Small Caramel Chocolate Cake

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Made this small, 5″ cake for my birthday, just enough for my family to make it vanish instantly after Sunday lunch.

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Chocolate and cream is my ideal cake filling, light and creamy, and can be so versatile if used different chocolates each time. This time I bought Lindor caramel chocolates from Lindt. Very subtle and silky, whipped in double cream and filled in a light vanilla sponge cake. Just perfect, and I got my husband’s absolute approval, too.

 

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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.
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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
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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.
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Blueberries and White Chocolate Chips Cupcakes with Pink Meringue Kisses

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My daughter and her friend baked blueberry-chocolate chips muffins on Thursday, and I put aside a few. They took care of the rest, meaning they decorated them and eat most of them. They did a very good job, and the muffins were delicious. The best part of all was that they genuinely had lots of fun in the kitchen!

 

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I had two egg whites in the fridge from the previous day so I thought I will use them to make meringue kisses. I don’t remember ever making them before, and there sure is room for improvement. They cracked, and I need to be more careful next time, although I’m not sure why it happened. But, they look adorable nonetheless, and tasted wonderful, so it’s not all that bad after all.
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Ingredients:
-125 g butter, softened at room temperature
-1 cup brown sugar
-2 eggs
-1+1/3 cup flour
-1/3 cup milk
-2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-pinch of salt
-2 teaspoon baking powder
100 g white chocolate chips
-200 g fresh blueberries
Frosting:
-300 ml whipped double cream
-2 egg whites
-150 g white caster sugar
-pink food colour
Method:
Preheat the oven. Line your cupcake pan with the cases.
In a bowl, use an electric mixer on high speed to cream the butter and sugar together until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well.
Add the vanilla, flour and milk, and beat with the electric mixer until combined, but be careful do not over-mix, because it will become dry and sort of a bread.
Add the chocolate chips and blueberries and stir until it’s all incorporated.
Use an ice cream scoop and divide the mixture evenly in your cupcake cases,  fill them only 3/4.
Bake them for around 20 minutes, half way through you can turn your tray in the oven, but don’t open the oven in the first 10 minutes of baking, this is important!
Take them out from the oven, and you can leave the cupcakes in the pan for about 5 minutes before you transfer them on a wire rack.
Whip the egg whites adding the sugar above a pan of hot boiling water. This way the sugar will dissolve quickly and you get a shiny, smooth mixture. Transfer into a piping bag, cut the end (about the size of a 5 pence) then pipe the egg cream on a roasting pan lined with baking paper. Bake until it’s dry and comes off easily from the paper.
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Espresso Chocolate Cake

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This is a white chocolate cream cake with the taste of coffee. If you love chocolate and you love coffee, then what could be better then a chocolate that tastes like coffee? A chocolate cake which tastes like coffee, maybe…? Right. You came to the right place.
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I brought this delicious espresso chocolate from Hungary thinking that I will not just eat it, but bake a light sponge cake then fill it with espresso ganache. I was very pleased with it, and the family appreciated it above expectations, even the kids (because we all know how kids approach coffee….) .
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Ingredients:
5 large eggs, separated
5 Tbs flour
5 Tbs white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
salt
(I put a few drops of yellow food colour to get this yellow sponge – optional)
Filling:
600 ml double cream
150 g espresso white chocolate
Decoration:
whipped double cream and food colour of your choice
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Method:
You need to prepare the filling for this cake one day before baking and decorating.
Warm up 600 ml double cream in a sauce pan, add the espresso chocolate broken into small pieces. Don’t boil it, just keep on the stove stirring continuously until the chocolate has melted completed.
Next day:
Preheat your oven. In a large bowl start whipping the egg whites with a pinch of salt adding the sugar. Whip until you get a firm consistency.
Add the vanilla extract and egg yolks one at a time, whipping a few seconds after each one.
Add the flour (first mix with the baking powder) carefully. Don’t use the electric mixer anymore, just a large spoon to combine the egg mixture with the flour. Once ready, divide the batter equally in 4 baking pans, or large paper baking cases, like I did. This way I didn’t have to cut layers after baking, because I had them all four ready made.
I baked two layers first for about 20 minutes, then the other two. Let your cake cool completely.
To cover this cake, I divided double cream in five portions and coloured them each individually. I started applying the top layer first, the yellow, then went to the bottom and put the dark purple, followed by light purple, blue, green, and finally more yellow. Then I carefully blended the colours here and there. No need to be too accurate here, be creative, even a little messy and you’ll get a lovely, ombre or rainbow coloured unique looking cake.
This cake is light, is creamy, it tastes like coffee with cream, it’s perfect, and I couldn’t ask for more!
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Christmas Cake with White Chocolate Butter Cream

