Bavarian Slice

bavarian slice

Why am I making cake in January?  Because it’s my birthday!  Well, not mine exactly, but the bun scuffle blog is 5 years old today!  Soon I’ll have to start doing proper joined up writing and everything.

January birthdays are great, just as I finally rid the house of Christmas excess I have an excuse to make more cake.  In this case the Bavarian slice.  Not your typical birthday cake I concede but I have been thinking about doing this blog for a little while now because I love a Bavarian slice.

This was my cake of choice as a teenager.  I grew up in Northwich; a market town in the North West of England.  A local bakery had two shops in Northwich and a café (where I had my first Saturday job) and they sold wonderful cakes – including these beauties.  Every Saturday I would hope that there would be one left at the end of the day, in which case I might be allowed to eat it!  I was occasionally tempted to hide one but was always just a little too scared of my boss to do so. It never occurred to me that they might not be available everywhere but I moved to Cornwall seventeen years ago and I haven’t seen one since.

They are not quite a custard slice and not quite a cream slice but somehow are a delicious combination of the two.  A rich crème pâtissière is mixed with whipped cream (which I believe makes it a crème légère) and sandwiched between two crisp layers of puff pastry.  The bottom layer of pastry is topped with jam and the top layer is coated with a simple glacé icing.

I am not quite sure why they are called Bavarian slices but I suspect that the name is based on a Bavarian cream (crème Bavarois) which is a creamy custard set with gelatin and formed in a mould.  In fact I suspect that the pastries I enjoyed in my teens were also firmed up with the addition of some gelatin as the creamy centre in these is definitely softer than I remember.  But I couldn’t find a proper recipe for a Bavarian slice – I don’t even know if they are really “a thing” but I have made these from a flavour memory and they are delicious and that is all I have to say on the subject!

Happy birthday bun scuffle me!

bavarian slice

Makes 4 Bavarian Slices

The Pastry

Ingredients

1 pack of pre-rolled, ready made Puff Pastry (you can of course make your own if you wish).

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200C / 400F / Gas mark 6.

Unroll the pastry and lay it on a sheet of baking parchment (the one it comes with is fine) on a baking tray. Top the pastry with another layer of parchment and place a second, heavy baking tray on top: This will help to keep the pastry flat as it bakes.  If you are making your own pastry (or using a bought block) roll it out into a rectangle approximately 3mm thick and a fraction smaller than your baking tray.

Place the pastry on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for around 20 – 25 minutes until golden and crispy.

Remove the pastry from the oven and transfer carefully to a rack to cool. Once cold, use a sharp knife and a ruler to cut it into 8 equal sized squares; mine were approximately 8cm x 8cm which I think is big enough but the final size is entirely up to you. Set aside until needed.

The Custard (Crème Patissière)

Ingredients

80g Caster Sugar

4 Egg Yolks

25g Corn Flour

1 Vanilla Pod

350 ml of Whole Milk

Method

Put the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until thick and creamy then whisk in the corn flour.

Slice down the side of the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife.  Put the pod and the seeds into a saucepan with the milk and bring it slowly just up to the boil.

Remove the pan from the heat and fish out the vanilla pod then leave the milk to rest for 30 seconds or so, to ensure that it is no longer boiling.  Pour the milk onto the egg mixture, whisking all the time.

Return the mixture to the pan over a low-medium heat and stir continuously until it comes up to a gentle boil.   It has to boil to thicken but if it boils too vigorously you will get bits of scrambled egg in your custard.  Simmer, stirring all the time, for 2 minutes or so until it has thickened.

Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl, cover the surface with cling film (or sprinkle with icing sugar) and leave to cool.   This will stop a skin from forming.

If it looks a little lumpy whisk it well as it cools, if this doesn’t resolve the problem you can push it through a sieve to remove any stubborn lumps.

Other Ingredients

3-4 tbsp Raspberry Jam

150 ml Double Cream

100g Icing Sugar

To Assemble

Choose the four best looking squares of pastry – these will form the top of the slices.  Mix the icing sugar with a tablespoon of boiling water.  You want a mixture that is thick and smooth and spreadable.  If it is too thick add more water a drop at a time – honestly, this mixture can go from too stiff to stir to watery gloop in the blink of an eye.

Spread an even layer of icing over the top of each of the chosen pastry squares.  Put in a cool place to set (the fridge is fine).  If you prefer you can pipe a neat border around each square and then fill it in with the remaining icing.

Whip the double cream until it is thick but not too stiff.  Fold it into the cooled crème pâtissière.

Spread an even layer of jam on each of the four remaining pastry squares.  Top with a generous layer of the crème patissiere; you can spoon it on and spread it with a palette knife or, if you prefer, you can pipe it.

Top each slice with an iced square of pastry and there you have it – a beautiful Bavarian Slice.  Normally I would feel compelled to add some adornment – a raspberry or two or some feathering but, as this is a nostalgia bake, I left mine plain and simple as they were in my memory.  You, on the other hand, might want to indulge in a little prettification.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

When I first ran the bun scuffle cafe, carrot cake was an absolute favourite on the counter and I must admit, a great favourite of mine.  However, I have a confession to make; it was the only cake on the counter that I didn’t make myself.  I used to ask my friend Lisa to make it for me.

