Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lemon & Pistachio Baby Bundt Cakes - And Meeting Kate Bracks!

Receiving invites for food related events and promotions happens now and then if you are a food blogger. Now receiving an invite to meet Kate Bracks, winner of MasterChef Australia 2011 is something that doesn't happen everyday! MasterChef Australia's contestants from all walks of life made the world sit up and take notice as they morphed from cooking amateur style food to gourmet class food, presented with elan - all under pressure and the watchful eyes of George, Gary and Matt Preston. Hope for folk like us that there is a  possibility that you can cook and bake like a pro sans any formal training!

Kate Bracks, testament to ordinary people doing extraordinary things out of passion, discovering their true potential and achieving super success. A mother of three, previously a school teacher in New South Wales, Australia, Kate became a household name with MasterChef Australia 2011. She had considerable following even as one of the contestants in the phenomenal television series. Months spent away from family, husband and kids, the most difficult choice a wife and mother can make. Kate's very supportive husband urged her to enter the contest and boy, did she make him proud!! From wife-mother-teacher-homecook to world famous celebrity, television chef, author and so much more! Kudos Kate!

It was indeed a pleasure to meet her at Marriot, Whitefield last month. I know this comes a bit late, but then what is it that they say about being late better than never?  Watching her in action, it was hard to remain unaffected by her infectious energy.  We also got to taste some scrumptious Raspberry, Chocolate and hazelnut muffins The Dessert Queen baked for us!

MasterChef Australia, says Kate, made her pay as much attention to the textures and balance of flavors as the taste of food. Crispy with creamy, soft with crunchy, sweet, salt and tang - that's food for you! Here is one of the recipes from Kate's book The Sweet Life. Soft, sweet and tangy baby lemon cakes with the mild crunch of pistachios brushed generously with sweet hot syrup... they were dainty and delicious with a lovely crumb! Oh! Is this me? Am not much of a lime/lemon in desserts person, but loved these Kate! I had to stop myself from pouring some chilled vanilla bean crème anglaise over the bundts and let it pool around the bottom ...yes, that would have been even more delish!

Lemon Pistachio Baby Bundt Cakes  From  here . Kate's recipe has coconut flakes in it, I have used pistachios instead. The other minor changes I made, a slight reduction in the sugar and a tiny bit of baking soda I sneaked in. I have halved the original recipe and the batter gave me about 12 mini cakes. If making the batter with double the below recipe, you can also bake it in an 8'' round tin, preferably spring form says Kate.

Be sure to use fresh lemons for the juice and zest. Don't be scared of pouring the hot syrup on the hot cakes. Don't absolutely let anything (not even the pictures!) stop you from tasting these as soon as they turn barely warm...that's when they are at their irresistible best!

Lemon & Pistachio Baby Bundt Cakes

The Cake
All purpose flour - 105 grams
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon
Baking soda - 1/8 teaspoon
Salt - 1/8 teaspoon
112 grams Self Rising Flour

Unsalted butter, at room temperature - 60 grams
Superfine sugar - 85 grams, approximately 7 tablespoons, read note (Kate uses 1/2 cup/ 100 grams caster sugar)
Eggs - 72 grams / 1 1/2 large
Zest of one lemon - about a teaspoon
Vanilla extract - 1/2 teaspoon
Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
Fresh thick yogurt, lightly whisked (or sour cream) - 6 tablespoons
Sliced, raw pistachios - 1/4 cup ( I am going to make this mandatory!)

The syrup (please read note)
Water - 3 tablespoons
Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon (or more water if you do not want the tang)
Sugar - 3 tablespoons

To Serve
Crème anglaise, chilled or whipped cream and fresh blueberries.

  • Getting ready : Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F.  Generously grease your mini bundt pan (mine is about 5 tablespoons capacity) or any other mini molds, flour lightly, tap to shake off the excess. Sprinkle some of the sliced pistachios inside.  Reserve some for garnish. Set aside. 
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, soda and salt thrice. Whisk together the lemon juice and zest in a small cup. Measure out the ingredients for the syrup directly into a saucepan, ready to go on the heat as soon as the cakes come out of the oven.
  • In a medium sized bowl, cream the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. I did this on speed 3 of my hand mixer for about 5 minutes. 
  • On speed 1, add the egg in 2 additions, beating till fully incorporated (about 30 seconds) before you add the remaining egg. Beat another 30 seconds.
  • Keep the speed low, add the lime juice, vanilla and zest.
  • Fold in the self-rising flour in two additions, alternating with the yogurt..
  • The batter will be of normal cake batter consistency, neither thick nor nor thin.
  • Spoon into the prepared tin. Sprinkle the remaining pistachios. Bake for 15-16 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Meanwhile bring the water, juice and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over low-medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. As soon as the cakes are removed from the oven, pierce each randomly 6-8 times with a fine skewer or toothpick and spoon the hot syrup on the top. Let cool for a minute, invert and spoon more syrup on the bottom of the cakes. 
  • Remove the cakes on to the serving platter, serve warm with cream and berries or with chilled vanilla crème anglaise
  • The syrup soaked cakes were terrific warm, though they were still delicious the next day.  If you wish, you could omit the syrup and they should still taste great!
Please note: Use more sugar in the batter if not using any syrup. Kate uses 1/3 cup water, 150g (3/4 cup) sugar for the double the above recipe. You could make it to your taste and the amount of sugar you have used in the cakes.

Picture courtesy Nandita Iyer
It was wonderful and truly inspiring to meet you Kate! Thanks to you, these little cakes will be made quite often in my kitchen!


Smita Srivastava said...

These look so so gorgeous , i'm sure they wud have tasted equally divine !!

Divya Kudua said...

Kate remains my most favorite Masterchef contestants.Of course,there is Andy and Ben,but for different reasons;)Love her simplicity and her dessert recipes are awesome too.I am a bit jealous that you got to meet her,I mean Wow!Lucky you!!

Sum said...

Wow wow!! For the cakes and for meeting Kate!

Archana Kumar said...

These little bundt cakes are so pretty. And am so so envious of all you guys who got to meet her !!
Do you have her book ? Love the looks of these with the pistachios..Will be in Bangalore soon, hope to meet up again this time !

Veena Theagarajan said...

looks too good very tempting.. nice write up

Priya Suresh said...

Wat a life time experience na, beautiful moments with a fabulous chef..

Those bundt cakes looks damn cute and irresistible.

Neela Rufus said...

Love your blog! I'm happy to follow you, you can visit my blog when you find time :)

Minu said...

Love your style of writing. The cake looks fabulous. A lovely combination indeed

Gouri. said...

They look so tempting suma!

Rajani said...

It was such a great opportunity to meet Kate Bracks, so nice you could make it. Masterchef Australia is thd most fav show at our home too.
These cakes look so very tempting, pics are absolutley lovely.

Rev said...

Absolutely wonderful! Must have been fun to meet Kate!

Poornima Porchelvan said...

Wow,very happy to see kate with you.I am a great fan of masterchef and i am very happy to follow your blog.