Friday, 25 June 2010

Blueberry, Rose and White Chocolate Cake


I was so impressed with the labna and strawberries that we'd made at the Vegetarian Cookery School, that I tried to recreate it the day after we arrived home from Bath. I thought it would make a great cake filling, I just needed a cake for it to go in. It had to be a white chocolate cake, it just seemed a bit more summery somehow, so again thinking of last years strawberry & white chocolate cake, I cobbled something together - ha ha. Unfortunately, I couldn't get hold of any strawberries, or even raspberries so it became labna with blueberries instead.

Some preparation is needed in advance to make the labna as well as the rose and mint syrup required to marinade the fruit, but it is very easy.

This is what I did to make:

Blueberry, Rose and White Chocolate Cake

  • The night before making the cake, I emptied a 500g pot of yogurt (I used Yeo Valley) into a muslin cloth and hung it up over a jug to drain for the night. I did this by using an elastic band to tie the cloth at the top and then hanging it from one of kitchen cupboard door handles and leaving a jug underneath to catch the whey..
  • The next day, I turned the yogurt, now labna, into a bowl and gave it a good stir (vanilla seeds were meant to be added at this point, but I didn't have any and had used vanilla sugar in the syrup and in the cake). I kept the whey that had drained into the jug to use in the cake (I always keep any whey as it is really useful for all sorts of things).
  • Made the syrup by simmering 100g vanilla sugar with 100ml water for about 10 minutes until slightly syrupy. I then added a couple of sprigs of spearmint (you can use whichever type of mint you like) and 1 tbsp rose water. Left this to infuse for 3 hours (the longer the better).
  • Poured syrup over a 250g of blueberries (original recipe states 500g strawberries) and left to infuse for another hour.
  • Drained off about half of the syrup and added the remainder to the labna and stirred well.
  • Melted 200g unsalted butter in a pan with 100g white chocolate (G&B) and 175g vanilla sugar and gave it all a good stir.
  • Sifted 200g flour (spelt - wholemeal and white) and buckwheat)) into a large bowl with 1 tsp baking powder and a pinch of Himalayan salt.
  • Made a well in the centre and poured in the butter mixture.
  • Stirred well then beat in 2 large eggs - no duck eggs to be had!
  • Added 1 tbsp rose water and 50g of whey and mixed until all incorporated.
  • Divided mixture between 2 21 cm round cake thingies and baked for 20 mins at 180C.
  • Spooned some of the reserved syrup over both cakes whilst still hot.
  • Left to cool then sandwiched with the labna, managing to crack the top as I did so - hey ho! Dusted with some rose icing sugar I had left over from some Turkish delight and decorated with a few blueberries and a sprig of mint.

The labna and fruit is a delicious pudding in its own right, but as in this case also makes an excellent cake filling. I've never used whey in a cake before, but thought I'd try it out as I've had such success using yogurt recently. It worked well, giving a moist sponge that melted in the mouth yet somehow managed to be crumbly at the same time. Although a little on the sweet side, it was totally delicious. CT reckoned it was a good summer cake, light and moreish, Moorish even - with the taste of rose conjuring up images of eastern potentates - his excuse for such flights of fancy is that his blood sugar level was rather low at the time of tasting. The remaining bit of syrup I didn't use in the cake made a very nice drink with ice, water and a sprig of mint. The only thing missing from this were friends to share it with and the location - it should have been eaten down at our plot with the sun shining instead of in our house with the rain speckling the windows (hard to believe it now, I know).

28 comments:

  1. I have a number of veggie cookbookw with labneh. I've never made it myself, so must give it a go one of htese dasys.

    As well as sounding absolutely beauitufl, and looking gorgeous, the blueberry, rose and white chocolate cake sounds romantic in its own right too.

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  2. Oh my, looks fantastic!

    I'd love a slice now :-}}

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  3. That sounds and looks delicious. I especially like the rose and mint syrup and the idea of drinking it sounds very good indeed. I have never made labna, but will now give it a go, sounds like a very good alternative to a cream or buttercream filling. Lovely.

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  4. What a beauty! Hope the weather picks up today for you.

    I was going to mention using the whey in a loaf of bread, makes a lovely tangy loaf :)

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  5. lovely combo for cakes, havent tasted it but looking at it i can say its so yum

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  6. My word. That sounds wonderful. They syrup, the cake, the filling, the fruit.
    I love the G&B white chocolate with the little brown vanilla seeds visible.

