Saturday, July 30, 2016

Blueberry and Spelt Muffins

Berry muffins have become a regularity at our home. I've been baking all kinds of variations of them throughout this summer because I think they make a nice afternoon snack. I usually look for recipes with wholemeal flour and little sugar in order to make them more suitable for kids. This recipe here comes from the good old "Tender: Volume II" by Nigel Slater. It has been a while since I made one of his recipes, but when I took a bite of one of these muffins yesterday, I remembered again why I adore him so much. Slater really understands the art of comfort food. The perfection of his recipes lies in their simplicity. Those muffins here, for instance, are seemingly unspectacular, yet, their taste and texture couldn't be more perfect - happiness with every single bite...

(from the wonderful Tender: Volume II by Nigel Slater)

125g plain flour
125g wholemeal spelt flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
0.5 teaspoons baking soda
0.5 teaspoon salt
55g butter
125g golden caster sugar (I used really dark sugar which gave the muffins a fuller taste)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
110g yogurt
220g blueberries
Demerara sugar and rolled oats for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a 12-mould muffin with paper cases.

In a bowl, sift together flours, raising agents and salt.

In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, scrape down the bowl occasionally with a spatula. Then, lightly beat the eggs and add slowly. Add vanilla extract and yogurt. I added some lemon zest at this point.

Gently add the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Fold in the berries. Drop the mixture into paper cases. Sprinkle the tops with a little sugar and a few rolled oats.

Bake for about 20-24 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool briefly in the tin, then place them on a cooling rack.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Ricotta Cheesecake with Blackberry Swirl

It has offcially been too long since I last made cheesecake. This one here is made with ricotta instead of cream cheese which makes it less heavy than the classic cheesecakes. The deep purple and juicy blackberries work wonderfully against the plain ricotta and the lemon zest adds a fresh kick. In my opinion, this is the perfect summer cheesecake!

(from the fantastic "Crumb" by Ruby Tandoh) 

150g graham crackers
75g butter

Blackberry swirl:
150g blackberries
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)

500g ricotta
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup and two tablespoons heavy cream
125g superfine sugar
2 large eggs and one large egg yolk
zest of one lemon
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a 20cm springform pan with parchment paper.

To make the crust, crush the graham crackers with a rolling pin or in a food processor until sandy. Melt the butter over low heat, then mix it with the graham cracker crumbs. The crumbs need to be moist enough that they'll hold together in clumps if squeezed, so add a bit more butter at this point if necessary.

Spread the mixture over the bottom of the pan and press down firmly all over. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool slightly. Decrease the oven temperature to 120°C.

Then, make the blackberry swirl. In a small pan, heat the blackberries, sugar and lemon juice over low heat, stirring occasionally until the blackberries soften. Crush with the back of a fork until no whole berries remain, then set aside to cool. If the blackberries release a lot of juice, add a teaspoon of cornstarch while the pan is still on the heat an stir for another minute or two, until thickened.

To make the filling, beat the ricotta and cornstarch together in a large bowl until creamy. Then, stir in the cream. When combined, add sugar, eggs and yolk (one at a time), lemon zest and vanilla extract.

Pour the filling onto the baked crust. Dollop spoonfulls of the blackberries on top and gently swirl through the filling using a spoon. Bake for 1 3/4 to 2 hours (with my oven, it took one and a half hour) until the filling has no more than a slight wobble in the center. The cooked cheesecake should be quite firm all over except for the blackberry swirls, which will now be sunken, jammy and a deep purple color.

Let the cheesecake cool completely in the pan beroe unmolding. Then, for a firmer texture, chill in the fridge before serving.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Mocca Brownies

Summer has finally arrived and it's almost overwhelmingly hot after those grey and rainy days. But, you guys know that the heat does not necessarily stop me from turning on the oven. Especially when I have brownies on my mind...

(from Coop Zeitung)

100g butter
400g dark chocolate (I used 70%), roughly chopped
150g sugar
4 eggs
2 pinches of salt
1.5 tablespoons instant coffee (I used Nescafé)
1 tablespoon lukewarm water
200g cashew nuts (roughly chopped)
150g plain flour

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a brownie tin (ca. 24 x 30cm) with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, melt butter and and chocolate over low heat. When melted, take away from the heat and let cool slightly. Pour into a bowl and mix with sugar. Then, add eggs and salt. I added a bit of vanilla extract at this point.

Dissolve coffee powder in lukewarm water and add to the batter. Add cashew nuts and flour. Mix and pour your batter into the brownie tin.

Bake for about 25 minutes. The brownies should still be soft i the middle. Let cool, then cut into squares.

