European Bake – A Student Cake!

It’s European Week at the Great British Bake Off and what did I bake 2 hours before I even knew about that? A Student Cake? Do you even know what that is? Well it’s a Swiss bake as far as I know (or could be German), usually made with leftovers (hence the name student) and cut into thick slices. It is one of my favourite cakes and I always buy it as an after-dinner snack. So I just had to try and make it myself for a change.

It’s actually not the easiest cake to make and I just realise how simple my cakes usually are. The Great British Bake Off really is an inspiration to me to go beyond my comfort zone and try something new. But Mary and Paul would probably tell me that it looks a mess. Which to be fair, is true. But it’s a first time bake so I let it slide (I am usually quite forgiving to myself).

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But let’s talk about the Bake Off. I have never been that excited and worried at the same time. Two of my favourites up for elimination and phew, none of them had to go. Although at this stage and in this series I just like everybody. They all bring such character to the show. I just love it. Oo and the Swedish Princess Torte. Here in continental Europe this is a very popular dessert. I couldn’t believe the British bakers didn’t know it. What a delicious dessert. Do try it if you get a chance.

Student Cake

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 2h20mins
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients short crust:
100g flour
40g sugar
1 pinch of salt
60g butter, cold and in cubes
1 tbsp. water

Ingredients for the sponge mixture:
4 egg yolks
50g sugar
1 tbsp. hot water

4 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
250g shortbread or butter biscuit, finely grounded
100g grounded hazelnut
4 tbsp. chocolate powder
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. apricot jam

125g melted chocolate frosting

Short crust pastry:
1. Combine flour, sugar and salt for the short crust pastry in a bowl.
2. Add the butter and crumble the mixture into an even mixture.
3. Add the water and combine into a soft dough without kneading.
4. Place the dough into the with baking paper lined baking tin and push it down onto the bottom.
5. Place in a cool area for 30 minutes.
6. Stab the dough densely with a fork.

Bake for 15 minutes in the lower part of the oven at 200°. Cool a bit and brush with the apricot jam.

Sponge mixture:
1. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and water in a bowl with an electric mixture for about 5 minutes until the mixture is frothy.
2. Whisk the egg whites with the salt until stiff.
3. Mix the biscuits, hazelnuts, chocolate and cocoa powder and the cinnamon in another bowl.
4. Alternate mixing the egg whites and the biscuit mixture with the egg yolks and carefully mix together.
5. Distribute onto the baked short crusty pastry.

Bake for about 35 minutes and let it cool a little bit. Then pour the melted chocolate frosting on top and let it cool. Then remove from the tin.

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I was a bit horrified when I saw my pictures. It was quite late at night, as I needed to let the chocolate set and then the next day, the cake was gone. I should take the quick dissappearance as a compliment really, but I am a bit dissapointet when I look at the visual result (in the cake and the pictures). But it tasted nice. I think I would even suggest to put another layer of jam on top of the cake, underneath the chocolate glazing as the middle bit is a little bit dry.

So I am bringing this tasty but messy cake to Angies Fiesta Friday. As usual I am a day late (apologies) but nevertheless that means you’ll have digested yesterdays food and some room for my little leftover cake! :-) I hope you like it.

Almond Cantucci

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I have been very slow and lazy recently. My partner has packed his bags and left for his homeland for a year. Some more education is calling. So I’ve been feeling a bit lonely and down but even more I lost my appetite in the kitchen. Whenever I want to start baking or cooking I just go ‘why bother, cooking for one is lame’. Yup, so I’ve been kicking and turning in my little cave but slowly, ever so slowly I am crawling back out.

So here I am presenting you some Cantucci I made a few weeks back. They are one of my favourite cookies ever. Slightly behind my all time favourites, the Florentines. But ever so slightly.

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Almond Cantucci

  • Servings: 25 cookies
  • Time: 1h 15mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
50g almonds
2 eggs
100g sugar
1/2 orange (only the peeled skin)
1 pinch of salt
150g flour
25g grounded almonds
1/8 tsp baking powder

1. Distribute the almonds on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes at 200° until golden brown.
2. Let the almonds cool and cut into pieces.
3. Mix the eggs, sugar, the orange peel and the salt and whisk for about 3 minutes until the mixture is brighter.
4. Mix the flour and grounded almonds and combine with the other ingredients including the baked almonds.
5. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and roll on plenty of flour to two 3cm thick rolls.
6. Bake for about 20 minutes at 200°.
7. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven heat to 180°.
8. Cut into pieces of about 1cm and place in the oven again for about 8 minutes.
9. Turn off the oven and leave the door slightly ajar.
10. Dry for another 15 minutes.

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This was my first attempt in making them. And I was so surprised how well they turned out. Cantucci have a way of being quite hard to bite, and these certainly were as well. But then not quite as hard as I am used to, and I really enjoyed that. I mean who wants to lose some teeth over cookies? Although these might just be worth it.

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So I hope you enjoy them and I do promise to be back more often now. Promise! :-)

BASIL GNOCCHI by Martina @ Make, Shake and Bake (a guest post)

Martina:

Jhuls invited me to do a guest post for her amazing blog. I highly doubt that you haven’t come across Jhuls in our wonderful little WordPress community, but hey if you don’t know her, check her out (that wasn’t supoosed to sound dirty… I meant check out her blog).
So I’ve been a bit slow and lazy recently. I shall explain why in my next post, but for now let’s welcome the golden September on Jhuls blog and with some hearty food.

