April 28, 2015

Rhubarb+strawberry & chocolate+nutella vertical roll cakes




The idea of a vertical cake might not be world-changing, I know, but I've been thinking about using  roll cakes as "regular" layer cakes for quite some time now. I think I jotted it down on one of my 1000 post-its (which by the way, almost never make sense), but I never got around to trying it until now.
So I started with making one with a recipe I used last year, with some of my favorite flavors - rhubarb, strawberries and cardamom. Man, that compote is to die for! I made two batches to test the recipe, so I had lots of leftovers for my oatmeal. Perfect. Then I thought, I just HAVE to make a chocolate one as well, because there should always be chocolate, too. The chocolate one didn't turn out as visually striking on the inside as I would have wanted, but it tastes amazing, and that's what really counts, isn't it? A nice looking cake can be fantastic, but if the flavors aren't there, looks don't matter so much.
As usual, I can't pick a favorite out of these two. I love them both equally. And all I see when I look at the top photo are two fancy pac-mans (pac-men??). Look at the pink one eating that strawberry!





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*Notes on these recipes:
-When making the rhubarb strawberry roll cake, make the compote first as it needs to cool before use.
-Be sure to read the instructions before you begin so you are prepared with baking paper and sugar before removing the cake from the oven.
-And yes, the oven temperature is correct in the instructions for the rhubarb strawberry cake, 250°C (480°F).
-I usually let the cake cool underneath a clean and damp kitchen towel. I don't know if this really does anything but I imagine it keeps the cake from drying out which also makes it easier to roll.


CHOCOLATE ROLL CAKE
Serves 6-8
Cake is approximately 5 inches

INGREDIENTS
Cake
1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp (60 g) all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
pinch of salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup (140 g) granulated sugar + extra for rolling

Nutella cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup nutella

Chocolate buttercream
100 g (1 scant stick) softened butter
100 g semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tbsp espresso or strong coffee, cooled
1 tbsp nutella, at room temperature

Garnish
Maltesers (cut in half)
Blackberries
Edible flowers
Pink salt

DIRECTIONS
Cake
1. Preheat oven to 225°C (437°F). Cover a large baking sheet or a roasting pan (one that fits your oven) with baking paper.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat eggs and sugar until very pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Sift in the flour mixture and stir carefully until mixture is smooth. Spread mixture on the baking paper almost all the way to the edges of the paper. It should be thin but not so thin that you can see the paper through the mixture. Bake for 6-7 minutes.
4. While the cake is baking, put a piece of baking paper (larger than the cake) on your work surface. Sprinkle sugar on the baking paper.
5. Remove the cake from the oven, then carefully turn the cake over with the "top" facing down on the sugar. Carefully peel off the bottom piece of paper. Let cool completely.

Nutella cream
1. Whip cream until soft peaks form.
2. Add the nutella and whip until stiff peaks form.

Filling the cake
1. Spread the nutella cream over the cake. Cut four long strips, lengthwise (i.e. start cutting from the short side). If needed, use a measuring tape to get evenly sized strips. I find it easier to use a pizza slicer than a knife to make even layers.
2. Start with one strip and roll, then take the next strip and put it right next to the edge of the first strip and roll. Repeat the same steps with all layers.
3. Once your roll cake is ready, simply tip it over and place it on a plate or a cake stand. If it feels unstable, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge while you prepare the buttercream.

Chocolate buttercream
1. Beat the butter until light and creamy.
2. Add the melted chocolate, espresso and nutella and beat until smooth.
If buttercream feels too loose, put the bowl in the fridge for a few minutes.
3. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the cake using an offset spatula. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
4. Spread the remaining buttercream all over the cake. If you have some leftover, you can pipe "blobs" on top of the cake!
5. Garnish with edible flowers, blackberries, maltesers and a pinch of pink salt.


