Baking Bootcamp: Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread

In case you couldn’t guess, baking is my favourite form of culinary art. I bake when I’m bored, mad, happy, sad, pretty much whenever.

While I know a thing or two about baking, I’m always looking to learn more.

Enter, baking bootcamp.

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Joy Wilson runs her blog, Joy the Baker, and she’s teamed up with the folks at King Arthur Flour to bring us her baking bootcamp. There are going to be four different challenges using four different kinds of flour so home bakers can get in the kitchen and learn more about the differences between flours.

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The first challenge is this incredible Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread. It’s made using all-purpose flour, lots of berries, a cinnamon-sugar butter mixture and love. Because what is baking without a little bit of love?

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Joy has beautiful step-by-step pictures of the bread making process over on her blog so you should absolutely head on over there and check them out. She also has more information about this baking bootcamp and how you can enter to win some prizes.

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This bread is so easy to make and it tastes delicious! There is some rolling, slicing, and braiding involved before this little guy goes in the oven, but don’t be intimidated. Sometimes in life you’ve just gotta go for it and this is one of those times. There is something really satisfying about kneading the dough and turning it into a beautiful braided loaf. You’ll love it. I promise. Be fearless, friends.

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Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread: 

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, warmed to a warm lukewarm
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/4 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Olive oil, for greasing the bowl

Filling: 

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups fresh berries (sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
  • 1 large egg, beaten, for egg wash

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, stir yeast with sugar. Stir in the lukewarm milk and then add the egg yolk and melted butter. Whisk together until thoroughly combined. Allow mixture to rest for 5 minutes. It should foam and froth.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Pour the milk mixture over the dry ingredients and start kneading until it pulls away from the edges of the bowl. Place dough on a lightly floured counter and knead by hand for about 10 minutes more. Dough ball should be smooth and damp without being too sticky. Shape dough into a ball.
  3. Grease a large bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover. Allow to rest in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. While the dough rises, whisk together the butter with cinnamon and sugar for the filling. Set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet {you can also use a 10-inch springform or cake pan}. Set aside.
  6. After the dough has doubled in size, place it on a lightly floured counter and knead twice. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a rectangle of about 18×12 inches.
  7. Spoon the cinnamon filling over the top, spreading evenly, leaving a clean 1-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle the fresh berries over cinnamon filling. Start by rolling the longest side of the dough. The roll will be a bit lumpy because of the berries. Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half lengthwise leaving 1-inch of the edge uncut.
  8. Start braiding the two pieces by lifting the left strand over the right strand. Repeat this motion until you reach the bottom of the dough. Press together to seal. Join the two ends, creating a circle with the dough and press together.
  9. Using two swift hands, transfer the dough ring to the prepared cast iron skillet. Brush the wreath with the beaten egg.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

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Class Update

In my last post I promised you I would update you all on how my classes are going, so here goes.

If you don’t remember, I’m taking baking & pastry and food & beverage operations. I’m having so much fun with both classes! Baking is my thing, so I’ve thoroughly enjoyed baking all kinds of items and having the opportunity to learn new things and improve my skills.

We’ve made all kinds of things! Breads, puff pastry, cookies, muffins, pies, eclairs, crepes, and cakes. We had a midterm a couple of weeks ago. That consisted of a written portion and a practical. For the practical, we picked cards that had two items on them and we had to make them. In spite of someone in my class turning my oven off (who does that?!) I’m pleased to say I dominated both the written and practical. Pretty proud of that.

I’m going to overload you with some pictures of what we’ve made now, then I’ll let ya know how my other class is going 🙂

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Wasn’t that fun?!

Back to my food and beverage class. I didn’t know this, but a large component of this class is wine tasting. That’s right, wine tasting. I don’t think this class could be any more perfect for me. Each week, we discuss and learn about different wines and then we try them! We even pair the wines with some cheeses and chocolates. Sounds like heaven, right? It is.

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I’ve been baking at home a lot too. I recently made a pretty incredible bread as part of a baking bootcamp I’m taking part in. It’s so, so tasty. I’ll share the recipe with you soon, I just need to put the pictures on my computer and I don’t have my camera with me right now. You’ll love it though. It’s a Joy the Baker recipe, so you know it’s good 🙂

Hope you’ve all had a great weekend and Happy Memorial Day!

Lemon Blueberry Basil Cupcakes

This cupcake, you guys. SO GOOD.

A picture of this cupcake has been up on my Facebook page since January and I’m so excited to finally share this recipe with you now that the weather is warming up and the berries are coming out.

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Normally I wouldn’t think to put basil in a cupcake, but I needed a dessert, with basil, for a basil-themed dinner party I had with some friends and this is what I came up with. It even got my sister’s seal of approval and it would be an understatement to say she was skeptical about having basil in a cupcake.

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I’m going to warn you know, there are a lot of components to this recipe. It’s not your typical cupcake and frosting kind of deal; it’s a cupcake with a filling, a frosting, a drizzle, and some candied lemon peel. With all that being said, this recipe isn’t that hard. I promise 🙂

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I’ve been having way too much fun in my classes over the last few weeks. I’ll have a post all about that in a couple of days, but let’s just say wine tasting and baking my me one happy girl!

Anyway, back to recipe. This has a long list of ingredients, but don’t be intimidated! Chances are if you have general baking ingredients at home there will only be a couple of items you’ll have to buy. See how easy I make it for you?

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{Also, I may or may not have come up with ideas for lots of new recipes. Prepare yourselves.}

Lemon Blueberry Basil Cupcakes:
Makes 12 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes: 

  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

Blueberry Basil Filling: 

  • 2/3 cup blueberries
  • 2 tbsp. cold water
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 12 basil leaves, finely chopped

Lemon Basil Frosting: 

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 1/2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 tbsp. (3-4 leaves) basil, finely chopped

Blueberry Reduction Drizzle:

  • 2/3 cup blueberries
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Candied Lemon Peel:

  • Zest of one lemon, removed with a vegetable peeler, then cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar for the cupcakes and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon juice and zest, stir to combine. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix. Finally, add the yogurt and stir together. Set aside.
  3. To make the filling, place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently. When the mixture has darkened in colour, thickened, and the blueberries have begun to decompose, remove from the heat. Put in a bowl in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, so it cools and thickens slightly.
  4. Fill cupcake liners 1/4 full with cupcake batter. Add a spoonful of the filling to each cupcake and top with remaining batter. Bake for 20 minutes, removing from oven and cooling on a wire rack when done.
  5. Combine all of the ingredients for the frosting, slowly adding the powdered sugar and adding the chopped basil last.
  6. To make the blueberry reduction, place ingredients in saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. When mixture is dark, thick and blueberries are beginning to decompose, remove from the heat. Allow mixture to cool slightly.
  7. To make the candied lemon peel, place slices of lemon peel in a saucepan and cover with just enough cold water to cover them. You don’t need a lot. Simmer for seven minutes over a medium heat (turning down, if necessary) and drain. Put the lemon peel back in the saucepan and add the 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar. Return to a simmer and cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the zest is translucent and the sugar-water syrup has thickened slightly. Transfer lemon peel to wax paper and set aside.
  8. Once cupcakes are cool, cover with frosting (you can pipe or spread it on) and drizzle the blueberry reduction over it. Top each with a blueberry and a couple of strips of candied lemon peel.

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