Thursday, June 6, 2013

Baking classes with Esme Dawson

Yesterday Esme held interactive baking classes here at Kiwicake's. Everyone had so much fun and I think everyone told me they learnt heaps. We had a morning and an afternoon session, the items covered were similar, but the flavours varied across the two sessions.

Esme had everyone up helping her

In the morning we had Cheese and chive scones, my absolute favourite and sooooooooooo tasty!. As well as carrot cake and bakewell tart.

The franipani filling for this bakewell tart is from the Use Real Butter site here and Esme's pastry recipe is as follows
170g butter
85g Chelsea White Sugar
1 small egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
Zest of ½ lemon
260g flour

1. Beat the butter and sugar
2. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon zest.
3. Add the flour and mix to a paste.
4. Rest for 30 minutes in the fridge before using.

Esme's carrot cake recipe, she made in two layers so it would cool quicker.

In the afternoon, we had plain sweet scones (they got gobbled before I got a photo) and "yellow" cake.

The yellow cake has egg yolks only, so is a richer flavour and more yellow colour than whole eggs. It is slightly denser but still moist texture to it.. The yellow cake recipe is from the Joy of baking site here The most important thing when making this cake, is a lengthy creaming process for the butter & sugar (10minutes)

Esme's Cheese and chive scone recipe

Here are some of my tips;

  • Buttermilk is the key to go the best scones (in my opinion). You can subsitute normal milk in this recipe, but they will not be as light and tender. 
  • You can omit the butter entirely. In fact, when I am pressed for time I don't add it. However, I do find I get a slightly better scone by adding a little butter. But then again I'm pretty pedantic when it comes to scones! Most people would not notice I suspect. 
  • Quick & Light hands make the best scones. By this, I mean don't be too heavy handed once you add the liquid. If you overwork the dough you will end up with tough scones. A knife is best for mixing. 
  • Get them into the oven ASAP. Once you add the liquid, time is of the essence. You want to get them into the oven as soon as you can. 
  • Always sift your flour & baking powder. When rubbing in the butter, lift the mixture up from high, this always works in a little extra air. 
  • When sprinkling the cheese over the scones, let bits fall down the side and onto the tray. These form those wonderfully crunchy bits that contrast wonderfully with the light scone. 
  • This recipe can be adapted to any size/flavour. Always use a ratio of 1 cup of flour to 2t of baking powder. 
  • If you want sweet scones, then omit the cheese/chives, increase the butter (25g per 1 cup of flour) and at a couple of tablespoons of sugar (to taste). 
Enough rambling from me, onto the baking!

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees celcius. 
3 cups flour
6t baking powder
25g butter (optional)
375g grated tasty cheese (1 bag of the pre-grated stuff)
1 bunch chives, chopped 
1 container (500ml) buttermilk

Sift the flour and baking powder together. Rub in butter, if using. Stir in cheese & chives (reserve some cheese for sprinkling on top).

Add 3/4 of the mlk, stirring with a knive. Add enough to get a soft dough. If you need more liquid, add a little milk or water.

Pat out on a floured board. Cut up. Put onto baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle on reserved cheese. Pop in the oven and bake for 12-15 mins (depends on the size you cut them). 

Bake until risen, golden and cooked. They should sound "hollow" when tapped on the bottom. 

Best eaten warm with lashings of butter. 

Esme's recipe for plain scones

Omit the cheese & chives from the recipe above
change butter to 75g
add 1/4 cup sugar

Esme's Carrot Cake recipe
Whisk 4 large eggs (size 7) until light & fluffy with 1 3/4 cups of caster sugar for 5 minutes in a stand mixer

Mix in 1 cup of oil

Sift together 2 cups of flour (DON'T LEAVE OUT THE SIFTING) 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon (or mixed spice). Fold in.

Lastly stir in 3 cups of grated carrot

Bake in 2x 8inch/20cm cake pans at 170C for 20-30 minutes (or one larger 22-23cm tin)

Esme's Cream Cheese icing
125g butter
125g cream cheese
500g icing sugar sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
squeeze lemon juice

Make sure your butter is soft and squidgy (not melted) and your cream cheese is at room temperature. Cream butter until light & fluffy - add cream cheese, mix until blended. Beat in icing sugar in 2 lots. Add flavourings. Whip until smooth. To keep at piping consistency, don't over beat as the cream cheese starts to turn to liquid.

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