Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Meringue Frosting

I was very excited about making this cake from the Hummingbird Bakery’s Home Sweet Home.  It was my first cake of the year.  It was Chocolate Cake Day.  I was going to take some brilliant photos with my new kit, and the images of my cake were going to break the internet.  In fact, the only thing that did go viral was me.  I came down with something fluish so I didn’t make the cake in time for Chocolate Cake Day.  I’d lost my enthusiasm by the time I felt better enough to make it, and I completely took my eye off the ball (and the recipe).  I doubt that the Hummingbird Bakers would acknowledge that the cake that I ended up with came from their recipe, but it wasn’t bad.  Not bad at all.

chocolate-cake-meringue-frostingThe cake should be a three layer chocolate sponge, covered with a meringue frosting and topped with a marbled chocolate disc.

I started with the disc. I melted milk and white chocolate in the microwave (in separate bowls) and poured it onto a plastic pocket that I’d put on top of one of my cake tins (you know the type of thing.  Those plastic flimsies with holes punched in them that you use for filing old bank statements and the like.  Chocolate cake is a much better use for them).  I spread the chocolate over the plastic until I had a disc the same size as the top of the tin, and I made patterns in it with a cocktail stick.  My little girl was intrigued.  I put it right at the back of the work top to set.  Even then I had to keep a keen eye on it to prevent small finger prints or worse.

p1020200 While the chocolate was setting, I made the sponge.  I creamed butter and soft brown sugar together in the KitchenAid, then I added some eggs.  I melted dark chocolate, again the microwave, and added it to the butter/sugar mixture with the KitchenAid on slow.  Separately, I sieved plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and a bit of salt together, and, in a jug a mixed sour cream, espresso and vanilla extract.  Here was my big mistake.  I had a 300ml carton of sour cream and I added the whole carton to my coffee.  I don’t know why.  I’m sure I knew that the recipe amount was less than a carton.  I think my train of thought went something like:

(a) that’s enough sour cream,

(b) but there’s only a bit left in the carton,

(c) when are you ever going to eat it?

(d) true, let’s put it all in,

(e) oh, there’s quite a bit more in the carton than I thought,

(f) too late.

I added the flour and the liquid to the creamed butter and sugar in alternate additions.  I know I could simply have not put all the liquid in but I was distracted by little girl wandering into the kitchen with a gooey ear.  I wasn’t sure whether she was ill, or had just sneaked a Quality Street Golden Penny and had an accident.  It turned out that she was ill and, by the time I’d worked it out, it was too late for my cake.

I poured my mixture into three tins.  It was quite mousse-like and didn’t seem too sloppy, so perhaps the extra sour cream wouldn’t make too much of a difference.  I put them into the oven at 160° (the recipe temperature is 170° for a conventional oven, so, usually, I’d drop the temperature by 20° – I have found with the Hummingbird cakes though, that 150° is too low).  Perhaps 160° is also too low, or perhaps it was the extra sour cream.  Whatever the reason, the cakes wouldn’t cook.  The recipe says to give them 20-25 minutes.  I checked them after 25 – they had a crust on the top but were still molten in the middle.  I gave them twenty minutes longer that the recipe cooking time.

I took them out of the oven and let them cool in the tins for a few minutes before turning them out.  All of them had collapsed quite a lot and one of them just crumbled to pieces as I lifted it out of the tin.

p1020201 It didn’t look cooked in the middle at all.  I took a deep breath.  This was a three layer cake.  It could easily become a two layer cake.  All was not lost.  I waited until the cakes had cooled completely, wrapped them in clingfilm and put them in a tin.  I’d had just about enough of chocolate cake for one day.

I decided to make half the recipe amount of the meringue frosting.  I only had two layers of sponge to cover after all and, usually, Hummingbird recipes are very generous in their frosting.  I fitted my sugar thermometer into a pan and dissolved caster sugar and golden syrup in water.  I brought it to the boil and, despite twitching fingers (no stirring allowed), watched the thermometer until it reached a magic 115°C (soft ball stage).

Meanwhile, I’d been whisking egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla extract in the KitchenAid.  I’d kept the whisking slow while the sugar dissolved – the recipe says that the egg whites should only just be starting to become white and frothy.  Once the syrup had reached 115° I cranked up the speed and poured it into the egg whites.  I turned the speed up even higher.  The machine started its usual march across the worktop.  I held it down until the meringue became white and glossy, and the bowl had cooled down.

