Wednesday, March 23

Easter basket cupcakes


Easter basket cupcake Posted by Hello

Featuring in the competition:
24.March
IMBB#13: My little Cupcake - hosted by Makiko Itoh from I was just really very hungry.
Previous events:
21.March
Comfort Me - hosted by Moira at Who wants seconds?
18.March
SHF(Sugar High Friday): Stuck on You - hosted by Debbie at Words to Eat By


There could not be a better time for me to present 'My little Cupcake' than now - round Easter.

As all other festive times of the year, Easter awakens lots of traditions and women in Slovakia(as well as in many other countries) start preparing for it weeks ahead.

First - doing the house spring cleaning (viewed as very old-fashioned nowadays, but it is such a great feeling when you relax over Easter holidays in a fresh, like-new house).

Second - shopping for all the Easter must-see-on-the-table foods such as smoked ham in the hammock (which you then cook at home), hard-boiled eggs (which we dye in primary colours), sweet&sour horseraddish preserve or fresh out of the garden(so strong that your eyes would be popping out! - I eat it with my dad early in the morning just to keep the tradition and then making an annual scene which is a mixture of laughter through tears and foot stamping about how strong it is!), mustard (proper Slovak one, same taste as German mustard), cold potato salad (with onions, gherkins, tinned peas, carrots and home-made egg mayonnaise).

And last - about 3 types of home-made cakes (1. honey pastry layers filled with rum butter filling topped with jam and dark chocolate, 2. cupcakes with egg creamy filling, 3. yellow sponge squares soaked in chocolate and rolled in dessicated coconut)

Now, this is where 'My little Cupcake' features. I inherited this recipe from my mum and she has inherited the recipe and the little shells from her mum (about 40 of them). So every year - before Easter, I would be sitting in the kitchen and pushing the walnut dough into the shells for about 2 hours (as we had so many of them). But I must say, I chose this cake every year since I simply could not resist it. And I am not just saying that! I knew all the 'perrils' of making them which would equal solid resistance to them - 2 hours or more sitting on the chair, hands aching, neck, shoulder aching and constant concentration (the dough had to be filled in the tin shells very thinly as it would swell up when baked) and finally, scrubbing 40 shells after baking.

However, I found it was love. The thought of biting through the soft dark chocolate into the yellow creamy surprise underneath, ending with a beautifully crumbling walnut pastry finale was just too much temptation. I gave in!

So, for me, these little innocent looking devils represent my 'cupcake par excellence'.

Recipe:

Walnut dough ingredients:

100g walnuts (ground) - 125g plain flour - 125g corn flour - 150g margarine - 70g icing sugar - 1tbsp cocoa powder - 1 egg - 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder (omit if you are using self-rasing flour).

Mix the ingredients to make a dough (nearly like a biscuit dough). First - cream together the margarine with icing sugar, add 1 egg. In a separate bowl - mix together dry ingredients(walnuts, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder). Then add it to the margarine mixture and work it in properly. You'll get a brown coloured dough - ready to be filled in the baking shells. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Filling the baking shells: take a small amount out of the dough and roll a little ball in your hands - 2cm in diameter. Put it in the bottom of the shell and start pushing it down and out to the sides very thinly until you reach the top of the shell sides. If you don't have enough dough - add a tiny bit in the bottom again and start pushing - it will raise the sides higher. Once you have about 20 shells filled with dough, you can put them in the oven on a baking tray and bake in the middle of the oven until brown (not burnt brown). Cool down thouroughly and then turn each shell upside down and bang the side on the table a little - holding your hand underneath on one side for the walnut basket to fall out. They are quite delicate - so handle with care.

Egg cream filling (absolutely marvelous taste!):

4 eggs - 8 tbsp fine caster sugar - 1tsp vanilla essence

In a bain-marie type of saucepan, with double sides- whisk the ingredients together and cook over a low to medium heat constantly whisking until it thickens (about 10 min.). Be careful with the heat , so that at the bottom you don't start forming lumps. Once thick, take off the heat and cool thouroughly. (to speed the cooling - go outside and keep stirring). Once cold - you can cream in 150g unsalted butter (or margarine).

Fill the walnut baskets with this creamy mixture to the top and spread chocolate icing starting from the middle. Finish with 1 hazelnut on top.

Chocolate icing:

dark chocolate - melt in saucepan with a dash of milk and piece of butter or you can opt for chocolate ganache.

