Monday, 10 February 2014

Time to learn something new.

Sunday afternoon with the prospect of rain and wind just calls for a good film, a pot of good tea and a slice or two of cake. With this in mind I decided I would try my hand at something new. A week late for the Chinese New Year but coconut rice cake was my task. I also decided that it was time the cherry and walnut cake fend in our house learned to fend for herself.

First the baking lesson.

175g of softened unsalted butter and 175g of caster sugar into the food processor. Personally I enjoy creaming the butter and sugar together by hand but this is supposed to be fun and not hard work for my wife.

As these are blended together on a slow speed add three large eggs, a tablespoon of milk and a few drops of vanilla extract. A pinch of salt gets this all ready for the flour.

Cherries and walnuts to taste ( my wife seems to prefer plenty of fruit and nuts) are measured out. You can chop them if you want but we prefer them whole. 100 grams of plain and 100 grams of self raising flour are measured out and mixed together. A couple of tablespoons over the cherries and walnuts and the rest into the blender.

Mix up the Cherries, walnuts and flour to coat them in flour and help to prevent them sinking. Next add the cake mixture and stir together before pouring into the cake tin. I use a loaf tin pre-oiled with some almond oil. I like to dust the top with caster sugar to give a crunchy top. This then goes into a pre-heated oven at 170C (fan) for an hour. After an hour check with a skewer and cook for a further 15 minutes if necessary.

Lesson over it was my turn to learn something. First I set up the sous vide to cook the batter. I had to raise the base so that I could fill the sous vide to about 1cm below the top of the cake tin but still above the fill level and heat it to 90.5 C.  I took 90ml of melted coconut cream (and used a couple of teaspoons to oil the tin), 400 ml of coconut milk, 80 ml of water, 2/3 tsp almond extract,125 grams of caster sugar and 1/3 tsp of vanilla extract and whisked all this together. I then added 300 grams of rice flour, 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp of baking soda. This batter was then put into the tin and covered in foil that was then pierced with a few holes. This then sat in the sous vide with hot water to 1cm from the top for 1.5 hours.

When it came out it was a very uninteresting white 'sponge'. It tasted ok but nothing special. I cut it into cubes, egg coated the cubes, dipped them in desiccated coconut and fried it as per the recipe. Still boring. The addition of a little creme fraiche and a brandy soaked cherry and a little milk (from the cherry brandy further back in the blog) and we now have a nice petit fours. Not sure it is worth all the effort but a good experiment all the same.

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