lundi 31 août 2009
jeudi 27 août 2009
2 baking sheets
9” (23cm) springform tin and 8” cake tin, for templates
mixing bowls (1 medium, 1 large)
a double boiler (a large saucepan plus a large heat-proof mixing bowl which fits snugly over the top of the pan)
a small saucepan
a whisk (you could use a balloon whisk for the entire cake, but an electric hand whisk or stand mixer will make life much easier)
metal offset spatula
a 7 1/2” cardboard cake round, or just build cake on the base of a sprinfrom tin.
piping bag and tip, optional
Sponge layers 20 mins prep, 40 mins cooking total if baking each layer individually.
Buttercream: 20 mins cooking. Cooling time for buttercream: about 1 hour plus 10 minutes after this to beat and divide.
Caramel layer: 10-15 minutes.
Assembly of whole cake: 20 minutes
Sponge cake layers
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups (162g) confectioner's (icing) sugar, divided
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together)
pinch of salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
4 heaped teaspoons espresso powder
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.
1 cup (200g) caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar
12 tablespoons (180 ml) water
8 teaspoons (40 ml) lemon juice
1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)
a 7” cardboard round
12 whole hazelnuts, peeled and toasted
½ cup (50g) peeled and finely chopped hazelnuts
Directions for the sponge layers:
NB. The sponge layers can be prepared in advance and stored interleaved with parchment and well-wrapped in the fridge overnight.
1.Position the racks in the top and centre thirds of the oven and heat to 400F (200C).
2.Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Using the bottom of a 9" (23cm) springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn't touch the cake batter.)
3.Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g) of the confectioner's (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don't have a mixer.)
4.In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2/3 cup (81g) of confectioner's (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.
5.Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the centre and the edges are lightly browned. While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool. Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8" springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)
Directions for the coffee buttercream:
NB. This can be prepared in advance and kept chilled until required.
1.Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
2.Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.
3.Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the espresso powder and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.
4.Scrape the coffee mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
5.When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety coffee buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.
Lorraine's note: If you're in Winter just now your butter might not soften enough at room temperature, which leads to lumps forming in the buttercream.
Directions for the caramel topping:
1.Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top. To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.
2.Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.
3.The top layer is perhaps the hardest part of the whole cake so make sure you have a oiled, hot offset spatula ready. I also find it helps if the cake layer hasn't just been taken out of the refrigerator. I made mine ahead of time and the cake layer was cold and the toffee set very, very quickly—too quickly for me to spread it. Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer. You will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.
Angela's note: I recommend cutting, rather than scoring, the cake layer into wedges before covering in caramel (reform them into a round). If you have an 8” silicon round form, then I highly recommend placing the wedges in that for easy removal later and it also ensures that the caramel stays on the cake layer. Once set, use a very sharp knife to separate the wedges.
Assembling the Dobos
1.Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.
2.Place a dab of coffee buttercream on the middle of a 7 1/2” cardboard round and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the coffee icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.
3.Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.
4.Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.
I (Angela) am quite happy to store this cake at room temperature under a glass dome, but your mileage may vary. If you do decide to chill it, then I would advise also using a glass dome if you have done. I should also note that the cake will cut more cleanly when chilled.
I know that I promised to write more in French but somehow this recipe is so long and complex - sorry!
dimanche 23 août 2009
Today was my birthday and the fourth one I've spent in Berlin. I find it hard to imagine spending it anywhere else actually. It was perhaps the most perfect day, with sunshine and laughter and a chance to catch up with newer and older friends. The hours passed by too quickly, glasses were filled and refilled and the great thing about picnics is that you can eat so many different things as often as you want. Ju is now famous for her savoury tartes and Chrissi is the undisputed cookie queen in Berlin. I wanted to stay there, soaking up the chatter and the pleasure of spending time with others who love food as much as I do. Somehow I have the feeling that summer is coming to an end and it made me feel a kind of nostalgia. The heat and noise can be oppressive at times but there's something so wonderful about the glow and vitality of Berlin and the long evenings that it's hard to imagine that soon the leaves will turn golden and fall.
Ju's superb tarte with goat's cheese, dried tomatoes and mushrooms.
La tarte superbe de Ju avec du chèvre, des tomates sèches et des champignons
My cake: Mingou's Sachertorte with genuine Sachertorte icing (that's a whole lot of sugar!)
Mon gâteau: la Sachertorte de Mingou et avec un vrai glaçage de Sachertorte (merci Mingou!)
