Usually a benefit, but occasionally an occupational hazard, matcha’s eye-catching shade of green means that it will become instantly the most recognizable flavour, regardless of what else is in a dessert. I observed this the first time I made this genmaicha-infused cake, when I added some matcha to the cake soaking liquid for what I thought was just some fun inconsequential green colour to hint at the tea in the genmaicha.
“Is it a matcha cake?” my friend asked while inspecting a slice of cake. “Sort of,” I explained that most of the flavour comes from genmaicha, with just a bit of matcha in there for colour.
He took a bite. “Great matcha flavour.” he replied.
Anyways… in a subsequent cake attempt I refrained from adding any matcha to the soak to avoid the intense suggestive power of matcha, instead leaving it the rather nice straw colour from the genmaicha. I did sprinkle of bit of matcha over top though, because, well, it’s such a pretty colour…
This cake is a riff off of a tres leches cake, though with some coconut milk in the mix and the soaking liquid infused with plenty of genmaicha. I made this during the summer so I added some sliced white peaches on top – the milkiness of the cake and thick layer of cream lends itself well to fruit! and maybe I was thinking a bit of white peach oolong tea – but it is very much optional and can be substituted for whatever fruit you have on hand, or none at all.
90g condensed milk, or more to taste for sweetness
4 large eggs
50g granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
200g heavy cream, whipped
optional: 1-2 white peaches, cut into wedges (or other fruit!)
Combine the milk and genmaicha in a container. Place the fridge overnight or up to 24h for a cold infusion. The next day strain the milk to remove the tea – you should end up with about 275g of infused milk. Whisk in the coconut milk and condensed milk and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Very lightly butter an 8″ square pan – I buttered it, then wiped over the pan with a tissue to leave only a trace of butter. Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper.
Place the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until frothy, sprinkle in the sugar, and then continue whipping until very light and fluffy. They are done when you can draw a figure-eight with a ribbon of batter flowing from the whisk, and it stays on the surface of the batter for at least 10 seconds.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift a third of the flour over the egg whites and fold in until no streaks or lumps of flour remain. Repeat twice more until all the flour is incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out with a small offset spatula. Bake the cake for around 20 minutes or until browned and an inserted skewer is removed clean. Let cool. Poke the cake all over every two centimetres with a skewer right down to the bottom of the pan.
Slowly pour over the cake, being sure to get the sides and middle, adding more milk as it is absorbed. Cover and refrigerate until chilled completely.
When ready to serve, whip the cream and spread overtop of the cake in a smooth layer. Dust with matcha and top with peach slices or other fruit you have on hand. To cut, use a sharp serrated knife and gentle sawing motion to cut through the peaches.
Here’s one thing: my blog dwells happily in the comfortable depths of obscurity. But this year during rhubarb season, 99% of my traffic starting coming through pinterest for a single recipe. To be clear, minuscule traffic and hardly anything relative to what a popular blog would receive, but it was still a bit nerve-wracking! It was a recipe I was happy with and had tested a couple times. People on the internet that made it and told me about it were happy. Still, it did remind me that any recipe has the (slim) potential to be seen and made by others, and that there is a some responsibility that comes with that. I haven’t been trying to share nonsense recipes of course – but I will certainly never be doing that now.
Admittedly, up until the last couple of years, there were some old questionable recipes lying around. When I first started tentimestea – as a still-somewhat-teenager! that excuses everything, right? – it was to keep track of what I baked. That included disasters, which at the time were quite relishing to post given how terrible descriptions are much more exciting to write than good ones. I transitioned sharing more proper recipes years ago, but there were still those legacy recipes lying around. The posts remain, but the super old recipes I felt unsure about have been redacted to avoid anyone innocently coming across a recipe for disaster fully recorded in all its gory detail. (Well, you can still read the gory details, you just can’t replicate it!)
But all this talk of traffic and responsibility aside – first and foremost, the blog is still about having fun with baking – because that’s what has kept me around for eight years.
onto the recipe: baked alaska!
As is sort of-semi-tradition-esque-ish, I make an annual (out of season) rhubarb cake. This year it’s baked alaska, a suitably retro recipe for an aging blog like mine. I made mine with a strawberry rhubarb sorbet layered over a vanilla elderflower semifreddo, all seated on an almond cake base, covered in meringue and some roasted fruit.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this cake! It’s fruit and cream (and yes, some rather sweet meringue) all stacked together in a refreshing slice. The amount of work is makes for a decent project: multiple components, but none too tricky, and a relatively fuss-free assembly. You could also use this recipe as a template for whatever adaptations you want to make – another fruit sorbet, infuse some different flavours into the semifreddo, and so forth.
strawberry rhubarb sorbet: This is probably my favourite component of the cake – I would definitely eat it on its own! Made from strained rhubarb juice and strawberry puree, it’s the refreshing fruity counterpoint in this dessert. Sorbet usually needs a certain amount of sugar for texture, but it’s not overly sweet given the tartness from the rhubarb. I also helped keep it soft and sliceable a little splash of elderflower liqueur (more on that below).
vanilla elderflower semifreddo: I knew I wanted to have a bit of alcohol in the cake if only to keep it a bit softer and sliceable. Even better if it’s part of the flavour profile! I used a slightly lemony elderflower liqueur, St. Germaine, to go along with the fruit and vanilla. You can certainly use whatever alcohol you prefer (or leave it out entirely for an alcohol free version – it will just be a bit harder and may need to sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften before slicing). Semifreddo is a foamy parfait made of whipped eggs and cream, making it a lot airier than ice cream and also a bit more manageable to eat when it comes to a generous slice. I also like using semifreddo as a component in layered frozen desserts as it doesn’t need to be churned; it can save a bit of time if you use a freezer canister which needs to be washed and refrozen for each churn.
