Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Cake for Midsummer...

One bite of this cake and I knew: this is my favourite cake of the last few months... No need for chocolate or peanut butter to win me over. This cake wonderful as it is... It looks so nice once it's cut into slices with the orange apricot pieces and the pink berries, the texture is soft and moist and I love the combination of the sour sweetness of the fruit with the warm flavour of the ground almonds. The recipe comes from the most beloved of all my cookbooks, Nigel Slater's Tender II. That is what I like to call foodpoetry...


(from: Tender II by Nigel Slater)

175g soft butter
175g brown sugar
200g ripe apricots (4 or 5)
2 eggs
175g self-raising flour (I just used regular flour and 1/2 a sachet of baking powder)
100g ground almonds
2 tablespoons milk
170g raspberries

Line a 20cm diameter springform pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Put the butter and the sugar in a large bowl and beat with the hand mixer until you have a pale and fluffy batter. Halve, stone and roughly chop the apricots. Beat the eggs lightly and add them to the creamed butter and sugar a little at a time, occasionally pushing the mixture down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. If there is any sign of curdling, stir in a tablespoon of flour.

Mix the flour, the baking powder and the almonds together and fold in, with the mixer on slow speed, in two or three separate lots. Add the milk and when it's incorporated, add the apricots and the berries.

Pour your batter into the cake tin and bake for about an hour and ten minutes. You may have to check after 50 minutes or so and cover the cake with aluminium foil in order to prevent its surface from burning. Test whether it's done with a wooden skewer. If it comes out relatively clean, the cake is done. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for about ten minutes, then, run a knife around the edge and slide it out onto a plate. Dust with icing sugar.

The cake is wonderful when still slightly warm, but can also be kept for one or two days.

The decorating idea comes from two of my favourite blogs which time and again serve as an inspiration: Technicolor Kitchen and Poires au Chocolat.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chocolate Cake with Raspberries

Evelyn invited me to her place yesterday. She cooked Indian curry. To me, Evelyn's curry is the world's best curry - true comfort food. I, in return, offered to bring a cake to complement the curry. We spent a wonderful evening. At some point, we sat on her sofa, listened to a comedy CD and laughed so hard that we had trouble drinking our coffee and eating the cake! Thank you, Evelyn, for a lovely evening and remember: "If I could choose, I would take the one with the shoes." ;-)

(Original in German: here)

200g dark chocolate
100g butter
4 eggs
5 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
200g raspberries
(2 tablespoons Kirsch, optional)

Preheat the oven to 160°C, line a 26cm diameter springform pan with parchment paper and grease the rim with butter.

Break the chocolate into pieces and put into a small saucepan together with the Kirsch and the butter. Melt over low heat. Let cool slightly.

In a bowl, beat the eggs together with the sugar for about 5 minutes until you got a pale and thick batter. Add the melted chocolate. Then, add the flour. Pour your batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth down with a ladle. Spread the raspberries on your batter (they can sink down during the baking).

Bake for about 35 minutes. This cake gets better after letting it cool down thoroughly and chilling it in the fridge for a bit. The texture will be wonderfully smooth.

(I halved the recipe above and made a small cake of 18cm diameter)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Sesame

4 days off from work! I treated myself to an extended weekend. Baking, of course, is part of my relaxation program :-) Here comes a modification of a cookie recipe I have recently posted.

(adapted from here)

175g peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
75g unsalted butter, melted
200g brown sugar
2 medium eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
60g sesame seeds, plus extra to finish
125g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
60g dark chocolate, in pieces

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Beat together the peanut butter, melted butter and sugar until smooth, add the eggs and vanilla, and beat again. Stir in the seeds, chocolate, flour and soda until smooth. Line a tray with nonstick baking paper, spoon 30g blobs of dough on to it spaced 4-5cm apart, sprinkle with more sesame seeds and bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blueberry Buttermilk Cake with Coconut Crumble

"Katrin, it's not good if you're not baking anymore! That's not you!" said Sarah from the office to me last week with an upset look on her face. I've been a quite busy lately. But don't you worry guys. I had a relaxing weekend so far and I made a cake today. And I dedicate this post to Sarah. Her internship at our firm ended last Friday. She has become a dear friend of mine in the past few months and I'm going to miss her so much. She always claims that dessert is the most important meal of the day. I fully agree. And remember: Fruit salad does not count as dessert! ;-)

(slightly adapted from Annemarie Wildeisen's Kochen 7/8 | 2012)

300g flour
1 tablespoon chocolate or cocoa powder
1 sachet of baking powder
150g sugar
1 pinch of salt
50g butter
2.5dl buttermilk (or milk)
1 egg
100g blueberries

for the crumble:
50g desiccated coconut
50g sugar
50g butter, cold

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 24cm diameter springfrom pan with parchment paper and grease the rim with butter.

Sift the flour, baking powder, chocolate or cocoa powder into a bowl. Add sugar and salt and mix. Melt the butter in a little pan. Take away from the plate, mix with the buttermilk, add to the flour mixture. Add the egg and mix well. Wash the blueberries with cold water, dry on a kitchen towel and carefully add them to the batter. Mix only until evenly incorporated.

Fill the batter into your prepared springform pan and bake in the lower half of the oven for about 40 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the crumble. Put sugar and coconut in a bowl, add the cold butter in pieces and rub with yuor fingers to a crumbly mass. After 40 minutes, spread this mixture on your cake and bake for another 10 minutes in the upper half of the oven. Be careful not to burn the coconut. Then, take out of the oven and let cool. This cake can also be prepared a day ahead.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Good Morning Muffins

Remember my peanut butter banana muffins for our brunch at Melissa's place? I had Luzia over for brunch today and again, I decided for muffins. Only criterion: no peanut butter. Luzia is not very fond of it and I had promised her that, for the next brunch, I would bake something without peanut butter. These muffins are also nutty, though. I really like the crunchy hazelnuts and the sweet apple pieces. The carrots keep them moist. Really nice for breakfast together with a glass of milk or juice, for a picnic or as an afternoon snack.

(from Delicious Days by Nicky Stich)

For twelve muffins:

80g ground hazelnuts
2-3 tablespoons hazelnuts
175g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of cinnamon
200g carrots
1 small apple
2 eggs
150g brown sugar
100g sunflower oil

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

Roast the ground hazelnuts in a frying pan until its smells nutty. Let cool. Chop the hazelnuts coarsly. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Peel the carrots and grate. Peel the apple and cut into small dices. Mix eggs, sugar and oil with the electric hand mixer (2-3 minutes). Then, add the ground hazelnuts, carrots and the apple. Then, add the flour-mixture and beat until just combined.

With the help of two tablespoons, fill the batter into your muffin cases. Sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts. Bake for about 30 minutes. Check by inserting a wooden skewer into one of the muffins. If it comes out clean, they are done. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then, cool on a wire rack. You can eat them warm or cold - they should be good on the next day also.

 The cute rack comes from Wohnallerlei.

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