Friday, 30 November 2012

Lemon and Poppyseed Cake

Christmas is closing in and I am really looking forward to cooking and baking for the holidays. Before cracking on with all of those gingerbread biscuits, plum pastries, spiced buttermilk cakes and the hearty home cooking, I wanted to give this tangy and very interesting looking cake a go. This recipe is based on a sour cream pound cake and makes a lovely bundt cake that gets more flavourful and tasty a couple of days after making it.

 Lemon - Poppyseed Cake   

4 eggs
150grams butter, softened
4dl sugar
4dl plain flour
200ml sour cream (gräddfil/kermaviili)
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarb of soda
2 lemons, juice and zest
70grams poppy seeds

1. Prepare a large bundt pan by greasing and breading it with breadcrumbs. (I only had a small cake tin available, so I used the rest of the batter to make two tiny cakes as well.)
2. Beat the soft butter and sugar together until smooth. Keep beating and add one egg at a time, beating each egg into the creamed butter and sugar, before adding the next one.
3. Once the cake mixture is nice and smooth and all eggs have been added, pour in the lemon juice and zest, followed by the sour cream. Give it a good mix.
4. Sift the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder and bicarb together in a bowl, then fold it properly into the cake batter, without over beating.

5. Transfer the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake at 175degrees 50-60mins, until a skewer comes out clean. (my smaller bundt took between 40-50mins, it really depends on the size of the tin and the efficiency of the oven in use.)
6. Let the cake cool a little in its pan, before carefully tipping it out of the pan onto a wire rack and letting it cool completely.
7. Dust the cake with powdered sugar or alternatively drizzle some lemon icing over it. 

Our new home has been draped in the most wonderful citrus scent since yesterday thanks to this baked goody! Winter is truly here, with all the snow one could want and the cake, it just fits in perfectly! :)

Have a great week-end you lot! x

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Peanut Butter Glazed Chocolate-Chili Cake

The past two weeks have just gone by in a haze, moving house surely is a bit of a bother, especially with small children in the mix. This artery-clogging decadent chocolate loaf was just something I made out of the ingredients readily available in my store cupboard (read: moving boxes). I didn't want to go down the shop, I just wanted to get on with baking and this made a nice enough cake I reckon.:) I had planned to bake a poppyseed and lemon cake for my first cake in our new home, but then I just felt like fairly quickly whizzing up something for my boys as a mid-week surprise. (Fear not, I still fully intend to bake that poppyseed and lemon cake, but it'll have to wait until...tomorrow!;))

Chocolate & Chili Cake

4 eggs
2dl dark brown sugar + vanilla sugar if desired
200grams butter
200grams dark chocolate
2,5dl plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1 medium red chili, de-seeded and finely chopped

Peanut Butter Glaze

2 generous tablespoons homemade peanut butter (no salt/sugar added)
salt to taste
1tbsp sugar

+assorted nuts for decorating the cake

1. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan and set aside to cool slightly. Add the chopped chili into the chocolate and butter mixture.
2. Whisk the eggs and sugar until frothy. Keep whisking slowly while pouring in the chocolate/chili/butter sauce in a thin string.
3. Sift the flour and baking powder and gently fold it into the batter.
4. Line a cake tin (I chose to use a bread loaf) with some parchment paper and bake the cake at 175degrees for 45mins or until just set. Test with a skewer/toothpick. (It can be left a little gooey, but it doesn't matter if the cake ends up on the dry side, the cake will moisten somewhat when covered and left at room temperature until the next day.) Personally I like a succulent and moist cake, but each to their own.:)
5. When the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. At this point, unless using ready roasted and salted nuts, start by roasting a selection of nuts in the oven at 175degrees for 15mins until golden and fragrant. Add a pinch of salt if you like.
6. On a medium heat warm up the peanut butter in a small saucepan. Add the sugar and pinch of salt (no salt if using shop bought PB). The amount of milk needed is depending on what consistency you want the glaze. I only had skimmed (non-fat) milk, but I think whole milk would be better (or even cream! Dear me!) for this glaze. I probably poured in about 100ml or so.
7. Once the cake has cooled enough, coat with the glaze and sprinkle it with the toasted salty nuts.

