Sunday, December 14, 2014

Apple and Cinnamon Crumble Tart

We had my mum and Wolfgang over for dinner tonight to say thanks for all their help. Seriously, I don't know how we would have survived without them during the past few weeks. Almost all the moving boxes have disappeared and our apartment is starting to look really cozy - just in time for Christmas. For dinner, Edi cooked a wonderful pork roast and, as usual, I took care of dessert. When browsing through my baking books, I had some sort of festive cake in mind. This recipe here sounded just right to me (besides, when can you ever go wrong with the combination of apples and cinnamon?!). With a dollop of whipped cream, a slice of this cake is just the right thing on a winter day.




Recipe
(slightly adapted from "Weihnachten mit Fräulein Klein")

for the dough:
125g soft butter
1/2 vanilla pod
110g sugar
2 eggs
125g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated zest of an orange

for the apples:
2-3 apples (recipe says 4 mid-sized apples, 2 apples were enough in my case)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

for the crumble:
150g flour
90g brown sugar
100g butter, cold
1/2 vanilla pod

You can use either a round baking tin of 24cm diameter of a square one (11x35cm). 

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar and the seeds of half a vanilla pod with an electric hand mixer until fluffy. Add the two eggs and beat again. Add zest of one grated orange and beat. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Add this to your batter and beat until all is well combined. Fill this dough into your tart tin. 

Peel your apples (or don't, we were too lazy for that), core them and cut into 3-4mm slices. Put them into a bowl and combine with the cinnamon. Arrange your apple slices on the dough.

For the crumble, combine flour, sugar and scraped out seeds of a vanilla pod in a bowl. Dice the cold butter, add and with your fingers, rub until your have a crumbly batter. Scatter over your tart.

Bake the tart for about 40-45 minutes. If it tends to brown too much towards the end, cover with aluminium foil. Test with a wooden skewer whether your cake is done.

Take out of the oven, let cool. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Notes:

  • While my cake was in the oven, I realized that I probably had a bit too much dough for my tin and it spilled over the edges while baking. Nothing to worry too much about, though. I just trimmed the not so nice looking edges with a knife after baking.
  • I also had too much of the crumble batter, so one could probably prepare a little less.
  • Fräulein Klein originally bakes this cake with speculoos spice instead of cinnamon. I even opted for cinnamon buds (Zimtblüte) which I like a lot.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gingerbread with Cranberry Icing

There are certain things that, for me, just belong to Christmas time. As for instance gingerbread. And not just any kind of gingerbread, but the one my mother used to make ever since I can remember. I dearly love this recipe. This year, I even opted for a fancy icing. I've spotted the recipe for the icing on Fräulein Klein's lovely website and it came back to my mind while I was having fun baking Christmas treats together with Edi's ever so cute daughter Jacqueline. Of course, the little girl was thrilled with the idea of a pink icing! She also took care distributing the blue sugar stars all over the gingerbread. We were really pleased with the outcome. The gingerbread is also really good just plain as it is (or with a little butter spread onto it - I swear that's delicious, try it!).




Recipe
(from the good old "Aargauer Rezepte" by Dora Schärer, Betty Pircher and Yvonne Fauser)

500g flour
500g sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons gingerbread spice mixture (I usually buy mine at MIGROS)
1 tablespoon baking powder
5dl milk
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (I usually use olive oil)

Line a large baking tray (ca. 40x35cm) with parchment paper. Don't preheat the oven.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, gingerbread spice mixture and baking powder. Combine milk and oil and add to the dry ingredients. Beat well with an electric hand mixer until you have a smooth batter. 

Fill your batter into the prepared baking tray. Put the tray into the oven and turn the oven on (180°C). Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes. I've made the experience that it's usually done after 30 minutes, but I guess that depends on the oven.

When your gingerbread is thoroughly baked, take out of the oven and let cool. You can serve it with or without icing. 

For the icing mix 100g icing sugar with 2-3 tablespoons cranberry juice. Spread over your ginger bread and decorate further with sugar stars or sugar pearls… Whatever you feel like.

Cut into squares and serve. The gingerbread can be stored in an airtight box for a few days.


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Pear and White Chocolate Muffins with Gingerbread Crumble

All of a sudden, December has arrived. And finally, I have moved into my new home. Our flat is still packed with cartons, though and we're trying to sort everything out. I just realized again, how stressful moving is. Good news is, I've already taken care of organizing the kitchen and, as you can see, I'm getting to know my new oven.

