Monday, April 14, 2014

Crème Fraiche Cake with Raspberries

I've been having doubts about my cake karma this weekend. The recipe sounded delicious. It's one of those that instantly attract my attention. I mean, crème fraiche cake. Also, it looked like total no-fuss recipe. And it was - until I released my cake from the baking tin. All the berries had gone to the bottom, they were oozing and the cake kind of sunk and lost its shape while I was decorating it with the icing. Well, it wasn't that bad, but I'm a perfectionist. And I've truly made better looking cakes... But in the end, it was still delicious and I even managed to get a few nice shots. So I decided to share it with you anyway. Since I still don't exactly know what went wrong, I can't give you any precise advise on this one. Just make sure your cake is baked thoroughly. I might have taken it out of the oven too early. And you might want to try and use frozen berries. Maybe the result will be better.

(again from the wonderful Zucker, Zimt und Liebe by Virginia Horstmann)

for the dough:
175g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of baking soda
115g softened butter
150g sugar
2 eggs
(I added the scraped out seeds of a vanilla pod)
200g crème fraiche
200g raspberries (frozen work as well)
2 tablespoons brown sugar

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

Preheat the oven to 175°C and line a 25cm cake tin with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one after the other. Beat until well combined. Add vanilla seeds if you want to.

Add about a third of the flour to the creamy mixture, keep mixing. Then, add some of the crème fraiche and mix. Keep alternating between the two while constantly beating and until everything is well combined. Then, carefully, add the raspberries and fill the dough into your prepared tin. Sprinkle with the brown sugar.

Bake for about 60-70 minutes. Cover with aluminium foil if it browns too much during the last third of the baking time. Test with a wooden skewer whether your cake is done. The skewer should come out clean. Take out of the oven and let cool.

When your cake has cooled, release from the tin. For the icing, combine icing sugar and milk in a small bowl. With a spoon, spread over your cake.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rhubarb Cake with Almonds

2014 has been treating me well so far. Sometimes, it's just wonderful how life surprises you if you just let it. In fact, I'm still so overwhelmed from all the good that has happened to me in the past few weeks that I don't know what to say. But I have a delicious recipe to share with you. Rhubarbs are in season. It's spring in my kitchen - and in my heart.

(from the lovely Zucker, Zimt und Liebe by Virginia Horstmann)

100g flour
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
150g soft butter
150g sugar
2 eggs
200g ground almonds
400g rhubarb, washed, peeled, cut into pieces of about 5cm or so
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C, line a 20cm diameter springform pan with parchment paper and grease with butter.

In a bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder and set aside. In another bowl, mix butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until pale and creamy. Then, add the eggs, one by one. After that, add the flour and the ground almonds. Mix until well combined.

Fill the dough into your prepared springform pan and spread the rhubarb on top of it in a fanlike kind of way. You could, of course, also cut the rhubarb stalks into dices and just scatter them on top of your cake. Then, scatter the slivered almonds on top and sprinkle with the brown sugar.

Bake for about 60 to 70 minutes. If the cake browns too much towards the end, cover with aluminium foil. Then, take out of the oven and let cool. Dust with icing sugar before serving if you like.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Chocolate Fondant Cake

For the past six months, I had the pleasure to share my office with Karma. Sadly, she will be leaving tomorrow. So, this week, I wanted to bake a cake especially for her. And this is what she had wished for - a devilish chocolate fondant cake (recipe by the one and only Trish Deseine). Beware my friends, this is serious stuff - I think we've all had ourselves a little chocolate overdose yesterday. Karma, we are going to miss you big time! But we'll make sure that, although you're leaving, the good karma will stay in our office.

(from Trish Deseine's fabulous "I love Cake")

200g dark chocolate
200g butter
250g sugar
5 eggs
1 tablespoon flour
(I just saw a version of this recipe in the internet where Trish adds a tablespoon of strong espresso to the cake batter, I didn't do that, but it sure sounds good to me)

(for one 20cm diameter springform pan - I doubled the above recipe and used a 26cm diameter springform pan, baking time will be a bit longer)

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line your cake tin with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Pour into a large bowl, slowly add the sugar while constantly stirring. Let this cool down a little.

Then, add the eggs, one by one. Stir well with a wooden ladle after adding each egg until it has combined with the batter. Then, add the flour, stir well.

Fill the batter into your prepared cake tin and bake for about 22 minutes until just firm at the edges but still soft in the middle. Take out of the oven, let cool.

It's best to bake this cake a day ahead.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Marble Cake with Cinnamon and Cardamom

Marble cake is a good old classic. To me, it always brings back childhood memories. It was my favorite cake when I was a little girl. Myriam Zumbühl (remember her from her lovely series Myriam und die Meisterbäcker?) spiced this simple recipe up by adding roasted and ground cardamom seeds and cinnamon buds ("Zimtblüte") to the cake batter. Cinnamon buds have a much more intense aroma than ground cinnamon, it's more diverse, fuller and almost flowery. Just heart-warming. And I swear, this cake and me… love at first bite. Pure comfort on a day you thought the sun was going to be shining and then the sky is all grey instead.