RHUBARB STRAWBERRY ROLL CAKE
Serves 6-8
Cake is approximately 6 inches


INGREDIENTS
Cake
3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp (120 g) all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom (optional)
pinch of salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup (140 g) granulated sugar + extra for rolling
1/2 tbsp water

Rhubarb strawberry compote (makes 1 cup)
200 g fresh rhubarb, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
75 g strawberries, fresh or frozen, cut in small pieces
1/3 cup (85 g) granulated sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla sugar
1/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom
2 tsp cornstarch + 2 tsp cold water

Strawberry buttercream
100 g (1 scant stick) softened butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
150 g cream cheese, at room temperature
75 g strawberries, pureed

Garnish
Fresh strawberries

DIRECTIONS
Rhubarb strawberry compote
1. Combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, vanilla and cardamom in a saucepan.
2. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cold water. Pour cornstarch mixture into saucepan, stirring until combined. Let mixture simmer for 2 minutes. Transfer compote to a bowl, cover and chill until completely cold. Can be made one day ahead.

Cake
1. Preheat oven to 250°C (480°F). Cover a large baking sheet or a roasting pan (one that fits your oven) with baking paper.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat eggs and sugar until very pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Sift in the flour mixture, add the water and stir carefully until mixture is smooth. Spread mixture on the baking paper almost all the way to the edges of the paper. It should be thin but not so thin that you can see the paper through the mixture. Bake for 5 minutes.
4. While the cake is baking, put a piece of baking paper (larger than the cake) on your work surface. Sprinkle sugar on the baking paper.
5. Remove the cake from the oven, then carefully turn the cake over with the "top" facing down on the sugar. Carefully peel off the bottom piece of paper. Let cool completely.
6. Spread the compote over the cake. Cut four long strips, lengthwise (i.e. start cutting from the short side). If needed, use a measuring tape to get evenly sized strips. I find it easier to use a pizza slicer than a knife to make even layers.
7. Start with one strip and roll, then take the next strip and put it right next to the edge of the first strip and roll. Repeat the same steps with all layers.
8. Once your roll cake is ready, simply tip it over and place it on a plate or a cake stand. If it feels unstable, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge while you prepare the buttercream.

Strawberry buttercream
1. Beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the cream cheese and the strawberry puree. If buttercream is too loose, put the bowl in the fridge for a while.
2. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the cake using an offset spatula. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
3. Spread the remaining frosting all over the cake.
4. Garnish with fresh strawberries.



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April 21, 2015

Breakfast in bed - Lemon ricotta pancakes




If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen these pancakes a few times, but they are so worth mentioning again. I keep coming back to this recipe over and over again, and I usually eat them at least once a week. Best pancakes, hands down. Really. They've earned their place on this blog.
And the best bedding, too. These sheets from Evencki are so soft and so silky, I just couldn't resist having breakfast in bed. Honestly, I don't think I ever slept better than in this bedding. And I've slept a LOT. Trust me. Sleeping happens to be one of the things I'm best at in life, unfortunately. Though I must say it's also one of my favorite activities. I try really hard to be a morning person and get up early every day, but it's a struggle. If I didn't have coffee in my life, I would probably never get up. I set four alarms each morning, and sometimes it works and I wake up, but I can just as easily snooze for 3 hours more. Like that one time I overslept when I was going to be on live TV for the first time. No biggie. And one time I missed my train too,  I woke up five minutes before the train left and called the train station, still half alseep. I had to buy a new ticket. I think I need more alarm clocks in my life.

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March 24, 2015

Vegan no bake chocolate mousse cake




Can I just say how impressed I am by this cake?
I had a whole bunch of leftovers from the last "raw" cake I made so I took the opportunity to make a chocolatey version too, cause you know, you gotta have chocolate. I pretty much improvised so there are all kinds of good stuff in this one. It tastes a bit like coconut, a bit like peanut butter, banana, and chocolate of course. And just the right amount of espresso. That might sound like a lot of stuff, but to me, it's perfection.
And let's talk about the texture. This cake is so creamy and smooth, like a mousse cake. I would never in a million years guess that a piece of this cake is actually pretty good for you. Almost too good to be true, right?!

