How-To | 5 Tips To Bake Like Katherine Sabbath

They tell you that you should never meet your idols, because you’ll almost always walk away disappointed.

I had no such luck when I recently met Katherine Sabbath. That lady is a dream.
IMG_4447

Katherine was brought to Perth for the first time by Kitchen Warehouse for a series of demonstrations to make her iconic melted ice cream cake.

I’m not going to lie to you – I got there 40 minutes early so I could nab a seat in the front row, like the dork that I am. I’m going to say this – and I just can’t emphasise it enough – she’s just so damn nice. While waiting for other attendees, she was happy to answer questions, talk about Instagram and her breakfast (Stimulatte in Subi, for those playing at home) and rearrange the bench to make sure no body missed out on seeing what she was doing.

Before long, it was show time.

IMG_4454

First and foremost: Her aprons are from Gorman. They are gorgeous. Buy them here.

Two: “If I want a chocolate cake, I want the richest chocolate cake I can. I definitely believe in only making a cake that you’d want to eat yourself,” Katherine says.

In fact, if you took away nothing else from her demos, let nugget of advice be it. She believes that by making cakes you want to eat, you’ll buy better ingredients, your passion will show through, and you’ll end up with a better cake as a result.

IMG_4464

Three: Time and patience.If you’re trying to make a towering masterpiece, try and give yourself 2-3 days to do it, so you don’t end up in a panicked, crying mess on the floor (I have no experience in that…), especially if it’s your first attempt. It also goes without saying that if it is your first time making something, do not mess with the recipe. 

Cakes come together best when they are cold, so throw every layer into the freezer for 15 minutes before you add another – it will help your cake hold its shape.

Four: Think you can’t recreate one of her cakes? THINK AGAIN. All of those cakes you see on Instagram are made in her tiny home kitchen. Even more impressive is that she’s only just invested in a Kitchen Aid. Yep, all of those incredible cakes were made with an electric hand mixer. The take away: if she can do it, so can you.

What I love most about home-taught chefs is that they know how to make do with what they’ve got. No Thermomixes, no Vitamixes, no ingredients that you need a chemistry degree to be able to pronounce. Those flawless sides on her cakes? Achieved with a cement scraper her dad bought her from Bunnings 10 years ago, when she couldn’t find or afford professional tools to keep up with what she needed.  (Something kind of like this)

IMG_4466

Home cooks also probably have jobs outside their craft – Katherine taught high school kids until this year, while whipping the internet into a frenzy. Your saving grace when you promised someone a cake for Friday night, but can’t skip work during the day? Your freezer. Katherine recommends making double batches of cakes or Swiss meringue buttercream next time you hit the kitchen, because both freeze beautifully for up to 3 months. Simply pull them out to defrost in the fridge overnight, and assemble the next day.

IMG_4467

Five: The fun part of cakes is obviously the decorating. Katherine recommends fresh and freeze dried fruits, Americolor pastes, edible flowers, chopped nuts, Valhrona crisp pearls, edible glitter and plenty of sprinkles. The key to those delicious signature drips? Colour melted white chocolate with either a gel paste or special chocolate colouring (supermarket water-based colours will seize the chocolate and ruin it), and gently coax the chocolate off the sides of a chilled cake with the back of a spoon.

Experiment! Have fun!

IMG_4480

Places to shop:

Additional tips and recipes:

IMG_4478

The Cult of Condensed Milk

First of all, let me apologise profusely for my absence. The Browed One and I have recently moved house, and with that came the month of no wi-fi. It was awful. So many cat videos went unwatched, so many Buzzfeed lists were unread. Tragic for all involved. More importantly, it also meant no blogging, because it is really hard to post from my tiny phone.

But here we are, together again. I missed you.

I convinced myself that I hated condensed milk as a child. I don’t know what I based that opinion on, given that everything about it is right up my alley. I can only imagine that I made up my mind without having tried it (as children do) and then stubbornly refused to change it (as children do).

And so The Cult of Condensed Milk eluded me. I had one friend in particular, knowing that we always kept a tube in the pantry, would make a beeline every time she came over, and would proceed to inhale the lot. Wade is some kind of CM bloodhound. We can’t keep it in the house, because he’ll find it, and consume it in a manner not unlike this. I’ve since discovered the error of my ways, and am now a card-carrying member of The Cult of Condensed Milk. Join us.

