Friday, August 28, 2015

Swedish Cinnamon Roll Braid



There's something really simple, homey and absolutely delicious about a cinnamon roll. It has always played an important role in Swedish fika culture, and now we're not talking about the American Cinnabon version with all that heavy frosting (even though they are delish!), but her modest Swedish cousin, the kanelbulle.

So, what makes the Swedish cinnamon roll different from the American one? Well, I'm glad you asked! Kanelbullen is a little less sweet, it uses freshly ground cardamom in the dough, and has pearl sugar as a topping instead of frosting. It is also baked at a higher heat for a shorter time, which gives it a light crust on top that is so incredibly satisfying.




The boys and I are visiting family in Sweden right now, and since I am in the land of fika, I felt inspired to bake something Swedish. I had never made a cinnamon roll braid before, but always thought they looked pretty, so I gave it a go. Even though they might look complicated, they are actually a lot quicker to make than individual rolls.




There are so many recipes for Swedish cinnamon buns, but I found one that sounded a little extra yummy. It uses sirap in the dough and filling. Sirap, also known as golden syrup, has the consistency of molasses, but tastes more like a caramel maple syrup. You can find it at your local IKEA, in the food market section. I would say you could maybe substitute maple syrup for sirap, but it's a little runnier in it's consistency and I'm not sure how that would play out. Besides, you're probably due for another IKEA round anyway!




The recipe I used makes 40-50 buns or 4 large cinnamon roll braids, so you can definitely cut it in half and still end up with plenty of fika. Or you can make the whole recipe and keep three in the freezer for unexpected guests!

Here's a little tutorial on how to make the braid.




If using the recipe as it is, making 4 braids, you will have to cut the dough in half. Once you've done that, roll it out into a rectangle. Spread half of that delicious filling on top.




Cut the rectangle in half.




Roll the first half in toward the middle, while making sure the edge ends up under the roll. Transfer it onto a lined baking sheet.




Using a pair of scissors, make 1/4 inch wide cuts, without cutting all the way through the bottom.




Push the cut pieces to the side, alternating left and right.




Repeat all of the steps for the second roll.




Brush the braids with a whisked egg, and sprinkle the pearl sugar and almond slices on top. Let rise under a towel for 45 minutes, and then bake in the oven for 25 minutes.




And this is the result!




I wish you could smell all of the wonderful warm cinnamon in this picture...





Have a wonderful weekend, friends, and happy baking!


Kanelbullar
 
Makes 40-50 buns or 4 braids
 
Dough
17 fl oz milk
50 g fresh or 12 g dry yeast
45 grams sugar 
100 ml light sirap
1 tsp grind cardamom 
800-900 g flour
150 gram butter
1 tsp salt
 
Filling
200 gram butter
90 g sugar
100 ml sirap
s1/3 cup shredded almond paste
vanilla sugar
4-5 tbsp. cinnamon

Garnish
1 egg, beaten
Pearl sugar
sliced almonds


Directions:
  1. Heat the milk to 99 degrees F. Mix some of the milk with the crumbled yeast and pour the rest of the milk into the mixture. (If using dry yeast, follow the instructions on the package.) Add salt, sugar, cardamom, sirap, and lastly flour. Mix well.
  2. Divide the butter into small cubes and add to the dough. Add more flour if needed.
  3. Let the dough rise for 1 hour. In the meantime, make the filling and set aside.
  4. Put the dough on a work surface and knead it for a few minutes, then divide it in two. Roll the dough into a rectangle and spread half of the filling on top.
  5. Roll the rectangle in toward the middle and move to a covered baking sheet.
  6. Using scissors, cut the roll into 1/2 inch slices, but make sure you leave some space at the bottom, so you don't cut all the way though. Pull the pieces to the sides, every other right and left. 
  7. Brush the braids with egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar and sliced almond. Let rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 395 degrees F.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.



