Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Glazed Brioche Doughnuts

Craving something yeasty, buttery and deep-fried? 
Silly question. The correct answer is ALWAYS! 
As if doughnuts (by the way, none of that 'donut' spelling around here, please!) needed additional oomph, these ones are made from a super-easy rich brioche dough that's packed with egg yolks, rum and butter making these babies as light as air and full of flavour! 

Incase you can't tell, I had a ridiculous amount of fun making these! While kneading the dough, all I could think of was colour schemes and glitter - oooh and sprinkles! Maybe silver - no gold! Pink with the blue or no wait, how about swirly frosting! I dug up every sprinkle, pot of glitter and food colouring I could find (unrelated side note: anyone know how to remove that edible glitter off clothing?!).

Besides doughnuts, you could use this dough recipe for a few different things; here in South Africa we have big puffy round doughnuts without holes called 'Vetkoek' (literally translated means 'fat cakes') which we fill with jam or savoury mince. You could make them similiarly (without the holes) and pipe jam, Nutella or buttercream inside. Dredge them in cinnamon-sugar, cover them in chocolate - oooo or dip them in caramelized white chocolate

Glazed brioche doughnuts
Makes 24

200ml milk
50g fresh yeast (10g instant yeast)
4 large eggs
1kg cake flour
100g butter, softened
100g castor sugar
50g honey
pinch of salt
Finely grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
4 egg yolks
50ml rum
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

275g icing sugar, sifted
Few drops lemon juice
Food colourings of your choice
1-2 tbsp hot water
Sprinkles, to decorate

Place the milk and yeast in the bowl of a mixer and stir to dissolve. 
Add the eggs, flour, butter, sugar, honey, salt and zest. 
Using a dough hook, knead the dough for 8-10 minutes or until a soft, smooth dough forms. Cover with clingfilm and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Mix in the egg yolks and rum then cover again and allow to rise in a warm place until puffy and doubled in size. 
Knock the air out of the dough by kneading it gently then roll out on a lightly floured surface until 1 cm thick. 
Using a 7cm round cutter (or drinking glass) cut out rounds from the dough, then cut out a smaller hole from the middle (I use the back of a large piping nozzle for this). 
Place the doughnuts on a floured baking tray and cover with greased clingfilm. 
Prove in a warm place until doubled in size and puffy.

TIP: For best results I preheat my oven to about 50 degrees celcius and place a large dish of boiling water in the bottom of the oven then I place my covered tray of doughnuts in the warm humid oven to prove. 

Preheat the oil to 180 degrees celscius (or when a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns brown in 10 seconds) and place the doughnuts upside down in the hot oil. 
Fry on one side for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown, then flip over and cook the other side. 
Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen towel. Allow to cool. 

TIP: At this stage you can dredge them in cinnamon-sugar - while they're still hot!
Make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar with the lemon juice, colouring and enough hot water to form a paste that runs slightly. 

Dip the tops of the doughnuts in the glaze, allowing most of the glaze to run off before placing on a wire rack. Decorate with sprinkles and allow to set. 
Enjoy on the same day (why am I even telling you that, they'll be gone in one day!)

Friday, February 27, 2015

My Family Milk Tart

It seems every nation has their own version of a custard tart - the Portuguese have pasteis de nada, the British have their vanilla custard tarts, Italians their 'torta di nonna' and our South African milk tart sort of falls somewhere in the middle with it's cinnamon topping. No matter what part of the world you're from, it seems we're all unanimously in love with the combination of a creamy egg custard and a crisp pastry base. 

With heritage in mind, I knew there was only one place to go for a proper milk tart recipe in honour of National Milk Tart Day which is today! So I dug out my Great Aunt May's tattered recipe book (I've written about her before). There, right in the very front, was our family recipe for milk tart. There are no notes on where it came from, but I found the same recipe scribbled in the margins of my grandmothers book so I know it's a family favourite!   

The pastry is an interesting one - it contains oil, which is a little odd for me, but ensures a ridiculously crumbly pastry. From her other recipes, I can tell Great Aunt May loved a good shortcut, and this one is no exception. This pastry? It doesn't need to be blind baked! Yes, you read correctly. Can I get a hallelujah on that?! 'Cos if you've ever had to fuss with beans and baking paper and all that nonsense, you'll be rejoicing with me now!