almond financier base: I found that the texture of frozen financier is quite good – chewy and toothsome, but certainly still soft enough to bite – from this ice cream. Here it was recruited as the base for the cake.
meringue: I usually don’t care much for meringue, but I discovered it’s surprisingly suitable for frozen desserts! Not only do you get to dramatically toast it for contrast with the cold filling, but meringue doesn’t harden when frozen (unlike, say, whipped cream) and also helps to insulate the cake to prevent it from melting too quickly on the counter. While I used raw egg whites, there are alternatives for food safety to reduce salmonella risk. I’d suggest trying something like an Italian meringue, in which boiling sugar is whipped in beaten egg whites, or Swiss meringue, in which the eggs and sugar are heated together before whipping. These methods can be a bit trickier though, so depending on what you’re comfortable with, simply whipping egg whites and sugar together is easiest.
roasted strawberries and rhubarb: I sort of modeled the look of my baked alaska after a pavlova, and so to finish it off, a garnish of roasted strawberries and rhubarb.
a note on sizing…
I’ve described the bowl I used to make this in the recipe below (i.e. 900mL volume and 19cm top diameter) but this recipe can be amenable to whatever bowl you have on hand. If your bowl is bigger, the baked Alaska may just not fill the bowl the whole way. If your bowl is smaller, just layer in part of the sorbet and then part of the semifreddo. Put the remainders in separate containers and freeze to eat later. As necessary, trim the cake base so that it is the right size. Or, you can also multiply the recipe as needed if you want a larger baked Alaska.
To get an idea of how it might turn out, you can check the volume of the bowl you plan to use and compare it to what I used. The easiest way is to fill it with water and weigh how much it can contain (1g = 1mL). In this recipe I used a 900mL bowl with a top diameter approximately 19cm (7 1/2″). It may not sound that big, but it makes for quite the cake once it is covered in meringue. It can definitely serve eight or more very generously.
Financier adapted from Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel’s Bouchon Bakery, sorbet free-handed, semifreddo adapted from Stella Parks’s recipe, meringue adapted from classic ratios.
equipment: I made this in a bowl about 900mL in volume and with a top diameter of about 19cm/7 1/2″. But you can definitely use whatever size you happen to have on hand – please see the note on sizing in the blog post above. I also used a 8″ diameter cake tin to bake the cake base.
1. bake the financier base
45g finely ground almonds
30g all-purpose flour
generous 1/8 tsp salt
60g granulated sugar
75g egg whites
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 425F. Butter a 20cm/8″ diameter cake tin and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Place the butter in a small pan and heat until melted. Cook, stirring, until the butter solids brown and the butter is fragrant. Immediately transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool while you make the rest of the batter.
Stir together the almond flour, flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the egg whites and vanilla, and mix until a thick batter is formed. Whisk in the browned butter. Spread the batter into the prepared pan in an even layer.
Place in the oven and turn the temperature down to 350F. Bake about 10 minutes or until springy to touch or an inserted skewer is removed clean.
2. make the strawberry rhubarb sorbetas the first layer of the baked alaska
350g chopped rhubarb
150g fresh strawberry puree
45g simple syrup (1:1 water and sugar)
1 tbsp St. Germaine (or other elderflower liqueur to taste; elderflower cordial could be an alcohol-free alternative)
Place the chopped rhubarb in a small saucepan along with a spoonful of sugar and a splash of water (enough for 1-2cm on the bottom). Together, the sugar and water should help draw the juice out of the rhubarb. Cook over medium allowing the rhubarb to release enough juice to mostly cover the rhubarb pieces. Let simmer until the rhubarb is tender and cooked through. (If it’s looking a bit dry it helps to put the cover on while cooking to generate more liquid. The resulting rhubarb juice will be less concentrated, so it will just need to be boiled down more in the following step.)
Transfer the cooked rhubarb to a jelly bag set in a sieve over a bowl and allow the rhubarb juice to drain in the bowl. Once cooled, squeeze the bag to extract as much juice as possible. (Discard the fibrous contents in the jelly bag.) With the cover off, I got about 170g of juice, and cover on, about 260g of juice. Exactly how much you get out will depend on how much water already cooked off. To make whatever amount you get consistent, place the rhubarb juice back into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook down until it is reduced to about 120-130g.
Let the rhubarb juice cool. Stir in the strawberry puree, simple syrup, and St. Germaine. Adjust the simple syrup to taste. Chill completely.
When ready to churn, line a bowl with plastic wrap. Churn the sorbet in an ice cream maker, then spread into the bottom of the bowl and place in the freezer to freeze completely.
3. make the vanilla elderflower semifreddo and pour over the sorbet
3 large eggs
35g granulated sugar
185g whipping cream
seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or substitute 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste for both seeds and extract)
2-3 tbsp St. Germaine (or other elderflower liqueur to taste; elderflower cordial could be an alcohol-free alternative)
Set a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water – or other double boiler set up. Whisk together the eggs and honey in the bowl. Mix continuously with a rubber spatula until the eggs appear syrupy and reach about 160-165F – though if you’re getting close to temperature (i.e. 155+) and you start noting any clumping, immediately remove from the heat and stop there. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until the bowl feels cool to the touch and the eggs have quadrupled in volume – and in the words of Stella Parks (original recipe) “thick enough to briefly mound up like soft-serve ice cream when dropped from the whisk.” This may take 5-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, whip up the cream with the vanilla seeds and extract. Whisk in the St. Germaine at the end (use more or less depending on your taste). Add half of the whipped cream to the eggs and whisk in until combined. Add the remaining cream, folding it in gently with a rubber spatula. Pour the semifreddo over the sorbet in the prepared bowl, leaving just enough room for the financier. You will have extra semifreddo if you use the same size bowl as me – put the leftovers in a container and freeze as a dessert for later.