I had made carrot cake on a number of occasions, from a number of different recipes, but it always turned out a little heavy.  Eventually, Lisa came to work with me at the cafe and so the carrot cake was made in house – but still not by me.

Then, the fateful day came when Lisa left for pastures new, taking her carrot cake recipe with her.  I was on my own and determined to get past my mental block about this cake.  I spent a happy Sunday, when the cafe was closed, experimenting with a variety of recipes until I hit upon this (which is actually a combination of 3 different recipes).

We were away, carrot cake no longer held any fears for me and it joined the serried ranks of home made regulars on the cafe counter.

This week I was making carrot cake at home for a friends birthday and I thought I would share a few tips with you.

Lots of recipes use the all-in-one method but I find you get a much lighter cake if you whisk the oil, eggs and sugar together first before adding the carrots and dry ingredients.  Keep whisking until the mixture thickens and the whisks leave a trail.

Some recipes suggest that you grate the carrots coarsley but I find that this can also lead to a dense cake so I prefer to grate them more finely.

It is essential that you use full fat cream cheese for the icing, low fat will go runny.  The butter adds a little stability to the icing but do make sure that it is well softened and the cream cheese is at room temperature, otherwise the butter will solidify giving you a lumpy icing.  You can sweeten the icing with icing sugar but I like to use maple syrup as it adds extra flavour as well as sweetness.  Experiment a little with the amount according to your taste.  I like the sharpness that the cream cheese adds; a nice contrast to the sweet cake, but you might have a sweeter tooth than me.

For an every day cake I make two 8″ round cakes and sandwich them together with the cream cheese icing.  In the cafe I made more icing than this and you can too if you want to be generous.

For this cake I made three 6″ cakes.  This gives a smaller but taller cake which I think is more elegant for a special occasion cake.  If you only have two 6″ cake tins you can divide the mixture into three and bake two cakes first.  Keep the remaining cake mix covered with cling film – it will be fine whilst the other cakes bake and cool enough to remove from the tins.

I also made three times the amount of icing for this cake so that I had enough to fill the cake and coat the outside.  I decorated it with caramelised hazelnuts, orange zest and pistachios.  You can be as creative as you like.

This cake is so simple and so tasty that I can’t believe I ever used to delegate it.  Please let me know what you think.

 

Carrot Cake

Ingredients

For the Cake

250ml (9fl oz) Sunflower Oil

4 Large Eggs

225g (8oz) Light Muscovado Sugar

200g (7oz) Carrots (peeled and finely grated)

300g (10oz) Self-Raising Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp ground Mixed Spice

1 tsp ground Ginger

Grated zest of one Orange

75g (2½ oz) chopped Walnuts

To decorate – 8 Walnut Halves or Caramel Hazelnuts plus grated Orange Zest

For the Icing

50g (1¾ oz) Butter (softened)

25g (1oz) Icing Sugar or 1-2 tbsp Maple Syrup

280g (10oz) Full-Fat Cream Cheese (at room temperature)

A few drops of Vanilla Extract

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4).

Grease and line two deep 20cm (8in) round sandwich tins (or three 6” tins).

In a large bowl, combine the oil, sugar, orange zest and eggs and whisk until thick and creamy.

Stir in the carrots. Fold in the sifted flour, baking powder and spices. Once combined, stir in the walnuts.

Spoon the mixture evenly between the tins.

Put the cakes in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes (25-30 minutes for 6” cakes) or until golden brown, risen and shrinking away from the sides of the tins.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make the icing

Measure the butter, icing sugar (or maple syrup), cream cheese and vanilla extract into a bowl and whisk until smooth and thoroughly blended. Taste and adjust the sweetness according to taste.

Spread half the icing on one cake, sit the other cake on top and spread the remaining icing on top to make a swirl pattern. Decorate the top of the cake with the halved walnuts and orange zest.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like to see more please visit and like the bun scuffle facebook page or follow @bunscuffle on Twitter for updates and more.

Chocolate & Cherry Brownies

Cherry, Chocolate Brownie Recipe

I made these brownies as little gifts for some friends. Being a fan of black forest gateaux I already knew that chocolate and cherries is a great combination but I was less sure about the coconut. I like coconut a lot in both sweet and savoury dishes but I was a little bit concerned that it might affect the texture of the brownies.

I needn’t have worried. The coconut flavouring was actually very subtle and, although these brownies were a tad less gooey than usual they were still soft and wonderfully moist and the coconut probably stopped them from being too wet.

The ultimate test? My lovely friends opened and tried them before they even got them home and they either really loved them or else they are very polite and extremely good liars.

Ingredients

200g / 7 oz Dark Chocolate (75% cocoa solids is good)

150g / 5 oz Butter

200g / 7 oz Soft Brown Sugar

3 Eggs

150g / 5 oz Plain Flour

85g / 3 oz Desiccated Coconut

425g Can Black Cherries (drained)

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4

Lightly grease a 20cm x 20cm (8” x 8”) cake tin and line with greaseproof paper.

