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  • #mondaymorninginspiration

    Illustration: Alessandra Olanow @aolanow

     

  • Bowl or Beater ?

    Hello and Happy Friday!

    I had a funny exchange with an old friend this week. We debated a question as old as time; do you go for the beater or the bowl? Personally, I think it comes down to how vigilant the baker has been with the spatula as to how I make this decision. How about yourself?

    Speaking of all things cake, I've been busy working on a script and storyboard to shoot a promotion video for Simple Cake. Maybe that acting degree from my twenties might pay off after all? It's been really exciting trying to workout how I can translate and teach what's in the book to screen. I may, or may not, have to have stiff drink before they call action!

    While I contemplate my academy award winning performance this weekend, I might just be brave and take on Cliodhna Prendergast's Lemon Soufflé. Make my husband happy by cooking something meaty and delicious from the awesomely masculine Matty Matheson's Cookbook. But tonight, I'm going to be lazy and go to our local, Franks.

    Have a great weekend!

    Odette

     

    Photos: Nicole Franzen #SimpleCakeBook

  • Chocolate Cake Detox

    Hello and Happy New Year! How were your holidays? 

    I'm super excited about 2019, the year of CAKE, with the release of my book Simple Cake! In preparation, I've decided to go on a cake detox this January. I'm starting with my Chocolatey Chocolate Cake. So if you've been been drinking juice all week, or running everyday with Nike's Coach Bennett and Headspace and are in need of a hit of sugar, join me this weekend, and feel better :)

     Photo: Hallie Burton

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    Chocolatey Chocolate Cake

    This cake is pure celebration and my chocolate go- to. Not too rich but ridiculously moist, it is decadent without being overly sweet. It’s almost impossible to mess up and so easy to make; it gives Betty Crocker a run for her money. If you have a whisk and two large bowls, you can pull this off. Since the batter is very runny, avoid using a springform pan, which can leak. This cake is a slight adaptation of my dear friend Simon’s recipe. He effortlessly cooks for thirty people without breaking a sweat, and everything he makes tastes delicious— including this cake. There’s also an added bonus: the final product has some serious shelf life— it will keep fresh for days, and it freezes well if you would like to bake it ahead of time. 

    Makes: 10 x 3-inch round cake
    Preparation: 20 minutes

     

    Ingredients

    1 ¾ cups (225g) all- purpose flour
    ½ cup (45g) unsweetened Dutch- processed cocoa powder
    1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
    2 eggs, at room temperature
    1 cup (240ml) whole milk
    ½ cup (120ml) grapeseed oil or any mild- flavored oil
    ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 cup (240ml) boiling water

     

     

    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10 by 3- inch round pan with butter, line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper, and grease the paper. (I’ll let you just grease, line the bottom of the pan, and lightly flour the sides if you’re feeling lazy.)

    Place a large sifter or a sieve in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and sift.

    Add the sugar and whisk until combined.

    In another large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla together.

    Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until there are no lumps and the batter is smooth.

    Carefully pour in the boiling water and stir until combined. (Watch the little ones with the hot water!)

    Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the center of the oven for approximately 50 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, and the cake bounces back when lightly pressed.

     

    Topping

    In Simple Cake I give many topping suggestions for how to top this cake, but the simplest is a generous dusting of confectioners sugar when the cake has completely cooled, served with a dollop of whipped cream, or ice cream.Or sign up to my newsletter to receive my delicious Chocolate Mascarpone Buttercream recipe!

    Try these other pan options

    Two 8- or 9- inch round pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

    12 by 8- inch or 13 by 9- inch rectangular pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. 

    10 to 12 individual ramekins (grease and fill halfway). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. 

    24 cupcakes  (fill liners no more than halfway). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

     



  • Happy Holidays!!

    Hello Friends,

    Just a quick message to wish you all a wonderful, relaxing Holiday!