Last week saw us celebrating Wade’s birthday (happy birthday Wade!), and the best way of celebrating anything is with everything that you love – birthday law and all that. Wade’s big loves in life all come together is the form of cà phê đá – Vietnamese Ice Coffee – and when he happened across a recipe for it in cheesecake form in my current favourite cookbook, his knees went a little weak. I’ve made a lot of cheesecakes in my time, and this is the most utterly perfect texture. Feeling pretty damn smug about the whole thing, to be honest.

The trick here is to use strong espresso. I visited Humblebee Coffee Roasters and got them to brew me up some magic (I’m terrified of our coffee machine at home – if I break it, Wade will kill me), and it was perfect. Should you wish, instant coffee is totally fine and if you’re not one for kahlua, just substitute extra coffee.

Cà phê đá Cheesecake

From Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts by Gizzi Erskine

85ml melted butter, plus extra for greasing
200g digestive biscuits, crushed into crumbs
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 x 300g cream cheese, at room temperature
395g tin of condensed milk
50g brown sugar
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp extra strong espresso
3 tbsp Kahlua (or more espresso)
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk

Heat the oven to 160*c. Line a cake tin with baking paper, then grease the sides with butter.

Stir the melted butter into the crushed biscuits and 1 tbsp brown sugar until evenly combined. Evenly press the mixture into the bottom of the cake tin and place in the oven for 10 minutes. Cool in the fridge while you make the filling.

Increase the oven temperature to 200*c. Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth, then add the coffee, Kahlua if you’re using it, sugar, flour, vanilla and condensed milk. Whisk in the eggs and extra yolk until thoroughly combined and airy.

IMG_8393

Pour the filling into the tin, and then place in the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven to 100*c and bake for a further 25 minutes or until it jiggles just a little in the middle. Turn off the heat, crack the oven door just a tiny bit, and then walk away and leave to cool for 2 hours.

IMG_8408

Once cooled, cover with foil and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. To release from the tin, run a butter knife under hot water, then around the edge of the tin.

IMG_8409

IMG_8415

Have you ever driven past some of the magnificent buildings around town and wondered what lay inside? Open House Perth is your opportunity to discover all their secrets, and I definitely recommend you check it out. From heritage to art deco, from corporate offices to people’s homes, nothing is off-limits.

Personally, I’m very keen to visit The Creative Arts House (#51, in case you want to come too) because not only do I love seeing creative brains come together, but Lifeline WA do incredibly vital work within our community. Studio Lifeline is definitely something I could get on board!

The Birthday Law

It was recently asked “how early is too early to start drinking on your birthday?”. I proclaimed that there was no such thing, because BIRTHDAY LAW. Which got me thinking about the kinds of entitlements that come with celebrating your special day…

The Birthday Law

1. One’s birthday is not over until one has consumed Official Birthday Cake. It doesn’t need to be big, it can be as small as a cupcake. Official Birthday cake can be many flavours, excluding carrot cake, because it’s not real cake (unless it’s Momofuku Milk Bar Carrot cake, in which case, continue.). You receive bonus Birthday Cake points for it being ice cream cake, in the shape of a train or inclusive of sprinkles.

2. The Birthday Song must be sung at some point. No exceptions. Acceptable substitutions to The Birthday Song include: Happy Birthday to you by Stevie Wonder or Celebrate by KC and the Sunshine Band.

3. It is never too early to start drinking. That’s what champagne breakfasts, mimosas, or shower beers are for. If you can’t do it today, when can you?!

4. Thou shall not work on your birthday. TAKE THE DAMN DAY OFF.

5. Suitable Birthday Attire includes: Tiaras, ridiculously fun dresses, suits, capes, your favourite outfit that never gets a wear in day to day life. This includes anything with sparkles. Fun lipstick. Not your birthday suit. That joke has been done, move on.

6. Birthday Activities include: WHATEVER YOU WANT. Go-karting, gaming, movies, road trips, karaoke.
Birthday Activities exclude: bill paying, trips to the dentist, school runs or trips to the supermarket. Unless you’re buying supplies for something fun. That’s ok.

7. Nothing that you hate to do, but do ‘because it’s good for you’ is permissible on your birthday. No running, salads, flossing, vitamins, green smoothies or dessert skipping.

8. It’s completely ok to stretch out your birthday over multiple days, especially if your birthday is during the week. Birthday Week is the best way to make sure that you gather all the birthday joy you deserve, without running yourself ragged on your day of days. Birthday Week can be extended further if you are interstate or overseas – the further from home you are, the further it stretches.

9. Thou must consume at least one item that contains sprinkles.

treatyoself

You know I love birthday cake like a fat kid loves… Erm… Birthday cake. I’ve been dying to make this particular cake for some time, because it’s fun and whimsical and everything a birthday cake should be, damnit. So, I made it for myself for my birthday last week. And just so you know… It was everything I dreamed it would be.

