Sunday, January 29, 2012

Banana Coconut Cake

Does it happen every so often that you have a few overripe bananas lying around in your fruit bowl? These are perfect for cakes! First, I wanted to bake a classic banana bread, but then, I came across this recipe which I liked a lot because of the addition of coconut flakes. Banana and coconut - good combination! Besides, it's a really easy one... and while I am writing this, it occurs to me that this is my 100st post! But why not have a simple recipe for this "occasion"?! For the next 100 posts, I have some things in stock for you guys ;-) There is a huge "to-bake-list"!

(from: Nicole Stich - Delicious Days)

150g butter, at room temperature
250g flour
1/8l milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
100g brown sugar
3 large eggs
3-4 ripe bananas, about 300g
100g coconut flakes
3 teaspoons baking powder

Line a 30cm cake tin (or 26cm diameter springform pan) with parchment paper and grease the rim with butter. Preheat the oven to 180°C (air circulation: 160°C).

Pour the milk into a little bowl and dissolve the baking soda in it. In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar and eggs with the electric hand mixer until foamy. Peel the bananas and mash them with a fork. Add together with the coconut flakes. Sieve in flour and baking powder and mix well. Add the milk. Mix well with a big wooden ladle.

Fill the dough into your prepared cake tin and bake for about 45-50 minutes. A wooden stick inserted into the cake should come out clean. Take out of the oven and let cool. This cake keeps for a few days if wrapped in foil and kept in a cool place.

If you also want to cover with chocolate glaze, bring 125ml cream almost to a boil in a small sauce pan, take away from the heat and add 125g grated dark chocolate. Stir and wait until the chocolate has dissolved, then pour over the cake... yum!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Old-fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

Ok, I said, I forgot about peanut butter... for a moment. It lasted exactly until just now! Here's one for all the addicts!

(slightly adapted from: Trish Deseine - I love Cake)

320g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
225g butter, soft
225g peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (if you don't have vanilla extract, substitute with a teaspoon of vanilla sugar or so)
340g brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Sieve the flour into a bowl together with the baking powder and the salt. In another bowl, combine butter, peanut butter and vanilla extract with the electric hand mixer. While beating, add the sugar. Add half of the flour, then the eggs and then the rest of the flour.

Form scoops of about 3cm diameter out of your dough and place them onto baking trays line with parchment paper. Leave about 7-8cm distance between the cookies. Press the tines of a fork into the scoops crosswise so that you get a grid pattern.

Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes (I baked them for about 12 minutes or so) until the surface is dry and the downside golden-brown. Take them out of the oven, let cool for about 5 minutes on the tray, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

I got 26 cookies.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sticky, gooey, crumbly, chewy...

This weekend, the weather was so ugly... time for a treat! And guys, seriously... these caramel and oat slices are so good, they made me forget about chocolate and peanut butter for just a moment... highly - I mean it - HIGHLY addictive!

Caramel and Oat Slices
(Trish Deseine - I love Cake)

180g flour
125g rolled oats
150g brown sugar
150g salted butter, cold, cut into pieces
150ml milk
200g caramel candy, soft (e.g. "MICAMU Rahmcaramels weich" from Migros)

Grease a square cake tin (about 20x30 cm, mine was a bit smaller) with butter. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a bowl, mix flour, rolled oats and sugar. Add the cold butter and beat with the electric hand mixer on high speed until you got a crumbly dough. Press half of the dough into your prepared tin. In a saucepan, bring the milk and the caramel candy to a boil while constantly stirring. When the candy has melted, pour the caramel mixture over the dough in the tin. Spread the rest of the dough over that.

Bake for about twenty minutes, until the edges start to get golden-brown. Take out of the oven, let cool. Cut into pieces and take out of the cake tin.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Couscous with Pumpkin and Dried Apricots

Dishes such as this one here are perfect for parties and picnics, they're good warm or cold and you can variate the ingredients according to taste and mood... Plus, doesn't it look great?! I love the warm orange color. This is why it caught my attention in the first place when I found it here.

(From: Ottolenghi - The Cookbook)

1 red onion, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons olive oil
50g dried apricots
1 small pumpkin (about 450g), cut into about 2cm dices
250g couscous
400ml chicken or vegetable stock
a pinch of saffron strands
3 tablespoons chopped tarragon
3 tablespoons chopped mint
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
grated zest of 1 lemon
coarse sea salt
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a large frying pan, with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt, sauté the onion over high heat for about 10 minutes while constantly stirring until golden brown, then set aside.

Pour enough hot water over the dried apricots to cover them. Soak for about 5 minutes, then drain and cut into 5mm dices.

