Persian Love Cake for Valentine’s Day

 

 

I have been looking for inspiration for something special for Valentine’s day, although this particular day doesn’t mean too much for us. It is a custom which we were not familiar with where we grew up, and only appeared later in our life, therefor there is nothing too special about it for us. But! It is a very good opportunity for baking something a little more special, more glamorous. I have been searching for something new, something different, and came across several time with the Persian Love Cake, but the more cakes, the more varieties on the same subject, and different interpretations each time. Which one to chose, which one is the authentic recipe, I’ll never know. I chose to follow (more or less…) a recipe from Twigg Studios blog, and the looks (the layout of the cake and decoration idea) from The Hungry Australian, and that’s how my version of the Persian Love Cake came to life.
Apparently, there is also a love story behind this cake, although searching a bit deeper I found out, that none of it is true, and that Persian people don’t know anything about it.
dsc_9689
dsc_9701
Ingredients:
250 ml plain yogurt
1 tsp baking powder
6 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
2 and 1/4 cup ground almond
6 cardamom pods
2 Tbsp rose water
6 Tbsp chopped pistachios
pinch of saffron strands
100 ml almond milk
zest from 1 lemon
Icing:
150 ml double cream
50 g white chocolate
Syrup:
zest and juice of one lemon
100 g caster sugar
2 cardamom pods
1/2 cup water
Decoration:
food grade dry rosebuds
dsc_9705
dsc_9710
dsc_9719
Method:
Preheat the oven.
Peel the cardamon pods open and remove the seeds, crush with a pestle and mortar. Add the saffron strands to the milk and warm in the microwave. In another bowl beat the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy, then stir in the yogurt. Add the ground almonds and baking powder, then add the ground cardamom, lemon zest and chopped pistachios. Add the rosewater to the milk and saffron mixture and stir into the cake batter.
I didn’t have rose water at home, so I put a few dry rosebuds in a cup and poured half cup of boiling hot water on them and left covered for about 10 minutes. It smelled wonderful, but with a much lighter rose taste, which I personally prefer better than the strong rose water.
Pour the cake mixture in the previously greased bundt cake form. Bake for about 40-45 minutes.
While still in the oven, make the syrup.Put the lemon juice,the zest, sugar, water and cardamom pods in a pan and simmer until thickens a little.
When your cake is baked, make holes all over and pour the syrup on to the warm cake spoon by spoon.
Warm the double cream in a pan and melt in the chocolate. Let it cool for several hours in the fridge before you beat up lightly, so the consistency is still flowing but thick. If you want, you can leave the ganache out completely, or you can make butter cream instead if you prefer.
dsc_9694
dsc_9707
dsc_9730

Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese And Marzipan Fruits

dsc_8470

I think that carrot cake is a good choice at any time of the year, a good old all-year-round cake in fact, but especially around Ester and Thanks Giving, if you ask me.
dsc_8465
I made a different recipe on Easter, and now this, although we don’t do Thanks Giving here in the UK.
dsc_8475
The colors of the cake, the toasted pecan nuts, the scented cinnamon and the marzipan fruit decorations used, lifted this ordinary carrot cake on a whole new level. Just wonderful!
The cute marzipan fruits are from Budapest, I bought them back in the summer. My kids loved them and of course had to fight over who gets the peach, the strawberry, the pears, etc…
dsc_8476
Ingredients:
-1 and 1/2 cup flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
– pinch of salt
– 1 tsp mixed spices (with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger…)
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 nutmeg freshly grated
– 3/4 cup melted unsalted butter
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 2 Tbsp plain yogurt
– 1 large egg
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 and 1/2 cup grated carrots
– 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecan nuts
Cream Cheese frosting
-250 gr Mascarpone cream cheese (1 packs)
-1 pack Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Style Icing
-fresh lemon juice (as much as you like, I used almost a whole lemon)
dsc_8467
Method
Preheat the oven. Prepare your baking pans, grease them with little butter and cut out baking paper on the bottom.
Spread the chopped pecan nuts on a baking tray and put it in the hot oven, stirring and turning them frequently so they don’t burn.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
In another large bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar, melted butter, yogurt and vanilla. I don’t use the electric mixer at all when I make carrot cake,  only a large hand mixer.
Stir in the carrots, then add the flour mixture, finally the chopped pecans. Stir well until everything is combined.
Pour equally in the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
For the cream cheese frosting, I mixed the Betty Crocker icing with the Mascarpone and lemon juice.
dsc_8492
img_20161112_154218

Jam and Walnut Rolls

dsc_7801

 

