First year of bake and sorghum genoise with ricotta frosting and sesame praline

I talk to my son about learning new things/skills almost on a daily basis. He still doesn’t  fully understand that any person, even a little one, has to put some effort in, in order to achieve something. For him things happen in a blink of an eye. When he decided that he was ready to use his legs, he did it. He was 7 months old and standing! It didn’t take long and he was walking freely around the house. To be more precise, he was 9 months old. That was his speed and he hasn’t stopped since.

Until we come across our first obstacle, we don’t know how much effort is required – for my son, believe it or not, it was about not being able to use a swing on his own; It didn’t come as an easy package for him and we had our own first serious eye opening experience. Thus I believed that we needed to teach him how to understand the effort and beauty of slow learning. I believe that is the biggest advantage of our species and our developed brains. Lets fill them with knowledge and not be scared to do so.

I am talking purely from personal experience.

Bake is one year old! It’s a perfect example of starting from a blank page. It’s been an intense year of learning and then a bit more learning, through this space. One year ago I knew almost nothing about web sites and everything that goes with them. I am not saying that I know everything now, but I do know much more than I knew back then. And it is a wonderful feeling! The best ever and one I want to share with the rest of the world – for a long period of time. So here is the conclusion: not knowing is just the beginning of a wonderful journey of learning! It might be bumpy in the beginning but once it starts to sail smoothly and get back to you (and it will for sure) it is the most wonderful feeling. That is Bake to me.

Beginnings are something I want to remember and go back to every time I come across an unknown to remind and encourage me, because the learning process never stops. I am sure there will be many more beginnings, but I am particularly fond of this one! And I wouldn’t have been able to achieve all this without your help!

Thank you all for being part of this wonderful journey!

I’ve adopted sorghum flour sponge cake from Alice Meldrich’s Flavour flavours book (it is an absolutely fantastic book with all the flavours in it). Sorghum is one of the new flours for me, and I’ve been using it for only a few months now. I absolutely love it so far. The frosting is from one of the recipes from fantastic Emiko Davies’ blog (actually we’ve been baking the whole cake for two Birthdays party in a row – by kid’s demand). I love the combination in this cake and I love what I have learned so far in the cake world! The recipe needed to be tested before appearing in this space so the first time I made it for my husband’s birthday dinner party just a few weeks ago. I ‘ve played a bit with the appearance but the recipe stayed pretty much the same. It was a winner from the beginning and well deserved to be shared on a such a special day!

Sorghum sponge cake with ricotta frosting

Sponge cake/Genoise:

90 gr Sorghum flour

35 gr rice flour

70 gr clarified butter or ghee

130 gr sugar

4 large eggs

a pinch of sea salt

2 tablespoon water

2 tablespoon rum

Frosting:

500 gr ricotta

150 gr butter

100 gr powdered sugar

Sesame praline:

200 gr sugar

80 ml water

100 gr sesame seeds

Heat the oven to 175C. Line 3 baking tins, 4″ in size with baking paper.

You will need clarified butter for this recipe, which is a butter, separated from milk solids and water. It’s an easy process and all you need to do is: Heat the butter in a small saucepan until sizzling. Remove the pan from the heat, wait a minute until foam settles, remove it with a spoon and pour the clear liquid to a clean jar, leaving watery/milky solids in a saucepan.

Genoise is a fancier name (originally from Genoa/Genova) for a sponge cake. Love the name and now love this Genoise made of Sorghum flour. The making of this cake is a peculiar one and all the steps should be followed precisely. This cake doesn’t have rising agent, so should be handled carefully.

Heat the clarified butter and prepare the medium size bowl to be used for the clarified butter and flour batter mix.

In a medium size bowl mix the flours with 2 tablespoons of sugar. In a different bowl break the eggs and whisk with the remaining sugar and salt for 4-5 minutes or until pale and firm. This will help the cake to rise! Add 1/3 of the flour and mix gently with spatula, add the next 1/3 of flour repeating the process and finishing with the last third of flour.

Pour clarified butter into a medium size bowl, add 1/3 of eggs and flours batter and stir gently until blended. Then pour that mixture back into the eggs and flours batter and mix gently until just folded. Pour the batter into baking tins and bake for 35 minutes.

Once baked place on a cooling rack and brush generously with water and rum liquid. Repeat the process until you use all the liquid. It’s nicer when it’s well soaked, especially in this case (original recipe ask for a 8″ tin and once cooled cake is sliced into three thiner layers).

Frosting: is made of ricotta with a touch of butter and sugar and it’s fantastic as it is. Just beat all ingredients together until well blended. Do it just before you are ready to frost the cake. This amount of ricotta frosting will be enough to fill and frost the cake but in case you decide to go with a naked looking cake, the leftovers can be served separately with every piece.

Praline: Place sugar and 80 ml water in a clean pan and simmer over low heat until sugar dissolves. All the sugar needs to be soaked in water but don’t stir it, just swell the pot if needed. Increase heat to medium (but be careful not to burn it) and cook for another few minutes or until dark caramel in colour. Add sesame seeds to caramel, stir with wooden or silicon spoon until all seeds are coated with caramel. Then pour mixture onto the lined baking sheet in a thin layer. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes, then break into pieces before use. Can be stored in an airtight container or zipper bag for a month.

Assembling the cake: place ricotta filling into a piping bag and pipe (making circles) the top of every cake. Sprinkle with sesame pralines. Assemble cakes and decorate with pralines and fresh fruit of your choice.