I am confident to say that you'll be licking yourself behind your ears when you try these.

Tuesday, March 22

Comfort food - eggy bread


Spinach soup, frankfurter and eggybready Posted by Hello

I have been reading
Zarah's site when I found out that there is a comfort food competition taking place and finishing tonight!!!
As I am a complete food-a-blog-a-holic, I am going to enter even though it's nearly midnight GMT(London) and even though I have written one
post this morning already.
But how could I not?

So, here it is.
It is a very well known recipe throughout the whole world (Hungarians call it after a dog with a big coat - 'Bundas' ) -EGGY BREAD(eggs represent that coat)- a fantastic tummy filler.
It is also known as french toast.

When I was a kid, I used to love it together with my brother when we were chasing down the stairs as we smelled the frying up in our rooms. We sat down behind the table and waited whilst my mum would put them onto our plates still really hot. Yum!

It is ready in minutes, inexpensive, hot and gives you a nice satisfying feeling - few things that a comfort food stands for.
It is delicious with cheese of your own choice(melted or not over the top), fresh tomatoes and maybe chives.
It belongs to one of my first 'culinary skills' experiences.

Eggy bread ingredients:
2 - 3 rustic thick bread slices (brown or white)
3 eggs(beaten) + dash of milk
sunflower oil
cheese of your choice (English cheddar, french brie or mozarella)
fresh tomatoes cut into circles
salt, pepper, paprika
chives

Break the eggs into a medium bowl and beat with a fork. Add salt and pepper. Dip the slices of bread (one at a time) into the eggs and leave to soak each side by pushing it down with a fork. Leave to rest on the side of the bowl and do the same with another piece.
Heat the oil in a pan over a high heat until sizzling.
Carefully take the bread out of the eggs and put into the frying pan. Then do the same with the other slice.
Fry for a minute or two until golden brown, then turn. Add the cheese of your choice on top of the bread slices and finish frying. It should melt in the heat.
Take out carefully with a flat spatula and put on a serving plate. Lay the cut tomatoe slices on top and decorate with some chives.
Oh, and sprinkle some salt and pepper and paprika spice on top too.
Serve whilst hot! Delicious!

And here is what we (Slovaks and Hungarians) eat it with as a meal.
It concludes of a thick spinach soup with garlic taste, fried chunky frankfurter and eggy bread(french toast).

Spinach soup ingredients:
500g frozen spinach (or fresh equivalent- steamed and blender-processed)
1 litre milk
2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
1-2 tbsp plain flour
5 cloves garlic (crushed)

Heat oil in a saucepan, add flour, garlic and stir until it starts to bubble and fry for few seconds. Take off the heat and whilst constantly whisking with a whisker, pour cold milk into the saucepan, stirring vigorously to avoid forming lumps of flour. Then add frozen spinach or steamed. Keep stirring until it thickens.
If you wish for a very thick soup - whisk some flour in a little milk until a paste is formed and add it through a sieve into the cooking soup, stirring underneath the sieve.Bring to a slight boil and turn off.

Fried frankfurter:
This is very traditional to slice open on one side of the frankfurter and bake over an open fire stuck on a long wooden stick. It beautifully opens up in those cuts and the sausage sort of nicely curves. It gains colour and crispens the skin.If you can't do it above an open fire, fry it in a pan with hot oil. Careful as it is going to spit hot oil.

So, there it is.
One of my origins' favourite traditional dishes.

Monday, March 21

Lemon yellows and violets


Lemons and violets Posted by Hello

I am radiant with happiness that spring is really here!(England!)
I am waking up to a bright sunshine this morning and feel the spring breeze coming through the window. And the birds are singing! It makes me jump out of bed and do stuff. (I think there should be an alarm clock with that sound! hehe).
The weekend was sunny too and of course, as usual, all the English were heading south - to the beach, to catch as much sunlight as possible.
I go to the beach every weekend, whatever the weather, with my greyhound(best loving breed ever) who is going at this time of the year (as it is warm outside) absolutely bonkers!
And as we were driving through the countryside, in one of the villages, people were already celebrating spring with a pre-Easter ceremony - 'Morris' dancing (I found out), dressed up in colourful clothes. This pagan spring fall tradition(out of the few that are left) is supposed to bring fertility and good crop.
Over on continent, people seemed to have kept their traditions very well and can be seen in most local villages and towns.
I came across a beautiful one - from France (in a 'Delicious' magazine) - 'La fete des violettes' - a festival devoted to violets. It all happens in a small village Tourrettes sur Loup(south of France), overlooking the Mediterranean - 'La Cite des Violettes' (the city of voilets). Their main industry is violet cultivation and this festival celebrates its season.
Over the 2 days of festivities, you can try all kinds of treats like 'sables a la violette'(biscuits with violet extract), 'confit de violette'(jam) - 7,600 flowers are used to make 1kg of jam, violet liqueur (used in desserts), violet syrup, tea, bonbons, lollipops and crystallised violets (top of cakes, like mine above).
I could go on and on but I will mention few from the magazine:
-voilet food colouring (Jane Asher's Grape Violet Paste Food Colouring - tel:020 7584 6177)
-violet syrup (London's La Fromagerie - tel: 020 7935 0341), to make fantastic cocktails - 'Amie de la Violette' (using equal parts of gin, violet liquor and grapefruit juice). You can also add a drop to a champagne.

