Thursday, May 30, 2013


Come tomorrow, I will have to say goodbye to my beloved office number 2919. As much as I'm looking forward to my new job, this is going to be hard. My team and especially my "roomies" have grown so dear to my heart. We had a whole lot of fun - and a whole lot of cake! My boss even got me a baking book as a farewell present! So I went home and put it to use straight away. Well, that's one plus side of goodbye: you can say it with cake. And, after all, I'm staying within the firm and I'm only moving up one floor. But still... I'm surely going to miss the team!

Apricot Cake
(slightly adapted from Heissgeliebtes Backen by Annemarie Wildeisen & Florina Manz)

600g apricots (or rhubarb, apples, plums or berries...)
4 pieces of zwieback (is there an English word for that?!)
200g soft butter
180g sugar
2 sachets vanilla sugar
1 pinch of salt
4 eggs
200g flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
100g ground almonds
4 tablespoons orange juice (I used apricot juice)
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a 26cm diameter springform pan with parchment paper and grease the rim with butter.

Wash the fruit and cut into pieces. Put into a bowl. Put the zwieback in a plastic bag and crunch it up with a rolling pin until you have finely ground crumbles. Mix with the fruit and set aside.

In another bowl, mix butter and sugar, vanilla sugar and salt with an electric hand mixer for about 5 minutes. Then, add one egg after the other, beating for about 1 minute after every egg.

In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and almonds. With a ladle, add to the butter-sugar mixture in several additions together with the orange juice. In the end, add the fruit. 

Fill the dough into your prepared springform pan and bake for about an hour. If the top of the cake begins to get to brown, cover with aluminium foil. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Apple Nougatine Tart

"Apple Nougatine Tart"... Doesn't that sound delicious already?! This tart is about as wonderful as its name sounds. You will have to put some effort into this, but it's totally worth it, I swear! The home-made flaky crust is divine. Store-bought dough just wouldn't do. Caramelizing the apples takes a bit of patience, but it's quite a joyous thing to do and what you get out of it is a mouth-watering filling. Good news: The crunchy almond topping is really easy to make. Just mix the ingredients, spread on your tart and you're good to go.

(from the lovely Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson)

Flaky Tart Dough (Recipe yields two 25cm tart or pie shells):

1tsp salt
150ml water, very cold
455g flour
300g butter, very cold

In a small bowl, add salt to the water and stir to dissolve. Keep very cold until ready to use.

To make the dough, put flour in a large bowl. Cut the butter into pieces and scatter over the flour. You can rub it together with your hands or pulse this in a food processor. When the mixture forms large crumbs and there are still butter pieces the size of peas left, add the water-and-salt mixture and knead with your hands or pulse again in the food processor until you have a more or less smooth dough. It's no problem if there are still butter chunks left. 

On a floured surface, divide the dough into two equal balls and shape each ball into a disk. Wrap in cling film and cool for about two hours or over night. You can freeze one of these and use it another time.

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out on a floured surface. Lift and rotate the dough every few strokes to discourage sticking and work quickly. Transfer the disk to a tart tin (25cm diameter) that is lined with parchment paper.

Cover the dough with parchment paper and then with beans or chickpeas and blind bake for about 25 minutes, until lightly brown. Take out of the oven, remove the parchment paper with the beans or chickpeas and bake for another 5 minutes until golden brown. Then, let cool completely.

For the filling:

1.6kg apples (I only had 1kg, but that was no problem, I had enough filling in the end.)
55g butter
70g sugar
a pinch of salt
lemon juice and grated zest of half a medium lemon

Preheat the oven to 170°C and have the tart shell ready.

To make the filling, halve, core, peel and slice the apples, mixing them together in a large bowl. Have an empty bowl ready for the sautéed apples. Sauté the apples in 3 or 4 batches, depending on how large your pan is. Divide the butter and the sugar into the number of batches you think you'll need for sautéing.