I very carefully lifted one of my very fragile sponges onto my cake stand, put a layer of the frosting on top and lifted my other very fragile sponge onto the top of that.  I covered the cake with the rest of the frosting.  I forgot to put a thin crumb-catcher layer on first, so I ended up with a pretty crumby meringue.  I did manage to get the chocolate topping onto the cake in one piece though.  I was pleased with that.  One thing had turned out right at least.  I was dreading what the cake was going to taste like.

chocolate-cake-sliceAs I said, I don’t think that my cake turned out as it should have.  The sponge was more like a flourless chocolate cake, a bit gooey and brownie-like in the middle, and one of the layers hadn’t made it.  It was still good though.  The frosting was sweet and marshmallow-like in flavour. It went really well with the gooey chocolate sponge.  For a complete cake failure, it wasn’t at all bad.  I’ll have to make another one, pay attention to the recipe, and see what I end up with.  I can’t wait.

Traditional Boule Loaf

This week I baked a traditional boule loaf from The Larousse Book of Bread. It’s the first recipe I’d made from this book, and the first time I’d made bread using a sourdough starter.  I ended up with a loaf, but I don’t think it was a particularly good one.  It was flat and pretty dense.  I definitely need more practice.

firstloafresize  The starter took four days.  I mixed rye flour with an equal weight of water (Éric Kayser, author of the Larousse Book of Bread weighs water, rather than measuring it by volume.  He says that this is for accuracy).  The water was supposed to have been 30°, I do have a digital thermometer but it doesn’t work particularly well and always seems to register 40° when I turn it on.  I gave it a couple of minutes.  It was still at 40°.  I put it into the freezer.  It went down to 22.  I think I may have to get a new one.  With no thermometer, I just had to guess.   Warmer than body temperature, but not too hot.   I doubt very much whether Éric Kayser would approve.

I added some honey to the flour/water mix, covered the bowl with a cloth and left it by the radiator.  The starter was supposed to be left somewhere warm for 24 hours.  The radiator in the kitchen is warm, but it’s not on for 24 hours and we don’t have a particularly “warm place”, like an airing cupboard. Our house just isn’t built for the cultivation of sourdough starters.

There were a few bubbles on the surface when I returned to it the next day, but not as many as on the pictures I found when I Googled “sourdough starter”.  Oh well.  I mixed more  rye flour with more water (again at a very roughly estimated 30°) added more honey, then added the mixture from the previous day.  I repeated on day three but without the honey. On day four, I added plain flour and water.  At this point, according to the recipe, it should have the consistency of thick pancake batter, and should be ready to use.

sourdoughstarterresize

There’s a small amount of yeast in the recipe as well as the sourdough starter (the book says yeast is used to complement the action of the starter, rather than replace it).  The recipe uses fresh yeast, but I’ve never been able to find any.  I sent a quick query to a local bakery about whether fresh yeast was worth it and they said they only use dried.  Well, Bread & Co make lovely bread, so if dried is good enough for them…

I mixed my dried active yeast with some warm water and a little bit of sugar and left it on the radiator.

While it was there, I put the rest of the ingredients into the bowl of the KitchenAid: plain flour, water (which was supposed to be at 20° – I had no idea of the temperature) the starter and salt.  Now, had I done more than flick through the preliminary pages of the Larousse Book of Bread I would have known that I’d made a mistake.  In the Kneading in a Stand Mixer section, it says that the ingredients must be put into the bowl in a specified order.  The yeast should have been in there before the salt.  Too late.  I added the yeast (which had bubbled up a bit, but not as much as I’d have liked).

I kneaded the mixture exactly as the recipe told me to.  Four minutes at low-speed, six at high-speed.  I ended up with a soggy mass.

I was supposed to be able to shape it into a ball at this stage.  No chance.  The only thing I could think of to do was to add more flour and knead some more.  I did this several times over until I eventually had a dough that I could just about shape.

doughThings were not looking very good at all.

I managed to shape the dough into a ball.  I covered it with a damp cloth and left it for a couple of hours.  When I came back to it, it had flattened out considerably, and had stuck to the cloth it was covered with.  I scraped what I could off the cloth (the cloth itself had to go into the bin) reshaped it, covered it (this time I used foil, and made a kind of roof over the top of it) and left it for another two hours.

