Category Archives: cake

Amaretti Tiramisu

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Tiramisu
So Italian week continues and this time I bring to you something Dolce. What comes to mind mind when anyone thinks of a classic Italian dessert?  Tiramisu, of course! Every Italian restaurant has it on the menu and it’s a frequent visitor to our house. Not too many things work so beautifully together as strong espresso and silky smooth mascarpone. I call this particular recipe Instant Tiramisu because instead of traditional crisp Savoiardi ladyfingers that take a couple of hours to soak up coffee and liquor I used already soft amaretti cookies or Amaretti Morbidi. I absolutely adore these little cookies in Tiramisu. They bring beautiful almond flavour into the mix making it even more desirable and impossible to stop eating! Also, they are little round guys which makes them fit perfectly in the individual mason jars that I used this time.  A quick side note about the mason jars, they might not be the most original things as they get used a lot but for a good reason! They provide perfect personal portions and you can always pop a lid on them and stick them in the fridge until dinner time. Tiramisu One of the characteristics of true Italian cooking is very few but good quality ingredients. This Tiramisu recipe is no exception. Tiramisu (prep)
Ingredients: {Serves 4}

  • Amaretti biscuits (soft or crisp)-  20-24
  • Espresso or strong coffee- 2 shots/2 oz
  • Mascarpone-1 cup/250 ml
  • Whipping cream- 1 cup/250 ml
  • Icing sugar- 1/4 cup
  • Vanilla -2 tsp.
  • Rum or marsala, brandy etc.- 4-6 tsp.
  • Cocoa for dusting- 3-4 tsp.
  • Chocolate, shaved

Method:

Traditionally Tiramisu cream topping is made of mixture of mascarpone, sugar and egg yolks but using raw eggs could be unsafe so the eggs are often replaced with whipping cream.

Make two shots of espresso if you have an espresso machine or 2 oz of very strong coffee. Divide your amaretti cookies among 4 mason jars or glasses. Pour 1/2 of espresso shot in each glass over the cookies and 1 tsp. of rum.

Whip mascarpone and cream with icing sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form, it will take about 5 minutes. Divide your mascarpone mixture evenly among 4 jars.Tiramisu (prep)

Dust with cocoa.
Amaretti Tiramisu
Or… Shave some chocolate using a cheese slicer or a knife.Tiramisu (prep)
And pile on top.Amaretti Tiramisu
I am still trying to wrap my head around how something so SIMPLE and QUICK could be pure Heaven.
Amaretti Tiramisu

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Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins

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Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
‘Tis the season for every kind of pumpkin flavoured treat to make an appearance. Great news for everyone but is there really a recipe worth sharing that hasn’t been done before??
I’ve thought long and hard as I love bringing you things new and fresh. Here is the result. Moist and flavourful pumpkin muffins with Cornish toffee and sprinkled with honeycomb pieces. I’ve never baked anything with honeycomb before but when I saw it at a shop I was immediately inspired. Growing up, the only way I ever ate pumpkin was pumpkin roasted with honey. Naturally, combining pumpkin and honey in a muffin just screamed childhood to me! Then I added caramel flavoured toffee…just for fun. Can you see all the toffee bits in there?

I didn’t know what to expect but what I got was a crackled muffin top because honeycomb melted and seeped into the muffins and toffee studded bottom!Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
AMAZING!
Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
They are so so so tasty I can’t stop eating them! I said “I” but what is meant is that my kids can’t stop eating them. 😉

Ingredients: ( Makes 3 dozen/36 muffins)

  • 4 1/2 c. flour
  • Baking Powder-3 tsp.
  • Baking Soda-2 tsp.
  • Salt- 1 1/2 tsp.
  • Cinnamon-3 tsp.
  • Pumpkin Spice (nutmeg, cloves, ginger)- 1 tsp.
  • Oil-2 cups
  • Demerara Sugar- 2 1/2 cups
  • Eggs- 6 large
  • Pumpkin puree- 28 oz (1 large can or use your own like I did)
  • Cornish Toffee- 1/2 cup/100 gr
  • Honeycomb pieces-1/2 cup/100gr

Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 325F/150C. Line your muffin tin with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl (remember it’s a very big recipe) combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin spice.  Use a stand mixer if you have one or a hand mixer.