So, I have mentioned the violets but not a lot about yellows.
So, here is a recipe to amend that - from the City of Violets (Tourrettes sur Loup):

Le gateau de la fete des violettes
Beautiful moist almond and lemon cake bursting with lemon juice.
(gluten-free)

Cake ingredients:
6 large eggs
175 g caster sugar
2 large lemons (fine zest of 2, juice of 1)
200 g ground almonds

Egg icing ingredients:
2 large eggs
40 g butter
1 lemon (fine zest)
75 g caster sugar
crystallized violets

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
Separate the eggs in 2 bowls.
Add sugar into the egg yolks and whisk until pale and smooth. Add the zest and the juice. Mix in well. Add the ground almonds.
In the other bowl(make sure it's free of grease) - whisk the egg whites with a little juice and 1coffee spoon of sugar until stiff.
Add the egg whites in 2 parts to the egg yolk mixture and fold in carefully.

Prepare a non-stick cake tin and fold in the cake mixture, spread evenly and bake in the midle of the oven (30 - 45 minutes). It took me 30 min. only in a fan-assisted oven.

To make the egg icing, whisk the eggs and strain them through a sieve into a heavy-based saucepan( I would use the bain-marie style saucepan). Add the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Whisk constantly over a very low heat until it thickens. It should take about 10 minutes. (hope you are fit! my arm nearly falls off when I do this). It must not boil.
Once ready , leave to cool. Keep stirring to avoid any skin forming. (yuck-a-duck!)

Take the cake out of the oven and leave to cool thoroughly.
Then, with a soft plastic spatula, separate the sides of the cake from the cake tin. Transfer the cake onto a serving plate and start spreading the egg icing from the middle to the edges (1cm from the edge). Leave to set.
Decorate with crystallised violets.

Crystallised violets:
Dip them into a frothy egg white, shake off the excess carefully and dip in white caster sugar. Put on a baking tray with baking paper and put in the low oven for 1 hour (110degrees, fan-90degrees) until dry. Cool and decorate.

Friday, March 18

Sugar High Friday!


Caramel Queen slices Posted by Hello

And it's Friday - sugar high! (SHF). This is my first entry and I hope you'll love it too!
This recipe is known in quite a few countries (as I found out) but under different names - Millionaire's Shortcake(shortcake base) or just simply Chocolate Caramel Cake.

I think it deserves the name it has on my blog as it is the best caramel I have ever tasted.
Smooth soft caramel lusciously spread over the oat base (not too soft/not too hard) with a bitter dark chocolate crown on top.
It is beautifully complemented in the texture as well as giving nice contrasts of the sweetness in the base, caramel and dark chocolate.

Oat base ingredients:
100-120 g margarine
50 g dark muscovado sugar
120 g plain flour (glute-free can be used as well)
40 g rolled oats
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Mix all the ingredients together (margarine and sugar first, then add the oats and finally the flour).
Prepare a square(20x20cm) cake tin (I use a baking dish). Butter the tin(dish) and line it with a baking paper. It should stick nicely. Then with your fingertips, press the mixture into the tin evenly and bake about 20 min. until golden brown. Once bakes, cool.

Soft Caramel ingredients:
2 large tbsp butter
2 large tbsp dark muscovado sugar
1 can condensed milk (you can use a low-fat one too)

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, add sugar and stir until the sugar lumps are gone.
Then add the condensed milk, increase the heat and constantly stir until in few minutes the mixture start to thicken and darken. It thicken very quickly, so be ready to take it off the heat quickly.
Spread the caramel over the oat base and put aside.

