Raspberry White Chocolate Frangipane Tart

Raspberry White Chocolate Frangipane Tart

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

    Crust
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cups butter, cold
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Frangipane
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • Filling
  • 30g/1oz white chocolate, cut in chunks
  • 115g/4oz fresh raspberries

Directions

Crust Using a pastry cutter or food processor, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and butter, until the butter is cut into very small pieces. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, and mix by hand until the pastry starts to form up. Place the dough into a 10″ tart tin with a loose base, pressing into the tin until a crust has been formed, and poke holes with a toothpick or skewer. Place in the fridge for an hour. Place pie weights onto the crust, and bake at 375ºF/190ºC for 20 minutes, then remove the weights and bake again for 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool. Frangipane Cream butter and sugar together. Alternate adding parts of the almond flour with each egg. Mix in vanilla, almond extract and all-purpose flour. Pour into cooled crust. Arrange raspberries and white chocolate into the frangipane. Bake at 350ºF/175ºC for 45-50 minutes. Cool, then serve.

And now for the details…

Hello folks, sorry it has been awhile. What better way to make a comeback than with a delicious dessert whose scent of butter, sugar, and vanilla fills your house when baking. And then wafts its way to your nostrils while sitting on the counter, waiting to be eaten?

Although I have called this a Frangipane tart, what we are making here is probably more aptly called a Bakewell tart. There are plenty of other styles of Frangipane tarts that make use of a much different style of crust. The Bakewell uses a shortbread dough as the base. Typically, slivered almonds are used on top, and icing sugar is sprinkled over the entire tart. In our case, we are filling the tart with raspberries and white chocolate instead. The final product is like having a nice, thick piece of shortbread cookie with a creamy, slightly chewy filling on top, dotted with tart but sweet raspberries and little pieces of white chocolate.

Let’s get to making, shall we?

Although there are several steps to this tart, the good news is that each individual step is not so terribly long, and it’s really the waiting while baking that is the hardest part.

Let’s start with the crust. Unlike other baking endeavours, the joy of this crust is that I don’t need to wait for the butter to soften! Since I am apparently inept in thinking ahead, this is great for me, since I use the cold butter to make the crust, AND it’s a reminder to put out the half cup of butter to soften for making the frangipane later (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, take out that other butter now…)

You have a couple of options here. You can make the crust in a food processor, but because my food processor lives in our basement when not in use because of lack of kitchen space, I get super lazy and find alternatives to hauling it upstairs… in this case, I used a pastry cutter. If you have neither of these things, you can go old school and use knives, or even your fingers. Whatever you’re using, add the flour, sugar, salt and butter together first, and either give it a few zips with the food processor, or dig in with the pastry cutter, until the butter is cut into small-ish pieces, about pea-sized. For this particular recipe, I used kosher salt, and a decent amount of it. I did this on purpose, since I knew that between the raspberries, white chocolate, and frangipane, the overall tart was going to be very much on the sweet side, and the salty bites you are going to get with the kosher salt in the crust will provide a nice contrasting flavour, rather than just a whole lot of sweet.

Once the first four ingredients have been cut together, add the vanilla and egg yolk. For this, I got right in there with my hands. Mix them together until the pastry just starts to form up. It will still be pretty shaggy, but take the entire thing and pour it into your tart tin. In this case, we are going to use a 10″ tart tin, with a loose base. That loose base will allow us to easily remove the tart once it’s baked and leave that beautiful, fluted look to the crust. Not to mention that thanks to that fluted look, we get more surface area of the crust that bakes, resulting in those crunchy, buttery bites when eating the crust… Oh no… I’m drooling and we haven’t even gotten past the crust yet. This wait is going to be excruciating.

Anyhoo… now that the dough is in the tart tin, press it into a crust in the tin, including up against the sides. Try using both thumbs at the top corner of the tin, to get the edges pushed together. Was mine perfectly even at the end? Not even close. But… my end goal is taste, not looks, so I wasn’t too fussed. Poke holes into the bottom of the crust with either a toothpick or a skewer. This will help the base bake a bit more consistently, as well as help reduce the likelihood of it puffing up when we blind bake it.

Before we bake, place the crust in the refrigerator for about an hour. Then, preheat your oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Line the crust with aluminum foil, and place either some pie weights, or dried beans, to weigh it down so the crust does not puff up while baking. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then remove it from the oven, take out the aluminum foil with the weights/beans, and put the crust back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes, or until the whole thing is golden brown.