    I've gone menu planning crazy and have my cooking game on. Inspired by Dinner At The Long Table, I've got Short Ribs slow roasting in the oven, that I'll serve with Risotto Milanese, followed by Creme Brûlée. Our friends are also bringing Bacalao. YUM! For Christmas night we're going vegetarian and making Alison Roman's Cheesy Artichoke Lasagne from Dining In, with the compulsory Chrissy Pavlova from my book Simple Cake. Then on Boxing Day I'm doing Ina's Slow-Roasted Pork with a delicious cumin and jalapeño rub that will go into tacos followed by Mexican Flan. Does it get any better???? 

    God speed in the kitchen, and happy eating, drinking.

    Odette x

    ps. Thought you might enjoy this hilarious Matt Damon & SNL skit, that pretty much nails Christmas with kids :)

  • Thanksgiving Goals

     

    Hi Guys! Twice in one week... I know !! .. I'm coming on too strong?!

    Hope your Thanksgiving is coming together. I've committed to wearing stretch leggings and loose shirts all weekend. No high waisted jeans for this little lady. After the slaving and gorging, I'm going to try and turn my sluggish mind off. Hope my list inspires you to join me cooking and vegging out. 

    photos: Nicole Franzen

    Turkey can turn dry and nasty on a dime. This bird looks bulletproof.

    I'll make my Chocolate Crème Anglaise and eat too much pie.

    Go see Bohemian Rhapsody then play greatest hits Queen on loop.

    Sleep late, make a cup of tea, go back to bed, and read this

    Valiantly try to mediate everyday for at least 10 minutes. I don't know Andy but I feel like I do, and that's his talent.

    Take a wander through the apple orchards in Upstate NY.

    Hangout with our fun New Zealand friends that are behind this winery and probably drink a little too much of their awesome Ned wines together.

  • Chocolate Crème Anglaise

    Hope all your Thanksgiving plans and menus are coming together. Every year we head to our friend’s place in Upstate New York. I can’t wait to get in the car, play some music, and escape the city. For a couple of days, we’ll blissfully cook, eat, and drink with some of our favorite people.

    I’m responsible for bringing the pies. Although Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, I think the sides and pies are the best thing on the menu. When it comes to pie, America is all about à la mode, but I’m determined to bring custard on top of more pies (and cakes!), and the crème de la crème of custard is crème anglaise. Nothing is better than a luxurious custard served hot or cold on a slice of warm pie. If there’s any crème anglaise leftover, make sure you serve yourself a cheeky bowl for breakfast.  

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    Makes: approximately 1¾ cups: enough for 6 to 8 side servings
    Preparation: 15 minutes 

     

    Ingredients

    1 ¾ cups (420ml) whole milk
    4 egg yolks
    ⅓ cup (65g) granulated sugar
    2 teaspoons cornstarch
    1 teaspoon  pure vanilla extract
    ¼ cup (40g) semisweet chocolate chips

    Directions

    In a heavy saucepan over low heat, gently heat the milk until little bubbles start to appear around the edge of the pan; do not boil.

    Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch for a couple of minutes, until pale in color.

    Take the milk off the heat and slowly pour it onto the egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Return all of the mixture to the saucepan. On low heat, continuously stir the custard using a wooden spoon. Slowly bring the custard’s temperature up to between 175° and 180°F. This should take approximately 8-10 minutes. When cooked, crème anglaise will look silky— not thick. Remove from the heat immediately so it doesn’t continue to cook.  

    Add the vanilla and chocolate chips, stirring until the chocolate melts.

    Pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer.

    Variation

    Boozy Vanilla Crème Angliase: Omit the chocolate chips. Add 1 tablespoon of liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Amaretto.

    Tip

    Crème anglaise wants your full attention and love. It doesn’t take long to make so don’t get distracted. Instead, relax and enjoy the meditative continual stirring of the custard until it’s silky. What you’re looking for is what the French call nappè: when the custard coats the spoon, and if you run your finger over the back of it, a line should remain. By adding cornstarch it helps protect the egg yolk from overcooking and thicken the custard.