February 25, 2012

8/52 Banana Nutella Cake

Herbal tea. More herbal tea. And even more herbal tea.
About 4 litres a day for the whole week.

Because I've had a terrible cold, herbal tea was one of my main intakes this past week.
And occasionally this:
Come on, it's okay to need a little banana-nutella-soothing when you're sick, right?

Even though I feel better now, I still wanted to take the banana-nutella-combination to the next (hopefully yummier) level. 

Banana Nutella Cake
Adapted from Ruby

Banana cake:
125g (a little over 1/2 cup) butter, softened
125g (1 cup) powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoon boiling milk
175g (1.4 cups) flour, sifted
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Nutella cake:
300 g (1 cup) nutella
2 eggs
100g (3/4 cup) flour, sifted
dash of milk

  • Preheat oven to 180 °C (355°F).
  • Mix together butter and sugar until pale yellow. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add mashed bananas.
  • Stir baking soda into boiling milk and add to batter. Fold in flour and cinnamon. Pour into prepared 22 cm (9 in) round baking pan.
  • Mix all ingredients for nutella cake and pour on top of banana batter. Swirl the two layers together, if you wish.
  • Bake 40-45 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove from pan to cool completely.

My modifications:
I didn't swirl the two layers together. It just wasn't a swirly day today.
My round pan is a bit bigger so my cake only needed 30 minutes to bake.

It's a yummy cake, no doubt about it. Just not as moist and banana-y like most banana breads, for example. But it is a cake and not a bread, so that might explain it...

What's your favorite fruit-chocolate combination for cakes?

February 19, 2012

7/52 Carrot-Almond Cake

Or: a visit to the ophthalmic emergency room.

I wanted to make a cake for friends who came to visit us over the weekend. And I thought a Carrot-Almond Cake might be a good idea. Sweet, moist, a little healthy.
And carrots are good for your eyes. Or at least that's what everybody thinks and says.
Read on and see why I think this might be wrong...
When I started preparing the carrots for this cake, my right eye started itching.
Then it started burning. And tearing.

I still continued to make the batter, photographing along the way. When I put the cake into the oven, I realized that my eye had swollen so that only half of it was visible. I will spare you more details but I had to go to the ophthalmic hospital to have somebody take a look at it.

And the cake? I had just put it into the oven. Too bad.
No cake for our visitors then. Just defrosted cupcakes.

My eye is fine again, thank you. It appeared to be an allergic reaction, the doctor said. I don't know to what though. I doubt it was the carrot's fault. So let's continue to believe that carrots are indeed good for your eyes. As should be eating this cake.

Carrot-Almond Cake

3 carrots (around 200 g/8 oz)
50 g (1/2 cup) almonds
2 eggs
200 ml (1 cup) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
200 ml (1 cup) flour
100 ml (1/2 cup) corn oil
powdered sugar

  • Peel the carrots and cut into small chunks or grate coarsely. Place in a food processor with the almonds and process until all is finely chopped. 
  • Add eggs, sugar and vanilla and process for another 30 seconds. 
  • Combine dry ingredients and add with the oil. Process until just combined.
  • Pour into greased and floured baking pan.
  • Bake on a low ove rack at 175 °C (350°F) for 45 minutes.
  • Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes, remove and sift powdered sugar over it just before serving.
My modifications:
I don't own a food processor so I used my hand blender.
I used shaved almonds because I still had them in the pantry.
And sunflower oil instead of corn oil.
I added 50 g (1/3 cup) grated chocolate. Because chocolate tastes good in every cake.

My apologies for not being able to show you the finished cake. Or tell you how good it was. Because it did smell good after only 5 minutes in the oven.

Tell me your stories of unfinished cakes. Any emergency room visits after or while baking?

February 12, 2012

6/52 Red Velvet Heart Cake

It's that time of the year again.

Hearts. Pink. Love. Red.

Yes, Valentine's Day is coming up.

"I don't need a special day to tell my loved one how I feel", that's what a lot of people say.
And I agree. It would be sad to only express your feelings on that one day of the year.
But, I also think that it doesn't hurt to emphasize your love with a little something on February 14.
A handwritten love letter, for example. Or, Red Velvet Cake. Heart-shaped, of course.

P.S. Read this post all the way to the end to learn about those super-special white bits in the frosting that you can see above. 