Trim the financier base as necessary so it can fit into the bowl and place over the semifreddo. Return to the freezer and allow to freeze completely.
4. (optional) roast the fruit as an optional garnish, and chill until use
50g chopped rhubarb
50g chopped strawberries
1 generous tsp sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a small baking pan with parchment paper. Combine the 50g each of chopped rhubarb and strawberries with a bit of sugar and transfer to the pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, mixing partway through, until the fruit is tender. Chill completely until ready to use.
5. make the meringue and cover the baked alaska
90g (3 large) egg whites
pinch cream of tartar
90g granulated sugar
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip until frothy and sprinkle in a pinch of cream of tartar. Beat until the egg whites and foamy before gradually adding the sugar. The continue to whip on high speed until firm peaks are formed. (I find you get a smoother swoopier meringue if you stop at firm peaks rather than stiff. Peaky, yes, but still nice and soft.)
Take the bowl out of the freezer and turn out onto a tray or upside down-baking tin. Remove the plastic. Cover with meringue and then use the back of a spoon to draw meringue up the sides. Use the spoon to make a nest in the top to hold the roasted fruit.
At this point, you can either torch the meringue or do a quick bake in a very hot (500F) oven until the meringue is browned. If you’re not ready to serve right away, the cake can be put back in the freezer until ready. Top with roasted fruit just before serving.
for posterity – past tentimestea birthday rhubarb cakes
it is my favourite season: rhubarb season! I haven’t actually baked anything with rhubarb yet this spring, but I do have this cake from last year – a fruity, crumbly take on a coffee cake made with a yoghurt poppy seed cake, chopped strawberries and rhubarb, and a topping of spiced almond crumb.
The wonders of coffee cake: it’s dessert and it’s breakfast! Also okay for lunch! Honestly, any meal!
This cake was inspired by Brown Bear Bakery, a bakery I would love to one day visit! I am always excited by the combination of strawberry, rhubarb and a whole grain streusel – I love using this combination in one way or another as another homage to the strawberry rhubarb crumbles (aka the number one and also only dessert) that I grew up with.
Cake inspired by Brown Bear Bakery. Crumb adapted from Epicurious. Cake adapted from the sour cream coffee cake recipe in A Good Bake by Melissa Weller.
spiced almond crumb
85g butter, melted
40g brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp kosher salt
100g whole wheat flour
25g finely ground almonds
2 tbsp flaked almonds
poppy seed & yoghurt coffee cake
120g all-purpose flour
60g whole wheat
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
12g (about 1 tbsp + 1 tsp) poppy seeds
1 stick butter, softened
100g granulated sugar
finely grated zest of ½ lemon
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
225g greek yoghurt (or sour cream)
140g rhubarb, chopped
140g strawberries, chopped
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp tapioca starch
For the crumb,melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the sugar, spices and salt and stir to combine. Then add the flour and ground almonds and stir until combined. Break up into lumps and toss in the flaked almonds.
For the cake, preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8″ square tin and line with a parchment paper sling.
Whisk together the flours, salt, baking powder and poppy seeds. Place the butter, sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a standmixer and cream until light and fluffy (or by hand with a wooden spoon). Add the vanilla and egg and beat until combined. Finally, whisk in the yoghurt. Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Dollop into the bottom of the prepared tin and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula. The batter will be thick.
For the fruit,toss together the fruit, sugar and tapioca. Scatter over the batter.
Finally, scatter the crumb overtop of the cake. Squeeze a bit of the crumb mixture in your hands so it holds together in lumps and then break it up over the top of the cake.
Bake at 350F for about 40 minutes (do a first check at 30 minutes) or until an inserted skewer is removed clean or with just a couple crumbs clinging to it. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then cut into squares.
I think we are possibly still in the peri-New Year period where 2021 listicles are tolerated and somewhat relevant. For instance: last year I started an annual favourite album list which, given the constant content deficit this blog is under, is obviously being continued again this year.
As always, I never keep very up to date with music so these aren’t specifically my favourite albums of 2021, so much as my favourite albums new to me in 2021. Compared to my usual indecision, it’s usually strangely obvious to me what this list would entail as the albums that I listened to most over the past year spring to mind easily. The harder part is articulating what I love about them (and if I sound like I don’t know a thing about music, it’s probably because I don’t know a thing about music). But in my struggling lay terms trying grasp genre, emotion or theme, here goes a list.
