Posts Categorized: Baking

Rapadura sugar, the best cake ever and the KitchenAid

Donna is the winner of Ed’s KitchenAid competition. She blogs at Donisbaked and here puts her shiny new machine, which was supplied thanks to Kitchenware Direct, a whirr. So me winning a KitchenAid is old news, but what is new is the pure pleasure using the machine at home is. I’m getting out all my “shelved” recipes that require lots of aeration and creaming etc etc and lining them up ready to bake. If you are thinking about buying a KitchenAid or other equipment of any description I highly recommend Kitchenware Direct, see their website for their range. I’m really interested in the history of pastry and the derivations that different cultures and nationalities have on a particular baked good. This cake is a Rhubarb and Strawberry Buckle (courtesy of Gourmet Traveller, with some minor adjustments), so what is a buckle? The buckle is an American derivation of the British “cobbler”. Apparently the British American settlers being unable to make their traditional suet puddings would stew fruits and layer with a scone/biscuit, fitted together in a fashion that resembled a cobbled street, hence the name “cobbler”. In the States variations of the “cobbler” include this the “buckle” as well as the “grunt”, “slump” and “sonker” which all sound incredibly appetising (I write with tongue in cheek). The hero of this cake is the rapadura sugar, an ingredient I sought out for the first time to make this cake and one that has quite simply changed my pastry making world. I wouldn’t even attempt to substitute it, I got rapadura sugar at Organic Wholefoods, they are in both Fitzroy and Brunswick and offer online home delivery (check their website for details). What is rapadura sugar? It comes from Latin America and is basically dried sugar cane juice. It contains all the molasses that is normally extracted and it has an incredible crumble like texture with a taste that is rich and thick but not sickly sweet. In the “Epicure” section of The Age (28th June 2011), pastry chef Pierre Roelofs says he would not actually cook with it but use it on a dessert plate for it’s texture and sweetness, which is exactly what it does in this cake. Although also used as one of the sugars it adds the crumble/crunch on top of the cake. So what makes me so excited about this cake? Not only is the flavour incredible,… Read more »

The great Easter bun hunt

I love this time of the year because I can indulge in hot cross buns. I love their spiceness combined with the sweetness of raisins on soft buns. Naturally, things have come a long way since I first ate them as a kid toasted, spread with a thick chunk of butter (we always at Lurpak slightly salted in those days) with home made blackberry jam and indoctrinated by Catholic brothers. Nowadays there are so many variations from chocolate chip to sourdough. I tasted some chocolate chips but really they aren’t hot cross buns as many of us remember them. They are a new-fangled product and too sickly for me. The sourdough ones tend to be too chewy. Last year I noted that the La Madre ones could sink a food blogger. This year they are still dense enough to do someone an injury but they sell, so obviously some people enjoy them. Babka won on all counts. It was the best looking, had the best texture and a wonderful level of spiciness. None would I avoid apart from the last two – Laurent and the cane toad-size ones that you individually picked from Woolworths. This is a swag of what I and Adriane picked-up over the weekend, and I’d add, further hot cross buns later in the week as I acquire them. Please let me know your favourites. Otherwise, get your orders in at Babka early, as they sell out. 1. Babka $2.40 each This fun is an outright winner in every respect. It looks good, has a wonderful soft texture, a good level of spice. 2. Baker D Chirico $2.70 each One of the smallest buns and dry on the outside. Very moist and good texture on the inside. Quite spicy with orange undertones. 3. Dench Bakery $2.70 each What let’s this bun down is uneven levels of fruit.Dench have been variable this year but it has a good texture and is very spicy. 4. Baker’s Delight $1.30 each A little dry but good spice and fruit distribution. 5. Schwob’s $6.99 for six Good looking and lovely and moist. Good levels of fruit and spice. 6. French Lettuce $2.00 each Ugly but tasty.More of a cinnamon taste than others. Light texture and not espcially bready. 7. Woolworths traditional $4.98 (reduced to $3.85) Very light as advertisied but chewy and lacks spice. 8. Coles “baked in-house” $2.70 packet of six… Read more »