To bake bread, the Éric Kayser recommends using a convection oven.  I usually use fan, but ours does have a top and bottom heat setting that the manual says is good for baking bread.  I set the oven.  It filled with smoke. I let the smoke out.  It filled with smoke.  This cycle repeated itself a few times until, at last, I had an oven that was relatively smokeless.  I put a roasting tray into the bottom of the oven to heat up, and scored the top of my, rather flat looking, boule loaf.  I transferred it very carefully – it was still quite sloppy – onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper.  I poured a cup of water into the roasting tray and put the loaf into the oven.

I took it out after about 35 minutes and put it onto a wire rack to cool.

firstloafresizeMy boule was flat, and really dense.  Not at all like the picture in the book, which shows slices of very well risen, very light and airy bread.  It did taste good though (although we were eating if after a couple of espresso martinis and it was fried and covered in very tasty stuff: broad beans, goats cheese, roasted peppers).

I had another go a couple of days later.  This time, my starter was a bit more lively, and I left my yeast to bloom for a bit a longer.  I also added the water in stages rather than all at once.  This time, the dough was a lot easier to work with, although still on the sloppy side, and it rose a lot better.  The crumb of the loaf was a bit more aerated but, to be honest, not that much.  Here’s the two to compare (the one on the left is the second attempt).

finishedloaves2I think I need at lot more practice to make a decent loaf (a thermometer that works would also be useful).  That said though, we did eat all of it and the children really liked it.  Practice makes perfect I suppose.

 

Norfolk Plough Pudding

A belated Happy New Year to everyone.  It’s been a long, long time since the white chocolate and cranberry cupcakes.   I do do quite a bit of baking around Christmas (and this year, the fruit in the Christmas cake didn’t all sink to the bottom, and I even attempted a yule log) but I just don’t get the time to write about it.

I have two new books for the start of 2017, British Baking by Paul Hollywood and the Larousse Book of Bread  by Éric Kayser.  This week, I decided to give Mr Hollywood a try and, since we still have Christmas cake on the go and, until yesterday, when I eventually threw the last dollop away, a new year’s trifle, I decided to go savoury with a Norfolk Plough Pudding.  It’s not something I’d heard of before but, according to the recipe, it’s a suet pudding, traditionally served on Plough Monday – the first Monday after Twelfth Night.  I think that was a couple of days ago, so my plough pudding was pretty appropriately timed.   Here it is.

plough puddingThe challenge for this one was going to be the suet pastry.  I’d never made it before so I was completely in Paul Hollywood’s hands.

I mixed self-raising flour, baking powder, beef suet, some chopped sage and salt and pepper together and added water.  The recipe says that you want enough water to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.  This is what I ended up with.

ploughpuddingdoughresize

Soft enough? Sticky enough?  I didn’t know.

I wasn’t sure whether I needed to rest or chill the pastry before rolling it out.  The recipe didn’t say anything, so I went right on with the rolling.  First, I took a third of the pastry and rolled it out to make a lid to fit a 1.2 litre pudding basin, then I rolled out the rest of the pastry into a circle so that I could line the basin with it (30cm diameter).

Lining the basin was tricky.  This is where I found that my dough was probably a bit too sticky.  What I was supposed to do was to fold the pastry into thirds so that I could lower it easily into the pudding basin. Folding my dough into thirds was easy.  Unfolding it?  A completely different story.  My thirds just stuck together.  I sort of managed to open it out again, but on the worktop, not in the basin.  I wrangled the pastry onto a rolling-pin, dropped it into the basin and moulded it as well as I could around the sides.

p1020175It didn’t look too bad, but then again, I’d never made it before I didn’t know what it was supposed to look like.

Plough pudding is lined with sausage meat and filled with a mixture of pancetta, onion and thyme.  I didn’t know whether our butcher would sell sausage meat (as opposed to sausages), and when he told me that I could just let him know what type of sausage I wanted and he’d just take it out of the skins for me, I was a bit flummoxed.  Obvious I suppose, but I wasn’t expecting a choice, and I went for the first name that I could see in the sausage cabinet. Bumblebee.  It wasn’t until my bumblebee sausage meat was out of its skin that I noticed that bumblebee sausages were flavoured with honey and mustard.  I was in trouble.  My husband hates mustard. Hates it.  It was too late to change my mind about the sausage meat.  I decided to keep quiet. Fingers crossed that the mustard in the bumblebee sausages would be very, very subtle.

To line the pudding with the sausage meat, I rolled it out between two sheets of clingfilm.  Rolling it out was OK, but lining the basin was the fiddliest of fiddly things.  There was no hint of this in the recipe, just “lift it into the basin,” says Paul Hollywood.  My version went a bit more like this, “scrape it off your clingfilm into a heap at the bottom of the basin and do your best from there.”