I Need to Start a Garden is three parts soft-spoken ballad, one part anthem of millennial angst. It wasn’t quite first love for all of these songs for me, but they grew on me tremendously, something which only makes me adore them even more. (Even the near-shout refrain of “Oom Sha La La” – not to mention, I have never encountered so relatable a rumination as “I’ve barely been to college/And I’ve been out full/Of all that I have dreamed of/The brink of my existence essentially is a comedy.”) My favourite album that I listened to this year.
favourite tracks: the bug collector, untitled god song
This album effortlessly traverses the territories of haunting to sweet to righteously angry and determined, and stories of family, love, and colonialism linking ancestral and contemporary. The way that joy and pride and frustration coexist hints at the complexity of positive identity and community in an oppressive country. I also love an album where each song has its own distinct feel – and each of them is just lovely too.
favourite tracks: tiny hands, igluvut, ikersuaq (but really, all of them are my favourite)
I first listened to Anna Leone’s debut EP which came out a couple of years ago and was immediately charmed by her music. I was so excited to see her first very album come out; it’s the most soothing set of songs I’ve listened over the past year, with delicate folky melodies and intimate vocals carrying the album.
favourite tracks: love you now, in the morning, still i wait
Steady Holiday reminds me of melodic singer-songwriter albums from Emmy the Great and Zee Av. The tracks are about half slow, half fast, and lean wistful and nostalgic. It’s the heartfelt songs which I listen this album for: “Love me When I Go to Sleep” and “Living Life.”
favourite tracks: love me when i go to sleep, living life
This is also Jordan Mackampa’s first full length album. It sounds as though his style has veered more pop-y recently, but still amazing vocals (and charming melodrama) regardless. This album is has plenty of flashy catchy tracks but it’s the more sincerely sentimental songs which are my favourite – the title track “Foreigner” particularly.
favourite tracks: foreigner, eventide, tight (a little cringy but so sweet!)
This French electro-pop album is definitely a bit different from what I usually tend to enjoy but it’s only mildly electronic and also just very, very catchy?! The songs are sung in the most charismatic deadpan (I mean this as a compliment) and I’ve found myself listening to it many more times than I expected. The duo actually broke up (romantically) and disbanded (professionally) before I even discovered the album so sadly I think it’s the one and last from Videoclub.
favourite tracks: amour plastique (by far)
I’ve been sporadically trying to make a gateau basque, a buttery filled cake from Basque, for a few years now and I’ve made some rather terrible ones. Generally, the recipes I’ve seen fall into two types – some use a softer dough which you pipe into layers both below and overtop the filling, while others use a stiffer dough which is rolled out like a tart crust. My first try was based on a piped version, but I didn’t like how thick the layers of pastry ended up too being: predominantly pastry without much filling. The cake was also too dry by the time it cooked through, though that was on me… After that I mostly switched to rolled pastry methods which more easily facilitated thinner layers for a higher filling:pastry ratio. I tried a stiffer dough that was very easy to work with, but which baked up too dry, crisp and cookie-like (at this point I also realized from this one that I should maintain a certain amount of sugar in the dough for tenderness.) Finally, I found I preferred a softer rolled dough formula – harder to work with, but which ended up more tender and cake-like than its dryer counterparts.
That being said, this dough is really soft. It becomes super delicate and prone to tearing as soon as it starts to warm up. It helps to be patient and roll out the dough onto parchment so you can slide it back into the fridge or freezer for when its cold-forged will begins to fade.
Gateau basque is usually filled with either a cherry jam or a pastry cream. I generally prefer the pastry cream filling, but I wanted to add an extra layer to this one, one which I felt wouldn’t detract from the sense of butter on cream on richness on butter: and that meant a layer of warmly spiced date paste. The date paste, an idea inspired by date ma’amoul, has a deep flavour, much like caramel (I now understand why date caramel is such a thing in vegan baking). As the paste is very thick, especially when chilled, I found the best way to get it into an even layer was to roll it out between two pieces of plastic into a circle just big enough to fit into the bottom of the cake. Together with the pastry cream and pastry, it’s a mellow and rich combination.
Pastry adapted from Mon Petit Four. Date paste adapted from Sohla El-Waylly.This is a fairly sweet recipe due to the sweetness of the dates and the sugar in the pastry (which I haven’t quite decimated as it has a bit of a tenderizing role), so I’ve kept the sugar in the pastry cream to a minimum.
special equipment: 7.5″ fluted tart ring (1″ tall)
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla bean paste. Place the milk in a small saucepan and heat until steaming. Slowly pour the milk into the eggs, while whisking constantly to combine.
Return to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat while whisking constantly. Watch for slow bubbles to rise to surface (you’ll need to briefly pause whisking to see this) and once the cream is bubbling, continue to cook for 1 minute more, whisking vigorously, to ensure the starch is cooked. Immediately transfer the cream to a new bowl and whisk in the butter. Cover and let cool, then place in the fridge to chill completely.
Cover the dates with boiling water and let sit 20 minutes to hydrate. Drain and pit the dates, and place the dates in the bowl of the food processor. Process until chopped, add the oil and spices, and continue to process until the dates form a smooth puree. Chill until ready to use.
Cream the butter and sugars together, then beat in the egg and orange zest until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until a soft dough is formed. Divide the dough into two pieces, one about 2/3 of the dough, and the other, the remaining 1/3 of the dough. Wrap each in plastic and chill completely in the fridge.
Lightly butter the tart ring. On a piece of parchment paper dusted with flour, roll out the larger piece of dough into a circle wide large enough to line the bottom of the tart tin. Aim for a dough thickness of about 0.5cm. This dough is very soft and delicate when it warms up, so if it has started to warm, slide the parchment paper onto a tray or cutting board and place in the fridge to chill again. Then use the dough to line the bottom of the tart pan. Tears are okay – just patch them up with a bit of extra dough. Trim any overhang.