Once it is baked, take out the crust and let it cool completely. You can even do this the day before, and let it sit until you are ready to make the rest of the tart.

Next is our frangipane. A friend of mine likened it to marzipan, and it does have some similarities. The base for both are ground almonds, and combine that with the sweetness and almond extract flavouring, and they are quite close. But frangipane is more of a pastry cream, made with almond flour, butter, eggs, and sugar, while marzipan is more of a candy, using almond flour, confectioner’s (icing) sugar and egg whites or corn syrup.

Before we make the frangipane, preheat the oven to 350ºF/175ºC. To get the frangipane started, cream together the butter (remember that butter that we remembered take out and soften at the beginning??) and sugar until light yellow and fluffy. I would recommend doing this in a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer. Next, mix in your eggs one at a time, alternating with adding in the almond flour approximately a third at a time. Finally, mix in the regular flour, vanilla and almond extract. Pour the frangipane into your tart shell, and then add the raspberries and white chocolate directly into the frangipane. I tried to make it at artful-ish as I could, hopefully you can appreciate the effort! The frangipane is fairly thick, so you may have to push the fruit into it to get it to set. If your white chocolate is poking out a little bit, that’s okay too. The frangipane will puff up and mostly cover it as it cooks.

Depending on how well browned you got your crust when you blind baked it, you might need to place foil around the edge to protect them to keep them from getting burned. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the frangipane has puffed and turned a golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then pop it out of the tin from the bottom, cut and serve!

Happy eating.

Cake Fit for the King (AKA Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Candied Bacon)

Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Candied Bacon

  • Servings: 2-layer cake
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

    Cake
  • 5 bananas, peeled and mashed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Frosting
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5 cups icing sugar
  • 3-5 Tbsps milk
  • Candied Bacon
  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar

Directions

Cake Prepare two 9″ round cake tins and preheat oven to 325ºF/165ºC. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, nutmeg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine until just mixed (don’t over-mix). Split between two two cake tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cake is set. Let cool and remove from tins. Frosting Whip butter and peanut butter together until fluffy. Add vanilla. Mix in icing sugar 1 cup at a time. Add milk and whip until fluffy and smooth. Candied Bacon Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Place a wire rack on top of a cookie sheet. Lay bacon out onto wire rack. Sprinkle bacon generously with half the sugar. Bake for 10 minutes. Take out, flip the bacon slices, sprinkle with the remaining sugar, bake for 10-15 minutes or until bacon starts to brown and the sugar has melted and caramelized. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Assemble cake by icing the cake with the frosting. Top with the candied bacon. Serve.

And now for the details…

With a bunch of ripe bananas that needed something done with them, and having reached my fill of banana muffins and loaves, I figured I needed to do something different. But I’d made a banana layer cake a few months ago with cream cheese icing and figured that was a little too… predictable. So when thinking of what goes well with banana, my mind immediately went to peanut butter! Which then got me thinking of the story I’d heard about Elvis Presley’s favourite sandwich: peanut butter, banana and bacon. Why not add candied bacon to this mix? And thus: the Cake Fit for The King was born.

I was originally going to call it the Elvis, and then after doing some quick eu-Googling, I found out there already is a cake named after Elvis, since it was a favourite of his. It involves yellow cake mix, crushed pineapple, cream cheese and a whole lotta sugar. It sounds horrible for you and pretty damned delicious, so it probably needs to be made at some point… but for now, here we are with the banana cake with PB frosting and candied bacon!

Lets start by making our cake. First step that I almost always forget about and delays my process almost always is letting the butter come to room temperature. I enjoy baking, but I don’t bake that often, and somehow I manage to miss this step every time… Ah well, I get it eventually. Make sure that butter has stayed out of the fridge at least overnight so it’s nice an pliable for making our batter.

Before we move on, preheat your oven to 325ºF/165ºC. Next, we start our cake batter by creaming the butter with our sugar until the mixture is fully mixed, and light and fluffy. Next, add your eggs, one at a time, mixing the previous in completely before adding the next. Finally, mix in the mashed bananas and vanilla. This is our “wet” mixture.

Next, we mix together our dry ingredients in a separate bowl: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. I sifted everything together into the bowl, and then gave it a quick mix with a whisk.