3. Add oil, sugar,  eggs, pumpkin puree  and toffee and mix well. Fill your muffin cups 2/3 full and sprinkle with honeycomb pieces. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Repeat. Twice.

Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins
Can you imagine the aroma that wafts through your house while you are baking three batches of muffins? Indescribable.
Cornish Toffee Honeycomb Pumpkin Muffins

Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle

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Apple Spice Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle
Don’t you think autumn is the ideal time to bake? There is plenty of fruit that’s been just harvested but the temperature is not scorching hot anymore which makes a warm oven is quite welcome. Especially when it is a cheaper substitute for central heating!

This cake is my take on a well-beloved zucchini loaf except instead of zucchini I am using shredded apples. They add the same amount of moisture to the cake and so much more aroma and flavour! Just look at the raw material I was working with!

Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle
You are going to fall in love with this cake because it has the familiar taste of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves we so crave in the fall and the little extras like streusel top and salted caramel drizzle take it to the next level. I also lightned up the cake by using only 1/2 cup of oil and a reduced amount of sugar. I’ve used Demerara sugar, which has more nutrients and minerals than regular white sugar, it’s light brown, raw and has a natural caramel flavour that hasn’t been refined out!Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle
Ingredients:

For the Cake

  • Apples- 4 medium (3 cups shredded)
  • Sugar ( I used Demerara/Turbinado sugar)-11/4 cup
  • Oil-1/2 cup
  • Eggs-4 large
  • Flour-3 cups
  • Baking soda- 2 tsp.
  • Baking powder-1/2 tsp.
  • Salt-1 tsp.
  • Cinnamon- 1 tsp.
  • Mixed Spice- 1/2 tsp.
  • Nutmeg- 1/4 tsp.

For the Streusel Topping

  • Flour-5 1/2 tbsp.
  • Sugar (Demerara/Turbinado)-5 tbsp.
  • Cinnamon- 1/4 tsp.
  • Mixed Spice- 1/4 tsp.
  • Nutmeg- 1/4 tsp.
  • Butter, slightly softened- 3 tbsp.
  • Walnuts (chopped)- 1/4 cup

Salted Caramel Drizzle ( I used pre-made Marks and Spencer brand)-2-3 tbs.

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C

2. Grease the bottom only but not the sides of a 9″ round pan. Springform pan works the best as it makes it easier to remove the cake after it’s been baked.  Shred the apples with skin on and mix together with sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients (cake ingredients only). Pour the batter into your pan and smooth the top.

3. Mix together the streusel ingredients in a small bowl with a fork or use your hands.  The streusel won’t be crumbly but will have the consistency of a cookie batter. Pinch of small bits and cover the surface of the cake.

4. Bake for 60 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.

5. Let cool for 30 minutes, then loosen the sides of the cake and remove it from the pan. Drizzle with pre-made salted caramel in any way your imagination allows. (If you caramel sauce is a bit stiff put it in the microwave for 30 seconds, that should help to get it runny and only use a good quality brand you trust. :-))

Even though this cake is incredibly soft and flavourful, the best part of it is the crunchy streusel top drenched in caramel. Pure indulgence!

Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle

Apple Spice Streusel Cake with Caramel Drizzle

Raspberry Almond Muffins

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Raspberry Almond Muffins
I woke up this morning to the sound of the rain, not a terrible thing I suppose if you can stay dry and cozy inside. There is was another thing though that kept my mood gloomy. Brad was leaving for a work trip to Sri Lanka and we have a long history of being away from each other through the years due to travelling. The longest one was 9 months during our engagement. He spent it in Nepal and I lived in the Philippines. To this days it was a wonderful and the most dreadful year of my life.

