A couple of weeks ago, the weather in the Netherlands was really nice. The sun was shining every single day and I could wear all the dresses that had been hiding in my closet since last summer. Because my boyfriends’ father celebrated his birthday, they decided to have a barbecue. Unfortunately, that day the weather was terrible: it was raining and apparently it was as cold as it was on Christmas Day. Since all the preparations had been made and the meat was already marinating in the fridge, they decided to go through with it and we would just have to eat inside. I’m glad we still had the barbecue, because the food was really amazing. No credits for me though, my boyfriends’ brother made most of the food, with a little help of my boyfriend. As a birthday gift to their father, they gave him a huge Iberico ham. It looked really cool and they enjoyed slicing meat of the big leg. We enjoyed some pieces of ham just on their own, but they also got wrapped around some asparagus on the barbecue. Even though the weather wasn’t cooperating, we could still enjoy all the amazing food.
Unfortunately, I didn’t bake these muffins for myself and had to give them all away. But because I wasn’t sure if the muffins were ready when they looked like they were, I naturally had to test one to check the inside. Not only were they ready, they were really delicious – a nice, soft banana cake with a crunchy, sugary topping. The topping is so much better than the, according to me, tasteless buttery icings small cakes usually have. So this is another really good recipe from the Home Made books. I’ll be testing more of them in the summer – I’m already looking forward to cooking my way through all the recipes I’ve bookmarked.
The moment I saw this recipe on SK, I was already subconsciously figuring out when I had time to make this cake. Unfortunately, that moment only arrived this week. Even though the cake looks a bit dense in the pictures, in reality it’s very airy and light. You’ll need to whip the eggs and the sugar till it forms a very airy mixture – which takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on your mixer – and this will make sure the cake will bake into this airy delight. As you might notice when you take a look at my recipe index, I love chocolate. Most of the chocolate cakes I bake are very gooey and fudgy – which I really like – but I hadn’t encountered an airy version. The thing that chocolate cake makes so delicious – for me anyway – is the high amount of melted chocolate incorporated into the batter, but this is also what gives it the fudgy texture. The result of not adding that much chocolate to this cake was that it didn’t have a real chocolate flavour. This was the reason that all my housemates thought it was a nice cake, but while they were eating it they were already naming all the other cakes they liked better. I take this as a compliment for the other cakes, but I don’t think I’ll be making this cake again any time soon.
If I would bake it again, I would serve it with some raspberry sauce or I would add some espresso powder. I think this would maintain the airy texture, but will add some flavour and depth to the cake – which it desperately needs.
By the way, this cake is gluten free!
As you may have noticed I’ve given my blog a little make-over. I wanted to display the pictures bigger and let the food speak for itself. I’ve added a recipe index, which isn’t as extensive as I would like it to be, but I am still working on that. I hope you like the change as much as I do.
Just a quick break as I am studying for my tests – or trying at least. I really have to be studying very hard to finish my bachelor in the next couple of weeks, but the kitchen is asking for my company and the oven wants me to bake things in it. It’s clear that I’d rather be baking and cooking all day than sitting behind my desk studying for tests and writing papers. But no pity party here – only a couple more weeks and then I’ll be free to do whatever I want.
As I’ve mentioned last post, I’m enjoying my catch of cheap raspberries. This time I’ve made delicate, buttery financiers. Unlike the last raspberry cake, these cakes take a bit more care (and eggs and butter – lots of them), but nothing too difficult. There’s a lot of butter is this recipe, but I guess that’s why these little cakes are so damn addictive.
And once again, the cookbook tricks the baker into making more cakes than one should eat so close to the bikini-season. The recipe states that the batter will make 12 muffin-size financiers. But when you take a good look at the pictures, this is obviously not the case. I’ve made 18 muffin-sized ones and 24 mini cake-sized ones. It’s not that you have to worry whether they’ll be eaten, but more if you have strong will power to resist the temptation of eating them one by one.
I scored some cheap raspberries on the farmers market and in the supermarket this week. This probably means that the next couple of posts will be raspberry-related, cause I can’t help myself baking things with these delicate, delicious berries. Any simple, plain cake will turn into something fancy and special when you add raspberries.
This cake is my new go-to cake recipe. The batch is whipped up within minutes and the cake doesn’t even need a half an hour in the oven. The cake is moist and light and you can add anything you can think of to the batter. This time it was raspberries, but next time I’ll add some other fruit or chocolate chips – or both. I also want to try to bake it as an upside-down cake: first placing the fruit into the tin – maybe with some (salted) caramel – and top with the batter.
There is a reason why there aren’t any pre-oven baked or in-the-middle-of-the-cooking-process pictures on this site. First of all, my (student house) kitchen is pretty much always dirty and a mess, but moreover, I get easily distracted and sometimes forget to add ingredients (see also: sour cream cinnamon chocolate chip coffee cake). This time I forgot one of the best things of this cake. Before going into the oven there is some sugar sprinkled on top of the batter, but of course I forgot to do this because I only was thinking about making pictures. The cake was still delicious without it, but if you don’t have my fish-like memory, please add the sugar cause it will give a very nice crunch to the cake (just like with these dark chocolate and raspberry muffins).
The combination of sweet and salty is one I absolutely adore. I can’t seem to find the proper words to describe my love for the tartlet with salted caramel and dark chocolate ganache, the salted pecans in butterscotch pecan ice cream or the sugar-salt crust on top of the Bo Ssäm. The taste is just terribly addictive and whenever there is something sweet and salty, I can’t stop myself from eating it (let’s be honest – when can I?).
Salted caramel is one of the easiest things to make (that is: once you’ve discovered that making caramel is in no way terrifying). You’ll only need to heat up some sugar and a tiny bit of water in a pan and wait till it starts to colour. Don’t whisk it, just move the pan a little bit. When it has the right amber colour you’re looking for, you’re finished. Easy peasy. If you want to make it extra delicious – and who doesn’t want to do this? – add cream. And butter. Cream and butter, the answer to everything (plus chocolate, but not in this case). Stir – from this stage you’re allowed to whisk again – till everything is dissolved and you’ll end up with gooey, silky, creamy, incredibly hot caramel. Of course, don’t forget to add a few pinches of salt (to taste). I’ll be making and enjoying salted caramel until I’m too big to move my ass into the kitchen.
This recipe is different from other ice cream recipes I’m used to making. There are no eggs involved and cornstarch is used to thicken up the custard. I like my ice cream made by both methods, don’t really have a preference. I thought the ice cream would be less silky or decadent without the egg yolks, but I didn’t really notice any big differences – maybe that’s because it was so good that my mind couldn’t think anything else than Oh my, give me more! while eating.