Monday, December 28, 2015

Red Velvet Cupcakes

These cupcakes where the grand finale to my Christmas baking session. I brought them along for the family Christmas dinner at my dad's yesterday. And now that the festivities are over, I must say that this year, it was particularly lovely with the two babies Julia and Fynn around. They both played along really well and seemed to enjoy it. My mum always tells me that the year I was born, she had been looking forward to Christmas so much and, apparently, I then spent the evening crying under the Christmas tree. But Julia, to our great joy, really had a fun time. We'll have a few quiet days at home now until the new year starts and I am so curious what it will bring. Have a good start everyone and see you in 2016.

(from the fabulous "Cake Days" by the Hummingbird Bakery) 

For the sponge
120g unsalted butter, softened
300g caster sugar
2 large eggs
20g cocoa powder
40ml red food colouring (such as Dr Oetker)
1 tsp vanilla essence
300g plain flour
1 tsp salt
240ml buttermilk
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the frosting

100g unsalted butter, softened
600g icing sugar
250g full-fat cream cheese (such as Philadelphia)

Coloured sprinkles, to decorate (optional)
One or two 12-hole deep muffin tins

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a muffin tin with muffin cases.

Using a hand-held electric whisk or a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Break in the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition and mixing in the scrapings from the sides of the bowl.

In a separate, small bowl, stir together the cocoa powder, food colouring and vanilla essence to form a paste. Add the paste to the batter, mixing thoroughly until the paste is completely incorporated.

Sift together the flour and salt in another bowl, then add the flour to the batter in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk and mixing thoroughly after each addition. Lastly, in another bowl, mix the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda together by hand and add it to the cake batter, mixing it in until it is fully incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the paper cases, so that they are two-thirds full, using any remaining batter to fill up to four more cases in another tin. Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed. Allow the cupcakes to cool for a short while in the tin, then place on a wire rack to cool completely before you frost them.

Using the electric whisk or freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment, and mixing on a low speed, beat the butter and icing sugar together until no large lumps of butter remain and the mixture is sandy in texture. Add the cream cheese and mix together slowly until everything is incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and beat the frosting until it is soft and fluffy.

Cover all cupcakes with 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese frosting, smoothing it down with a palette knife and making a swirl in the middle of the frosting for a decorative finish. Sprinkle with whatever decoration you fancy. I used crushed candy canes and sugar stars. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Brownies

It's true: children make you realize how time flies. It's the 24th of December and our little daughter is 9 months old already. Julia is healthy and happy and she's conquering her world on all fours now. She has already spent a considerable amount in the kitchen with me and I'm looking forward to baking together with her. But for now, I'm just really grateful for having had a wonderful - demanding, but wonderful - year full of discoveries.

I was thinking about 2015 lately and I realized that I haven't baked a single batch of brownies in the past 12 months. And as I cannot let this year go by without having had a proper brownie, I decided to bake brownies for our annual family Christmas feast. These here are wonderfully rich with a melt-in-your-mouth texture, some crunch from the walnuts and a festive flavor from the spices. Perfect to please a crowd. And with that, I wish all of you a merry Christmas and happy holidays.

(Original recipe in German here)

200g dark chocolate
50g milk chocolate
250g butter
100g walnuts, coarsly chopped
150g flour
0.5 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon or gingerbread spice mixture (I used gingerbread spice because I just love the smell of it)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 eggs
200g sugar
icing sugar, for dusting

Line a brownie tin (about 25x25cm) with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a saucepan, melt dark and milk chocolate together with the butter on low heat. Stir occasionally. When everything has melted, set aside and let cool a bit.

In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt, the spice, the cocoa powder and the walnuts. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat sugar end eggs with an electric mixer until pale, thick and creamy. Then, add, the melted chocolate and mix well. Fold in the dry ingredients and mix until all is well combined.

Pour your mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Let cool in the tin. Cut into squares and dust with icing sugar before serving.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Eggnog Biscotti

I managed to bake one batch of cookies this year! I'm not a big pro with the cookies, but, somehow, I've always had a thing for biscotti and they just never fail me. I really adore these. The freshly grated nutmeg makes them smell amazing and they look pretty with the glaze, don't they?

(from here)

280g all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
85g unsalted butter, room temperature

133g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon rum
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs

For the glaze:
28g unsalted butter, softened
120g icing sugar
generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
about 1 tablespoon whole milk

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper.

Biscotti: in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in vanilla, rum and nutmeg. Beat in eggs one at a time. On low speed, mix in the dry ingredients and mix just until a dough forms.