Chocolate topping ingredients:
2 tbsp butter
splash of milk
200 g dark chocolate (Lindt or other good quality)

Melt the ingredients above a low heat, if too runny, add cocoa powder and a little sugar and a little butter.
Use a spoon to drizzle and splash the chocolate with vigorous movement onto the cake(different directions, like Jackson Pollock's 'action painting) - see the picture above.

Leave to cool and then you can lift the cake out by the baking paper, peel it off, cut in squares and it's ready to be served.

Hope you'll enjoy it as much as my family!

Thursday, March 17

Spring everywhere!


'ICE' cake Posted by Hello

Spring has arrived from France to England just 1 day later (16.March) -(www.chocolateandzucchini.com) .
The weather feels fresh, yellow daffodils are proudly standing with their families, the breeze is a bit warmer and my dog shows it best by running in huge circles.
Always at spring, I am taken by a feeling of melancholy, thinking, how my mum used to buy me a new pair of shoes every spring and a new spring coat(if I needed one). It was like a little celebration for me of the new season arrival. It felt like that. Shedding the old winter coats and dressing fresh - in new. Just like the nature, hehe.
Then, another thing that I am taken by in spring is my manic activity. I feel full of energy, tidy up the house every week regularly (inside and outside) and my head seems to get more organized too!? (isn't that useful?)

Anyway, with all this season celebrating, I am presenting this 'ICE' cake recipe for 2 reasons:
1. it contains 'yellow'(spring, Easter colour)
2. it is served chilled (very refreshing)

It is really nice - it has a chocolate sponge bottom layer, then blamongy yellow cool middle section and egg whity(cooked above steam) top covered with dark choc.

'ICE' cake

Chocolate sponge ingredients:
6 egg yolks
6 egg whites(beaten)
150 g icing sugar
70 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp white wine
30 g cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Mix the egg yolks with sugar until pale yellow and smooth. Mix in the white wine. Add the flour(mixed with baking powder and cocoa powder) in 3 parts alternating with the egg whites in 2 parts. Fold the egg whites in lightly.
Prepare a rectangular baking tray, brush with oil(or butter), sprinkle with flour (for non-sticking unless you are using a non-stick tray). Spread the mix evenly and bake in the oven until firm to touch. (30-40min.)
Once baked, take out and cool down.

Yellow middle ingredients:
6 egg yolks
3 dcl milk
1 tbsp of fine sugar
1 tsp of vanilla essence
2 tbsp of corn flour
First, mix in the corn flour with a little milk until smooth. Then pour the rest of the milk, vanilla essence, egg yolks and sugar in a bowl sitting in a larger bowl with water.(bain marie kind). It is a kind of cooking above steam.
Start mixing everything with a wooden spatula and keep mixing until it start to thicken. Then mix vigorously, so that you don't get lumps out of not mixing the bottom of the saucepan properly.
Final result is blamonge (like creme caramel freshly cooked and before cooled and set).
Leave it to cool down completely.

Then add in:
150 icing sugar+250 g butter mixture

White layer ingredients:
6 egg whites
200 g(or less, can be 100g) sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon

Beat the egg whites with sugar and lemon juice with a hand egg beater above the steam (again bain marie kind of cooking) until stiff.
Once cooked - leave to cool down properly.

Cake composing:
Make sure the chocolate sponge and 2 mixtures are completely cool.
Then, spread the yellow blamonge mixture evenly over the cake.
Then, spread the cooked egg white mixture over the yellow blamonge mixture.
Then, melt some chocolate and drizzle here and there over the top of the egg white mixture.

Finally, put the cake in the fridge and leave it to get nice and ice-cool.


Monday, March 14

A La Mexicana


enchiladas Posted by Hello

Over the last few days, I was getting quite a bit of the mexican feel.
First, it was with salsa dancing all Friday night and then on Sunday, me and my hubbie were invited to a lovely mexican restaurant in Canterbury (Cafe des Ami) by our friends from London.

Last time, I was in Canterbury, it was a fine dining experience in the County hotel, which was all very 'top class', but dining with your friends just cannot be beaten by anything.
Loud spanish music, small wooden tables (all very compact), laughing, talking, in one word - relaxed.

The food was superb! Three of us have chosen the same meal - Enchiladas filled with spinach, green beans, mushrooms, topped with freshly cooked tomatoe sauce and grilled haloumi cheese.
My hubby had some saffron risotto with king prawns (I must go there again since I didn't very much concentrate on the menu, having not seen our friends for such a long time).

