Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake

I'm so excited to show you all my very first Daring Bakers' Challenge:

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

When I first saw this month's challenge, I was a bit frightened and basically already sure that I was going to have some difficulties with that one. I hate making sponge rolls and I have destroyed many of them when trying to roll them up... plus, I have never made ice cream before. I've been wanting to make my own ice cream for a long time and I was never entirely sure whether it was a good idea without an ice cream machine.

I put the challenge off until last weekend and when I finally got started, it went so well from the beginning, that it got more and more fun! The instructions can be found here by the way. I changed some minor things however. My rolls are without cocoa, but I added that to the cream filling instead. The chocolate ice cream and the fudge sauce are made according to the instructions. I jazzed up my vanilla ice cream with a dash of cinnamon and some peach (cut into very little pieces).

To my big surprise, I had no problems with the rolls at all! I'm still totally happy about this and thanks to Sunita and her challenge, I am definitely going to make sponge rolls again because actually, I like them very much, only I thought I was too clumsy to make them :-)

I like the fudge sauce too, very easy to make and yummie! I'm thinking about making that again to decorate other dessers. The ice creams turned out fine as well. I have some leftovers of the vanilla-cinnamon and peach ice cream. This is going to make a nice dessert on its own one of the next days!

I invited my mum and her boyfriend over for cake and coffee on Sunday and we ate almost the whole cake then and there. Everybody really liked it and I am proud of my first challenge that turned out to be quite successful.

I'm still so thrilled about these rolls!!! Check them out:

Thank you Sunita for a super fun challenge!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Buttermilk Bread with Walnuts

Baking your own bread just is such a wonderful thing... You should see my happy face when I make bread dough... I looove the smell of fresh yeast and the feel in my hands when I knead the dough... And the smell that comes out of the oven when there's bread in it...

I made this bread some time ago for my brunch with the ladies. Very often, when I bake bread, I make two loafs in order to freeze one of them. This weekend, I remembered that I still have this one in the freezer and I decided to eat some of it for breakfast. I like this bread very much. Its structure is kind of dense. Due to the buttermilk, it's rather moist and it's got an aromatic taste. I ate it with butter and Gruyère cheese this morning. Yum!

(Source: www.saison.ch)

500g "Ruchmehl" (See comment below.)
250g whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
20g fresh yeast
1dl milk, lukewarm
3dl buttermilk
100g walnuts

(I'm not sure what the appropriate English translation of "Ruchmehl" is... According to my online "research" I guess you could substitute it with wheat flour type 1050. You could probably also use 750g of whole wheat flour and leave the "Ruchmehl" out.)

In a big bowl, mix flour and salt. Form a hollow in the middle, add the sugar. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk and pour that into the hollow. Add buttermilk. Slowly mix the flour with the liquid ingredients (if necessary, add a little milk).

Spread a little flour on a clean surface area and knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic (it will be rather firm though, but that's ok). Chop walnuts and knead into the dough. Form a ball, put back into your bowl, cover with a wet kitchen towel and let rise for about 2 hours (put the bowl somewhere, where it is rather warm).

After the dough has risen, knead again shortly and divide into two halves. Form two balls and put onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cut in the dough crosswise (1cm deep). Again, let rise for about 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Bake the breads in the middle of the oven for about 10 minutes. To have a good humidity in the oven, put a little ofen-safe cup of water next to the breads. Reduce heat to 200°C. Bake breads for another 40 minutes.

Check whether the bread is baked thoroughly by knocking on the bottom of the loafs. It should sound hollow*.

(If you plan to freeze one of the loafs, take it out of the oven about 10 minutes earlier than the other one. Let cool a little. Then pack into a plastic bag and let cool completely. Then put in the freezer.)

*Honestly, although I love baking bread, I haven't actually done it sooo many times and I am not as experienced as I'd like to be. What always freaks me out is checking whether it's baked thoroughly at the end. How exactly is this "hollow noise" supposed to sound?! I just guess, I interpret it right but I am never entirely sure. I think, baking good bread is something that needs a lot of experience.