Kanelbullar
från bloggen Ur Min Kokbok
 
Ca 40-50 
 
Deg
5 dl mjölk
50 g jäst
0,5 dl socker
1 dl ljus sirap
1 tsk stött kardemumma
13-15 dl vetemjöl
150 gram smör
1 tsk salt
 
Fyllning
200 gram smör
1 dl socker
1 dl sirap
riven mandelmassa ( ca 0,5 dl riven, lite efter behag)
vaniljpulver
4-5 msk kanel

Garnering
1 vispat ägg
Pärlsocker
Skivade mandlar
 
1. Värm mjölken till 37 grader. Blanda lite av mjölken med jästen och häll sedan i resten av mjölken. Tillsätt salt, socker, sirap och till sist mjöl. Blanda väl, den kommer vara kletig! 
2. TIllsätt smöret i kuber och låt bearbetas i maskin i ca 10 min, tillsätt mer mjöl om det behövs (det kan se omöjligt ut till en början, men låt maskinen jobba och smöret kommer arbetas in tillslut. Degen blir nu otroligt lätt att arbeta med och man behöver inte tillsätta så mycket mjöl). 
3. Jäs i 1 h. Under tiden blandar du fyllningen, jag brukar köra allt i en mixer så det blandas ordentligt.
4. Ta upp degen ur bunken och knåda några minuter. Dela i 2 delar. Kavla ut en rektangel, ca ½ cm tjock. Bred på hälften av fyllningen. Dela rektangeln på mitten.
4. Rulla ihop rektanglarna och lägg dem brett isär på en plåt med bakplåtspapper.
5. Klipp rullarna i centimetertjocka skivor men spara ca 1 cm nedtill så att de sitter ihop. Dra bitarna åt sidan, varannan höger och varannan vänster. Dra ut dem en bit till så att bitarna ligger lutade bakåt.
6. Pensla längderna med uppvispat ägg och strö över sötmandel. Låt dem jäsa under bakduk i ca 30 min. Sätt ugnen på 200 grader.
7. Grädda längderna längst ner i ugnen i 25–30 min. Låt dem svalna på plåten.
 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Gooey Mint Chocolate Birthday Surprise



My hubby's birthday was a few weeks ago, and the boys and I had a special surprise waiting for him when he came home from work - his favorite chocolate dessert! It's a Swedish cake called kladdkaka, which translates to "gooey cake", and is a version of a molten chocolate cake. I grew up with this chocolaty goodness, and we would make it for birthday parties, whenever we had guests over, or just on a regular Friday night. As a matter of fact, I would even dare to say that there's a 90% chance that this is one of the things you will be served at any Swedish birthday party. And since we're a chocolate loving family, this easy recipe has become a staple at our house.


 
 
My oldest son, Jacob, loves to help out in the kitchen, and William, my youngest, loves to get messy, so this was a great baking adventure for them. I love finding recipes that are kid friendly, that only uses a handful of ingredients, and doesn't take too much time to make. The best part was seeing how excited they were to make something for daddy!


 
 
A good thing about this specific recipe, is that it doesn't use any active ingredient such as baking powder or baking soda, so you can stir until the cows come home without it having affect on how it turns out! And as you can imagine, there was a whole lot of stirring going on.




I've made a lot of kladdkakas over the years, and I've tried different versions of it; traditional, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mint chocolate, chocolate raspberry, a dulce de leche version etc. Sometimes I'll stick with the traditional recipe and serve it with vanilla sugar whipped cream and a raspberry sauce, just to make it a little more fun. The bottom line is, you can't go wrong with this one if you love chocolate.


 
 
This time we made a mint chocolate version, because it's one of Matt's favorites. The recipe calls for After Eight, but you can also use Andes Mints or something similar. Just don't be intimidated by the amount of mint used, it's not going to be overpowering! Even the kids loved every bite of it.




 
 
The boys made sure we quality tested the chocolate. Because, I mean, we wouldn't want to use bad chocolate. I just had to make sure there was still some left to use in the cake. Luckily, there was!






The boys where so proud to present the cake to daddy, and of course he was so impressed and loved the surprise!


