Category Archives: Daring Baker

Daring bakers: Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake Pina Colada style

I was totally thrilled when I saw the new daring bakers challenge this month. Sunita from Sunita’s World – Life and food challenged us into making a Swiss Swirl Ice Cream cake. The moment I read the challenge it was about 25 degrees celcius in Belgium Perfect weather for ice cream and some baking. The day I actually made the cake it was about 35 degrees and I almost melted away in my kitchen. But it was worth it! Every drop of sweat, every hot breeze from my oven.. I forgot about it when I finally took a bite of the cake. It was divine, completely divine! One bite brought me into Ice Cream Cake heaven. I even forgot how scared I was about this recipe. I had nightmares about rolling a cake. Asleep I saw the cake fall into pieces when rolling. But this cake was so easy to make and I will certainly try it again.
Because of the tropical heat and the fact that summer holidays have started over here I made a Pina Colada version of the cake.
Like I mentioned in a previous blog post I am the proud owner of an ancient ice cream maker who I fell deeply in love with. I used my dearly beloved machine to make the creamy coconut ice cream and the pineapple sorbet, but don’t be afraid. You can make ice cream without a machine!

One last warning before digging into the mysteries of the Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake. don’t try to make this in one day. Its just to much. J It took me 3 days to complete the challenge. The first two days I made my ice cream. It could be done in one day though, but my machine was not cold enough to make two sets of ice cream. The third day I made the cake and assembled the who thing. On the fourth day I was in ice cream heaven.


6 medium sized eggs
225 grams caster sugar
45 grams all purpose flour
40 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
30 ml boiling water
30 ml rum essence
500 ml of whipping cream
70 grams caster sugar


3 dl coconut milk
4 egg yolks
75 grams of caster sugar
3 dl whipping cream


100 grams caster sugar
100 ml cold water
100 ml pineapple juice
250 grams pineapple


Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius. The recipe states that you should use 2 square baking pans from 11 inches by 9 inches each. I did not have that and I just used my regular round baking pans, what work pretty well, but I am convinced that square pans would make a better result. Brush whatever baking pan you are using with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper.

 In a large mixing bowl add the eggs and the sugar and beat till very thick. When you lift the beaters out of the mixture they should leave a trail for at least 10 seconds. I timed my beating and it took me about 12 minutes to get the right consistency.

 Now add the flour mixture in three batches while folding it gently in with a spatula.
Then fold in the boiling water!

 Now divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread out evenly. (I had to use 3 baking pans to get the job done. If you don’t have that many baking pans, just let them cool down and bake a second batch in the same pan!)

Now place the pan in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake if for about 10 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch!

 Spread a clean kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle it with a little caster sugar.
Now turn the baked cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges. (If you use round forms like me, you could trim it into a square form like I did.)

Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Place the roll an a rack, seam side down and let it cool down completely.
Keep repeating this for the next cakes.

Now for the filling! In a large bowl add the cream and the sugar and beat it till very thick and fluffy. Be careful don’t beat it into butter! Halfway trough the beating process add the rum essence.

Divide the cream mixture between the now completely cooled cakes.

Open the cake rolls and spread the cream mixture. Make sure it does not go right into the edges, cause it will poor out when you start rolling.

Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and chill for about an hour in the fridge. This will firm them up and make the slicing a lot easier on you.

 Creamy Coconut Ice

In a large bowl add the sugar and the egg yolks and beat until they are doubled in size and all the sugar is evaporated in the mixture.
Now spoon under the coconut milk and the whipping cream.
Poor this mixture into the ice machine and let it “cream” for 25 to 30 minutes.
When done place the coconut ice cream for at least 5 hours in the freezer.
The downside on making ice cream yourself is that the ice cream is very rich and creamy, but also very soft. The problem is solved when you freeze the ice cream for at least 5 hours. Then the ice cream gets the hardness that store bought ice has.

Pineapple sorbet

In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, the pineapple juice and the water. Place the pan over a medium heat and sit constantly, till the sugar begins to melt into the water. Don’t let it boil, cause it will start to caramelize. When the sugar is totally melted into the water turn down the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature.
In the mean while mix the pineapple with a blender into a puree.
When the syrup is cooled add the puree to the syrup and poor it into the ice cream machine. Let it cream for about 25 to 30 minutes. When done place the sorbet for at least 5 hours in the freeze.