I hope, I can present you more bread recipes in the future because I really want to advance my bread-baking skills :-)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

You know by now that I have a craving for all sorts of cream. When I discovered that there are chocolate cakes with sour cream in them, I did not hesitate too long and tried to bake one myself.

Moist, yet tender... this is how the texture of this cake is probably best described. I mean, I like these dense and chewy chocolate cakes as well but this way, it's still got a chocolaty taste without the heavyness. This cake immediately made it to the hitlist of my favourite chocolate cakes ever.

Recipe (adapted from Nigella Lawson's "How to be a Domestic Goddess"):

200g flour
200g sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
200g soft butter
40g cocoa powder
150ml sour cream
2 large eggs
1 sachet of vanilla sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 30cm cake tin with parchment paper.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and mix with an electric mixer. In a big jug, mix sour cream, cocoa, vanilla sugar and eggs and slowly add this mixture to the ingredients in the bowl.

Pour the batter into your prepared tin and bake for about 40-45 minutes. Check if it is done with a wooden skewer. If it comes out clean, it's ok.

Originally, this cake comes with a sour cream chocolate icing. I didn't have time for that so I left it out. Next time however, I definitely want to make that too!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Brownies gone nuts...

Those who have tried one know it: there's comfort in a brownie. Cream cheese brownies could save the world. They are a secret weapon. That's why the recipe must be shared so that everyone can make their own.

Creamy M&Ms Brownies:

For the basics, I used a recipe by Nigella Lawson and then adapted it. I had a ton of M&Ms at home that I wanted to make use of. How about sticking them into a brownie, I thought. It turned out to be a good idea :-)

125g dark chocolate
125g butter
200g sugar
2 eggs
1 sachet vanilla sugar (20g)
75g flour
a pinch of salt

200g cream cheese (Philadelphia)
1 egg yolk
about 20g sugar and a pinch of vanilla sugar (depending on how sweet you want the batter to be...)
about 140g M&Ms, chopped (I did that with this.)

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a brownie tin (18x23cm) with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar and chopped M&Ms and set aside.

Over low heat, melt butter and chocolate in a little pan and let cool a bit. Beat sugar and the eggs until pale and fluffy. Add vanilla sugar. Add the molten chocolate and mix well. Sieve in flour and salt and mix. Once the batter is smooth, pour into your prepared brownie tin.

Scatter cream cheese batter onto that with a spoon. With a fork, spread the batter a little and create swirls so that you get a marble effect.

Put into the oven and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes until the top is crispy and shiny but the inside is still moist. Let cool and then, cut into slices.

You can enjoy them fresh from the oven, or cooled... both ways, they are heavenly. The good thing about cream cheese brownies is that they can be kept in the fridge for about a week or so. I personally like them even better after one or two days.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Spaghetti with creamy Zucchini and Lemon Sauce

I have another simple pasta recipe for you. I cooked this pasta for dinner on Tuesday. While I photographed the dish, Mauro actually complained and asked whether I make food only for photography purposes or whether he might eat it eventually. But I got my shot in the end - and Mauro got his helping of spaghetti ;-)

for 4 persons:

1 - 2 zucchini (250 - 300g)
1dl vegetable stock (bouillon)
1.5dl cream (25% fat)
2 bio lemons, grated zest
salt and pepper
400 - 500g spaghetti

Cut zucchini into dices and cook in the vegetable stock for about 5 minutes until it is soft. Add cream and puree with a hand mixer. Add lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.

Cook spaghetti al dente, drain the water and then mix with the sauce.

Recipe source: www.saison.ch

Notes: This sauce has a really lemony taste. I liked it, but if you don't, just use one lemon. Also, I added some chopped pistachios for decoration, they go well with this sauce.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Apricot Vanilla Jam

I didn't turn on the oven this weekend. It gets unbearably hot in our flat these days and - it's really true - I don't feel like baking a cake. I didn't cook much either.