Je vais essayer d'écrire un peu en français mais malheureusement, je fais de plus en plus de fautes et j'ai vraiment horreur de cela! On verra si ça marche... Hier j'ai fêté mon quatrième anniversaire à Berlin, bien que je n'habite ici depuis deux ans. En quelque sorte, j'ai du mal à imaginer un autre endroit plus préférable. Une journée ensoleillée qui me semblait parfaite, passée avec mes amis gourmands dans le Tiergarten au centre de Berlin. On a trouvé un endroit légèrement à l'ombre pour étaler notre couverture, il faisait beau mais pas trop chaud et autour on voyait les gens en train de faire du vélo ou se bronzer. Peu de temps après,les premières invitées sont arrivées et tout le monde a apporte quelque chose de délicieux. Ju est devenue célèbre pour ses tartes salées et Chrissi est la reine des cookies à Berlin. Les pique-niques nous permettent de grignoter pendant des heures en bavardant. Nos verres étaient remplis de vin et de champagne et on ne voyait pas le temps passer. J'ai l'impression que l'été touche à sa fin et ça me rend un peu nostalgique; je crains la chaleur mais c'est si merveilleux de sentir l'énergie de Berlin et de pouvoir sortir le soir au bord de la Spree. C'est difficile d'imaginer que tout va bientôt changer et que les arbres perdront leur feuilles.
Chrissi's peanut butter cookies - irresistable
Les cookies au beurre de cacahuète de Chrissi - trop bien!
Champagne just about everywhere!
Du champagne un peu partout!
As we walked back to Potsdamer Platz, I longed to be able to share that feeling with J. and walk through other parts of the city but we had so little time left before his train. As we travelled in the S-Bahn to Spandau through places I have never visited, I felt sad that this lovely day was almost over. When the train pulled in and we said our farewells, I thought how wonderful it would be to go with him through those silent landscapes into the depths of the night with all the warmth and light contained in the train where sleepy passengers were attempting to curl up in their seats. It's hard coming back alone, feeling his presence alongside and in my room. Before going to sleep last night, I watched Annie Hall again with its laughter and tears and thought about the many wonderful times we've spent together and the evening of my birthday one year ago when we strolled in the twilight in Schlosspark Charlottenburg breathing the sweetness of the air, walking deeper and deeper into the avenues of trees.
Quite a lot of cheese
Pas mal de fromage
En rentrant à Potsdamer Platz, je voulais me promener avec J. pour prolonger un peu cet après-midi si merveilleux mais il nous restait si peu de temps avant son train. Dans le S-Bahn à Spandau, avec plusieurs arrêts que je ne connaissais pas, j'ai mis ma tête sur son épaule et je voulais tant que ça continue. Quand nous nous sommes quittés, j'avais envie de monter dans son train pour voyager avec lui à travers des paysages noirs et silencieux. D'autres passagers fatigués essayaient de dormir et il me semblait que toute la chaleur et la lumière du monde se trouvaient dans ce wagon. C'est impossible ment triste de rentrer seule; les rues ont l'air si vides et je sentais sa présence partout. Il me manquait tant que j'ai regardé Annie Hall avant de m'endormir, un film drôle et émouvant qui me rappelaient des moments précieux ensemble et surtout mon anniversaire en 2008 quand nous nous sommes promenés au crépuscule dans les jardin du Schloss Charlottenburg. La vie me paraissait si simple et douce en marchant de plus en plus loin dans ces avenues d'arbres longues et profondes.
Kamonthip's nut cake
Le gâteau aux noisettes de Kamonthip
David Lebowitz's Lime Pie - sadly without meringue
La tarte aux citrons vert de David Lebowitz - malheureusement sans meringue
dimanche 16 août 2009
Below are some films and directors that I really love:
The depressing ones
The Seventh Seal + Persona + Wild Strawberries + The Shame + Scenes From a Marriage by Ingmar Bergman
At high school we had a Marxist teacher who one day showed us film clips, including The Seventh Seal. I don't know why but something about it really fascinated me; the dramatic music at the beginning when the sky opens, the sound of the waves breaking incessantly on the shore and Max Von Sydow. That began my Bergman obsession which still continues today; I love the sadness and warmth of the road journey in Wild Strawberries, the questions of identity of Persona (and Nykvist putting the faces of Liv Ullman and Bibi Andersson together) ,the terrifying reality of The Shame and the painful insights of Scenes From a Marriage.
As a teenager, I was also obsessed with Louis Malle’s Le Feu Follet. It’s a dark but not depressing story about a suicidal alcoholic but I love its existential honesty, beautiful photography and am always touched by the world weariness of Maurice Ronet’s face. Perhaps it's still my favourite film, but then I have so many...
Film noir and gangster films
I’ve always had a serious weakness for films by Jean-Pierre Melville; for me he’s really a filmmaker’s filmmaker. Also, he was clearly a man after my own heart, comparing his film to a millefeuille; some would only focus on the cream, while more discerning viewers would also appreciate the pastry. I love the moodiness and tragedy of Le Doulos, the solitude of Le Samourai and the amazing tension and beauty of Le Cercle Rouge. That’s not forgetting my admiration for the films of John Huston either (Bogie’s one of my favourite actors too), especially The Asphalt Jungle and The Maltese Falcon.