Orange Fruit Tingles Cake

From Raspberri Cupcakes

For the cake:
1 1/2 large oranges, zested and juiced
3 eggs
165g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup caster sugar
300g self-raising flour

For the icing:
350g salted butter, at room temperature
600g icing sugar
4 rolls (about 140g) Fruit tingles, plus 1 extra roll for decoration

Heat your oven to 190*c.

With an electric beater, cream together the butter, sugar and zest of 1 orange until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, thoroughly mixing before adding the next. Add the juice (should be about 1/2 cup) and flour, gently folding into the mix, being careful not to over beat.

Pour the mixture into a lined and greased cake tin. You can divide the cake into it’s 3 layers and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or bake the cake whole for 45 – 55 minutes (which is what I did, because I’m lazy). Leave to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

IMG_8178

To make the icing, cream the butter until fluffy and smooth. Add the icing sugar slowly, until it has a smooth but not runny consistency. You might need a little more or less icing sugar, or perhaps a splash of milk to get it right. Blitz the fruit tingles in a food processor or with a rolling pin, then mix into the icing until evenly combined.

IMG_8179

Split the cake if you baked it whole (Jamie’s tips on doing that here are fantastic, then spread some icing between each layer, then cover the whole cake in a crumb layer. Place the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes, then cover the cake in the remaining icing and decorate with extra fruit tingles.

IMG_8197

IMG_8208

What do you think should be added to Birthday Law?

When it rains, it pours

Does anyone else get that thing where you’ll have no birthdays/events/work/whatever for weeks at a time, and then everything at once?

August and September are a flood of birthdays in my world. There’s a week in August where I have 10 birthdays in 7 days – that’s a lot of birthday cake for one person to eat! Thankfully, I consider myself a cake eating ninja and am completely up to the task!

My most recent birthday belonged to my beloved boss from my Day Job. When you have a job that’s as stressful as mine can be, you always take the opportunity to celebrate/eat your feelings when it presents itself. It’s the right thing to do!

So, I asked her what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday. She professed a weakness for a cupcake from a nearby shop; lemony with a crunchy coconut topping. I’d never tried it, and sadly the shop no longer sells it, so it was up to my imagination to come up with the goods.

As fate would have it, Julia Taylor posted her recipe for lemon syrup cake while I was madly trawling the internets for inspiration. Salvation! Julia’s recipes are always reliable, and always delicious. It’s a great cake for someone without a sweet tooth, when you just don’t feel like chocolate (It happens sometimes. I don’t judge) or perhaps just want to feel like you’re not celebrating your birthday in the office.

Lucy’s Sunshine Cake

Adapted from Julia Taylor and Tracey’s Culinary Adventure

Lemon Syrup Cake
250g softened unsalted butter
325g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
Zest of three lemons
80ml milk
80ml lemon juice
350g self-raising flour

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C. Grease a cake tin, then line with baking paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high until pale and fluffy; this will take a few minutes. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract, then the eggs one at a time.

IMG_7907

Turn the speed to low, then alternate the flour and milk/lemon juice until combined. Pour the mixture into the cake tin, then bake for 35 – 40 minutes. A skewer will come out sticky but clean when the cake is ready.

IMG_7908

I squeezed the juice on one of the lemons over the cake while it was still hot for extra lemony goodness. Cool in the tin, then gently run a knife around the edge of the tin to help get it out cleanly.

IMG_7910

Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream
300g sugar
6 large egg whites
340g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup coconut milk

Place a with the sugar and egg whites in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk them together constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot to the touch.

Pour the mixture into a stand mixture fitted with a whisk attachment (or keep mixing with an electric, but it will take longer). Beat on medium high until it cools and resembles a fluffy meringue. Dice the butter into small pieces and add to the mixture a couple at a time until incorporated. Continue to beat on high for a few minutes until fluffy and glossy.

Add the vanilla extract, coconut milk and salt to the mixture, and beat again on medium until incorporated and smooth.

Once the cake is completely cool, cover the cake with a thin layer of icing (a crumb coat) and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to firm up. This stops you from getting cake crumbs in your lovely icing, and helps give you a smooth finish. After that, ice as you wish!

IMG_7914 IMG_7923

I decorated the outside of the cake with toasted coconut flakes just to give it a bit of crunch and interest.

Haaaaaaaaappy Biiiiiiiirthday to…

Without trying to sound like a one woman pity party, my birthday kind of sucks sometimes.