Cut the Swiss rolls into equal slices (approximately 2 cm each)
Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with plastic wrap.
Arrenge two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides from the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm. (I froze them for about 1 hour)

 Take the creamy coconut ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften up a bit. Then take the bowl out of the freezer and remove the film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides to the bowl. Cover again with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1 hour.

In the original recipe you add to add a layer of fudge sauce between the two layers of ice cream. I left that part out, just because I thought that with the flavours I had chosen it was already rich enough.

 Take the pineapple sorbet out of the freezer and let it soften up a bit. Then take the bowl out of the freezer and remove the film cover. Then add the sorbet on top of the coconut ice cream. Spread it out evenly. Wrap again in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 8 hours.

Remove the plastic cover and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic wrap. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water.

Slice the cake with a hot knife and serve!


Daring Baker: pavlova (with infused lavender mascarpone mousse)

Just back from vacation… there was a lot of cleaning up, washing and ironing to do before getting back to work and normal life. But there was also a Daring Baker challenge waiting for me, when I arrived back home. One I could not miss out of. One my husband would never forgive me if I missed out of it. Like I mentioned before on this blog Pavlova is my hubs specialty. So to be completely honest this is my husbands daring baker challenge.
He did all the handy work and I shouted instructions and mingled with the flavours.
And again I changed the challenge a lit bit… I cant seem to control myself…; Every single time a need to get of the wonderful road the challenge is giving me to do my own thing. But after a lovely holiday in France I just could not be bothered with chocolate and more chocolate. I really wanted to try out my newly bought lavender flowers and I thought they would go wonderful with our bottles of Montbazillac. So we left the chocolate for what it was and we made this incredible Pavlova. We also used another recipe for the basic pavlova. I really wanted a marshmallow inside and a crunchy snowwhite outside, so I used my cant fail recipe from Nigella Lawson. We served it on my birthday party and it was received with wildly enthusiastic cheers from our guests!


for the meringue base

 6 egg whites
300 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vinegar (white that is!)
2 teaspoons of corn starch
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

 for the filling

 500 grams mascarpone
250 ml heavy cream
2 teaspoons of dried lavender blossoms (make sure these are blossoms you can eat. Not every lavender is meant for consumption!)
6 tablespoons of icing sugar
3 drops of food coloring


strawberries (or any other fruit you like)
250 grams of white chocolate pearls
35 ml of montbazillac whine
1 teaspoon of lavenderblossem


Preheat the oven to 200°C.

 Add the egg whites to a large shallow bowl and beat the eggs on medium high speed until they hold soft peaks. Now start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time while constantly beating the eggs.
When the mixture is thick and glossy, you need to test if all the sugar is dissolved. You do this by taking a little bit of the batter between your fingers and rubbing it gently. Do you still feel some grains, then keep beating! The mixture is ready when it feels smooth like pomade.

Now sprinkle the vinegar, the cornstarch and the vanilla over the meringue and spoon it in with a wooden spoon.

Now line up a baking sheet with some parchment paper and draw a circle of about 18 cm on it.
Spread the meringue gently inside the circle, smoothing the edges and building the pie. Make sure that the edges of the meringue are slightly higher then the centre. Cause you want to fill that up with lovely mascarpone cream and fruits!

Place the meringue in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The moment you place the meringue in the oven, you need to turn down the heat to 100°.
After 1 hour and 15 minutes dig in with a little fork or spoon to taste. (Don’t worry about that little Is the top deliciously crunchy? Is the interior thick and lush like marshmallow? Yes, then the meringue is ready! But don’t be to fast! Turn the oven off and let the meringue rest in the oven until it is completely cooled down!

Now for the cream filling… I made fresh mascarpone using a recipe we got from another daring baker challenge. It is lovely in every way, but a good store-bought version will work wonders to… so don’t worry if you don’t have the time to make the fresh cheese.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form and set it aside. Now add the mascarpone, the lavender blossoms and the icing sugar to a bowl and mix it will. I recommend you do not use a mixer for this, because it can ruin your mascarpone. Because of the high speed the creamy texture is broken down and the mascarpone becomes a bit runny.
Now add the whipped cream and the drops of food colouring. The food colouring is not necessary, but we loved that sweet pink cream on top of the heavenly with meringue. It made it all a little bit more sexy. J

Now for the sauce… just add the chocolate chips, the montbazillac and the lavender to a pot and place it on a medium low fire. Its important that the lavender gets some heat to infuse his flavour into the sauce. Its also important that the alcohol disappears from the sauce. And it is very important that the chocolate melts!

