May 27, 2012

21/52 Johanna's Almond-Cherry Cake

I promise. Really. No cake will be easier and faster to make than this one.

And it is a recipe by my great-grandmother Johanna. Which makes it even more special, don't you think?

When trying to decide what to bake this week, I looked through a recipe book where I collected and wrote down baking recipes over the years. I totally forgot that this recipe was in there! Since I have never made it before (shame on me), it only took a split second to decide that this will be this week's cake.

Johanna's Almond-Cherry Cake
Inherited from my great grandmother

250 g (2 cups) ground almonds
250 g (1 1/4 cups) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 eggs
1 glass of cherries (350 g or 12.3 oz after draining from juice)

  • Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F).
  • Mix almonds, sugar, baking powder and eggs.
  • Pour into prepared springform pan.
  •  Spread cherries onto batter and bake for 45 minutes.

My modifications:
But when preparing the springform pan, I buttered it and then didn't use flour for dusting but also ground almonds.

The taste:
Very good! Basic, but good!
It does taste a bit like an omelette - but that's what happens when you use 6 eggs.

Which recipes have been in your family for a long time?

May 20, 2012

20/52 Strawberry Cake

Asparagus and strawberries are really the highlight of the season, I could eat both pretty much every day. (Having said that, I think I should find a baking recipe with asparagus to make next week or the week after that...)

Even better than plain strawberries is strawberry cake. Any kind. Don't you agree?

So without further ado:

Strawberry Cake
Adapted from here

Cake bottom:
75 g  (1/3 cup) butter, room temperature
75 g (1/3 cup + 1 teaspoon) sugar
1 package vanilla sugar (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
2 eggs
125 g (1 cup) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
30 g (1/3 cup) almonds, sliced
2 tablespoons dark chocolate, grated

75 g (2.6 oz) crème fraîche (or sour cream)
150 g (5.3 oz) yoghurt
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
grated lemon zest from 1/2 lemon
1 package "Sahnesteif" (cream stiffener; see comment below)

Strawberry topping:
500 g (1 pound) fresh strawberries
1 package red "Tortenguss" (glaze; see comment below)

  • Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F).
  • Mix all cake bottom ingredients, fill into prepared springform pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool.

  • Mix all ingredients for the cream and spread evenly onto cooled cake bottom.

  • Cut prepared strawberries into half, arrange them (cut side down) on the cream.

  • Cook "Tortenguss"/glaze according to package instructions and pour evenly over strawberries.

My modifications:
The original recipe doesn't ask for any grated chocolate. I only had about 30 g of sliced almonds at home, so I added about 2 tablespoons of grated chocolate to the cake batter.
Sahnesteif and Tortenguss:
I googled "Sahnesteif" and was not really able to find an alternative for those of you not being able to buy these little sachets of cream stiffener. Please leave a comment if you know a good alternative!
Also for those of you who cannot buy the other little sachets of "Tortenguss"/cake glaze or for those of you who would like to make it themselves from scratch, I found a recipe that sounds good but that I haven't tested. I will put it in a separate post soon and link to it here.

The taste:
You can't go wrong with strawberry cake.
I really liked this one because the amount of cream topping is very moderate (if not little, but in a good way) and not heavy at all.
The cake bottom was a little on the dry side but still very good. Maybe I would add a bit more butter next time.
And I definitely thought that the small amount of grated chocolate I put into the batter made it a lot more interesting. Don't leave it out!

Any strawberry (or other berry) recipe suggestions from your side?

May 13, 2012

19/52 Chäswähe

Chäswähe. Looks very strange, right? It's Swiss-German for cheese pie. Savory cheese pie.
Together with onion pie they are very typical Swiss dishes.

I think that a savory pie or quiche is perfect if you have dinner guests but don't want to stand in the kitchen for long while they are there. Make & bake the pie before the guests arrive, toss together a nice salad and there you go - an easy, quick but satisfying dinner.

Oh, and you can eat it hot or cold - both is delicious. I just like it better when it's hot.

Adapted from here

Pie crust:
200 g (1 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) flour
100 g (1/2 cup) butter, cold
1/2 teaspoon salt
70 ml (4 tablespoons) water (or less)

200 ml (0.8 cup) milk
100 ml (0.4 cup) heavy cream
20 g (2 1/2 tablespoons) flour
100 g (0.6 cup) onions
100 g (1 cup) Emmentaler cheese
100 g (1 cup) Gruyère cheese
pepper, salt, nutmeg

  • Knead flour, salt and cold butter together with your hands. Add water little by little and knead until you have a smooth dough. Put into pie pan (I use the ceramic kind) and put many holes into it with a fork. Let cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • In a cooking pan, mix flour with a bit of the milk. When combined without clumps, add remaining milk and cream. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 5 minutes until it starts to thicken. Season to taste with pepper, nutmeg, and salt. Be careful with the salt though because the cheese will bring a lot of saltiness with it. Let cool.
  • Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
  • Cut onions into smaller pieces and add to the milk-cream-sauce.
  • Grate both cheeses and add as well.
  • Pour into crust and bake for 40-45 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting to avoid the cheese from running.

My modifications:

The taste:
It was good. All the guests liked it (or at least they said so).
But it wasn't how I wanted it to be. Having eaten so many slices of Chäswähe (but none of them homemade by me), I have found "my" perfect taste of it. There are millions of different Chäswähe recipes out there, so I was aware that this might not be "it". I will keep searching and will let you know once I found the perfect recipe.

What is your favorite savory pie or quiche?

May 6, 2012

18/52 Oreo Mint Brownies

Oreos. Mint. Two of my mom's favorites. 
Mint Oreos? She loved them when we brought them back from the States but we can't get them here.
Oreo Mint Brownies? Should be an even better combination that has been waiting on one of my Pinterest boards for a while now, to be made when my mom visits.

She did visit last week. And the Oreo Mint Brownies were made. Especially for her.

Oreo Mint Brownies
Adapted from babble

300 ml (1 cup) vegetable oil
480 g (2 cups) sugar 
2 teaspoons vanilla 
4 eggs 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
80 g (2/3 cup) cocoa powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
170 g (1 cup) flour 
25 Mint Oreos (or regular Oreos plus about 10 drops of pure peppermint oil)
100 g (1 cup) mini chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Mix together the oil, sugar, vanilla, eggs, baking powder, salt, and flour until combined well.
  • Spread the Oreos on the bottom of a greased square pan (23x23 cm or 9x9 in). 

  • Pour batter on top of Oreos and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool before cutting and serving.

My modifications:
I doubled the ingredients because the amounts that the original recipe calls for are not enough for the size of the pan.
As suggested above, I used regular Oreos (or rather: German Oreo imitation cookies) and added about 10 drops of pure peppermint oil. You can usually get the oil at pharmacies or drug stores (for colds).

The taste:
They were good. But not the best brownies I ever made. 
The Oreos on the bottom were nice though. Might try that again with a different brownie batter. 
I also think that Oreo crumbles in the batter would probably be nice, but I am sure that's not a new idea. 
Oh, and the texture was very chewy, soft, runny even. Even though that's what I love about brownies, it might have been a bit too much in this case.

What's your favorite brownie recipe? Are they plain or pimped?