The next layer is the date paste. Rather than spreading it, I found the best way to get a nice even layer is to roll out the date paste just like a piece of dough. The chilled paste will be quite firm, so use your hands to form it into a disc. Roll out the disc between two pieces of plastic wrap until to a round that fits in the bottom of the tart tin. Pull off the top piece of plastic, and place the round of date paste upside down into the bottom of the tart tin so that the bottom piece of plastic is on top. Peel off the plastic.
Next, dollop the chilled pastry cream overtop and spread into a smooth layer.
Now, place the final piece of dough on a piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour (you can add any extra dough from the first piece) and roll into a circle large enough to cover the tart, aiming for a dough thickness of about 0.5cm. If the dough warms up too much, slide it onto a tray or board and chill it again. Otherwise, drape the dough over top of the tart and trim any excess. Now place the whole cake into the fridge to chill while you preheat the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Remove the cake from the fridge and place on a tray. Brush with beaten egg and use the tip of a paring knife to score lines over the top, being careful not to cut all the way through the dough. Bake for about 40 minutes or until browned. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.
Brunsviger, a Danish yeasted cake baked with a cinnamon-spiced brown sugar glaze, is what you get from crossing a sticky bun with coffee cake. Thanks to a focaccia-like dimpling, a freshly baked brunsviger is a study in texture: the topping crisps on the top of the bread, and leaves behind cavernous dimples laden with molten brown sugar – and burst blueberries, an addition I adore.
It is hefty with sugar and in this case I wouldn’t have it any other way.
When I first came across a recipe for brunsviger, I skimmed past it. In part because I am always overwhelmed with the array of different Scandinavian desserts and end up quickly flipping through every page, and in part because I thought I had this recipe pegged as a brown sugar topped yeasted cake. Which it is – but I had completely missed the point of the rugged topography of the cake and the textural contrast that ensues. As is a lot of Nordic recipes, the basic ingredients are the same: the flour and butter and sugar and eggs and maybe cinnamon or cardamom, but then how they’re put together is what makes each dessert such standouts.
This version is not quite a faithful brunsviger. I love adding fruit to dessert and thought that the dimples of brunsviger would be a fitting receptacle for small blueberries – and it is. They bake cradled in sugar and cinnamon until syrupy, a fittingly cozy tribute to the end of summer and entering fall (or anytime! I’ve done it with both fresh and frozen blueberries). I’ve also modified the dough to be partially whole grain and flecked with orange peel. It bakes up soft and fluffy regardless. Cut it into squares and be sure to have with coffee.
Servings: 8x8 inch cake which can be cut into 9 or 16 pieces
Adapted from Magnus Nilsson’s The Nordic Baking Book.
120g warm milk
1 tsp (4g) instant yeast
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 large egg
grated zest of 1 orange
60g soft butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt
100g whole grain spelt flour or whole wheat flour
130g all-purpose flour
120g brown sugar
scant tbsp ground cinnamon
a couple pinches kosher salt
100g fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, do not thaw beforehand)
Line an 8×8″ or 9×9″ square pan with a parchment paper sling and butter the remaining exposed sides.
To make the dough, combine the warm milk, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a standmixer. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until a dough is formed. Knead with the dough hook for about 8-10 minutes or until a very soft, smooth and elastic dough is formed.
Stretch and pat the dough out evenly into the prepared pan. Cover and let rise until about doubled in height, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Near the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 400F.
Prepare the topping once the dough is risen. Combine the butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small saucepan and heat gently until the mixture is melted.
Dampen your fingers to prevent them from sticking to the dough, the press evenly spaced deep dimples into the dough, rather like dimpling focaccia. Scatter the blueberries over top, mostly aiming for the dimples. Dampen your fingers once again, and then press the blueberries into the dimples to ensure that they are blueberry-filled dimples.
Finally, spoon the warm sugar mixture evenly overtop.
Place in the oven and bake around 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature is 190F.
Let cool a bit on a wire rack. Run a knife around the two edges without parchment paper and use the parchment paper sling to lift the bread from the tin. Slice into 9 or 16 squares and eat while still warm. If you have leftovers, be sure to warm them up before eating!
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I just spent the last week _______ [writing scathing reviews/thinking about my dear readers/WRITING IN ALL UPPERCASE]. But as _______ [thrilling/charming/UTTERLY UPPERCASE] as that was, I just couldn’t wait to publish this post to tell you all about ________ [my latest harsh takedown/how much I love my dear readers!/THIS NEW FONT I FOUND WHICH ONLY HAS UPPERCASE].
As my valued readers, you are the first ones that I thought of while I _______ [bottled the tears of the subjects of my reviews/dreamed of my dear readers!/TAPED DOWN THE SHIFT KEY]. You see, back in the days of my childhood ______ [I wrote scathing reviews about my preschool teachers/I wished I had such dear readers!/I LEARNED SUBTLETY IS KEY]. Today, I’ve [eaten lunch and hated it/been so grateful for my dear readers!/TYPED WITH VIGOUR].
___________ [Thanks for reading/While we may part for now, my dear readers, we will reunite soon!/GOODBYE].
The nonsense I make up in order to avoid writing a blog post…
This is another quick and simple roll cake, made with an earl grey chiffon, strawberry rhubarb jam, and earl-grey infused cream. This cake is light, tart, creamy, and moist. It is no surprise that jam and cream is wonderful together!
