Sunday, 30 September 2012

Wholegrain pesto swirls

I wanted to bake something to celebrate my mother's birthday today. Last weekend we enjoyed some lovely quiches with goat's cheese and broccoli, so today I ended up making some healthier wholegrain swirls with a cream cheese, green pesto and feta filling, topped with grated mozzarella.

Fresh out of the oven!

Wholegrain cheesy pesto swirls (~40pcs)

for the dough: 

5dl water
1sachet dry yeast
pinch of salt
1-2tbsp olive oil
10-12dl wholegrain flour (the amount is an estimate, the dough should not be too hard or too sticky. I had wholegrain wheat and wholegrain graham flour)


150grams Philadelphia cream cheese
1/2 jar green pesto (shop bought this time and red pesto would obviously work just as well)
200grams feta cheese
200-250grams grated mozzarella cheese (hold some for topping the swirls)

1. Prepare the dough. Start by adding some of the flour into the warm (42degrees) water. Mix in the dry yeast as you keep adding more flour and at this point the olive oil and salt. Continue adding flour until the dough forms a ball that is soft and not sticky. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it double in size for about an hour in a warm place.
2. Knead the dough to get rid of any air bubbles. Divide the dough into two. Put one aside and roll out the other piece of the dough thinly to a rectangle shape.
3. Mix the cream cheese and pesto to a smooth paste. Spread half of it over the rolled out sheet of dough. Crumble some of the feta cheese on top and finish off with the grated mozzarella.
4. Roll up the filled sheet of dough as if making a Swiss roll. Cut the roll into (2,5cm - 3cm) pieces and place them onto a tray covered with parchment.
5. Repeat the process with the other piece of dough.  
6. Preheat the oven to 200degrees (175 if using a fan assisted oven) and while waiting for the oven let the swirls rest under a tea towel.
7. Sprinkle the swirls with grated cheese and bake for 15mins or until golden.

If cutting up both filled rolls of dough, the recipe yields roughly 40 swirls. I left the other roll untouched and baked it (probably for 35-40mins) as a wreath or a ring, topped with some of the grated cheese. It came out looking more like bread, very rustic with the cheesy filling oozing out here and there. I was happy with the end result of both versions!

Different kind of bread.

Enjoy as a snack or serve up as an alternative to quiches or other savoury party foods.



Thursday, 27 September 2012

Blue Ombre Cake

Having decided to make a Kit-Kat cake for my son's birthday, I was a little more than annoyed when I realized that there were no Kit-Kat chocolate bars to buy in any of the big supermarkets in Turku! Well then...I started thinking and browsing all possible sites to find a nice enough cake to bake, since I didn't want to make one with fondant this time. Okay, so I did end up with four (yes four!) cakes for one party, but I think this really was my favourite one..and I was well pleased that it turned out great, being the first time I've attempted to bake one like this. Apart from the blue colour (obvious choice for a boy's party) the recipe and idea was entirely from the blog Raspberri Cupcakes. (I've said it before and I'll say it again: one of my favourite blogs!) This was a very good recipe on the whole, nothing went wrong in the process of baking! Oh, and I changed the filling as well. Instead of jam, I put some homemade lemon curd and fromage frais between each layer.  

Sprinkles galore!
The sponge cake

355grams plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
225ml milk
1tsp vanilla sugar
400grams sugar
4 eggs
225grams butter (softened)
blue food colouring

1. Preheat oven to 175degrees. Grease and coat four round 20cm cake tins with bread crumbs. I only had two tins of the same size, so I had to bake the cakes in two rounds.
2. Beat the soft butter, sugar and vanilla sugar on a low speed until nicely combined and then on a higher setting until pale and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time. Keep whisk at a lower setting, mixing well after each added egg.
4. Start by adding some of the flour and baking powder mixture alternately with the milk. Finish and start with the dry ingredients. Beat until smooth.
5. Measure the batter into four bowls. Add the desired amount of food colouring to achieve three different shades. Leave one set of batter without any colour.
6. Pour batter into prepared cake tins and bake about 20mins until firm and golden.
7. Let the cakes cool completely.

Butter cream icing

500grams icing sugar
275grams butter (room temperature)
(The original recipe included extra table salt. I omitted it, because I was using normal salted butter.)

Beat the butter vigorously until smooth. Reduce speed and add the sifted icing sugar gradually. Carry on mixing at a low setting until all of the icing sugar is combined with the butter. Finish off beating the butter cream on a high speed until pale and fluffy.

Layer the cake with the lemon curd - fromage frais emulsion and put in the refrigerator to set for 15mins.