This tastes great straight away when it is still a little warm, but EVEN better the next day once it has moistened up and the gentle heat of the chili nicely breaks through the rich chocolate!


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Pink & White Cakes

The company I work for celebrated their fifth birthday in Finland and my manager asked me if I was interested in baking these cakes for the staff, as a thank you for all their hard work. The company opted for a pink and white look and the cakes were designed accordingly to match the theme. Other treats for the lovely girls at work included sparkling rosé, pink and white marshmallows just to name a few.

There were no other requirements apart from the colour, which gave me the opportunity to choose what kind of cakes to make. I wanted to make one chocolate sponge cake with a blueberry-raspberry mousse filling and one regular sponge cake with a fresh mango mousse filling. (my favourite of the two is definitely the chocolate sponge!)

The sponges for the cakes were basic 3 egg sponges with equal amounts of caster sugar and flour(+1tsp baking powder) measured in glasses. 
I whisked the eggs and sugar until pale and frothy, then gently folded in the sifted flour/baking powder mix. I baked them at 170degrees until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake came out clean. I opted to bake them in 18cm loose-bottomed cake tins to achieve a higher sponge.
Both cakes were sealed with butter cream and covered with ready-to-roll fondant. I dusted the logos with a little glitter too!;)

The fillings:

Blueberry-Raspberry Mousse

150grams berries
180grams cream cheese
0,5dl sugar
2dl whipping cream
5 gelatine leaves

Mango Mousse 

150grams mango (fresh or frozen)
180grams cream cheese
0,5dl sugar
2dl whipping cream
5 gelatine leaves

Both mousse fillings are enough to fill one 20cm cake in two layers. I ended up having a little extra after filling the cakes. Luckily my husband and kiddies were only too happy to have some for dessert!

I was very happy with the outcome of these cakes and chuffed that everyone at work liked the appearance and flavour as well. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

Chocolate and Pear tart

My husband really has a big sweet tooth and chocolate is definitely one of his weaknesses! I chose to make something extra scrumptious for father's day and thought this combination of dark chocolate and juicy pears would most certainly go down a treat with the whole family.

Chocolate and Pear tart

for the pastry:

175grams plain flour
100grams cold butter, cubed
25grams icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1tbsp cold water

(the original recipe uses ready-made shortcrust pastry, which is great if you're pressed for time or unsure of making your own)


2 large eggs
125grams ground almonds
125grams butter, softened
95grams caster sugar
185grams dark chocolate, melted
3 pears (peeled, cored and quartered)

1. If making your own pastry, start by mixing the ingredients together in a food processor until it reaches a crumbly texture, knead a couple of times and then wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Roll out the pastry nice and thin, pop it into you 24cm tart tin (preferably loose-bottomed) and chill in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.(I had no space in my freezer, so I just let it chill in the fridge.)
3. Blind bake the pastry case at 200degrees until golden brown. Set a side to cool a little.
4. Lower the oven temperature to 170degrees once the pastry is done and mix together the ground almond, butter, sugar and eggs. While the melted chocolate is still warm, stir it into the filling mixture.
5. Pour the filling into the pastry case and gently press the pears onto the chocolate and almond mix. Bake for 40-45minutes until the filling is firm and the pastry has a golden colour to it.

Smooth chocolate and juicy fruit!

A rich and sweet tart that is great on its own with a cup of coffee or simply with a dollop of loosely whipped cream!

We really enjoyed our low key father's day, I hope you guys did too(?) :)

Have a great start to this lovely week! x        

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Apricot and Ricotta Cake

A lovely moist, smooth and fruity cake that goes well with coffee. Yesterday we had my relatives from out of town over for a brief visit, so this was a fairly quick and easy cake to throw together just before they arrived. I have been eager to bake something with apricots for a long time now (having that lonely tin of apricots in the store cupboard) and the visit was a great reason to do so. Looking for inspiration, I came across this particular recipe here.
I like baking wholesome stuff a lot of the time, so I amended this a little by swapping some of the plain flour for wholegrain and I substituted the white sugar with cane sugar. The end result was a slightly darker cake than the original one.