If you compare this cake to the last one I made, this one is definitely more like a mousse cake while the other one is a bit more like ice cream. I love them both and I'm sure I will make them again and again.


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March 16, 2015

Vegan no bake blueberry lemon cheesecake





I'm a little bit too excited about this post. 
I received the most beautiful bed linen from Evencki the other day. This lovely plum color makes my knees weak and it was just begging to be photographed with a pretty cake. My inspiration has been low lately and this was exactly what I needed. This, and the beautiful spring weather we're having (our thermometer says 12°C today!). My friend Lua experimented with a raw and vegan cheesecake the other day and she told me all about it when we met over the weekend. So I had to give it a try, too. And I must say I'm very impressed with the outcome. Incredibly creamy, sweet, tangy, rich and just perfect.

I know, this blog is usually all about the sugar and the flour, and it has been for the past.. 5 1/2 years now.
Maybe you're thinking I've stopped eating sugar, flour, eggs and dairy. I haven't, though I really enjoy trying something different every now and then. It's a great way to find some new inspiration, because sometimes you just get stuck in your ways. It's like when I'm trying to think of something to eat for dinner. We have like 5 dishes that we eat over and over again and I can't imagine that there are other dishes in the world except for these 5. I'm like.. "uhmmm, maybe pasta, rice... or potatoes".  Does anyone else feel the same way?

Oh, and this cake totally looks huge in the photos but in reality, it isn't. It's only 12 cm, so it's tiny and cute.

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February 11, 2015

Chocolate cake with caramel buttercream and crunchy caramel popcorn



Over the past 5 1/2 years I've taken countless photos. It would be quite exciting to know the exact number... or maybe not.
Out of all these, obviously I love all the photos I post, more or less. But there are some that are special. Those that have a little extra something.
This whole shoot is exactly like that for me.
What makes it even more special is that the house we shot this in is no longer what it used to be. Obviously, the house was pretty run down and in great need of renovation, but still.. look at that turquoise kitchen cabinet and that beautiful golden medallion wallpaper. The paintings, the marble table and the chair. I could spend a long time in there, just looking through the old newspapers lying around.



I had been in this house a few times prior to shooting in it, with permission from the owners of course. When I was working on my last published book "Sweet food & photography" I told my publisher about this house and I could see the excitement in her eyes. I told her about the wallpaper, the newspapers (I had yet to discover the kitchen cabinet) and the light. There is definitely something special about the light in old houses. She said to me "you HAVE to take photos in this house". So I took her advice. First, we (and by we I mean me and my friend/assistant Emma) made a test shoot with some muffins and pies I had lying around at home. I remember it was so freezing in the house that day. Even colder than outside. I think this was in April 2014. I realized that it was a perfect location to shoot and that I had to come back and do it again.



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January 12, 2015

Double chocolate banana muffins with mascarpone frosting and bourbon caramel sauce



So, this is my first post of the new year. I know, I know, it's already the 12th , but I felt like I had to mention it. 2014 sure had its ups and downs. My trip to Iceland and the release of my new book Sweet food & photography are two of my favorite things from last year.

I have been baking like never before these past weeks, something that hasn't been very noticeable on the blog. Finally I had some time to bake for the blog.
I had two very sad looking bananas lying in my kitchen that I didn't want to throw them away, so I figured I'd make something easy with them. Chocolate muffins maybe? Then I remembered I still had the jar of dry ingredients from my last blogpost! So I used that and added the bananas. I didn't think these muffins could get any better, but boy was I wrong. They came out even more moist than before. So, when in doubt, add a banana or two. Well, maybe they don't go with everything.. These muffins are absolutely perfect without the frosting, but I have a thing for this particular one. Mascarpone frosting.  It's not very sweet, it just adds that extra creaminess. And the bourbon caramel sauce. Don't even get me started the bourbon caramel sauce. Honestly, I don't even particularly like drinking beverages with alcohol (and especially not bourbon) but in baked goods, it just works so well.


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