The part I am most excited about is the earl grey-infused cream. In the past I’ve attempted tea-infused whipped cream, but would find that it did not whip up very smoothly, something which I attributed to heating the cream and the tannic content of tea. Lately I’ve been doing more cold overnight infusions, the key benefit being that you can infuse the cream without heating it up. When applied here, it also it means that the infused cream whips smoothly!
earl grey roll cake with strawberry rhubarb jam
Servings: 1 roll cake which can be sliced into 6-8 pieces
optional: a few chopped cherries, for boosting the colour
earl grey roll cake
1 tsp loose leaf earl grey tea
3 eggs, split
30g whole milk
1 tsp houjicha powder or cocoa powder whisked with 1 1/2 tsp boiling water, optional (see note at end)
22g corn starch
23g a.p. flour
pinch cream of tartar
filling & assembly
about 2 1/2 tsp of granulated sugar to sweeten the filling, or to taste
60g whipped cream whipped with 1/2 tsp sugar for piping on top
sliced strawberries for garnish (alternatively, try poached rhubarb like here)
For the earl grey-infused cream, combine the cream and loose leaf tea in a container. Place in the fridge to infuse overnight. The next day press through a sieve – you should get around 120g of infused cream out. It will be a bit bitter now, but we’ll add sugar later when we whip the cream for the cake.
To make the strawberry rhubarb jam, toss the rhubarb, strawberries and sugar together in a small saucepan. (If you’re adding cherries for colour, add them now as well – especially if your rhubarb is more on the green side.) Split the length of vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the middle and add to the mixture. Add the pod as well.
Warm the mixture over gentle heat until juices are released from the fruit. Then bring the mixture up a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the fruit breaks apart and the mixture thickens and resembles a jam, about 20 minutes. Look for a dollop of jam dropped from the spoon to roughly hold its shape.
Transfer to a container and chill completely.
To make the roll cake, preheat the oven to 350F. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper (I recommend the method in the original source recipe video for ease and nice sharp edges on the cake).
Grind the loose leaf earl grey in a small spice grinder until ground as fine as it can get – pass through a sieve and discard any larger pieces of leaves. Set aside.
To make the cake, whisk together the egg yolks with the oil and milk. Optionally, for colour, whisk 1 tsp of houjicha or cocoa powder with 1 1/2 tsp boiling water until smooth, then add it to the egg yolks and whisk in. Sift the flour and cornstarch over top, add the salt, and whisk in until completely combined. Whisk in the ground earl grey tea leaves.
In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until frothy, then sprinkle in the sugar and whip until stiff peaks are formed. Fold one dollop of the egg whites into the batter completely before adding the remainder and folding in lightly. Scrape into the prepared pan, level with an offset spatula and tap to release any large air bubbles.
Bake around 15 minutes or until lightly browned, springy, and an inserted wooden skewer/toothpick is removed clean. Let cool on a wire rack.
To fill and assemble, begin by whipping the earl-grey infused cream. Whisk in about 2 1/2 tsp of granulated sugar, or sweeten to taste.
To assemble, place the cake right side up (i.e. with the bottom of the cake facing down to become the outside of the roll) on a piece of parchment paper. Spread with a thin layer of jam aside from one strip along a short side. You may not use all the jam. Dollop the whipped earl grey cream overtop of the jam and spread into an even layer.
Use the parchment paper to help you roll up the cake into round log. Roll tightly, but not so tightly such that the filling is squeezed out. Wrap and chill for at least an hour to allow everything a chance to firm up.
When ready to serve, whip the remaining 60g of whipped cream and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe 6-8 dollops of cream on top of the roll cake, depending on how thick you want the slices to be. Top each dollop of cream with a slice of strawberry.
Note on houjicha/cocoa powder: I like to have a greater contrast in colour between the cake and filling so I like to add a tsp of either houjicha or cocoa powder. It makes the cake a light brown tone, which is reminiscent of the colour of tea. It will affect the flavour a bit though, so to avoid any distractions, leave it out!
Today, somehow, tentimestea turns seven!? Is it time for me and my blog’s seven year itch? (I’m not feeling it yet – but…)
Over these seven years, definitely a number of things of have changed (like the fonts – what a reversal from serif to sans) – and a few other things have stayed the same. For instance, I’ve had the same rather prescient blog tagline since I started my blog: tentimestea is indeed primarily about food, my cautious instinct was correct that there really ended up being no books, and the pretentious writing is right on point. Likewise, I’ve kept the same totally irrelevant about page mostly intact.
In this manner my blog has come to be a mish-mash of nostalgia and sentimentality folded in with the newer fonts and occasionally properly exposed photographs – SEO and proper blog form be darned! Because after working on something for seven years, I suppose you do start to get attached to all the idiosyncrasies and random html widgets that were added into the sidebar which now, years later, I don’t have the heart to delete. It’s legacy! For posterity! or so I tell myself.
And so? One more year? Shall we?
I’ve been thinking about making a fraisier for a while (i.e. about three years). I’m so glad I finally did – it’s not nearly as scary as I thought it would be! Perhaps my biggest fear was the ring of strawberries along the edge not staying in place, or even worse, not being able to pull off the cake ring at the very end. Neither of those events came to pass as you can see (and on the ring removal side, it just takes a bit of warming up via blow dryer.)
Fraisier is a cake named for it’s fruit (la fraise) usually made of two layers of sponge enclosing cream and strawberries, and then topped with a layer of marzipan. It’s most recognizable for the ring of exposed strawberry halves.
