Frozen Winter Forest Cake – my traditional Christmas Chocolate Truffle Cake

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This Christmas I made once again my traditional Christmas cake, which is a chocolate truffle heaven! We just loved this one so much after I made it for the first time few years ago, that I kept on with it every Christmas ever since. The only difference I make is the decoration and presentation each year.

 

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Ingredients:

1 cup water
5 Tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2,5 cup all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 little natural yogurt (without any flavour)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
200 gr butter (unsalted)
1 tsp almond extract (this time I actually put 2 tsp and I loved the more intense almond taste)
juice squeezed from 1/4 orange
100 gr good quality dark chocolate roughly chopped
salt
Ganache cream:
600 ml double cream
150 g white chocolate +150 g to decorate the cake
You need to prepare the cream on the previous day of baking. In order to do this you need to pour the double cream into a pan, put it on the stove. Chop 150 g white  chocolate in small pieces and stir in the cream until its melted. Make sure it’s not boiling, it only needs to get warm enough until the chocolate melts in. When it’s done, put it aside to cool completely, then put it in the fridge for the night or at least 6 hours.
Method:
Preheat your oven. Put the water, cocoa powder and butter in a pan and stirring it, bring it to boil on the stove, then put it aside to cool down.
Mix the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Stir in the water with the butter and chocolate, add the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, orange juice, yogurt, and finally the chopped chocolate. Stir everything just only until all is combined.
Grease and line (the bottoms only) the tins with baking paper. Lately I like to use 4-5 large, disposable paper baking cases, because this way I can bake each layer separately, and there is no need to cut before filling. I love it! My cases are roughly 6-7″  diameter at the base, I divided the batter into 5 layers, so my cake ended up nice and tall, just how I like it.
Pour the batter evenly into the cake tins and bake for about 30 minutes. Take it out from the oven then leave to cool in the tins completely before filling your cake.
With an electric mixer beat the white chocolate cream and fill the cake. I put generous amount of cream on each layer, and I covered the cake with the remaining filling, just enough to keep the white chocolate pieces stacked to the sides.
Melt 150 g white chocolate, then spread it thinly and evenly on kitchen foil. Put it in the freezer on a flat surface for 10-15 minutes until completely hardens back again. Take it out from the freezer and brake the chocolate in strips. It doesn’t have to be even, because this way will look more like sharp ice which is the whole idea behind it, kind of a frozen winter forest…
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Baumkuchen -German Tree Cake

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Hi, and Happy New Year to all of YOU! I am starting this year with a German cake, which I came across few weeks ago. Although this is a cake usually made around Christmas, I left the baking to the new year, simply because we had enough to eat sweet and salty as well, and thought it would be a nice start to 2018. I loved making this! It needs a special equipment, which only professional bakeries have, but I found an adapted version to make it at home. I need to say up front that I have never tasted this cake before, or seen it either, so eating it I couldn’t decide whether it was how it’s supposed to be, but it was good nonetheless. And the bonus is that my kids liked it too, even though this recipe calls for Rum. But it also calls for marzipan, cinnamon, chocolate…..so, what’s there NOT to like, right?

 

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Funny thing that when I first saw this recipe, I didn’t pay too much attention to it, then I clicked away and forgot the name of it. Except for the German part. So, when weeks later I decided I want to make it, I had some trouble finding it again. I searched Google for “Buchen Kuchen”, which was completely wrong, but after some time and deeper digging I finally got the name right and found the lost recipe again. Of course it wasn’t Buchen Kuchen, but Baumkuchen, or German Tree Cake instead.

 

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Ingredients:
-200 g butter, room temperature
-150 g caster sugar
-150 g golden marzipan, cut into small pieces
-8 eggs, separated
-250 ml double cream
-60 ml dark Rum
-1+ half tsp ground cinnamon
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-140 g self raising flour
-100 g cornflour
-salt
Glaze:
-100 g dark chocolate
-150 ml double cream
-2 Tbsp dark Rum
-15 g butter
-sprinkle candies to decorate
Method:
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the marzipan and whisk into the butter mixture. Add the egg yolks and whisk in. Add the double cream, dark Rum, ground cinnamon, vanilla and a pinch of salt and whisk to make a smooth batter.
Sift in the flour and cornflour until everything incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks then fold into the batter by first taking a large spoonful of egg white and beating it in, to loosen, then folding in the rest gently, a spoonful at a time, trying not to knock out all the air.
Butter the base and central spindle of a 25cm round, flat-bottomed ring pan. Put two large spoonfuls of batter into the pan and spread out with a silicon pastry brush, or a spatula, into a very thin layer. You shouldn’t be able to see the base of the pan through the batter.
Bake under a hot grill for about 3-5 minutes until the top of the batter turns golden-brown. The cooking time will depend on many factors, such as how hot the grill is and how far the pan is from the grill, so watch carefully. Once the first layer is done you’ll have a good idea on timings for the rest. When the top is golden brown, carefully remove from the grill and put another two spoonfuls of batter on top. Spread them out in the same way, making sure that all the cake below is covered but keep the layers thin. Bake again, in the same way, and continue until all the batter is used. I got 13 layers this way, although this depends on the size of the pan and thickness of the batter. As the number of layers increases, the top of the cake will get nearer the grill and will cook faster, so watch very carefully towards the end.
Once finished, slide a knife round the edge of the pan to prevent sticking, and leave the cake in the pan to cool.
Remove the cooled cake from the pan and invert onto a cooling rack, putting foil or baking parchment underneath to catch drips later. I have seen several versions of decoration for this cake, mostly with only chocolate, I decided to make it colorful with the sprinkles.
Heat the chocolate, syrup, cream, Rum and butter in a saucepan until melted together into a smooth, glossy sauce. Pour the glaze over the top and sides of the cooled cake and leave to set. Drizzle with the sprinkles to decorate and leave to set.
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White Truffle Chocolate Cake

