Orange Hazelnut Cake

I saw a recipe for a walnut cake and thought I could enhance it by adding orange zest, hazelnut liqueur and substituting the ground walnuts with hazelnut flour/meal.

I call mine “Orange Hazelnut Cake”

orange hazelnut cake

With the addition of Hazelnut Liqueur and orange zest, I further enhanced the flavor, by making a syrup of hazelnut liqueur, honey, orange juice, and orange zest then brushed onto the cake.

For decoration, I made candied oranges slices

Delicious!

Orange Hazelnut Cake
Serves: Serves 8-10
Ingredients
⅔ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons hazelnut liqueur, plus 3 Tablespoons more for syrup
1 Tablespoon honey, plus 1 teaspoon more for syrup
3 eggs
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
Zest from 1 large orange, save and set aside ¼ teaspoon and the orange for syrup
pinch salt
½ cup hazelnut flour/meal

Orange Hazelnut Syrup
3 Tablespoons Hazelnut Syrup
Juice from 1 orange
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon orange zest

Directions
⦁ Preheat the oven to 350°F.
⦁ Grease and flour a half-size Bundt pan with a 6-cup capacity. (I used Baker’s Joy Baking Spray)
⦁ With a hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
⦁ Add the vanilla, hazelnut liqueur, and 1 Tablespoon honey and mix well.
⦁ Add the eggs, one at a time mixing well after each addition.
⦁ Add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and orange peel (minus the ¼ teaspoon saved) and beat till creamy.
⦁ Without using the mixer, gently fold the hazelnut flour into the batter.
⦁ Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
⦁ Leave the cake to rest in the pan for 5 minutes before carefully unmoulding it. Leave the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.
⦁ Meanwhile, to make the syrup, add orange juice, hazelnut liqueur, orange zest and honey to a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, lower heat and gently boil for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
⦁ Brush the syrup onto the cooled cake.

Decorate as desired. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Pretzel Buns For Pub-Style Burgers

Making homemade “pretzel sandwich buns” was easy and took little time and effort make.

I made these for cheeseburgers we had for supper last night along with a batch of home fries.

Pretzel Buns

For pub-style burgers (or any type sandwiches) at home without the added expense of eating out, I encourage you to make a batch.

You can find the recipe at King Arthur Flours/Pretzel Buns.

French Financiers

Have you ever heard of a financier (pronounced fee-nahn-see-AY)?

financiers

It’s a classic French pastry.

According to the New York Time-The Pastry Chef’s Rich Little Secret, “IT’S a simple almond cake, leavened by egg whites, moistened with browned butter and baked into a small mold. It is springy, sweet and nutty with an exterior that’s as crisp as an eggshell.”

The article also goes on to say, “In France, financiers have been a staple of fine pastry shops for more than 100 years.”

In my quest to bake and taste something different,  I happened upon the article and the recipe for financiers.  

“All you need is a whisk, a bowl, a pan and a mere stroke of finesse.”

Yesterday, I baked a half batch.

financiers

“The batter then has to rest before baking. A few hours in the refrigerator, and the flavors will harmonize and the batter will firm up, making it easier to pipe into molds.”

The instructions say to chill the batter in the bowl.  Then, after chilling for the allotted amount of time, spoon the batter into a pastry bag with a 1/4 inch round pastry tip.  For me, I found it much easier to chill the batter in the pastry bag.  I, also, eliminated the round pastry tip and just cut an opening in the tip of the bag, then piped it into the prepared pans/molds.

You can find the recipe here: New York Time-The Pastry Chef’s Rich Little Secret.

Simply delicious!

Opera Cake

Like nothing I have ever tasted before.

The “Opera Cake”.

opera cake1For a while, I have been wanting to make this cake.  After reading through all the different recipes, my enthusiasm started to wane.  This cake has many different components and uses many ingredients.  I was just too lazy to go through all those steps.

Nevertheless, I wanted to challenge myself and to taste what all goes into one.  At the “Patisserie New York” an Opera Cake sells for $51.90.  It should be really tasty at those prices.

And yes, it was tasty-it was delicious!

I gathered a bunch of different type of recipes from around the net for this cake and put together a recipe for me. It took me a while to put it together and to convert amounts to cups, ounces, spoonfuls, etc.

I needed a joconde, ganache, coffee syrup, Italian buttercream, a chocolate mirror glaze, and lots of time.  An Opera Cake is usually made with almond flour, but can be made with hazelnut flour.  I used the hazelnut flour.  I thought coffee flavoring goes well with hazelnut flavor.

I had never made Italian Buttercream before.  I felt it had too much butter for one recipe  and it was too much work to create.  With this recipe, timing is everything.  Blah!

I found a little “umph“, the other day, and headed right into the kitchen to make that buttercream.  I can now say that all the effort (and butter) that goes into this Italian Meringue Buttercream is well worth the energy. The taste is heavenly.  It’s not too sweet, but melt-in-your-mouth creaminess.  I only made 3/4th of the Italian Buttercream recipe.

The buttercream was made on day one.  The next day, I made the rest of the components and the cake.  It took me 6 hours to bake, make and put together.  Whew!   It would have taken me longer, but Tom did all the dishes after each additional component was made.

This isn’t an entremets that should be eaten all the time and then, only a thin slice will do.  Moderation is the key word for this lovely, decadent dessert.

With all the work, ingredients and effort I put into this cake, and not knowing what I was doing, I think it turned out picture perfect!

Check out it’s, possible, history at “The Good Life France“.

