Monday, March 3, 2014

March - The Birthday Month

I have plans to bake cakes for the Husband and the Daughter for their birthdays which fall in this month. It has been a while since I baked cakes, I am a bit nervous, so I think I will start off with Brownies and Yeasted dough for the Husband and keep the proper frosted cake for the daughter who has been requesting candles. And I think six is a good age for candles, balloons and frosted cakes. :)

The Husband requested brownies to take to his office. So I have decided on Congo Brownies from Flo Braker's Baking for All Occasions, I have baked these several times before with raving reviews. I am going to bake them here and see how that goes. I have also decided that I will try to bake a Bienenstich for him for the evening as a surprise. I was torn between a marble cake and Bienenstich. But I think I will stick to Bienenstich.

Bienenstich is a dessert with yeasted dough baked in a cake form or a baking sheet and then sliced horizontally to be filled with pastry cream or custard. The name comes from the topping of caramelized almonds which look like bee stings. It is a classic German dessert which I have eaten a lot of times but this is my first time trying to make it. Let's hope all goes well and I will manage surprise him, I mean in a good way. :D

There are three components to this: a yeasted dough, a pudding or pastry cream and the topping (known as Belag in German). For the yeasted dough, I plan to use fresh yeast with milk and a little quark or sour cream. All in all it only uses around 80g of butter but I can further reduce it by adding quark or sour cream since they make the dough taste richer and softer. (500g flour, 30g fresh yeast, 250 ml warm milk, 45g sugar, a pinch salt and 40g butter and 120g quark)

Pudding is the filling between the cake layers and it has to be stiff enough not to get crushed by the top layer of cake. I plan to make a custard using corn starch and milk along with butter and sugar and mix in some cream with stiffeners added. I am not yet sure whether I should involve Nutella or chocolate in this. I am certainly leaning towards those.

Topping would be with almonds, sugar, honey, cream and sliced almonds. Cook them till they turn a little amber and then spread it on to the dough before baking. Details are better mentioned at Smitten Kitchen for the topping. I am going to follow them. 

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