Mix the diced pumpkin with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Spread onto a baking tray and bake for about 25 minutes until lightly colored and quite soft.

While the pumpkin is in the oven, cook the couscous. Bring the stock to boil together with the saffron. Place the couscous in a large, heat-proof bowl and pour the boiling stock over it. Add the remaining olive oil. Cover with cling film and leave for about ten minutes. All the liquid should be absorbed.

With a fork, whisk to fluff up the couscous. Then, add onions, pumpkin, apricots, herbs, cinnamon and lemon zest. Mix well with your hands and try not to mash the pumpkin. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve warmish or cold.

(The book states that "you can keep on piling in the herbs (chervil, coriander, chives - they all work), the more the merrier" and I totally agree with that! I also imagine chopped pistachios to go well with that one. I added some cranberries for the color-effect.)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hazelnut, Vanilla and Olive Oil Cake

There are these cakes that are quite extraordinary. They surprise you. You kind of knew they would be good when you saw the recipe, but you did not expect them to be this good. This one here looks unspectacular, but it will surely belong to my favourites-list from now on! The warm nutty and vanilla flavour... the texture... it just comforted me. It fit perfectly for this icy and sunny winter-weekend.

(from here

200g ground hazelnuts
50g fine polenta
50g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
125ml olive oil
100g of unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
200g brown sugar
the seeds of 2 vanilla pods
icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line a 23cm (I used a 24cm) round springform pan with parchment paper and butter the rim.

Whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale. Add the melted butter and olive oil. Then add the ground hazelnuts, polenta, plain flour and baking powder. Now incorporate the vanilla seeds.

Transfer the cake mixture to you springform pan and bake for about 25 minutes (I baked it for 30 minutes). Remove the cake from the oven and allow to continue cooking and cool in the tin.When cool, remove the cake from the tin and dust with icing sugar.

Serve this with a helping of whipped cream! Heaven on earth...

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

When someone asked me last week, whether I could bake a carrot cake, I thought, why not bake muffins?! How about adding a cream cheese filling?!... If you want to bake these, you should probably not fill more than two thirds of your batter into the paper cups! Otherwise, it will spill while baking like mine did. Without a muffin pan, these would have been a disaster. This is what happens sometimes when I get all creative on Sunday morning :-) I think I have baked nicer looking muffins... But they were so tasty, I had to post them. I especially like the addition of walnuts and the different spices. 

(adapted from: Leila Lindholm - Piece of Cake, the cream cheese filling is my addition)

3 eggs
240g sugar
180g flour
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ginger powder
150ml sunflower oil
270g grated carrots
100g walnuts, coarsly chopped

200g cream cheese
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
50g sugar

Preheat the oven to 175°C and prepare a muffin pan with 12 paper cups (I ended up with 17 muffins although the recipe says 12 - and if I wouldn't have filled too much batter into each of the paper cups, I would have ended up with even more.)

Combine cream cheese, the egg yolk and the sugars and mix well. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine eggs and sugar and mix well until you have a pale and foamy batter. Combine the dry ingredients and add to the batter. Add sunflower oil, grated carrots and walnuts. Fill your batter into the prepared muffin pan. With a teaspoon, drop a dollop of the cream cheese batter onto each muffin.

Put the pan into the oven. The recipe says that the muffins should bake for about 15 minutes. I baked them for 25 minutes.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Torta di Cioccolata

Chocolate cake!...was the only answer to the question I asked myself this morning: Which cake to bake first in 2012? And off to the kitchen I went. I chose an Italian recipe from one of Ursula Ferrigno's books. I like this cake very much. It is extremely rich, but worth every bite. And the glaze is divine.

(Source: Ursula Ferrigno - Italiens leichte Küche) ...not sure how the title of the book and this recipe go together, though :-)

400g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
250g butter
5 large eggs
4 tablespoons brown sugar
130g ground almonds
130g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract/1 sachet vanilla sugar

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Prepare a 23-24cm round springform pan.

Slowly melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan while constantly stirring. Set aside and let cool slightly. Beat eggs and sugar in a bowl for about 5 minutes until foamy (whisk by hand or with a hand mixer). Add ground almonds, flour, baking powder and vanilla extract and mix well. Then add the chocolate-butter-mixture and mix well.

Pour the batter into your prepared springform pan and bake for about 45 minutes. Check whether the cake is done with a wooden skewer. It should come out clean.

For the glaze heat 125ml cream in a small saucepan and almost bring to the boil. Take away from the stove and stir in 125g grated dark chocolate. Let melt and mix until you have a smooth mixture and then pour over your cake.

This cake is wonderfully moist and keeps for a few days.

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