Apple Spiced Cake with goat cheese icing and caramel drizzle

My brother asked for a home-made birthday cake for this birthday. This is what I made… It’s a pretty long process, do not try to make it after work as I did… Mine came out a bit “clumsy” for that reason.

Ingredients for the cake :
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tea spoons baking powder
1/2 tea spoon baking soda
1/2 tea spoon salt
1/2 tea spoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tea spoon ground allspice
1/4 tea spoon ground dry ginger
pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tea spoon vanilla extract
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cup applesauce
ingredients1

Ingredients for the icing :
6 oz goat cheese
8 oz mascarpone
2 table spoons butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tea spoon cinnamon
ingredients2

Ingredients for the caramel sauce/drizzle
1 cup sugar
6 table spoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup 35% cream
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch allspice
ingredients3

***

1. Butter and flour your cake rounds. Cut out parchment paper to line the bottom.
I used 1x 9″ and 2x 8″ cake molds because that’s what I have. If you have all the same size it’ll look better. If you have 4x 8″ that’s probably be best to have slightly thinner cake layers.
cake-molds

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg.
dry

3. In a measuring cup combine the whole milk and vanilla extract.
wet

4. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the butter and sugar.
butter1

5. Cream together for a few minutes until fluffy.
butter2

6. Add the eggs one at the time, beating well between each addition.
eggs

7. Add the dry and wet ingredients in increment, starting and ending with the dry. No in between step pictures but the order is :
Dry -> Wet -> Dry -> Wet -> Dry
combine

8. Fold in the applesauce.
applesauce

9. Divide the batter into your cake rounds.
divide

10. Bake for 25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes.
cool1

11. Remove from the pan (use a plate, they should drop right out when you flip them).
Remove the parchment paper and allow to cool fully on a rack.
cool2

12. While the cakes are cooling, make the icing.
Wash the bowl and paddle of the mixer and put all the ingredients in the bowl.
icing1

13. Beat until smooth, scrapping down the sides a few times.
Stick in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up some.
icing2

14. Time for caramel!
In a large sauce pan, combine the sugar with 1/4 cup of water. Turn the heat on medium.
caramel1

15. From this point on do not step away from the stove.
The sugar will first melt and get bubbly. You want to stir a few times to ensure all the sugar is melted.
caramel2

16. Then it will start to look hard and dry. You want to keep breaking this at this point to prevent lumps in the sauce.
caramel3

17. When it gets a color you like, turn the heat to low. Add the butter and stir until smooth. Add the cream and stir until smooth.
Remove from heat and add the bourbon and spices. Stir until smooth.

**Note my caramel is a shade darker then most people would aim for because I kinda like a tiny bit of the bitterness of it. YMMV stop at your preferred color of caramel.
caramel4

18. The residual heat in the sauce pan is enough to push the caramel into scorched territory (especially if you take it as far as I did). So transfer the caramel to a heat neutral vessel (here a quart mason jar) and allow to cool.
caramel5

19. Time to assemble.
Stack up your cakes with icing in between, ending with a thinner layer on top.
If you want to make it prettier cut the domed top of the cakes so they stack up more neatly.
assemble1

20. Drizzle as much caramel as you want over the whole thing.
cake

21. In a perfect world, put the assembled cake in the fridge for an hour to firm up. But my brother got home so we didn’t wait.
assemble2

22. Drizzle more caramel on the slices, if you want.
Makes for a rich but not too dense or heavy cake with plenty of sweetness. the tartness of the goat cheese is very nice in the icing and the caramel rounds it up.
slice

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Four toppings pizza

A delicious way to have more variety in your pizza dinner. Also good if some of the people are vegetarian as you can choose which toppings you want to eat.

