Friday, 26 December 2014

Eggnog Cake

A richly spiced, fragrant and delicious cake with vanilla butter cream and a whipped cream and strawberry filling...
Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
Eggnog cake
Well, Christmas Day is done and dusted with glitter and my hangover is receding. The Christmas Tree is still shining bright but thoughts of packing it up have begun. Let's all live in the festive season a little longer and enjoy this Eggnog cake for Week 4 of my Four Weeks of Christmas Baking.

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
All the good things.
I can't say that this is the only Eggnog cake on the internet but I do think this is the only one that has this texture - a moist, crumbly crumb that isn't too dense or too light. The only other ones that I have come across have been pound cakes that are quite heavy and closer to a sweet bread rather than cake. They're awesome, no doubt but my version is much more the traditional cake texture.

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
You cut the butter up, you put it in piece by piece, it looks just like damp sand then you add the eggnog! Easy!
The flavours in this cake come from the traditional spices found in eggnog - vanilla, cinnamon, eggs and a touch of ground cloves. Now not all eggnog recipes have cloves in them but some, so it's up to you if you choose to put them in. Personally, I really enjoyed the slight heat and extra spice that the cloves added. It's only a touch too so if you're on the fence, give it a go. I really like the kick it gives the cake and it makes it fragrant and Christmassy. Which is the whole point of this cake.

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
All ready to go into the oven with my 'bakeven' strips...highly recommend these strips for a nice even cake.

I used eggnog in this cake which I bought at the supermarket, but you could make your own if you felt like really going all out. There are lots of lovely recipes around. A good use for the leftover eggnog is mixing it with Baileys to drink while your cakes are baking! I got a good four cups in. Extra Christmas cheer and all that.

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
Who wants Baileys?

The method in this cake is a little different, and the teaching comes from the most wonderful baker and one of my most favourite sites on the whole wide internet - Sweetapolita. This lady is simply amazing and her site is (along with Nigella's of course) my happy place online.

So this is what the first layer will look like...and the second too, really.

So instead of creaming the sugar and butter together then adding dry ingredients, in the traditional method, this recipe rubs in the butter to the flour of sorts. The first time I tried this method, I failed miserably but on my second attempt, it yielded the moist and fluffy cake that I know and love. So make sure you follow the directions carefully - trust me, you'll be so happy you did.
This is what the layers of buttercream may look like:

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
You put your first, thin coat of butter cream on, the crumb coat...

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
...then you have a Baileys.

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
You put your second layer of buttercream on...

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
...then you have a Baileys.

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
You put your third layer of buttercream on...

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
...and then you have a Baileys! YAY!
The icing on this cake is a classic buttercream with a cream and strawberry jam filling. I found that the cream and jam broke up the sweetness of the buttercream and was just unbelievable with the eggnog flavours. I'm a fan of putting different fillings in cakes, it's always a lovely surprise.

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
And then all your hard work pays off! Have a Baileys to celebrate!
I decorated this cake with fondant holly leaves and berries that I made a few weeks ago. These are so easy to make and a really great place to start with fondant decorations. You'll need a specific fondant plunger. I won't go into too great detail on how to make them, there are plenty of great tutorials online. If you would like to see how I did it, leave a comment below and if there's enough interest I can do a post but trust me when I say it's fairly straight forward.

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
I love the simplicity of the cake, I love a nice, white cake. Speaking of which, you will not be able to get the icing this white without white colouring which you can get at any cake specialty shop or on eBay. This will make the icing nice and white. If you don't want to buy this, a few drops of red or green would look really pretty too.

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
Awww look at the tree!
So as we finish up with my Four Weeks of Christmas Baking for this year, I hope you had a lovely Christmas and have the most wonderful New Year.

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
Lovely Christmas.

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
Lovely cake! Open up, here come Santa's Sleigh! Choo choo! Choo choo? Yeah, why not.

Eggnog Cake Cassie Cakes
Merry Christmas everyone!

Have a look back at the weeks of Christmas Baking past:

Week 1 of Four Weeks of Christmas Baking: Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
Week 2 of Four Weeks of Christmas Baking: Raspberry Jam Drops
Week 3 of Four Weeks of Christmas Baking: Rum Ball Trifle
Eggnog Cake
Adapted from Sweetapolita Strawberry and Lavender Cake

Prep time: 50 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
Total time:  1 hr 15 mins plus refrigeration time for icing
Servings: 12
Eggnog cake

4 whole eggs, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature
300ml eggnog, divided
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups plain cake flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
2 cups caster sugar
250g butter, cold and cut into small even pieces

Vanilla Buttercream
400g soft butter
4 cups (500g) icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
60ml cream
White food colouring (optional)
Strawberry Jam and Whipped Cream Filling
2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
2 tablespoons cold water
1 & 1/2 cups cream
1/4 icing sugar
250g strawberry jam