It regularly falls within that golden trifecta of long weekend/AFL Grand Final/Royal Show, meaning that when I was growing up kids couldn’t come to my birthday party because they were going away for the holidays or going to the show. As an adult, people can’t come to my birthday because they’re sneaking off for the weekend or getting balls-wasted for the grand final and aren’t in much shape to kick on after. Luckily, my friends and family are awesome, and always make me feel 100% loved. Except for that one year where we all kind of forgot it was my birthday, and no one said anything until mid-afternoon. Not that I’m holding onto that…

The older I get, the more I try to hold on to being young. Not in a stuffing-my-face-full-of-fillers-and-botox kind of way, more of a lets-get-a-bouncy-castle-and-build-forts kind of thing. This year I convinced Jacqui from Where the Wind Blows Me and her partner S to the Swan Valley at 7am on a Sunday morning to have a crack at Stampede in the Valley – a 4km, mud filled obstacle course for those too terrified of the Tough Mudder. We got muddy, sweaty, giggly, sustained minor injuries and generally had a blast.

Just so you know I’m not making it up – that shirt was white when I started.

Which leads me to the next birthday…

Today is the first birthday of eatmeetswest! Huzzah!

I have trouble believing that it’s been a year. In some ways, it feels like I’ve been doing this forever, in others I feel like I started yesterday. I’ve made some of the best friends, gotten to participate in events I’ve only dreamed of, and eaten some seriously good food. I’ve learnt more about food, writing and myself than I could have imagined. I struggle to wrap my head around that my words have been read in almost every country, and I thank you ALL so much for doing so.

And there is nothing that makes me prouder or more excited than when someone tells me that they’ve made something I’ve posted – and it didn’t blow up spectacularly. It’s even better if they liked it. Winning.

Now, to birthday cake.

There’s only one way to go when you’re making birthday cake. None of this serious, shmancy stuff. I go all out with diabetes inducing, frivolous, sprinkle laden fun. Because that’s what birthday cake is all about!

Now, the queen of this kind of dessertry is Christina Tosi. I talked about David Chang from Momofuku a little while ago, and Christina is his dessert protege. Her book, Momofuku Milk Bar is basically a sugar induced coma to read.

Obviously, the recipes are how they make them in the shop, so this recipe looks a little complicated, but it’s really not. There’s the cake (duh) and icing. But there’s also this gorgeous crumb and a soak that goes between the layers. For simplicity sake, you can skip these if you want, but I do recommend you keep the crumb. It’s stupidly easy, and sooooo yum. I’m also choosing to ignore how they assemble the cake, just because I think it’s unnecessarily fussy. But, if you want to go full Christina, you can follow the instructions here.

Oh, and one more thing, the recipe is really American. You can get glucose syrup at the supermarket, but corn syrup is trickier to get. I’ve seen it in baking shops, the David Jones food court, specialty shops. I substituted with honey, just use a smidge less. If you don’t have grapeseed oil, use vegetable (but not olive oil).

So, to say thank you beyond words for stopping by, I’d like to give you something!
A) the recipe for the most fun birthday cake IN THE WORLD (please see below)
B) The chance to win a copy of Jamie Oliver’s new book, 15 Minute Meals, which is excellent. See the bottom of the post for how to enter!

Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake

From Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi

Birthday cake crumbs
100 grams granulated sugar
25 grams light brown sugar
90 grams cake and pastry flour
2 grams baking powder
2 grams salt
20 grams rainbow sprinkles
40 grams grapeseed oil
12 grams vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix together the dry ingredients until evenly combined. Add the vanilla and oil until the mixture begins to clump together. You can ‘help’ this process by smushing bits together by hand.

Spread the clumps in a thin layer onto the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. Let them cool completely.

Birthday cake
245 grams cake and pastry flour
6 grams baking powder
3 grams salt
50 grams rainbow sprinkles
115 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
250 grams granulated sugar
50 grams light brown sugar
3 large eggs
110 grams buttermilk
65 grams grapeseed oil
8 grams vanilla extract
25 grams rainbow sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 170°C . Like a cake tin with baking paper and grease.

Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and 50 grams of the sprinkles. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs and then mix again until completely combined. Slowly mix the buttermilk, oil and vanilla, then increase the speed and beat for a further 5 minutes, until the mix doubles in size and is fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Pour into the cake tin, and cover with remaining sprinkles. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Birthday cake soak
55 grams milk
4 grams vanilla extract

Combine the milk and vanilla. Set aside.

