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Chocolate Souffle Cheesecake for Friday the 13th (and against burnt Brussels sprouts)

13 Feb

Today, I had five reasons to bake a cake:

Reasons 1 – 3: Chocolate. Souffle. Cheesecake.

Reason 4: It’s Friday the 13th! Yay!

Reason 5: Yesterday, I managed to burn Brussels sprouts. I was seriously distracted for a moment or two, and only noticed what had happened when it was already a bit of a catastrophe… The smell is HIDEOUS. Capital HID, capital EEE-OUS.

And it’s two more things: pervasive and tenacious. Every corner of our home still smells of it. And there’s only so much you can do with opening the windows wide. So I had to bake a cake in order for a new smell to cover the burnt Brussels sprouts.*

Chocolate Souffle Cheesecake
This is where I got the recipe from: Sweet & Savory by Shinee – I read it the other day and was instantly intrigued, even though I deeply disapprove of the “holiday” mentioned in the text… But then, I have my own occasions for which I bake cakes! To each her own, I say.

Anyway. Intrigued. Yes, I was. Three ingedients? Sounds interesting. Three ingredients, all of which my man loves? Sounds fascinating. (Although he will be disappointed by the lack of butter… ;)

There was a typo in Shinee’s instructions though. When she wrote, “Dust some powdered sugar, if desired” she forgot to add “in the shape of a skull”!

Chocolate Souffle Cheesecake
Yes, my cake collapsed and cracked a little… If The Man likes the taste and texture, I will have to have another go some time and try and do better…

In other news, don’t you just love my pretty new cake stand!? We’ve spared no expense, as John Hammond would say: that’s € 1 truly well spent!

Pretty Cake Stand
* By the way, this has not worked. Rather than cover it, the new smell ganged up with the old one and together they turned into a mutant monster smell out to destroy humankind…

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The answer to life, the universe and everything: lime & white chocolate shortbread

21 Jul

 

lime & white chocolate shortbread

 

Last weekend, it was the most specialest (!) birthday of the year, and this year was even more specialer than usual! :D

How exciting is turning 42!?

Well, I wouldn’t know. But my partner’s 42nd birthday was pretty exciting, I can tell you!

Exciting enough to come up with a new recipe:

lime & white chocolate shortbread!

I think it’s the best summer biscuit ever. I looove the limey freshness.

 

And this is how it’s done:

Lime & White Chocolate Shortbread Biscuits

Ingredients
250 g flour
70 g sugar
125 g butter
1 egg
1 pinch salt
zest of 2 limes
200 g white chocolate

Method
Cute the butter into small pieces. Lightly beat the egg with a fork or other weapon of choice. Sift the flour with the sugar, then rub in the butter. Rub thoroughly. Add the egg, salt and zest of 1 lime and work it all into one nice dough. Cover with cling film and chill for a bit. Roll out and cut out in beautiful 4s and 2s and hearts.
Bake at 170° C for about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.
Decorate the shortbread biscuits with the chocolate and the zest of the second lime. It helps if you melt the chocolate first.

Rhubarb & Cinnamon Easter Bunny Muffins

15 Apr

rhubarb-cinnamon-bunny-muffins

 

It’s internationally recognised office etiquette that, when your employer gives you rhubarb a week before Easter, you bake rhubarb & cinnamon bunny muffins for your workmates!

My employer gave me rhubarb? What?

In the office where I work as a temp, they get a delivery of mixed (organic!) fruit every week for everyboy, which I think is awesome and a really nice (and not that expensive) way of keeping your employees healthy and happy. And this week, the fruit box contained rhubarb. Not something most people like to nibble on in the office.

So I got to take the rhubarb home with me.

I used it to make a lovely carrot & rhubarb jerk curry for myself — and rhubarb & cinnamon Easter bunny muffins for the office.