However, the move is definitely not the only reason why it's been so quiet around here the past few weeks. Ever since July, my whole life has changed. Our daughter is on the way and come spring, we're going to be be a little family. I couldn't be happier. Mother love is probably the most wonderful and overwhelming feeling I've ever experienced, and it's scary all the same. Still, I'm so looking forward to holding our little girl in my arms… And I hope that, during the next few weeks and months, I'll still have time to post a recipe from time to time. There's definitely some Christmas baking on the agenda!




Recipe
Adapted from: Leila Lindholm's Piece of Cake

100g butter
200ml milk
2 eggs
120g sugar
1tsp vanilla sugar or one teaspoon vanilla extract
240g flour
2tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
100g white chocolate, chopped into pieces
1 large pear, peeled, diced

crumbles:
75g cold butter
60g rolled oats
60g flour
80g sugar
1 teaspoon gingerbread spice-mixture

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

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 white chocolate and pears. Fill your mixture into thepaper cases.

For the crumbles: Cut butter into pieces and combine with the rolled oats, flour, gingerbread spice-mixture and sugar. Spread the crumble onto the muffins.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Corn Bread with Olives

I always say that I would like to bake more bread. And yet, I hardly ever do it. However, when I stumbled over this recipe, I decided to give it a try. I actually like corn bread a lot, but was much more used to the sweeter version with raisins or chocolate chips. This savory version is delicious as well. We had it for dinner lately together with cheese and dried meat. This bread is probably best on the day it was baked or the day after since it tends to get a bit dry after that.




Recipe
(from LE MENU 10/2014)

2dl milk-water mix (1dl milk, 1dl water)
1/4 teaspoon salt
50g polenta (not too coarse)
325g flour
1 teaspoon salt
15g yeast
about 2dl lukewarm water
100g black or green olives, stones removed, cut into slices
some more flour to dust the surface

For a cake tin of about 28cm length.

In a small pan, heat up milk-water with the salt and bring to a boil. Add Polenta while stirring constantly and simmer for about 6-10 minutes until you've got a creamy polenta. Set aside, let cool a bit.

Mix flour and salt. Dissolve yeast in a little water and then, together with the rest of the water and the polenta, add to the flour and knead until you have a smooth dough. In a large bowl and covered with a kitchen towel, let the dough rise until it's got about double its size.

Dust your kitchen surface with flour, take your dough, flatten a bit. Scatter the olives on the dough and press them into the dough a little. Roll the dough up and place your loaf into your cake tin lined with parchment paper and dust with a bit of flour. Let the dough rise for another half hour.

Preheat your oven to 230°C. Place the tin onto a baking tray together with a little heat-proof bowl of water. Bake your loaf for about 10 minutes. Then reduce to heat to 180°C and bake for another 30 minutes. Then, release your loaf from the cake tin, put it back in the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Nutella Muffins

Hey you guys. I'm so sorry for abandoning you for such a long time. This year, it seems, I do not have as much time for baking as I would like to. Last weekend, though, I made it back to the kitchen and I've got a real treat for you. This recipe ought to be a reasonable compensation for my two-month absence. These muffins are popular with children and adults. I've had "test persons" whose age ranged from three to fifty-something and they were all equally thrilled.




Recipe:
(from the fabulous Cake Days by Tarek Malouf)

for 12 muffins (I got 16 muffins out of this recipe)

300g flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
150g sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
250ml milk
2 eggs
85g butter, melted
150g Nutella
30g hazelnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line your muffin pan with paper cases.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, 120g sugar, vanilla sugar and salt. In a small bowl, combine milk and eggs. Add the milk-egg-mixture to the flour-mixture and beat well with an electric hand mixer. Scrape down your bowl with a ladle. Add the melted butter and then 80g of Nutella. Beat well.

Fill about a fourth of each paper case with the dough. Then, drop a teaspoon of Nutella into each muffin case. Fill the rest of the dough into your muffin cases until their filled up to about two thirds. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts and the remaining sugar onto your muffins.

Bake your muffins for about 30 minutes in the middle of the oven. Test with a wooden skewer whether they are done. No dough should stick to the skewer. Let the muffins cool in the tray for a few minutes, then let cool on a wire rack.