Ready for the icing!
Start by icing the cake with a thin layer of butter cream. Keep your spatula or palette knife clean from any crumbs by running it under hot water and drying it every now and again. Once the cake has an even layer of icing, add a liberal amount of butter cream on the cake and continue spreading it over the sides and top of the cake to get a nice thick coating all over. Finish it off by first evening the sides with the spatula and then going over the top lastly. Cover the cake in heaps of sprinkles or decorate to your own liking.

Slice of colour!
Nice and bright!


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ostentatious chocolate cake

The inspiration for this chocolate cake and the decoration style specifically, came from Raspberri cupcakes one of my favourite blogs out there that I have been following lately. I did not use the recipe for the actual Rolo chocolate brownie cake instead I baked my own version of a mud cake and then topped it off with similar sweeties, both chocolate buttons filled with caramel and mint chocolate buttons with a caramel filling. For the cake filling I had some condensed milk cooked into caramel. Before decorating it, the cake was smothered in a chocolate ganache made of dark and milk chocolate. 

Mud cake base

250grams good quality dark chocolate
250grams butter (not margarine unless absolutely necessary)
2,5dl plain flour
2dl sugar
4 eggs
1-2tsp vanilla sugar
1tsp baking powder

1 roll of chocolate buttons (I had cloetta's center choccies)


1 tin of condensed milk cooked into caramel for ~3hours (or buy the caramel ready cooked OR make you own caramel from scratch!)

Chocolate ganache icing

200grams good quality dark chocolate (as dark as you like)
200grams good quality milk chocolate (Fazer's works for me)
300ml double cream (full fat 35%)

4 rolls of chocolates (2 caramel & 2 minty ones) for decoration

Start by lining two 24 cm loose bottom cake tins with some parchment. Preheat oven to 200degrees. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a saucepan and set aside to cool, while preparing the cake batter. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla sugar until pale and fluffy. Slowly pour the chocolate and butter mixture into the batter, either stirring with a spatula or on a low setting with an electric whisk.
Sift the flour and baking powder and fold it into the batter using a spatula. Divide it then into the two prepared cake tins, pop in half a roll of chocolate buttons in each and bake for 20-25mins. (The cakes may be a little sticky, but not as much as if making a regular mud cake that should be super gooey.) Let the cakes cool completely. Spread the caramel filling onto one of the cakes and put it in the fridge to firm up a little. In the meantime make the chocolate ganache. Chop up the chocolate finely and place in a large bowl. Bring the cream to a boil (do not let it boil further). Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir it until smooth and silky. Chill the ganache in the fridge until thick but still spreadable. Assemble the cake by carefully placing the other base on top of the caramel filled base and pressing down slightly. Take a palette knife and spread the ganache over the cake starting at the top and going over the sides. It should be easily handled and not runny. If a smoother appearance is desired, heat the knife and run it over the cake, this will give a nice sheen to it.

Decorate to your own liking eg. with chocolate shavings, sweets or even berries to freshen things up!

Chocolate heaven!
Apple and chocolate cake waiting to be devoured!


Monday, 24 September 2012

Traditional apple cake with a twist

This apple cake was one of four cakes I decided to bake for my son's birthday party yesterday at our house. We have always had a small tradition of having a little Sunday afternoon get together, when celebrating someone's birthday...well for the children anyway. (we don't really tend to throw parties for the grown-ups) I remember as a child thinking it was a little bit special to have at least a couple of relatives, neighbours and friends over for coffee and cake. My mother used to serve up some cinnamon buns, quiches or sandwiches along with the ever so popular 'Kinuski kaka', a caramel cake that both her gran and her mother used to make for special occasions. So it is essentially a family recipe, now passed on to me. How lucky am I!:) The caramel cake was on the menu yesterday as well, and I will post a photo of it, but the recipe will not be shared on this blog.:)
Anyway, back to this particular apple is a recipe originally from my uncle's wife, given to me by my own mother. It is a dense, moist, no fuss kind of cake. Really homely. My 'momma' used to add sliced apples, but I used some homemade apple sauce (apples from my gran's garden) and this time I also added a sumptuous crumb topping made with big rolled oats and dark muscovado sugar. In its simplicity, it almost took my breath away, that's how well it turned out!

Apple cake recipe

2 eggs 
2dl sugar
1tsp vanilla sugar
3dl plain flour 
1tsp baking powder
1dl melted butter
1dl boiling water 
plenty of apple slices or apple sauce (as much or as little as you like)

crumb topping (no recipe so I just "eye-balled" the ingredients)

butter (room temp)
large rolled oats
plain flour
muscovado sugar
cinnamon to taste

(I promise to measure the ingredients next time I bake this cake!)

