Free Monthly Recipe

Welcome to the Free Recipe of the Month! Remember the free-recipe-of-the month is free just for the month that it's featured in!  After that it's retired to the Complete Betterbaking.com Recipe Archives.

 

This month in honour of Valentine's Day, we have two free recipes. The first one is a creation that takes a detour from the usual Red Velvet approach and is a gorgeous celebration cake made unique and extra flavorful with organic Earl Grey Flavor Concentrate from our friends at Nature's Flavors.

Earl Grey London Fog Cake ©

This is one hot and trendy cake! It features all the elements of an Earl Grey Latte (whipping cream, vanilla and Earl Grey tea) in a cake but it also features the sumptuous flavor notes of Organic Earl Grey flavor concentrate from our friends at Natures’s Flavors. This cake is beyond a keeper and celebration cake; it’s an instant classic and prefect for Valentine’s Day. Make it, invite friends over and stream Downton Abbey or share with your Valentine or best girl buds.

 For the Earl Grey tea flavor, find a strongly flavored, flowery Earl Grey tea to use and for the vanilla paste, use Nielsen Massey brand or the scrapings of Nielsen Massey vanilla beans but the real capper is the Earl Grey concentrate from Nature’s Flavors. The tea flavor on its own is somewhat delicate and ephemeral but the ‘spine’ of flavor inherent in the natural Earl Grey concentrate is a game changer. An original creation from Marcy Goldman’s Betterbaking.com.

 

 

 London Fog Earl Grey Cake (c) Betterbaking.com 

 

Earl Grey Simple Syrup
4 Earl Grey tea bags
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon Earl Grey Flavor Concentrate from Nature’s Flavors
¼ teaspoon orange oil

White Chocolate Ganache
1 cup whipping cream
1 ½ cups white chocolate, chopped

Cake
1 cup milk, warmed
4 egg whites
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 /4 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cup sugar
3/8 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup cold butter, diced
2 tablespoons ground Earl Grey Tea Leaves
2 teaspoons vanilla paste or scraped vanilla beans

Vanilla Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon orange oil
½ teaspoon Earl Grey Flavor from Nature’s Flavors
3-4 tablespoons whipping cream

Whipped Cream Topping
1 ½ cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

The night before, for the Simple Syrup, in a two-cup measure, add the tea bags, water, vanilla Earl Grey flavor, and orange oil. Let stand and brew overnight. Strain the next day and place in a small saucepan with the sugar. Heat and simmer 5 minutes.

For the White Chocolate Ganache, place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream to scalding and pour over the white chocolate and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously spray two 9 inch round pans with non-stick cooking spray.

 

For the cake, in a medium bowl, whisk the milk, egg whites, eggs, and vanilla together.
In a mixer bowl, blend the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, ground tea leaves and vanilla bean paste. Add in the butter in bits and mix to make a grainy mixture. Add in the liquid ingredients and blend 3-5 minutes until batter is smooth. Pour half the batter into each pan. Bake until the cake springs back when touched, about 28-32 minutes. Cool well.

For the Vanilla Buttercream, in a mixer bowl with the whisk attachment, blend the butter with 3 cups confectioners’ sugar. Add in the salt, vanilla, almond extract, orange oil and Earl Grey flavor to the whipping cream and increase speed to make mixture light and fluffy. Add in more confectioners’ sugar for the right consistency.

Whip the whipping cream with vanilla and confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form. Spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.

To assemble the cake, sandwich buttercream between the two layers. Ice top and sides with remaining buttercream. Chill cake 20 minutes. Rewarm White Chocolate Ganache to the right consistency to pour over the cake. Let set a few minutes. Dust with Earl Grey tea and pipe whipping cream rosettes into center. Chill before serving. Without the whipping cream, the cake can be frozen for two weeks.

12-16 servings

 

 

 

 

Crusty Cranberry Walnut No Knead Country Bread
I love this combo of walnuts, cranberries and a wee bit of rustic whole-wheat flour. This effortless loaf is artisanal in character and good to the last crumb. You can also use part currants instead of all cranberries. Freshly baked, and topped with sliced pears and brie, this is a gourmet delight or toast it and serve with blue cheese or a smear of European unsalted butter.

 


Dough

2 ½ cups white bread flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups water, room temp.
1 tablespoon honey
½ cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup dried cranberries

Semolina  for dusting

Three hours (or optimally 12-18 hours ahead), in a medium bowl, stir white flour, whole-wheat flour, yeast and salt. Stir in water, honey, walnuts and cranberries and just mix to make a gloppy batter-like/dough. If it's dry, add in a touch more water; dough should be quite sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 12-16 hours in a cool-ish kitchen (do not refrigerate).

Once dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured work surface and shape it into a ball – which might be rough since the dough is quite soft – but that’s fine. Crush a seet of parchment paper into a ball and then open it up again. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and dust with some semolina. Press this (as best you can) into a bowl or banneton. Spray the top of the dough with non-stick cooking spray and dust with a bit more semolina. Cover lightly with plastic (or place a bag over it) and let it rise while oven preheats (at least 30 minutes).

Preheat oven to 450 F and place a 5 quart Dutch oven casserole with a lid in the oven. Once oven is at 450 F let the Dutch oven stay in it, heating up, for 30 minutes. Remove Dutch oven from the oven, take off the lid and using the parchment paper as a lifting aid, lift and lower the bread into the Dutch oven. Cover it and place in oven and bake 30 minutes with cover; then remove cover and bake 10-15 minutes more to brown the bread completely. Let bread cool completely before slicing and serving.

Makes one medium loaf

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