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Baileys Brownies with Hazelnut Topping

When Nadina and Matthias invited me over for dinner this weekend, I insisted on bringing dessert. They asked me whether I could bring along something with chocolate. They are currently both finishing their final university papers and seemed in desperate need of comfort food. Brownies, of course, were the first thing that came to my mind. So I began to browse through my baking books in search of a brownie recipe I hadn't tried before. And I found one. You want comfort food?! I give you comfort food. As for consistency, these brownies are just what brownies should be like. The flavor of the Baileys goes wonderfully with the dark chocolate and a hint of coffee. Final touch: the hazelnut topping. 




Recipe
(from the wonderful Sweets by Nicky Stich)

200g dark chocolate
150g butter
1/2 teaspoon coffee powder
3 eggs
150g brown sugar
50g white sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
125g flour
25g cocoa powder
60ml Baileys
50g chopped hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a brownie tin (about 20x20) with parchment paper.

Coarsely chop the dark chocolate and, together with the butter and the coffee powder, melt over a hot water bath in a metal bowl, stirring occasionally. 

In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the sugar and beat for at least 3 minutes until creamy. Add chocolate-butter-mixture, cinnamon and salt. Then, sift in flour and cocoa and mix. Then, add Baileys and beat until all is well combined.

Fill your dough into the prepared tin and smoothen with a ladle. Then, sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts on top. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 25-30 minutes. They should not be thoroughly baked, otherwise, they will go dry too soon. If the middle is still a bit wobbly at the end of the baking time, that's perfect.

Let cool in your tin first, then release from the baking tin and let cool completely.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Little Apricot Cakes

Evelyn invited me over to her place yesterday and we spent some time just talking and enjoying the beautiful view from her balcony. I love these afternoons. I usually return home relaxed and nourished, both from the valuable conversation and from the delicious food. As usual, Evelyn took care of cooking us dinner and I was in charge of dessert. Since I did not have that much time to bake in advance, I decided on a quick and easy recipe. But aren't these little cakes cute?! They're delicious, too. You could make them with other fruit if you want to, but for me, it had to be apricots.




Recipe:
(from the fabulous "Home Made" by Yvette van Boven)

150g ground almonds
150g flour
180g butter, melted and cooled a little
150g sugar
6 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
12 apricots (you can use other fruit, too. The original recipe suggests to bake these with very small apples.)

Preheat the oven to 180°C. For this recipe, I suggest, you rather use firmer paper cups (like those on the fotos) than the usual muffin paper cups or you bake them in your muffin pan without paper cups and just butter then moulds well. Maybe you have oven-proof ceramic pans, that would work, too. The cakes can easily be released when they have cooled down.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients (I first mixed the dry ingredients, then added the melted butter and the eggwhites) except for the fruit.

Fill your dough into the prepared cups. Press one apricot into each cup. By the way, if you want to, you can half the apricots first, remove the core and then put the halves back together again and press into the dough then. I tried both methods and thought that, the cakes with the apricots left whole looked better.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes until golden brown.



Monday, July 14, 2014

Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Coffee Buttercream Frosting

I've baked a number of cakes for Edi over the past few months and those of you who know Edi's and my story better also know that it's not totally made up out of thin air when I say that it was probably even cake that caused us to get to know each other better in the first place. For his birthday, of course, a special cake was in order and I went for something I've never tried before: a layer cake. With a to-die-for buttercream frosting. I'm extremely happy with the outcome and also with the cute decoration which is quite easy to make (see below). So this post goes out to Edi. Happy Birthday. I'm so thankful to have you by my side.




Recipe:
(Cake: from I love Cake by Trish Deseine / buttercream: from What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davis)

225g soft butter
225g sugar
4 eggs
225g flour
4 tablespoons cocoa powder (dissolved in about 4 tablespoons hot water)
2 teaspoons baking powder

for two 20cm diameter springform pans

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line your springform pans with parchment paper.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer until smooth. (The recipe says exactly this. I added the ingredients in stages nevertheless, beating inbetween. First the butter and the sugar, then the eggs, then the flour and baking powder, then the cocoa powder.

Fill your dough into the prepared springform pans and bake for about 25 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer whether they are done. No cake batter should stick to the wooden skewer.

Take out of the oven and let cool. You can easily prepare this one day ahead.

When the cakes have completely cooled. Trim off just a little bit of the rounded tops with a sharp knife so that they have flat surfaces for the buttercream.

