Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Daring to do it: Battenberg Cake

Mandy of What The Fruitcake?! came to our rescue last minute to present us with the Battenberg Cake challenge! She highlighted Mary Berry’s techniques and recipes to allow us to create this unique little cake with ease.

I did not know what a Battenberg cake was before this challenge.  I did, however, know that I had seen fun checker board-like cakes before and kind of wondered how they were assembled.  Well, it turns out that those checkered cakes are Battenbergs...!  I made two versions of this cake for the challenge.  While neither used the recipe Mandy provided, her instructions were invaluable.
Version number one - chocolate and vanilla:
(Ok, chocolate and plain.  It is hard to have a vanilla cake when you forget to add the vanilla!)
The cakes, cooling:
The cakes, cut and stacked:
My chocolate plastique - not sure it was salvageable:
The chocolate - after some major elbow grease and rolling!
Assembling the cake, with the fudge icing "glue":
The final cake:

Version number two - blackberry and lemon:
The cut cakes, ready to stack:
Adding the homemade lemon-blackberry jam "glue":
All stacked and covered with jam:
My first attempt at fondant - homemade butter cream fondant:
The finished cake - a bit messy from the soft fondant mixing with the jam:
Maybe not the prettiest cake, but definitely tasty!

Thank you, Mandy, for introducing me to this method and to the Battenberg experience!  You definitely inspired some beautiful creations, and your support was appreciated throughout the month.
Take a look here to see what my fellow Daring Bakers created!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Daring to do it: Cannelloni

Manu from Manu’s Menu was our Daring Cooks lovely June hostess and has challenged us to make traditional Italian cannelloni from scratch! We were taught how to make the pasta, filling, and sauces shared with us from her own and her family’s treasured recipes!

I love Manu, so I was super excited about this challenge.  I also love pasta, so I knew I was going to have fun with this.  I made the challenge fairly early in the month.  And tackled it for an evening when I was having company for dinner.  I was that confident in Manu's recipe and instructions.  And she did not let me down!!
Cannelloni de margi, with red sauce instead of cream sauce:
Rolling the pasta:

Filling with cheese and spinach:
Rolled up:

This was SO good.  We all loved it.  Five adults, three kids...   Ok, one of the adults didn't actually try it.  My dad doesn't eat pasta.  No, I have no idea when not.  But the rest of us were thrilled!
But I decided after this that I was not making pasta by hand again.  It is a real work-out.  This was the encouragement I needed to buy myself a present - I now have a hand-crank pasta roller...!  Yay!  So, of course, I had to make this again!!  This time it was a mixed vegetable filling.  But it was just as good. 

Rolling the pasta - the fun way!  (With the three-year-old doing the rolling, too)

Rolled up:

And the cannelloni cupcakes made with the extra:

Thank you, Manu!  This is something I fully plan to make again.  And again, and again!  Such a wonderful, versatile recipe, I am so glad you encourages us to make this!!!
Please check out the amazing dishes created by my fellow Daring Cooks!