Thursday, May 28, 2009

Challenges from sisters

We are mashALLAH 5 sisters, and since I’ve been in the DB challenges, my sisters have started to challenge me on their own, here are 2 from them..

Date and Walnut Bread

Date and Walnut Bread (Adapted from

1st challenge: cake from pie in the sky which is very famous for the banana walnut bread, and yes I like it too and I thought I should try making one. I had seen a similar recipe on net and kept the link so I used that recipe, I didn’t fold in the whole thing in the batter rather I poured half batter in the pan first then topped with the date and walnut mixture and batter again so it came out like the one in the bakery. The cake was quite soft and crumbly, and tasted even better.

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Adapted from

2nd challenge: another cake from a different cake shop called hobnob, chocolate fudge cake with chocolate ganache. Before pouring the ganache I first use a crumb coat of chocolate butter cream and let it set in fridge, then poured chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate shaving, I happily let it sit to set and went about to meet a client when I got back the cake was gone with just 1 slice left (that was even kept for my sis-in-law) I really kicked myself for not taking photos before so I just had this 1 piece and that even my sis-in-law thought I was going to eat it won’t give it to me for the photos, until I explained I need it only to take few images for my blog she agreed (was standing all the time next to me). haha

and I made some cupcakes with the same recipe with different frosting.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Apple strudel

May' 09 Daring Bakers Challenge: Apple Strudel

This is my second DB challenge, and again I have never ever made a strudel before.
My sister’s though I could not do it, as I had read all the reviews about the slightest temperature change can cause problem with the dough as it is very hot and humid in this part of world and I start sneezing cause of the heat (crazy isn’t it?) I was being very careful and buildup some confidence as my 8 year old niece was eagerly waiting for the apple strudel (she loves apple strudel) so I kept with the original recipe changing nothing except omitting the rum.
So I got on with it and everything was quite easy and even the dough just a few tears and that about it. it turned out quite good tasted even better=) everyone enjoyed it with fresh cream specially my 1 & ½ year old nephew as you can see below.

Humza enjoying his share

paper thin dough
ready for the oven

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

(Please also read the tips and notes on the trial runs Courtney and I did. You'll find them below the recipes.)
Preparation timeTotal: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes
15-20 min to make dough30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough10 min to fill and roll dough30 min to bake30 min to cool
Apple strudelfrom “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers
2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbsstrudel dough (recipe below)1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)
1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.
3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.
4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.
5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.
Strudel doughfrom “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers
1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour1/8 teaspoon salt7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.
2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).
3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.
4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.
Tips- Ingredients are cheap so we would recommend making a double batch of the dough, that way you can practice the pulling and stretching of the dough with the first batch and if it doesn't come out like it should you can use the second batch to give it another try;- The tablecloth can be cotton or polyster;- Before pulling and stretching the dough, remove your jewelry from hands and wrists, and wear short-sleeves;- To make it easier to pull the dough, you can use your hip to secure the dough against the edge of the table;- Few small holes in the dough is not a problem as the dough will be rolled, making (most of) the holes invisible.
Both Courtney and I did a trial run on making the strudel. Below are our notes:
Courtney's notes- She could't get it to stretch to 2 feet by 3 feet, it turned out more like 2 feet by 2 feet. But the dough was tissue thin nevertheless;- She got some serious holes, but after rolling it wasn't noticeable;- She used a large cheese cloth which helped manipulate and stretch the dough more than a heavier cloth would have.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

7 Cakes for 7 wonderful ladies

Chocolate mud cake
Chocolate truffle cake with ganache and chocolate curls
Chocolate brownie cake
Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
Strawberry cake with fresh cream frosting
Coffee cake with cappuccino frosting
Red velvet with cream cheese

This week I was very busy with family, my sister-in-law was back in town and sisters were all over at our place and I was helping my niece and nephews for the finals. This being mother’s day week so all my nieces and nephews (ages from 10 years to 1 year) wanted to bake cakes for their mom’s, as this week they were preparing for their finals we made a deal I’ll back all the cakes they will decorate them. So I baked all 7 small cakes on Friday and put the base coat for them and they came late Saturday evening to decorate them as they wanted to surprise their mothers at midnight.