Television

Food: The Schichttorte 20 Layer German Cake

While I was in Florida, I watched many (many) episodes of The Great British Bake Off. Have you heard of it? Seen it? In brief, it’s a baking competition show from the UK. My friend Shannon and I were hooked! The hosts – Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry – really made us laugh, and we were rooting for so many contestants along the way. And the baking! Oh the baking! Each week, the bakers were given challenges for both savoury and sweet baking, and some of the items I had just never even heard of! In one technical challenge, the contestants had to make a Schichttorte. This is a 20-layer German cake that looks absolutely cool!

photos from the Daily Mail UK

Aren’t those layers beautiful? I wanted to make it. So this past weekend, I did. I was invited to a dinner party, and I knew my friends would appreciate it.

I used a combination of two recipes. The main cake recipe is from the BBC, and the icing recipe is from Pat√© Smith. I’ve shared it below with measurements in cups.

Here’s how my cake making went down.

I prepared all of my ingredients in advance.

I mixed the egg yolks until they were creamy. I added the butter and sugar mixture as well as the flour mixture as per the recipe.

I whipped up the egg whites until they formed stiff peaks.

I carefully folded the egg whites into the egg/butter/sugar/flour mixture. I greased my spring form pan and lined the bottom with parchment paper.

As per the recipe, I spread one layer at a time. I used my crepe spreader to evenly distribute the batter for my Schichttorte.

I tried to carefully keep track of the layers and timing as I put each new layer under the broiler, but I failed at this. I completely lost track. I watched the oven like a hawk during the cooking process. My timing wasn’t too consistent. You’re supposed to alternate between light and dark(er) layers by adjusting the baking time, but my baking time was inconsistent. I left the spring form pan in the oven anywhere from 45 seconds to 2 minutes for each layer. As per the recipe, the pan was right under my broiler (about 4″ or 10cm).

It looked golden and delicious when all the layers were done, and I released it from the spring form pan. I brushed melted apricot jam on the cake once it had cooled a bit.

I made the chocolate glaze and covered the top and sides of the Schichttorte.

Once that had dried a bit, I decorated the top with vanilla glaze. I was too lazy to pull out my piping bag, so I put the vanilla glaze into a Ziploc bag and snipped the end off for a DIY piping bag. In this way, it was easy to drizzle the vanilla glaze over the chocolate.

The outside of the cake made for a pretty presentation, but the true test was when we cut into the cake. Would the layers appear? Would the be distinct? Well, the suspense is over!

Layers! Distinct layers! I call this a successful first Schichttorte attempt!

And here are a few more photos if you’d like to see.

   

I’m so pleased that the cake turned out. All cake eaters (n=6) were impressed by the layers, the decoration, and the chocolate glaze. The same number of cake eaters were surprised by the cake’s density. Post-eating Googling revealed that the Schichttorte is in fact on the dense side, so I baked it as it should have been baked. Phew! Good to know, right?

If you’re like to challenge yourself, go ahead and bake a Schichttorte. The ingredients are easy, and the overall process is easy. The trickiest part was keeping track of the oven and time.

Recipe
(adapted from the BBC and Pate Smith)

Ingredients

The Cake

  • 10 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup (100g/3¬Ĺoz ) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (150g/5¬Ĺoz) caster sugar (I used granulated sugar)
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (150g/5¬Ĺoz) flour, sifted
  • 1/3 cup (65g/2¬ľoz) cornstarch, sifted
  • oil, for greasing
  • 6 tbsp apricot jam

Chocolate Glaze

  • 1 cup (150g) icing (confectioners‚Äô) sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Vanilla Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners‚Äô sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter

Method

  1. Whisk the egg yolks in the bowl of a freestanding mixer on a high speed for five minutes, until pale, thick and creamy.

  2. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract and mix well. Add the whisked egg yolks and beat well. Add the flour and cornstarch and mix.

  3. In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Stir one-third of the egg whites into the batter to loosen the consistency. Then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.

  4. Preheat the broiler to high.

  5. Grease a 20cm/8in round springform pan with oil and line the base with parchment paper.

  6. Spoon some of the batter into the base of the cake tin and spread evenly across the bottom. Give the tin a gentle side-to-side shake to even out the top of the batter. Place on a shelf 10cm/4in below the grill and cook for two minutes, or until light golden-brown.

  7. Remove from the oven, add another spoonful of batter, spread it out, and place under the broiler for three minutes, or until dark golden-brown. Continue layering and baking under the broiler until you have 20 layers alternating in colour from light golden-brown to dark golden-brown. (Or continue until you have used all the batter.)

  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan for five minutes. Carefully release from the pan and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

  9. Melt the apricot jam in a small pan over a low heat. Pass through a fine sieve, then brush the top and sides of the cake with jam. This will help the glaze stick to the cake.