I would have taken a picture at this point, but my hands were dripping with bumblebee sausage meat and, by the time I’d got it all off I’d forgotten.

I mixed diced pancetta and onion, some chopped thyme, dark muscovado sugar and a little bit of black pepper and put it into the basin.  I put the pastry lid onto the top, sealed and trimmed the edges.

I covered the lid of the basin with a layer of baking paper and a layer of foil which I’d put a pleat in, tied the cover on with string and put it into a saucepan to steam.  I gave it three hours, checking once in a while to make sure there was still enough water in the pan.

This is how it turned out.

ploughpuddingresizeWe had it with cabbage, carrots and a red wine gravy and it was very good. I wasn’t sure about the suet pastry, I didn’t like the texture all that much, but the filling was really tasty.    I can imagine it would be just the thing you set you up for a day’s ploughing, or whatever backbreaking work that get’s done on Plough Monday.  Jon enjoyed it pastry and all, and there was not one mention of mustard.

White chocolate and cranberry cupcakes

I was feeling a little more festive this week so, to celebrate, I made some cranberry and white chocolate cupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery, Home Sweet Home (I’m not quite at the mince pies and yule log stage yet).  I realised that I hadn’t made cupcakes for the blog since my very first post, doughnut cupcakes, also from Home Sweet Home, so it was about time I tried a second batch.

I decided to make half the recipe.  Hummingbird recipes are usually pretty generous quantity-wise and Jon and I are trying to cut down a bit on our cake consumption.  The recipe was for twelve.  After halving the quantities, I ended up with nine.  So much for trying to cut down.

I started with the sponge.  I mixed softened, unsalted butter, plain flour, caster sugar, baking powder and salt in the KitchenAid until my mixture looked like breadcrumbs.  The KitchenAid is very, very wobbly these days. It’s getting to the stage where I have to keep a very close eye on it, even on the slowest of speeds.  I wonder whether Santa is reading…

I mixed milk and an egg together in a jug and, slowly, poured half of the liquid into the dry ingredients with the KitchenAid on slow.  I turned the speed up a notch, keeping a very tight grip on the mixer to prevent it leaping off the work surface.   Once I had a smooth batter, I slowed the machine down again and added the rest of the liquid.  Finally, I mixed in dried cranberries (the recipe didn’t specify, but mine were sweetened) and orange zest.  My mixture was pretty wet.  I poured it, rather than spooned it, into my cake cases which immediately folded in on themselves inside the muffin tin.  Oh well, I suppose the beauty of cupcakes, especially Hummingbird cupcakes, is that they are covered with so much buttercream that you can’t really see that the cupcakes themselves are a bit wonky.

They went into the oven at 150° fan.  The cooking time in the recipe is for between 20 and 25 minutes.  I checked them after 20 and they did need that extra five.  I would, usually, have taken a picture at this stage but the children were around and I had to referee a dispute between Daddy Zombie and Zombie Elsa.  Something to do with access to the Ice Palace apparently.  Anyway, once that particular tiff was sorted out, I’d completely forgotten about photographs.

I made buttercream to top the cakes by mixing sifted icing sugar and softened butter.  I added some milk, and then, bracing an arm against the KitchenAid, mixed on a high-speed until the buttercream was light and fluffy.  I added some melted white chocolate and mixed some more.

I topped the cupcakes with the buttercream and decorated them with dried cranberries and a sprinkling of orange zest.  Very festive they looked too.

cupcakes-resize

Actually, they looked more festive than they tasted.  I wasn’t really surprised because, to be honest, the only cranberry I usually eat at Christmas is in a sauce served with the turkey.  They were good though,  a light and fruity sponge topped with lovely white chocolate buttercream.  The cranberries were all at the bottom of the cakes, but with cakes as small as these, I don’t think it matters too much.  A good start to my festive baking.  Who knows, I may even feel up to mince pies next week.

Banana Muffins

I know, I know.  I should be cooking up a festive storm at this time of year. Last year it was pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, and Delia’s Christmas stollen. I have started the Christmas cake and puddings, but since I can’t get my teeth into them yet, I can’t tell you how they’ve turned out.