Red Velvet Cake
Adapted from Joy of Baking

250 g (2 1/2 cups) sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
114 g (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
300 g (1 1/2 cups) white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
240 ml (1 cup) buttermilk
2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Preheat oven to 175 °C (350°F). Butter two 23 cm (9 in) round cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper.
  • Sift together flour, salt, and cocoa and set aside.
  • In another bowl, mix the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until light. Add eggs one at a time and combine well. Add vanilla extract.
  • In a glass or measuring cup, whisk buttermilk and red food coloring together.
  • Alternately add flour mixture and red buttermilk to the butter mix, starting and ending with flour mix.
  • Combine vinegar and baking soda in a small cup and allow to fizz. Quickly fold into cake batter.
  • Divide batter evenly between both cake pans.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool in pans for about 10 minutes, remove from pans and let cool completely.
My modifications:
I used my heart-shaped cake pan and since I only own one, I had to bake them one after the other.

I guess I am too shy when it comes to food coloring. I swear I used a lot already, but as you can see, my cakes did not turn out as red as they should have. I will use more coloring next time.... Don't want to end up with a Brown Velvet Cake again...

I did not make the frosting that is suggested on Joy of Baking. Just because I thought that cream cheese plus Mascarpone plus double cream was a bit heavy. So I turned to Joy the Baker again and used one of her frosting recipes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Joy the Baker

114 g (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
114 g (4 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
300 g (3 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
liquid food coloring
  • Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add butter and mix until combined. Add vanilla, milk and 200 g (2 cups) of powdered sugar and beat together. Add remaining powdered sugar. When combined, add food coloring.
  • Pour half of the frosting on top of one of the cakes you made and spread evenly. Put the second cake on top and distribute the other half of the frosting on top and on the sides.
My modifications:
I used double the amount of butter and cream cheese (since my cake needed more than the cupcakes Joy frosted with the amount above) but I omitted the milk and only used 200 g (2 cups) of powdered sugar. I wanted a pink frosting so I used red food coloring.

The white parts you see in my frosting are pieces of butter. I couldn't wait until the butter was soft enough because it was getting late, the light was going away, I still needed to take pictures of the finished cake, and because I can be a bit impatient at times. There. Thanks for asking.

P.S. The lovely LOVE print seen on the pictures can be downloaded for free.

What's your take on Valentine's Day? 
Anything pink and heart-shaped you would like to share?

February 5, 2012

5/52 Peanut-Apple-Cupcakes

Winter has finally arrived. The snow has mostly melted but it is still very cold outside.
Eating healthy is always a good thing but even better when it's cold, right?

So let's assume that baking (or rather: eating) cupcakes with apples, fresh ginger and peanuts is healthy.
Because it is, isn't it?
Besides the health-aspect, I picked these cupcakes because the combination of peanuts and apples is hard to resist. Isn't apple jelly the best thing you can put on your peanut butter sandwich? I sure think so. (My mom won't even touch a peanut butter sandwich unless there's apple jelly on top...)

Oh, but before we start with the recipe, let's pretend you haven't read the title and introduction of this post. Because I made a little rebus or picture puzzle for you. 
I know it's a tough one but what did I bake this week?
 Congrats, well done! Peanut-Apple-Cupcakes it is!

Adapted from Cupcakes which my cousin-in-law Karmen gave me for Christmas

Makes 12 cupcakes:
vanilla pulp of one vanilla bean (or vanilla extract)
200 g (1.8 stick or 7 oz) butter, at room temperature
160 g (0.8 cup) sugar
4 eggs
200 g (1.6 cups) flour
2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
2 apples, peeled and roughly grated
1 piece of fresh ginger (about 2 cm/0.8 in), peeled and finely grated
1 lime

3 tablespoons peanuts
150 g (1.3 stick or 5.3 oz) butter, at room temperature
150 g (7 oz) cream cheese
2 tablespoons peanut butter
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Preheat oven to 180 °C (360°F).
  • Mix together vanilla pulp, butter and sugar until creamy.
  • Add eggs one at a time.
  • In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Sift over butter mixture and combine quickly.
  • Mix apples and ginger with lime juice and zest. Fold into batter.
  • Fill in prepared muffin pan and bake on middle rack for 25 minutes. Take out of pan after a couple of minutes to cool off completely.
    • For the frosting, chop and roast peanuts. 
    • Stir together butter, cream cheese, peanut butter and powdered sugar. 
    • Top cupcakes with frosting and sprinkle with roasted peanuts.
    My modifications:
      I didn't roast the peanuts and added them to the cupcake batter together with the apples and ginger. I just felt that there should be a bit of peanut flavor in the cupcakes as well, not just in the frosting. So I didn't sprinkle anything on the frosting.

      I also just chopped the apples and ginger, as opposed to grating them. (And yes, only because I was too lazy...) But since I chopped them pretty finely, you are not biting on big chunks of apple or ginger when eating the cupcakes.

      6 cupcakes went straight to the freezer, without frosting. So I only made half of the frosting for the remaining 6 cupcakes.

      What is your favorite "healthy" baking recipe?