200g soft butter
200g sugar
1 vanilla pod, scraped out seeds
3 large eggs
250g flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
5 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 cardamom pods, roasted, seeds crushed
1 tablespoons ground cinnamon buds or simply ground cinnamon, works just as well
icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 25-30cm cake tin with parchment paper and grease with butter.

In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric hand mixer until soft. Add 180g of the sugar and the seeds of the vanilla pod. Beat until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one. Then, sift in the flour together with the baking powder. Add two tablespoons of milk and beat until all is well combined.

Fill 2/3 of your batter into the prepared cake tin. Add cocoa powder and spices to the rest of the batter together with the rest of the sugar (20g) and 3 tablespoons of milk. Beat until well combined. Then, fill the chocolate batter into your cake tin, too and run a fork through the dough so that you get a marble effect.

Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for about 50-60 minutes (mine took about 45 minutes only). Test with a wooden skewer, whether your cake is done. There should be no more batter sticking to your skewer. 

Let the cake cool. Dust with icing sugar before serving. If you bake the cake one day ahead, the aroma of the spices can develop and the cake smells even better!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cinnamon Squares

Here we go again… I bought another baking book. Should've known that I was entering dangerous territory when I went into a bookshop yesterday together with Daniela. She was looking for a good read for her vacation when I stumbled over Jeanny's lovely baking book. And I simply couldn't resist. But seriously, this book is really worth it. It is beautifully designed and oh-so-cute and I think I want to test almost every single recipe in there! Let's start with these cinnamon squares. No-fuss recipe - delicious result. And the good thing about them is that, if you have your usual basic baking ingredients at home, you can always bake them spontaneously.

(from the lovely Zucker, Zimt und Liebe by Virginia Horstmann)

200g softened butter
200g brown sugar
110g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a large pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
2 eggs
275g flour
4-6 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

Preheat the oven to 175°C and grease a 20x30 cm baking tin with butter and line with parchment paper (I used my 23x18 brownie tin and another small baking tin).

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until creamy. Add baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Then, add the eggs and after that, the flour. Beat until well combined. You will end up with a rather thick dough.

Spread the dough into your baking tin with a ladle and bake for about half an hour. Don't overbake, it's ok if it's a little soft in the middle still. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar immediately.

Let cool down, cut into squares.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fennel and Orange Salad with Rocket, Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

As promised, here it comes: The recipe for the fabulous salad I served for brunch last weekend. Not only is it oh-so-delicious, it's also a pretty and colorful addition to any buffet. Deb from Smitten Kitchen originally made it with blood oranges and added some mint leaves and lime zest which, I imagine, is also very delicious. I didn't have all those ingredients at home so I adapted the recipe a little. I added some rocket and dried cranberries and was very pleased with the outcome. This salad goes really well with grilled or smoked salmon.

(slightly adapted from: Smitten Kitchen)

a handful of walnuts (or hazelnuts)
2 medium-large fennel bulbs, leaves and stems trimmed off
black pepper
juice of one lemon
3 large oranges (or blood oranges)
(1 small shallot - I left that out)
rocket salad
dried cranberries
olive oil

Place the nuts in a dry skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, to toast. Then, let cool. If you use hazelnuts, roll them around in a dishcloth, to discard any loose skins. Coarsely chop. Set aside.

Slice about half an inch from the bottom of the fennel and discard. Slice the fennel very thinly in a mandoline or with a knife, starting with flat bottom side. Toss in a serving bowl with salt, pepper and lemon juice. 

Trim all peel and pith from the oranges. Holding the peeled fruit over the bowl containing the fennel, use a sharp knife to cut sections from the membrane and let them drop into the bowl. Squeeze the remaining membrane over the bowl to sprinkle the salad with the remaining juice, discard the membrane.

Add rocket, cranberries, nuts and olive oil.  

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Pear and Almond Muffins

Ever since the new year started, it's been kind of quiet around here, I know. And don't get me wrong when I'm saying this, but in the past few weeks, cooking and baking just hasn't been the most important thing to me. Except for cream cheese brownies. Cream cheese brownies are always important. I made a huge batch of them for my Qi Gong friends last weekend. But other than that, I'd say that, lately, there have been more different colors of nail polish in my fridge than food. But you know, a girl has to set her priorities. Like holiday plans for instance. So today, I had Evelyn and Andrea over for an important meeting (brunch) in order to discuss our holidays in Sardinia this fall. I made some muffins for this occasion - muffins always go with brunch. I also made a delicious salad - coming up soon. So don't worry you guys, this blog is still up and running!

