memories ...

memories ...

vrijdag 19 juni 2015

Red and green cupcakes

There was a little get-together planned with three of my friends and for the occasion I offered to make some treats. I decided to make thumbprint cookies (next post I'll talk about that) and some vanilla cupcakes. 

To decorate I used the fondant icing that I'd been given by the same friends with the explicit message to make them some cupcakes. Well, they got what they asked for! ;)

Ingredients for 12 well sized cupcakes (you can make them smaller and distribute the batter in 15 cupcake liners also!):
- 225 grams sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 113 grams butter
- 3 eggs
- 150 grams Greek yogurt/cottage cheese/curd cheese/milk
- 140 grams flour (or 190 grams flour and vanilla extract = instead of using pudding powder)
- 50 grams instant vanilla pudding powder
- 300 grams fondant icing (in two colours: I used red and green of Dr. Oetker)

How to:
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Cream the butter and the sugar with an electric mixer. When combined and creamy, add the eggs one at the time and keep on mixing. Then add the yogurt.
Add the salt, the flour and the pudding powder or vanilla extract. Mix well.
Line a baking tray for 12-15 cupcake. Divide the batter over the cupcake liners.

Put the tray in the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes. Check the cupcakes before taking out of the oven.
Leave the cupcakes to cool before decorating.

For decoration, divide the icing into 12 small balls. Roll each of the balls of icing out until a thin and round sheet (1-2 mm thickness) is formed. When too thick, the icing is too present on the cupcake and the taste will dominate the taste of the cupcake. With a cookie cutter (any shape), cut a shape out of each rolled out ball. Now you can interchange the cut-out shapes of the red and green sheets of icing.
Cover the cupcakes one by one and enjoy!


vrijdag 12 juni 2015

Strawberry tart

Strawberry time is a beautiful time. We normally just eat the strawberries like they are or on top of some ice cream. But today I wanted to use them for a fruit tart. 

It's a recipe that can be used for just any kind of fruit topping. But when the strawberries are abundant there's no better way to decorate the tart than with the bright red berries.

My dad is usually the one making these kinds of tarts here at home. He uses puff pastry in his but as I am not a big fan of puff pastry, I decided to go on a different route and used a shortbread crust. Crunchy, sweet and nicely shaped to hold the vanilla cream and the fruit.
For the filling, I used pastry cream. You can also use plain vanilla pudding (freshly made), and that will make it less heavy on the stomach (as it will not contain the eggs). The pastry cream is just a touch more luxurious and therefore our way to go. To decorate you can use strawberry jam to get that shiny layer on top but this is not obligatory in any way. You can also put on some whipped cream or use some powdered sugar to sprinkle on top of the tart. 

Ingredients for the crust:
- 85 grams sugar
- 155 grams plain flour

- 1 egg yolk
- 115 grams butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- (optional) vanilla extract
Ingredients for the pastry cream:
- 1/2 l milk
- 2 eggs
- 50 grams of instant vanilla pudding powder
- 4 tablespoons of sugar
Ingredients to decorate:
- 200-250 grams fresh strawberries
- (optional) 3-4 tablespoons strawberry jam

How to:
First make the crust. Mix the dry ingredients and then add all the other ingredients. By hand or with an electric mixer, combine everything until the dough comes together in a big ball. Put the dough in a mall bowl and put away in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Butter and flour a tart pan (I used a silicone one of about 28 cm in diameter so I didn't need to grease it at all - easy!).
Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out. Put the dough in the pan and press well so that all the sides are evenly covered. I pressed the extra dough in with the rest but you can also make a few cookies with it.
Put it in the oven for about 30-45 minutes but check regularly. When the dough is golden brown and feels firm to the touch, it's ready. When ready, take out of the oven and let cool.

In the meanwhile, make the pastry cream:
Beat the eggs, the vanilla pudding powder and the sugar with an electric mixer until frothy and slightly whitish-yellow.
Heat the milk until just boiling. Take the pot of milk off the fire. Pour the egg mixture in the milk and mix thoroughly. Then put the pot back on the fire and let cook for a minute so that the cream can cook a little.
Take the pot off the fire and let cool up to room temperature. Regularly stir it to prevent lumps forming or a skin on top.

When the crust had time to cool off, take it out of the pan and you're ready to decorate:

Spread the cream in the crust. Slice the strawberries and cover the cream with the berries all over.

Heat the strawberry jam slightly until it's pourable and brush the tart all over the top with the jam to obtain a shiny layer on top.


dinsdag 2 juni 2015

Orange and chocolate cake or Jaffa cake

Who doesn't know Jaffa cakes?

Jaffa cakes are (according to Wikipedia):
'... biscuit sized cakes introduced by McVitie and Price in the UK in 1927 and named after Jaffa oranges. The most common Jaffa cakes are circular, 2 and a half inches (64 mm) in diameter and have three layers: a Genoise sponge base, a layer of orange flavoured jelly and a coating of chocolate.'

In our house they never last long. My sister can eat a whole package of 16 Jaffas in a day and that all by herself. It's a wonderful flavour combination of course: orange and chocolate just go together very well.  

I decided to make Jaffa cake. Not the regular prepackaged Jaffa cakes but one real cake with an orange jam filling and a chocolate coating. The flavours are there but it's more of a filling dessert than the thin Jaffas. I bet only one piece is needed instead op 16 to still the craving :p

just underneath the chocolate, you'll find a thin layer
of orange, just like in the Jaffa cakes

For the cake, I made sort of a pound cake with Greek yoghurt. It would be great in a bundt pan but as I don't have one myself at the moment, I made it with a regular rectangular cake pan. Feel free to use whatever you want.

In my batter, I forgot to put salt. It didn't make it less good but it's better to add salt. Salt is an enhancer of anything sweet.
I also put a little orange zest to the batter which is totally optional as well.

The cake turned out very good. The cake is moist in the middle and the chocolate covers the crusty outer layer.

Ingredients for 10 slices:
- 280 grams plain flour (or 230 grams flour and 50 grams (1 package) of instant vanilla pudding powder like I did)
- 1 package of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 300 grams sugar
- 225 grams butter
- 3 large eggs
150 grams Greek yogurt
- optional: orange zest (half a teaspoon is sufficient)
- 100 grams orange marmelade
- 150-200 grams plain chocolate

How to:
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Butter and flour a cake pan (bundt pan or rectangular shaped pan works best).
Mix the flour (and the pudding powder), the salt and the baking powder together.
Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy by hand or using a mixer.
Beat in the eggs one after the other. When incorporated, add in the yoghurt. Mix very well.
Beat in the flour mixture gradually. Don't over mix but make sure all the ingredients are well combined.
Spread a little more than half the batter in the cake pan. Make sure the layer is evened out.
Spread the marmelade on top of the batter, making sure the marmelade doesn't touch the sides of the pan because otherwise it'll be a sticky business to get the cake out of the pan after baking.
Cover the marmelade layer with the rest of the batter. It's easier if you first fill the edges around the marmelade layer and then cover the top.
Put the cake in the oven for about 1 hour or until risen, golden brown and the top springs back when lightly touched.
Take out of the oven, let cool completely and take out of the pan.

Melt the chocolate and spread it over the cake on all sides.
You can use a brush to make this easier.

Let the chocolate layer dry and serve.

P.S.: Note that I didn't wait for the chocolate to set ... the result a slightly less  appealing (read: messy) piece of cake but as we like to say 'looks are deceiving, it's the inside (the taste) that counts!' :)