Divide dough in half and shape each half in a log about 15x5cm. Place the logs about 7.5cm apart onto prepared sheets and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let stand for 20 minutes – leave the oven on. Line another large baking sheet with baking paper.

Slice biscotti into little less than 2cm slices. Place slices onto prepared sheet and bake fo 10 minutes. Turn all slices carefully, and bake for another 10 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet over a wire rack.

Glaze: whisk butter, sugar and nutmeg until mixture starts to get creamy. Add milk gradually, whisking until drizzable consistency. Drizzle biscotti with glaze and set aside until glaze is dry, about 20 minutes.
Biscotti can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days – without the glaze they last even longer.

Makes about 20.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Corn Flakes Crispy Cakes

Here comes the ultimate kids' treat for Christmas! Many of you might know these, but there's a twist to this recipe here you might not have guessed. I've rediscovered Nigella Lawson's old TV shows lately and in her version of these (she calls them "chocolate crispy cakes"), she uses butter and mars bars for the coating. What you end up with - and I'd like to quote Nigella on this one - is a "tremendously good goo. A kind of chocolate stickiness ribboned through with caramel and still having the chewiness of nougat… Can't really be improved!"

(from here - I recommend watching the whole video! It's big fun!)

50g mars bars
50g butter
70g corn flakes

(I doubled the amount)

Prepare enough mini-muffin paper cases. To be honest, I didn't count them, but you'll end up with enough to feed a bunch of people.

In a medium saucepan, slowly melt butter and mars bars. Do this on a low heat. Be patient - it'll take a moment. Then, stir in the corn flakes and mix well until they are covered with the butter-chocolate mix.

Then, transfer spoonfuls into the mini-muffin cases. Let cool in the fridge for at least an hour or so.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cinnamon, Walnut and Apple Granola

By now, making granola has also become a Christmas tradition. I like to hand it out as a gift in little glass jars with a pretty ribbon on it. This year, I slightly adapted Ella Woodward's Cinnamon and Pecan granola and I think, the combination really fits for Christmas.

(adapted from this recipe)

Makes one large container of granola.

2 and a 1/2 cups of oats
1 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup of almonds
1/2 cup of flax seeds
1 cup of pumpkin seeds
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of dried apple, diced into small pieces
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
3 teaspoons of cinnamon

You can use any kind of cup.

Place the walnuts and almonds in a food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds so that they are partially crushed. Then add them to a large mixing bowl with all the other dry ingredients, except the apple pieces and cinnamon, and stir together.

Next, melt the coconut oil with the maple syrup and cinnamon on the stove or in a small saucepan. Once it has dissolved into a sweet liquid add it to the dry bowl and mix well. This should form a delicious oaty nutty bowl, which is slightly sticky.

Place the mixture into a baking tray and bake for about 30-40 minutes at 180C, until crunchy. During this time you’ll need to stir the mixture to ensure that every bit of the granola gets nicely toasted and the top doesn’t burn.

Once the granola is cooked perfectly remove the tray from the oven and allow it to cool, then stir in the apple pieces. Store the granola in an air-tight container to keep it wonderfully fresh and crunchy.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

White Chocolate Fudge with Fleur de Sel

I haven't baked any Christmas cookies yet and I'm not so sure that I will. But, I've started to make some edible gifts this weekend. This recipe here is easy and fabulous. I'm sure we all agree that the combination of caramel and salt is delicious. It was the addition of white chocolate that drew my attention to this recipe. Funnily, I'm not usually a big fan of white chocolate, but I immediately thought that here, it would work really well. And it did!

(to read the original recipe in German, click here)

2.5dl heavy cream
250g sugar
80g white chocolate, coarsely chopped
fleur de sel

Line a brownie tin (about 20x20cm) with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, bring sugar and heavy cream to the boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 30-40 minutes until the batter thickens and has got a brown, caramel-like color. Take away from the heat and stir in the white chocolate. Keep stirring until the chocolate has melted.

Immediately pour your batter into the brownie tin. Let cool in the fridge for a few hours. Then, cut into squares.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Last weekend, it was particularly foggy. The kind of weather that calls for comfort food. Most people would agree that a mug of hot chocolate definitely belongs to the category of comfort food. And so I thought, hot chocolate cupcakes would do the trick. And they really do taste like a cup of sweet hot chocolate - wonderful!

(from one of my absolute favourites: Cake Days by The Hummingbird Bakery)

For the dough:

240ml milk
25g chocolate powder (the kind you use for hot chocolate like Banago or M-Quick from Migros)
80g soft butter
280g sugar
240g flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a 12-mould muffin pan with paper cases. With the recipes from this book, I usually end up with about 15 cupcakes.