In order to snap out my misery I decided I needed to keep busy while the kids were at school. I thought it would be a pleasant surprise for them to walk into the house that smelled of warm and fragrant muffins- amazingly fluffy muffins filled with raspberries, the last remnant of the summer!

Raspberry Almond MuffinsRaspberry Almond Muffins
Ingredients: { Makes 12}

  • Flour- 2 cups
  • Sugar- 3/4 cup
  • Baking powder-1 1/2 tsp.
  • Baking soda- 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt-1/2 tsp.
  • Sour Cream- 1 cup ( I used reduced fat)
  • Milk- 1/2 cup
  • Vegetable oil- 1/4 cup
  • Almond extract (or use vanilla if you don’t like almond)- 1/2 tsp.
  • Eggs- 2 large
  • Raspberries (fresh or frozen)- 1 cup
  • Sliced Almonds- 1-2 tbsp.

Method:

Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Line your muffin pan with paper liners.

In large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a smaller bowl whisk sour cream, milk, oil, almond extract and eggs.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine until blended, then gently fold in raspberries.

Divide the batter among 12 muffin cups and sprinkle sliced almonds on top. Bake for 20 minutes, test with a toothpick for doneness, it should come out clean. {I also dusted them with a tinge of powdered sugar once they cooled a bit}. Yum!

These muffins are truly gorgeous. My son said that “raspberries make them very refreshing”. 🙂 I just love how children express themselves!

Raspberry Almond Muffins
Being busy definitely helped so it’s fair to expect a lot more baking in the next two weeks.

The recipe was adapted from  “The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook”.

Crumb Apricot Cheesecake

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Crumb Apricot Cheesecake
Do you have a recipe you’ve made so many times you know it by heart? Better yet, was that recipe passed on to you by your momma? The one I am about to share with you is one of those recipes. The first time I made it I was in my early teens and since then I’ve made it hundreds of times…literally. It was my mom and my “go to recipe” when there was only about half an hour between a phone call and guests appearing on our doorsteps.  We made it so many times we used every kind of fruit filling possible. I thought we exhausted all the options but I was wrong.

Last Saturday morning I woke up with a strong urge to bake and I knew I was craving something Slavic. 🙂 That’s right it’s a thing. I made a dash to the closest Polish shop and picked up a pound of farmer’s cheese. It was a good start. When I grabbed the closest to me cookbook an old, marked with food stains piece of paper fell out. I grinned widely when I picked it up. The precious sheet of paper contained a collection of our family’s favourite recipes typed up by my mom and sent to me when I left for college in America. Bingo! That’s exactly what I needed.

Crumb Apricot Cheesecake
If you follow my blog you’d know that when it comes to recipes nothing is sacred to me. I love to change things up and what started out as my mom’s favourite recipe became highly experimental at some point of the process. Needless to say, I was beyond pleased when I cut into it (after hours of waiting for it to cool) and found out the risk payed off!
What my mom and I always made was essentially a seasonal fruit encased in rich and buttery pastry but somehow I ended up with a fruit cheesecake with a buttery crust and almond crumb topping. Pure luxury.
Crumb Apricot Cheesecake
Have I convinced you that you too need it in your life?

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • Flour-2 1/2cups
  • Butter- 1 cup/250 gr.
  • Sugar- 1 cup
  • Egg- 1
  • Baking powder-1/2 tsp

For the filling:

  • Apricots- 12
  • Farmer’s Cheese (Tvorog)/Cream Cheese- 500 gr/16 oz
  • Eggs -2
  • Sugar- 1 cup
  • Semolina- 2 tbsp.
  • Vanilla bean/Vanilla extract- seeds from 1 vanilla bean/ 1 tsp.
  • Ground Almonds ( for the topping)- 1/4 cup

Method:

In the food processor combine flour, cold butter, sugar and baking powder, pulse until the  mixture resembles fine bread crumbs, add the egg and pulse until just combined.  (This could also be easily done in a regular bowl with a pastry blender.) Take the pastry out of the food processor, it will be soft.  Pinch off 1/3 of the pastry, wrap it in a plastic wrap and put in the freezer. Wrap the rest in the plastic wrap as well and put this portion in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Crumb Apricot Cheesecake

Now let’s take care of the filling.  Cut your apricots in half and pit them. Set aside. (I also planned to use the red and black currants at first but then changed my mind and that is why they are in the picture.)

