Pumpkin Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

Looks to me like it’s been long enough since Halloween now…

P1120595.JPG

Pumpkin Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

No butter, and it’s delicious.

For the pumpkin loaf

  • 2 eggs
  • 200 g sugar
  • 125 ml sunflower oil
  • 150 g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125 g roasted pumpkin (or squash)

All can be done with a fork: beat the eggs, mix in the sugar, then the oil and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and stir into the egg mixture. Finally fold in the roasted pumpkin. Pour the mixture into a half kilo loaf tin and bake for 1 hour at 150 °C fan in a preheated oven.

For the cream cheese icing

  • 90 g softened cream cheese
  • 20 g softened butter
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50 g powder sugar

Beat the cream cheese and butter until creamy, then beat in the vanilla and icing sugar (this better with a hand mixer…). Spread over the cold loaf.

Cherry and Cream Cheese Cake

There is a place called Heerstaβe, and one of my regular websites suggests one should see it in bloom at least once in a lifetime. The japanese cherry blossom trees start blooming around mid April and stay gorgeous for about two to three weeks, and I happened to be in Bonn last week, just too late. One could still see some of the pink flowers on the trees, but mostly a copious pink carpet and flowery cars. Beauty is fleeting, it’s better just to focus on the taste.

Cherry and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Cherry and Cream Cheese Cake

For the cake
  • 250 g of butter
  • 300 g sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon zest 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1.25 tsp baking soda
  • 1.25 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 350 g flour
  • 300 ml sour cream
For the cherry and cream cheese filling
  • 200 g softened cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp morello cherry conserve 

For the Almond Topping

  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 70 g sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 160 °C fan and butter a ring cake pan (bundt pan) of 25 cm diameter.
Prepare the vanilla sugar almond topping by thoroughly combining the sugar and vanilla and then stirring in the sliced almonds.
For the cake batter: cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Next add the combined and sifted baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour and finally the sour cream. Mix on low speed until all ingredients are well incorporated, but don’t overbeat.
To make the cream cheese filling: beat cream cheese, vanilla, lemon juice and sugar until creamy.
To assemble: place half of the batter in the tin, followed by some cherry jam and the cream cheese on top (careful to leave a couple of cm on each edge so that the fillings do not touch the tin sides) . Cover with the remaining cake batter, tap the pan to remove trapped air and sprinkle the vanilla sugar almonds to finish it up.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until the cake is firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool in the tin for 1 hour before remoulding.  To do so, run a thin palette knife carefully around the edge and center to loosen it, and invert it gently on a cooling rack.
P1110784

Whisky and Stout Chocolate Cake

I will soon no longer be living in the source country of the finest whisky. In such a context, a liquor themed party seemed to make sense. My contribution came out quite strong, perfect for the occasion.

p1120338

Whisky and Stout Chocolate Cake

 Stout is a dark beer made using roasted malt or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast.

For the Stout Chocolate Cake

  • 250 ml stout beer (I used Belhaven, but Guinness will be easier to find)
  • 140 g butter
  • 70 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 480 g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250 g plain yogurt
  • 340 g flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 0.25 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 160 °C fan and butter and line two 20 cm cake tins.

Place beer and butter over medium heat in a large saucepan, you will make the final batter here. When the butter is melted, remove from heat and add cocoa powder and sugar, stirring until dissolved. Next add eggs, one at a time, whisking until incorporated. Finally add the extract.

Combine and sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add 1/3 of the dry mixture to the saucepan, and whisk until just combined, follow by 1/2 of the yogurt,  whisk until combined. Repeat and finish with the final 1/3 of dry ingredients.

Divide the batter between the two tins and level the surface.

Bake for around 50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the tin for 10 minutes, unmold, place on a wire rack and wait until completely cold.

For the Whisky Syrup

  • 50 ml water
  • 12 g sugar
  • 50 ml whisky

To make the thin syrup, bring to boil the water and sugar placed in a high-sided saucepan, turn the heat to low and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear and there are no more sugar crystals (3 minutes).

Mix in the whisky when the syrup is cold.