For afters, we had this soooo simple and so refreshing (and quite healthy) fruit with a chocolate dip ('fondue' would sound much better but I believe it has to be cooking in front us in that fondue 'kit').

It went all tooo quickly (one of these flying visits) but it left me with a new inspiration for vegetarian meals.

So here is my version of these Veggie enchiladas:

Main ingredients:
corn tortillas
freshly cooked tomatoe sauce
sauteed musrooms with garlic
grilled haloumi cheese
steamed green beans
steamed spinach


Tomatoe sauce:
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 onion(finely chopped)
5 garlic cloves (crushed)
mixed herbs
olive oil
ground pepper

Heat olive oil in a pan until hot, add onion and fry for 1-2 minute. Add herbs, garlic and stir. Add tomatoes right away, so that garlic doesn't burn.

Sauteed mushrooms:
2 hanfuls of slices mushrooms
5-6 garlic cloves (crushed)
mixed herbs, chilli, ground pepper, salt
olive oil

Again, heat oil until hot add mushrooms and salt. When the mushrooms start sweating, add garlic, herbs, chilli, pepper. Cook until soft.

Green beans, spinach:
Steam the beans over a saucepan with boiling water until firm, but cooked. Take out and then add the spinach for a minute.
Chop the spinach and mix it with mushrooms.

Grilled haloumi cheese:
Cut haloumi in 1cm thick slices, brush with olive oil, salt and grill under hot grill until golden brown.

Now, prepare corn tortillas, lay them on the surface and start filling. Spread some spinach mix over the middle of the tortilla, lay green beans in bunches, again spinach and wrap.
Put 3 of these wraps on the plate and pour the hot tomatoe sauce over it. Top with grilled cheese.

For a dessert, it is simply fruit nicely prepared with a hot chocolate sauce in the middle to dip in.
But if you fancy something more filling, here is one recipe I have found:
http://dessert.allrecipes.com/az/BnnsFstrChimichngs.asp
Bananas Foster Chimichangas - with rum, brown sugar, wrapped and fried.

Thursday, March 10

Chocolate cake and literature


chockie cake Posted by Hello

Oh, yes, they have a lot in common, indeed. Eating whilst reading.
So, before you retire to read your favourite book, don't forget to quickly mix this even quicker recipe and pop it in the oven on 180 degrees.

You might think - aah, not another chocolate cake, how boring!
But is it really, I thought, when I looked at a new recipe(found in 'Good Food' magazine) of this dark, mouthwatering cake which says - afternoon tea, sofa, only me and that cake and a nice book, food magazine to read...The dark colour itself seduces you slowly.
It is irresistible warm or cold, with tinned strawberries and maybe an ice-cream...

I have changed it a little and added my own ingredients to it:
150 g butter
250 milk
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
100 g cocoa powder
200 g self-raising flour
100 g ground almonds
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
220 g of golden caster sugar or and demerara sugar
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
Mix everything together for 2 minutes and put into a non-stick cake tin, into the preheated oven on 180 degrees and leave about 45 minutes to bake.

icing sugar (top of the cake)
strawberry jam (middle of the cake)
ice-cream (next to the cake)

tinned strawberries (over the cake)

Ok, here's a quick quizz that I recieved few days ago from a fellow blogger (http://epicesetcompagnie.blogspot.com/).

How many books do you read in a year ? 2-3
What was the last book you bought ?
Funny Valentine, Amy Jenkins is the writer(about this newswriter girl who does not believe in love.Love? What is it for? she says. I have a man in my bed...) and another book that I am just expecting to get free with my 'Delicious' magazine subscription (Jill Dupleix - Very Simple Food)

http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/
Take a definite look at this site - loads 'a' recipes.

What was the last book you read ? Sadly, another 2 girlie books. (easy bed-time reading)
Write down 5 books that mean a lot to you or that you really enjoyed
I like Jewish literature, so anything on that theme and similar (reminding me of my uni years)
Jose Pijoan - The History of Fine Art (10 books) - beautiful books with the whole history of fine arts, pictures. My mum was recieving them yearly for 10 years when I was little and finally, I studied Fine Arts, so they became core to my studies. I loved them as a child and was proud to study from them as an adult.
The Bible - the one, I mean to read. It is fascinating and I think everybody should read it.
Cookery books - of course. When I get more money, I'll surround myself with the ones that I want so much. (e.g. Domestic Goddess - by Nigella Lawson)

Who are you going to pass this to (3 persons) and why ?
My brother as he likes reading.
Couple of friends in salsa class - we like discussions, so it will be a nice topic on our journey to another one of salsa outings.