The filling is lusciously velvety with just the slightest quiver - I prefer my milk tart a bit softer than most so if you like yours more set, then just increase the cornstarch. This recipe also makes the sweetest little mini milk tarts - I made these using an old-fashioned madeleine tin which belonged to my grandmother. It seemed totally appropriate for the occasion. 

My Family Milk Tart 
Recipe by Great Aunty May
Makes 1 large tart or 24 small tartlets

No-fuss pastry
110g butter, softened
2 tbsp (30ml) castor sugar
2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups (500ml) cake flour
1 tsp (5ml) baking powder
pinch of salt

600ml milk
2 tbsp (30ml) cornstarch/cornflour
1 tbsp (15ml) cake flour
4 tbsp (60ml) sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting

Cream the butter and castor sugar until light and fluffy. Add the oil and egg and beat well. Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt to form a soft pastry. 
Press a thin layer of the pastry into a greased standard pie dish. Prick the bottom and bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool. 
For the filling, bring the milk to a boil (I added a cinnamon stick and bay leaf to mine). 
In the meantime, whisk together the cornstarch, flour, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla and cinnamon and a little of the milk to make a creamy paste. Pour the hot milk over the paste, whisking continuously then return to the heat and cook until thickened. 
Whisk the egg whites until stiff then whisk into the still-warm filling. 
Pour the mixture into the baked tart case and sprinkle with extra cinnamon. 


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Chocolate peppermint crisp fridge cake

This no-bake 5-ingredient recipe’s deliciousness revolves around three quintessential South African ingredients – sweetened condensed milk, peppermint crisp bars (can be substituted with any peppermint or mint-flavoured chocolate or sweets) and ‘Eet sum mores’ which are delicious, buttery shortbread biscuits. Of course, these yummy ingredients are bound together with lots of melted chocolate so if you haven’t realized it by now, your diet is pretty much destroyed. 

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s idiot-proof and even better is that you can use just about anything in it – nuts, biscuits, dried fruit, sweets, marshmallows, cherries, breakfast cereal, your favourite chocolate bars – have I left anything out?! ;)

When I created this recipe last year for a quick segment on Expresso, I had no idea just how popular it would be. I put it up on Facebook as I didn’t think it was worth a full blog post and then forgot about it pretty quickly. Except that now, it has been shared over 18 000 times (and so I'm eating my words... and the cake!)

Chocolate peppermint crisp fridge cake
Serves 8-10

100g butter
300g milk or dark chocolate, chopped
½ tin sweetened condensed milk (eat the rest of the tin with a spoon)
200g shortbread biscuits (Eet sum mores)
160g peppermint crisp bars, chopped (I also used some mint aero)
80g mini marshmallows (optional)

Line a standard loaf tin or baking tray with a sheet of baking paper and set aside.
Place the butter, chocolate and condensed milk in a microwave-safe bowl and melt on a medium to low heat until smooth. 
In a separate bowl, break the biscuits into pieces and combine with the peppermint crisp chunks and marshmallows (or whatever other ingredients you're using).
Combine the cooled melted chocolate mixture with the biscuit mixture and stir until combined.
Pour into the lined loaf tin and place in the fridge until completely set.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Persian love cakes for Valentine's Day

A more romantic, shmooshy recipe for Valentine's Day you will not find. Blessed with pistachios, a gorgeous drizzling of rose water-yoghurt icing and a story as beautiful as their looks, these little baby cakes have everything going for them. 

While the internet seems to be failing me on the story behind this recipe - there are numerous versions of the recipe itself as well as how it got it's name, So I'm going to pick my favourite. In the name of Valentine's Day... 

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful woman who's heart yearned for the love of a handsome Persian prince. And because we all know the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, she baked him a spiced, fragrant cake in the hopes that at the first taste, he would fall hopelessly in love with her...

Whether or not he did indeed fall in love with her, is a mystery, but if it were up to my tastebuds, I'd have married that woman on the spot. 
So if you are in need of a little baked magic to make your prince fall in love with you, give this recipe a try. 
But if the cake doesn't work, remember... Forget love, and rather fall in chocolate. 