 
 
Personally, I think kladdkaka is best served with vanilla bean ice cream or with whipped cream, but some like it plain Jane. I usually go with ice cream, especially in the winter time, when I like to bake the cake in small ramekins and serve the chocolate cake warm.
 
 
 
 
Look at that fudgey goodness! Now you have something to bake Friday night to celebrate that another work week is over!
 

 
After Eight Gooey Chocolate Cake
from the magazine Hembakat

150 g butter
270 g sugar
3 eggs
3 tbsp. cacao
105 g flour
1 pinch salt
2 tsp vanilla sugar*

8 After Eight pieces

Mint chocolate glaze
25 After Eight pieces
powdered sugar


*If you can't get your hands on vanilla sugar, just substitute with confectioners sugar and add a 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.

Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 355 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. 
  2. Pour the batter into a buttered 9" spring form pan.
  3. Chop up 8 After Eights and put them in the batter.
  4. Bake in on the center rack for about 25-30 minutes. Make sure it's not too wobbly when you take it out. Let cool in the pan.
  5. For the mint chocolate glaze: Melt 25 pieces of After Eights over a water bath.
  6. Pour the chocolate over the cooled cake and let harden in the fridge. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. 



Lyxig After Eightkladdkaka
från tidningen Hembakat

150 g smör
3 dl strösocker
3 ägg
3 msk kakao
1 ¾ dl vetemjöl
1 nypa salt
2 tsk vaniljsocker

ca 8 plattor After Eight

Mintchokladglasyr
ca 25 plattor After Eight
florsocker



Gör så här

1. Sätt ugnen på 180 grader. Smält smöret i en kastrull. Tillsätt resten av ingredienserna och blanda snabbt ihop allt till en slät smet.
2. Häll smeten i en smord och bröad springform, 23–24 cm i diameter (bröa gärna formen med kokos i stället för ströbröd).
3. Skär ca 8 After Eight-plattor på mitten och stick ner dem i smeten.
4. Grädda kakan mitt i ugnen i 25–30 min beroende på hur kladdig du vill ha den. Låt den svalna i formen.
5. Mintchokladglasyr: Smält ca 25 After Eight-plattor över vattenbad.
6. Bred ut mintchokladkrämen över kakan och låt den stelna i kylen. Pudra över lite florsocker före servering. Servera gärna med vispgrädde eller glass.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mini Almond Tarts with Lemon Mascarpone Mousse

 
 
A few weeks back, I celebrated six years of living in the US. It's been six amazing, eventful years and I'm so happy to be able to call this country my home. In honor of both Independence Day, and my Americaversary, I thought something red, white and blue was in order.
 
These little tarts are so light, acidic, and summery. The shells are made out of a cookie almond crust, and are filled with a home made lemon curd, that has been mixed with mascarpone and crème fraiche. Lemon curd is easily one of my favorite fillings to use in cakes and tarts. Lemon, sugar and butter - what's not to love?
 
 


I had been wanting to use these mini tart molds for a while, but hadn't really known what to make with them. They used to be my Grandmother's, who was known for her amazing banana bread and seven kinds of cookies, and given to my mother, who then gave them to me. These, and my grandmother's midcentury coffee can in a bright pink, orange and purple pattern (think early flower power), are among my favorite things. But then again, so are baking and drinking coffee.

 
 
 
Okay, I'll be honest. It was a pain to get these crusts out of the shells. I did butter the molds before using them, as the recipe calls for, but still I had to run a small knife around the edges to loosen the cookies. If there's one thing I've learned about baking, it's patience, patience, and patience. At least I can say that it was worth all of the hard work!

 
 
 
This recipe calls for pomegranate and lemon peel as a garnish, but since I was feeling particularly patriotic I decided to skip the lemon and add a blueberry on each tart. Happy belated birthday, America!