How does it go? 'Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who you are.' Hm..

Friday, March 4

Hot Plum balls in a potatoe winter coat


Plum balls(Slivkove gule, gombolce)Posted by Hello

Believe it or not, England has got more snow than the North Pole.
Well, not quite, but you know what I mean. The schools are closed, the traffic has downsized, people are wearing three scarves and 'yetti' boots...
Otherwise, it is absolutely lovely outside and I love it! I dress up my greyhound in his fleeced Blizzard coat (http://www.greyhoundandwhippetshop.co.uk/coats.htm) , pull my Russian-style winter hat on and walk out into the crunchy snow, towards the village supermarket.
As it is sooo cold outside, I am still in the mood for winter warmers. Today, I thought of a fantastic Slovak-Hungarian (see my post Music in the kitchen - comments for a brief national history) classic - Hot plum balls in a potatoe winter coat.

Dough:
600 g potatoes
200 g plain flour
1 egg
salt
2 bread rolls
milk

Topping:
fried breadcrumbs with icing sugar
OR poppyseeds processed with sugar
OR quark mixed with sugar
100 g butter
Dough preparation:
Cook the potatoes in their skin and cool.
Warm the milk slightly and add the bread rolls cut into pieces. Leave to soak.
When the potatoes have cooled down, peel them and press them through a chunky sieve
Then add the salt, flour, egg and the bread rolls (taken out and got rid of the excess milk).
Mix everything thouroughly until a firm dough is formed.
Prepare a floured work surface and roll the dough to 3-4 mm thickness. Then cut it into squares (according to the size of the plums) into which we will wrap the plums(washed and stoned). Roll each plum wrapped in dough between your palms until you get nice balls.
Prepare a large saucepan with water and bring it to the boil. Drop the plum balls into it and cook for about 5-7 minutes until they come to the surface.
Take them out, rinse in cold water (to aovid further cooking of the dough) and put in a serving bowl.
Topping preparation:
To make the sweet breadcrumb topping - add a dollop of butter to the heated pan. Once the butter is melted, add the breadcrumbs, icing sugar(to your taste) and fry until golden in colour.
To make the poppyseed topping - process the poppyseeds with icing sugar (in a food blitzer).
To make the quark topping - mix the quark with icing sugar and lemon rind.

Once you have the topping of your choice, spoon it on top of the balls, pour hot melted butter over it (apart from the quark topping) and finish with a spoonful of hot jam(plum is nice).

Have a lovely meal!

Wednesday, March 2

Frosted Winter Carrot cake


Orange & carrot cake(gluten-free) Posted by Hello

Winter in Kent, England is raging today - it has been snowing all day. It makes me feel much more like at home in Slovakia. The countryside is laid with soft white carpets and you can see only the top of the roofs peeking out of the snow.
It is like in a fairy tale. Big white fluffs are falling down and creating hats on top of the chimneys and street lamps. The life seems to run slower as it is so dreamy outside. I always think of Dickens when it snows in England.

The best thing to do, I thought to myself, on a day like this is definitely to make a cake and eat it next to a roaring fire with a hot cup of tea.
My choice is a moist carrot cake made with fresh oranges, spices and nuts finished with a nice white frosting.
Perfect winter cake!


Orange & carrot cake(gluten-free)
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
350 gluten free flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 - 1&1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinammon
1tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cloves

Mix these ingredients and sift into a bowl. Put aside.

3 eggs(beaten)
50 g dark muscovado sugar
160 ml sunflower oil
3 oranges(peeled and processed in a mixer)

Combine these wet ingredients in another bowl leaving the processed oranges to be added with flour at the end.

3 large carrots(peeled and grated)
50g nuts (walnuts or pecan nuts)

Add them into the wet ingredients.

Then start adding the flour in 3-4 parts, alternating with oranges. Once combined - pour into a non-stick cake tin and pop in the oven to bake for about 1/2 hour until the top is firm and not sinking under your finger.

Frosting
1 tub of quark(which is fat -free)
3-4 tbsp of icing sugar (or more , as is your preference)
Combine and spread on top of the cool cake. Add few nuts to decorate on top of the frosting.

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