(slightly adapted from the lovely Löffelchen voll Zucker)

For about 16 muffins:

75g rolled oats
200g all-purpose flour
75g whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
85g soft butter
150g brown sugar
250ml milk
2 eggs
2-3 firm pears, peeled, cores removed, cut into small pieces
50g ground almonds
50g slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a muffin pan with paper cases.

In a large bowl, mix the rolled oats, the flours, the baking powder, the cinnamon and the salt. In another bowl, mix the soft butter and the sugar with an electric hand mixer. Then, add the milk and the eggs. Add this mixture to the dry mixture and beat with the mixer until well combined. Then, add the pears and the ground almonds.

Fill the dough into your muffin cases and top with the slivered almonds. Bake for about 25 minutes. Test whether they are done with a wooden skewer.

These muffins keep for a few days in an airtight container.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hazelnut Apple Cake with Cranberries

I'm up and baking again! I hope, you've all had a good January so far. Mine was easy-going and somewhat unspectacular in a way, but that's just perfect. And here comes my first cake this year. It had to be apple cake. I've had apple cake on my mind for about two weeks now and today, on this grey and cozy Sunday, I finally got around to baking it. I found a simple recipe and adapted it slightly. Exchanged the raisins for dried cranberries, added a pinch of cinnamon, sprinkled some rolled oats on top… Together with the hazelnuts and the sweet apples, that makes a wonderful flavor-combination.

(slightly adapted from "Heissgeliebtes Backen" by Annemarie Wildeisen and Florina Manz)

2 heaped tablespoons dried cranberries (in the original recipe, it was raisins)
4 middle-sized apples
juice of one lemon
200g soft butter
200g sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar
4 eggs
150g flour
150g ground hazelnuts (or ground almonds)
1 sachet baking powder
2 tablespoons rolled oats (the original recipe said slivered almonds)

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a 24cm diameter springform pan with parchment paper and grease with butter.

Soak the raisins in a little water. Peel the apples and brush with lemon juice immediately.

In a bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until pale and fluffy. Add one egg after the other and beat for about 2 minutes after each addition.

In a seprate bowl, combine flour, ground hazelnuts and baking powder (I added a little cinnamon). Add to the butter-egg-sugar mixture and beat well. Fill the dough into your prepared tin.

Cut the apples in half, remove the core and cut into quarters. Arrange the apple slices on your dough. Press them into the dough lightly (really only a bit). Drain the cranberries, spread on top together with the rolled oats. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sugar.

Bake the cake on the bottom-shelf of the oven for about 50 minutes. Since it tends to turn too brown, cover with aluminium foil after about 30 minutes. Take out of the oven, let cool in the tin for some time before releasing it from it and letting it cool completely.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Orange and Cranberry Muffins

I've got one more for you before this year ends! I hope you had a few relaxing days and a happy feast with your loved ones. After having spent two days with my family, I came home again on the 26th - only to bake a batch of muffins and to head over to Evelyn where I spent a wonderful afternoon/evening with her and her two lovely sisters, sitting on her cozy sofa, chatting, watching movies, cooking and eating together. Our very diverse TV program: First, we watched a documentary about the Klitschko brothers which we thought is extremely well done and very insightful. We all totally agreed that, after having seen this movie, you almost can't help but fall in love with those two big guys just a teeny tiny bit, whether you like boxing or not. Second, we watched Julie & Julia which is a movie very dear to my heart. Meryl Streep as Julia Child is just plain fantastic! Definitely a movie for all the foodies out there - but not just for them.

Well, guys, this is it - I'm going to take a little break from baking (it's probably not going to take that long) and see you in 2014! And now, guess what, guess what?! I'm going to take my very first ballet lesson! I've been dreaming of doing that for ages, but the thought that I'm much too tall for this has kept me from it so far. But I've decided that it's time to go for it now - so I'm going to dance my way into 2014. Wishing you guys a good start! Love, Katrin

(slightly adapted from my good old Piece of Cake by Leila Lindholm)

for 12 muffins:
100g butter
200ml milk
zest of one lemon
zest of two oranges
2 eggs
120g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar or vanilla extract
240g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch of salt
100g dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line muffin tray with paper cases.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Then, add milk and lemon and orange zest. Set aside and let cool a little.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the lukewarm milk mixture. 

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and add to your dough. Mix until well incorporated but don't overdo it. Add the cranberries, mix again.

Fill the dough into your muffin cases (only until they are filled to about two thirds) and bake for about 25 minutes. Check with a wooden skewer whether they are done.

Let cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then, release the muffins and let cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

No more cookie recipes today - just a thank you to all my readers, to my friends and my family. Your support means a lot to me. It's been quite a year, hasn't it?! Many people I talk to confirm that, for them, too, 2013 has been rather intense. It's been about figuring out where you stand, where you want to go - probably also what you have to leave behind in order to be able to move forward. I very much look forward to 2014 and to whatever it might bring. One thing, however, I know for sure: There's going to be cake! But first, I wish you guys a very merry Christmas and all the best for the new year! Lots of love, Katrin

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