GF Rosewater rhubarb bundt and bundt obsession

dat bundtIf you’re up to date with Baking with Gab, you will have seen my darling little bundt babies. They were so cute that I almost struggled to eat them.

Almost. They were delectable enough that the guilt subsided eventually.

And those little cutenesses reminded me how much I adore bundt. They’re show-stoppers, centre-pieces, let-me-have-the-first-slice kind of cakes.

Peanut butter slice and broken ovens

cutThis little slice was created at a time when I thought that I had no oven. The oven in my rental property had been smoking  like crazy for no apparent reason at all. So I stopped using it while we tried to get the issue sorted.

Some people could cope with just a stove top to cook on…I can’t.

Ovens are kind of integral to what I do here at Baking with Gab.

So in the week that I went without an oven I went Pinterest crazy on no-bake recipes. I was amazed at the amount of food that people get away with not cooking! Lots of fudges are no bake, I almost made a cake batter dip, and there are so many raw desserts that I want to try.

Vanilla fig tart and a grown up Easter

figI’ve only realised how delightful figs are in the past 18 months or so.

I never used to trust figs because they’re so squidgy and unusually coloured and lacking a core. It’s kind of funny, because those things now make them perfect fodder for my baking. They’re downright beautiful – I searched Pinterest for recipe inspiration and ended up “oohing” and “aahing” at how photogenic such an unassuming fruit could be.

They’re adorable little sacks of beauty.

Figs can be pretty expensive in Sydney, but I found a pack on special (yay!) I wanted to keep the figs as close to natural as possible and pick other flavours that would highlight their sweetness. Vanilla and blueberry make perfect partners in crime for fig.

The great thing about these tarts is that they are a perfect “grown up” option for Easter. If you’re not a big fan of chocolate eggs (I don’t understand you, but I do know you exist), a humble tart like this is a great alternative for an Easter treat. These little tarts are completely customisable – top them with whatever you want! I

Fig and blueberry tart

closeMakes 24

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 135g butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp water

Vanilla crème patissiere

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp corn flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)

Toppings:

  • 2 figs
  • 100g blueberries

yolksRub together your plain flour and butter until they resemble bread crumbs. Add in the sugar and mix, then mix in the egg yolks. Make sure you mix thoroughly so that you don’t have mottled pastry. Add in the water, one tablespoon at a time – it may take slightly more or less than three tablespoons to achieve a cohesive dough.

pastryPress your dough together in a ball, cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for 15 mins.

Preheat your oven to 200°C and grab your dough from the fridge. Grease a 12 hole cupcake tin. Roll out your chilled dough to 4-5mm thickness and use a scone cutter to cute circles big enough to fit in the cupcake tin and create a small edge.

prickPrick each tart with a fork and pop them into the oven for 15 minutes.

While the tarts are in the oven, make a start on the crème patissiere.  Bring the milk, butter and vanilla to a boil in a medium saucepan. Make sure you stir the mixture constantly to avoid burning the milk. Once it’s come to a boil, turn off the heat and set the mixture to one side.

Mix the egg yolks with the sugar and cornflour in a large bowl until you have a thick paste. This mixture does the same job that store-bought custard powder does. Grab your hot milk and pour it into the egg mixture in small increments (this tempers the mixture and ensures that it won’t separate later, if you pour all the hot milk in at once, you risk burning or cooking the egg mixture), mixing well after each addition.

Once all of the milk is mixed in, you should have a warm, silky mixture. Pour it back into the milk pan and whisk it over a very low heat. Timing is crucial at this point, because you want to thicken the mixture. Whisking constantly to encourage air into the mixture, make sure you pay attention to the texture of the mixture – once the mixture reaches the consistency of soft serve ice cream, take it off the heat and keep whisking. If you leave it on the heat any longer, it will over-cook and start to look like scrambled eggs!* The residual heat in the mixture will cook the crème patissiere further, so whisk for a good five minutes before spooning it into the tart cases.

alternativesSet in the fridge for ten minutes to cool, then top with whatever Easter-appropriate toppings you like, get creative. If you prefer Easter eggs or chocolate and blueberries on your tarts, try that instead – they’ll still look great and taste delicious!