The bunnies are cut out from printed cardboard and glued onto toothpicks, quite easy to make but I think they do look cute. (Easy to make, that is, when you’re good at cutting out things. For me, the process involved quite a bit of cursing and swearing as usual.)

 

muffin bunnies

Bunny parade!

 

I really, really like these muffins. I like the rhubarb mixed into the batter better than, say, tray bake with rhubarb on top.

But that’s just my personal taste. Which we all know is a bit special. ;)

 

 Rhubarb & Cinnamon Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients
400 g rhubarb
100 g + 4 tbsp brown sugar
300 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
200 ml milk
100 g butter

Method
Cut the rhubarb into small pieces, mix it with 4 tbsp brown sugar, put it all into a small casserole dish or something similar and bake it in the oven at 200° C for 10 minutes. Then strain and let cool.
In the meantime, combine the rest of the sugar with the other dry ingredients.
Beat the eggs. Melt the butter. Combine eggs, butter and milk. Stir in the dry ingredients, then add the rhubarb pieces. No need for an electric whisk here; use a wooden spoon and do not overmix. Then off into muffin moulds the batter goes. Bake at 200° C for 25 to 30 minutes.
Add Easter bunnies. Give to workmates. Receive happy faces!

 

Vegan Hazelnut Cake

9 Mar

vegan hazelnut cake

Dear Reader, don’t judge a cake by its blog photo. Once again, I have failed to take a decent picture of a decent cake!

Also: the things you do for people you like! Last night, I cooked a three-course vegan meal for six people. (Out of which only two are actually vegan but … you know what it’s like. A chain is always only as good as its weakest link.) NO, I did not say that!

What I meant was: I love a challenge, as you know. So why not make a vegan meal. Also, there was some fried chicken for my devout carnivore friends to add to the vegan main course (because I like them. And I like undermining things like that.) But I chose the all-vegan option and the meal was lovely in my humble opinion.

The first two courses were Indian; I served a garam masala salad with mangoes as a starter, and then there was a Jalfreezi chickpea curry with two kinds of rice (turmeric and coconut & spring onion). I really liked it and none of my friends left to get pizza, so I’m guessing they liked it well enough as well.

For dessert, I baked a cake! Now there’s a surprise.

I used this recipe [Language warning: German] and followed the instructions almost to a t. I didn’t like that, because following instructions goes against my nature as you know. But sometimes you just have to suck it up. And be a grown-up about it. (And make plans for all the things you are going to do differently just because you can the next time!)

So, here’s my recipe, a minor variation. The cake was hazelnutty and chocolatey and really moist and yum. I highly recommend it, to vegans and non-vegans alike. We’re all equal in the eyes of cake.

Vegan Hazelnut Cake Recipe

Ingredients
250 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
250 g ground hazelnuts (+ extra)
2 tbsp cocoa
180 g icing sugar
120 g margarine (+ extra)
½ l soy milk
plum, almond & rum jam*
200 g dark chocolate (I bought the kind for which you have to pay extra because they print “vegan” on the packaging, just to be safe)
2 tbsp oil
chopped hazelnuts

Method
Combine the flour, baking powder, ground hazelnuts and cocoa. Even better: make your non-baking boyfriend do it and watch him complain that that’s not as easy as he thought it was. Give him a smug look. (The cake will more than make up for the damage you have just done to your relationship. Unless he’s a non-cake-eating person. In which case he is not a real human and you should not be with him anyway.)
In a separate bowl, beat margarine and icing sugar until fluffy, then add the dry ingredients and the soy milk. Give it all a good stir.
Grease a 26 cm cake mould with margarine and spread some ground hazelnuts to cover the surface. Pour in your cake batter.
Bake the cake at 180°C for about 50 minutes.
Remove from oven, let cool a little bit, then spread jam on top. Let cool some more, then spread ground hazelnuts on top of the jam. Now flip the cake onto a plate and remove the cake mould. Spread some more jam on what’s now the top of your cake. Let the cake cool completey.
In a bain-marie melt the cocolate. Stir in the oil and cover the cake with your chocolate coating. Use chopped hazelnuts for decoration purposes.

