Lets Talk Simple Syrup
In my world the ultimate flavour/moisture enhancer for most of my cakes would be simple syrup or sugar syrup.
Simple syrup is made by stirring granulated sugar into hot water in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved and then cooling it for use. It is dispensed with a spray bottle, thru a pour spout or even with a pastry brush.
The sugar to water ratio can range anywhere from 1:1 to 2:1 depending on the desired thickness or syrupiness (probably not a word but you get my point). If you were to add pectin, it does gel quite easily and this makes it perfect as a base for fruit preserves and sauces.
In cake use however, it imparts a moistness that may have been lost in the baking process. Perhaps you froze your cake sometime ahead of using it and need to add a bit of moisture lost during the freeze time.
I like to use my cakes fairly soon after baking, so for me, it is all about flavor. More flavor, more flavor, more flavor. It can take a basic cake of any flavor and turn it into something of a masterpiece for your palate.
A few variations on the simple syrup recipe might include:
Vanilla: place a fresh vanilla bean or it’s scrapings into the sugar water mix while heating.
Espresso: replace a portion or all of the water with espresso (great on chocolate cake)
Lemon: replace a portion of the water with organic lemon juice. (Less water and more lemon makes this a truly tart experience….my fav)
Caramel: switch out your white sugar with Demerara sugar or brown sugar.
You can add rose petal, lavender, cherry essence.
You might even try substituting some of the water for the liqueur of our choice, although I would not recommend serving this variation to your children.
As you may have known, I have been on a peach kick of late. It’s harvest time in the Okanagan and the peaches are heavenly. So is the region they are grown in, incidentally.
So, without further ado, please welcome my most recent addition to the simple syrup family.
Okanagan Peach Simple Syrup
3 lb peaches
1 c. white sugar
Once you have peeled, cored and sliced your fruit, wash in a citrus bath to prevent the fruit from browning.(just add a tbsp of lemon to the water). Be sure all of the fruit has been submerged, pour off the citrus water and drain well.
Place your fruit into a stewing pot and sprinkle the sugar over top. Let this sit for a half hour or so. The moisture of the fruit will melt the sugar into the beginnings of your wonderful syrup. Once this syrup has started, place the covered pot on low heat to simmer. Be sure to keep your heat low, so as not to evaporate the liquid with a high boil.
After about a half hour or so, you will note a great increase in the amount of syrup around your fruit. Pour this off and reserve for use in flavoring your already baked cakes.
The flavor that this adds to a plain vanilla cake is out of this world.
I recently had one of my students use this syrup. Her words to me were, “My husband said it was the best cake he had ever eaten!”
Now that’s saying something!
This “brewing” process can be applied to any fruit.
Try it with strawberries, blueberries, or even mango…..the list of syrups becomes endless.
I hope you enjoy. Still more to come in my Peachy September. Stay tuned and in the meantime,