Ingredients :
1 ball of dough
Tomato sauce
Mozzarella Cheese
Bocconcini cheese
Parmesan
Pesto
Black olives
Prosciutto
Goat cheese
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Fresh basil
Olive oil
savory-toppings

***

1. Roll out the dough to the  size of your baking sheet. Pre-heat the oven to 400F
savory-roll

2. Line the baking sheet with aluminium foil and brush with olive oil. Transfer the dough unto the sheet and score the dough so that you have four roughly equal areas.
savory-score

3. On the first area, spoon some pesto and spread around. Add the black olives and a good dusting of parmesan (or parmesan curls)
savory-pesto

4. On the second area spoon and spread some tomato sauce. Break the prosciutto in chunks. Add the goat cheese.
savory-prosc

5. On the next area, spoon and spread some tomato sauce. Add fresh basil leaves. Cut the grape or cherry tomatoes in half and distribute evenly. Add shredded mozzarella cheese.
savory-cherrytomatoes

6. On the last area, spoon and spread tomato sauce. Add fresh basil leaves. Cut the bocconcini and place on top of the basil leaves.
savory-margharita

7. Don’t overload the pizza with sauce or runny toppings, so the dough doesn’t get soggy.
savory-complete

8. Cook for 30 minutes on the lowest rack in the oven, or until the dough is cooked though and golden.
savory-cooked

Chèvre Chaud

A delicious appetizer, with just enough variation on the theme to be interesting, yet simple enough that it can be scaled up with ease.

The pictures and quantities below are for one portion, scale up as you require.

Ingredients
1 coffee spoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 coffee spoon Port
1/2 tea spoon Sugar (optional)
1 Fig
Baby Spinach (to taste)
Baby Arugula (to taste)
1 tea spoon Dijon mustard
1 table spoon Cider vinegar
1 table spoon Olive oil
1 pinch Ras el hanout
1 small Baguette
Goat Chesse (to taste)
Sliced almonds (to taste)
1/2 tea spoon Honey
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

ingredients

***

1. In a small pot, pour about 1 coffee spoon of balsamic vinegar and 2 coffee spoons of port. Allow to reduce on a very low heat. To make a thicker syrup you can add about half a tea spoon of sugar.
port

2. In a sealed container mix the Dijon mustard with the cider vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Shake until uniform in texture.
dressing

3. Cut the baguette on the bias. Lightly rub olive oil on both side of the bread.
bread

4. Toast the baguette slices.
toast

5. While the bread is toasting, wash and slice the figs. Grind the spices if you bought them whole.
prep

6. Assemble the croutons.

Left : Cheese topped with sliced almonds
Center : Figs, topped with the cheese.
Right : Cheese that has been seasonned on both sides with Ras el Hanout

Put back in the oven at broil until the cheese is warm and starting to melt.
assemble

7. Dress the greens with the vinaigrette. Drizzle a bit of honey over the crouton with the almonds. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the crouton with the figs.

Serve while warm.
final

Warm Beets Salad

Something I’ve been meaning to do for a while but kept pushing off. So of course the first really hot day of the summer is when I decide to roast beets for an hour… I can be weird sometimes.

You want an apron for this one, and possibly gloves. And to keep reminding yourself that beet’s juice stains. A lot. Wipe things down as you go to prevent having pink/red stains all over your kitchen.

Ingredients
3 red beets
3 yellow beets
4 cloves of garlic, halved
goat cheese
spinach
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt + pepper
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F

2. Scrub the outside of the beets until they are clean, but don’t peel them.
scrub

3. Cut the top and bottom of the beets and put them on top of a large piece of aluminium foil. put the halves of garlic between the beets. Pour some olive oil over all the vegetables. Add salt and pepper then fold the foil as air thigh as you can. Repeat with the yellow beets.

Then put both packets in the oven for 1 hour or until the beets can be pierced with a fork.
foil

4. In the meat time, wash the spinach and prepare a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.
salad

5. Once the beets are cooked, open the foil packets and allow to cool until you can manipulate them.
cooked

6. Gently scrape the blade of a knife on the edge of the beets to peel them then slice into cubes.

7. Put the beets on top of the spinach leaves, add as much cheese as you care for and spoon some dressing over the whole thing.
plate