* A note on jam. I think you could use any good (= home-made!) jam for this cake. My own home-made jams, when including rum, tend to be quite on the rummy side, and I thought that added a nice note to the cake.

Half-Birthday Cake

18 Jan

I’ve baked a Half-Birthday Cake! Because I can! Half-Birthday Cake

No time to write much; I reckon you can guess the occasion for the cake. This is the recipe I used for this small cake, and I added one peeled and chopped pear to the batter.

Kthxbai!

Breakfast muffins with apples and raisins

4 Mar

 

You should know by now that I am a very versatile woman. I don’t just throw dinner parties, I also throw breakfast parties. Rock’n’Roll! :)

So I had friends round for a nice big breakfast including Vietnamese weasel coffee (Seriously yum!) and a little something  I couldn’t resist to bake:

Breakfast Muffin with apple and raisins

Breakfast Muffin with apple and raisins

The photo is not overwhelming, and neither is there any baked gore. Hope you’re not too disappointed. (The time will come again!)

I have promised to blog more, and I think this is a very nice recipe if you want to bake for a small crowd and if you have little time and/or a students’ kitchen, i.e. one without good scales or an electric mixer. Hence this post!

Breakfast Muffins with Apple and Raisins

Ingredients (makes six muffins)
1/2 big apple
4 tbsp raisins
5 tbsp milk
1 dash ground cinnamon
4 tbsp sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp Golden syrup
5 tbsp oil
6 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 – 4 tbsp rolled oats
1 tbsp sour cream

Method
Peel, core and grate half a big apple. Mix the grated apple with the raisins, the cinnamon and the milk. Look at the contents of your bowl and think to yourself that this looks waaaay too healthy. Therefore, set this one aside, take a new bowl and start with the sugar. Mix it with the egg and the Golden syrup. Marvel at the sugary goodness in your bowl. You may want to add the oil at this stage as well to compensate for all the fruity and oaty healthiness you are having to deal with for these muffins. Then add all the rest of the ingredients on your list. Stir well. Finally, add the apple-raising-milk mixture and give your muffin batter one last stir. You don’t need a hand mixer for this, just use your big wooden spoon and your manly man muscles. :)
Fill the batter into 6 holes of your muffin tin, which you have previously lined with muffin liners. (Don’t you just hate it when they do this in recipes? Can’t they just tell you the steps in their correct chronological order!?) Bake at 175°C for roughly 25 minutes. Nom.

Strawberry fromage frais white chocolate fairy cakes

10 Jul

Strawberry fromage frais white chocolate fairy cakes

This morning, I felt like baking fairy cakes. Stranger things have happened, I guess. :)

What’s slightly less unexcitingly usual is that I feel like writing down the recipe for you!

Strawberry fromage frais muffins

Ingredients (makes 12)
250 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
150 g fromage frais
125 ml milk
90 g butter
120 g sugar
1 pinch salt
170 g strawberries

Method
Chop the strawberries into small pieces. Mix all the other ingredients together until well combined. Then stir in the strawberries. Grease or line a muffin tin, fill with the mixture. Bake at 180°C fan for about 30 minutes.
Let cool, then eat plain. Make another batch. Let cool, ice with sugar icing and eat them all. Make another batch and add the white chocolate cream cheese topping:

White chocolate cream cheese topping

Ingredients
100 g white chocolate
7 g butter
2 tsp vanilla sugar (alternatively, use regular sugar + a drop of vanilla essence)
100 g cream cheese

Method
Melt the chocolate together with the butter, then stir in the vanilla sugar (or vanilla and sugar). Beat in the cream cheese one teaspoonful at a time. Let cool to room temperature, then pipe onto your cakes.
Sprinkle your fairy cakes with pink glitter sugar, especially when making for men. They’ll love it. :)