Monday, 24 January 2011

Goodies for Grab Graphics...

When I first started taking my baking seriously Georgia and Ant, my very good friends at Grab Graphics helped me out at Chop's Cakes by making me a website, unfortunately at that time I had not a penny to my name so I promised to pay them in strip teases and cake, this is the cake part.

I knew Georgia had a certain weakness for macaroons and last time I made them Ant took them in their Tupperware slumber to the corner of the room and devoured them within minutes, this gave me a slight hunch that they may appreciate some more...the only problem is they are a bit of a ball ache to make, but I love these guys so it was necessary.

I had also heard about their recent whoopie pie discovery in Brick Lane market and wanted to try and make them (venturing out of my cupcake comfort zone just a little) however I will be calling them cake burgers because I think whoopie pie sounds like a smelly bodily function.

The art of the perfect macaroon is to achieve the little foot or 'pied' on the macaroon which looks like a rim around the base of the macaroon, I've only achieved slight pieds but won't dwell on it. Armed with Hisako Ogita's 'I ♥ Macaroons' book (which I initially bought for the pretty pictures) I decided on a flavour combination which in this case was cranberry and white chocolate and got baking.

Cranberry and White Chocolate Macaroons

Macaroon Ingredients
85g ground almonds
150g icing sugar
3 large egg whites, room temperature
65g granulated sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
30g dried cranberries

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, draw circles onto paper, this will help you get macaroons all the same size so they sandwich together better.
  • In a food processor whizz together almonds, sugar and cranberries then sieve twice.
  • In a large bowl, beat egg whites together until they are foamy, gradually add the sugar, add vanilla and stir gently, when the meringue mixture is firm and glossy its ready.
  • Add half of the whizzed dry ingredients to the egg whites and fold, then add the rest and mix lightly, continue to stir until the mixture drops slowly off the spatula.
  • Fill a piping bag with the batter and pipe onto your prepared baking sheet, when piping the circles pipe slightly smaller than what is drawn, as the mixture settles it will spread slightly.
  • Leave in a cool place to dry, should take about half an hour, they are ready when you can touch the top and your finger comes away clean.
  • Sprinkle a little chopped dried cranberries on the top of the macaroons, then bake on 190°C, Gas mark 5 for 15-18 minutes until crisp and slightly cracked on the top.
  • When macaroons are completely cool remove from baking sheet.
White Chocolate Ganache filling

You will need:
100g white chocolate
100ml whipping cream

  • Break chocolate into small chunks and place in bowl.

  • In a saucepan bring the cream to a boil, the pour onto chocolate while whisking.
  • Cool mixture to room temperature and then pop in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  • Once cooled add a teaspoon of ganache to a macaroon and sandwich with another. 
A ball ache? yes, but I think you will agree it's well worth it!

Chocolate Cake Burgers with Marshmallow Filling

There is something very satisfying about eating cake like a burger, I don't quite know what it is but its feels brilliant!

I recently found this chocolate shop called Artisan du chocolat near where I work and had popped in previously with the sole intention of getting a free tester before braving the tube ride home, as I sunk my teeth into a truffle and pretended I was looking round the shop I noticed they sold cocoa powder, I knew it would come in handy as I was already pretty certain I was going to make chocolate cake burgers for Grab Graphics. 

Chocolate Cake Burger Ingredients
175g plain flour
100g cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
125g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
1 egg
1tsp vanilla extract
225ml buttermilk (There seems to be a shortage of buttermilk at the moment, if you can't seem to find it just mix up some natural yoghurt with some whole milk to the same quantity as the buttermilk)

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. 
  • Sift together flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and baking powder and put to one side. 
  • In a seperate bowl cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, slowly add egg, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth. 
  • Mix in dry ingredients and chill for half an hour. 
  • Drop big tablespoons of mixture onto prepared baking sheets and bake for 12 minutes, cakes are ready when you can make a dimple in the tops with your finger.
  • Leave on wire rack to cool completely.
Marshmallow Filling
It is REALLY important you dont get any yolk in the mixture, if you do the mixture will not bind and you wont be able to stick your two burgers together.

You will need:
3 egg whites
150g caster sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
Pinch of salt
1tsp vanilla extract

  • Put all ingredients in a heatproof bowl and put bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, whisk continuously for 15 minutes until sugar has completely dissolved, frothy and mixture turns opaque.
  • Remove from saucepan and whip vigorously until mixture turns white and forms soft peaks.
  • Spread generously onto cake burgers, you can roll the edges of the burgers in mini-marshmallows if you want an added naughtiness.  

Grab Graphics enjoyed the cakes very much and are now awaiting their strip tease...eek!

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