Break up the chocolate and chop the butter into small pieces. Place them both in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted. Mix well.

Mix the sugar into the chocolate mixture, stirring well to dissolve any lumps. Beat the eggs and stir into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour and coconut and the gently fold in cherries.

Pour mixture into the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes. Leave in the tin to cool before cutting into squares to serve.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog and would like to receive updates please “like” the bun scuffle Facebook Page or follow bun scuffle on Twitter using the links below. If you don’t use social Media you can email me fiona@bunscuffle.co.uk and I will send you updates by email.

 

Chocolate and Raspberry Cupcakes

Chocolate and Raspberry Cupcakes

Ok, so it’s January and you are all trying to cut down after the Christmas excess so, what am I doing make chocolate cakes? Ridiculously rich and chocolaty chocolate cakes at that.

Well, the answer is that bun scuffle is exactly one year old today and every birthday should be celebrated with cake. If that is not actually written into law then it should be.

Twelve months ago I started writing with no idea what I was doing – I still don’t know but I seem to have done plenty of it! To date I have written over 50 blog articles and published 76 recipes, I have cooked at home, borrowed kitchens, run the Unseen Restaurant, eaten out, shopped locally, made pasta, baked cakes, judged competitions, cooked with kids and met some wonderful people.

I have thoroughly enjoyed all the cooking and the writing and am massively indebted to all of you for reading my random thoughts. To celebrate all of this I did what I do and I baked cakes.

These cakes are based on an original recipe by Eric Lanlard in Cox, Cookies and Cake but as always I have tweeked it a little! The cakes themselves are light and flavoursome and the ganache topping is rich and sweet and decadent. They don’t taste of the coffee at all but it does help to bring a roundness to the chocolate flavour. I love chocolate but I think these could possibly be a tad too chocolaty (if that is even possible) without the sharp contrast that the raspberries impart. All in all a perfect balance – I have some left so come round if you fancy one.

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes

125g / 4 oz Butter

75g / 3 oz Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa solids)

150g / 5 oz Light Muscovado Sugar

2 Large Eggs

225g / 8 oz Self-Raising Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

150 ml cooled Espresso or Strong Black Coffee

450g / 14 oz Raspberries

For the Ganache

200ml / 7 fl oz single cream

250g / 8 oz Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa solids)

50g / 2 oz softened Butter

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6

Line a cupcake tin with paper cases (makes 10 – 12).

For the Cupcakes

Put the chocolate and butter into a bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted. Set aside to cool for a minute or two.

Whisk the sugar into the chocolate mixture then whisk in the eggs and the vanilla essence. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in. Stir in the cooled coffee a little at a time until well mixed.

Half fill each of the paper cases with the cake mixture. Reserve a nicely shaped raspberry to top each cake then divide the rest between the cake cases (2 or 3 in each). Cover with more cake mix until the cases are approximately ¾ full.

Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until firm and springy to the touch. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Make the ganache: Break the chocolate up into small pieces and place in a bowl. Heat the cream to almost boiling point and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts and then stir in the butter until well combined.

Spoon or pipe the ganache onto the cupcakes and top each one with a raspberry.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog and would like to receive updates please “like” the bun scuffle Facebook Page or follow bun scuffle on Twitter using the links below. If you don’t use social Media you can email me fiona@bunscuffle.co.uk and I will send you updates by email.

 

 

 

 

 

Orange Marmalade Cake

I saw this recipe in the Jamie Oliver magazine some time ago and thought it looked like a plate full of sunshine.  I filed it in the “make later” part of my brain and waited for an opportunity.  That opportunity presented itself in the form of a wet afternoon and a fruit bowl full of oranges.

The cake didn’t disappoint – it is moist and soft with a bitter orange note from the fruit topping.  This is definitely one for the grown ups.

Ingredients

200g / 8oz Butter (softened) plus a large knob for greasing

4 tbsp Demerara Sugar

2 Small Oranges (thinly sliced)

200g / 8oz Golden Caster Sugar

6 tbsp fine-cut Marmalade

4 Large Eggs (beaten)

200g / 8ozSelf-Raising Flour

50g / 2oz Ground Almonds

Finely Grated Zest and Juice of 2 oranges

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°C / Gas Mark 4.

Generously grease the base and sides of a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin with butter.

Sprinkle the base with the Demerara sugar – this may seem like a lot of sugar but it counteracts the bitterness of the orange so be liberal with it. Arrange the orange slices on the base of the tin in a slightly overlapping layer.

Cream the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy, then beat in 3 heaped tablespoons of marmalade followed by the beaten eggs.

Fold in the flour, ground almonds, a pinch of salt, and the orange zest and juice.

Pour the cake batter into the tin taking care not to disturb the orange slices.

Place in the oven and bake for about 50 minutes, till golden and firm to touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes. Turn the cake out onto a serving plate whilst still warm.

Prick holes in the cake with a skewer. Make a glaze by warming the rest of the marmalade in a pan with a little water. Spoon the glaze over the cake.

You can eat this cake cold as normal but it also makes a great dessert served warm with cream or ice cream.