Quatre-quarts with Berries and a Lemon Drizzle

What do you do when you have an overload of berries that are threatening to go bad? Right, you bake! Or at least, that’s what I do. I bought blueberries on sale at the supermarket, but they were kind of mushy and disappointing, which made them perfect to put in a cake. Somehow, blueberries completely transform when they bake – both in taste and flavour. I also had a bowl full of fresh red currants from my parents’ garden, so I figured I’d throw some of those in, too.

At first, I didn’t really know what to bake – the first thing that came to mind were muffins, but that seemed kind of boring, since that’s pretty much always my go-to for when I have leftover fruit. Then I remembered this cake I baked years ago – a french cake called a quatre-quarts, only back then I used a whole lot of apples instead of berries. Turns out, a quatre-quarts is pretty much just a pound cake or a sponge. Who’d have thunk!

I also added a lemon drizzle to this cake, because lemon drizzles make everything better. It’s a fact. The cake turned out absolutely scrumptious – definitely a good one to have added to my repertoire! The fresh berries and lemon-y taste make it a perfect summer treat.

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Chocolate Caramel Cake with Sea Salt

It was one of my friends’ birthday yesterday and, as I do with most birthday parties these days, I decided to bake something for him. When I asked him what kind of stuff he liked in baked goodies, he said “uhm, something with caramel?” And it went without saying that chocolate would be a hit as well.

Now, I’m not a huge caramel fan (although I’m starting to like it a bit more), so I’ve never baked with it, but this gave me an opportunity to try. However, I didn’t have a whole lot of time, so there was no room for mistakes – and watching a lot of Masterchef and Great British Bake Off has taught me that making caramel from scratch can easily go wrong.

In other words: I needed a short cut. And I found one! It’s a recipe from one of my favourite Dutch baking blogs – Laura’s Bakery (for all you Dutchies – go check it out, it’s cool!). All you need is some butter, dark sugar and condensed milk and you’re good to go. I explain in this recipe how you can make it, but I would definitely recommend checking out her recipe for step by step pictures, even if your Dutch is a bit rusty.

Anyway, this chocolate and caramel cake with sea salt was a big success (I even liked it!) and I’m pretty proud of how it turned out! I baked it in two 16 cm tins (so pretty small) but you can definetely use 18 cm tins as well – it’ll just come out a bit less high.

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Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Since I don’t have a lot of experience with baking gluten-free stuff, coming up with a gluten-free baked goodie for a charity sale last week was quite a challenge! Gluten-free bakes often turn out dry and crumbly, so I figured going with a carrot cake would be a good idea – there was no way that wouldn’t turn out moist and yummy (I hoped).

I decided to use my own carrot cake recipe as a basis for this one, because it seemed very suitable – apart from the flour, of course. Then came the actual challenge: what should I use instead of said flour? I thought about using gluten-free flour, but eventually I landed on using almond meal. It adds a very subtle nutty flavour, which goes well with the spices and the carrot.

While the cake was baking in the oven, I had a moment of slight panic, when I thought this endeavor would turn into a baking fail – after 35 minutes, the cake had turned quite brown on top, but was still way too jiggly in the middle. Luckily, that could be fixed with some aluminium foil over the top of the tin, and in the end this cake turned out very moist and delicious! Its structure is a bit different from the original, but it holds together and tastes incredible. What more could I want?

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Chocolate Orange Almond Marble Bundt Cake

Autumn has definitely arrived now in the Netherlands, and with that has come the first wave of colds and flu. Everyone seems to be ill, as was I this past week. I stayed home from class on Monday and Wednesday, and my lovely dad came over to bring me some groceries, so I could still, you know, eat. Quite important, after all.

I still wanted to bake something this week, though, but I didn’t want to make it too challenging or time-consuming, since I also had quite a lot of homework to do. So that meant the plan I had to make macarons this weekend fell through. Maybe next week!