While waiting for that you can slices the strawberries, or any fruit you like, so that it is ready to serve.
When the chocolate has melted set it aside to cool down a little bit.

Now it is time to arrange the pie! Spoon the mascarpone mousse on top of the meringue and scatter the strawberries on top of it. Now drizzle the chocolate sauce all over the meringue.
Voila ready for serving!

I hope that Dawn of Doable and Delicious can forgive me the adaptation of her dessert. When I have more time and I am again in a chocolate mood I will defiantly give her chocolate pavlovas with chocolate mascarpone mousse a go!

Daring baker: malaga pudding

I cheated on this daring baker challenge. The reasons for my behaviour?
After stalking 7 butchers in the surrounding area of my home none of them could deliver me any suet. (I used suet before, but the butcher I bought it at is renovating his shop and closed down for 3 months.)
After that I wanted to order some vegetable suet from my british online shop but noticed that the delivery date was set 3 weeks from now. So thank but no thanks.
Surfing the internet looking for a solution for this problem I stumbled upon some wonderful pudding recipes that did not call for any suet but just used plain butter.
Then the next problem arrived.. I did not have the time this month to wait 5 hours for something to steam, boil or cook.
All excuses I know… I am not bringing any honour to my title of daring baker.
Was I just going to give up? Was I gonna throw the towel into the ring?  I can tell you I most definitely was… But then I found this wonderful recipe for rum & raisin pudding on BBC Good Food and I knew that was the pudding I was going to make. Not exactly what Esther challenged us with, but at least I was trying to honour her pudding thoughts.
In stead of rum however I used Malaga dulce. It’s a very sweet fortified wine with almost 600 milligrams of sugar per litre of wine. I love it as a digestive and this time it was a perfect replacement of the rum!


100 grams of dates
112 ml hot milk
100 grams raisins
50 ml Malaga dulce wine
75 ml sunflower oil
2 small eggs, beaten with a fork
1 teaspoon baking soda
125 grams self raising flour
89 grams soft light muscovado sugar


70 grams salted butter
70 grams of light muscovado sugar
150 ml double cream
25 ml Malaga dulce wine
25 grams raisins

 Preheat the oven to 180°C before starting to actually make the pudding. I know it is tempting to dive in and whisk up that lovely batter. But just take a second and first heat up the oven.
Is the oven on? Wonderful lets go and make that pudding then!
Mix the chopped dates with the hot milk and set aside for 20 minutes. Now mix the raisins with the Malaga dulce and set aside for 20 minutes also. (A little tip heat the Malaga wine for a few minutes. It does not need to boil or anything but the hot liquid will make the raisins tender and they ll soak up all that lovely wine!)  I know it seems a long wait and you thought you were ready to start. While waiting you can just as well grease the small pudding moulds (I used a muffin tin) and sit them in a deep roasting tin. You can even put your kettle on, so you ll have warm water ready.

After 20 minutes you are really ready to actually start assembling the pudding. So here we go!!
Whizz the dates and the milk together in a food processor until you have a smooth puree. Scrape the puree into a large bowl and mix with the oil and eggs. Now stir in the baking soda, the flour and the sugar. You see it actually starts to look like a thick fragrant batter! Lovely isn’t it?

Now take the Malaga dulce soaked (and now slightly drunk) raisins and fold them into the batter together with any wine that is left in the bowl.

Now divide the batter into the moulds and then carefully poor your boiling water into the tin so it comes halfway up to the sides of the moulds.
Now pop this in your oven for about 20 to 25 minutes on a low shelf in the oven.

After 20 minutes check the puddings with a skewer. If the skewer comes out neat and clean the pudding is ready. If not… give it another 5 minutes.
When they are done you can lift them out of their hot tub and give them some cool down time on a rack.

