Posts Tagged ‘daring bakers’’


Croquembouche Mountain

“I made it! Did you hear me?  I made it!!!” I shouted out loud.

My husband, who was in the study, came down to see what the commotion was about.

“I made it! I climbed the croquembouche mountain.” I declared.

“The croquem-what?”  He asked.

“The croquembouche mountain!  I finished did my Daring Baker’s challenge. I made my creme patisserie, choux pastry, and caramel glaze all in one day… so tired!” I told him.

“So are you telling me you are the little angel on top of that cake?”  he asked.

I hadn’t quite looked at it that way before… but…

“You betcha!” I told him.


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Introducing:  The Lemon Lime Macaron.  My contribution to the Daring Bakers’ October Challenge… macarons.  I think this was one of the most widely anticipated challenges.  I had a lot of fun trying to come up with my own version.  I also made a Chocolate Mousse Macaron Cake for my husband’s birthday and that can be found here.

These macarons are very easy to make.  All you need is to make one batch of macarons and then divide the batch into two – colour one with yellow and the other one with green.  Make sure to be generous as the colour fades when placed in the oven.  You will also need two piping tips, a small one and a slightly larger one.

To make the shapes, simply get a round coin and draw patterns on your baking paper.  I used a 2 cm coin for mine.  Once you have separated the batter in two and coloured them, place the green batter in a piping bag fitted with the small piping tip.  Place the yellow batter in a piping bag fitted with the larger piping tip.

Use the green batter to make an outline around the circumference of the pattern and when done, use the yellow batter to fill the area inside the green batter.  Let dry around 30 minutes before baking.

Lemon Lime Macarons With Lemon Lime Curd Of Course!

Lemon Lime Macarons With Lemon Lime Curd Of Course!


Macaron Shell recipe can be found here.

Lemon-Lime Filling

  • 75 ml of lemon juice
  • 75 ml of lime juice
  • Zest of lemon and lime used for juice
  • 2 egg yolks (perfect way to use those of the macaron shells)
  • 80 grams caster sugar
  • 10 grams corn flour
  • 60 grams cold butter, diced
  1. Bring the lemon and lime juice to a boil along with the zest.
  2. Beat the egg yolk and add the sugar and corn flour in a bowl.
  3. Once the juice is boiling, pour this in the bowl with the egg, sugar and corn flour.  Mix thoroughly.
  4. Transfer the mixture into a heavy based sauce pan and cook over low heat until the mixture thickens, whisk constantly
  5. Strain the mixture and let cool slightly.
  6. Using a whisk blender (or just a whisk if you can manage), add the butter a little at a time.
  7. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.


The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.  Please check her website:  Baking Without Fear.


Thanks to Tartelette who provided so much online support to everyone.  I am pretty sure that many decided to use her recipe instead of the original one.  Other blogs that I drew inspiration from are :  Veron of Kitchen Musings, Clement from Ala Cuisine (he was the first person I emailed for a recipe more than 5 years ago!), David Lebovitz, Canelle et Vanille, and The Savour Chocolate School.

Lastly, a big thank you to the ladies of Citi Corporate Affairs – these macarons are for you!  A big thank you for the World Chef Showcase tickets!

Note:  Piping tips used

Piping Tips Used

Piping Tips Used

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Happy Birthday to you!

Happy Birthday to you!

What do you get someone who doesn’t want anything for his birthday?

For those who have been following my posts (YES!  I do have some regular readers – that is, Mom, Dad, husband, and occasionally one sister when I force her to), you will recall the nightmare I had with my two labradors of which I chronicled here.  Well,  they aren’t always that bad.  Sometimes, they provide inspiration for the best ideas.

Let me tell you about it.

A few weeks ago I was down with the flu and I asked my husband to walk the dogs for me, which he did.  Coming home around 30 minutes later, I asked him (as I always do) “how was the walk?” and he replied “there was an accident”.  Take note, this was a few days after the infamous and expensive chocolate mousse incident!  My heart dropped.  I thought they must have gotten hurt or ate more chocolate.  I asked him what happened.

He said,  “go downstairs”.  Oh no.  I thought to myself.  I rushed down to find the lounge area covered in flour.  My dogs had decided to get a bag of flour on the kitchen counter (I know I should stop leaving food there and it has since been rectified) and have some fun.  They took the bag from the kitchen and brought it to the lounge and decided it would look great on the rug.

Special thanks to Baci & Bizou for deciding on the birthday cake to make!

Special thanks to Baci & Bizou for deciding on the birthday cake to make!

