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. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cinnamon & Pecan Granola

I was very excited to have visitors from Britain over for brunch yesterday. As you know, I love collecting ideas and recipes for a buffet. Knowing that Julia would keep me from spending long periods in the kitchen, I tried to keep things simple and decided to prepare two kinds of bread and a granola mixture - things that could be made ahead easily. Other than that, we served cheese and meat, scrambled eggs, yogurt and fruit and so on. I really enjoyed preparing a meal for a few guests again since I hadn't done that in a long time. I was particularly happy that the homemade granola seemed to have been a hit. I've tried other granola recipes and I like this one very much. It's a healthy and delicious alternative to the store-bought mixtures and you can of course vary it according to your own taste. So I hope you'll enjoy this one and special greetings go out to England, we had a great time!


Makes one large container of granola.

2 and a 1/2 cups of oats
1 cup of pecans
1/2 cup of almonds
1/2 cup of flax seeds
1 cup of pumpkin seeds
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of raisins
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
3 teaspoons of cinnamon

Place the pecans 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 raisins and cinnamon, and stir together.

Next, melt the coconut oil with the maple syrup and cinnamon on the stove, 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 raisins. Store the granola in an air-tight container to keep it wonderfully fresh and crunchy.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Cookies

It's been ages since I last baked something with peanut butter. At some point after finishing my studies, I got over my "addiction". I stopped having a peanut butter sandwich every morning and the peanut butter jars disappeared from my cupboard. But when I was looking for a suitable treat for a saturday afternoon with a bunch of kiddies, I thought that these cookies might be a safe bet. And, of course, I had to stop myself from eating peanut butter from the jar with a spoon again… A huge thank you goes out to Susanne, her husband and their kids for a super fun afternoon. Hope to see you again soon!

(from Life is Sweet by The Hummingbird Bakery)

115g butter, softened
110g caster sugar
100g soft light brown sugar
1 large egg
125g peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
165g plain flour
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
50g mini marshmallows or chopped larger marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line three large baking trays with parchment paper.

With an electric whisk, cream together butter and sugar for about 5 minutes on a medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and peanut butter to the mixture and beat for 2 more minutes. Sift together dry ingredients and add them to the butter-sugar-mixture. Beat on a lower speed for a few moments until all is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Fold in the marshmallows by hand.

Using a tablespoon, form the cookie dough into balls (weighing about 30g each). Place these balls of dough on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 5cm between them.

Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

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