Birthday cake icing
200 grams icing sugar
2 grams salt
Pinch baking powder
Pinch citric acid
165 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
55 grams cream cheese
25 grams glucose
18 grams clear corn syrup
12 grams vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, a couple of minutes. Add the glucose, corn syrup and vanilla, beat until smooth and glossy. Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed, then up the speed and mix until fluffy.

To assemble

Cut the cake in half (or thirds if your cake is smaller but taller) lengthways. With a brush, press some the soak into the first layer of cake. Be generous. Then, spread a layer of icing. Sprinkle a handful of the crumbs over the icing, pressing them in gently. Then, another layer of icing (gently, so the crumbs don’t move. Repeat, if your cake is in thirds.

Carefully place the top later of cake on top. Ice the top with a generous layer of icing, and decorate with remaining crumbs. It helps if you put it in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up before serving.

To win!

Tell me about your favourite birthday in the comments below – did you get the pony you always wanted? A surprise party? Too many jelly shots and your nana danced on a table? I’ll pick the best!

I’ll announce the winner next week!

 

Entries are now closed. Thank you for entering!

Know your audience. Plus, monster Chocolate Cake!

I’m The Baker. Or the Dessertress.
That is, when my friends and I get together, I can always be counted on for some kind of ridiculous sweet concoction. But all of my friends have their own ‘thing’. Edweina makes a inhibitions-reducing punch. Nic makes a mean dip. Natalie knows her wine. Gloria is great for knowing the best place for an occasion, or a theme that brings out the best in her guests (though the wine has more than a little to do with that too). For a long time, it was me and cupcakes.
This extends to my family. My mum is a cook, and an amazing one at that. However she maintains that desserts are not her bag, baby. So they became mine. I’m ok with this, as I have a wicked sweet tooth, and it’s the perfect way for my to indulge whatever craving I’m experiencing at the time.
So when my beloved Dad’s birthday rolled around, the call went out. ‘Bri, you can make the cake.’.

Oooh baby *greedily rubs hands* Yes. Yes, I can.

So began the trawling for food porn. I mean, inspiration. Sadly, most of the things that caught my eye were glorious, summer fruit-filled delicacies. That doesn’t work when it’s the middle of an Australian winter. Damn you, northern hemisphere.
Then I found it.
It was one of those lightbulb/heavens parting/Eureka! moments.
This cake.

Now, I made a couple of adjustments for my audience. My parents and my grandmother are all ginger junkies. So I opted to swap the berry jam for ginger conserve. I also topped the cake with chopped crystalized ginger, pretty much just because I could.
I also, in a panic, doubled the cake. Turns out, my cake tin was larger than the one used in the recipe, so when it finished cooking, it only stood about an inch high, looking nothing like the picture. I looked at it, horrified, and though ‘I can’t serve such a tiny cake to Frankie!’, neglecting to think that they could just serve fatter slices. So I panicked, and got up very early the next day to make a second cake, to double the height
When it was finally assembled, I realised my error, and again, in a panic, called mum to ask how many people were coming to said birthday party. Any less than 10, and well, we were eating a lot of cake.
Luckily, Frankie errs on the side of greedy, and quite happily ploughed through a slice that would probably induce a heart attack in someone with less experience putting away food. The rest went to work with him the next day, where there were reportedly no survivors.

Chocolate Cake with Ginger-Nutella Filling and Chocolate Ganache
Makes 1 9-inch, 4 layer cake, adapted from Sugar Plum

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup dark, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups Nutella, warmed slightly
  • 1 cup ginger preserves, warmed slightly
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped ginger

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour cake pans.
In a medium mixing bowl, using a mixer on high speed, beat egg whites (reserving the yolks) until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, with the mixer on medium speed, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in egg yolks, vanilla, and melted chocolate until combined.  Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually mix in flour, alternating with  milk, until just combined, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Fold in egg whites in three additions, until combined.

Batter

Divide batter into cake pans.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake pulls away from the side of the pan and a toothpick inserted comes out with moist cake crumbs.  Cool for 12 minutes on wire racks in the pan.  Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert onto wire rack to cool completely.
Split each cake in half (you can use the dental floss method, I just split between two pans).  Spread a layer of Nutella and ginger preserves on each cake layer, assembling the cake as you go.

The first cake

Together

To make the ganache, heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.  When it comes to a simmer, turn the heat off and whisk in the 8 oz chocolate chips until melted and smooth.  Cool until it’s a good consistency and then pour and spread over the cake.  Top with ginger.

Monster gooey cake goodness

Pictures don’t do justice to how big it was, so unless you want diabetes, probably stick to a single batch of cake.
Not pictured: Frankie (my dad) with cake and melted ganache stuck in his mustache.