Now it’s time to bring them together. Make a little well in the middle of the dry ingredients, then pour the wet ingredients into that well. Stir to combine until just mixed; try to avoid over-mixing. Then split the batter evenly between two prepared 9″ round cake tins. Like I said in my Lemon Bumbleberry Cake recipe, I learned to prepare the tins by buttering the tin, then laying a cut piece of waxed or parchment paper at the bottom of the tin, but you do you, and prepare the tins however you feel comfortable.

Next, of course, is to bake those cakes! Place the cakes into your preheated oven, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tops have turned golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool and remove them from their tins (don’t forget to peel off the waxed or parchment paper if you used it!)

While the cakes are cooling, lets make that candied bacon! Increase the temperature of the oven to 375ºC/190ºC. Lay the bacon out on a wire rack placed over a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the bacon with half of the brown sugar, and then place in the oven for 10 minutes.

Once ten minutes is up, remove the bacon from the oven, turn the pieces over, and sprinkle the other sides with the remaining brown sugar, and place back in the oven. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the bacon has caramelized and become crispy on the edges. Let them cool, then chop into little pieces.

Once the cakes have cooled, it’s time to ice the cake! We’re making that peanut butter frosting next. Start by whipping the butter until its light and fluffy. Then, add your peanut butter and whip the two together until fully mixed and so fluffy you’re gonna die. Next, add the icing sugar in gradually, about 1 cup at a time, mixing the sugar in almost completely until you add the next cup. At this point, the icing will probably be a bit on the dry side. Add the milk to the mix, starting with 3 tablespoons. If you’re using unsalted butter, add a couple pinches of salt to the mix, and the vanilla. Whip these ingredients into the icing, and if you find the icing is still a bit too stiff, add more milk, one tablespoon at a time, until you have your desired consistency. As far as what peanut butter to use, I will leave that up to you. I used a natural, crunchy peanut butter, because I wanted the little bites of peanuts.

Finally, let’s assemble that cake! Place your cake on your serving dish, flat side down. If you want to get fancy, you could slice the puffed part off your cake to make it nice and flat, but to be honest, I’m a little lazy (not mention, what do you do with the cut piece of cake??) and leave the cutting part out and just assemble the cakes as-is. Put the frosting on top of the first layer, sprinkle with about half of the bacon pieces, then place the second layer down, flat-side-up. Because I didn’t cut off the puffed piece, you’ll need to use a little extra icing to fill the edges between the two layers, but are we really going to complain about a little extra icing? I sure won’t. Finish frosting the entire cake, and sprinkle with the candied bacon piece on top. Then it’s time to cut and serve!

Happy eating.

Lemon Cake with Creamy Bumbleberry Frosting

Lemon Cake with Bumbleberry Frosting

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

    Cake
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups butter
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole fat milk
  • Lemon Curd
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (approximately 2 large lemons)
  • 2 Tbsps lemon zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Frosting
  • 5 egg whites
  • 2 cups (14 oz, 392 gr) granulated sugar
  • large pinch of salt
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup bumbleberry purée

Directions

Cake Whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl. In a stand mixer, cream the butter, then gradually add the sugar, 1/3 cup at a time, then add the vanilla. Blend the eggs into the butter mixture, one at a time. Add the dry ingredients slowly, alternating with the milk, until fully mixed. Pour the batter into greased and papered cake tin(s). Bake at 350ºF/177ºC until toothpick comes out clean (30-35min for 6″ cake tins). Cool fully. Curd Add all the ingredients except the butter in a saucepan and blend together. Place over low heat and cook, stirring continuously, until thickened, remove from heat. Add the butter slowly, stirring in completely. Cool. Frosting Place the egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer metal bowl, and place over a pot of simmering water. Cook until the temperature reaches 71ºC (160ºF). Remove from the heat, place on the stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whip until stiff peaks form. Beat in the salt, then add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Fold in the bumbleberry purée.

And now for the details…

Cake is my favourite dessert. I can say that, because it’s such a wide variety of options that I get to include in this category. Ice cream cake? Of course. Coffee cake? Absolutely. Angel food cake? Yum. Layer cake? Without a doubt. Cheesecake? *drool* Pancake? You monster.

(Admission time: I hate pancakes. Yes, I am weird, I get it, what kind of person doesn’t like pancakes? Maybe I’m the monster here. And no, I’m sorry, the “but these pancakes” that you will want me to try, because they are “different” and I will “definitely like them”, will not make me change my mind. Are they moist, slightly soggy flaps of cooked batter meant to be drenched in butter and syrup? *shudder* nope, mind is made up here.)