For the Whisky Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 400 g cream cheese
  • 150 g softened butter
  • 40 g dark brown sugar
  • 260 g sifted powder sugar
  • 30 ml whisky

Beat cream cheese until smooth, then beat in the butter. Next mix brown sugar and sifted powder sugar on slow speed until smooth. Finally add whisky and beat until incorporated. Chill until the cake is cold. If it is too liquid (maybe because you want to increase the whisky), add more powder sugar to firm it up.

To assemble the cake

Slice each cake into two even layers. Place the first layer and lightly (or not) soak it with the whisky syrup using a pastry brush.

[You should put a few strips of parchment paper under your cake whilst you frost it if you are assembling directly on the cake stand; also, dollop some frosting directly on the stand to help stabilise the first layer.]

Cover the first layer with whisky cream cheese frosting. Continue in the same order until you place the last cake layer.

Crumb coat the exterior of cake with a little frosting and let it set in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Now  frost the outside and top of the cake with more cream cheese frosting. Keep it in the fridge for now.

For the Chocolate Glaze

  • 110 g dark chocolate
  • 125 ml heavy cream

Be careful to always pour the hot cream on top of the chocolate placed in a cold container, if you add the chocolate to the cream, it will burn.

 Final touch

Remove cake from fridge and pour slightly thicken chocolate glaze over the top allowing it to drip over the sides. This ganache is quite thick, so help it drip on the sides with a spatula and then blend the chocolate with the frosting on the sides for a marbled effect.

The writing is done with melted white chocolate.

Keep the cake chilled until ready to eat.

White Chocolate Lindt Truffle Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate is God’s apology for broccoli. – Richard Paul Evans

What about white chocolate then? Cauliflower?

Lindt Truffle stuffed White Chocolate Cupcake

White Chocolate Lindt Truffle Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

For 12 of them you will need…

For the cake

  • 270 g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 180 g milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 room temperature egg whites
  • 80 g butter
  • 140 g caster sugar
  • 100 g sour cream
  • 12 Lindor White Chocolate Truffles

Preheat oven to 160 °C and place 12 paper liners in a cupcake tin.

Mix flour and baking powder in a bowl.

Combine the milk and vanilla.

Beat the egg whites at high speed in an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. In a different bowl beat butter and granulated sugar  until fluffy, then beat in sour cream until smooth. On medium speed, add flour mixture alternating with milk mixture (three additions each), mixing until smooth. Whisk in one third of the egg whites and then fold in the remaining two thirds.

Divide batter evenly among liners and bake 17-20 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean). Remove the tin from oven and, with a pair of scissors, immediately cut a 1 cm deep “x” into the top of each cupcake. Push one truffle into each cupcake. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let them cool (the truffles will melt :)).

 

For the frosting and decoration

  • 85 g of chopped white chocolate
  • 110 g softened cream cheese
  • 30 g butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 170 g powder sugar
  • White chocolate curls

Melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly. Combine melted chocolate, cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat on medium speed until well blended. Slowly add powdered sugar; beat well. Frost the cupcakes and decorate with a few chocolate shavings. You can make them with a bar of chocolate and a vegetable peeler!

White Chocolate Cupcake

White Chocolate Cupcakes

Kinder Bueno Cupcakes

Nutella-filled white chocolate sponge, topped with whipped cream and cream cheese based light and fluffy frosting with little Nutella swirls… These are amazing, and the frosting is the best thing you will ever eat.

The ultimate solution to a tough bench day!

Kinder Bueno Cupcakes

Kinder Bueno Cupcakes

Kinder Bueno Cupcakes

For 12 of them you will need…

For the cake

  • 225 g butter
  • 225 g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 100 g white chocolate, melted
  • 225 g self-raising flour
  • 1 jar of Nutella

First preheat the oven to 160 °C fan and line a 12-hole cupcake tin. 

For the white chocolate sponge, cream together butter, sugar, eggs and milk, then pour in the melted white chocolate and mix. Finally, blend in the flour until just combined.

