Sunday, November 24, 2013

Nut & Ricotta Bundt Cake

It finally snowed on Thursday! I'm not usually a big fan of snow - or of winter for that matter. But, somehow, this year, I couldn't wait for the first snow to fall. Snowfall calms me down. And after a year that felt like a rollercoaster ride, that's exactly what I need. Don't get me wrong, it was a good year, but I feel like slowing down a bit these last few weeks might just be the right thing. So I had myself a cozy Sunday today together with Andrea, a friend of mine from work. She invited me over for lunch and cooked a delicious Gnocchi bake with tomato sauce and lots of Parmesan cheese - just the food you need on such a cold November day. Cake, of course, was my business. I spotted this recipe here over at the beautiful Love Nonpareille. As you know, the word "Ricotta" in a recipe title always catches my eye. The roasted nuts give this cake an intense flavor, the ricotta keeps it moist and the lemon zest gives it the little extra something. We had this cake together with a mug of steaming hot chocolate - talk about a perfect match! Andrea provided me with a wonderful recipe. To be posted here soon, promise!

(Original in German: here)

50g walnuts
50g amonds
50g hazelnuts
150g soft butter, plus some more to grease the tin
150g sugar
200g ricotta
150g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
grated zest of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 200°C. 

Roast the nuts in a frying pan. Then, chop them. It works best if you shortly pulse them in a blender - this way, you get a nice mixture of finely and coarsely chopped nuts. Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites until stiff, set aside.

In a bowl, beat sugar and butter with an electric hand mixer until pale and fluffy. Then, add ricotta, eggs and lemon zest. Beat until all is well combined and you have a smooth batter. In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Then add the flour to the butter mixture and beat well. After that, add the nuts and fold them in with a ladle. Then, carefully fold in the egg whites with a ladle.

Grease a large bundt tin (about 1.5l capacity) or two small ones with butter. Dust with flour. Then, fill in your batter. Bake your cake for about 50 minutes. If a wooden skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, it's done.

Let cool in the tin for at least ten minutes before releasing the cake. I usually let it cool longer because I find that, when I try to release bundt cakes too early, I always destroy them. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cardamom Cake with Whole Pears

I dedicate this post to Evelyn who, over the past two years, has grown very dear to my heart. Sometimes it feels like I've known her forever. And, given the fact that we've worked in the same office for a whole year, I'm pretty sure she must also be the one person who has tried most of my baked goods. When she revealed to me that she would like to feature my blog on her website Brückentor, I felt extremely honored and decided to bake a cake especially for this occasion. When I stumbled over this recipe in one of my favorite books, I instantly knew that this was just the cake for Evelyn. It's simple, yet spectacular - filled with wonderful spices and whole pears on the inside. What a comfort on cold winter days.

(from Yvette van Boven's absolutely fabulous "Home Made Winter")

for the pears:
3 pears (for example Conférence), not too big
1 bottle of white wine
500ml water
250g sugar
4 cloves
3 star anis
8 cardamom capsules
2 sticks of cinnamon

for the cake:
200g soft butter, plus some more for greasing the cake tin
200g sugar
4 eggs
200g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 pinch of salt

Peel the pears, but leave them whole, don't remove the stalk. Pour the wine and the water in a pot. Add the sugar, the spices and the pears and poach them over low heat for about half an hour. Then, take the pears out of the pot and let cool. Also remove the spices and let the liquid cook. Reduce it until you have about half of it left. Take away from the heat and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a 25cm cake tin (about 1.5l capacity) with parchment paper and grease with butter.

In a bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale and smooth. Then add the eggs, one by one. Wait until each egg is incorporated until you add the next one. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt. Add to the other mixture and beat until all is well combined and smooth.

Fill the batter into your prepared cake tin. Press the three pears into the batter and bake the cake for about 40 minutes (with my oven, it took about 10 minutes longer). Let cool in the tin for a while, then release from the tin and let cool completely.

Yvette suggests to decorate the cake with melted white chocolate. Since I'm not really a fan of white chocolate, I left that out and just drizzled with the left pear sirup. You can also decorate the cake with dark chocolate or just dust with icing sugar. Serve the rest of the pear sirup together with the cake.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Spiced Brownies with Dates

This Monday, I ran around the office with a box of brownies in my hands and a huge smile on my face. And when I entered Constanze's and Ina's office, Constanze giggled and said: "No you didn't?!" and opened her own box of brownies. Constanze had obviously baked over the weekend, too. She revealed that she had bought Trish's I love Cake and that she had started trying out several recipes. You know, those are things that make me really happy, when people tell me that I have managed to infect them with my passion for baking. So Constanze and I decided for a tradeoff and I must say, her brownies were delicious. Trish's brownies just are a winner - over and over again. Here comes another adaption of her recipe, with a hint of Christmas scent already.

(adapted from the wonderful I love Cake by Trish Deseine)

90g butter
120g dark chocolate
2 eggs, beaten
225g sugar
90g flour
70g dates (I used dried dates), pitted, cut into pieces
1-2 teaspoons spice mixture

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a brownie tin of about 18x23cm with parchment paper.

Slowly melt the chocolate together with the butter. Let cool slightly. Then, add the eggs and then the sugar and the flour and the spice mixture. Beat fast but carefully. Then, add the dates. Fill the batter into your prepared tin and bake for about 25 minutes. The top should be crunchy but inside the brownies should be soft and gooey. Let cool (you can also serve them warm together with ice cream for instance) and cut into squares. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Chestnut and Apple Cake

When I was a kid, I really disliked chestnuts and now, every year in fall, I can't get enough of them. Chestnut cakes are just THE perfect autumn treat if you ask me. I know, chestnut purée is not everyone's cup of tea, but here comes a post for all of those who like it. I was intrigued with the idea of adding fruit to a chestnut cake which is something I've never tried before. The slightly sour apples fit perfectly and keep the cake wonderfully moist. Of course, you could use other fruit such as pears or apricots.

(Original in German: here)

for the crumble:
80g flour
50g soft butter
40g sugar
40g slivered almonds

for the cake:
5 apples (I needed only 4)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
100g soft butter
80g sugar
3 eggs
300g chestnut purée (vermicelles)
200g ground almonds
100g flour
0.5 sachet baking powder
icing sugar, for dusting

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

For the crumble, mix flour, butter and sugar in a bowl until you have crumbles. Then, fold in the slivered almonds, cover with cling film and put in the refrigerator.

Peel, halve and core the apples. Cut the apple-halves cross-wise a few times on the round side. Brush with lemon juice and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until pale and fluffy. Then, add the eggs, one by one. Add the chestnut purée and keep beating until you have a smooth batter. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and ground almonds. Add to the chestnut-batter and mix until well combined. 

Fill the batter into your prepared springform pan. Cover it with the apples (round side up). Spread the crumble-mix on your cake. Put the cake in the oven and bake for about 55 minutes on the bottom shelf.

Leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes. Release from the pan and let cool completely. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Related Posts with Thumbnails