I know that looking at this picture it must be difficult to believe that I don’t really like hot cross buns. I think its the orange peel that is sneakily included in the super fruity ones that puts me off. I think that they should come with a warning label if they’re going to have peel in them. I always have the intention of baking my own custom buns with choc chips and cinnamon instead of currants and peel but somehow I never get around to it. Perhaps because Easter comes at the end of Term 1 which always stretches out interminably and leaves me utterly exhausted at the end. Far too exhausted for adventurous baking.
I’m pretty sure that there can be no arguments that high tea really is the best.
If you find yourself disagreeing with me, I refer you to the picture above. When else can you gorge on scones with lashings of jam and cream followed by petite desserts and artfully constructed finger sandwiches. When else can you pretend to really be from high society and sip fragrant tea with your pinkie in the air? Ok, so I don’t quite do that but I do love a good cup of tea. And scones. And cakes. And (some) sandwiches. So in January this year, to mark the end of the holidays, mum and I went to sample the afternoon tea of the Sydney Park Hyatt.
For my birthday recently I was delighted to receive several cookbooks that I had been hankering after. As I have recently had to buy a new bookcase to store my ever increasing stash of cookbooks, I vowed to do more than just look at the pretty pictures and actually cook a proper amount of recipes from each book. My resolution was strengthened by the fact that holidays start in three weeks and after that I will have no colleagues/students to give my excess food to and my ever expanding waistline will soon begin to rival the equator. Fact.
And lets face it, with this selection how could you not be dying to have a crack at the recipes?
Anyway, back to the story. After the serendipitous meeting of Zumbo the other weekend (see here), I was determined to make something from the book, no matter how hard the recipes looked. The first recipe I opened to was this “It Mayo Shock You” cake and after the initial URGH reaction to the thought of mayo and chocolate (both of which I love but previously only separately) I was intrigued by the relative simplicity of the recipe.
Love the full page photos but intrigued by the continuous presence of tiny people. Any ideas?
(I also like to eat this squeezed on carrot sticks… mmmm…)
Yep. Equator. Told you so.
So the cakes came out fine, but then I hit a snag. I should have known that all would not be as it seemed. To go over the cake the recipe called for a chocolate glaze that seemed simple enough, but required the making of a mirror glaze which required an ingredient called Pectin NH. I’m familiar with normal pectin as ive used it in jam making many times before. One voice in my head said “go ahead lazy bones, just whack some jamsetta in and be done with it” while the other voice said “Katie, do you really think that someone with this degree of expertise in finnicky ingredients would just use normal pectin? Nuh uh.” For once, I made the right decision, as I found out later on that you cannot substitute normal for NH as they are totally different and act differently under heat. So I decided to admit defeat and use a normal chocolate ganache with raspberries on top of my cake.
But, I had my own secret weapon.
You just have to remember that the star dust will lose its poppyness after it comes into contact with moisture so you don’t want to put it on your ganache before it has set.
It was impossibly light. It was impossibly chocolaty but without being overly sweet.
Smothered in rich ganache with the pop of raspberry and the magical mouth popping star dust, this was the dessert of champions!
So, unfortunately I couldn’t fully reproduce the recipe as it was written, but I feel an immense sense of achievement just from making the cake. Next on the list are the “toasted lammyjammit” and the “honey comb-over” yes, I am going to work my way up to the much much more challenging ones. Baby steps peeps.
So, my lovelies, what is the craziest dessert you have ever made or eaten? Did you do a fist pump in the air when you completed it? I may have…
It Mayo Shock U – From Zumbo by Adriano Zumbo
Ingredients for the Cake
291 g japanese mayonnaise
210g caster sugar
6g vanilla extract
300g plain flour (sifted)
6g baking powder
5g bi carb soda
65g unsweetened cocoa powder
165g fresh raspberries plus extra for decoration
1. Mix the mayonnaise, sugar and vanilla for 3-5 mins until the sugar begins to dissolve
2. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the mayo mix. Mix on a low speed to combine
3. With the motor running, add the water and mix until combined (beware of the splatter potential though, I don’t know if I didn’t use a big enough bowl or of the mixture was just super wet but I ended up with cake batter everywhere!)
4. Remove the mixer and carefully stir the raspberries through using a wooden spoon or spatula
5. Pour into two small loaf tins (7.5 X 7.5 X 20 cm) that have been greased and lined with baking paper
6. Bake on 170 degrees celsius for 45 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out just a little moist
7. cool the cakes in the tins and turn out carefully, making sure that you leave them the right way up
I was super lazy and just melted some dark chocolate and then added some cream until I had the right consistency. You could always just pour melted chocolate straight on as well I suppose. Super super chocolaty!
Then garnish with raspberries and strawberry star dust!