Combine farmer’s cheese or cream cheese, eggs, sugar, semolina and vanilla bean seeds in a large bowl using a hand mixer until smooth or a food processor if you want your farmer’s cheese to be less grainy. ( I processed mine in the food processor for a silky consistency.)

When the pastry is finished chilling take it out of the fridge and roll it out to fit an 9″ springform pan lining the bottom and the sides all the way to the top. Don’t worry if your pastry tears, just take the overhanging pieces and patch up the holes! That pastry is very pliable and forgiving. When your springform pan is lined all the way put it back in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Then take it out of the fridge and fill it with the cheese filling and top with apricots.

Crumb Apricot Cheesecake
Now it’s time to get your crumb topping out of the freezer. In Russia this dessert is called “Tertiy Pirog”, which literally means “Grated Pastry” because the top is being frozen and then grated directly on the filling with a vegetable grater like so.
Crumb Apricot Cheesecake
I decided to toss my crumbs with ground almonds for an extra indulgence. Trim off your overhanging sides and press them gently in to blend with the crumb topping. When the pastry casing bakes it magically all blends together beautifully.

Put it in the preheated oven at 350F/180C and bake for 50 minutes or until golden. Cool it for an hour until cool to the touch and then chill it in the refrigerator for at least 2 more hours to ensure the cheese filling in cooled completely. (Waiting for it was the hardest part for me. :-)) Crumb Apricot CheesecakeDust with additional powdered sugar if desired and enjoy with a cup of tea!
Crumb Apricot CheesecakeCrumb Apricot Cheesecake

Mega Chocolate Cake and a Summer Picnic

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Mega Chocolate Cake
What do children of a food blogger want to do with their mom? They want to bake! Sounds simple , right, except that I am a bit of a control freak in the kitchen and seeing flour, sugar and eggs being flung about is not an easy task for me to endure. 🙂 Well, one overcast afternoon we were running out of things to do and baking a cake seemed like a great plan. I am not going to lie, things were no less messy than I expected. There are no pictures of the process because I was too scared to bring my camera into the kitchen, but the end result exceeded everybody’s expectations. Hours of fun together and the most delicious, chocolaty fudgy cake to show for it baked entirely by Mitchell and Vika. This momma was so proud! I am going to shut up now and let the pictures tell the story of what went on after the cake came out of the oven.

PicnicMega Chocolate CakePicnic Mega Chocolate CakeMega Chocolate CakeMega Chocolate CakeMega Chocolate Cake and a Summer PicnicSummer PicnicMega Chocolate CakeSummer picnicSummer PicnicSummer PicnicSummer Picnic
I am sure I don’t need to convince you how simple this recipe is since my 7 and 9 year olds mastered it. The entire cake is made in the food processor, poured into a pan and then baked. The most straightforward recipe ever, which is why the stellar results completely astounded me! This just goes to prove food doesn’t have to be complex to be delicious.
Ingredients:

  • Bitter-sweet Chocolate-7 oz/ 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • Butter-3/4 cup plus extra for greasing
  • Soft Brown Sugar-2/3 cup
  • Skinned Almonds (I used ground almonds)-2/3 cup
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder- 2 tbsp.
  • Salt- a pinch
  • Eggs- 4 large
  • Flour- 1 1/3 cup
  • Baking Powder- 1 1/2 tsp.
  • White Chocolate (roughly chopped)- 1/2 cup
  • Whipped Cream or Vanilla Ice cream for serving

Method:

Preheat your oven to 325F/160C

Break up your chocolate into squares and put it in the food processor along with butter, sugar, almonds, cocoa powder and salt. Pulse until smooth. With the motor still running crack one egg at a time, then add flour and baking powder. Done!! Just make sure the batter is smooth.