2 tablespoons lemon juice
Eggnog Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Grease three 8 inch/20cm cake tins generously with butter and flour the sides. Line the bases with baking paper.
  3. Add the egg yolks, eggs, 60ml of the eggnog and vanilla in a jug with a spout and beat lightly and set aside.
  4. Sift together with flour, ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and bicarbonate soda into the bowl of a mixer.
  5. Add sugar and turn to mixer on to a low speed.
  6. Add pieces of butter to the flour with the mixer on low in 10 second intervals until all the butter is added. Mixture should look like damp sand.
  7. Add the remaining 240ml to the mix and beat on a medium speed for 4 minutes.
  8. Scrape sides of bowl then turn the mixer back to a medium speed
  9. Add the egg mixture very gradually to the batter until all the egg mix is added then turn the mixer up to a high speed and mix for 1 minute. Ensure egg is fully combined.
  10. Divide the mixture evenly among the three pans and bake for 25 minutes.
  11. Turn on to wire racks to cool after 5 minutes, remove baking paper and allow to cool completely.
Vanilla Buttercream
  1. Add butter to bowl of electric mixer and beat on high for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the icing sugar, cream and vanilla and beat until all combined and smooth.
  3. Add white food colouring and beat until colour is consistent.
  4. Set aside until required.
Strawberry Jam and Whipped Cream Filling
  1. Add gelatine to a small bowl and then add cold water. Mix and set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup cream until it just begins to simmer then take off the heat and add gelatine. Whisk to combine and then place in fridge.
  3. Keep whisking the gelatine and cream every 2 minutes, placing back into the fridge in between, until the cream reaches a cool temperature.
  4. Whip the remaining 1 cup of cream with icing sugar until soft peaks just begin to form.
  5. Very gradually add the cool gelatine and cream mixture while beating and continue beating until medium-firm peaks form. Once medium peaks being to form, cease beating or cream with turn lumpy.
  6. For jam mixture, add the jam and lemon juice to a small saucepan and place on low heat.
  7. Bring to a gentle simmer and stir for 1 minute.
  8. Decant to a bowl to cool and set aside until required.
  1. Place first cake on a cake board then pipe 1/2 the cream mixture on top, leaving a 1/2 inch space from the edge of the cake. Create a dam for the jam to go in.
  2. Place half the jam into the prepared area.
  3. Carefully place the second layer on top and repeat cream and jam steps.
  4. Place the last layer on top.
  5. Fill in any gaps in between the layers with buttercream.
  6. Spread a thin layer of buttercream over the entire cake and place into the fridge for 30 - 45 minutes. This is called a crumb coat.
  7. Take the cake out and spread another layer of buttercream onto cake. Repeat as necessary until cake is smooth and completely covered with buttercream.
  8. Decorate as desired.

Friday, 19 December 2014

GUEST POST: Brown Butter Ginger Cookies with Vanilla Mascarpone from Eatin' Mess

This week is the fourth week of my Four Weeks of Christmas baking but it won't be coming to you for a few days yet. In the meantime, I have for you a wonderful recipe from the lovely Laura from Eatin' Mess. Feast your eyeballs on these visual lollypops and head on over to Eatin' Mess for the full recipe!

Hi, I'm Laura and my blog Eatin Mess is all about the food I like to eat. From cocktails, to entertaining, to easy midweek meals. Today I am going to share a yummy and impressive, yet super easy Christmas treat.
Gingerbread. So festive! Although we don’t really have the right weather at Aussie Christmas time for nutmeg mulled wine, cinnamon spiced hot chocolate, or any other yuletide winter warmer that should be consumed pantless, in an oversized turtleneck, in front of a fire, for me, these flavours are still what it’s all about. Now gingerbread is classic Christmas but these are just a little more grown up. The gingerbread man has evolved. These are really easy, and although I would prefer, they don’t require a woollen sweater.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Rum Ball Trifle

Rum ball trifle
So many jokes about balls to be made.
For week 3 of my Four Weeks of Christmas baking, I have for you another Cassie Cakes original - Rum Ball Trifle! Sometimes I feel as though Christmas might be loving me back. When I was dreaming up this one, I was musing to a friend of mine how I would like to make mini trifles and she said that she recently had spied mini trifle dishes at a very expensive homewares shop. I got online and saw them and I ummed and ahed over whether to splash out on them. Would I ever use them again? Should I be spending that much before Christmas on some very specific bowls?
Rum ball trifle
Ah rum. The only time I ever use you is in rum balls.

Well, I needn't have worried. Days after the conversation about mini trifle dishes, I got the very excited call from my friend - she was at a store that sold 6 mini trifle dishes for $7! Can you believe it? What are the chances? You tell me! What are the chances!? See. Christmas loves me back. And my lovely friend does too for buying some for me.
My lovely KitchenAid processor.

So I've never been one for traditional trifle. The cake goes soggy. I don't like jelly and custard together. It's got gross tinned fruit in it. It's just naff and gross and no one should eat it anymore. Yet when I was thinking of what I could make, trifle kept popping up in my head. Trifle, trifle, trifle. Time to give the old nasty trifle a makeover.
Rum ball trifle
The life stages of a rum ball.

