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.

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