In a small saucepan, warm up the milk and dissolve the chocolate powder. Set aside and let cool.

In a bowl, mix butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt with an electric hand mixer on low speed until you have a fine crumbly batter.

Mix chocolate milk and eggs and add to the cake batter in three additions while constantly mixing. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula from time to time. Mix until you have a smooth batter.

Fill your batter into the prepared cases. Don't overfill them or they will spill while baking! Two thirds is fine. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes. Check with a wooden skewer whether they are done. Let cool completely after baking.

For the frosting:

60ml milk
30g chocolate powder
500g icing sugar
160g very soft butter

Warm up the milk and mix with the chocolate powder. Let cool In a bowl, mix butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until you have a powdery batter. Slowly add the chocolate milk while constantly mixing. On high speed, mix until you have a fluffy batter.

Spread the frosting on your cupcakes with a palette knife and decorate with sugar pearls… whatever you feel like or fits for the occasion.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Pear and Chestnut Cake

This weekend, I thought that it was about time to get started with Christmas baking. So I gave this cake here a festive look and added some colorful sugar sprinkles. It would have been absolutely fabulous just the way it was, though. The cake batter consists of a mixture of all-purpose flour and chestnut flour which gives it a full and nutty flavor. The pears and the yogurt render it wonderfully moist. It was the perfect treat for an afternoon with the whole family.

(from The French Market Cookbook by Clothilde Dusoulier)

80ml olive oil
200g brown sugar
2 large eggs
240ml plain yogurt
85g chestnut flour
140g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
0.5 teaspoons baking soda
600g pears, cored and diced
2 tablespoons brown sugar for sprinkling

for the icing (optional):
about 100g icing sugar
a splash of milk or lemon juice
sugar sprinkles

My notes: I used about 100g chestnut flour and 125g all-purpose flour. And I only used about 450g pears and thought that this amount was quite sufficient. This cake would be fabulous without an icing or dusted just with icing sugar.

Preheat the oven to 175°C and line 25cm diameter springform pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, beat together the sugar and the eggs. Add the yogurt and the oil and beat until all is well combined. In a second bowl, combine the flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda, stirring with a whisk to remove any lumps. Fold the flour mixture and diced pears into the yogurt mixture until no trace of flour remains. The batter will be thick, avoid overworking it.

Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and level the surface with a spatula. Sprinke the remaining sugar across the surface. Bake until the top is golfen and a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Let cool completely. Then, if you want to add an icing, combine milk and icing sugar and pour over your cake, sprinkle with sugar pearls or whatever you fancy.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pumpkin Apple Cake

When I saw this recipe in Annemarie Wildeisen's cooking magazine lately, I was intrigued immediately. What a great idea to combine two fall favorites! The result is a wonderfully moist cake with a really comforting taste and a vibrant orange color. The orange peel is the little extra which gives the flavor just a bit more complexity.

(find the German version on Annemarie Wildeisen's homepage)

300g pumpkin, peeled
400g apples, such as Golden Delicious
150g soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or half a teaspoon vanilla powder (I used the scraped out seeds of one vanilla pod)
zest of one orange
1/4 teaspoon salt
200g sugar
4 eggs
1/2 sachet baking powder
300g flour
25g slivered almonds

Butter and flour a 25cm loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Grate your pumpkin. Peel and core your apples. Cut into slices. 

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter together with vanilla, orange peel, salt and sugar. Beat for about 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one after the other and mix well. Then, add grated pumpkin.

Sift together flour and baking powder and add to you butter-sugar-egg-mixture. I blended it in with the mixer first and then used a ladle. When all is well incorporated, fill your dough into the prepared cake tin. Stick your apple slices into the dough and sprinkle with slivered almonds (I added the almonds only after about 20 minutes of the baking time because I was afraid they would turn too brown otherwise).

Bake your cake for about 50-60 minutes. A wooden skewer inserted into the cake should come out clean.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Chai Muffins with Burnt Almonds

I asked Edi to bring me a bag of burnt almonds when he and Jacqueline visited a funfair last weekend. Burnt almonds are my favorite funfair treat and I can't stop nibbling once I've opened a bag of them. Last Sunday morning (and as you know by now, that usually is the time, when I spontaneously develop new fancy baking ideas) I suddenly thought that, together with chai tea, these almonds would make a fabulous baked treat. I used my favorite basic muffin recipe from this book, made a few twists… and here you go: chai muffins with burnt almonds. A sweet and crunchy winter treat packed with all those wonderful flavors which remind you that Christmas is coming soon.