Melt the butter in your sauté pan over high heat. Add the sugar and allow it to caramelize; the mixture will darken as it caramelizes. If the sugar is caramelizing unevenly, stir with a wooden spoon; otherwise, just let it cook. Carefully add the apples to your pan an a single layer and sauté until soft, turning a few times with the spoon. You want about half the apples to become very soft and the other half to hold their shape. The timing depends on the types of apples and the thickness of the slices. When the apples are ready, transfer to your bowl.

Don't clean the pan between the batches; the sugar and bits of apple in the bottom of them pan will caramelize and add more flavor. Melt more butter, add sugar and caramelize again. It won't take as long as the first time. Repeat until all your apples are sautéed. When all the apples are cooked, deglaze the pan by increasing the heat to high and letting it become very hot. Add a few large spoonfuls of water and scrape up the caramel and bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the juices reduce and then pour them over the apples.

When all the apples have been cooked, mix them well with lemon juice, zest and salt and pile them into the pre-baked pastry shell. Smooth the top of the apples with the back of the spoon.  

For the topping:

100g sliced almonds
100g sugar
2 large egg whites
a pinch of salt

To make the topping, combine the almonds, sugar, egg whites and salt in a small mixing bowl and stir well. Using a spoon, spread the topping evenly over the apples. 

Bake the tart until the topping is browned, about 30 minutes. Then, let cool completely before serving. The tart will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Caramel Brownies

I know, I know... I said, I wouldn't write about the weather anymore. But, seriously, guys... I can't take this any longer! It's rainy and grey, it's windy and it's waaaay too cold for May! At least, I had Ina over for lunch today. She totally managed to lighten up my mood. Though, at some point, she said to me: "Katrin, what are we going to do if there is no summer at all this year?!?" - "I don't know." I said. "Eat brownies?!" And that's exactly what we did. Sunshine or rain, there's always comfort in brownies...

(from: LEMENU 5/2013)

150g butter
300g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
5 eggs
225g sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
200g flour
40g cocoa powder
100g fudge, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line brownie tin with parchment paper or grease well. The recipe calls for a tin of either 25x25cm or 28x22cm. I used my 23x18cm brownie tin plus a 20cm cake tin.

Slowly melt butter and chocolate over low heat, let cool a little. In a large bowl, beat sugar, salt and eggs with an electric hand mixer until fluffy and pale. Add the chocolate and mix well. Then, sift in flour and cocoa powder and mix well. Fold in the fudge.

Fill your batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool, then cut into squares. You can sprinkle them with coarse sea salt before serving if you wish.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Espresso Hazelnut Cake

I've been trying to make an effort and drink less coffee this week... Well, let me tell you what happens when I cut back on coffee: It leads me to baking a cake that is soaked with coffee. Espresso and roasted hazelnuts are the perfect flavor combination. Chocolate, of course, goes really well with those two. And the sweet sugary coffee glaze that is poured over the cake just after it comes out of the oven intensifies the coffee flavor and gives this cake wonderfully moist consistency.

(slightly adapted from Betty Bossis Kuchen Cakes & Torten)

200g sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 large pinch of cinnamon
200g ground hazelnuts (I roasted whole hazelnuts and then ground them in my food processor)
150g dark chocolate, chopped
300g flour
1 sachet of baking powder
200g butter, melted and cooled
4 eggs, beaten
2.5dl strong coffee, cool

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

In a large bowl, mix sugar, salt, cinnamon and ground hazelnuts. Sift in flour and baking powder and mix. In another, smaller bowl, mix butter, eggs and coffee. Then, add this to the other mixture and mix well with an electric hand mixer until well combined. Then, pour into your prepared cake tin and bake for about 50-60 minutes. Until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

For the glaze, mix 50ml cool coffee with 125g icing sugar and pour over the cake while it is still hot. Of course, a chocolate frosting would also be a good option here.

Related Posts with Thumbnails