Grease a rectangular 9×13 baking dish and dust it with a bit of cocoa powder. Pour the cake batter into the pan and scatter the white chocolate chunks over it (The original recipe by Jamie Oliver called for soft fudge pieces but I didn’t have any.) Bake for 18-20 minutes. Serve warm with a bit of whipped cream or ice-cream. The warm cake was incredibly fudgy and gooey – as you can see on the picture below – so after being prim and proper and eating it from our own plates, we abandoned that boring business and dove right into the cake pan!

Mega Chocolate Cake
Note: The recipe was slightly adapted from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie’s Food Revolution”.

Rhubarb Blackberry Cobbler with Cornish Clotted Cream

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Rhubarb Blackberry Cobbler with Cornish Clotted Cream
As much as I love chocolate when the summer months come around all I want is to indulge in fruit and berries- blueberry smoothies for breakfast, peaches and apricots for snacks, strawberries and cream for dessert, rhubarb and blackberry cobbler for tea time. Fruit galore! Who’s with me?
Rhubarb Blackberry Cobbler with Cornish Clotted Cream
The tea time in England is nearly a sacred ceremony and I couldn’t feel more at home with it. A love for tea and tea cakes is something the Brits and the Russians have shared for centuries. And it turns out the same goes for rhubarb. The rhubarb in Britain is said to be cultivated from the seeds imported from Russia in the 17th century, which in turn were brought over from China and were considered a prized possession along with tea and opium. The name rhubarb is believed to originate from a combination of two words “Rha”, an ancient name for the Russian River Volga on the banks of which rhubarb grew wildly and “barbaros”-foreign. There you have it-even the humblest of things can have very exotic roots.

The rhubarb blackberry cobbler I am sharing today is something I’ve made for years and we never get tired of it.  Whenever I bring it to a party without a fail I get asked for the recipe. It’s that good. Oh forget modesty. It’s utterly brilliant! Warm and delicious with natural flavours of tangy rhubarb and sweet blackberry this cobbler is only made better by a touch famous Cornish Clotted Cream or Cornish Clotted Ice Cream for hot summer days.

Rhubarb Blackberry Cobbler with Cornish Clotted CreamRhubarb Blackberry Cobbler with Cornish Clotted Cream
Ingredients:

  • Fresh Rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces-5 cups/1.250 kg
  • Blackberries- 1 cup/250 gr
  • Sugar- 1 cup/250 ml

For the Topping:

  • Flour- 1 cup/ 250 ml
  • Baking Powder- 1 1/2 tsp
  • Sugar- 1/4 cup/60 ml
  • Salt-1/4 tsp.
  • Butter- 1/3 cup/75 ml
  • Rolled Oats (not instant)-1/2 cup/125 ml
  • Milk- 2/3 cup/150 ml
  • Granulated sugar for sprinkling (optional)-1 tbsp.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C (180C for a fan assisted oven)

Put diced rhubarb with blackberries in a baking dish or a deep cast iron skillet and pour sugar over, stir to combine.

For the topping, mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly, then add oats and combine everything together, add milk and stir until just moistened. Drop spoonfuls on the rhubarb blackberry mixture leaving spaces here and there. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar.

Bake uncovered for 40 minutes until the rhubarb is cooked and the top is golden and crusty. Serve warm at tea time with a dollop of Cornish Clotted Cream or Ice Cream.

Rhubarb Blackberry Cobbler with Cornish Clotted CreamRhubarb Blackberry Cobbler with Cornish Clotted CreamRhubarb Blackberry Cobbler with Cornish Clotted Cream Blackberry Rhubarb Cobbler