(Basic muffin recipe from Leila Lindholm's Piece of Cake)

100g butter
200ml milk
2 teabags of Yogi tea (I used the Christmas blend)
2 eggs
120g sugar
1tsp vanilla sugar or one teaspoon vanilla extract
240g flour
2tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
about 200g of burnt almonds

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a muffin tray with paper cases.

In a small saucepan, warm up the milk and then, drop the teabags into the milk and let them infuse the milk with their flavor for a few minutes. When you take the teabags out of the milk, make sure that you squeeze them well.

Put your burnt almonds onto a blender and pulse until they are chopped into coarse chunks.

Melt butter, add milk. Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar until foamy. Mix egg batter with milk batter. Mix flour, baking powder and salt and mix with the liquid batter. Add about half of your chopped almonds. Fill your mixture into the paper cases (make sure to only fill two thirds of your paper cases as the dough will rise) and top each muffin with some more chopped almonds.

Bake for about 20 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer if the muffins are done. No dough should stick to the skewer.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Smurf Cupcakes

Jacqueline has a thing for marshmallows. Especially smurf marshmallows. Edi found a large box of them at one of our local grocery stores a few weeks ago. Jacqueline - the sly girl she is - asked me to hide a few of them away and not to tell her or Edi were they are because she feared that there would not be any left for her birthday to use as a decoration for her cake. I did as she told me and I at some point, when thinking about what to bake for her birthday, I came up with the idea of smurf cupcakes, made of blue dough and white buttercream icing, each topped with a marshmallow smurf. I believe they were a big hit.

(Vanilla cupcake recipe from Cake Days by The Hummingbird Bakery)

For the dough:

80g soft butter
280g sugar
1/2 sachet of vanilla sugar
240g flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
240ml milk
blue food coloring

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a 12-mould muffin pan with blue paper cases.

In a bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla sugar, flour, baking powder and salt with an electric hand mixer on low speed until you have a fine crumbly batter.

Mix milk and eggs and add to the cake batter in three additions while constantly mixing. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula from time to time. Mix until you have a smooth batter. Then, add blue food coloring and mix until it is well incorporated (I used the whole little tube of food coloring).

Fill your batter into the prepared cases. Don't overfill them or they will spill while baking! Two thirds is fine. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes. Check with a wooden skewer whether they are done. Let cool completely after baking.

For the frosting:

500g icing sugar
1/2 sachet of vanilla sugar
160g very soft butter
50ml milk
12 marshmallow smurfs

In a bowl, mix butter, icing sugar and vanilla sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until you have a powdery batter. Slowly add the milk while constantly mixing. On high speed, mix until you have a fluffy batter. Then, add the dulce de leche and mix well.

Spread the frosting on your cupcakes with a palette knife and place one marshmallow smurf onto each cupcake.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monkey Bread

Guys, I hope you're up for something decadent. Because I've got just the thing for you. This is butter-sugar-cinnamon heaven! I've bookmarked this recipe ages ago and stumbled over it again when browsing through this lovely book in order to find a Sunday treat. It's not that difficult to make and the fun part is that you have to put the individual dough balls into a sugar can to shake so that they are covered in sugar. That's a great task for kids by the way.

(from Virginia Horstmann's "Zucker, Zimt & Liebe")

For the dough:
260g flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
120ml buttermilk
80ml milk
75g butter, melted

For the crust:
100g white sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
150g brown sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon

For the glaze:
100g icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk

The recipe says that this yields 12 little cakes - I ended up with 9. 

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Butter a muffin pan (I lined it with muffin cases).

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add melted butter, buttermilk and milk and combine everything either with a wooden spoon or with your hands. The dough is quite sticky.

For the crust, put the white sugar into a sealable can. 

With a teaspoon, form little dough balls. One after the other, throw them into the sugar can and shake well. Put 6 sugar-coated dough balls into each muffin case.

Mix melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and pour this mixture over your little cakes. Bake them for about twenty minutes.

Once they are baked and cooled down, make your glaze by combining the icing sugar with the milk and pouring this mixture over your little cakes.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chestnut, Almond and Chocolate Bundt Cake

Come fall, chestnut cake always goes onto my to-bake list. I found this recipe on Fräulein Klein's blog and I am extremely pleased with the outcome. The combination of chestnut purée, ground almonds and melted dark chocolate leads to a flavorful and rich cake with great texture. Jacqueline helped me with the decoration and look what a pretty cake we had for coffee today. I was all the more happy when Jacqueline did not, as usual, just pick the sprinkles off her piece of cake and leave the rest on the plate, but when she dug in and declared this cake "unbelievably delicious".