  10. To make the chocolate glaze, sift together icing/confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl. Stir in milk and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. If it is too thick, heat it up over a small pan. Pour evenly over cake.

  11. To make the vanilla glaze, melt butter and add in icing/confectioners’ sugar, milk, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Add more milk (very little at a time) if necessary. Pour into a squeeze bottle or icing bag and drizzle over cake.

A few extra notes:

  • The full process (including kitchen clean up) took 2.5 hours. Not that bad, in my opinion. If I make it again, I know I’ll be a little faster, too.
  • I used a 9″ spring form pan because I didn’t have an 8″. I didn’t think this was a problem although I did have fewer than 20 layers.
  • This is a dense and eggy cake. If you’re looking for something light and airy, this isn’t it.
  • I used granulated sugar as I thought that it was a fine replacement for caster sugar, but the next time I make this recipe, I’m going to use caster sugar to see if there’s a difference.

The Friday Five: Things On My Mind

A few things on my mind.

1. #MBALife

As of yesterday at about 5pm, I became an MBA grad. Wild. The last four years have been a lot of work, but I learned so much, and I met so many great people, so the lack of free weekends, the never ending hours of group work, and the stress of exams were worth it.

2. Ann Arbor, Michigan

I was in Ann Arbor at the beginning of this week for a conference. You can see a few photos at #WhiteCabanaGoesToAnnArbor, but I have a full post in the works, so stay tuned for that.

3. Books

Audio books. Amazing. I have been doing quite a bit of driving lately, and I’m now keen on audio books. I finished Elena Ferrante’s Book 2 over the weekend, and I’m eager to start on Book 3. Bonus: I have been getting my audio books for free from the Waterloo Public Library.

4. Father’s Day

It’s Father’s Day this weekend. Did you see Daniela’s Father’s Day gift guide? She’s a brilliant gift giver, and I’m grateful that she took the time to share some gift ideas.

5. TV

Sherlock. I know I’m late to the game, but I watched Series 1 this week. Oh, yes, it’s good.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

The Friday Five: 5 Things on My Mind

Here’s what’s been on my mind lately.

1. The other week, I made my way through this Warren Buffett documentary. I enjoyed it. I especially like what Buffett had to say about ethics, public speaking, and reputation. Just look at all the subsidiary companies of Berkshire Hathaway (his company).

2. Over the long weekend, I watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (via Amazon Prime), and I loved it! The clothes, the characters, the decor, and the story…yes, I enjoyed all of it!

3. I have 6 more weeks of my last MBA course. I can’t believe it. It’s been an almost 4-year long degree (part-time). I’m pretty excited to get some free time back into my life. I’ve really enjoyed the courses I’ve taken these last two years (e.g., negotiation, mergers & acquisitions), and the struggles I had in the core courses in my first two years are a distant memory. If you’re considering an MBA, I’d recommend you go for it. Then again, I’m a fan of further education regardless of the degree, so my advice is always the same.

4. I popped into the mall the other week looking for a pair of basic black workout tights. Instead, I came home with these colourful tights from Aerie. I don’t wear much colour to work, but I do embrace it for workouts.

5. I made this salmon and spinach pasta last week (with my fresh pasta, of course!), and it was delicious (and quick and easy, too). I usually go for classic pasta with tomato sauce, so I really switched things up this time!

What’s been on your mind?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

The Friday Five: 5 Things to Watch on Netflix

I have very little time for watching TV/Netflix/movies, so I don’t have a massive list of show recommendations for you today. I just thought I’d share with you what I have been (sort of) watching over the last couple of months.

1. Chelsea. I have mixed feelings about Chelsea Handler. I sort of like her tough/funny personality, but I can only take it in small doses. I think she asks good questions, and I like her guests. For these reasons, I keep watching her show(s).

2. The Mind of a Chef. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this show, but I’m definitely enjoying it. The show follows Momofuku’s David Chang as he travels around the world, meets with his top-chef friends, and cooks up wild dishes (poached eggs in saran wrap – I want to try this!). I’m learning a lot! And it’s making me want to go to Japan!

3. My Way: The Rise and Fall of Silvio Berlusconi. I’m only about 30 minutes into this documentary. While I mostly like listening to Silvio Berlusconi’s Italian and seeing his massive villa, I’ve also been enjoying learning about his life.

4. Riverdale. I binge-watched this I-think-it’s-only-for-teens show in April when I had some free time. I was entertained.

5. Alice Through the Looking Glass. Why did I wait so long to watch this? What a fun movie! I loved it. I’d watch it again. Easily.

I have taken note of Rox-Anne’s recommendations from last month, and maybe I’ll eventually get to the must-watch-asap 13 Reasons Why.