Now that I look back, it was a pretty funny sight but it wasn’t so funny that morning when I had to clean up the mess!

Anyway, that evening I told my husband,  that I needed a new bag of flour because I was going to practice on a chocolate cake I had never made for his birthday (yes, a bit OC but I thought I should have one go at the cake before serving it on his birthday).  He said “why don’t you just make a flourless chocolate cake”.  Brilliant!

What a great idea.  And then, I added my own twist and decided I was going to make it a macaron cake – they are flourless too!

Chocolate Mousse Macaron Cake

Chocolate Mousse Macaron Cake

So here it is:  The FLOURLESS Chocolate Mousse Macaron Birthday Cake inspired by those two crazy labradors.  It is also the first of my Daring Bakers’ Challenge for October.  My second post – lemon lime macarons can be found here.

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.  Please do check out her website:  Baking Without Fear.


  • 125 grams almond meal
  • 125 grams icing sugar (not icing mixture)
  • 30 grams dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 100 grams caster sugar
  • 100 grams egg whites (from around 3 eggs)


  1. Before you begin with the macs, find a 20 cm plate and draw the pattern on some baking paper.
  2. In a food processor grind the almond meal and icing sugar for around 5 minutes until very finely ground.
  3. Place the egg whites in an electric mixer and whip the whites until soft peaks
  4. Add the sugar, 50 grams at a time while the egg whites are being beaten.
  5. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks.
  6. Fold the ground almond meal mixture into the egg white mixture in three additions until fully amalgamated.
  7. Pipe on to baking trays which have been lined with baking paper.  Start from the center of the circle and go around until you end on the edge of the circle.
  8. Let the macarons dry for around 30 minutes until the “shells” are dry. Bake in a pre heated fan forced oven (150c) for 20 minutes.

Chocolate Mousse

  • 80 grams caster sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 200 grams dark coveture chocolate
  • 300 ml cream
  • Cocoa Powder for dusting
  1. Beat the egg yolks in a stand or electric mixer.
  2. In a sauce pan, heat 30 ml water and the caster sugar.  Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the sugar syrup to the egg yolks in a steady stream.   Whisk until the mixture is at room temperature and is light.
  4. Melt the chocolate in a microwave until melted and cool slightly until lukewarm
  5. Fold the chocolate into the egg mixture.
  6. In another bowl, whisk the cream until semi stiff peaks.
  7. Fold the cream into the chocolate/egg mixture.
  8. With a pastry bag, fill half a shell and cover with the other half
  9. Store in the refrigerator
  10. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.


To Dan:  Wishing you a very happy birthday!  Sorry I don’t have a gift for you except this macaron cake (even if I did buy you something I would probably use your credit card anyway!) …  Love lots!  Kiss kiss… Baci, Bizou and Trissa

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Dobos Torta

Dobos Torta


SINCE when does DO NOT TOUCH mean YES, GO AHEAD, EAT IT ALL!?!?  Well, apparently, if it is 1:00 am in the morning and you come home craving for something sweet!  This is exactly what happened this evening (or early morning).  My worst worst nightmare.  Last night I rushed home to bake this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge (already a day late!) and had assembled a little cake  to photograph the next day.

Husband comes home at 1:00 am from a very late night at work and decides to raid the refrigerator for something sweet.  And although I had placed a post-it note on top of the cake saying DO NOT TOUCH… well, you know what happens.  I get up this morning to shoot the cake and I find it GONE.  Well, not entirely true, there is a little buttercream left on the plate… but no more cake.

Where did the cake go?!!?

Where did the cake go?!!?

LUCKILY… I still have a few scraps of the cake left over and have some left over butter I have forgotten to bring back into the refrigerator last night and I decide to make another batch of buttercream and use whatever leftover cake I have.  This is at 6:00 AM!

So here it is, this month’s Daring Bakers’  Challenge – the almost “re-incarnation” of the first Dobos Torte I made.

The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful
of Sugar
and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos
Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus:  Exquisite
Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

Dobos Torta

Recipe adapted from Kaffehauss by Rick Rodgers and Cafe Chocolada.

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

Chocolate Buttercream

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar
  • 4oz (110g) bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.

Caramel topping

  • 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)

Finishing touches

  • 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.002
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 chocolate 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.005
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 finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.006
4.Scrape the chocolate 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 chocolate 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. Male sure the butter is of a very soft texture I.e. running a knife through it will provide little resistance, before you try to beat it into the chocolate mixture. Also, if you beat the butter in while the chocolate mixture is hot you’ll end up with more of a ganache than a 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 chocolate 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 chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake. 009
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.

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