Friday, June 30, 2017

Blueberry, Lemon and Coconut Cake

Five years have passed by since I started blogging. This blog has certainly kept me busy and distracted from all of life's stresses and hard times. Whenever I need an escape to a more peaceful and calmer world, I run to my little kitchen and start mixing, kneading, shaping and decorating. Time flies when you are doing something you love and you just enjoy every single moment!

To celebrate the blog's fifth year anniversary and all the beautiful moments it helped me to live, I decided to make a simple, easy, yet delicious cake with vibrant, fresh and summery flavors.

I´m not revealing any secret when I say that I´m obsessed with berries, all kind of summer berries, and I just love to eat them fresh or use them in my baked recipes. Blueberries were my choice for this cake and I married their flavor with that of lemons and coconuts. Trust me when I tell you, the result was amazing! Give this cake a try and you won't be sorry!

Now for the sponge you need for five 15 cm in diameter pans:
  • 5 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 150 g sugar
  • 150 g cake flour
  • dash of salt
  • 60 g melted butter
  • Zest of 2 big lemons
  • 1 tsp of kirsh (optional)
  • 50 g shredded coconut

Combine sugar, eggs, lemon zest, kirsh and salt and start whisking at low speed and then start increasing until you get to the highest one; beat for at least 5 minutes. The mixture should triple in volume, become very pale in color and with a cloud-like texture.

Add the flour and the coconut. Mix gently with a spatula until everything is incorporated. Finally, add the butter and mix slowly.

Pour the batter in the greased and lined pans.
If you don´t have 5 pans of the same size, pour the batter into 2 pans and then once baked slice your cakes. Be careful that the baking time will vary as you change the size of the pans.

Bake the cake in a preheated oven (160 C) for about 18-20 minutes. Leave the cakes to cool for 5 minutes in the pan then unmold and transfer them to a cooling rack.

For the blueberry sauce:
  • 250 g fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 125 g sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • half vanilla pod
Combine everything and cook the berries for about 15 min, on a very gentle heat. If the sauce is too runny, just scoop out some of the liquid, but reserve to serve with the cake.

For the frosting:
  • 150 g soft butter
  • 50 g cream cheese or mascarpone
  • 100 to 150 powder sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Combine butter, cheese and sugar and beat until  fluffy and pale, add the lemon juice and beat for few seconds.

To assemble:

Place a bit of the frosting on the cake board and then place the first layer. Pipe some of the frosting on the cake and spread with a spatula to cover the whole layer then pipe a small circle round the edge.In the middle of the cake layer add a tbsp or 2 of the blueberry sauce and then top with another layer. Repeat until you have covered all the layers,

Add some frosting on the top and edges, smooth with a scraper then decorate as you wish. I covered the top with fresh plump blueberries and multi-colored pansies and added some petals and flowers on the sides too.

Do make this cake and enjoy its light and summery flavors.

From now and until the sixth year blog anniversary keep on baking!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Roasted Rhubarb Sorbet

I guess it's a sign of the changes to come, but summers are starting earlier and winters are becoming milder. Climate change debate aside, it has been warmer than usual for the past month here in Madrid.

When it becomes hot, I like to hide indoors whenever possible and indulge in all sorts of cooling foods and drinks. Beer, smoothies, salads, cold soups, ice cream, popsicles, and sorbet are all my go to food and drinks to keep me refreshed.

The star ingredient of this post is not something you find easily here in Spain. You have to fish for it in specialty grocery stores.  This year I was lucky to find a shop not too far from my place that sells rhubarb and I try as much as possible to buy these lovely burgundy stalks.

I bought quite a lot of rhubarb recently with the hope of using them in at least three recipes: jam, galette and a deliciously refreshing sorbet.

The sorbet comes in time to help me ward off the heat. What's more, it takes just a few ingredients to get a light dessert that is gluten and dairy free!

Ready to make some rhubarb sorbet? Let's go. You need:
  • 250 g of rhubarb, cut into 2 cm long pieces
  • half a vanilla pod 
  • a strip of orange peel
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a pan and roast the rhubarb until soft and juicy in a preheated oven (180). It will take about 20 minutes, give or take.
Set aside to cool

While the rhubarb is cooling prepare the syrup
  • 150 g water
  • 125 gr sugar
  • squeeze of half lime
  • tbsp of kirsh, vodka or rum (optional, for a softer sorbet)
In a sauce pan combine all the ingredients, and on a gentle heat cook the syrup until it thickens a bit or until it reaches 105C.

Combine the rhubarb and the syrup and process until you get a silky smooth purée.

If you have an ice cream maker, just follow the manufacturer's instructions to make the sorbet. If not you have 2 main options:

  1. Pour the rhubarb purée in a shallow dish and put in the freezer. With a fork, scrap the mixture every hour or so to prevent crystallization.  
  2. Let the rhubarb purée freeze. Once frozen, transfer the mixture into a blender and blitz until smooth.

Now just scoop and enjoy as it is or use it to make a refreshing rhubarb mimosa to enjoy with friends or by yourself!