Start by greasing and coating a 22cm cake tin with some bread crumbs. Preheat oven to 175degrees.
Using an electric whisk/stand mixer, whisk eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gently fold in the sifted plain flour and baking powder in the egg mixture with a spatula. Add the melted butter and lastly the hot water. Mix properly, but do not over beat. Pour the batter in the prepared cake tin and pop in the apple slices or cover with the apple sauce. Bake until the cake is just set. This time it took about 1 hour, because of the moisture in the apple sauce. Sliced apple would not make the batter this loose, so the cake might not need more than 40 minutes. Best to keep an eye on the cake and test with a skewer.
Prepare the crumb topping while the cake is baking, simply by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl with your hands until it reaches a nice dry-ish crumb consistency.

Remove cake from the oven and increase the heat to 200degrees. Cover the almost cooked through cake with a generous amount of crumb mixture and return it to the oven and bake a further 10-15mins until golden and crisp. (do not leave the cake unattended, you wouldn't want to burn it now would you!) :)

Once the cake has cooled, it will keep for several days (unless you consume it straight away!) covered at room temperature.

Bob's your uncle!

 Tastes great as is or served with liberal amounts of custard or ice cream!        




Sunday, 23 September 2012

More macarons

Earlier in the week I made some macarons in three different colours and flavours. I made some blue, green and yellow ones filled with homemade lemon curd, dark chocolate ganache and a white chocolate - raspberry ganache. The majority of them went off to a friend, but I put some aside for today's celebrations -> my son Tiger's 7th birthday! The recipe is the same as for the pink macarons.

This time I was a little absent minded, so I forgot to take pictures of the blue and the yellow macarons, but I did manage to remember to take a few snaps of the green batch!:)

Pale green macarons with a white chocolate center

Macaron shells drying

Lemon curd 

100ml lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons (unwaxed)
3 egg yolks
80grams granulated sugar
80grams gelling sugar

+50grams butter (cubed and at room temperature)

Place all ingredients apart from the butter in a non stick saucepan, bring to boil while stirring constantly (I used a plastic whisk). Once the mixture is boiling, let it simmer on a low heat until thickened approx. 5 mins. Pour the hot liquid into a bowl and place the bowl in cold water. Using an electric whisk, whisk until fluffy. Continue mixing on a low speed while adding the butter pieces little at a time until butter is fully incorporated and the curd looks pale and shiny. Store in a clean jar in the refrigerator up to two weeks.

Dark chocolate ganache 

100grams good quality dark chocolate
80ml double cream (full fat 35%)

White chocolate - raspberry ganache

80grams raspberry - white chocolate (organic and fairtrade by Pirkka)
70grams white chocolate
100ml double cream (full fat 35%)

For the ganaches you need to bring the cream to the boil and pour it on top of the finely chopped chocolate, carefully mixing with a spatula until smooth and silky. If the mixtures seem runny, place to cool in the fridge until suitable consistency is reached. I speeded things up by mixing the dark chocolate ganache with an electric whisk, once it had cooled in the fridge for some 30 minutes. It became a little lighter in colour, but much easier to pipe on to the macaron shells.


Thursday, 13 September 2012

A little chatter...

Last Friday my husband and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary. We normally don't do anything special anyway and really only took this as a good reason to get to go out for dinner. No cooking or baking for me then!;)
I had a bottle of champagne (one I got as a gift for my birthday) tucked away and this I thought was a perfect moment to enjoy it, before heading off to the restaurant.

Absolutely delicious with some pistachios!
We had dinner at Cantina Azteca...really nice food, starters, tapas, mains and lighter courses such as salads. Definitely good value! Nothing too posh either...we are more the type to want to enjoy the company of our friends in a low key setting.
The evening was a success...plenty of food and a few margaritas.:)

On Saturday I visited my friend and we had a quiet girls night with some pita bread topped with red pesto, cured ham, chilli, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese..quickly toasted off in the oven and garnished with basil leaves and sliced avocado, served with a dollop of sour cream. This time I really had no time to bake my own bread...which was a bit of a shame, but it tasted good really was down to the toppings. And the combination let me tell you was sooo tasty...will most certainly have it again soon. (obviously next time with home made bread!) 