My usual Christmas cake wasn’t so usual this year because I changed the filling from white chocolate ganache to white chocolate butter cream. Even though I intended to stick to my traditional Christmas cake, I had to improvise with the cream because we travelled to Hungary for the winter holidays and I couldn’t transport my usual double cream across countries. So, I made a butter cream base and added melted white chocolate to it.

A few years ago I’ve seen a similar cake in a Hobby Craft magazine, I thought it looked very pretty. It turned out it was also very easy to make the little green fondant trees. The only problem was that I had to be careful when sticking the pretzel sticks into the trees and then into the cake because they broke too easy.

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My youngest daughter was eager to help, so she made a few little trees herself which she eat shortly after finishing them.

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Fairy Gingerbread House

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This is my gingerbread house.

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It’s the second time that I venture myself in doing a gingerbread house ……and there might be a good few years until I get myself into doing one again. Why? Because it’s not as simple and straightforward as it seems, at least not for me, I will admit.

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I was searching for a good recipe with good reviews and feedbacks and I thought I found the right one, but in the end it prove me wrong. It didn’t work for me. I mean, don’t get me wrong it is delicious, tasted very good, but it’s way too soft to hold a house. And, let me tell you my friend, you need a hard base to build a house, whilst my gingerbread recipe was soft and I did struggle a lot. A whole lot, and I even had to ask my husband to help. Eventually, we put the house together, but I happily said yes to the kids when they asked permission to get inside with their hands to demolish it for eating.

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Well, at least it was delicious 🙂 And, let’s not forget, that I loved, LOVED decorating it with fondant, all the pretty little details, to make an enchanted Fairy House opposed to a regular candy gingerbread house.

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Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese And Marzipan Fruits

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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.
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I made a different recipe on Easter, and now this, although we don’t do Thanks Giving here in the UK.
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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…
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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)
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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.
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Matcha Green Tea and Coconut Cream Cheese Cake

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This was my second cake to take to our “cake tasting meeting” I mentioned in my previous post (White Truffle Chocolate Cake). Although we were only supposed to bring one cake each, I made two, and this Matcha cake was my  +1 simply because I wanted the girls to taste it.

I think of this cake as unusual, unconventional, nontraditional, and weird even, but lovely at the same time. I like it, and I was very curious how other would comment on it and wanted to see the overall reviews. There were a few “hm…, and oh, that’s interesting…, and hm….hmmm very smooth…, and even disgust from someone else. Fair enough. I think you either love it, or hate it. Me?  I love it, and will make it again for sure!

 

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First time I made this Matcha cheesecake back in January  (Matcha Green Tea Mini Cheesecakes with Double Chocolate Oreos and Coconut Cream Cheese). This time instead of individual mini cheesecakes, I made one large for the girls. I used the same recipe, but now I used normal size chocolate Oreos with chocolate cream filling.

 

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Ingredients: 

-200 gr double chocolate oreos
-50 gr melted butter
-500 gr Mascarpone cream cheese
-thick coconut cream (I used the Natco coconut milk, and I only used the thick cream from the upper half of the can, so I didn’t mixed it)
-200 ml double cream
-powder sugar (maybe 2 Tbsp, but depends on your personal taste- my cake was not very sweet)
-1 Tbsp Matcha powder
crushed Oreos (optional, but I wanted to have a “dirty” effect, and also the Oreo crumbs tasted good in the cream)
Method:
1. Crush the Oreos, with the filling left in them, then mix it with the melted butter.
2. Divide evenly in the cheesecake pan, then press down firmly. Put in the fridge for about 1 hour.
3. In a mixing bowl, mix the Mascarpone with powder sugar, matcha powder, coconut cream and double cream. Finally stir in the Oreo crumbs.
4. Divide evenly on top of the firm biscuit base, smooth the top, then put back in the fridge for overnight.
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