Almond Tarts with Lemon Mascarpone Mousse
from the magazine Hembakat

100 g butter, room temp
68 g sugar
1 eggyolk
250 g flour
50 g almond flour

Filling
250 g mascarpone, room temp
200 g crème fraiche, room temp
200 g lemon curd, room temp

Garnish
½ pomegranate, seeds
1 tbs finely grated lemon peel


Instructions:
  1. Whip the butter and sugar until fluffy. Stirr in the egg yolk.
  2. Sift the flour and almond flour into the butter mixture. Sikta ned vetemjöl och mandelmjöl i smeten. Work it into a dough. Let the dough rest in the fridge for an hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 395°F. Coat the cookie molds with melted butter.
  4. Form the dough into a long roll and divide it into 20 pieces. Press the dough into the molds.
  5. Bake in the oven for about 8 minutes. Loosen the cookies from the molds while still warm.
  6. Filling: Whip together mascarpone, crème fraiche and lemon curd. It's important that they are at room temperature and that you don't whip it too hard.
  7. Fill the cookies with the mousse and decorate with pomegranate seeds and lemon peel before serving. 



Lemon Curd
from Leila Lindholm

lemons
135 g sugar               
50 g butter
1 tbsp. corn starch                
eggs               
2 egg yolks


Instructions:
  1. Wash and dry the lemons. Boil the lemon juice from two of the lemons and the rind from all three, together with the sugar and butter. Strain the liquid to get rid of the rind.                   
  2. Mix the corn starch with the lemon juice from the third lemon, and stir into the liquid.
  3. Whip the eggs and stir them in to the liquid. Put the saucepan back on the heat, and let it simmer until the lemon curd starts to thicken.                    
  4. Pour the lemon curd into a bowl, and let cool before refrigerating.

                   


Mandelmusslor med Citronmousse
från tidningen Hembakat

100 g smör, rumsvarmt
¾ dl strösocker
1 äggula
2 ½ dl vetemjöl
50 g mandelmjöl

Fyllning
250 g mascarpone, rumsvarm
2 dl crème fraiche, rumsvarm
2 dl lemon curd, rumsvarm

Garnering
½ granatäpple, kärnorna
1 msk finrivet citronskal


Gör så här:
  1. Vispa smör och socker pösigt. Rör i äggulan.
  2. Sikta ned vetemjöl och mandelmjöl i smeten. Arbeta ihop till en deg. Låt degen vila i kylskåp i minst 1 tim.
  3. Sätt ugnen på 200 grader. Pensla 20 veckade mandelmusselformar med smält smör.
  4. Gör en rulle av degen och skär den i 20 bitar. Tryck ut bitarna i formarna.
  5. Grädda kakorna mitt i ugnen i ca 8 min. Lossa dem försiktigt medan de fortfarande är varma.
  6. Fyllning: Vispa försiktigt ihop mascarpone, crème fraiche och lemon curd. Det är viktigt att ingredienserna är rumstempererade och att du inte vispar för hårt.
  7. Fyll formarna med moussen och dekorera med granatäppelkärnor och citronskal precis innan serveringen.



Lemon Curd
från Leila Lindholm
 
ekologiska citroner
1,5 dl strösocker
50 g smör
1 msk maizena
ekologiska ägg
2 ekologiska äggulor
 
 
Gör så här:
  1. Tvätta tre citroner noga och torka. Koka upp citronsaft från två av citronerna samt rivet skal från alla tre, ihop med strösocker och smör. Sila sedan av vätskan.
  2. Blanda ut maizena med saften från din tredje citron och rör ner detta i vätskan.
  3. Vispa samman äggen och rör ner dem i vätskan, ställ tillbaka på spisen och sjud tills citronkrämen tjocknar.
  4. Häll över din lemon curd i en ren skål och låt svalna. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Octonauts, to the rescue!

 
 
Two weekends ago, my "little" Jacob turned four years old. I know it's one of those things that everyone says, but it's true - time really flies! It feels like it was only yesterday we welcomed him into our lives. But then again, these four years have been filled with so many amazing memories and brought us countless funny stories, that it feels like he's been with us forever.
 
The birthday boy had told me that he wanted an Octonauts themed cake, since it's his favorite cartoon. For all of you out there who are not regular viewers of Disney Junior, Octonauts is an underwater rescue team that helps all living creatures in the ocean, while teaching kids facts about the different species. Our whole family loves it!
 