I decided to make some muffins before there’s absolutely no excuse for going all Christmassy.  Not very adventurous for an adventurous baking blog I know, but I do find muffins tricky.  They never turn out particularly well, and my last two batches of banana muffins had to be thrown away. I made a plea to Delia Online and the Hummingbird Bakery for help.

The lovely people at Delia Online pointed me in the direction of their tutorial video all about making muffins.  I watched it very, very carefully and decided to use Delia’s method, and a recipe for banana and cinnamon muffins from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. A bit of a gamble, since it was the Hummingbird recipe that ended up on the patio feeding a flock of sparrows and a couple of rather fat pigeons.

The Hummingbird Bakery recipe is for twelve muffins.  I decided to halve it.  If it didn’t work, there’d be less to throw away, and, I always find the Hummingbird recipes pretty generous.  I’d probably end up with at least eight (in fact, I made ten – I’ve never had a muffin from the Hummingbird Bakery itself.  They must be enormous).

The first tip in the video is to make sure that you have all of the ingredients weighed out and ready to go before you even think about starting to mix.  I don’t tend to do this when I’m  baking, but this time I was going to obey Delia to the letter.  Everything was measured, my butter was melted, my muffin tin lined.  Ready to go.

Now, it seems as though the key to making a muffin rise is a double sift. Delia sieves the dry ingredients, then mixes the wet ones plus sugar separately and then sieves the dry ingredients for a second time into the wet ingredients.  This is different to the Hummingbird method which doesn’t tell you to sieve at all.

I sieved plain flour salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into one bowl and, in another, I mixed caster sugar, egg, buttermilk, vanilla extract and melted butter (the Hummingbird recipe puts the sugar in with the flour at the beginning, and adds the melted butter once the wet and dry ingredients have been mixed).

I then sieved the flour mixture again onto the top of the sugar/egg/buttermilk mixture and folded it in really quickly.  Delia says that you shouldn’t mix for more than 15 seconds and, taking heart from the lumpy, floury mixture in the video, I too stopped at 15.  Here’s what the mixture looked like.

It was very lumpy, and there were its of unincorporated flour dotted all over the place, BUT, if Delia says that this is OK, then it must be.  I folded in some mashed banana, put the mixture into my muffin cases, and sprinkled some sugar over the top.  I baked them at 150° fan for about 25 minutes.

The double sift and quick folding really worked.  Here are the final muffins.

muffins

They looked like proper muffins and tasted just as a banana muffin should.  None for the birds from this batch.  Thank you Delia.

 

Mary Berry’s Quick Boiled Fruit Cake

It’s been cold this week, and suddenly, the world seems much scarier.  The answer to a chill in the bones and the feeling that you want to hide under your duvet?  Cake.  A big, solid fruit cake.  The kind that wouldn’t look out of place on Marilla Cuthbert’s table at Green Gables when the Minister came to tea.  Something homely and reassuring.  A cake that says, “everything’s going to be fine.”

I wanted something that wouldn’t take too long.  I didn’t want a cake that I’d have to feed with booze every day for a week before I could cut into it – I’ll save that for Christmas.  I found a recipe for a quick boiled fruitcake in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.  It shouldn’t take long if the title was anything to go by, and the boiled fruit bit sounded interesting and very Marilla Cuthbert-like.  I decided to give it a try.

The first step was to heat a can of condensed milk, butter, raisins, sultanas, currants and glacé cherries in a pan until the butter had melted.  Condensed milk.  My parents love it.  They say they used to have it on sandwiches.  A condensed milk sandwich?  I can’t quite see it myself. Would you butter the bread first?  How would you cut it?

Anyway, once the butter had melted, I brought the mixture to the boil, simmered for five minutes, then took it off the heat and left it to cool.

I mixed self-raising flour, cinnamon and mixed spice in a bowl, added eggs and the fruit mixture and stirred.  Not well enough I’m afraid, since when I put the batter into my cake tin, there was unincorporated flour all over the place.  I gave it another quick stir while it was in the tin.  Not a step that I’d recommend.

I baked the cake at 130° fan for an 1¾ hours.  It was supposed to be well risen, golden brown, the top should be firm, and a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.  I had three out of four (my cake was conker coloured rather than golden brown, but it had been that way for most of the cooking time).  I took it out of the oven, let it cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turned it out.

Here it is

quick boiled fruit cake

 

It’s a really good fruit cake this.  It doesn’t take too long to make, it isn’t difficult, it’s packed with fruit and warm spice, and it tastes good.  A really comfy cake to see us through these really dark November days.

