September 30, 2012

39/52 Apple-Chocolate-Cake

I didn't tell you but we were off to Croatia last week. My husband's birthday was celebrated loudly with the Croatian part of his family and a Cappuccino layer cake was baked for him by one of his cousins.

Coming back home and facing the first day of work again, I had to bake something that the hubby could take to work for a belated birthday celebration there.

We had apples, chocolate, and the basic cake ingredients at home. So what would have made more sense than trying a recipe that combines everything I had at hand?

Adapted from Chefkoch

3 apples 
2 tablespoons lemon juice 
1 tablespoon honey 
190 g (6.7 oz) butter, soft 
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar 
3 eggs 
120 g (4.2 oz) dark chocolate 
250 g (2 cups) flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
200 ml (7/8 cup) heavy cream 
powdered sugar for dusting 
  • Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). 
  • Peel apples, remove core, and cut into slices. Mix lemon juice, honey, and a bit of water and marinate apples while preparing the cake batter.
  • Beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. 
  • Melt chocolate over hot water (or in microwave) and add to butter mix. 
  • Combine flour and baking powder and mix into batter, alternating with heavy cream. 
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and arrange apple slices on top, pushing them a little into the batter. 
  • Bake for 45 minutes, covering with baking parchment after 30 minutes. 
My modifications: 
I used only 3 instead of 4 apples. 
And less butter (190 g instead of 250 g), more chocolate (120 g instead of 100 g), and more cream (200 ml instead of 150 ml). 
And I baked it for only 45 minutes instead of 60 minutes. 

The taste: 
I don't know! 
My hubby took the whole cake to work and didn't bring back a single crumb... I guess that's a good sign though. He said that everybody liked it but he thought it was a bit on the dry side. It just seems to be my luck with chocolate cake lately.

Is there anything you baked but didn't even eat/try for yourself?

September 23, 2012

38/52 Pumpkin-Apple-Pizza

I recently reveiced this recipe for a Pumpkin Tarte Flambée in my inbox and immediately wanted to try it.
Reading through it again to prepare my shopping list, I didn't really feel like it anymore. Mostly due to laziness (having to roll out the dough really thin just kind of put me off...).
So I started looking for similar recipes, also Pumpkin Pizzas, and just created my own mix of them all.


Feeds 4

1 ready-made pizza dough
3 tablespoons sour cream salt & pepper
marjoram (or other herbs)
2 tablespoons parmesan, grated
1 onion, sliced
400 g (14 oz) pumpkin (or squash - I used butternut), peeled & thinly sliced
2 small apples, peeled & thinly sliced
100 g (3.5 oz) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled

  • Preheat oven to 220°C (430°F) (or according to package instructions). Put pizza dough on baking sheet. 
  • Season sour cream with salt & pepper and herb of your choice (I used dried marjoram) and spread evenly on dough. 
  • Sprinkle parmesan evenly over sour cream. 
  • First arrange onion slices, then pumpkin slices, then apple slices on sour cream-parmesan. 
  • Crumble feta over it and bake for about 30 minutes (or however long your pumpkin and dough need). Serve with (green) salad.

My modifications: 
None, since this is my own creation.
If you like meat, you could modify it by adding bacon pieces. I'm sure that would be nice as well.

The taste: 
Like autumn... Like more...

What is your favorite autumn (baking) recipe?

September 16, 2012

37/52 Skinny Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones

Another recipe that has been waiting to be tried for a loooong time.

Excuse me for being a bit short-spoken this week and just presenting you the recipe.

Skinny Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones
Adapted from Skinny Taste

Makes 12 scones

200 ml (3/4 cup) buttermilk
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
250 g (2 cups) flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
120 g (3/4 cup) chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, sugar, vanilla extract, and egg.
  • In a big bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in cold butter and cut mix with knife until it resembles coarse meal. Fold in chocolate chips. Add buttermilk mix and stir until just moist.
  • Form dough into a 23 cm (9 in) circle and place on a baking sheet. Cut dough into 12 wedges.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden. Best eaten when still warm.

My modifications:
I only used all purpose flour, not half all purpose, half white whole weat flour.
I also did not brush the scones with an egg white and sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar over it before baking. Embarrassingly enough, I just totally forgot...
My dough was a bit on the wet side so I couldn't knead it or form it with my hands, but that wasn't a problem. I also could not really cut the slices before baking, which also did not turn out as a problem.