For this two tiered cake, I used my favorite vanilla cake recipe with a strawberry filling and crème anglais, topped with buttercream frosting, and covered with fondant. Flavors that both kids and adults can appreciate.
 
Since I'm still learning cake making as I go, and this was my first attempt at making a two tier cake, I thought I'd make this blog post about things I've learned so far. 
 
So, here's a few tips and tricks that I find helpful:
 


 
Make a schedule, since making a cake will take longer than you think. I've learned that time management is an important part of baking cakes. Cake bottoms can be made in advance, which is a great way to save time before an event. Make sure you freeze the layers tightly wrapped in saran wrap, the same day as you bake them. I usually fill and frost the cake while frozen (the night before being eaten), for a number of reasons: 1) It's easier to divide the layers if you're using a single cake pan, 2) it's easier to get a smooth finish on your buttercream when the cake is hard and doesn't crumble, and 3) the flavors from the fillings will have been absorbed more into the cake and deepened, as the cake slowly thaws in the refrigerator over night.
 

 
 
A cake turntable is an investment. It doesn't have to be a fancy one, even a spinning cheese tray will do, but this will make the world of a difference when filling, frosting, and covering your cake.
 

Choose fillings that are stable when making more than one tier. Most buttercreams and cream cheese frostings will do the trick and can be really tasty. Try chocolate, salted caramel, nutella, or strawberry to mix it up. I would make sure to use a recipe that isn't too sweet, since you want the cake to taste more than just sugar. (I know, who are we kidding, it's mostly sugar.) Mousses, custards and curds holds up well too, but try out a recipe that works for you, since I find that some of them can have too much gelatin in them.
 
Always pipe a protectant wall of buttercream along the edges of every layer to make sure the filling doesn't seep out the sides. 
 

 
 
Use some kind of support for the bottom cake. Every cake needs to stand on a cake circle or cardboard cutout that is the same size as the cake. This is to make moving the cake easier, plus you're keeping your cake platters looking nice. Cakes tend to be heavier than you think, and to give as much support as possible on the lower tier, and relieve it from the weight of the cake on top, I use either straws or wooden skewers. For an 8 inch bottom cake and a 6 inch top cake, I inserted three straws in the middle of the bottom cake, all the same height as the cake. There are special support dowel rods you can pick up at Michael's or AC Moore, but honestly, regular straws will do fine.
 
 


Use plastic gloves when coloring the fondant, especially if you need to use more than one color. Or you can just rock whatever color your hands end up being.


When working with fondant, a silicone mat will make your job so much easier. Of course a regular baking mat or a clean work surface will do too, but making sure that the rolled out fondant doesn't stick will involve some confectioners sugar or corn starch. A silicone mat will make it easier to transfer the fondant to the cake, and it's mess free.

Oh, and out of personal experience, just don't use your silicone mat when cutting out shapes with a knife, because you'll cut right through. D'oh!




If you're making fondant figurines, allow the figures to dry completely before you decorate the cake. It will take anything from two days up to a week depending on how much you're using. You will want to store them in a dark and dry place, preferably in a cardboard box. If you need the figures to be standing, mount them on a piece of styrofoam using some tooth picks.

I have heard that if you don't have that much time, you can put the figures in your oven with just the oven light on for a few hours. The tiny amount of heat from the lamp will help speed up the process. Just don't forget they're in there!




Lastly, make a pot of coffee. These figures took me a few hours to make, so put on some tunes and get comfortable!


 
 
 
 
I'm having so much fun trying new recipes and techniques as I go. It's a learning process, so thanks everyone for your support and encouragement!
 
 
 
My happy birthday boy!
 
 


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rose Cake with Strawberry and Crème Anglaise



Growing up, I was spoiled by my dad's wonderful cream cake. Every time we had a reason to celebrate - no matter if it was graduations, birthdays, or just the supermarket having a sale on strawberries - he'd make it. Even today, there's nothing like my dad's strawberry cake to me, with the sponge cake and layers of vanilla custard, some kind of preserves, and fresh strawberries. It tastes like Swedish summer.