The recipe suggests to ice them with an icing made of icing sugar and espresso (250g icing sugar and 3 tablespoons cold espresso) which I left out because I didn't have time.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Peach and Hazelnut Cake

This cake saved our rainy Sunday. It's rich, moist and the sweet fruit perfectly complements the nutty flavor. And, at least, those juicy and yellow peaches look and taste like summer, as a contrast to the current weather situation…

(from an old Saison Magazine)

250g sugar
5 eggs
one vanilla pod
150g full-fat quark (curd)
230g ground hazelnuts
250g flour
1/2 sachet baking powder
4 peaches
a bit of brown sugar for sprinkling
butter, for greasing the tin
icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a 24cm round cake tin with parchment paper and butter the edges.

In a large bowl, cream together the eggs and the sugar with an electric hand whisk. Keep mixing for about 5 minutes until you have a pale and fluffy batter.

Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla pod. Add and mix shortly. Add quark, ground hazelnuts, flour and baking powder. Mix well until you have a creamy batter.

Fill the batter into your prepared cake tin. Wash, halve and stone the peaches. Place the peach halves on  your cake, cut surface facing up, press slightly into the batter. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar.

Bake the cake for about 30-35 minutes.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Buckwheat Pancakes with Cherry Vanilla Compote

I wanted to make pancakes this morning and I discovered, to my horror, that I had no plain flour left in my store cupboard. I usually have all the basic baking ingredients around so that I can spontaneously decide to bake something without having to run to a store first. At least, I found some buckwheat flour which actually worked just as well for these pancakes. I liked them best when they were soaked with the juices from the cherry compote.

(from Trish Deseine's unbeatable "I love Cake")

225g flour (I used buckwheat flour)
1 sachet baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
3 eggs, beaten
300ml milk
50g butter, melted (the recipe suggest salted butter)
butter, for frying

Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add sugar and mix. Make a hollow in the middle and pour eggs, milk and melted butter into the hollow. Stir everything together until you have a smooth dough. Let your dough rest for about 30 minutes.

In a frying pan, heat a bit of butter. With a soup ladle, pour small portions of dough into the pan and bake. Your pancakes are ready to flip when small air bubbles begin to form on top of the dough. Each side takes about a minute.

I served the pancakes with a cherry compote for which I used 500g pitted cherries, a splash of water, a bit of sugar and half a vanilla pod.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cinnamon Rolls

Here comes the perfect breakfast to brighten up a grey and rainy Sunday morning! It's the kind of recipe you can put together on the spur of the moment because it only consists of ingredients one has usually got in the store cupboard. The dough is easily prepared and the filling can be customized according to taste. I imagine that dark chocolate or fresh berries would make a nice addition, or maybe a bit of lemon or orange zest - go with whatever you fancy.

(from the wonderful "Home Made" by Yvette Van Boven)

350g flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch of salt
75g cold butter
150-175ml buttermilk or milk
1 egg

a big chunk of really soft butter
sugar (white, brown, whatever you like)
raisins (I had none at home, so I used diced dried figs and they worked really well)
nuts, chopped (walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, whatever you have at home, I used a mixture of different nuts)

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add the cold butter in pieces and rub with your fingers until you have a sandy mixture. Slowly add the milk and knead until you have a smooth dough.

Roll your dough out on a floured surface (about 0.5cm thick). Generously spread the soft butter on the dough. Sprinkle on sugar, raisins, cinnamon and nuts. 

Then, starting at the longer end of the dough, roll into a coil. Slice into rolls and place them into a greased baking dish. Whisk your egg and brush the rolls with it. 

Bek your cinnamon rolls for about 25 minutes. Serve with cold butter, cream or crème fraiche.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Vegan Bananabread

I think this is the first time I baked something vegan. I have an office mate who's allergic to milk protein and I've been looking out for suitable recipes for her (which is not all that difficult because there are a lot of vegan foodblogs out there). I had bookmarked this recipe here and this weekend seemed to be a good time to try it since we had some overripe bananas lying around. I really liked this cake. I wouldn't serve it for dessert, though. It's, however, perfect for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. The cake is also made without sugar and very suitable for kiddies. Julia was very fond of it.

(from Love Nonpareille (find the German version there))

275g spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
50g walnuts, coarsly chopped (I ground them rather finely in the food processor. I wanted to feed Julia some of the bread, too, and therefore needed to avoid having pieces of nuts in the bread)
40g coconut oil
80g dates (about 6)
50ml almond milk
4 large ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a cake tin (about 25cm) with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and walnuts. In a saucepan, melt coconut oil over low heat and let cool slightly. Add melted oil to the dry ingredients and, with a whisk, mix until combined.  

Pit the dates and, together with the almond milk, mix until you have a paste (you can either do this in a food processor or with hand-held blender). With a fork, mash 3 of the bananas. Add the date-paste, the bananas and the vanilla extract to your dry ingredients and mix with the whisk.