*If you do happen to over-cook the mixture, add a generous dash cold milk and whisk into the mixture until you achieve a smooth crème patissiere.

normanCompletely unrelated to figs or tarts, here is a gratuitous photo of Norman napping. He got so impatient of waiting for the crumbs as I baked the pastry shells that he snuck up onto the lounge and had a sneak sleep.

Guinness cake and contrast

sideMy nan used to drink Guinness. She was a tiny, white-haired sparrow of a woman, and I like to think that the occasional glass of Guinness represented her strong, independent streak. She wasn’t a big drinker. In fact, a 440ml can could last her a week or more (and was often thrown out by my mother!)I remember this vividly, because my brothers and I would vie for nan’s affections to try and win the floating widget that bobbed about inside the can.

Coconut lime cupcakes and abundance

iceDoes anyone else have a ridiculous amount of limes in their house at the moment? I do. A week or so ago they were ridiculously cheap so I went a little crazy. I’ve been steadily working my way through them, but there are only so many mojitos a girl can drink by herself.

So I’m baking with them!

I also happen to have way too many tea cups at the moment. It’s a delightful predicament, brought about by a loan from Cristina Re. You’ll be seeing a few of her swoon-worthy tea cups popping up in photo shoots over the next few weeks, because I’m slightly in love with them.

Plum frangipane tart and efficiency

sceneIf you have a friend popping over without a minute’s notice, efficiency is key. I was in a position recently where I had 45 minutes to throw makeup on and prepare something for afternoon tea when I knew that I had used up most of the flour on this cake (coconut raspberry cake.)

So I whipped up this little gem – it’s fast, easy and super impressive. Tarts are usually a pretty impressive dish to serve to people, but a frangipane tart sounds even better, it gives it an air of French sophistication. Try telling your guests that it’s “just a little plum frangipane tart I threw together” without having the smuggest face ever.

The delicious filling of this tart is gluten free, so would be perfect for celiac or gluten-sensitive friends – just make sure you find a reliable gluten free pastry. I’m in the process working out a decent gluten-free pastry, so watch this space. If you’ve got any suggestions for a GF pastry, comment below!

Plum frangipane tart:

Serves 8-10slice

  • 2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry
  • 100g butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ tsp almond essence
  • 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ½ cups almond meal
  • 2 large plums

pastryPreheat your oven to 180°C and grease a 35×12 cm tart tin.

Thaw your pastry until it is malleable enough to shape into your tart tin. Prick the uncooked tart shell with a fork, line with baking paper and pour baking weights in. Pop it in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven, take away the baking weights and baking paper, then return to the oven for five minutes.

Make the filling while the tart is in the oven.

plumsCream together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in the vanilla and almond essence, then the eggs and egg yolk, mix to combine. Add in the almond meal and give it a good mix.

Allow the tart to cool slightly before filling it.

Spoon the frangipane into the tart case and smooth out with a spatula. Don’t worry about being too precise, the filling with smooth out perfectly whilst in the oven.

plumThinly slice your plums and arrange them as you please. I slotted mine in at a slight angle so that some of the flesh was showing, giving the tart a little pop of colour and allowing the sugars in the plums to be exposed to more heat so that they’d caramelise slightly.

abovePop this back in the oven for 30 minutes so that you’re whipping it out of the oven just as your guests arrive. Allow the tart to cool before serving.

(I also used the baking time to throw on a face of makeup and attempt to tame my hair!)

 

Lemon pistachio cake and stories

tea cake flowersI had such a lovely day. I explored a suburb near my home called Newtown – I went with friends and we tried a new café, explored a graveyard and went antique shopping. These are all things that everybody should do more often!