Savarin – a second attempt

I’m very behind in my attempts to bake the technical challenges from the Great British Bake Off. It finished last week and I’m still stuck in Tudor week.  I’ve decided not to attempt the jumbles. I know it would take me hours of shouting and swearing to get my biscuit dough into knots, and knots that tasted of throat sweets at that.  No thanks.

On to the savarin then.  I have tried to make a savarin before, a chocolate and almond liqueur one.  It was a disaster.  Worse even than my Battenberg.  I had to throw it into the bin.  Even the birds wouldn’t touch it.   I wasn’t feeling very confident about making another, but I thought I should at least give it a try.

I used the recipe from the Great British Bake Off website , although it’s also available at BBC Food.  Both recipes are accompanied by pictures of beautiful savarins.  They’re filled with cream and elegantly decorated with fresh fruit and caramel shards. The Bake Off version even has a little chocolate disc with the word “savarin” on it, just in case there’s any confusion.  I was a bit pressed for time, and I wasn’t really in the mood for fancy piping and caramel, so I made mine plain and served it with cream.   Unsurprisingly, I didn’t make a chocolate disc that said “savarin” either.Savarin

It’s a poor cousin to the beautiful Bake Off creations, I know, but it all came out of the tin in one piece, it was cooked and it tasted beautiful.  Who needs caramel shards and a chocolate label?

The first step in the recipe was to put plain flour, sugar, instant yeast and salt into a bowl, and then mix in eggs and milk.  I’d decided to use dried active yeast rather than instant so I had to activate it first which I did by mixing my yeast with warm milk and sugar (taken from the recipe amounts).  There were two reasons for my yeast choice.  First, I’ve had better results in making enriched dough when I’ve used dried yeast and, second, the recipe called for 10g.  I only had 7g sachets of instant yeast and I didn’t want to have to use two.  I left my yeast, milk and sugar mixture by the radiator for twenty minutes to bubble up and, once I had bubbles, I mixed it in with the flour, sugar and salt and added the rest of the milk and eggs.

The recipe tells you to beat the mixture for five minutes until you get a thick, sticky batter.  So here’s a question. Was I supposed to beat with a beater, or a dough hook?  Was I making a cake mixture or a dough?  A bread, or a cake? I know my previous savarin experience wasn’t great, but I checked that recipe (which came from the Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking) and used the dough hook.  My thick, sticky batter looked like this.

savarin batter

The next step was to add butter.  As per the recipe, my butter was at room temperature and in cubes.  I added them slowly.  It took ages.  When, at last, I had a mixture that could pass as smooth, elastic and shiny as required by the recipe, I folded in orange and lemon zest, covered the bowl with clingfilm and left it by the radiator to rise.

While my savarin mixture sat by the radiator, I made a syrup from water, caster sugar, lemon juice and lemoncello – (the recipe uses Grand Marnier, but we hadn’t got any).  I also did my usual chores,  the ironing, catching up on a bit of Home and Away… My savarin was rising for a more than an hour.

When I went back to it, I poured the mixture into a greased ring cake tin, re-covered it and put it back by the radiator.  The recipe says that it should stay there for 45 minutes.  I had a school pick-up and junior tennis before I could get back to baking.  It took a lot longer than 45 minutes.

Back in baking mode, I put the savarin into the oven at 160° fan for 25 minutes (checking after 20).  The dough had split at the bottom (Google says that this could be a sign that the mixture was under-proved) , but it was golden brown and sounded cooked when I tapped it.

baked savarin

I left it to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then, with my heart in my mouth (this is where my earlier attempt started to go pear-shaped) I very carefully loosened the sides with a palette knife and turned it out of the tin.  It came out in one piece.  I did a very small victory dance around the kitchen, poured half of the lemoncello syrup into the cake tin, and put the savarin back in to soak it up.  I put the rest of the syrup into a roasting tray and turned the savarin over so that it could soak up the rest of the syrup from the bottom.

As I said, I didn’t fill it with cream, but I did whip up some double cream with icing sugar and vanilla paste, and served the savarin with a generous dollop.

Savarin

 

It tasted lovely.  I was so pleased.  The dough was rich and sweet and had soaked up the syrup really well (although a couple of my tasters thought that there was a bit more syrup at the bottom than the top).  I don’t think I’ll ever be an expert in all things enriched-dough, but I am getting better.  I’ll definitely try this sort of thing again.  I may even make a bit more of an effort in the presentation.  Chocolate labels though?  I doubt it.