In the meanwhile its time to make the sauce that goes with this pudding from heaven. Take a saucepan and melt the butter, the sugar and the cream together.
Whisk it a few times and turn up the heat! The sauce needs to start bubbling and come together into a smooth, shiny sauce. Now stir in the wine and the raisins and let the sauce cool.

When the pudding moulds or cold enough to handle it is time for la moment supreme. Getting the puddings out of their form!
Scraping around the sides of each little mould is a wonderful idea. Then toss them over on a baking dish and cover them with cling film.
When you pop this into the fridge you can keep the sauce and the puddings for up to 24 hours.

But if you are anything like me, they won’t survive 24 hours. You will plunge in right after diner and maybe with some luck leave one or two for the following day.
Just spoon over a little sauce over de puddings and poor the rest of the sauce around it. Cover the whole dish with a new piece of foil and pop this into a preheated oven of 120 degrees for about 30 minutes.
You ‘ll know when they are ready anyway… cause your mouth will start to water from that wonderful sweet smell that fills your kitchen. Top it of with a good spoon of whipped cream and enjoy its total divineness.

Daring bakers: Tiramisu

My first challenge as a daring baker and it was titled “heaven on a plate: tiramisu”.
Tiramisu… one of my favourite desserts of all times! The best tiramisu I ever had was in a little restaurant in Rome called ” the cricket in the oven”.
It was so light and exquisite, I never had any better… And no, this recipe did not cross boundaries and brought me to that perfect tiramisu. I am not even sure the tiramisu that night was so delicious. Sometimes you make memories better then they were.
That night in that little restaurant was perfect in every way. My husband (who was then my boyfriend) and I celebrated our first real trip away from home together, we drank a little to much wine and we talked for hours. After diner we walked the streets of Rome hand in hand and we threw a coin into the trevi fountain. Ah sweet, sweet memories.
And that is what this daring baker challenge brought to me too. Sweet memories of a dessert so ancient and so authentic. Sweet memories of how easy it is to make mascarpone yourself. And sweet memories of seeing eyes glow when biting that lovely savoiardi biscuit for the first time.
I always make classic tiramisu… you know with marsala wine and cacao powder on top. But when I saw all those beautiful and original creations my colleague bakers make, I started to think about something a little different. I decided to go for two small shaped tiramisu versions and serve them together. One I made with chocolate and amaretto, the other I made with orange juice and orange blossom water. A little unexpected (cause who can resist chocolate? I know I can’t) the orange one was a huge success.
I want to thank the wonderful ladies Aparna and Deeba for this great challenge, which once again pushed my boundaries and made me rethink my old ways!


500 ml whipping pasteurized cream (I used 32% cream.)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice


3 eggs. Separated
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
95 grams cake flour
6 tablespoons confectioners sugar


2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons of sugar
60 ml marsala wine (I used amaretto)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest



55 grams sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
175 ml whole milk


235 ml chilled heavy cream ( I use 25% cream)
55 grams sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract


1/2 cup of amaretto
1/2 cup of orange blossom water
½ cup orange juice
50 grams dark chocolate

75 grams mascarpone cheese
36 savoiardi
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Making the mascarpone (+/- 2 days in advance)

To make the fesh mascarpone you use the au bain marie technique.
Just heat a little bit of water into a sauce pan and bring it just to the boil. Then reduce the heat to medium low, so the water is barely simmering. Now pour the cream into a heat resistant bowl and place the boil into the saucepan.
Now heat the cream, stirring very often to 80 degrees Celsius. I don’t have a cooking thermometer (I know, shame on my!) So I just waited until small bubbles kept trying to push the surface.

It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Then add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, while stirring very gently, until the cream starts to curdle. The cream will start to get thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise or a thick vanilla pudding!
Now remove the bowl from the sauce pan and let it cool for about 20 minutes:.
In the meanwhile line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl.
After the mixture is cooled, pour the mixture into the lined sieve. Now step away from the cheese! No only joking, it is just very important that you not squeeze the cheese or press it. Time will work its magic on it. So just place the cheese into the refrigerator and leave it there for about 24 hours.
You will get a thick, creamy cheese with a luscious white look. The cheese is now ready to use, but can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Making the savoiardi biscuits (+/- 1 day in advance)

Start with preheating your oven to 175 degrees Celsius and prepare an oven tray with some baking paper that is lightly buttered. Now you are set to go and make the cookies!