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  7. Oh wow I love the sound of this. The rose and blueberries sound a yummy combination.

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  8. It is so nice to wake in the morning to such a gorgeous photo and post! :) I think blueberries sounds like the perfect combination - much more flavour than the strawberries we get here!

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  9. I have never heard of labna before, so I am very intrigued. I love the look of your cake, but what is new there?

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  10. mint and rose and vanilla...mmm. It looks fab and would be great either on its own or as you say as a filling. What do think to putting lavnender in the labna instead and partnering with blackberries?-I am inspired to try it...

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  11. Argh! I meant lavender of course ;-P

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  12. How good does that cake look! Couldn't pop a slice in the post for me could you lol?
    Might have to give this a try.

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  13. Gorgeous looking cake. The combination of those flavours sounds absolutely lovely. Blueberries are always a firm favourite, as is... cake :-)
    I made labna for the first time this week as well, and was so impressed at how easy it was. Will definitely be playing around with it more.

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  14. Escaping into a baking fantasy from England v. Germany. Looks delicious and summery and light, can you see a role for Elderflower with white choc somehow?

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  15. Mangocheeks - thank you, romantic sounds good. Making labna is really easy and you can make it as thick as you like by hanging it for a shorter or longer time.

    BG - thank you. Actually I'd love a slice now too.

    Kath - I've been using the rose and mint syrup quite a lot since - it is a particularly good flavour and not something I would have thought of putting together myself. Hang the labna for a few hours longer and you get a very nice soft cheese.

    Thank you Joanna - I seem to be permanently a week or three behind with my posts so I have been enjoying very nice weather indeed for the last couple of weeks or so. I guess using whey in bread makes it a bit like sourdough - did you use it instead of yeast?

    SM - thank you. Imagining how a cake tastes is probably a lot better for you than actually eating it.

    Somesaycocoa - thank you, you are right the whole thing was completely luscious. G&B white chocolate is my favourite (of those I've tried. Like you, I like the vanilla seeds, but I also don't find it as sickly as other brands.

    Thanks Janice

    Katie - I was a bit disappointed when I couldn't get my hands on any strawberries, but actually it worked really well with the blueberries.

    Celia - Oh, is it too hot to grow decent strawberries in Melbourne - I guess it probably is? We are quite lucky in Cornwall and have quite a lot of very nice ones grown locally and some organically. I used to grow my own, but haven't got around to it in our new plot.

    Jac - thank you. Do try labna. It's very easy to make and if hung for a bit longer makes a really nice soft cheese.

    Emmalene - let me know if you do the blackberries and lavender combination - I don't see why it wouldn't work.

    Chele - if it would survive Royal Mail, I most certainly would (and if we hadn't already eaten it of course).

    CityHippy - oh what did you do with your labna. shall have to pay you a visit to see if you've mentioned it on your blog. Very glad cake is a firm favourite - life without cake would be a bit sad.

    Oxslip - oh well, you won't have to escape any more matches with England in for a while! Elderflower, you could do something very similar to this using elderlower syrup instead with the fruit. But elderflowers go really well with gooseberries, so it would be fun to try something with those three ingredients. I used to have gooseberry bushes, but sadly no longer.

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  16. Lovely looking cake - it just screams summer!

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  17. I love labneh - thanks for the recipe.

    I need to be reminded where you get muslin clothes now my babes are fully-grown!

    Natural Vitality make a wonderful organic labneh - called labane

    http://www.natural-vitality.co.uk/pages/prods_1.html

    And here is my post for homemade yogurt which I make weekly when at home

    http://realfoodlover.wordpress.com/2009/02/01/homemade-yogurt/

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  18. This is a really lovely cake. It sounds delicious and looks wonderful. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  19. CC - and luckily we're getting summer.

    Elisabeth - good to hear from you. No idea about muslin cloths - I guess a cheese supplier? I have a couple of ancient ones handed down from my mother. Thanks for your yogurt recipe and Natural Vitality link.

    Thank you Mary - we are certainly enjoying some very warm weather at the moment.

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  20. They looks divine...these day i want is white chocolate...Yum yum thanks for the recipe :)

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  21. look amazing! my mother enjoys bluberries so i should try and make this for her

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  22. Thanks Ananda - White chocolate in cakes works really well.

    FireintheBreeze - Thank you. Do let me know what you think if you do make it.

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  23. I've never heard of labna. Looks interesting and a nice cake!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Maya. Labna is very similar to Greek Yogurt really - strained yogurt. It's delicious.

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