August 25, 2013

34*52 Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Sometimes life really doesn't have to be complicated.
No wait - sometimes it really shouldn't be complicated. You know what I mean?

So right now is the time for uncomplicated. And this recipe sounded like it would fit.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
Adapted from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott via Orangette

420 g (3 cups) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
226 g (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
226 g (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
420 g (2 1/2 cups) sugar
6 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Beat butter and cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to beat for about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.
  • On low speed, add the flour mix in three batches, beating only until flour is just blended.
  • Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  • Bake for 55-60 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before removing from the pan.
My modifications:
None, except for the amount of sugar. The original recipe calls for 600 g (3 cups) of sugar. Wow! To me that just sounds like waaaaay too much. So I reduced it to 2 1/2 cups which should be 500 g according to conversion charts but actually only was 420 g on my kitchen scale. 

The taste:
Like the recipe reads - uncomplicated (in a good way). Very moist and spongy but still way too sweet. And I am a sweet person (and I'm talking about taste here...). So if I make this again, I will probably reduce the sugar to 1 1/2 cups.

What's your most uncomplicated cake recipe? 

August 18, 2013

33*52 Zucchini, Quinoa & Goat Cheese Tart

I really needed some savory baking again and this delicious-sounding recipe had been waiting on Pinterest for a while now...

And have I talked about quinoa here before? I don't think so.
Well, there's actually not much to say except: I absolutely love it (and it is really good for you).

So after a very long intro last week, let's make this short & sweet (this time not literally though):

Zucchini, Quinoa & Goat Cheese Tart

200 g (1 1/4 cup + tablespoon) flour
50 g (1/4 cup) quinoa, rinsed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
125 ml (1/2 cup) cold water

50 g (1/4 cup) quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 medium zucchini, grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 spring onions or 1 small onion, finely chopped
a handful of dried tomatoes, cut into small stripes
3 eggs
60 g (2 oz) creme fraiche or heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
60 g (2 oz) goat cheese, crumbled or diced

  • Cook all quinoa (for the crust and for the filling). Make the crust with half of the cooked quinoa: combine all ingredients using your food processor or your hands until you have a smooth dough. Transfer the dough to your tart pan (round or square, about 23 cm/9 in) and distribute evenly using your hands. (If you insist on using a rolling pin, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes before rolling it out.) Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). Blind bake crust for 20 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment paper and bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool while still keeping the oven on but reduce the heat to 180°C (360°F).
  • For the filling, place the grated zucchini in a bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Transfer to a colander and let strain for about 15 minutes.
  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the zucchini and onion, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the other half of the cooked quinoa. Remove from heat, add dried tomatoes, and set aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk together eggs, creme fraiche, 1 teaspoon salt, lemon zest, and pepper. Spread zucchini over crust, pour egg-mix over it, top with goat cheese.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.

My modifications:
The original crust recipe uses a mix of different gluten-free flours. I just used regular flour because I didn't have those other flours at home, plus I don't need it to be gluten-free. I just thought I would give the cooked quinoa a try in the crust as well.
I didn't have any spring onions at hand so I used a regular onion.
I added the dried tomatoes to give it a bit more flavor.
I had the goat cheese at home that you can't crumble (the one that's a bit more solid and comes in a roll), so I just diced it. It does have a different flavor to the one that you can crumble (which is a bit more like cream cheese) but I still like it a lot.

The taste:
Very good! I just love the nutty taste of the quinoa and it is a perfect combination with the other ingredients. A great lunch or dinner option for summer and fall. You can serve it as it is or with a bit of (tomato) salad and grilled sausage for the carnivores.

Do you have a favorite savory baked summer dish?

August 11, 2013

32*52 Frosted White Chocolate-Blackcurrent-Lemon Blondies

My friend Simone was coming to visit us this weekend and - not only because it was just her birthday but also because I'm nice like that - I asked her what I should bake for her. She couldn't think of anything specific so I let her choose from type of baked good (cake, muffins, cookies, cupcakes, layer cake...) and flavor (chocolate, fruit, cheese...).
She chose "cake" and "fruit".

Nothing came to my mind right away either so I turned to my Pinterest board with baking recipes.

For some reason, all lemony cakes caught my eye.
But especially this recipe for Blueberry Lemon Brownies.

Now. I have never made blondies before, always just brownies. But for some reason, the total lack of chocolate in the dough, plus the general amount of ingredients just didn't scream "brownie" nor "blondie". Maybe I'm wrong (and I apologize if I am) but I wanted more.

So with the idea of blueberries and lemon combined in a blondie, I searched for a basic recipe that sounded like a white brownie (which is exactly what blondie means to me): moist and chocolatey. And then I found this recipe.

Blueberries turned into blackcurrant, because that was all I could get at the store.
Let's see how my combination works out.

Oh, so you think it is tricky to experiment if you bake for a visitor?
Well, thanks for reminding me. I don't feel the pressure at all...

Frosted White Chocolate-Blackcurrent-Lemon Blondies
Adapted from Katy's Lazy Blondies

100 g white chocolate
100 g butter
200 g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
110 g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
300 g blackcurrant

Adapted from this recipe
60 g (2 oz) white chocolate
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
100 g (3/4 cup) powdered sugar
120 g (4 oz) cream cheese
zest of 1 lemon
  • Melt white chocolate and butter. 
  • Beat together sugar and eggs. Add lemon zest and juice.
  • Add chocolate-butter mix and combine. 
  • Add flour and baking powder and stir until just combined.
  • Pour into prepared square brownie baking tin. Spread blackcurrant evenly on top.
  • Bake at 180°C (360°F) for 20-30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.
  • For the frosting, melt white chocolate with heavy cream and butter.
  • Mix powdered sugar, cream cheese and lemon zest. Add chocolate-butter mix and stir until well combined. Frost blondies and cool.
My modifications:
Almost everything, as explained above.
The best part though was that I couldn't get those blueberries - it was so yummy with the blackcurrants! Definitely give it a try if you can.

The taste:
Very good. Not very lemony but that doesn't matter because all the other flavors are so wonderful. Very compact and moist, not very high, more like a blondie bar. But good.

Have you ever tried a completely new combination of something for guests? 
How did it turn out?

August 4, 2013

31*52 Snickerdoodles

These weren't planned.

I had a recipe for this week in mind for quite a while now but then I bought this book (on sale) and saw these quick and easy cookies. And I needed quick and easy today.

From Backen. I love baking. by Cynthia Barcomi

385 g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

250 g butter, room temperature
300 g sugar
2 eggs

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 185°C (365°F).
  • Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and continue to beat until well combined.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add to the butter mixture and fold in with a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined to a dough.
  • Combine sugar and cinnamon.
  • Using a teaspoon, roll balls of dough between your palms and roll in sugar-cinnamon until they are covered evenly. Place on a prepared cookie sheet, leave 6 cm (2.5 in) between them and don't flatten. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.
My modifications:

The taste:
Yummy. Basic but very addictive.

What are your favorite recipes from the category "quick & easy"?