly – there were no gloopy bits in the mixture – and I thought I had cooked it long enough, because it looked the right colour and it sprang back when touched. It had risen and everything! But then when I put it on the tea towel I noticed that it immediately stuck. And then after I unrolled it, spread it with jam, and went to roll it again off the towel… well. It stuck a lot.

Sponge. Again.

This book was provided by the publisher at no cost.

UnknownPreviously, on BakeClass: rhubarb cake; self-saucing pudding; the book itself.

When I tried to make lamingtons, I mentioned that I have yet to conquer The Sponge. I thought that maybe BakeClass would help; after all, it’s got step by step instructions that are pretty clear.

The setting: one friend who saw The Fifth Element about eight years ago; another who had maybe seen bits; and a third who had never seen it. The perfect excuse to test my sponge-making abilities.

I carefully read the instructions, and they seemed to make sense. I got the eggs out hours before I was going to make the cake, so they would definitely be at room temperature. I measured everything scrupulously. I even did the grease the tin – line the tin – grease the paper thing as commanded.
I came unstuck at the last instruction: after sifting over the flour and cornflour, and then the warm milk and butter, I was to beat briefly until flour was combined – but not for TOO long. My panic was this: how do I KNOW when it’s combined? There was still a speck of IMG_0895flour on the top; I presume that means it’s not combined? That cake-y type consistency at the bottom of the bowl, is that good or bad? Does it mean I’ve over-beaten? OH NO WHAT HAVE I DONE. This is the first instruction I’ve found in the book that’s not as precise as I would have appreciated.

And then it seemed to take longer to bake then it ought to have. Maybe it’s my oven. I should get on that.

Anyway, once cooked the sponge had this effect on the top. I think this was as a result of the cake-y consistency and that it means it was over-beaten.

IMG_0896They didn’t rise as much as I would have hoped, as you can see. Still it must be said that these were better than the sponges I made last time, so I guess there’s hope? They were a bit fluffier, for sure.

I filled the cake with whipped cream, of course, and with Kate’s What Eve Did Next  – an apple and lavender jelly that’s just amazing. I sprinkled some lavender on top and everything. How fancy is that?

ETA: how could I have forgotten the result?? Despite my misgivings, five of us managed to polish the entire thing off over the course of the movie (which was only two serves each; the beloved managed to get one…). It wasn’t as airy as I would have liked, and a couple of spots tasted a bit… eggy, maybe? I think it was the swirly bit featured on top. The Eve was delicious but probably could have had a bit more added – the recipe called for something like 225g of raspberry jam, and I used nowhere near that much because it sounded far too over the top!

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BakeClass: the book itself

UnknownBakeClass was provided to me at no cost by the publisher, Murdoch Books. Available from March 2016; RRP $45.

(Previously, on BakeClass… )

I took BakeClass away with me last weekend to show a couple of other baking-type people (who both quite liked it), and it made me sit down and actually read the opening pages. I had previously just flicked through the recipes and glanced over the actual lesson pages – I rarely read the introduction etc to a book like this, regarding them more like reference books than chronologically-ordered-type books. But now I have.Unknown

(I’ve also taken off the dust jacket to reveal the cover on the right, which I think I prefer.)

As the name suggested, and the organisation into lessons, this is a book largely designed for someone who’s not especially comfortable with baking. This is not me – I may be disgruntled with sponges, but I’m not afraid to jump in and have a go at most any recipe – as long as I’ve got the time and the inspiration.

That’s not to say I don’t have anything to learn from a book like this. As a friend put it, you read and say “uhuh, uhuh, uhuh – oh! – uhuh, uhuh…” – and that’s quite useful. It’s nice to know you’re basically on the right track, and learning new stuff is always nice.

I will never nuke butter to cheat-soften it again. I pinky-promise to be more organised with my baking (…hmm…) and either cube or grate the butter if I get impatient.

I like Anneka’s approach: here are reasons why you might think you can’t bake, and here are some reasons to rethink; here are some things to consider to make it more excellent (time, for whom, what do YOU like, etc). I also like her explanation of some of the fundamentals (different creams!), and the list of recommended cake tins means I might need to go shopping… (plus I recently encountered a rectangular tart tin I NEED YOU IN MY LIFE).

The lessons themselves progress logically, from very straightforward to the more complex. I love that there’s a ‘Mix in the Food Processor’ step! I am intrigued that you’re meant to keep your palms upwards while rubbing in; I think I do this, but not consciously. I have tried the pushing+pulling kneading trick a couple of times but I’m still not convinced I’ve got it.

In the end, there are stacks of recipes in here that I’m dead keen to try out, and that makes this a winner in my book. And kitchen.

It’s available from Fishpond.