Instead, I figured I’d make a marble bundt cake, because that seemed like fun. I didn’t want to go for the plain old vanilla and chocolate, so I soon came up with the idea of adding the almond to the batter, with some almond flavouring and some ground almonds. I also really love the combination of chocolate and orange, so I decided to go with those flavours for the two different batters.

It came out quite splendidly! It isn’t really all that marbled, at least not in these pictures, but that doesn’t really matter – it still looks cool and tastes absolutely delicious, and it’s such an easy batter to make!

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Walnut Apple Cake

About a week ago I was feeling a bit stressed and anxious (it happens sometimes), so I figured I’d do something that pretty much always helps me relax: I baked something. The weather has been changing quite rapidly for the past two weeks, and I think it’s pretty safe to say autumn has come. That’s probably why I felt like baking a nutty, cinnamon-y cake – which is what I did!

This walnut and apple cake was a spur of the moment experiment and isn’t it funny how those often turn out the best? Let me tell you, this cake is good. It’s incredibly simple to make and incredibly delicious. A new favourite? Definitely!

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Lemon and Blueberry Blondies

Spring officially started yesterday, and I couldn’t be happier about it! We had a couple of sunny days last week here in the Netherlands, and they were glorious. Biking around town without a coat on (and without getting cold, obviously) is the best feeling around this time of year. Or maybe it’s having lunch in the sun on a roof top terrace… Yep. That was definitely better than the biking.

And what better way to celebrate Spring than with a delicious, fresh and fruity baked goodie? Lemon and blueberry are perfect flavours for a sunny day, and these blondies are packed with both of them. I also added some white chocolate chips for an extra sweet little bite, but you could leave those out as well if you prefer. With or without the chocolate or the sunshine, these blondies have such a rich taste they can clear up any cloudy day.

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Victoria Sponge Cake

Remember when I baked this mango tart for my father’s birthday a few weeks ago? That wasn’t enough to feed my entire family, so I had to think of a second cake to bake. The decision was easily made — I had never made a Victoria sponge cake, and figured it was high time I did so. Every baker should have a Victoria sponge in repertoire, I think. Now I finally do!

A classic Victoria sponge seems to use buttercream for the filling, but I’m not very fond of buttercream (way too buttery and creamy — the name kind of gives it away), so I decided to just use whipped cream instead. It worked perfectly! It does mean you shouldn’t make this cake too far in advance. I also added an extra little touch to the usual cream-jam combination, namely some fresh strawberries. The cake does fine without them too, but strawberries make everything better, so why not add them?

I used this recipe from BBC Good Food as the base for my recipe, but made some changes to make it my own (especially to the filling).

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Pretty in Pink: Raspberry Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I bought a kilo of frozen raspberries for less than 4 euros. You can imagine I was quite pleased with myself! I love raspberries, but they’re always so ridiculously expensive, if you want fresh ones. Even frozen raspberries aren’t very cheap, usually. So, yes, I was very happy with this purchase, to say the least.

I’ve used a bunch of them to make smoothies, but decided to bake something with them this week: cupcakes, to be exact. I didn’t realise exactly how pink they’d turn out, so, in hindsight, perhaps I shouldn’t have chosen pink paper cases to bake them in. They still look scrumptious, though! Plus, the colour of the icing is completely natural: all you need is some raspberry juice.

I slightly altered this recipe for the cupcakes, which is always foolproof, and they came out looking pretty darn delicious. Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a hurry, and only had time to ice three of the cupcakes (the others needed to bake a little longer) after trying to let them cool more quickly by holding the plate out of the window. Oh well, it happens.

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Nutty Bundt Cake with Raisins

Now that summer is definitely over, I’m starting to crave those typically autumnal/wintery bakes again: cinnamon infused, aromatic cakes filled with plenty of nuts. Oh, who am I kidding, I crave those flavours all throughout the year. But now I have a good excuse to actually act on them again!

