burnt toast

Category: Cake

Rosewater Almond Cake

rosewater almond cakeLook, it’s been a while, but I baked you a cake. And seeing as bribing you with food always seems to work, I’ll just stick with what I know best.

What have I been up to all this time you may ask? Well let me tell you. Stuff and a bit of more stuff. Most of it trivial and probably not interesting enough for you, except for maybe last weekend. Yes I’ll tell you about that. I’m incredibly blessed in that I have had a number of my beautiful Swiss friends find an excuse big enough (me obviously) to come and visit the vast and sunny planes of Australia. It’s such a long trip guys. And without one of those blow-up neck pillows and a good variety of films you actually haven’t seen yet, that flight is going to be a hell of a lot longer. So… thank you for making the effort! So me being the lucky person that I am, got to cook for and hang with these beautiful individuals until I could feel my throat hurting from using “ch” too much, while a halo of happiness appeared and decided to permanently cement itself around my head.

So in honour of that I’d like you to have this cake. It is a deliciously moist little thing, gluten-free even, I’ll have you know, with a hint of rosewater and deliciously caramelised outer edges.

Do it.

 

Rosewater Almond Cake

adapted from my name is yeh

 

1 1/4 cup/275g sugar

200g butter, softened

½ tsp salt

4 eggs

1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp rosewater

2 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp almond essence

2 cups/200g ground almonds

a small handful flaked almonds or chopped pistacios, for the topping

 

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line a round baking tin with baking paper. In a bowl, whip together the sugar, salt and butter until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the lemon juice, rosewater, vanilla- and almond essence before adding the ground almonds. Once it’s all mixed up and ready to go, spread into the baking tin. Scatter with your almonds and transfer to the oven, where this baby’s going to bake for 45-55 minutes. Cover the top with some tin foil if it starts browning too quickly. Once the top is firm and a skewer inserted comes out relatively clean, take the cake out and cool it in the tin before transferring it to a plate. Shake some icing sugar over the top if you want to be schmancy, and serve with a dollop with Greek yoghurt.

Pumpkin Bread

a slice of pumpkin bread

You were almost hoping this would really be a bread recipe, right? Just a bit of bread dough with a bit of pumpkin puree folded in, yay, some healthy stuff for once. Are you kidding? Everything is healthy. It just depends on your attitude towards it, and in what quantities you consume it. Bring on the cake. Guilt? I don’t even know guilt feels like. Is it edible? Whatever, lets go back to pumpkin bread shall we? Why do people call cake in the shape of a loaf “bread”? Is it to calm their conscience? Back home, in a land far far away, also known as Switzerland, we call them loaf-shaped things Cake. The round ones are called Kuchen, and if they have some sort of custardy whipped component, they go over into the Torte realm. That’s a bit of trivia you can totally stun people with at the next dinner party. Bam!

In other words, this is a deliciously aromatic, sweetly spiced pumpkin bread. Great on its own, toasted, or with a smear of sour cream. Because you’re worth it baby.

pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread

¼ large jap pumpkin, seeds and skin removed, chopped into 2cm pieces

1 Tbsp butter

2 cups/300g plain flour

1 cup/220g caster sugar

3 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 tsp salt

220g butter, melted

1 Tbsp golden syrup (or maple syrup or molasses if you don’t have any)

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 egg

Chuck the pumpkin onto a lined baking dish, dot over the butter and bake in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes at 200°C or until soft. Remove from the oven and cool. Once it’s cool enough to touch, whizz it to a smooth puree in your food processor. You will need one cup/250ml of this. Do something imaginative with the rest, or just eat it. Whatever mood hits you first.

Lower the oven temperature to 180°C. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt.

In another bowl, possibly the one you melted the butter in, stir together the butter, golden syrup and vanilla. Whisk in the egg, then add the cup of pumpkin puree.

Pour the liquid pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and gently combine. Don’t over mix it – it’s fine if you have a few bits of flour lurking about. The process is basically the same as that of a muffin. Spoon into a prepared loaf tin and bake it for about 1 hour, until a skewer inserted comes out clean and the top is nice and golden. Mind, our oven is extremely temperamental, so just keep an eye on your little loaf and periodically check after 50 minutes.

Banana Bread.

banana bread slice

Banana bread. The end.

I feel that encompasses pretty much everything to be honest. I was going to leave it at that, but then I remembered that I should perhaps add a tablespoon of publicity and a couple of pinches of justification, because, well, this is banana bread. I wouldn’t dare say that my recipe is better than your grandma’s, oh no. However, it does solve all your dilemmas about having to wait till those bananas are ripe, because lets be honest, I only ever buy bananas when I want to bake them in something, and I want to bake it now, and for some reason it is near impossible to find any black-splotched ones at the supermarché. And I can’t wait, I won’t. I want banana bread and I want it now, with a dollop of sour cream, in my mouth, yes. La solution? Slice those suckers and fry them in some butter with a sprinkling of sugar, until they’re golden and sticky. And then wack them in together with some browned butter – because everything tastes better with browned butter – and banana bready ingredients, and you will be rewarded for those good intentions, yes sir. Double caramelized goodness. And your housemates will love you.