Until recently, I didn’t have so many comedies in my film collection. That was until I came down with the flu at the beginning of the year and the idea of a Bergman marathon was too depressing even for me. That’s when I discovered the anarchy of the Marx Brothers, with a special preference for Duck Soup and the joy of screwball comedies with Katherine Hepburn.
As a kid, I watched the Purple Rose of Cairo and Hannah and Her Sisters obsessively so it won’t surprise you I’m a Woody Allen fan (you either like him or hate him). I adore Annie Hall – her driving, her singing, his childhood house under the rollercoaster and when his former classmates say where they are today – along with Manhattan (for Mariel Hemingway and the black and white shots), Bullets Over Broadway, Manhattan Murder Mystery and the two films mentioned above. I still haven’t gotten hold of Shadows and Fog, A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy or Broadway Danny Rose yet though. P.S, I was always dragging people along to see le Chagrin et la Pitié so it made me laugh when I saw Woody Allen doing that in Annie Hall.
2046 is not as perfect as In the Mood for Love but somehow it fascinates me, the way the memory of someone we’ve lost never leaves us and how we look for them in others. There’s the beautiful black and white scene in the car with Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi played against the theme of Barbara and Julien from Truffaut’s Vivement Dimanche, and the most heartwrenching farewell scene ever with Gong Li.
Chungking Express for Faye Wong, Tony Leung and the homage to Gloria.
After reading all of that, you’re probably hungry right? I feel bad not being able to offer you much but it’s still so damn hot to switch on the oven, plus I have my birthday picnic weekend coming up which will involve some serious baking. To make up for that, I’d like to tell you about my favourite restaurant in Berlin. It was my friend Ju who found it. Ever since I met her last year, Tuesdays have always been special for me because we try a different restaurant each week. It’s also wonderful to be with someone who loves chocolate as much as me and whose favourite part of the meal is the dessert. Friedrichshain is an area in the old East with cobbled streets and miles of bars and cafés. Datscha in on the corner of one of them; luckily the pizza place opposite is (underservedly) popular so getting a table isn’t normally a problem. Inside, there’s a Soviet style living room lined with pictures of Lenin and other communist memorabilia. We sat outside and enjoyed the fading sunshine. Berlin seems so full of energy and colour in the summer.
Every meal I’ve had there has been superb but I have a special weakness for the bortsch, the filled pasta with potatoes and sour cream and the Zupfkuchen (see photo below, and I also promise to give you a recipe for this soon). Last time, they were out of Zupfkuchen so we chose the warm blinis with blackberries and quark, something so delicious words fail me for once. Going against our habits, we return there week after week to savour every mouthful and chat in French. The summer is going by so quickly; soon the evenings will grow shorter and Ju will return to Paris for good. I’m not sure when I’ll return there without her but luckily there are still a few more Tuesdays left.
mercredi 5 août 2009
I tried to focus on these things when I spent five days in Munich last week. Somehow the centre always seems too crowded and perhaps the thing I love most about Berlin is that even in the poshest area, I never feel out of place or scruffy like I do there in certain parts of Paris or London. Yet having said that, I also discovered a side of the city which liked better, in sprawling parks with Biergartens or in the little winding streets round Lehel or Wiener Platz ,full of little galleries and boutiques. There were moments when I could imagine living here, but then I wished that I didn’t love Berlin so much and when the train finally arrived here on Monday evening, I felt like I was home again.
Some photos from our trip to the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich last Sunday
Time for tea?
Cups and jug by Josef Hoffmann
That just about says it all - do they really use this expression in French like in German?
A very cool neon exhibit
As you may have gathered from my last two posts, I haven’t been in the kitchen much lately. On holiday, I just wanted to go out and explore every day and watch films in the evening. If anything could get me back into the kitchen though, it probably had to be with some juicy fruits and so I set my heart on some sort of blueberry cake after spying them in the supermarket. In Berlin, summer is finally here and despite the heat, even I can appreciate how lovely the city looked last night in the twilight with a full moon, pale against the evening sky. In the neighbouring gardens, people sit outside and the nights are filled with lazy chatter and laughter. It feels good to be back.
Blueberry and crème fraîche cake (from BBC Food Cakes and Bakes)
2 pots crème fraîche
150g soft butter
3 large eggs
1 packet baking powder
Line and grease a Springform tin and pre-heat the oven to 180°
- Wash the blueberries and dry with some kitchen towel. Set aside.
- Put the flour, butter, eggs, sugar and baking powder into a bowl and mix until smooth. Stir in one pot of crème fraîche and half the blueberries.Pour the batter into the Springform tin and bake in the oven for about 50 mins or until the middle in firm and a cake tester comes out clean (try again if you get a blueberry!).