Friday, September 23, 2011

Lemon sponge cake Semifreddo

This lemon sponge cake is great for light desserts' admirers. It has a very saturated but not dominating lemon taste.
The cake was baked by Andrei Utkin with a recipe by David Lebovitz from his book Ready for Dessert.
We will have to cook three separate ingredients for the cake. First we prepare a lemon curd, then a lemon syrup and finally a sponge cake itself.

Ingredients for the lemon curd:
1/2 cup 9125 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
6 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks

Ingredients for the lemon syrup:
3/4 cup (180 ml) water
1/3 cup (65 g) sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons kirsch (not required)

Additional Ingredients:
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
2/3 cup (75 g) crushed amaretti cookies

lemon curd
In a saucepan combine lemon juice, sugar and butter. Set the saucepan over low heat. In another bowl whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan whisking constantly, until the curd starts to thicken. Don't boil it!
When the curd is ready let it cool and then refrigerate.

To make the lemon syrup warm the water and sugar in a saucepan. When the sugar dissolves remove from the heat, stir in lemon juice and the kirsch. Let it cool completely.
sponge cake
Bake a sponge cake 12 by 18 inch (30 by 46 cm) and cut it in two pieces so that it fits into a baking dish. Whisk the cream until it turns into a whip cream. Mix the whipped cream and the lemon curd.
Put one layer of the sponge cake on the bottom of the baking dish and brush evenly with about 1/2 cup of the lemon syrup. Spread 1/2 of the lemon cream evenly on top of the first cake layer and sprinkle with amaretti crumbs. Lay the second piece of the sponge cake on top and repeat the procedure. The cake is ready. refrigerate until chilled. Sprinkle with the rest of amaretti crumbs before serving.
Lemon sponge cake Semifreddo

Ginkgo hand felted yellow leaf brooch

Ginkgo tree is an amazing plant. It is a true living fossil which means that its fossils date back 270 million years. The plant survived all major planet Earth's cataclysms and extinction events. At some point of its history Ginkgo trees were widespread all over our planet. In our times they have long been cultivated in Asia where its seeds are widely used in local cuisine.
Ginkgo felted brooch
Ginkgo leaves are of a very peculiar shape. They look like fans with veins pointing towards an edge of a leaf. During the summer leaves are of a regular green color but in the fall leaves turn canary yellow making Ginkgo trees excellent ornamental yard and street plants.
Ginkgo yellow leaf
Ginkgo leaves have long been used in medicine. Some studies suggest that extracts of Ginkgo leaves improve blood flow and enhance memory. Seeds of Ginkgo trees are considered by some Asian nations to have aphrodisiac properties and are sometimes offered at special occasions such as Chinese New Year or weddings.
green Ginkgo leaves
A unique shape and bright yellow color of Ginkgo leaves in the fall are very inspirational. I always wanted to create a brooch that would remind me of these canary yellow fans. There is something really ancient and pre-historic in the way these beautiful leaves look.

According to The Sibley Guide to Trees "four Ginkgo trees about a mile from the 1945 atomic blast at Hiroshima, Japan, were among the very few living things that survived, and soon regained their full health".
 Ginkgo yeallo leaf felted brooch

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fresh Ginger Cake

This yummy and spicy fresh ginger cake was baked by Andrei Utkin. An inspiration came from David Lebovitz recipes book "Ready for Dessert".

We will need:
4-ounce (115 g) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup (250 ml) molasses
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) vegetable oil
2 and 1/2 cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup (250 ml) water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs

ginger cake piece

Preheat the oven to 350 F (175C) and butter a round cake pan.

In a food processor chop the ginger and set it aside. In a large bowl, mix together the molasses, sugar and oil. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves and pepper. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, then stir in the baking soda. Whisk the hot water into the molasses mixture, then ass the chopped ginger.
Gradually sift the flour mixture over the molasses mixture, whisking to combine. Add eggs and whisk until thoroughly blended.
a piece of ginger cake
Bake until the top of the case springs back when lightly presses with a finger for about 1 hour.
The cake is moist and will store well for a few days. Enjoy the cake!
fresh ginger cake serving