I remember when I was still living at home with my parents, my dad would often be up at night baking. (Sounds familiar?) I was usually studying, when all of the sudden I'd hear him call "Evalena!" from the kitchen. He would always save me the very last of the batter for me to scrape clean with a spoon. It was the best break from studying anyone could ever have.

Even now, when I go back to visit during the summers, he still lets me lick the spoon. Some things will never change.




I came across two new recipes recently that reminded me of my dad's cake. The first one is referred to as "ice cream filling". Basically, it's a vanilla custard, also known as a crème anglaise, mixed with whipped cream. It tastes just like soft vanilla ice cream! It's not hard to make, but you have to be careful when heating the custard, since it will curdle if it gets too hot.

This was my first time making crème anglaise, and I had to keep myself from eating it all with a spoon. It's THAT good. This custard is wonderful to serve with poached fruit, puddings, or your favorite crumb pie.




The other filling I made is whipped cream and cream cheese mixed with confectioners sugar and fresh strawberries. It has a mousse-like consistency, but the fresh strawberries gives it a nice texture. I recently saw another recipe like this one that also uses freshly grated lime peel, and I think that can be a lovely addition.




I often get questions on how I make the roses out of buttercream. If you can frost a cupcake, you can also make roses, I promise! Usually when frosting a cupcake, you will start from the outside and work your way in towards the middle. Making roses work the other way around. Start from the middle and work your way around the center, and voilá, you've got yourself a rose! 
  



And since today is my dad's 77th birthday, Grattis på födelsedagen, min Pappa! I hope you eat some delicious strawberry cake for me!




Crème Anglaise

500 g milk (3%)
1 vanilla pod
135 g sugar
7 egg yolks
40 g corn starch
50 g butter, softened


 Directions:
  1. Split the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds and put both seeds and the pod in a sauce pan with the milk. Bring to a boil.
  2.  Whip the egg yolks with sugar and corn starch. Pour in the hot milk, while whisking.
  3. Pour the mixture back into the pot and carefully heat the liquid, while whisking. As soon as the vanilla cream has started to thicken, take the pot off the heat and pour the crème into a cold bowl.
  4. Add the butter, stir until fully melted, and let it cool in a refrigerator. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin to form.
 To make the vanilla cake filling, mix one cup of the crème anglaise with 1 cup of whipped cream.



Heavenly Strawberry filling
from the cooking magazine Hembakat

400 gram heavy whipping cream
175 g cream cheese
120 g confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
400 g strawberries, cut into small pieces


Instructions
  1. Whip the heavy whipping cream. Set aside.
  2. Whip the cream cheese with confectioners sugar and vanilla sugar.
  3. Fold the cream cheese mixture into the whipped cream. Add the strawberries.


 For the vanilla cake recipe, see this post, and for the buttercream recipe see this post.



Vaniljkräm

5 dl  mjölk, 3%
1 st  vaniljstång
1,5 dl  strösocker
7 st  ekologiska äggulor
0,75 dl  maizena
50 g  mjukt smör


Gör så här:
  1. Dela din vaniljstång på längden med en vass kniv och skrapa ur fröna. Lägg både skal och frön i en kastrull tillsammans med mjölken. Koka upp.                    
  2. Vispa strösocker, äggulor och maizena luftigt med elvisp. Slå över den heta mjölken under vispning.                    
  3. Häll tillbaka blandningen i kastrullen och värm upp försiktigt under vispning. Så fort vaniljkrämen börjar tjockna, häll snabbt över i en kall skål.
  4. Tillsätt smöret, låt smälta och kyl vaniljkrämen i isbad eller kyl. Rör då och då i såsen så att det inte bildas skinn.