This weekend I baked this beautiful bundt cake, and let me tell you, it’s delicious. I didn’t expect it to turn out this amazing, but I’m pretty sure it’s a new favourite. The cinnamon and nutmeg provide the autumnal aroma I was looking for, and the abundance of nuts (hazelnuts and pecans) give it that great crunch as well as an amazing flavour. Add a bunch of raisins, and the texture and taste are complete winners! But wait, there’s more (I’m sorry…)! The very simple glaze adds yet another layer of deliciousness (icing sugar + orange juice = success).

Oh, and one more thing: aren’t bundt cakes the prettiest things you’ve ever seen?

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Banana Chocolate Cake

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe, or anything baking related for that matter. That’s because it’s actually been a while since I did some actual baking. There’s a logical explanation for that, though. It’s summer. Now, for most people that wouldn’t be a reason to stop baking — in fact, many people would find it a reason to bake more. However, we’ve had an unusually warm couple of weeks here in the Netherlands and I live on the top floor of a house with a flat roof. Quite frankly, it’s been way too hot to even consider turning my oven on. But these last couple of days have been much less warm, and ever since getting back from Barcelona (which I’ll post more on later) I have had te urge to bake again.

So, here I am with these delicious banana chocolate cakes! When my parents got back from France a few weeks ago, they brought a really cute silicone baking form with them for me as a gift. It’s one form for six little cakes, and I thought I’d try and bake something with it today. I immediately thought of the banana-chocolate combination, for some reason. That combination just never seems to fail, and maaan, are these mini-cakes good! Also, why is it that smaller things are always cute? These cakes are adorable!

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You’ll need…

– 200 g caster sugar

– 125 ml sunflower oil

– 2 eggsP1010668

– 250 g plain flour

– 2 teaspoons baking powder

– ½ teaspoon salt

– 2-3 bananas (about 300-350 g)

– 100 g dark chocolate

– 1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring

– a cake/loaf tin, or a pan for several smaller cakes (see picture)

– and an oven, of course! This cake needs to be baked at 180 °C (don’t forget to preheat your oven!)

So, let’s get baking!

1. Mash bananas and chop chocolate First off, just to get it out of the way, you have to mash the bananas in a (small) bowl until you’ve got a banana mush. It’s entirely up to you how mushy or lumpy you want your bananas to be, though. Also, chop the chocolate into smaller pieces (again, size is up to you) and add it to the banana mixture. Alternatively, you could also use chocolate chips instead of a plain ol’ chocolate bar.

2. Mix oil and sugar In a seperate (larger) bowl, whisk the sunflower oil and the caster sugar together until it’s evenly mixed. You could also just as well use butter instead of sunflower oil, but I prefer oil because it’s a bit healthier and I always have it at home, whereas I never have butter unless I have to bake something with it.

3. Add eggs, banana mixture and vanilla First, add the eggs to your oil and sugar mixture and whisk them through. Now, add the banana mixture and fold it through your batter. Also add the teaspoon of vanilla flavouring at this point.

4. Add flour, baking powder and salt The last thing you need to do before you pour you mixture into your baking pan is adding the flour, the baking powder and the salt. Fold it through your batter until everything is evenly mixed. Don’t overmix it, though, or your cake(s) will have trouble rising in the oven.

5. Pour batter in pan and bake! Now, pour your batter into your pan. If you don’t have the kind of form I used (which I completely understand, it’s an unusual form), you can just use a normal loaf tin, although it’ll take a bit longer to bake. You’ll have to grease a regular (non silicone) loaf tin before pouring in the batter, though. Once you’ve got your batter in some pan or other, put it in the oven and bake it for 30 minutes. A larger cake will probably take up to 40 or even 50 minutes, you’ll just have to pay attention and time that yourself. Another option might be using a muffin tin.

Once your cake is done, take it out of the oven and let it cool for a while before taking it out of the tin. I do recommend tasting it before it gets cold, though, because this cake tastes absolutely delicious while it’s still warm! Enjoy!

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