20th January 2013
I’m terrible at remembering to write-up my blogs or perhaps it’s the fact I need to sit down and find the time.
I baked this gâteau last Sunday and over-ran my time apparently in the kitchen according to my husband – who was in charge of the Sunday roast – oh well there’s no set time for our Sunday meal – whenever it’s ready it’s ready, that’s my motto. This looked quite an interesting bake and there was something in it that I had never attempted before – sugar syrup, so it would also be a challenge.
First things first – the oven was put on at 170°C and a deep 23cm (9″) round tin was required. This was lightly greased and the base lined. I’m so glad I bought some ready cut out parchment circles, it does save so much time and also there’s no wastage.
Into a large mixing bowl went 3 large eggs, together with 100g caster sugar. These were whisked with my electric hand whisk on full speed until the mixture was pale in colour and thick enough to just leave a trail when you removed the whisk . 75g self-raising flour was sieved over the surface of the mixture and gently folded in. This was turned into the tin and put into the oven for 30 minutes. That was the easy part!
After 30 minutes in the oven the cake was golden in colour and had started to shrink away from the sides of the tin, so it was removed, left to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turned out onto a cooling rack, having first removed the parchment from the bottom.
Whilst waiting for the cake to cool completely it was time to make the crème au beurre moka (coffee butter cream). Now this wasn’t the usual way of creaming some butter and icing sugar together then adding some coffee extract, oh no this was far more adventurous! I was pleased to see that icing sugar was not required, so at least my kitchen would remain ‘icing sugar dust’ free for once.
The first thing you had to do was to put 75g caster sugar into a small heavy based pan together with 4 tablespoons water. This had to be heated very gently until the sugar had dissolved. I remembered from watching The Great British Bake Off that you shouldn’t under any circumstance stir this – so I didn’t. Once the sugar had dissolved the mixture had to be brought to the boil and boiled steadily for 2-3 minutes or until it had reached the temperature of 107°C on a sugar thermometer. Now I do own a sugar thermometer so I thought I would use it, as it only normally gets used when I’m making jam. This is where it all went wrong. For some reason I had the figure 170°C in my head. My mixture was happily boiling away and even though Mary says it’s ready when the syrup forms a slim thread when pulled apart between two teaspoons (which mine did), I kept on boiling it as it wasn’t at 170°C. It was when the mixture started to darken quite a lot, that I decided it was ready even though it was still quite a way off 170°C!
I turned the heat off and into a mixing bowl I placed two large egg yolks (having separated them and put the whites aside for something else). They were given a quick stir to break them up and then the sugar syrup was to be added in a thin stream. Well, it was at the point where the sugar hit the egg yolks that I realised something was wrong. My sugar immediately solidified into a solid lump. It didn’t matter how much I tried to beat it in it just wasn’t going to happen. It had to be thrown away.
Luckily I had plenty of eggs so two more were separated and the yolks put into a bowl. Once again 75g caster sugar and 4 tablespoons of water were put into a pan and put over the heat. This time after reading through the recipe again I realised my mistake – the temperature I had cooked the syrup to was far too hot. This time, once the liquid reached 107°C on my sugar thermometer the heat was quickly turned off and the pan removed. It was quite a difficult thing to do on your own as you had to pour the sugar syrup into the eggs in a thin stream and whisk continually. I decided on my balloon whisk for this and I’m pleased to say that this time it worked perfectly and the mixture came together. You had to keep whisking the mixture until it was thick and cold and I must admit very glossy too.
The next stage for the ‘buttercream’ consisted of creaming 175g softened butter. Once this had been creamed the egg yolk mixture had to be beaten in a little at a time. Mary says to add 1-2 tablespoons of coffee extract. I added 1 spoonful and mixed it in and had a taste. I didn’t think the coffee tasted strong enough so I added another half a tablespoon. The créme au beurre moka tasted gorgeous, much nicer than ordinary buttercream.
By now the cake had cooled so it was sliced in half horizontally and the two slices sandwiched together with a thin layer of the buttercream. The buttercream was then spread over the tops and sides of the cake – a small amount was kept back for decoration. 175g toasted flaked almonds had to then be pressed into the side and top of the cake. This was rather fiddly and rather messy too. Personally I thought 175g seemed far too many toasted almonds – I think I probably only used about 100g. The top was then dusted very lightly with icing sugar and small rosettes of the remaining buttercream were piped around the top.
This cake looked very impressive. It wasn’t a deep cake at all but it did have the ‘wow’ factor about it. It tasted lovely – it was definitly a favourite with my daughter – I think she probably ate half the cake in total over a couple of days. She said it was the best cake I’ve ever made and she particularly enjoyed the ‘buttercream’.
Now I know how to make sugar syrup, I don’t think I’ll be quite as nervous next time – can’t wait now to make something that requires spun sugar, but I’m not sure that I’ll want to clear my kitchen up afterwards…