Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Daring Bakers’ October Challenge

This is my first Daring Bakers’ challenge. For those who haven’t heard of the Daring Bakers, we are a group of baking fanatics from around the world who, once a month, all have to bake the same item and share our results. Group members take it in turns to set the challenge and this month Mary of Alpineberry picked Bostini Cream Pie.
I have to confess to being a little concerned when I read the recipe as I’m not a huge fan of chocolate and orange together. However, I sense this is why the DB Challenges work – you get to make something you’d ignore in a recipe book – and sometimes with surprising results.
The chiffon cakes were the most interesting part of this recipe for me; I make a lot of sponge based cakes yet had never come across chiffon cake. The mix was a particularly appealing colour; sunshine in a bowl:

This was partly because of the orange juice, but also because the only canola oil I could buy was a canola and red palm oil mix. The oil replaces butter in the recipe and the lightness comes from egg whites. Here’s my beautiful kitchenaid earning its keep:

I decided to stick to the recipe and make the cakes individually as I wasn’t sure how much extra baking time it would take to make one large cake. Plus, I think they look very cute when they’re baking. This is the mix about to go into the oven – as the recipe stated, I filled the tins almost to the top.

What I wasn’t expecting was for them to puff up quite so much. Stupid really – what else would they do with that much whipped egg white in them?

Beautiful though they looked, I was concerned that the shape wouldn’t be neat enough to pour the chocolate sauce over and get a nice smooth finish. So I tidied them up with a biscuit cutter. Much neater!

When plated up it makes a substantial dessert. I only served 5 of my 8 cakes but used all the custard and chocolate – probably very greedy but what can I say? It seemed so right at the time!

I love this photo – my ten year old nephew took a very careful spoonful out of his cake to make a good picture – he’ll be a fine Daring Baker one day! It shows the beautiful dense, but not heavy, texture of the chiffon cake and the glorious colour contrasts between the sauces and cake.

My chocolate sauce was a half and half of plain and milk chocolate to make it more child friendly. Having eaten the dessert though I don’t think it was necessary as the custard makes the chocolate creamier.
I am wondering why it has taken me until now to realise what a dream combination cold custard and hot chocolate is – how come no one has told me this before? Hurrah for the Daring Bakers!
The challenge required the chiffon cake to be flavoured orange. While I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed the delicately flavoured sponge, I have to admit that if I made this under non-challenge rules I would probably make a vanilla sponge instead but that is only because I’m a vanillaholic.

So – my first challenge met and enjoyed. Roll on November!

Bostini Cream Pie
(from Donna Scala & Kurtis Baguley of Bistro Don Giovanni and Scala's Bistro)

Makes 8 generous servings

Where ingredients are known by different names in the UK I’ve put this in brackets)


3/4 cup whole milk
2 3/4 tablespoons cornstarch (cornstarch is the same as cornflour)
1 whole egg, beaten
9 egg yolks, beaten
3 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream (double or whipping cream)
1/2 vanilla bean (vanilla extract is okay)
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
Chiffon Cake:

1 1/2 cups cake flour (If you can’t find cake flour you can make a substitute: 1 cup cake flour = plain flour and cornflour. Take a cup of plain flour and remove 2 tablespoons of it. Add 2 tablespoons of cornflour)
3/4 cup superfine sugar (caster sugar)
1 1/3 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup beaten egg yolks (3 to 4 yolks)
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup egg whites (about 8 large)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Chocolate Glaze:

8 ounces semi or bittersweet chocolate
8 ounces unsalted butter


To prepare the custard:

Combine the milk and cornstarch in a bowl; blend until smooth. Whisk in the whole egg and yolks, beating until smooth. Combine the cream, vanilla bean and sugar in a saucepan and carefully bring to a boil. When the mixture just boils, whisk a ladleful into the egg mixture to temper it, then whisk this back into the cream mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the custard and pour into 8 large custard cups. Refrigerate to chill.

To prepare the chiffon cakes:

Preheat the oven to 325°F (170 degrees, 150 degrees fan oven). Spray 8 moulds with non-stick cooking spray. You may use 7-ounce custard cups, ovenproof wide mugs or even large foil cups. Whatever you use should be the same size as the custard cups. Sift the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the oil, egg yolks, orange juice, zest and vanilla. Stir until smooth, but do not overbeat. Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold the beaten whites into the orange batter. Fill the sprayed moulds nearly to the top with the batter. Bake approximately 25 minutes, until the cakes bounce back when lightly pressed with your fingertip. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cool, remove the cakes from the moulds. Cover the cakes to keep them moist.
To prepare the glaze:

Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat until it is just about to bubble. Remove from the heat; add the chocolate and stir to melt. Pour through a strainer and keep warm. To assemble: Cut a thin slice from the top of each cake to create a flat surface. Place a cake flat-side down on top of each custard. Cover the tops with warm chocolate glaze. Serve immediately.


gigi said...