Today I bring you another desert, which was a summer favourite in our family, specially amongst my kids. It has lots of nuts and jam and lemon zest. Ah, such a lovely combination of flavours, and also smells wonderful! I have to bake this weekly now, my kids are hooked up and addicted to this 🙂

 

dsc_7800

 

I usually buy ready rolled puff pastry sheets for this. One package (320 g) yells 12 little rolls, but in our kitchen this is gone in less than 5 minutes, so I make two usually, because…you know, I want to eat, too 🙂  You can bake it loose on a baking sheet or put the rolls in the muffin pan as I did here, but usually I just cut up the rolls and place them loose on the baking sheet. Either way is fine.
dsc_7796
dsc_7793
dsc_7794
Ingredients:
-1 pack Puff Pastry sheet
-200 g apricot jam (you can make this with any other jam, but we like it best with apricot)
-100 g ground walnuts
-2-3 Tbsp brown sugar
-zest of 1 lemon
Method:
Preheat your oven to 180 C.
Mix the sugar with the walnuts and lemon zest.
Open the puff sheet and spread the jam evenly. The more, the better. Sprinkle the walnut mixture evenly on top. Again, the more the better 🙂
Carefully start to roll up as tight as possible, then cut 12 even rolls with a sharp knife.
Arrange them in the muffin pan or baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.
dsc_7799
Even thou you will want to eat them straight away (because you will), let it cool down because the jam can be really, really hot and will burn you. Trust me, I’ve been there, I’ve done that…
dsc_7798

Walnut Cream Cheese Cake

DSC_7761

 

I had three layers of thin walnut cake in my freezer, and all I did now was whip a pack of Mascarpone cream cheese with double cream and few tablespoon of ground walnuts and sugar. Oh, and some vanilla extract to make it even better 🙂
This cake was gone by the evening…
DSC_7765
Ingredients for the filling:
250 g pack of Mascarpone cream cheese
600 ml double cream
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
5-6 Tbsp mixture of ground walnuts and brown sugar
I actually might have put more than that, because I wanted lots of walnuts in the cream, but everyone can adjust the quantity to fit their personal preference.
DSC_7771
Ingredients for the cake:
-2 2/3 cups flour
-2 cups brown sugar
-1 tsp Mixed spices
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp sea salt
-4 large eggs
-1 cup coconut oil, melted
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-3 cups freshly grated carrots
-1 cup chopped nuts
-1/2 cup yogurt
This quantity will result in a pretty big cake, with thicker layers than mine here. So, if you want thin layers then you should use only half of the ingredients. I had mine baked weeks ago, and when assembling my cake back then I had to cut of the excess since it would have been much thicker then I wanted for that particularly cake. I freezed those cutoffs, and now only took them out and made a filling.
Method:
Preheat the oven. Prepare your baking pans, grease them with little butter or greasing spray. I used giant paper cases.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
In another large bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar, vanilla. I actually never use my electric mixer when I make carrot cake, instead I only use a large hand mixer.
Stir in the carrots, then add the flour mixture, finally the chopped pecans. Stir well until everything is combined.
Pour equally in the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
DSC_7772
DSC_7766

Easter Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

DSC_6968

I waited for this cake with great anticipation. Because I love, love, love carrot cakes!

Before, I baked carrot cakes in form of cupcakes many times, but this time I wanted one, big cake. I used a different recipe, not my usual, because I wasn’t sure that my cupcake recipe would yield the desired amount for a cake.

 

my son made the chicken basket at his art class in school

DSC_6973

I baked three separate layers in giant paper baking cases, of 18 cm diameter each. I think 18 cm is my favourite size for a cake, not too small and not too large, just perfect.

 

DSC_6972

 

DSC_6975

 

This recipe I found on –aspicyperspective– site and, although I made few little changes (simply because I didn’t have quite everything at home, so I improvised and used substitutes here and there), I might try the original recipe at another time.

 

DSC_6976

 

before I put the chocolate eggs on top

DSC_6947

Ingredients
-2 2/3 cups flour
-2 cups brown sugar
-1 tsp Mixed spices
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp sea salt
-4 large eggs
-1 cup coconut oil, melted
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-3 cups freshly grated carrots
-1 cup chopped pecan nuts
-1/2 cup yogurt
Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting
-750 gr Mascarpone cream cheese (3 packs)
-vanilla extract
-ground cinnamon (as much as you wish)
-1 pack Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Style Icing (I had one of these at home and I used it more to experiment, and also because I didn’t want to use icing sugar and butter)
-salt (I found the icing way too sweet for my liking, so I put salt to take away some of the sweetness)

 

DSC_6956

 

DSC_6957

Method
Preheat the oven. Prepare your baking pans, grease them with little butter or greasing spray. I used giant paper cases, so I didn’t do any of those.
In a large bowl, mix the flour with the spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
In another large bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar, vanilla. I actually never use my electric mixer when I make carrot cake, instead I only use a large hand mixer.
Stir in the carrots, then add the flour mixture, finally the chopped pecans. Stir well until everything is combined.
Pour equally in the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
For the cream cheese frosting, I mixed the Betty Crocker icing with the 3 packs of Mascarpone and salt.