Last week, I made a new batch of jam. Apricot jam is my favourite and therefore, I bought a bag full of apricots as soon I spotted the first ones at our local grocery store. I combined them with one of my favourite flavours: vanilla. It turned out quite yummie. Check out the recipe below.

I used:

about 1.3kg apricots
about 1kg sugar
3 vanilla pods, scraped out seeds
1.5 - 2 dl white wine
juice from 1 lemon

Divide the apricots into halves and remove the core. Put the apricots into a large pan and add the white wine and lemon juice. Cook them until they are really soft. Then, puree (I did that with a hand mixer) and weigh the mash. For 1kg fruit puree, you need about 750g of sugar (the fruit-sugar ratio should be 4:3). Add sugar and scraped out vanilla seeds, put back onto the plate and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about ten minutes.

Test whether the jam has reached the desired consistency by putting a little drop of it onto a plate. If it's not flowing anymore it's fine. Otherwise cook a little longer.

Fill the boiling jam into preheated glasses and seal them. Then turn them upside down for about a minute (kills the fungus spores) and then turn around again and let cool.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Easy Chocolate Coconut Cake

Last weekend, my friend Giorgia from GVN Fashion Style Blog hosted a flea market at her place and she asked me if I would bring some cake. Of course, I said yes :-)

I stumbled over this recipe while browsing through Donna Hay's Modern Classics Book 2. The thing I like about this cake, besides that it is really easy to make, is that the coconut flakes are the surprising twist that make all the difference. It looks like a simple chocolate cake but taste and texture are a little different because of the coconut flakes.

Here comes the recipe:

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Mix 250g molten butter, 90g sifted cocoa powder, 300g sugar, 3 eggs, 140g dessicated coconut flakes, 200g flour, 1.5 teaspoons baking powder and 190ml milk in a bowl until you end up with a smooth batter. Pour this into a 24cm diameter springform pan (lined with parchment paper or greased with a little butter) and bake for about 50 minutes. Dust with cocoa powder and serve warm or cold.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Figs from Sicily!

Some of Mauro's Sicilian family members are visiting and they brought a ton of food! When Mauro brought me these figs yesterday, I immediately started thinking about how to create a dessert with them. Funny story: Mauro told me that when he packed the figs up for me, his sister said to him: "You can tell Katrin that she can just eat these as they are, there's no need to put them into the oven." :-)

Of course, I know that. It didn't keep me from baking them anyway! And what came out is one of the most delicious desserts I've eaten in a long time! Of course, these Sicilian figs made all the difference, they tasted heavenly.

The original recipe can be found here. I changed certain things however.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

for 3 figs I used:

a few almonds, a few pistachios, finely minced
1.5 tablespoons of brown sugar
a dash of vanilla sugar
2 tablespoons of cream
1 tablespoon of water

Just mix this together. Grease an oven-safe pan with a little butter, cut the figs up crosswise so that they still hold together at the bottom and place them into the pan. Spread the nut-mixture over them with a spoon and bake for about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

I think, this is a simple and light, yet noble dessert. A scoop of vanilla ice cream would go nicely with that... I can't stop thinking about it anymore... I want a fig tree!!!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Marbled Cheesecake with Strawberry Jam

Cheesecake is one of my favourites. I made this one for my family on Saturday.


75g butter
1 lemon, grated zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
200g petits beurres (graham crackers or digestive biscuits)
400g cream cheese (Philadelphia)
450g curd cheese
2 sachets of vanilla sugar (20 g)
100g sugar
50g flour, sifted
100g strawberry jam (I used my own)

Line a 26cm diameter springform pan with parchment paper.

Melt butter in a little pan and add lemon zest and juice.

Crumble petits beurres (I always do this by putting them into a plastic bag and beating them with my rolling pin.) Put the crumbs in a bowl and mix with the butter. Then press the mixture onto the base of the springform pan and put in the refrigerator fot about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Mix cream cheese, curd cheese, sugar and vanilla sugar in a bowl. Add flour and mix well. Pour the batter into the springform pan and smooth the surface.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Let cool completely in the springform pan and then refridgerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

(Source: Annemarie Wildeisen's Kochen)

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