The taste:
Very good! Nice with a cup of tea (or whatever else you feel like drinking with it...). Definitely tastes better when still a bit warm and just out of the oven.

Any "skinny" baking recipes you would like to share? Please do!

September 9, 2012

36/52 Plum Tart

It's plum season! Yay!

And because I was on a short vacation last week and don't want to ruin my relaxed mood yet (it will be ruined tomorrow - Monday - anyway), let's bake something really quick and easy but delicious, of course. That's when we come back to the opening exclamation of this post:

It's plum season! Yay!

Plum Tart

2 tablespoons almonds
1 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 sheet puff pastry (thawed if frozen)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk (or heavy cream)
10 plums, pitted and cut into thin slices
3 tablespoons apricot jam, heated until loose

  • Pulse almonds, sugar and flour in food processor until ground finely.
  • Roll out puff pastry on baking parchment (if not already on it) and make a small border on all sides by folding a bit of the pastry dough inwards.
  • Preheat oven to 200°C (390°F) (or according to pastry instructions).
  • Whisk together egg and milk and brush pastry with it, putting a bit more on the borders. Sprinkle almond mix over center of pastry. Evenly place plum slices in rows on pastry.
  • Bake until edges are golden brown (mine needed 20 minutes but please check your pastry instructions). Brush plums with warm jam and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
(before & after baking)
My modifications:
The original recipe sprinkles one additional tablespoon sugar over the plums before baking. I didn't feel this necessary and did not miss it at all.
I used milk instead of heavy cream for the egg mix to brush on and I brushed it on the whole pastry, not just the borders because I didn't want to waste that much of it.
The original recipe uses frozen pastry that is thawed, then suggests to freeze it for 30 minutes after rolling it out and for another 30 minutes after arranging the plums on it. I used cooled (but not frozen) pastry and did not see the need for any in-between freezing (and the results proved me right). I also only needed 20 minutes of baking at 200°C (390°F) compared to the original 40 minutes at 190°C (375°F). I can only assume that American puff pastry and German puff pastry are different (maybe also in size?), so I suggest that you just read the instructions of your pastry package. This should be the safest bet for finding the correct baking temperature and time.
Oh, and I used low-fat puff pastry. Still very good with a bit less calories from fat.

The taste: 
Heavenly! I want to make it again tomorrow. And the day after. And every single day after that. And maybe with tomatoes.
And it really is so simple! Please do try it right away - you won't be sorry!

What's your favorite puff pastry recipe? Sweet or savory?

September 2, 2012

35/52 Basic Chocolate Cake

Basic. Simple. Straightforward. Well-proven. 
Sometimes, those things are the best, right?

My husband wished for a simple chocolate cake this week. With chocolate glazing.
Like mothers used to bake for birthday parties when we were little.

Believe it or not, it took me a while to find a suitable recipe. Most chocolate cake recipes I have on my "to bake"-list are special or fancy in some way or the other. So in the end I turned to my Basic Baking book. After all, where would I find a basic chocolate cake recipe if not in there? And I was right. So here it is.

Oh, and the funny thing is: when walking into our apartment after the cake was done, it totally smelled like it used to smell the night before my birthday. I was instantly brought back to my childhood and that excited feeling right before turning one year older. Don't you wish you still had that? (Or maybe you still do...) But that alone was worth baking this cake...

Basic Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Basic Baking

150 g (5.3 oz) dark chocolate
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
200 g (1 3/4 sticks) butter, room temperature
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
pinch of salt
4 eggs
500 g (4 cups) flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
200 ml (7/8 cup) milk, room temperature
  • Finely grate the chocolate and mix with cocoa powder.
  • Mix butter with sugar and salt until creamy and light. Add eggs one at a time.
  • Combine flour with chocolate and baking powder. Add to butter-mix, alternating with milk.
  • Pour into prepared (loaf) baking pan. Bake in preheated oven at 180°C (355°F) for 60 minutes.
  • Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes, take out and let cool completely.
  • Cover with chocolate glazing if you wish.

My modifications:
I melted the chocolate for the dough instead of just grating it.

The taste:
Like a basic chocolate cake. A tiny bit old-fashioned. And a tiny bit boring. But in a good way.

What cake or smell brings back memories from your childhood?