Monday 29 October 2012

Vanilla Bean Latte Layer Cake

A homemade mocha torte introduced me to my first taste of coffee when I was still too young to drink it. Coffee and I continued our illicit affair in stolen bites of any dessert it graced - until we both felt we were ready and old enough to 'get serious'. With a lot of milk and sugar as a protective measure, I drank my first latte and never looked back. I still have a weakness for coffee-flavoured desserts and this triple-layer cake truly satisfies the craving: it takes all the flavours of a vanilla bean latte and translates them directly into dessert. Three, in this case, is not a crowd, but a definite crowd-pleaser: this cake, with its rich and flavourful three layers, made at least 20 people remember their 'first time'.

Monday 15 October 2012

Spiced Pear Breakfast Bread & Pear Curd

Aside from my imaginary French Patisserie, I also run an imaginary Bed & Breakfast where I treat myself like a guest in my own home and let myself wake up to something indulgent. There is nothing quite as nurturing or sensual as taking the time to get up early and whipping together a spiced pear loaf, crawling back to bed while it bakes, and drifting awake to the scent of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. This is a breakfast-in-bed treat for eating in your robe, where crumbs fall happily past the folds to encourage a loosening of ties and a stolen moment of warm sunlight on bare skin. Pears slightly past their prime are transformed into a spiced sauce that moistens the cake as well as a creamy, silky curd to spread on top (of the cake and whatever else you fancy).

Friday 5 October 2012

Apple Flognarde

A flognarde by any other name would taste as sweet: a kissing cousin to the better-known clafoutis (which is made with cherries), this custardy-pancake dessert lets seasonal fruit shine atop a bed of pillowy batter. Flognarde comes from the Occitan words fleunhe and flaunhard, which mean 'soft' and 'downy', respectively. This apple flognarde certainly lives up to that sensual description: it has the body of a cake, the soft, inner creaminess of a custard or flan and a puffiness that holds the fruit of your choice like a sweet duvet. I chose to use apples for the fruit in this flognarde, who, nestled one atop the other, got downright delicious under the custardy covers.