This fraisier is a bit of a riff off of the original. Starting with the cake, I went with joconde, an almond sponge, instead of genoise. It’s one of my favourite base cakes – it’s stronger, moister and has a wonderfully rich taste, and in lieu of the marzipan, it provides a gentle almond flavour. For the filling, I infused the creme diplomat with lemon verbena and thyme for a fresh herbal taste, and packed the centre with tart roasted rhubarb. And as hinted, I skipped the marzipan – I love marzipan, but I do think the more-cream-on-top approach, one which I’ve seen a number of times (like here!) is a lovely balance of flavours.
special equipment: cake ring 6″ in diametre and 3″ tall
3 egg whites
pinch cream of tartar
100g ground almond
100g icing sugar
30g butter, melted and cooled
120g chopped rhubarb (chop into about 1.5cm dice)
80g chopped strawberries (chop into about 1.5cm dice)
about 2 tsp sugar (or more to taste)
320g whole milk
3 large sprigs lemon verbena
3 large sprigs thyme
3 egg yolks
20g granulated sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp gelatin, bloomed in 1 tbsp water
180g heavy cream, whipped
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp grand marnier (or kirsch)
Preheat the oven to 425F. Butter two 9-inch cake tins and line the bottom of two 9-inch cake tins with parchment paper. Flour the sides.
Place the 3 egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and sugar and beat until firm peaks are formed. Transfer to another bowl and set aside.
Place the almond, icing sugar and 3 whole eggs in the stand mixer and beat with the whisk on medium-high speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Sift the flour overtop and fold in. Fold in the melted butter. Dollop a large scoop of egg whites over top and fold in to lighten. Then add the remaining egg whites and fold until incorporated.
Evenly distribute the batter between the two tins and spread into an even layer.
Bake for around 5-10 minutes or until golden and springy. Let cool, then store, covered, until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Toss the strawberries, rhubarb and sugar together on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring once at the 10 minute mark, or until the fruit is tender and has released juices. Let cool and chill completely.
Heat the milk until steaming. Coarsely chop the lemon verbena and thyme, and add to the milk. Cover and let cool, then transfer the milk to the fridge to continue infusing overnight. The next day strain the milk, pressing to extract the milk from the herbs. Weigh the strained milk and top up to reach 320g.
Transfer the milk to a medium-small saucepan. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt. Heat the milk until steaming, then slowly pour into the egg yolks while whisking constantly to temper them. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble. Cook for at least 1 minute (whisking vigorously) then immediately remove from the heat. Pass through a sieve into a bowl to remove any lumps and whisk in the butter and bloomed gelatin until both are melted. Cover and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Once cooled, whisk the pastry cream until smooth. Whisk in a dollop of the whipped cream to lighten, then fold in the remainder. Use soon.
Mix together the milk and grand marnier.
Use the 6″ cake ring to cut a 6″ round from each joconde. Place the cake ring onto a plate (it is convenient to place it on your intended serving plate). Put one circle of joconde down and brush with the milk/grand marnier mixture. Line the ring with halved strawberries, cut side against the ring. I needed about 13 strawberry halves, but it will depend on the size of your strawberries (mine varied from 4-6cm tall; try not to exceed 6 or so cm to ensure that the cake doesn’t get too tall!).
Transfer the creme diplomat to a piping bag fitted with a round tip (I used Wilton 2A, about 1cm in diameter). Pipe the creme between each strawberry and then pipe in a spiral to cover the bottom of the cake. Spoon the roasted fruit into the cavity created by the cream and strawberries, and then pipe more cream overtop to cover it. Spread flat and top with the second circle of joconde. Brush with the grand marnier/milk mixture. Finally, spread a final layer of creme diplomat over top and smooth out with an offset spatula.
Cover with plastic and chill overnight to allow the cream to set. The next day, if the cake is not already on your designed serving platter, move it – you can likely lift it up via the ring, but use a wide flat spatula on the bottom for additional support.. Then run a blowdryer (or even a blowtorch, if you have access to one!) along the outside of the ring for several seconds to slightly melt the cream and loosen the ring. Lift up the ring. I garnished with some piped whipped cream, strawberries, lemon verbena and thyme (as well as a single white begonia – they are edible! – the sole output from our struggling balcony plants).
I am a lazy person, writing is hard and I love to outsource the labour. So today I bring you a wonderful guest post from The Cousin (who also goes by The Writographer)!
Hi ten.times.tea readers,
It is I, the Cousin (also known as The Writographer), and I have returned to this blog after a very long day. I just did the calculations, and I have not written a guest post in 1236 days (it will probably be more when you are reading this, but that is how long it has been when I write my original draft. Despite being given an open invitation to write for this blog whenever I feel like it, I have not taken up ten.times.tea’s offer. But now that it is summer, and my schedule is less busy than usual, I have decided to finally write a blog post. It took me a while to decide what to blog about; this blog’s author told me that I could write about anything, but I did not think she would appreciate another nerdy blog post about Star Wars(and to be fair, I have no yet watched episode IV). I did consider writing a blog post about Downton Abbey, specifically talking about the new movie coming up. I concluded that the readers of ten.times.tea come to this blog for baking and photography; not the nerdy cousin’s rants.
One of the hardest parts about writing this guest post is that I have no idea what the recipe is, so whatever I say will have nothing to do with the baking. I can guess that the baking is probably with very little sugar, whole wheat flour, no chocolate and most likely will include rhubarb and some interesting spice combination. I am excited to see how accurate my prediction is.
After much deliberation, I concluded that my post should have something to do with ten.times.tea, so either revolving around baking or photography. Since I am not much of a baker (the closest I get to baking cool creations is when I wash the dishes for ten.times.tea), I am sticking with photography topics. So this blog post is going to be about what I think are ideal photography conditions. Disclaimer: I am not a professional photographer. These are my opinions that I find lead to good photographs.
