Daring Bakers: Paris-Brest

Paris-Brest | Korena in the KitchenThe November Daring Baker’s challenge took us for a ride! Luisa from Rise of the Sourdough Preacher challenged us to make Paris-Brest, a beautiful pastry celebrating the Paris-Brest bicycle race.

My favourite Daring Bakers challenges are the ones where I get to pretend to be a fancy-pants pastry chef, so despite being several days late with this post, I was actually pretty excited about this month’s challenge: a very French pastry called the Paris-Brest. This pastry, which is a ring of choux pastry filled with praline crème mousseline, commemorates the famous bicycle race between Paris and Brest, and its circular shape is supposed to represent a wheel. Apparently it was created because the riders needed a high calorie snack to refuel them after their 1,200 kilometer race – the early 20th century equivalent of a PowerBar!

Paris-Brest | Korena in the Kitchen

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Daring Bakers: Sachertorte

IMG_5740 The October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Korena of Korena in the Kitchen. She took us to Austria and introduced us to the wonders of the Sachertorte. This month I was thrilled to be hosting a Daring Bakers’ Challenge for the second time. My favorite challenges are the ones where I get to bake a cake and/or pretend to be a pastry chef, so for this month’s challenge I chose a recipe for a classic European-style chocolate cake: the Austrian Sachertorte. Sachertorte | Korena in the Kitchen

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Blackberry Cinnamon Buns

Blackberry Cinnamon Buns | Korena in the Kitchen

Several weeks ago we were invited to Nate’s aunt’s house for a “bun throw”, which, as it turns out, has nothing to do with actually throwing buns – it’s more of a family brunch. Nevertheless, I figured buns were appropriate, so I made cinnamon buns. But not just regular cinnamon buns: I added blackberries.

Blackberry Cinnamon Buns | Korena in the Kitchen

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French Chocolate Cake

French Chocolate Cake | Korena in the KitchenThe building where I work has a really nice high performance gym, and I’m lucky to have a flexible-enough work schedule so that I can work out there three mornings a week. However, along with warm-up, cool-down, showering, and making myself look presentably professional for work, this only leaves about twenty to thirty minutes for actual exercise, so to get the most bang for my buck I usually end up doing some combination of lifting moderately heavy things at a high intensity (aka “lifting weights faster“). As a result, I guess I look like I’m working pretty hard, because I often get asked what I’m training for. My stock answer is, “I’m training for life”, but more accurately it should probably be something along the lines of, “I have a tendency to bake and eat a lot of cake and I need some way to balance it out if I’m going to fit into my jeans.” Because there is no way I’m *not* going to bake and eat a chocolate cake as delicious as this one:

French Chocolate Cake | Korena in the Kitchen

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Blackberry Cream Cheese Ensaimadas

Blackberry Cream Cheese Ensaimadas | Korena in the KitchenEnsaimadas, a coiled Spanish pastry of enriched yeasted dough, were the second half of August’s Daring Bakers Challenge, and I’m happy to share that these blackberry and cream cheese filled babies are probably the best thing I’ve made in a long time. Thank you Swathi for this recipe!

Blackberry Cream Cheese Ensaimadas | Korena in the Kitchen

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Daring Bakers: Kürtőskalács {Chimney Cakes}

Kürtőskalács (Chimney Cakes ) | Korena in the Kitchen

The August Daring Bakers’ Challenge took us for a spin! Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen taught us to make rolled pastries inspired by Kürtőskalács, a traditional Hungarian wedding pastry. These tasty yeasted delights gave us lots to celebrate!

Once again, the Daring Bakers have introduced me to a pastry I probably never would have come across myself, and given me a history lesson in the progress. Kürtőskalács or “chimney cakes” are a traditional yeasted pastry from Szeklerland, which is an ethnic Hungarian enclave in the Transylvanian region of present day Romania. The pastry is now common in many Hungarian-speaking regions as well as the Czech Republic.

Kürtőskalács (Chimney Cakes) | Korena in the Kitchen

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Triple Berry Apple Pie

Triple Berry Apple Pie | Korena in the Kitchen

Blackberry season – my very favourite season – is here, and with it comes the urge to bake pies. This one in particular came about as the result of a very successful trip to the local blackberry patch – aka, a ditch just up the road from us – plus the discovery of a few apples in the fruit bowl that were getting soft and some local strawberries and blueberries in the fridge.

Triple Berry Apple Pie | Korena in the Kitchen

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How to Make a Fondant-Covered Wedding Cake

Fondant-Covered Wedding Cake | Korena in the KitchenAnd so, finally, here is the wedding cake I made for my friends Sam and Whittney. This is the second wedding cake I’ve made now, and somehow both of them have required me to transport all of the necessary components and equipment via ferry and cooler to Vancouver and assemble them in someone else’s kitchen in the middle of the summer heat. It just adds to the challenge, right? ;)

Cake cutting | Korena in the Kitchen

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Daring Bakers: Chocolate & Vanilla Checkerboard Cake

Chocolate & Vanilla Checkerboard Cake | Korena in the KitchenFor the July Daring Baker’s Challenge, Ruth from The Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to bake a cake. But not just any cake; she asked us to add in a special surprise for our eyes as well as our taste buds!

It was my birthday at the beginning of July (thirty one! how the hell did that happen?!) so, as per my favorite birthday tradition, I made myself a cake. Coincidentally, the Daring Bakers challenge this month was to make a cake with a surprise on the inside, so I made this cake, which looks like nothing special at first…

Chocolate & Vanilla Checkerboard Cake | Korena in the Kitchen

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Daring Bakers: Spelt, Date & Pecan Cinnamon Buns

Spelt, Date & Pecan Cinnamon Rolls | Korena in the Kitchen

This month the Daring Bakers kept our creativity rolling with cinnamon bun inspired treats. Shelley from C Mom Cook dared us to create our own dough and fill it with any filling we wanted to craft tasty rolled treats, cinnamon not required!

Tell me, where has this month gone? How did it get to be the end of June all of a sudden? I swear, the last time I checked, it was the beginning of May, I was starting a new job (yay!), and this had just happened:

Engagement ring | Korena in the Kitchen

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