Originally posted on thenotsocreativecook:

Martina and I met each other during Fiesta Friday. I am not sure when’s the exact date, but I could not forget when she entered holding these Peach and Honey Mini Bundt Cakes  and I immediately ran to her – to say ‘Hi’ of course… and okay… to take some of those gorgeous cakes first and foremost. :D Nope! I will not lie and I will not be ashamed to tell you that. :P

I have heard so much of Martina [from the gossips] during FF, but they are good talks – one of them is that Martina loves to help people. I even remember those film crew people she had prepared lunch for – oh, what a kind-hearted she is.

For my second guest blogger, here’s Martina @ Make, Shake and Bake -

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When Jhuls needed some help to cover her absence in September, I knew I was going…

View original 420 more words

Mocha Mousse with a hint of Grappa

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My brother and his wife were visiting us last weekend for a  game night.

Yes, we love games. Board games, card games, silly games, funny games… you name it!

For dinner we had a raclette. Do you know raclette? It’s basically sliced cheese topped with mushrooms, corn, ham, pickled veg and much more and then melted and poured over potatoes. Quite simple, but yummy comfort food for cold days.

But it called for a lighter dessert and I went for a mousse. This one I found in a Betty Bossi cookbook. Fluffy cream mixed with mocha chocolate and grappa. Ooo I love some schnaps after eating too much and I thought this one would be perfect after overeating on cheese.

The recipe is super simple, light and because I used chocolate with hazelnut brittle a few crunchy bits were left in. I really enjoyed it.

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Mocha Mousse with a hint of Grappa

  • Servings: party of 4
  • Time: 2h30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
100g Mocha chocolate, crumbled
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp Grappa or water for the non-alcoholic version
1 tbsp strong coffee
2dl cream

1. Add chocolate, sugar, Grappa and coffee into a thin glass bowl.
2. Place the bowl on top of a pot with simmering water.
3. Melt the chocolate and stir the ingredients into a smooth paste.
4. Leave to cool for about 15 minutes.
5. Whisk the cream until it’s just about stiff.
6. Combine the cream with the melted paste and mix well but carefully.
7. Spoon into 4 cups and leave in the fridge for about 2 hours.

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Let’s head over to Angie’s for her Fiesta Friday! Thank you so much for hosting Angie! You’re a star!

Blackberry Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Icing

There is a cupcake shop in the town I live in. And I always pass it drooling and craving for one of these. They just look so pretty and their icing… mmmhmm. But… they are super expensive. I mean, I can get a small meal for that price. So I don’t buy them very often.

But last Saturday my girls (I actually mean friends, not children ;-) ) stopped by for a girls night in. So I had the perfect opportunity to try and make some cupcakes myself.

I don’t actually know why, but making cupcakes myself always scared me. I guess it maybe is because I have virtually no experience with piping and a big appeal of cupcakes are their looks, and still they taste lovely. I think that is also why I don’t really like cupcakes decorated with fondant. I honestly don’t know any person who eats that stuff, it is just wonderful for decorating. But for me, it has to taste as well.

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I found this recipe on Pinterest. Do you know Pinterest? If not, off you go check it out now. The sheer abundance of recipes and ideas there is absolutely amazing and these cupcakes just really looked their part. Absolutely amazing. So I had the perfect recipe to share with my friends.

The creator of the original recipe is Juicy and it can be found on completerecipes.com.

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So the piping didn’t quite go to plan. But I am almost proud that it looks piped and not just slapped. I need lots of practice still, but it is definitely a start.

I would really like to try Jennie’s Chocolate and Baileys Cupcakes next. They just looks so scrumptious, and I am sure mine won’t look that pretty, but I can’t get better if I don’t try. Right? :-) So go check them out at Jennie’s blog. Yum, yum.

Blackberry Chocolate Cupcakes wit Vanilla Icing

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients Cake
60g Cocoa powder
175g Caster sugar
175g Butter
120g Self-raising flour
3 Eggs
3 tbsp Boiling water
100g Blackberries
1 tsp Baking powder

Ingredients icing
250g Icing sugar
250g Butter, soft
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 tbsp Milk

Directions for the cake:
1. Mix the cocoa powder and water in a bowl until smooth.
2. Add the butter and sugar and mix until smooth.
3. Add the eggs one at a time.
4. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture.
5. Combine and add the blackberries as carefully as possible.

Directions for the icing:
1. Combine the soft butter with the butter.
2. Once well mixed add the other ingredients and put aside until the cakes are ready.

Prepare 12 muffin cases with one blackberry each in the middle and spoon the batter on top of them. Bake in the preheated oven at 190° for about 13 minutes. Once cooled pipe the icing onto them and place a spare blackberry on the top.

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They were really good and actually because of the icing I left them in the fridge overnight and they were even much better the next day. I must admit, the very first bite felt quite sweet. I suppose the icing is just made with sweet ingredients. But leaving them to rest for a day, they really came together. The original recipe was with raspberries but since I didn’t have any at hand and the lovely blackberries just started to be in season, I opted for the dark option. It was quite a good idea. Since the icing was very sweet, the sourness of the blackberries counterparted the sweetness and it worked very well.

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Right, although this was just a piping experiment, they were tasty and I will bring them over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday. Oh it is so inspiring and amazing to see other bloggers offerings every week and I do so enjoy this party. So many absolutely scrumptious dishes and bakes. I can’t describe it, you just have to go and see for yourselves. Happy Friday and feliz Viernes.