Persian love cakes
If you're not a fan of rose water, these cakes would be equally delicious with a glaze made from orange blossom water or lemon zest. 
Makes 14

100g blanched almonds
100g pistachios
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
150g butter, cubed
225g self-raising flour
185g castor sugar
3 eggs
225ml full cream plain yoghurt

100ml full cream plain yoghurt
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
Squeeze of lemon juice
Few drops of rose water, to taste

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and flour 14 small cannele or mini bundt molds (alternatively make a 20cm cake). 
Place the almonds and pistachios in a food processor and process until fine. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, butter, flour and sugar and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. 
Transfer to a bowl and combine with the eggs and yoghurt. 
Spoon into the prepared molds and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cakes are springy to the touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean. 
Allow to cool slightly then turn out and cool completely. 
Trim the tops off the cakes so they can stand straight. 
For the icing, combine the yoghurt, icing sugar and rose water to form a glaze then drizzle over the cakes. 
Decorate with crushed pistachios and crystallized rose petals, if desired. 

Because there is only one thing better than cake, and that's cake with a glass of a little something, I'll be posting my suggestions on what you should be drinking while tucking into that slice. 

DRINK THIS Lanique and Bubbles
Lanique is a fragrant spirit made from distilled rose petals and who's history and story is as romantic as the cake which I have paired it with. It's delicious in a gin and tonic, but a dry bubbly brings out it's floral characteristics and is just plain yummy with the pistachios and cardamom in the cake. 


Chocolate fondant (liquid-centred chocolate pudding)
One-cup yoghurt cake with passionfruit frosting
Red velvet raspberry sweetie pies

Monday, January 19, 2015

Salted Caramel Coma Cake

A buttery malt sponge sandwiched together with layers of caramel and toffee buttercream with just a touch of sea salt. Can I get an 'Amen?'
 THIS cake is what I think of New Year's resolutions that involve exercising and dieting. Caramel on top of caramel, on top of more caramel - this, can never be a bad thing. 

I've written about my affinity for salted caramel before (although not to be confused with my infatuated love affair with chocolate) and while the world may move on from the salted caramel obsession. I refuse. And there is a very good reason why. 

I'm going to quote myself (can one even do that?! oh well here goes...) from a post I did 2 years ago but only because at the time, in my caramel-induced coma,  I (unknowingly) solved one of the world's greatest problems: Salted Caramel Cake Guilt

cake guilt
  1. 1.
    the fact of having committed a specified or implied offence by indulging in too much cake.

"Add a pinch of salt to caramel and you have an earth-shattering combination that is basically the crack cocaine of the culinary world. The reason for this? Consuming fat, sugar and salt all together is a serious sensory overdrive for our brains - it releases dopamine and adrenaline and totally gets our neurons fired up. Exactly the way drugs do.
But before you feel guilty about shovelling another spoonful of caramel straight out the jar, don't, because genetically we're supposed to be attracted to foods with this tantalising trifector. It's a matter of survival, people! We need salt because we can't produce our own. We need fat for energy and our sugar cravings are linked to being able to tell which foods are edible (cave-man days)." 

So, the lesson here is, make this caramel cake and while you drift into a blissful toffee coma, do not feel one pang of guilt, because... you can't fight genetics. 

Salted Caramel Coma Cake
Recipe by Katelyn Williams

260g butter, softened
100g golden syrup
200g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
250g cake flour
2 tsp (10ml) baking powder
60g malted milk powder (aka Horlicks)
40ml milk

Toffee buttercream
120g white sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) water
3/4 cup (180ml) cream
250g butter, softened

200g (1/2 tin) tinned caramel or dulce de leche spread
Sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
Caramel popcorn, to serve (optional)

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius. 
Line the bottoms of 2 x 15cm springform cake tins and set aside.
Cream together the butter, syrup and brown sugar until very light and creamy (about 8-10 minutes).
Beat in the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. 
Sift in the cake flour, baking powder and milk powder and fold together, adding the milk to form a thick batter. 
Divide the batter between the two cake tins and spread evenly. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the cake has pulled away from the sides. 
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, upside down, on a cooling rack. 

To make the buttercream, place the sugar and water in a pan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. 
Bring to the boil and simmer, without stirring, until the mixture begins caramelising. 
Once the syrup reaches a toffee-colour, pour in the cream and swirl to combine. 
Allow to cool completely. 
Cream the butter until very white and fluffy (about 8-10 minutes) then add the toffee sauce and whip to combine. 

