Tag: brittle

Espresso Madeira Cake with Caramel Chips

Espresso Madeira Cake with Caramel

Many years ago a woman called Carole Handslip came into my life. It wasn’t really Mrs. Handslip herself, rather her recipes. My aunt Ursula rearranged her vast selection of cookbooks and asked if she could hand down some of her culinary jewels to me. I didn’t have to think twice and was happy to receive a few of her 80’s kitchen classics, which were about tapas and baking, of course, as Ursula is as passionate about it as I am. Carol Handslip’s slightly old-fashioned but nonetheless beautiful Home Baking book was one of them, it’s a great collection of typical British biscuits, scones, teabreads and festive and novelty cakes. I fell in love with it immediately as I thumbed through the pages for the first time.

There’s something very relaxing and nostalgic about these old books. The styling and the choice of recipes is often quite different to today’s aesthetics and culinary trends, it wakes up so many memories and reminds me of many forgotten sweet and savoury treats, it feels like time traveling. These are treasures of the past so I’m always more then excited to spot a fine example at a book store or in my aunt’s kitchen.

One of the first Handslip recipes I tried was a Caramel Chip Gâteau, a quite extravagant and dramatic looking cake. It’s a layered coffee sponge with buttercream filling, golden icing and tiny caramel chips on top. It’s a gorgeous creation and it inspired me to make my own espresso Madeira cake without a filling but with a shiny espresso icing. Carol uses dark coffee for her recipe but I prefer to bake with instant espresso powder, it adds more depth. Although I’m not the biggest fan of caramel candy, to me it just tastes sweet and sticks to the teeth, the carmel chips on Mrs. Handslip’s creation were visually so captivating that I couldn’t help myself but pick up on her idea. It’s Halloween weekend after all and it fits perfectly.

A few months ago I shared one of Frances Bissell’s recipe with you, her lavender white chocolate caramel cake, she’s also a fantastic British cookbook author. I wrote about her great book, The Floral Baker, and also mentioned her wonderful London publisher, Stephen Hayward of Serif Books. Stephen died of a heart attack last week, which made me very sad. Although we never met in person I enjoyed the email contact we had. My condolences to his family and friends. Rest in peace, Stephen.

Espresso Madeira Cake with Caramel

Espresso Madeira Cake with Caramel Chips

plain flour 220g / 1 2/3 cups
cocoa powder 1 teaspoon
baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons
instant espresso powder 4 teaspoons
a pinch of salt
butter, at room temperature, 200g / 7 ounces
sugar 200g / 1 cup
organic eggs 3
milk 2 tablespoons

For the espresso icing

icing sugar 100g / 1 cup
instant espresso powder 1 teaspoon
about 5 teaspoons water, boiling

For the caramel chips

sugar 100g / 1/2 cup
vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C /  355°F (convection oven) and butter a 18cm / 7″ springform pan.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder and salt.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy, add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well in between. Add the dry mixture and the milk and mix until combined. Scrape the dough into the buttered pan, even it out and bake in the oven for 55-60 minutes or until golden and firm on top. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool completely before you cover it with the espresso icing.

Whisk the ingredients for the icing until well combined and very thick, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time, and sprinkle or spread over the cake.

Brush a piece of baking paper with a little vegetable oil. Melt the sugar for the caramel chips in a pan until golden brown and pour onto the oiled baking paper, flatten it quickly with a knife. Let it cool completely, break it into pieces and decorate the cake.

Espresso Madeira Cake with Caramel

 

espressomadeiracaramelcake1.1

 

Espresso Madeira Cake with Caramel

 

espressomadeiracaramelcake10

 

Espresso Madeira Cake with Caramel

Caramelized Hazelnut, Eggnog and Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae

Caramelized Nuts + Eggnog Ice Cream

I’m not a regular client at ice cream shops but if I go there, this is my favourite sundae: vanilla ice cream topped with whipped cream, eggnog and caramelized hazelnuts! It’s a sweet, voluptuous bomb, creamy and decadent! Some prefer a light and fruity ice cream composition, or with deep chocolaty flavours, but this one hits my weak spot. It’s a bit like an ice cream version of my Frankfurter Kranz. This equally decadent German buttercream cake is also sprinkled with golden caramel nuts and I’m sure that each slice of it includes the same amount of calories as a bowl of this ice cream! And both are perfect Sunday treats!

When I was still at school, we used to meet at the local ice cream shop in the afternoon and I felt so grown up when I ordered my Krokant Becher, the German name for this sundae. This tiny shot of eggnog poured on top made all the difference and it made me feel so much older than I actually was. Apart from that I just loved its smooth and eggy taste, it melts in your mouth together with the vanilla, caramel and hazelnuts!

Caramelized Nuts + Eggnog Ice Cream

Caramelized Hazelnut, Eggnog and Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae

For 4 people you need

vanilla ice cream 8-12 scoops
whipping cream 200g / 7 ounces
sugar 1 tablespoon plus more to taste
eggnog 2-4 shots, to taste

For the caramelized hazelnuts

hazelnuts, finely chopped, 50g / 2 ounces
sugar 25g / 1 ounce
butter 1 tablespoon

In a large heavy pan, heat up the hazelnuts, sugar and butter on high-medium temperature and roast for around 5 minutes until golden brown and caramelized, stirring constantly. Take off the heat, spread on parchment paper and let it cool completely.

Whip the cream and add sugar to taste.

Divide the ice cream between 4 bowls and add a big tablespoonful of whipped cream on top of each. Pour the eggnog over the cream, sprinkle with caramelized hazelnuts and serve immediately.

Caramelized Nuts + Eggnog Ice Cream

 

Caramelized Nuts + Eggnog Ice Cream