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Light and airy orange vanilla dreams

A pastry chef, or pâtissier, has to be a master of “chemistry, beauty and flavour” according to famous pastry chef Ron Ben from Israel who owns his own cake shop in New York City. Baking is part art, part science as anyone who bakes at home knows. If one measurement is off, the entire cake can quite literally fall flat. However, follow the recipe to the letter and you may end up with a decent cake, but lacking that extra, special something that makes it truly memorable—all science and no art, is not a winning recipe, either.

Baking is not only a joy but a comfort to many. The vigorous beating of an egg is therapeutic on its own, and seeing the cake rise in the oven and having the inviting smell wafting through your home is a unique pleasure. The entire process from selecting the ingredients to the preparation to the presentation can be quite time consuming. However, just because you are pressed for time, that need not mean you do away with baking altogether. Conversely, if you have time but are a bit intimidated to try to bake your first cake, rest assured; just follow the lead of an expert pastry chef that we contacted for you.

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We spoke to the head pastry chef at Veranda Bistro’s Patisserie, Khurram Shehzad, to give us some tips so that people at home can absorb his expertise and ensure all their hard work results in a truly wonderful creation. It is citrus season in Pakistan right now and if you are looking to make something new, light and perfect for the warmer weather, we encourage you to try out a recipe for an orange-vanilla cake. Follow any basic recipe for an orange-vanilla cake but play close heed to the following tips:

Pastry chef’s expert tips for creating the perfect Orange-Vanilla Cake:

Ø  Always use clean baking bowls with absolutely no fat particles left in them. That means if the bowl had any sort of butter, oil, or ghee related item in it, it has to be scrubbed clean.

Ø  Sugar and eggs should be beaten with a whisk until nicely fluffy. You want to aim for a fluffy batter. This is absolutely essential for the flavour of the cake as well as for a light and airy texture of the sponge.

Ø  However, do not over-beat your mixture either! Mixing too vigorously and/or for too long can cause too many air bubbles to be released and this will prevent the case from rising properly.

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Ø  Always use good quality whipping cream and whip properly.

Ø  For the vanilla flavour, use vanilla pods! (This is an amazing tip, a little more work than using store-bought vanilla essence but the difference is sure to be gargantuan.)

Ø   Add orange zest in the cake batter for a rich, orange flavour.

Ø  Use orange jam or orange filling for the glaze (for the top of the cake).

Happy baking! If you still can’t turn out a light and airy, orange-vanilla dream of a cake, just call it a day and grab a slice from Veranda’s Patisserie. 

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