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Tag Archives: Claudia Roden

Clementine Layer Cake with Raspberry Meringue Buttercream


Here is a quirky celebration cake, or if you’re looking for a cake to make that requires a few cake decorating skills. Nothing too challenging, I assure you!

I created this one lazy Saturday, with nothing more in mind than I wanted to make a cake that looked good and on which I could try out a few new skills in icing and decorating. As I’m the classic rustic baker, this cake is quite achievable for anyone with some basic skills! I was inspired by a recent trip to Saga in Enmore, in Sydney’s inner west where the legendary Andy Bowdy makes awesome cakes! Check out the website here!

You could use all or just some of my ideas, and tailor make the cake to suit your own creativity.

And by the way, for us Aussies, who only recently have (limited) access to clementines, mandarins would be great too!

The full description of the cake is this: Clementine and Almond Cake with Raspberry Meringue Buttercream, White Chocolate Crumb, White Chocolate Passionfruit Drizzle, Toffee Fruit.  The cake itself is based on that wonderful, and now quite universal, orange almond cake from Claudia Roden, first seen in A New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden.

I have included the quantities for a full size cake mixture. You probably won’t need the entire mixture – however if your cake is a baked in tins larger than the ones I’ve used (10cm/4in), you may need the whole lot. If you do have some mixture left over, just bake it in muffins molds for some seriously moist and delicious little cakes!

The same with the meringue buttercream. I have given quantities enough for a large amount of frosting. You can make less, or keep the remaining buttercream for another bake.

So here’s my recipe for the cake and its assembly.

Ingredients

Clementine Cake
3 clementines skin on (or 3 mandarins)
4 free-range eggs
250g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
250g ground almonds

Raspberry Meringue Buttercream
4 egg whites
2 cups white sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons freeze dried raspberry powder or enough to make a deep pink buttercream

White Chocolate Crumb
100g white chocolate
1 tablespoon passionfruit fondant creme* or a few drops good quality yellow food colouring

White Chocolate Passionfruit Drizzle or Dribble!
100g white chocolate
1 tablespoon passionfruit fondant creme* or a few drops yellow food colouring
A few drops milk

Toffee Fruit
3 tablespoons caster sugar
A few clementine segments and whole strawberries

Method

Cake

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C fan forced, 170 degrees C non fan forced. Butter 3 small cake tins well, and line the bases with a circle of baking paper – I used tins 10cm/4in in diameter.
Place clementines in a medium saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, cool and chop (discard seeds), then blitz in a food processor. Add the eggs and sugar and process until combined. Add the baking powder and ground almonds and blitz making sure  everything is thoroughly mixed. The mixture is quite a wet one, so you can, if you’re nervous add 1-2 tablespoons of plain flour to make the batter a little less runny.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tins.
Bake for up to an hour, or until until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the cakes comes out clean. If the cakes are still wet, bake for longer.  However, the cakes may take less than the hour – check at the 40 minute mark for “doneness”.
Cool the cakes before carefully turning out of the tins, removing the baking paper.

Raspberry Meringue Buttercream

Place the egg whites and sugar into a metal bowl and set over a saucepan filled with about 5 cms of simmering water.
Heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature of the egg whites reaches 60 degrees C.  Transfer the heated egg whites and sugar to a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Mix at high speed until they have reached their maximum volume, 5 to 10 minutes.

Mix on medium or medium-high speed while pinching off small pieces of butter and throwing them in. Mix in vanilla. Continue beating for about 5 minutes until the meringue and butter mixture is completely amalgamated, thick and of icing consistency. Carefully fold in the freeze dried raspberry powder.

White Chocolate Crumb

This method is tricky and possibly controversial! There are no doubt recipes which tell you how to bake white chocolate in the oven until it caramelizes and goes crumbly. I can’t guarantee the success of my method – a lot will depend on the power of your microwave and you own baking intuition in judging timings.
Essentially, you are cooking the white chocolate after it has melted, causing it to seize.
My method is pretty easy – stick the white chocolate in pieces  in the microwave (not on high- medium or even lower), and carefully melt. Then add the fondant creme or yellow food colouring mixing it through the warm chocolate. It will start to seize up. If it’s crumbly enough for you, then it’s done. If you want a more distinct crumb, place the chocolate back in the microwave on a low heat and cook for longer. I would advise going in 20 second bursts until you are satisfied with the crumb texture.

White Chocolate Drizzle

This needs to be made when you are ready to apply the drizzle/dribble to the cake.
Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, taking care that the bowl does not touch the water. Or live dangerously as I did and melt the white chocolate in the microwave on a low heat setting.
Once melted, add the  fondant creme or yellow food colouring. As with the white chocolate crumb, the chocolate will probably seize. Take off  the heat and add a few drops of milk and beat vigorously until the mixture is of drizzling consistency. It comes back pretty well.

Toffee Fruit

Put the caster sugar in a small frying pan over a medium heat and dissolve the sugar, being careful not to stir the sugar. Once the melted sugar has hit that beautiful toffee/tea colour, remove from the heat, and carefully pour most of the toffee over the clementine segments and strawberries on the baking paper. Pour the last bit of the liquid toffee onto the baking paper so that you can break it up into shards once cold.