Of all these different cake types, though, if I had to choose, a good layer cake is probably my most preferred type of cake. I am terrible at decorating them, but as long as the result is tasty cake, I’m will to look past the lopsided-ness or borderline looks-like-it-belongs-on-a-“cake fail”-post, and just enjoy the sweet, sweet tastiness.

The first part of a great cake is, of course, the cake itself. This cake is a butter cake, scented with a bit of lemon extract to amp up the lemony-ness. We start out by creaming our butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Then add your eggs one-by-one, allowing the first one to completed mix in before adding the next. Then add in your vanilla and lemon extract.

Next step is to either whisk or sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Whisking or sifting will help to break apart chunks in the powder, getting a better mix when we add the dry ingredient to our wet ingredients.

Speaking of, let’s add our dry ingredients. We do this in steps, so add about 1/3 of the dry ingredient, then 1/3 of the milk. Continue alternating until you have added everything to the bowl.

Only mix until everything is mixed in, then STOP! Mixing for too long starts activating the gluten in our flour, and can result in a “chewy” or “rubbery” cake. We do have a heck of a lot of butter in our cake, which does help hinder the gluten formation, but mixing for too long will affect your final texture. You can also use cake or pastry flour to help keep a nice crumby texture to your cake, but I find I do not bake often enough to keep multiple flours in my pantry and I rely on good ol’ all-purpose.

The cake batter is now going to go into some prepared pans. Do this however you feel is best. The way I learned from my mom is to butter the pan first, paying particular attention to the sides of the pan, then cut some parchment or waxed paper to the size of the bottom of the pan, and line the bottom with the paper. For this recipe, the batter will fit nicely into two 9″ round pans.

Add the batter to the pans, splitting it somewhat evenly between the two prepared pans. This batter is fairly thick, so you will need to spread it out in the pan and smooth out the top.

Then place in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake springs back up from pushing lightly in the middle.

Coming up next is the lemon curd and bumbleberry purée. For the lemon curd, separate 5 eggs, setting the whites aside into a metal bowl to make the butter cream later. In a saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar until pale yellow, then add the lemon juice and zest, mixing in completely. Place on LOW heat and stir for about 15-20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened fairly significantly, and coats the back of a wooden spoon. The low heat is very important, otherwise you may end up with scrambled eggs instead of lemon. Patience is key. (It’s worth it!!) Stay with the curd, and stir is continuously while it is on the heat. Next, add the butter about a tablespoon at a time, allowing it to melt and mix into the curd completely before adding the next amount. As you add the butter, the curd will thicken.

The curd after cooking, before adding the butter.

While the curd is cooking, you can be getting the bumbleberry purée ready at the same time. Are bumbleberries a real berry? Ummmm… well, I would love to believe this website because they sound like a magical berry from Utah! But.. bumbleberry is basically a mix of numerous different kinds of berries. In my mix, we are using blackberries, raspberries and blueberries (about 3 cups all together). Mix them together in a saucepan and add them at medium heat until they cook down and get jammy-looking. From here, you can strain them using a regular strainer, but I find a food mill is a great way to get rid of the pips and be left with a nice, non-grainy purée.

Last, but definitely not least, is our icing. I used a Swiss meringue buttercream for this recipe, but feel free to use the buttercream of your choice. I am still learning about buttercreams, and this website provides a fantastic comparison of buttercreams, and provides links to recipes for each. Does this recipe look familiar? It should!! Big thanks to Baker Bettie for providing such amazing information for us amateur bakers!

Start by mixing your egg whites with your sugar, and placing them over a water bath (remember that metal bowl we discussed for the egg whites? Place it on a pot filled with simmering water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water, and you’ve got your water bath!) Heat until they have reached a temperature of 71ºC (160ºF), then remove from the heat. Place them in your stand mixer, and using the whisk attachment, whisk until fluffy and they form stiff peaks.

Great! Ready for the butter? I am! It needs to be fully room temperature, but not too warm. Add the butter about 1-2 tablespoons at a time, allowing the previous addition to mix completely into the icing before adding the next bit. Then, add 1 cup of your purée to the mix (save the rest for decorating the cake later) and mix in thoroughly.

And finally? Assemble your cake! We are going to cut each layer in half, and in the middle of each cut half, place your lemon curd. The buttercream goes between the two layers. If you are able to do this while maintaining a nice, even set of layering, good for you! I am jealous! But most importantly, enjoy the berrylicious, tart, sweet, creamy, crumby, deliciousness!

Happy eating.