After a walk through the park with my sister, trying to catch a glimpse of the elusive kingfisher (which we obviously didn’t spot today, otherwise I would have shared a photo on here) I made myself a warming lunch: toasted slices of my homemade spelt and flaxseed bread served with butter and maple syrup, and a nice cup of hot carob ‘n cocoa made with almond milk.
Baking… a Piece of Cake
Over the past week I had an enormous surge in followers and received a a few requests to put op more recipes on my blog. Unfortunately I do not have time yet to write the recipes for my previous bakes. Nevertheless, I wanted to give everyone a warm welcome by putting up a new recipe for this gluten free pumpkin and carrot cake. The cake took over 2 hours to bake and I waited patiently until the skewer came out dry. But then I made a schoolboy error: I turned the cake out when it was still too hot. There is no way of telling if the cake would have held together if I had waited any longer, so there won’t be any recipe today. Sorry :(
Brioche à Tête au Chocolat
Riddled with veins of extra dark chocolate and a copious amount of Irish butter, this spelt bread still maintains a light and airy texture thanks to a long proving period. Also: the flaky golden crust is to die for. I’m not sorry.
Cherry Choconut Cake
My dad’s wishes for his birthday cake:
✓ cherries ✓chocolate ✓ nuts
A dark chocolate mousse with pieces of tangy cherry jelly, sandwiched between two layers of coconut dacquoise. The next layer is formed by a vanilla coconut mousse with cherry halves. The cake is finished with a cherry miroir and the sides are decorated with macaron shells. Completely over the top, but very delicious! When my dad asked my grandmother if she liked the cake “is it something?” (a very Dutch understatement) she answered: “this cake is everything”.
Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake
This cake has a base of light hazelnut and chocolate dacquoise, a middle layer of dark chocolate mousse and is topped with a white chocolate and vanilla mousse. I found the chocolate decorations with winter landscapes in a German supermarket: my go-to place to hoard baking products. I made this cake for a birthday but I can picture it would make a great Christmas dessert, served in individual glasses.
I made these cupcakes as a thank you present for the people working at the library who were so kind as to vote for my cupcake - and to lure in new voters. If you like my cupcakes, you can also still vote for me!
Half of the cupcakes are of a spicy pumpkin variety, topped with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting and marzipan decorations. The other half are chocolate chip cupcakes, which feature little ghosts made of an orange mousseline cream enclosed in a white chocolate shell.
Another thank you is in order - to everybody who reads this! I recently hit the 1000 follower mark, which I am very happy about. However, I would never have gotten the attention without the help of Jeannie, better known as our fabulous food editor Goddess of Scrumptiousness.
Brownies with Salted Peanut Caramel Crust
These dense and decadent squares of fudge brownie are made with Belgian chocolate and brown sugar, topped with a crunchy layer of peanut caramel and scattered with sea salt flakes.
Made with vanilla mascarpone, amaretti biscuits and Ramona's leftover chiffon cake, which soaked up the amaretto and espresso liqueur really well.
Festival der Zoete Verleidingen
This week I competed in a cake baking competition at the Festival of Sweet Temptations near my home town. My friend Ramona came over and we spent a whole day in my kitchen pacing frantically in front of the oven, whisking like maniacs and washing up until our hands were sore. At the end of the day we were content with our results. My cake was a chocolate Sacher cake with chocolate mousse, raspberry jam, dark chocolate ganache, fresh raspberries from my garden and chocolate curls and dragonflies. Ramona made a Piña Colada torte out of chiffon cake filled with pineapple and rum, topped with a coconut meringue buttercream and cocktail cherries.
After our cakes had survived the bumpy ride to the festival, we could stall them in a fridge until the judging. Somehow, my dragonflies had turned from orange to pink! Each baker had to leave one piece of cake in the judging tent, and then we marched to another stand to sell our cakes for the benefit of a charity organisation. Even though neither of us won any prizes, selling the cake was good fun and it was a great opportunity to share the love of baking with others. Afterwards, the judges told us they liked our cakes and gave some constructive criticism. It was a lovely experience and I would happily participate in a baking event again.
Inspired by the bicycle race Le Tour de France I created the ultimate cycling-themed pastry. The ring on the bottom is a traditional cake called Paris-Brest, which was created in honour of the namesake French bicycle race and is shaped like a wheel. It is filled with a mocha-praline cream and has sliced almonds on top. I recreated the notorious Mont Ventoux by making an equally hazardous croquembouche out of choux pastries with a crème Suisse filling (two parts pastry cream and one part whipped cream). I decorated the cake with a cloud of caramel, icing sugar for snow and chocolate cyclists. Best enjoyed with a Queen song on the background.
Raspberry Chocolate Dream
As a child I would borrow cookbooks from the library simply to marvel at the pictures and the recipes. I fondly remember a book by Angela Wilkes which featured a sundae dessert called frambozendroom. Just looking at the photo of the chocolate ice cream with the velvety raspberry sauce was satisfying.
Even though I never tasted the ice cream, I felt inspired by the memory of the raspberry dream to combine a rich chocolate mousse with the tanginess of raspberry. Since we have raspberries galore in our garden, I decided to create my own raspberry dream cake for for my grandfather’s 92nd birthday.
The cake consists of three layers of Sacher sponge and is filled with homemade raspberry jam and a pâte à bombe based chocolate mousse. The marshmallow topping is made with Italian meringue and raspberry coulis.