Beat the egg whites until you get those stiff peak forms that remind you of snow topped mountains. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the eggs become stiff, glossy and smooth!
In a small bowl beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them carefully into the meringue, using a wooden spoon.  Sift the flour over this mixture and fold very gently until just mixed. It is very important that this happens gently, cause when you overdo it the egg whites will loose their firm and your cookies will end up flat and hard.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into wide strips leaving a little space in between them. (I went a little wrong here. I have some kind of oval cookies. But not to worry… they work just perfect in the end.)
Sprinkle have the confectioners sugar over the cookies and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or start looking wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the cookies their very characteristic crispness.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheers and bake for another 5 minutes or so until they puff up, turn golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the cookies from the baking sheet with a spatula while still hot and let them cool on a rack.
When you store them in an airtight container, you can keep them up to 3 weeks.

Making the zabaglione

Heat water in a double boiler. I did not have a double boiler so I used the au bain marie method like described in making the mascarpone.
In a large mixing bowl mix together the egg yolks, the sugar and the marsala (or amaretto), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl over the pan. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. (If you want it to be a real zabaglione you need to stir it into an 8 form. That’s the only true way! But I found that this is not really a zabaglione. This is more like a custard. One of these days I will post a real zabaglione with some local beer I made a while back.) Let the mixture cool at room temperature and transfer the zabaglione into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or even better over night!

Making the pastry cream

Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan. To this you add the egg yolks and half of the milk. Whisk until you get a smooth liquid.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk slowly, a little bit at a time, while stirring constantly. After about 10 minutes the mixture will be thick and free of any lumps an begin to bubble.  Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with some plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight until thoroughly chilled.

Making the whipped cream

Combine the cream, the sugar and the vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with a mixer until the mixture holds stiff peaks.

Finally making the tiramisu


In a large bowl beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will help you later on to fold. Add the prepared and the chilled zabaglione and the pastry cream, blending until just combined. Now Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Melt the chocolate au bain marie and let the melted chocolate cool down a little bit.
I used little forms for my tiramisu so I did not need 12 biscuits per layer. For the chocolate one I did not even need layers. But I think its easier to give you the recipe for a square tiramisu and you can pull of your own presentation.
So work quickly from here. Dip 12 of the cookies into the amaretto for about 1 second. The cookies should be moist and in no way soggy. When you soak them to long, the will break and go all soggy.
Immediately transfer the cookies to the platter and place them side by side in a single row. Break cookies into pieces if necessary to ensure you have a firm base for your dish.
Now mix the melted chocolate into your mascarpone – zabaglione – cream mixture. Gently mix.
Spoon one third of the cream mixture on top of the cookies, then use a rubber spatula or a spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the ledges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 cookies and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture, cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

TO SERVE IT MY WAY: I used round metal shapes to serve my tiramisu. Dip the cookies into the amaretto and line them up around the base of the metal ring.
Then spoon in the cream mixture in the middle of the ring. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Be careful when you remove the metal ring. I did not cover the top of my tiramisu with cacao powder, cause it is chocolaty enough. But a nice though to it, is to sprinkle it with some grounded white chocolate!


In a large bowl beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will help you later on to fold. Add the prepared and the chilled zabaglione and the pastry cream, blending until just combined. Now Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

I used little forms for my tiramisu so I did not need 12 biscuits per layer. But I think its easier to give you the recipe for a square tiramisu and you can pull of your own presentation.
So work quickly from here. Place the cookies into your serving bowl and sprinkle them with the orange blossom water. No need to dip them, sprinkling will get them just as moist!
Break cookies into pieces if necessary to ensure you have a firm base for your dish.
Now mix the orange juice into your mascarpone – zabaglione – cream mixture. Be careful with the orange juice. I started adding little bits, so the flavour would be just right. Mix a little bit in, taste and add some more if necessary. Gently mix.
Spoon one third of the cream mixture on top of the cookies, then use a rubber spatula or a spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the ledges.
Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 cookies and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture, cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

TO SERVE IT MY WAY: I used  square metal shapes to serve my tiramisu. It exactly the same as the big square form, only work on a little scale!