Fill the cupcakes to around 1/3 with cake mix, then add a teaspoon of Nutella (or a bit more, ok…) and finally cover with more cake mix until the liners are almost full. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Kinder Bueno Cupcakes

For the nutella-swirled, whipped cream and cream cheese frosting

  • 200 g whipping cream
  • 110 g cream cheese
  • 60 g powder sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Nutella
  • Kinder Bueno bars, broken into quarters

Whip the cream with a mixer until it forms stiff peaks. In another bowl, beat the cream cheese to soften it, before blending in the sugar, salt and vanilla until fully combined and creamy. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture, then beat with the mixer until it’s fully combined and fluffy. For the nutella marble effect, drop a few teaspoons of Nutella into the mix and run a knife through it several times. Fill a piping bag with the frosting, chill the bag for 15 minutes to firm it up, and then pipe on the cupcakes with a closed star tip.

Store the frosted cupcakes in the fridge and decorate them with a Kinder Bueno piece just before serving!

Kinder Bueno Cupcakes

Kinder Bueno Cupcake

Caramel Cupcakes

When in doubt what to bake I head to the Caked Crusader blog. Tbh, I head there every Monday at lunch time to check what she baked on the weekend… Some weeks ago she made these beautiful caramel cupcakes that I could´t resist reproducing. They do taste fantastic.

Caramel Cupcakes

Caramel Cupcakes

I won’t even bother to write the recipe, if you are interested, just head to her blog by clicking here and read it there, you will get all the details you might possibly need in her lovely writing. Plus do look around the blog, there are plenty of great baking ideas!

On the meantime, I will bask in the glory of what I’ve created (whilst I eat it).

Caramel Cupcakes

Caramel Cupcakes

On how to make a cheesecake when the odds point towards sour butter

Ok, here it goes: one, two, three… I never made a cheesecake before. There, I said it.

It’s not really my cup of tea, so I never felt the need. However, a couple of days ago my photographer requested it, recipe in hand, and it’s not like you can say no to your photographer, can you? So that’s how I found myself in this situation.

What to say about cheesecake? It seems to be a whole science on its own. 79 million entries for that simple word, and around 2000 books on Amazon dedicated to it. And I wonder, how something so (theoretically) simple can become the topic of so much discussion? I guess it´s the magic of good, as someone who I can´t remember now and probably not with these words said: there is no greater pleasure than the inconvenience of having to stop everything you’re doing, several times a day, just in order to eat. Or snack on cake, that’s even better.

The recipe I was provided with was, in theory, no brainer:

Vanilla Cheesecake

For the biscuit base

  • 85 g butter
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 140 g digestive biscuits, crushed

Melt butter and sugar in a saucepan over gentle heat and mix in a bowl with the crushed biscuits.

Line a 23 cm tin with greaseproof paper, spoon the mixture into it and press it down to form a tight packed base. Keep in the fridge while making the filling.

For the filling

  • 475 g cream cheese
  • 160 g caster sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 160 ml soured cream
  • 160 ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the cream cheese to soften it, then mix with half the sugar and the lemon zest. Mix soured cream, double cream, other half of the sugar and vanilla and whisk until firm peaks are formed. Fold the cream cheese mixture into the cream mix and pour it onto the biscuit base. Keep in the fridge overnight.

Vanilla cheesecake

On the way I encountered, to my bewilderment, a maze of disturbances that would seem trivial for someone who was into the “bake” itself and on full power. For reasons that are not cheesecake related, and therefore I won’t bother you with, I just wasn’t. It was one of the worst nightmarish cake-making episodes of my baking career. Shameful. Double and soured cream splashing all over, spoons falling on the floor, double and soured cream transforming into double and soured butter… Finally I got my photographer to put up the cream, although not as stiff as the recipe demanded, we folded, transferred into the tin and let cool overnight in the fridge. I dreamed all night about cheesecake milkshake all over the table after lifting the tin, and about contingency plans over the sink… But there was no need! Go figure! It did set, although just. I got an uneven cake surface (which could have been hidden under some jam, but I decided to use the lovely chocolate pieces that my photographer’s sister got for me, they are so cute :)), uneven biscuit base, and runny filling. Being overindulgent with myself, it could withstand some improvement…

But in spite of everything and to be fair, it tasted good… Somehow, this little team effort disaster made me approach the whole concept with new eyes. I might even repeat. What about white chocolate cheesecake? New York cheesecake? There are 79 millions of options, apparently… Any suggestions?

Vanilla Cheesecake