Great Job! The Bostini looks delicious!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

nice tall cakes! congratulations on your first challenge!

Anne said...

Congratulations on finishing your first challenge! It looks great!

Jen said...

Those look absolutely delicious. Chocolate and orange is always a winning combination in this house. As it happens, I've just joined the Daring Bakers and am looking forward to my first challenge next month :-)

glamah16 said...

What can I say. The Caked Crusader has struck again. Terrfic!

Susan said...

Very lovely! How nice that the orange cake was a pleasant surprise for you; I agree that part of the appeal of a group like this is being introduced to things we normally wouldn't try if left to our own devices.

Brilynn said...

I'm interested in trying other flavours for the chiffon cake as well, but I did like the orange.

Well done!

Inne said...

Well done on your first challenge, glad you enjoyed the results so much. I'm soooo jealous of your Kitchenaid (I'm still trying to decide what colour I'd like)

breadchick said...

Great job on your first challenge! Yup, you have now found out why so many of us hide in the kitchen liking the custard bowl when chocolate is involved ;-)

Courtney said...

good idea on the chocolate, i need mine a little more kid friendly haha

Belinda said...

Excellent job on your first Daring Baker challenge! And your nephew's photo does show the lovely texture of your chiffon cake! Beautiful! :-)

Deborah said...

I love how much your cakes "poofed"! I wish mine would have done that! Great job on your first challenge!

Tartelette said...

Woohoo for your first challenge! It's funny we ran out of custard before we ran out of cakes too! Beautiful job!

Jen Yu said...

Wonderful! So glad that you had success with your bostini. I am big fan of the custard myself :)

jen at use real butter

April said...

Great job on completing your first challenge! They look great!

Christina said...

Yes, I imagine it's like hot fudge sauce on vanilla ice cream!

I think I did something wrong with my egg whites. While I didn't get a rubbery layer, mine didn't seem to puff up as much as some of yours did. Oh well, it worked!

Great job on your first challenge!

Mary said...

I'm glad you discovered the joys of combining hot and cold. I also like frozen berries drizzled with a warm chocolate sauce. Nice job on the challenge.

Anne said...

Love the step by step photos. You did great :)

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a wonderful job on your bostinis. They puffed up so beautifully, unlike mine that only puffed up a little.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

slush said...

Your cake got such nice height on it. It looks great, fantastic job!

Claire said...

He did a great job at spooning out! :-) The larger cake still only took 25 minutes.

Lis said...

Terrific bostini!

Whenever your nephew is ready, he's got a place waiting in the DB'ers =)


marias23 said...

Congrats on completing and enjying your first DB challenge. All I can say is, it gets better and better :)

Gabi said...

Fabulous job!

Viknits said...

Wow a bakealong, what a great idea!
Yours looks absolutely delicious, really really drool worthy! I've saved this to my faves, how I wish I had my baking gear here, I would try them this weekend.
ANother to add to my baking to do list (you're another evil enabler :p )!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Wow that is the Daring Baker spirit for sure Samantha! Beautiful Bostini.
So glad you've joined the group. We're ready for November.

Julie said...

Congratulations on your first challenge! That's some amazing puffiness going on with your cakes, but it definitely doesn't make them look any less appetizing! Yum all around!

Fiona said...


My mouth is watering.

Ivonne said...

Congratulations on your first challenge! Yay!!!

Viknits said...

Looking at your delicious cakes, while eating porridge... just doesn't cut it! I wish my porridge had a more cakey feel now :S

You should be pleased... in a "I'm spreading the cakey goodness" way ;)

*Is off to buy cake*

Dolores said...

I wanted to let you know how much I've enjoyed getting to know you (through your blog) during your first month as a Daring Baker. When I add the newbies to my blog reader at the beginning of the month I'm never quite sure what to expect... but with a name like "The Caked Crusader" I KNEW you would be fun.

Congratulations on a successful first challenge. You're right... your nephew has a future with us whenever he is ready. :)

Peabody said...

Wow, your cakes really popped up! A lovely job.

Julius said...

Congrats on your first challenge!

I love your blog name, it's so catchy.

Please feel free to check out my bostini here (also my first challenge).