 

DSC_6985

 

DSC_6988

 

DSC_6984

 

DSC_6987

 

DSC_6966

Spicy Pear & Marzipan Cupcakes with Caramel Cream

DSC_6695

I wanted to make apple cupcakes, but then I thought why not bake something with pears instead, it would be a fresh change as I never made cupcakes with pears before. I searched for recipes, finally I found three out there which I liked, but none was 100% what I had in mind, so I came up with my own version. The only thing in common was the use of pears. Some were using spices, some used marzipan, and others used caramel. I combined them all and here I am.
DSC_6668
On Sweetapolita site I saw those tiny marzipan pears, and I decided I would make them too. Just love them!
DSC_6686
DSC_6687
Ingredients:
-1 and 1/2 cup flour
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-4 large eggs
-2 pears diced in small cubes
-200 gr soft marzipan
-250 gr butter at room temperature
-1/3 cup milk
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp mixed spice
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp almond extract
-freshly grated nutmeg
-salt
DSC_6701
DSC_6674
Icing:
-600 ml double cream
-100 gr white chocolate
-4 Tbsp canned Caramel
DSC_6681
Method:
This recipe yield 24 cupcakes. I only made 12 cupcakes and I baked a 3 layer 5″ cake of the remaining batter. Will freeze and use some other time.
DSC_6709
The double cream has to be warmed up on the stove the previous day. Put the chocolate in the warm cream and stir until fully melted. Make sure the cream doesn’t reach boiling temperature, just warm enough to melt the chocolate. Let it cool down, add the caramel then put away in the fridge over night.
DSC_6719
Preheat the oven, line the cupcake pan with the paper cases.
Dice the pears in small cubes and mix with the spices, then put aside. Mix the flour with baking powder and salt.
Beat the butter and sugar and add gradually the marzipan. Add the eggs, one by one, beating after each addition.
Add the flour and the milk, and carefully mix until all combined. Finally stir in the pears.
Scoop the batter in the cupcake holes. I always use an ice cream scoop to do this. Bake for about 20-25 minutes.
Beat the caramel chocolate cream and frost the cupcakes after they have cooled.
I made little pears from golden marzipan and brushed them with golden sugar dust.
DSC_6697
DSC_6677

 

Almond Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese

DSC_6627-2

 

I wanted something delicate, something feminine, something pink.

 

DSC_6623-004

Almond and raspberry seemed a good choice. I searched for recipes, but I didn’t find anything that I imagined, so I ended up improvising.

 

DSC_6637-001

 

The final result was good, and my cupcakes turned out the way I wanted. They remind me of the Frangipanes  and the Almond Fingers we used to buy in Belgium. And they even crumble the same way, too 🙂

 

DSC_6634-2

 

I haven’t used lot of sugar, I usually don’t make my cakes too sweet anyway. The fresh raspberries from the icing adds an interesting tone to this cake, and is definitely different then the usual sugar from the top of the Belgian Frangipane.

 

DSC_6625-2

 

Ingredients:
-1 cup flour
-1 cup ground almond
-2 egg whites
-125 gr unsalted butter, room temperature
-3/4 cup caster sugar
-1Tbsp almond extract
-1tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/3 cup almond milk, or regular milk
-pinch of salt
—————————–
-200 gr fresh raspberries
-1 or 2 Tbsp powder sugar
-250 gr Mascarpone cream cheese
-300 ml Madagascan Vanilla Double cream, or just plain double cream + vanilla extract
Method:
Preheat your oven, line the cupcake pan with the cupcake cases.
In a bowl mix the dry ingredients and set aside.
In another bowl whisk the butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy, then add the egg whites, the vanilla and almond extract and beat a little more.
Add the flour and almond mixture to the batter and pour in the milk. Stir until all is incorporated.
Divide the batter into the cupcakes tin, and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool down before icing.
DSC_6642-2
Blend the raspberries in a small blender together with the powder sugar. You can put 1 or 2, or as much or less sugar as you wish. The complete icing cream will be less sweet after beating the fruit puree together with the cream cheese and double cream.
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese gradually adding the raspberry puree and the double cream. If you want a stronger pink, you can use pink colouring gel paste.
DSC_6638-003
I wanted my cakes to be as white as possible, and it actually was during mixing, but they were the same brownish colour after I got them out from the oven. Makes me wonder how is that possible to see really white cakes on the Internet….there must be some kind of trick to it, they look almost unnatural, unbaked…
DSC_6643-003

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 2nd Birthday

DSC_4605

My little baby girl turned 2 years old! So hard to believe…Finally I got a little time to post about her second birthday.

