Monday, June 21, 2021

Raspberry Chocolate Malt Dacquoise

 One of the recent Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club challenge options from Zoe Bakes Cakes was the "dacquoise with cream and berries." Originally my plan was to make the "raspberry charlotte royale" but then waited too long, so I had time to make one recipe but not the ingredients. Time to get creative! I had plenty of cream for a dacquoise, and plenty of raspberries, but no lemon curd. I've had a container of Ovaltine in my pantry for a while (not a paid advertisement, by the way), ever since reading how Joy the Baker uses it to make a silky chocolate buttercream. I had it as one of the options for a birthday cake I made in February, but went a different direction.  So I started thinking if Ovaltine powder would dissolve enough for a buttercream, maybe it would work in a whipped cream as well. 

three discs of creamy white dacquoise on a red plate, alternating with layers of rosy brown ovaltine whipped cream, raspberry jam, and fresh raspberries

So this isn't really a recipe as much as it is a formula. I also didn't want to make a full size dessert since I'd have to eat it all myself, so I cut Zoe's recipe in half.

angled overhead view of same dessert described in previous image

I traced a cereal/soup bowl three times onto one sheet of parchment. I still baked it around the same time as the larger ones, maybe 5-10 minutes less. This made four perfect servings, one of which I had for breakfast two days after I made it (dacquoise really doesn't last that long, pro tip.)

I used the recipe from the cookbook, the only change I made was cutting it in half and using slivered almonds I had on hand instead of toasting my own. I thought about using pecan flour again but since I was using almonds anyway, I went ahead and used almond flour. I'm not sure I beat it quite long enough but it still baked well; I wish I'd formed the layers a bit more evenly so the stack would have been less uneven.

For the whipped cream, I used 1/4 cup Ovaltine powder to 2 cups heavy cream. I was uncertain if it would cause any problems so I started low. It did take longer to whip the cream, but it eventually got there. I think more Ovaltine would have been nice, probably not more than 1/2 cup to 2 cups cream. Alternately I could have added some powdered sugar. But I also liked that it wasn't overly sweet, since the dacquoise and jam are both very sweet. I thought about mixing the jam into the whipped cream but instead I globbed it on and attempted to swirl it in some - I should have thinned it out a little to make it fancier. I also could have put the raspberry jam down before the whipped cream, but I wouldn't have wanted to use any more than I used, and then it would not have been visible. It really does help break up the bland color. And then, of course, fresh raspberries.

The malted cocoa flavor in Ovaltine might not go with all the fruits, but I was thinking it would also be a nice option for spring, around Easter time, when you can get those malted robin eggs. Crushing those up in the dacquoise would be a stunner! Maybe I'll remember and bring this idea back around. You can see what other people made by following the #rainydaybitescookbookclub hashtag in Instagram.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Plum Cake

We are still baking from Zöe Bakes Cakes in the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club,  and one of the shared challenges was this plum cake. A slightly different version of this is posted on Zöe's blog - Plum Cake - but since this actual one doesn't seem to be, I will just link to the cookbook

The whole plum cake with two circles of quartered purple plums baked into the cake

It was hard for me to find plums in this area, and in my experience, southern plums are usually pretty tart. Where I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, we lived next to a man who would bring us a bucket of plums from his plum tree every summer - they were sweet and soft and a deep dark blue. It was funny when the only plums I could find were canned Oregon plums off the internet. But I'm not sure these are the best things to use in a cake since they're a bit syrupy and not fresh tasting.

A slice of plum cake topped with ice cream. In the background is the cookbook the recipe comes from - Zoe Bakes Cakes

But I'm stubborn and made the cake anyway. I also used pecan flour instead of almond flour, and I'm not sure if there's a difference but the final result was a bit crumbly. I had purchased ice cream ahead of time that sounded like it might be a nice accompaniment - Jeni's Brown Butter Almond Butter - but I think this cake is more of a snacking cake, almost like a coffee cake, more for breakfast than dessert. It felt familiar to me, similar to the buttermilk strawberry cake I've made a few times, or this rhubarb coffee cake.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread

Another recipe from Zöe Bakes Cakes, a banana bread with two options - a Nutella swirl, or a cream cheese icing. I obviously went with the Nutella version, and I actually made a half recipe because of my one loaf pan. For more detailed directions and the cream cheese icing variation, see Zöe Bakes Cakes or her website, which also includes detailed photos. (This is the baking cookbook of focus for May-June in the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Challenge.)

Overhead view of a swirled loaf.

Nutella Swirled Banana Bread


Front view of a sliced off loaf


Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Generously butter two 8 by 4-inch (20 by 10-cm) or 9 by 5-inch (23 by 13-cm) loaf pans, then line them with buttered parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the bananas, brown sugar, butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla, and mix well with a wooden spoon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir just until smooth.

Scoop the Nutella into a small bowl and heat in the microwave until softened enough to drizzle, 20 to 30 seconds.

Divide half of the banana batter between the prepared pans. Drizzle half of the Nutella over the two pans and run a small, thin knife through the batter in a zigzag or swirl pattern to distribute.

Add the remaining batter to the pans, top with the remaining Nutella, and swirl into the batter with the knife again.

Bake until a tester comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and set on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.