Prepare your buttercream:

300g butter, softened
155g icing sugar (I used more to make the buttercream a bit thicker)
170g dark chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon strong coffee (or instant coffee)

In a bowl, beat butter and icing sugar until smooth and creamy.

Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a gentle simmer and melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl that fits snugly over the pan without touching the water, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and coffee to the melted chocolate and combine; it will start to become lumpy, but don't worry. Add this to the butter and sugar mixture, beating gently until glossy and smooth.

Use a spatula to spread the butter cream on top of the first cake and spread it out towards the edges. Place the second cake on top, then ice the top and the sides of the cake. 

Then, decorate just the way you like. I used rose petals which I dipped into a small bowl of two lightly beaten egg whites and then covered with sugar. You should do this the day before and let dry over night.



Sunday, July 06, 2014

Blackberry and Hazelnut Cake

I love all those wonderful red, pink and blue summer berries… At the moment, I can't walk through the fruit and vegetable section of my grocery store without having to pick one or two of those little berry baskets. This weekend, some sort of berry cake was definitely in order. This is a very good basic recipe you can adapt according to your taste. You can choose whatever sort of berries you like and if you want to, you can exchange the ground hazelnuts for ground almonds. I suppose, a handful of dark chocolate pieces would work as well. I added some fresh ginger - to have another flavor experiment. Just go with whatever you feel like. Lately, I really try to encourage my friends to just have a little more courage when baking cakes. Of course, it's about experience. And you'll get that by trying. You'll develop a feeling for things. And you should never forget that it has something to do passion. To me, that's still the most important part. If you let yourself lead by that, you can't go wrong.




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

250g soft butter
150g sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
4 eggs
250g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
75g ground hazelnuts
a pinch of salt
if you like: one small piece of fresh ginger
250g blackberries

For a cake tin of 30cm length or a round springform pan of 24cm diameter. I halved the above recipe and used a 18cm diameter springform pan.

Preheat the oven to 180°C, line your cake tin with parchment paper and grease with butter.

In a large bowl, mix butter with an electric hand mixer until soft and fluffy. Then, add sugar and beat again. Add vanilla extract and eggs and beat again until all is well combined. 

In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and hazelnuts and add to your butter-egg-sugar mixture. Mix until all is well combine. Add some grated ginger (how much depends on your taste). Then, add your blackberries and mix with a ladle.

Fill your dough into the prepared cake tin and bake for about 50 minutes. A wooden skewer inserted into the cake should come out clean. If your cake browns too much towards the end of the baking time, cover with aluminium foil. Take out of the oven and let cool in the tin first. Then, release and let cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving.



Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cherry and Vanilla Cake with Walnuts

Well, here I am again. It's been almost a month, I know. But, you guys, there's just so much going on at the moment, I'm having a hard time catching up with everything, let alone take some time for blogging. And I've stopped to squeeze that in just because I think I have to. Baking cakes in a hurry usually leads to unsatisfying results and to uninspired photos which are not worth posting. But today is a slow day. One of those rainy sundays. Perfect occasion to take up blogging again. Here comes a cake I created from several recipes in one of my favorite books. I wanted to bake something with cherries. And you know me by now, I always have to add spices. This time, I went for vanilla because that goes so well with cherries. The sour cream in the dough renders this cake moist and the walnuts give it a crunch. Crumbles on top, now who doesn't love that?!




Recipe
(slightly adapted from one of my new favorites: The Hummingbird Bakery - Süsse Sünden)

190g soft butter, plus some more for greasing the pan
190g sugar
3 eggs
190g flour, plus some for the pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
25g sour cream
seeds of one vanilla pod
ca. 100g cherries, pitted, halved
50g walnuts, coarsely chopped

For the crumble:
25g flour
10g cold butter
15g sugar
20g chopped walnuts


Preheat the oven to 170°C (convection oven 150°C). Grease a 20cm cake tin and dust with flour.

Put all the ingredients for the crumble into a small bowl and rub together with your fingers until you have crumbles. Set aside.

In a bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one by one. Scrape down the bowl with a ladle from time to time.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add the flour to the fluffy batter in two portions. When all is well combined, add sour cream and vanilla. Then, add the walnuts and incorporate with a ladle. In the end, add the cherries.

Fill your dough into the prepared tin. Scatter the crumble over your cake. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 50 minutes. Test if the cake is done by inserting a wooden skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. Let cool in the tin first. Then, release from the tin and let cool completely.



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