Suitably spicy!
This sure was a great week-end all in all!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Banana pancakes

These were just something I quickly thought of whizzing up thursday night, realizing that once again I had a small pot of sour cream that was almost past its best before date. Marlowe my 3,5 year old actually gave me this idea, because he was pestering me for some pancakes (I was seriously not going to start frying up anything that close to bedtime, but only going to offer him some toast and banana!:)) with this adamant behaviour he reminded me of the sour cream in the fridge, so I gave in and he got his pancakes that evening after all!

Easy pancakes (28 small ones)

2dl milk
2dl sour cream (kermaviili/gräddfil this time around)
2 eggs
2dl plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp vanilla sugar (or extract)
pinch of cinnamon

banana slices
light syrup to serve

Mix all the ingredients and let the batter rest in the fridge for a moment (preferably at least 30mins).

Fry the pancakes on a medium heat until golden and puffed up. At this point banana slices/pieces can be added into the pancakes before flipping them over, but the pancakes can also just as well be served with the banana and syrup drizzled over once they are done.

These little ones are perfect at any time...breakfast, brunch or as a sweet late night snack!  

Monday, 3 September 2012

Hemgjord mysli - Homemade muesli

Lätt att laga och blir lite billigare än butikens varianter. Dessutom är det nu bara så, att alltid finns det något som man inte vill ha i sin mysli och på det här viset får man helt själv bestämma vad man slänger med och vad man lämnar bort. Den här versionen blev till på köpet mega hälsosam, inte ens honung..för den hade någon ätit upp.

Wholesome homemade muesli is a treat, especially since the shop bought varieties usually lack something..can't put my finger on it, but you know that something extra. Anyway, this is also great because it's a bit less expensive to make it yourself. This version has no added sugar either, because I had no honey left in the house. So it's super healthy as well!

3dl stora havreflingor
1dl rågflingor
1dl dinkelflingor (spelt)
1dl havrekli
1dl pumpafrön
1dl solrosfrön
2dl blandade nötter (mandlar, cashew-, para-, pecan-, hassel- och valnötter)
2dl russin

Lägg alla ingredienser förutom russinen på en plåt och rosta i 175-200grader i ca 15 min, eller tills passligt rostade till egen smak. Låt myslin svalna ordentligt och blanda sedan i russinen eller annan torkad frukt. Förvara i glasburk eller någon annan burk med tätt lock.

Passar ypperligt t.ex. med yoghurt och bär med honung där på!

This time my muesli consisted of:

large rolled oats
rye flakes
spelt flakes
oat bran
pumpkin seeds
sunflower seeds
mixed nuts (almonds, cashews-, brazil-, pecan-, hazel-, and walnuts)
California raisins

Place all of the above apart from the raisins on an oven tray and roast at 175-200 degrees for about 15mins until nicely toasted. Leave to cool completely then add the raisins to the mix and keep in a jar with an airtight lid.

Perfect with natural yoghurt, berries and a drizzle of honey!


Sunday, 2 September 2012

Lingonberry pie - Lingonpaj

My two boys call saturday, the "goodies" day. So this saturday I wanted to bake something for them instead of buying them sweets in a bag. I had some fromage frais in the fridge, which was close to its best before date and since autumn really well and truly arrived a couple of days ago,  I thought it might be appropriate to use some lingonberries from the freezer and just make something quick and easy. I like making this frequently, especially in the colder's sweet and tart, it's comfort food..well, dessert anyway!:)

Lingonberry pie (oven tray size)

sponge base:

2 eggs
2dl sugar
2dl butter or margarine, melted (for this recipe I like using liquid marg.)
2dl milk
4 dl plain flour
3,5 tsp baking powder

fromage frais topping: 

500gr fromage frais (full fat or low fat)
2dl sugar
2 eggs
(optional 1dl double cream if the topping seems too thick)

+ 200gr frozen lingonberries on top.

Start by mixing together the ingredients for the topping and place it in the refrigerator to keep cool.

Pre heat the oven to 225 degrees centigrade.

For the sponge, whisk eggs and sugar to a light whip, continue mixing while adding the liquid margarine. Sift together flour and baking powder. Fold the flour into the egg mixture alternately with the milk. The batter will have a nice smooth appearance.

Line an oven tray with parchment paper and pour in the batter evenly with the help of a spatula. Take the cool fromage frais topping and add onto the sponge base. Cover the unbaked pie with lingonberries and bake for 20mins until golden. (With fan assisted ovens lower the temperature or bake for a shorter amount of time.)

Simple and tasty!

(translation: fromage frais I find is the best word to describe the words kvarg in the swedish language and maitorahka in the finnish language. Other words are; cream cheese, curd, quark)