I think I made trifle even more Christmassy. This trifle has rum balls in it! And layers of silky cheesecake mix, raspberries, chocolate ganache then topped with grated chocolate. All of those things are amazing on their own so imagine their powers combined. This trifle is epic in Captain Planet proportions.  
Rum ball trifle
One little rum ball...

Rum ball trifle
Lots of little rum balls! ... balls.

If you get given rum balls over the season or purchase them at a bake sale, this would be a great use for them but they really are very easy to make so either way. Start by making the rumballs then set them in the fridge to firm up. Rum balls are a great kids in the kitchen activity. It's really fun to get your hands all sticky and coconuty. Mr Cakes was very vocal in his opposition to the rum in rum balls but I told him to shush up and trust me. And in the end, he loved them. I put 1.5 tablespoons of rum in. Put as much or as little as you want.
Rum ball trifle
Ta da! Little rum ball all snug in his bed of cheesecake and ganache.

You might have rum balls left over, depending on what dish you choose to serve the trifle in, so you could gift them to others...if you don't eat them all. I have to confess there are only two left in our fridge and I'm probably going to eat those in a few minutes.

Rum ball trifle
How lucky was I to get those bowls.

Once the rum balls are in the fridge, make a simple ganache from chocolate and cream. I did this on the stove top but if you're nervous about the chocolate burning or seizing, melt it in a double boiler - a heatproof bowl over some simmering water. Or it's just as easy to do it in the microwave by melting the chocolate in 30 second bursts and stirring the cream in. Any way will work. So make the ganche then put that in the fridge to cool slightly. You'll still want it to be runny to pour over but by the time the next step is complete, it will be perfect.
Rum ball trifle
That bauble is pretending to be a rum ball. Go home, bauble. You're drunk.

Personally, I've never been a big fan of custard and cream that traditionally goes into a trifle. It's very old fashioned and a bit blah. What I am a fan of is cheesecake! Yum! So I decided to put a cheesecake mix into my trifle in the place of custard. Beat together cream cheese with icing sugar and vanilla, then in a separate bowl whip cream. Fold the cream into the cream cheese and viola! Cheesecake. So delicious. I could eat this with a spoon.
Rum ball trifle
WAIT! It would be the rum balls that were drunk! Not the bauble!

Then it's on to assembly. Put a big dollop of the cheesecake into your trifle dishes, you could do this in a big trifle dish or even some pretty champagne glasses then arrange some raspberries on top. Break up some rum balls and pour some ganache on top then top with another big dollop of the cheesecake mix and then some grated chocolate on top. You'll have ganache left over so you can pour more on top as required after serving.
Rum ball trifle
Rum balls be drunk as hell, losing shoes and stuff.

So there you have it. My take on trifle. The rum ball trifle. You can make these a few days before and have it ready to go on Christmas day - one less thing to worry about.
Rum ball trifle
There you have it, Rum Ball Trifle.

Next week is week four! And I have something special planned for the pièce de résistance.

Have a look back at the weeks of Christmas Baking past:
Week 1 of Four Weeks of Christmas Baking: Christmas Star Cherry Tart with Cinnamon Honey Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream
Week 2 of Four Weeks of Christmas Baking: Raspberry Jam Drops
Week 4 of Four Weeks of Christmas Baking: Eggnog Cake

Rum Ball Trifle

Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins
Total time:  20 mins
Servings: 4 plus extra rum balls
Rum Balls
250g plain sweet biscuits - I used Milk Arrowroot
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup desiccated coconut, plus extra for rolling
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1-3 tablespoons rum, according to taste

200g milk chocolate

1/2 cup thickened cream

Cheesecake Mix
1/2 cup thickened cream
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

125g Raspberries
to serve
Chocolate curls to garnish

Rum Balls
  1. Crush biscuits to a fine crumb in a food processor
  2. Add to a large bowl with cocoa and coconut and mix thoroughly to combine
  3. Add the sweetened condensed milk and rum and mix til all combined
  4. Roll tablespoon sized portions of the mix into a ball then roll in extra coconut.
  5. Once all the mix has been made into balls, place in fridge

  1. Melt chocolate in a small saucepan or in a bowl over simmering water. Remove from heat
  2. Add cream and stir well until smooth
  3. Decant into jug and place in fridge til required.

Cheesecake Mix
  1. Whip cream with electric beaters til soft peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes on high
  2. In a separate large bowl, add cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla and beat with electric beaters til smooth
  3. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mix til smooth

  1. Place a layer of cheesecake mix in the bottom of the bowls
  2. Arrange a layer of raspberries on top of the cheesecake mix, pressing them gently into the mix
  3. Break the rumballs in half and arrange on top of the raspberries
  4. Pour a generous amount of ganache on to the rum balls
  5. Fill to the top with cheesecake mix and garnish with chocolate curls



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