What have you been watching? What are your recommendations?

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Fashion: White Wear at the Oscars

I honestly watch the Academy Awards more for the fashion than for the films. Is that so wrong? The stars Рwith the help of their style team Рwork hard to look good, and I am always keen to see what colours and styles make the final cut. This year, there was a lot of pink (e.g., Gwyneth Paltrow, Anna Kendrick, Zoe Saldana, Karolina Karkova), red (e.g., Giuliana Rancic, Dakota Johnson, Rosamund Pike, Solange Knowles), glitter (e.g., Emma Stone in lime glitter), nude (e.g., Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Kerry Washington), and black (e.g., Cate Blanchett, Tegan and Sara, Laura Dern, Sienna Miller).

I, of course,¬†was curious to see who would wear white on this very special evening. Here’s¬†a brief review:

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Julianne Moore in custom Chanel

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Faith Hill in J. Mendel

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Lupita Nyon’go in custom Calvin Klein¬†(read the story behind the dress here)

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Anna Faris

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Reese Witherspoon

My favourite top-to-toe looks were: Emma Stone, Cate Blanchett, and¬†Gwyneth Paltrow.¬†While I did like quite a few of the celebrity looks, I sort of wished that the outfits and styling were way more glam and out-of-the-ordinary than they actually were. The simple column silhouettes just seemed sort of¬†– dare I say –¬†normal.

Images via Hello Magazine.

Entertainment: What I’ve Been Watching

I have watched more than the usual (for me) amount of television since the fall. I get completely caught¬†by the Netflix-binge-watching bug, and before I realize it, I’m finishing off one television series and beginning another. Even with all that I’ve watched, there’s still more for me to see before I am totally in touch with what everyone else is talking about – my Netflix-must-watch list seems to grow on a daily basis! Who has time for all these shows? When do people watch tv?¬†Anyway, here’s a¬†quick recap of what I’ve watched over the last few months:

TV shows:

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Gilmore Girls – I¬†watched all 7 seasons over the course of a month or so. I can’t believe I watched all 7 seasons. That’s a whole lot of hours!¬†I loved following the day-to-day business of¬†Lorelai and Rory – the mother daughter duo who lead this series – in the quaint and comfortable town of Stars Hollow. Seven seasons, though, that’s sort of embarrassing!?

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I loved watching the two seasons of Mr. Selfridge. The characters are complex, the costumes are¬†fascinating, and the management style¬†of Mr. Selfridge¬†is interesting.¬†Jeremy Piven – as Mr. Selfridge – is perfect. I can’t wait for more! Two seasons¬†seems like a reasonable amount of tv watching, but¬†it really equates to about 20 hours of tv…half a normal work-week. Wow.

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I am now several seasons in to White Collar. I had never heard of it before I clicked on it via my Neflix menu. It’s been alright. I¬†like¬†that each of the characters is still around after so many seasons;¬†there has been zero – or little – character turnaround.¬†I also like the¬†dynamics between each of the characters.

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Homeland was incredible. I am certainly¬†eager to see what the next season has in store! I was never a fan of Claire Danes, but¬†I think she’s¬†amazing in the¬†role of Carrie¬†Mathison.

Movies:

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I’ve watched¬†Pitch Perfect¬†a few times now, and it still entertains me. The songs, the dancing, the amusing dialogue – it’s all fun! Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson are two of my faves in this film. Yes, it’s true, I do like a good teen movie. Pitch Perfect 2 is due to hit theatres in May.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel is a work of art. There is so much beauty in this quirky film. I feel like I need to watch it several more times just so I can can catch and analyze every detail that went into this film.

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I felt like I went on a lengthy trek after I finished watching Wild. The scenery is beautiful, the story is true, and Reese Witherspoon played her part so wonderfully that I almost forgot that she starred in Legally Blonde. I was surprised to learn that Nick Hornby wrote the screenplay and was one of the executive producers of this film.

What’s on your must-watch list? I’d love to know!

Music: Stars in White at the 2014 Grammy Awards

So, what was the highlight of the Grammy’s for you? I watched most of it and I was not only entertained by the show, but I laughed pretty hard at the comments coming through my Twitter feed. Gosh, people are so quick to judge!

Many of the stars last night stuck to classic black and white. People like Beyoncé, Madonna, and Daft Punk changed from black to white outfits as the night progressed. In case you missed the show, here are some of the white highlights:

56th GRAMMY Awards - Press Room

Beyoncé (image via Global Grind) & Beyoncé in black

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Daft Punk (image via Billboard) & Daft Punk in black

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Madonna (image via Grammy.com) & Madonna in black

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Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons

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Steven Tyler

Is it just me or is it hard to believe that Lorde is only 17 years old and Pharrell Williams is 40?!