(from the fabulous Fräulein Klein)

100g dark chocolate
250g butter, soft
150g sugar
seeds of one vanilla pod
4 eggs
250g flour
100g ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
150g chestnut purée
2 teaspoons kirsch liqueur (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C and butter and flour a 2l bundt cake tin.

Melt chocolate over a hot water bath and let cool. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla seeds with an electric hand mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one. In another bowl, mix flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Add to your butter-sugar-egg mixture and beat well. Then, add chestnut purée, melted chocolate and kirsch liqueur and beat well. 

Fill the dough into your prepared cake tin and bake the cake for about 50-55 minutes. A skewer inserted into the cake should come out clean.

Dust with icing sugar or decorate with sugar or chocolate icing and sprinkles. I thought, roasted slivered almonds would be nice as well. I made the icing with icing sugar and a splash of milk.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cocoa, Pear and Pecan Muffins

Every year, there's a moment when, all of a sudden, you realize that it has become fall. It is foggy in the morning, the air is crisp, leaves lie on the streets and the trees burst with reddish colors. I found these beautiful leaves when I went for a walk with Julia last weekend and immediately thought that I wanted use them for my food photos. My cocoa, pear and pecan muffins were a spontaneous creation on Sunday morning. They are delicious after baking when they are still a little warm - and also the day after when the flavor has intensified.

(adapted from Leila Lindholm's "Piece of Cake")

100g olive oil
200ml milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla sugar
180g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large pear, peeled, cored, diced
80g pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a muffin tray with 12 moulds with paper cups.

In a bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until foamy. Add milk and olive oil. In another bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add to your wet ingredients. Mix until well combined. Add the pear and about 2/3 of your pecans. 

Fill the dough into your prepared paper cups. Top with the remaining pecan pieces. 

Bake for about 20 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer whether your muffins are done. No dough should stick to the skewer. Let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then, remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Spelt Bread with Nuts

I made this bread two weeks ago for brunch, but haven't gotten around to uploading this post until now. I'm not very keen on white bread so this is just the kind of bread I like. It's packed with nuts which give it richness and a wonderful flavor. It goes well with cheese. Or just with butter. Plain and simple. Actually, that's the way I enjoy a slice of bread the most.

(Original Recipe in German here)

400g spelt flour
400g flour mixture of wheat and rye (German recipe suggests „Bauernmehl“)
12g salt
30g yeast
1 tablespoon honey
5dl water, luke-warm
75g walnuts
75g hazelnuts
75g almonds

In a bowl, mix flour and salt. Press the flour down in the middle so that you have a hollow.

Crumble the yeast with your fingers and mix with the honey and about half of the luke-warm water. Pour this mixture into the hollow. Mix this with some of the flour from the edge so that you have a yeast sponge in the middle. Then dust this with some flour. Set aside at a warm place for about 45 minutes. In the meantime, coarsly chop the nuts.

After 45 minutes, add the rest of the water to the dough and mix everything with a wooden spoon. Then, on a surface dusted with flour, knead with your hands until you have a smooth dough – for about 3 minutes. Then, add the nuts and knead again for about 3 minutes. Put your dough into a large bowl and cover with a wet towel. Let rise until the dough’s size has doubled.

Take the dough out of the bowl and form a loaf. Place onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with a wet towel and let rise again for about half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 230°C. With a knife, cut in the dough crosswise so that you have a grid-pattern. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to 180°C and bake for another 30 minutes. Brush the bread with water for a bout 4 times while baking so that it will get a crunchy crust.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Banana Cinnamon and Raisin Loaf

This post is dedicated to Julias cousin, little Fynn, who decided on Thursday that it was time to join the family now. We are all still totally overwhelmed since we expected him to be born by the end of October. He and his mummy are absolutely fine and they are going home this weekend. Edi, Jacqueline, Julia and I are going to visit them in the hospital today and I thought, I'll bring along cake - a mother can always use some food. Best wishes go out to Janine, Dodo and Fynn. We are so proud!

(from the gorgeous "Love Bake Nourish" by Amber Rose)

100g raisins
80ml dark rum (or black tea or water)
175g wholegrain spelt flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
125g butter, melted
150g maple syrup
2 large eggs
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and flour a loaf tin (25 - 30cm).

Put the raisins and liquid in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simer gently for 10-15 minutes, until the raisins are plump and swollen. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then drain off any of the remaining liquid.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat the melted butter and maple syrup with an electric hand mixer until well blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, with a wooden spoon, then add the mashed bananas. Stir in the drained raisins and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well to combine each addition before adding the next.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, level the top with the back of a spoon or a palette knife and bake in the oven for about 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes until turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

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