Fill your dough into the prepared tin. Half your left banana length-whise and then half the two pieces again. Place onto your dough. Bake for about 40-50 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer if your cake is done.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Chocolate Buckwheat Cake

I recently discovered buckwheat flour. Not because I have to have a gluten-free diet, but because I like its distinct taste. I've been experimenting with buckwheat flour a lot lately and the thing I discovered is that you have to pay attention to the quantities. If you use too much of it in a batter, the flavor becomes quite overwhelming. So, usually, a mixture of buckwheat flour and plain or wholemeal flour seems to be the solution to achieve just the right depth in flavor. Buckwheat flour works wonderfully in this chocolate cake here, in combination with ground hazelnuts and dark chocolate. I used really dark chocolate, about 79%, and I like the result a lot. If you want to brighten things up a bit, go lower on the cocoa content. The simple cream topping gives a wonderful, almost light contrast to this dark and dense cake. Plus it looks beautiful, doesn't it?! Like a cloud - to complement this chocolate heaven. This cake is incredible on the second day. I really recommend baking it a day ahead!


170g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
115g unsalted butter, cubed
4 large eggs, separated
100g unrefined or granulated sugar
80ml plain whole-milk yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
75g almond or hazelnut flour (see Note, below)
35g buckwheat flour

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Butter an 20cm cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

In a large, heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth, then remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, half of the sugar, yogurt, vanilla, and salt, the whisk them into the melted chocolate. Stir in the almond or hazelnut flour, and the buckwheat flour.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually whip in the other half of the sugar until the whites are in firm peaks. Fold one-third of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining chocolate mixture just until it’s completely combined.

Scrape the batter into the pan, level the top, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes; the cake will feel relatively set, but the center of the cake should still be soft. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the cake pan.

The cake will keep for up to three days at room temperature.

For serving, I topped the cake with whipped cream and dusted it with cocoa powder.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Banana Oat Muffins

It is big fun to cook and to bake for Julia and for the whole family. Our girl likes almost everything which also makes this an easy task. Lately, I've been cooking much more again and I greatly enjoy it. On the hunt for suitable family recipes, I stumbled over this blog, Tiny Spoon, which I can really recommend to all mums who like to cook. There are a lot of fabulous recipes, from baby purée to dessert. I made these muffins this morning and we all really liked them. Easy to whip up, not too sweet, perfect for brunch or as an afternoon snack for kids (and adults).

(slightly adapted from the lovely Tiny Spoon)

80ml maple sirup
80ml sunflower oil (or coconut oil)
2 eggs
50 ml milk (or almond milk)
3 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 sachet vanilla sugar)
1 teapoon cinnamon
30g rolled oats
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
200g wholemeal flour

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a muffin tin with paper cases.

In a large bowl, combine maple sirop, oil, eggs and milk. Mash the bananas with a fork and add to the wet mixture. Add vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Add to your wet ingredients and mix until all is combined. I used a hand whisk for this. 

Fill the dough into your muffins cases. Be carefull not to overfill your muffin cases. Sprinkle with a few oats and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer, whether the muffins are done.

Monday, March 28, 2016


Our wonderful daughter turned one last week. It's truly unbelievable - a year went by and now, she's such a big girl already. The past three months have been rather intense, though. I've caught a bad flu twice and Julia's also been sick a couple of times. She's really not a difficult kid, but she's probably not the world's best sleeper. That's why lately, whenever I had some time to myself, I tried to catch up on sleep and there wasn't much time left for anything else. Apologies to all of you for having abandoned my blog for so long. For Julia's first birthday, in any case, there had to be cake! I settled for this lovely blueberry carrot cake. Blueberries and coconut are a nice twist to the traditional carrot cake. They render it moist and fluffy. Julia really liked it. In fact, we all did.

Blueberry Carrot Cake

180g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
one pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
50g dessicated coconut
2 eggs
140g canola oil
150g sugar
250g ground carrots
125g blueberries (fresh or frozen, if you use frozen, don't defrost them before using)

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Butter a cake tin (ca. 11x25cm) and line with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and coconut. Set aside. In another bowl, combine eggs, oil and sugar and mix with an electric whisk for 3-4 minutes until the batter is smooth. The, add carrots and combine. Fill half your dough into the prepared tin. Roll half of the blueberries in a bit of flour and scatter onto the cake mix. Then fill in the rest of the dough and place the rest of the blueberries on top of it. You might want to press them into the dough a little.

Bake your cake for about 60-70 minutes (with my oven, it took less then 60 minutes so it really depends on your oven). Test with w wooden skewer, whether it's done.

I served this cake just as it was, mostly because Julia is not used to sugar and I did not want to go over the top, but otherwise it would surely be delicious with a cream cheese frosting.

This is, by the way, the kind of cake to make a day or two ahead because it tastes better after some time.

Related Posts with Thumbnails