You can find my recipe for this cake on this page-Opera Cake.

Weekend Bakers

What was happening this weekend-

Yesterday, I made an apple-caramel tarte tatin. It came out so pretty and it was delicious.

tarte tatin (2)

I inverted in on to a plate; snapped a picture of the applely-carmelly-almondly goodness. I was pleased at how well it turned out.

However, I unintentionally deleted the photo and can’t show you how pretty and appealing it was.

Ugh!

tarte tatin

This is before turning it out onto a plate.

Friday, I made (eight) ciabatta rolls for Italian sandwiches.  We filled them with Salami, picante provolone cheese, paper thin-cut veggies and homemade Italian sub dressing.

ciabatta

Today, Tom made us a delicious brunch. He made eggs, bacon  and cheese galettes. For sides, he cooked hash browns and sausage.

galette egg

Looks good and hit the spot on the cold, Sunday morn.

Weekends, for us, are rather nondescript. But, they weren’t always that way. As one gets older they seem to, unmemorably, fade away.

There was a time when we couldn’t wait for the weekend. They were always filled with family and fun. We made so many good and fun memories.

As they say,

“C’est la vie and Bon Appétit!”

Simply Delicious

Dalla cucina povera.

Today, I made 68-1 inch Italian meatballs.  I froze more than half.  With the rest,  I added them to my version of Italian wedding soup.

Italian wedding soup

Along with the soup, I made another boule from the 5-Minute Artisan Bread recipe.

french boule

Both were delicious and comforting.

Well, that was short and sweet.

See ya later!

Thank you for visiting!

Artisan Bread The Boule

At least once a week, I bake bread.  One of our favorites is the ciabatta (slipper, in Italian).  But, yesterday, I decided to revisit a book I purchased a while back and baked boule (ball, in French). The last bread I baked from that book was an Italian Semolina Bread.

boule

It’s a 5-Minute Artisan Bread riddled with holes and full of flavor. This bread is “quick, easy and rustic” using only white flour, yeast, salt and water. There is no need to knead the dough.

But after seeing how easy it is, you may need to need it more often than not.

You mix the dough in bulk then stash it in the refrigerator until ready for a chewy, delicious loaf of homemade goodness.

The trick lies in not kneading the dough but instead mixing the dough in bulk, stashing it in the fridge, and then forgetting about it until the craving for freshly baked bread descends upon you. When that happens, simply take the dough out of the fridge, lop off enough for a loaf, shape it, let it rest, and then take a moment to slide it in the oven before you casually go about your life. And then don’t come forget to come back later to retrieve the best artisan bread of your life from the oven.  –For the recipe and to read more visit:  Leite’s Culinaria 

After looking at the recipe you might find it a little intimidating since the directions seem to go on and on.  But, I assure you that it is easier than it looks.  Rather than mixing my dough in a container, I used my standing mixer. It mixes as easily as 1-2-3.  Then, I put the shaggy dough into a plastic, loosely covered, container for the 2 hour rise and to store in the refrigerator.  I let mine rise 3 hours.  The book say up to 5 hours is ok.

boule raised dough

The dough lasts up until 14 days in the refrigerator.  Therefore, be sure to use it up before the 14 days are over.  In the book, it says that the dough can be frozen in 1 lb. portions in an airtight container and defrosted overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking.

It’s important to note that when the dough is rising and when it is stored in the refrigerator, make sure that the lid, on the container, isn’t airtight. The trapped gasses my cause a ka-boom!

When you are ready to bake, all you do is cut off a piece of dough, (follow directions for this) shape and let rest for 40 minutes before baking.  Instead of using my pizza peel, I used a pizza pan lined with parchment paper.

boule before baking

The results are a chewy,  delicious loaf of homemade goodness riddle with holes.  The prefect bread for dipping and sopping up sauces and gravy.

boule

The book (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day) which includes this recipe and many more can found here.

boule

All Warm and Cozy

I had worked on a teapot cozy and wasn’t happy with the outcome.  Last week, I picked it back up and finished it.

Tea Cozy

For something that I made up in my head, I guess it didn’t turn out too badly.  It fits my one-cup teapot and does keep the tea hot while it steeps.  I used Peaches & Cream cotton yarn.

Tea Cozy

I do have another idea for a cozy.  If it turns out ok, I will (hopefully) write the pattern down on paper.  I hesitate to write down a pattern.  If I am on a roll, I don’t want to stop to jot down notes.

What usually happens is, “What I see in my head isn’t the same as the outcome”.  Argh!

I had purchased some new blended, signature, teas, Wizard’s Grey and The Evening Star, from Adagio online (sample tins are no longer available).  Both blends were very good, but as for my go-to-tea, I will probably just stick to Earl Grey.

These signature blends are perfect if you wish a treat now and then.  I just don’t want to depend on an online store to keep me stocked in tea.  It’s more convenient to go to the local store if I run out of tea.

Tea Grey Wizard

A cup of Wizard’s Grey, from Adagio, in my pretty little tea-cup.

I also wanted to share the flatbread that I baked.  I love how it folds without cracking.  I found the recipe for this flatbread at Mel’s Cafe Kitchen.

flatbread

To go along with the flatbread, I also made mulligatawny soup.

mulligatawny soup-flatbread

Years ago, after watching “Seinfeld’s” The Soup Nazi episode, I was curious about the recipe and found it online.  It is delicious!  I omit the eggplant and add more of the potato, pistachios and cashews to the pot.

Of course, everything that should be eaten in moderation is what I add more of…of course!

bluebird-siggy