Apricot and Ricotta Cake

250grams ricotta
70grams butter, softened
2dl cane sugar
1,5dl plain flour
1dl wholegrain flour
1,5tsp baking powder
2tsp vanilla sugar
2 eggs
1dl orange juice
200grams apricots (fresh or tinned)

icing sugar for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 175C and line a 20cm springform cake tin with some baking parchment.
2. Beat the soft butter and ricotta cheese together. Mix the sugar, vanilla sugar, flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl. Lightly whisk the two eggs with the orange juice. Continue by adding some of the flour mix into the butter and ricotta, alternately with the eggs and orange juice. Once all ingredients are added give the batter a good thorough mix with a spatula.
3. Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and top with sliced or diced apricots.
4. Bake for 35-40 minutes. To keep the cake from browning, it can be covered with some foil. I didn't, but hey..whatever tickles your fancy!:)
5. Leave the cake to cool in its tin for a bit, then transfer it onto a serving dish and dust with some icing sugar.

I can imagine this cake tasting even better the next day...unfortunately there was none left to know for sure! I suppose that's a sign of a good cake!




Saturday, 3 November 2012

Tarte Au Citron

The tart of all tarts. That is the only way of describing this lemon flan. It is definitely the most delicate, perfect combination of thin, crumbly pastry and sweet zesty filling.

The recipe is one of Mary Berry's and I got it here.

Tarte au Citron (8 servings)

for the pastry:

175grams plain flour
100grams butter, cold and cubed
25grams icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1tbsp cold water

for the filling:

5 eggs
125ml double cream
225grams caster sugar
4 lemons, juice and zest
icing sugar for dusting

1.  Start with the pastry. Add the cold butter, flour and icing sugar in a food processor and pulse until it has a textures that resembles breadcrumbs. Add the yolk and cold water, then mix briefly until it forms a ball. Knead the pastry two or three times, wrap it in cling film and chill for 30minutes.
2. Prepare a 24cm loose-bottomed fluted tart tin.
3. Roll out the pastry on a piece of parchment paper, to about 4cm larger than the diameter of the tin. Transfer it into the tin, gently pressing down the pastry into the corners and up the sides into the flutes. Lightly fold the pastry over the sides of the tin. Prick the base with a fork, but not all the way through. Cover it loosely with cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200degrees.
4. Once chilled, replace the cling film with foil and fill with baking beans or as I did, with uncooked rice. Bake blind for 12-15mins until set. Remove the foil and beans/rice and trim the excess pastry that is overlapping the tart tin using a sharp knife.
5. Return the empty pastry case to the oven and bake a further 10-12mins until golden and completely dry.
6. Set aside to cool, while preparing the filling. Reduce oven temperature to 170degrees.

Blind baked pastry case.

7. Make the filling next. Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk together with a wire whisk. Add the rest of the ingredients and give it a good whisk until well combined.
8. Pour the mixture into a jug and fill the pastry case half way. To prevent spilling, place the half-filled tart onto the oven shelf and carefully pour the rest of the filling into the tart tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes until just set and so that it still has a slight wobble to it.
9. Leave the tart to cool and when the pastry seems firm enough, remove the tart from the tin. Place on a serving dish and dust with icing sugar.


Serve the tart warm or cold. It can be made two days in advance, but do not decorate it until ready to serve.

Bon appétit!         

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Dainty Chocolate Pops

These delicate, sweet little milk and white chocolate covered cake pops have a moist orange flavoured inside that just melts in your mouth. I had loads of the cake dough left after having made the Halloween inspired Pops , so I was more than a bit smug when I got to decorate these in a much more feminine and girlish (read: pink and sparkly) style.

The recipe for these pops is, like I said, the same as for the orange pops. The only other thing I had for making this version was the milk chocolate coating. I tried out a new product, (at least in supermarkets 'round 'ere) a milk chocolate sauce that goes hard once it comes in contact with cold ice cream or other desserts.
Obviously I also had some pink, white and silver sprinkles to finish these beauties off!

Wishing all of you a great start to November and for any male readers happy Movember! :) Stay happy and healthy!