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Made this beauty for a girls night out the other week, where we gathered to taste lots of delicious cakes and especially to enjoy each other’s company. We had about 10 different cakes to taste on that evening, and Boy, was I full the next day?! Anyway, I say it worth every crumb!
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This is actually my favourite chocolate cake recipe that I reproduce every Christmas for the past few years, so basically I can say is our traditional Christmas desert. My Mom never makes a cake like this for Christmas. She usually makes a few different tray bakes, and bite size cookies, and of course the very traditional Beigli (in two flavours: walnuts and poppy seeds) which is the most popular Hungarian pastry for Christmas.
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This cake though, became my very own tradition, and I hope that one day my kids will talk about it to their friends and children with a smile on their faces and referring to it as The Traditional Christmas Cake of Mom.
Ah, well, Christmas is not even here, yet, look at me talking all about it! We will be travelling to Europe again, to see family and friends over the winter holidays, so I might not even be able to bake this cake this year, although in previous years I managed to do it even though I don’t feel very comfortable baking in another kitchen other then my own. Will see, will see….
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Here’s the recipe for you.
Ingredients:
1 cup water
5 Tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2,5 cup all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 little natural yogurt (without any flavour)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
200 gr butter (unsalted)
1 tsp almond extract (this time I actually put 2 tsp and I loved the more intense almond taste)
juice squeezed from 1/4 orange
100 gr good quality dark chocolate roughly chopped
salt
Ganache cream:
600 ml heavy cream
150 gr white chocolate
You need to prepare the cream on the previous day of baking. In order to do this you need to pour the cream into a pan, put it on the stove. Chop the chocolate in small pieces and stir in the cream until its melted. Make sure it’s not boiling, it only needs to get warm enough until the chocolate melts in. When it’s done, put it aside to cool completely, then put it in the fridge for the night or at least 6 hours.
Method:
Preheat your oven. Put the water, cocoa powder and butter in a pan and stirring it, bring it to boil on the stove, then put it aside to cool down.
Mix the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Stir in the water with the butter and chocolate, add the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract, orange juice, yogurt, and finally the chopped chocolate. Stir everything just only until all is combined.
Grease and line (the bottoms only) the tins with baking paper. I used 3 separate tins, each of 9″ (23 cm) large, so at the end there was no need to cut any layers.
Pour the batter evenly into the cake tins and bake for about 30 minutes. Take it out from the oven then leave to cool in the tins completely before filling your cake.
With an electric mixer beat the white chocolate cream and fill the cake. I put generous amount of cream on each layer, and I covered the cake whit the remaining filling, but I wanted to have a rustic half naked cake, so I scraped off any excess to achieve this vintage look. Finally I decorated it with roses from my garden.
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Hungarian Máglyarakás Cupcakes – Bonfire Cupcakes With Meringue Frosting

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It’s pure coincidence that I made these cupcakes so close to the British Bonfire Night. Truth is I was kind of challenged to make this by a friend, and the fact that I made them now has nothing to do with Bonfire Night.

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The Máglyarakás Cake is very traditional in Hungary. Specially in schools at meal time, because it is made of left over bread, croissons, brioche, etc… It is a great recipe to use leftover food. And very delicious! My friend told me I should try to transform this cake into cupcakes and I excepted the challenge 🙂

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Ingredients:
-4  few days-old all butter croissants
-300 ml full fat milk
-200 ml cream
-2 eggs (separated)
-8 Tbsp brown sugar
-2 Tbsp icing sugar
-2 tsp vanilla seeds essence (or 1 vanilla pod)
-half of finely grated lemon zest (unvaxed)
-80 gr almond flakes (or finely ground walnut)
-3 apples
-5 g butter
-1 teaspoon cinnamon 
-2 Tbsp apricot jam
-butter for greasing
-12 tsp ob breadcrumbs
 
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Method:
  1. Take a cupcake tin and grease the holes with butter. Sprinkle in each hole a tsp of breadcrumbs and shake it so it sticks to the sides. Preheat oven to 180 C.
  2. Heat the milk and cream on medium in a saucepan with 3 Tbsp sugar.
  3. Put the egg yolks into a bowl then add the vanilla, 3 Tbsp sugar, lemon zest and whisk briefly, then add the milk and stir all together.
  4. Cut the croissants in cubs and then mix with the milk mixture and leave it to soak for about 5 minutes, then using an ice cream scoop arrange nicely on the bottom of the cupcake tin.
  5. Peel the apples, remove the cores then slice finely. Heat the butter in a saucepan, add the apple slices, 2 Tbsp sugar and cinnamon. Heat on medium for about 5  minutes until gets soft but not mushy. Sprinkle the top with the almond flakes.
  6. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. When done let it cool a little, place them on a baking tray.
  7. Before the end of baking put the egg whites into a bowl and using the electric mixer whip it with the icing sugar for about 10 minutes until is shiny and firm. Add 2 Tbsp jam and fold in carefully.
  8. Spoon the egg whites over the top of apples, and arrange it nicely: you can make patterns with a fork or just make it rustic with the back of a spoon. I used an icing bag with a decorator tip at the end and tried two different designs.
  9. Put it back in the oven for only few minutes. Watch them closely because they shouldn’t burn only get a golden and crispy look.
  10. These are best when served warm.

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