Good weather – While I say good weather, this depends on what you find is “good weather.” I enjoy it when the weather is slightly warm since I go for long walks when I take photos. If it is too warm then it’s annoying to stand in place for a long time to get the right shot. Also, since I normally take cityscapes and various street photography, I enjoy cloudy days since the sky looks more interesting, and then light/shadows are more interesting.
A fellow photographer/friend – Some people might prefer to take photos on their own, but I enjoy having someone with me. Whether it is someone also taking photos or just someone whose company you enjoy. This way you have someone to talk to and they might be able to point out good photo opportunities you missed.
Food/drinks – Since I normally go on long photography walks, it’s nice to get sustenance by stopping to get something to eat/drink. Or depending on the weather, it’s fun to get takeout drinks and walk around with them while you take photos. I’ve done both and I am not entirely sure which one is better. It probably depends on the area that you are in.
Extra batteries/enough memory – I realize that a lot of people now use smartphones to take photos, but I am thinking of actual cameras. I have had the misfortune to have forgotten to pack batteries and to run out of room on my memory card while on a photo walk. So before leaving to take photos, check if you have charged/extra batteries, enough room on the memory card, and take a test photo to make sure your camera is working.
A route/destination – Sometimes you are just out and suddenly see an opportunity to take a good photo. However, I find some of my best photographs have come from knowing where I want to go. While I always bring my camera (or at least my phone) when I go out, it is nice to have an idea of what you want to photograph.
Bonus: natural lighting – this is more for ten.times.tea’s benefit since she can only bake when there is natural lighting. Since I usually photograph outside this does not apply to most of my photographs.
Okay, that is all I have for you today. Ten.times.tea, I hope your baking turned out well; I am sure that it did. I am looking forward to seeing what you have created. Goodbye!
Thank you again The Cousin! I gave you a pretty difficult request by asking for a guest post without any idea of what recipe I would be posting – what a great idea to talk about photography! (If, reader of this blog post, you were not already aware, she is a brilliant photographer!). Oh and by the way, I am totally for it if you want to write about Star Wars again someday too…
My cousin has me pegged in terms of baking tendencies, but I decided to be unpredictable (ooh so wild!!) – this recipe has no whole wheat flour and quite a bit of chocolate. I was inspired by the flavour combination of spumoni, an Italian frozen dessert typically featuring pistachio, chocolate, and cherry: this is a fragrant pistachio cake, spotted with fresh cherries, marbled with cocoa powder and finished with a dark chocolate ganache. Due to the nuts nuts, the cake itself is very tender and moist. It also chills and eats very well from the fridge (likely as it’s an oil cake instead of butter) which is helpful in making it keep for a few days.
Cake adapted from The Milk Street Cookbook‘spistachio cardamom cake (book edited by Christopher Kimball). Water ganache from Ottolenghi Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh– the original recipe has some butter in it too, but I actually forgot to add it the first time I made the ganache and actually quite liked the result as is. Upon retesting, I confirmed that this ganache sets quite well without butter!
110g almond flour
125g whole wheat flour (or all-purpose, if you prefer)
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
150g granulated sugar
4 large eggs
120g greek yoghurt
50g canola, or other neutral vegetable, oil
50g whole milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder
150g cherries, pitted and halved
50g 85% cocoa dark chocolate, finely chopped
15g granulated sugar
20g corn syrup
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a loaf tin and line with a parchment paper sling.
Place the pistachios in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the almond flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt. Process until the pistachios are finely ground.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, yoghurt, oil, milk and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Divide the batter in two, transferring half to a second bowl. Beat the cocoa powder into one half of the batter. Add half the cherries to each half of the batter and mix. Put the chocolate batter into the prepared loaf tin, then top with the remaining half of the batter. Use an offset spatula, butter knife or spoon to dip down to the bottom of the pan and draw back up. Repeat a few times in the loaf tin to create some swirls.
Bake the cake for about 45-55 minutes or until an inserted skewer is removed with a few moist crumbs clinging, or clean. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the ganache, put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a very small saucepan, put the sugar and corn syrup. Stir together until mixed. Heat over medium-low until the sugar, then increase the heat to bring the mixture to a bubble. Cook until the sugars caramelize and turn amber (about 7 minutes).
Remove from the heat and add the water carefully – it will splatter. The sugar will seize and harden so return the saucepan to the heat to allow the sugar to redissolve and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat again and let cool one minute before pouring over the chocolate.
Let the chocolate sit for 5 minutes to begin to melt, then whisk until smooth. Pour over the cake while still warm and spread to cover.
Let the ganache set slightly, then top with cherries and chopped pistachios as desired.
Due to the moisture content of the cake, I recommend longer-term storage (after the first day or so) in the fridge. I also find this cake eats very well cold from the fridge!
How I will miss you citrus season! To express my undying adoration, here is one last ode to citrus for this winter, in the form of a chocolate roll cake filled with Thai basil-infused whipped ganache and whole mandarins.
This cake is, in essence, a sheetpan version of tiramisu with superabundant soak. It’s also a travesty and is neither really a tiramisu or a tres leches cake.
For the uninitiated, tres leches cake, or pastel de tres leches, is a sponge cake soaked in a mixture of canned and fresh milk. I love it – it is the dream remedy to all dry cake nightmares! Origins of this cake can be linked to multiple Latin American countries, European influence, expansion of dairy farming and sales of canned milk. It’s perhaps a familiar story of food emerging from resilient local ingenuity under colonialism (with a touch of capitalism and wartime food preservation).