Assembly

Carefully cut the 3 cakes horizontally in half, to create 6 layers. This can be quite tricky as this cake is incredibly moist and can break easily.Work out which of the 6 layers are good, and which  you want to disguise. Pick the best for the top layer, a sturdy one for the bottom layer, and all the rest in between.
Place the bottom layer on a cake plate or cake board. Ice with the meringue buttercream, again being careful  as the cake is fragile. Repeat with the other layers, making the frosting on the top nice and thick. Ice the sides of the cake. A good palette knife will help with achieving a smooth texture.

Now for the decoration! This is where you can use your creative license! I dribbled the white chocolate drizzle down the sides of the cake, scattered the white chocolate crumb over the cake and around the base, placed the toffee fruit on and around the cake, and lastly decorated the cake with the toffee shards.
But absolutely you can have fun with this cake and do whatever you like to make your cake a quirky and visually spectacular creation!

*My local kitchen store stocks a range of Roberts Fondant Cremes see here for the link to the Passionfruit one I used in the recipe. However you can easily get the yellow effect by just using yellow food colouring, and don’t worry about the passionfruit flavour.

 

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Cherry Jam Crostata and Blood Orange Cake

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A lovely morning tea was held to celebrate the birthday of Quirky Sister No 2 recently. Quirky Nieces 1 and 3 made two beautiful bakes – an Italian crostata and a whole blood orange cake – for the festivities.

Quirky Niece 1, Isabella, on a recent trip to Italy, came back with a great crostata recipe, and in Italian , too. I  have included the original hand written recipe.

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Quirky Niece 3, Helena, used one of my favourite citrus fruits, blood oranges, in a cake with the whole fruit, from a Nigella recipe which references the famous Claudia Roden orange and almond cake.

Cherry Jam Crostata

The Italian source didn’t provide a lot of information – no method, so I have included what I think would work.

Ingredients

300g plain flour
½ sachet of baking powder (1 sachet = 11g)
150g sugar
100g butter
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks

Quantity of any good jam for the filling (my niece used black cherry)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Line a tart mold with baking paper or you could simply grease a baking tray if you want a true rustic crostata.

Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a food processor and pulse till the mixture just comes together.

Make a well  in the centre  and add the butter and egg and egg yolks and mix in gently until combined but not overworked.

Roll out the dough roughly  – remember this is not a precise tart – and line the tart mold. Or gently shape the dough into a round with a pastry rim on the baking tray.

Fill the tart with the jam, adding a  pastry decoration as my niece did, and bake for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden and the jam bubbling.

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Blood Orange Cake

Ingredients

3 blood oranges
6 large free-range eggs
225g sugar
250g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder

Candied orange topping

Juice of a blood orange
4 tbs honey
1 blood orange thinly sliced

Method

Put the blood oranges in a saucepan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours or until the blood oranges are soft. Drain and, when cool, cut each orange in half and remove the pips. Put the oranges – skins, pith and fruit – and blitz in a food processor.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Butter and line a 21cm springform tin.

Add the other ingredients to the food processor and mix.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for an hour until a skewer comes out clean –  cover with aluminum foil after about 40 minutes to stop the top of the cake burning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack, but in the tin.

To make the candied orange topping, put the orange juice and honey in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium. Add the orange slices and cook for 5 minutes each side until the orange slices caramelise.

Top the cake with the candied orange slices and syrup.

Lemon Drizzle Cake with Passionfruit Icing

 IMG_5931I’m currently researching lemon cakes. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! I love any cakes with lemon or yoghurt or white chocolate or sour cream and that incorporate a lemon syrup.

I’ve made Jamie Oliver’s Greek Semolina cake and the always wonderful Le Pirate’s Lemon White Chocolate cake recently, both with my own Quirky tweaks.

And I have been making Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern orange cake for many years. So I made a cake which incorporated the Claudia Roden idea of cooking the whole fruit, with a yoghurt and oil based cake. Lemon drizzle syrup and a passionfruit icing gave a tangy sweetness.

Cook’s note: I have found with this cake and previous versions that you need to drench the cake with lemon syrup to make sure it’s very moist. Maybe I need to adjust my flour quantities or my cooking times? I would welcome some thoughts!

Lemon Drizzle Cake with Passionfruit Icing

Ingredients

1 lemon
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Greek yoghurt
2 cups self raising flour

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 24 cm spring form tin and line the base with baking paper.

Place the lemon in a saucepan with water and boil gently till soft- about 1 hour. When cooked, leave to cool, then blitz in a food processor until pureed.
Place the caster sugar in the food processor, blitz until well combined.  Add the eggs and oil, mix well. Stir in the yoghurt, followed by the flour.

Pour the mixture into the tin. It will be quite loose.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool slightly in the tin, and then turn out onto a rack.

Lemon Syrup

Combine 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup caster sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.

Pierce the cake all over with a skewer. While the cake is still warm, drizzle the lemon sugar syrup over the cake and allow it to soak in.

Passionfruit Icing

Place 1 cup icing sugar in a bowl with 2 passionfruit. Mix carefully to make a smooth, flowing icing. Ice the cake, allowing the icing to flow over the sides of the cake.

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