a bite of banana bread

The Banana Bread

250g unsalted butter

2 bananas, sliced into ½ cm rounds

2 Tbsp caster sugar

2 cups/300g plain flour

1 cup/220g caster sugar

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp salt

¾ cup/180g sour cream

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 30 cm loaf tin with baking paper. In a large frypan, melt the butter and cook on a low heat until it turns a nice nutty brown. Remove from the heat and cool. Transfer into a jug but for 2 Tbsp – you’ll need this to fry your bananas in. Using the same frypan (less dishes to wash) and lay them out in the pan in a single layer. Fry them on a low heat for about 1-2 minutes, then sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp of sugar and turn them. Once all the slices have caramelized to a nice golden colour, they’re done. Transfer to a plate and give them a mash. It’s up to you how smooth you want it. I personally hate chunks. Anyway. Let the banana mash cool while you get on with the flour. Combine it with the sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a big bowl. Now go get your jug with the cooled butter, and whisk in the banana, sour cream, egg and vanilla. Pour into the flour mixture and similar to a muffin batter, only stir as few times as necessary. The mixture will be very thick, so it will be easy to scoop into the prepared baking tin. Smooth the top and transfer into the oven, and bake yo baby for 1 hour. Check on it every 15 minutes to see if it’s browning too quickly – if yes, cover the top with some tin foil. Once it’s done, take it out of the oven and cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then transfer it onto a wire rack to cool completely. Or not. I reckon you should cut off an end bit, because it’s the best bit really, and watch out, it’s quite crumbly when warm, and then eat it with guiltless pleasure.

Carrot Cake

So what are you, a cake or a biscuit person? This is pretty vital for our relationship, so be honest, okay. It’s like the dog or cat question. This will either deepen our friendship or make it disappear in a puff of orange smoke. Yes orange. I’m a cake person, through and through. But if I’m really honest, I’m actually an icing person. Cream cheese icing. Hells yeah. It’s the most important part of the cake.

I don’t care much for chocolate cake, unless it’s in brownie form. Cake needs to be fluffy and moist – none of that airy dry, crap, but also not too moist, because then it will become extremely heavy, like those vegan gluten-free sugar free bricks you find at the health food shop. Carrot cake is not supposed to be health food. It’s supposed to be cake, it says it in the name. Also, there is no way you will find raisins in my carrot cake, they just ruin it. And this cake is best for breakfast. Or lunchtime with champagne. Because carrot cake, my friend, is awesome, and it doesn’t need a special occasion.

The Best Carrot Cake

This recipe is adapted from Leila Lindholm’s cookbook, „Backen mit Leila“. Fabulous book, you should get it.

150g softened unsalted butter

240g caster sugar

3 eggs

2 pinches of salt

1 ½ tsp vanilla essence

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground cardamom

½ tsp ground ginger

180g plain flour

3 tsp baking powder

300g finely grated carrots ( about 2 ½ large ones)

100g roughly chopped walnuts

70g softened unsalted butter

320g Philadelphia cream cheese

1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 lime, finely grated rind and juice from one half

100g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 150°C degrees. Line a 24cm baking tin with baking paper and set aside.

In a big bowl, beat the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat in salt, essence and spices. Add the flour and the baking powder and mix well. Beat in the carrots, then the walnuts.

Spread into the tin. The batter will be nice and thick thus easy to spread. Let it bake for 55 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let it cool.

In the meantime, beat the butter and the cream cheese fort he icing. Add the vanilla, the lime and the icing sugar and beat until fluffy.

When the cake has cooled, spread the icing over the cake. Get a knife and cut yourself a piece, you’ve deserved it.

By the way I’m a cat person, albeit a strange one. See, some cats don’t like me. And sometimes, very very rarely, I have been known to like dogs. But only if they tapdance.

Cheesecake

Look, I baked you a cake. Nice of me isn’t it? That’s because I love you. And because I just can’t eat a whole cheesecake by myself, I need help in sharing the calories. That’s what true friends are for.

Cheesecake was a coming of age thing for me. Like wine or maybe even blue cheese for some, it took me a good long time to get used to. Maybe because what I grew up with in Europe was nowhere near as good as what I’m getting my teeth into now. Mind, it has to be worth it. If I’m going to eat a piece of cream cheese as big as a brick I want to taste the calories please. I want to taste every gram of guilty pleasure. I want it to be creamy, silky and smooth, with a deliciously buttery base. Because life’s too short.

 Cheesecake of Cheesecakes

2 Tbsp caster sugar

150g frozen raspberries

500g granita biscuits, roughly crushed

200g salted butter, melted

750g cream cheese, softened

250g sour cream

330g caster sugar

1 lemon, juice

finely grated rind of half an orange

1 Tbsp vanilla essence

½ vanilla bean, seeds (if you can afford it – I just think the little black dots elevate it from great to sexy)

4 eggs

combine the sugar and the raspberries in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved and raspberries are soft. Remove and pass through a sieve. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Grind the biscuits to a fine powder and combine with the melted butter. Line the base of a 24cm tin and add crumb mixture, patting it firmly into the base and up the sides. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and reduce heat to 150°C.

Beat cream cheese until creamy. Add the sour cream, the sugar, the juice, rind and vanilla and keep on beating until the sugar is dissolved. Add the eggs, one at a time, until you’ve got a volumtiously creamy cheesecake filling in front of you. Resist the urge to eat it all and spoon into the cooled baking tin. Draw a few swirls with the raspberry sauce on top of the cheesecake filling and make it look fancy by pulling the back of a spoon through it. Or just leave it. But I like fancy.

Place into the oven. Place a baking tray beneath it, and fill it about halfway with some water. This is the secret to the cheesecake’s dreamy texture, promise. Make sure you top it up if it runs low during the baking process.

So now, bake this little gem for 1½ hours. Then take out of the oven, cool, and keep in the fridge for a few hours or over night.

Serve it cut into thin slices with a few dabs of the remaining raspberry sauce and a scattering of raspberries. And if you still feel guilty (you sinful person you) then run around your house five times. Done. Time for another slice.

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