To assemble, slice each cake in half to create 4 layers. 
Spread the first layer with tinned caramel then a layer of buttercream and top with the next cake layer. Continue until 4 layers are formed. 
Frost the entire cake using the buttercream (I used some tinned caramel along the bottom of the cake to achieve an ombre affect). 
Place the remaining buttercream in a piping bag (to create a swirled effect, simply smear stripes of caramel in the piping bag before adding the buttercream) then pipe blobs onto the top of the cake. 
Place in the refrigerator to set. 
To serve, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and top with caramel popcorn (if desired). 

TIP: To make a 25cm cake with 4 layers, double the recipe above.


Caramel latte loaf cake 
Creme caramel
Caramel macarons with chocolate sea salt
Caramel peppermint crisp cake

Monday, January 12, 2015

Chocolate Hazelnut Ginger Kisses

Known as 'Baci di dama' in Italy, or 'lady kisses' these gluten-free little cookies are perfectly appropriate (with a little ginger added of course) seeing as though today is International Kiss a Ginger Day. Instead of going around kissing random (ginger/red-headed) strangers, I think perhaps giving them a 'kiss' ie. a small cute cookie which can be popped whole into the mouth, is a little more... proper. I know this, because I've had some awkward smooches from people today! (Okay, I enjoyed it, just a little bit!)

Traditionally these baci are made with toasted hazelnuts, but toasted almonds would be equally delicious! As would sandwiching them together with melted white chocolate, although the dark bitter kind paired with the ginger is heavenly! If you're going all-out with the ginger, then double the spice. If you aren't a ginger fan then simply leave it out. It's such a versatile dough that you could add whichever flavourings you like - some orange zest, cocoa powder for a chocolate version or even a chai-spiced cookie would be delicious!

Happy baking - and don't forget to give a kiss to a ginger today!

Chocolate hazelnut ginger kisses or 'Baci di Dama'
Makes 40

140g hazelnuts (or almonds), toasted and skinned
140g (1 cup) rice flour or corn starch
1 tsp ground ginger
100g butter, softened
100g sugar
pinch of salt
100g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped and melted

Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease and line two baking sheets. Place the nuts in a food process and process until the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs. Add the flour, spice, butter, sugar and salt and pulse until the mixture comes together to form a soft dough.Divide the dough into three pieces and roll each into 2cm thick logs then refrigerate until firm. Working with one piece of dough at a time, cut off small pieces of dough (about 5g each) then roll into little balls and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely. Sandwich together with melted chocolate and allow to set.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gingerbread Train

Gingerbread houses are SO last year. They're out, and gingerbread trains are IN! 
Okay, so I made that up but that should totally be the case. Just look at all that spicy cuteness ready to go 'choo choo' straight into your mouth! 

And honestly, having made two gingerbread houses before (you can see them over HERE), this train is a breeze to make. Far easier than trying to get four walls and a roof to stand up straight!

How fabulous would this look as a centrepiece on your Christmas table?! 
And the best part is that guests can tuck into the train with their coffee afterwards. 
I mean!

Gingerbread train
Makes 1

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay’s Gingerbread Garland

125g butter, softened
90g Muscovado or brown sugar
230g golden syrup
375g cake flour
2 tsp (10ml) ground ginger
1 tsp (5ml) mixed spice
1 tsp (5ml) bicarbonate of soda

Royal icing
1 large egg white, beaten
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
squeeze of lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 180C. 
Cream the butter and sugar well until very pale and fluffy. 
Add the syrup, flour, spices and bicarb and mix until a smooth dough forms. 
Roll the dough out on a floured surface or between two sheets of baking paper until 4mm thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes if too soft. 
Using train cookie cutters, cut out the shapes and place on a lined baking sheet. 
Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden and crisp. Allow to cool completely.
To make the royal icing, whisk the egg white gently then add the icing sugar until a stiff paste forms. Add the lemon juice and stir before placing in a piping bag. 
Sandwich the various components together with the royal icing and allow to dry. Then decorate the carriages using the rest of the icing and sweets, if desired. Allow to dry thoroughly before stringing the train carriages together with ribbon.
Store in an airtight container.

  • I used the Tescoma train cookie cutter set (visit their Facebook page here) but you could also use this print out HERE, cut out the shapes then trace around them on the dough using a knife. 
  • You don't even have to use all the train cutters provided - simply cut out 4 of the main silhouette shapes and stack those together. You'll lose the 3D effect but it will look just as good!
  • In order to get perfect shapes, refrigerate the dough once you've rolled it out so the shapes don't shift when you lift them onto a baking tray.