DSC_4596

She is all about the little star twinkling in the well known nursery song. My girl doesn’t really talk (well she does, but on a special language that only she can understand and use, and I can confirm that is not Hungarian nor English 🙂 …) yet she started to sing this Twinkle Twinkle song a long time ago. I am certain that she will be a pretty good singer because she seems to get the music tunes very well.

DSC_4594

Anyway, I was happy that even though she couldn’t tell me with words what she would like for her birthday, but hearing her sing all day, in the house, sitting in the buggy, or at dinner her favourite song about the little star, this gave me the idea to make her 2nd birthday based on this theme. It was fun and pretty easy. I wanted to keep it simple so I chose the gold -which is sort of given, and pure white. I think that gold and white are a good match, kind of elegant, too.

Cake Pops with gold and glitter

DSC_4600

We didn’t have a birthday party for her, but I still wanted to celebrate this special day with style, adding a little sparkle and magic. My daughter loved it, and so the rest of the family.

Orange juice (I removed the original labels after keeping the bottles in warm water for about 2-3 minutes and sticked my own labels)

DSC_4597

Ham and cheese mini sandwiches

DSC_4598

DSC_4593

DSC_4592

Chocolate and nuts cupcakes with white chocolate stars (ah, those stars were NOT easy to make… 🙂 )

DSC_4603

I made a Twinkle Twinkle Little Star t-shirt for her using a plain white cotton top and a large gold sequin iron on fabric star.

DSC_4634

DSC_4636

DSC_4657

White chocolate cake

DSC_4658

DSC_4617          DSC_4644

Pecan and Chocolate Cupcakes With Spicy-Nutty Cream Cheese Frosting

DSC_3012

I made one of my favourite recipe this weekend: cupcakes with lots of crunchy pecan nuts and milk chocolate chips generously frosted with cream cheese icing full with finely chopped pecan nuts and spices. Without exaggeration, they were all gone in an hour, they didn’t even cool down completely 🙂 The kids and my husband just came home from the park when I finished them and they could not resist it. And me neither, of course!

DSC_3013

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
200 g unsalted butter (room temperature)
5 tbsp walnuts (chopped)
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
100 g chocolate (chopped)
Frosting cream:
250 g Mascarpone, soft cream-cheese
5 tbsp powder sugar (icing sugar)
300 ml milk
40 g custard powder
300 ml double cream
1 tsp Schwartz Mixed Spice (optional but it definitely gives an exclusive character to the cream)
3 tbsp finely chopped walnuts (using an electric grinder)
salt
1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line your cupcake tin with the cupcake cases and put it aside.
2.Stir the flour, salt and baking powder together and set aside.
3.Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and cream together until you get a smooth mixture. Add the honey and chopped walnuts, give it a stir then add the flour and the milk and mix it but only until everything is combined. Finally stir in the chocolate.
I used milk chocolate, but you can use dark chocolate if you like, and also ready made chocolate chips will do.
Before chopping the walnuts I put them on a baking tray and roast it for about 10 minutes. When cooled, chop the walnuts in pieces with a knife. It’s up to you how small or big you chop them, I like them at the size of the chocolate chips so it’s crunchy after baking.
4.Scoop the batter into the cupcake cases, filling only 3/4 way up. Bake for around 20 minutes. Don’t open your oven in the first 10 minutes, but after that you can turn the baking tray if necessary. When they’re done, let them cool for about 5 minutes in the baking tin before taking out on a cooling rack. Let them cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting cream, you have to prepare a thick custard cream and let it cool completely.
So, stir the 40 g (must be about 2 tbsp) of custard powder with 3 tbsp of icing sugar, add 300 ml of milk and bring it to boil until you get a thick custard cream. Let it cool completely.
In a mixing bowl cream together the Mascarpone cream cheese and 2 tbsp of icing sugar, add the fine walnuts and the cold custard cream gradually. Gradually pour the double cream and beat with the cream cheese. This will make it softer and lighter. In the end stir in about 1 tsp of Mixed Spice and a pinch of salt, it only makes it better!
DSC_3008
DSC_3010
DSC_3009
The cupcake wrappers are handmade by me. The toppings are not, I got them from Hobby Craft. I thought they look pretty for this season. Lately I don’t have time to make fondant toppers, my baby girl does not allow me time for this, so I take the easy way and use alternatives where possible.
DSC_3011
DSC_2999
DSC_2998