Himmelsk Jordgubbsfyllning
från tidningen Hembakat

400 gram grädde
175 g philadelphiaost
2 dl florsocker
1 tsp vaniljsocker
400 g jordgubbar

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Daring Bakers: Lamingtons




I joined the Daring Bakers about six years ago, when I first moved to the US. It's such a great idea - home cooks, at all different levels, commit to complete one baking challenge once a month. The idea is that you step out from your own kitchen and in to someone else's, trying someone's grandmother's recipe from the other side of the world, learning how to make things from scratch, and widen your horizons when it comes to flavor and execution. I haven't been active in years, but thought it would be fun to get back into it. So, here it is, the Daring Bakers May Challenge: Lamingtons.



 
Honestly, I had never heard about Lamingtons before this challenge. I've now learned that it's a national Australian dessert, a light corn flour based vanilla sponge cake, that is dipped in a chocolate syrup and then rolled in shredded coconut. It's very simple, but oh so delicious.
 
There are a few variations on this traditional dessert - some people like to have a little strawberry jam or lemon curd in between two layers, others use whipped cream. Since the cornbread, chocolate and shredded coconut are all so sweet, I used some of my home made salted caramel sauce to balance the sweetness. And because, who doesn't think that vanilla, chocolate, caramel and coconut are a match made in heaven? 
 

 
 
I know I many times use the word "easy" when explaining the baking process. Many of you have said that the recipes look complicated, so just to make sure you believe me, I'll show you how easy it is to make these yummy treats. And messy. Be prepared to get your hands dirty!
 
This is an old family recipe from Marcellina in Cucina, and is sure to make your tummy happy.
 

Lamington Sponge Cake
from Marcellina in Cucina
Servings: 24
 
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz) castor (superfine) sugar
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups (300 ml) (200 gm) (7 oz) cornflour (cornstarch)
1 ½ teaspoons (8 gm) baking powder
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) butter, melted (optional)
2¾ cups (660 ml) (250 gm) (9 oz) unsweetened desiccated coconut, to assemble


Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. Prepare a 4 ½ cm (1¾ inch) deep, 23cm x 33cm (9”x 13”) baking pan by lining with non-stick paper. I sprayed a little cooking spray between the pan and the parchment paper, to make sure it stayed in place.
  3. In a stand mixer bowl place eggs, sugar and salt. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high for 15 minutes.

4. While the eggs and sugar are beating, sift the corn flour and baking powder at least 3 times.


5. After 15 minutes add vanilla and beat on high for another 5 minutes. The mixture should have at least tripled in size, be light in color and very foamy.


6. Sift flour mixture over the egg mixture. If you are using butter, thoroughly fold it in now but lightly.

 
7. Spread mixture into your prepared pan and smooth out evenly.
 

8. Bake in preheated moderate oven for 22-25 minutes. The sponge will rise quite a lot but then settle back down. Don’t be tempted to open the oven to peak. When baked the sponge will have shrunk very slightly from the sides and should feel springy when pressed gently.

9. Turn the sponge out immediately onto a wire rack to cool and reverse sponge so as not to mark the top. Allow to cool. It is best to keep the cake for a day before making the Lamingtons as the cake will be easier to handle.

     
For the salted caramel recipe, please go to this blog post.


Chocolate icing

3 ¼ cups (780 ml) (400 gm) (14 oz) icing (powdered) sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) (40 gm) (1-1/3 oz) cocoa powder
1 tablespoon (15 gm) (15 gm) (½ oz) butter, melted
½ to ¾ cup (120 ml to 180 ml) milk


Instructions:

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a heatproof bowl.


Stir in the butter and ½ cup milk. Set the bowl over a pan of hot water. Stir until icing is smooth adding more milk to thin the icing if needed. I find I need more than ½ cup but not quite ¾ cup of milk.




To assemble the Lamingtons:

Cut the sponge cake into 24 rectangular pieces – 6 across and 4 down. You can trim the crusts to make the square more even. Plus, you just have to make sure it tastes good, right?


Keep the icing over the hot water to keep it melted. Place the shredded coconut in a shallow bowl.


Add the filling and arrange the squares on top of one another.


Dip each piece into the chocolate icing. I used a fork to lift the sponge cake bites.


Allow excess to drip off then toss gently into the coconut. Stand cakes on a wire rack to set, about one hour.


Enjoy!