I loved that Brewtown Newtown served their tea on wooden boards shaped specifically to hold the teacup, teapot, creamer and spoon. The space was off King Street (the main road in Newtown), so things were a little bit more relaxed, and we were able to stay at our table long after we’d finished our meals and swap gossip.

Honey pots de creme and Valentines

meringuesOn the weekend I posted some sweet little chocolate meringue morsels and promised an even sweeter dessert to accompany them. This is what you’ve been waiting for with baited breath (ha!) – honey pots de crème.

I’m slightly in love with pots de crème. They tend to combine a whole lot of cream with other, equally bad for you delicious ingredients; kind of like a custard that you can alter to be any flavour your little heart desires.

The first pots that I posted were Nutella, and they will always hold a special place in my heart, but these honey pots are a close second. They’re a super sweet idea for your Valentine’s day dessert (if you celebrate V-Day) OR they would be great to serve if you were having Winnie the Pooh over to dinner.

Raspberry cupcakes and food obsession

close upMy last post was about giving in to the gym. It’s day four of me signing up to the gym and I’ve been good so far. Except for the fact that I spend my entire life pinning, instagramming and Googling baked goods.

To say I’m obsessed is an understatement. I’m fairly sure I was dreaming about eating these cupcakes last night, because I was awoken by a sharp pain – I’d bitten the inside of my lip hard enough to draw blood!

These gorgeous little cupcakes came about by accident. I was actually trying to create cupcakes with bubblegum icing; the cupcake was supposed to be a platform to raise my glorious bubblegum icing to dizzying sugary heights.

But the icing never really made it. It didn’t taste as bubblegummy as I’ planned (don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, it just wasn’t bubblegum flavoured), but it didn’t matter, because the cupcake outshone it!!

The cupcake is light and airy. It’s delicately fruity and a little bit like eating a raspberry cloud. Or how I imagine that would taste. The icing is sweet and soft, the perfect complement to the raspberry cloud!

biteRaspberry cupcake clouds

Makes 24

  • 120g butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup raspberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1-2 tsp pink food colouring (optional)

Icing:

  • 50g butter
  • 50g cream cheese
  • ¼ tsp strawberry essence
  • ¼ tsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups icing sugar

raspberriesPreheat your oven 180°C and grease a 12 capacity cupcake tin.

Cream your butter and sugar together until pale. Add in your raspberries and blend until smooth. This should take 1-2 minutes to eliminate all of the lumps and bumps. You can leave chunks of raspberry in if you’d like, but I prefer them all mixed in, it makes for a smoother batter.

mixAdd in the teaspoon of vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time.

Scoop your flour into the mixture and mix well, ensuring no pockets of flour remain. Add in the milk and combine.

At this point, the raspberries will have added a slight tinge of pinky-purple to the mixture, so you don’t have to add colouring. If, like me, you can’t resist a pop of colour, add in some pink food colouring!

That’s it! These cupcakes are so simple, but the result is so impressive.

lolliesSpoon the mixture into your prepared cupcake tins and bake for 16-18 minutes.

Once the cupcakes are out of the oven, allow them to cool for ten minutes. While they cool, mix the butter and cream cheese together until there are no lumps and the mixture is pale. Add in the strawberry essence, orange blossom water and vanilla, followed by the icing sugar. Keep blending until all are combined and smooth.

sceneDecorate using a piping bag, or just spoon it onto your cupcakes and smooth with a knife. I added little chewy lollies to the top of mine, but don’t worry if you don’t have any they’re sweet enough without them!

Serve with a strong black cuppa to balance out all of that sugar.

Enjoy!

Brownie cheesecake slice and remembering

sliceMother remembered on Thursday morning that she had to take a slice into work on Friday. She left me a note asking me to make one for her. Of course I obliged; being unemployed and sole contributor to my baking blog, this request was perfectly tailored to my situation!

She needed something easy to transport (cupcakes are out), something that would feed a group easily (pots de crème are out) and something delicious. I’ve made brownies before and they’re delightful, but I felt as though she needed something a little more show stopping to tempt her co-workers.