dimanche 21 avril 2013

The Hairy Biker’s chocolate brownies

One of the nice things of being back in the Netherlands is that I can watch all the food programs the BBC offers. The last two weeks I have followed Dave Meyers and Simon King, on their search for ‘Best of British’. In Friday’s episode the Hairy Bikers explored the relationship between American and Britain’s culinary cultures.

I am so glad I didn’t resist the urge to make the chocolate brownie from this episode. It’s a fantastic, gooey brownie with dark and white chocolate chunks and crunchy nuts.

The original recipe can be found on the BBC food website. I made my brownie in a 20X20 cm square cake tin, so it took a bit longer to bake. I replaced the pecan nuts by hazelnuts and left out the cherries.


200g butter
175g caster sugar
175g soft light brown sugar
4 large eggs
100g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
125g plain dark chocolate chunks
125g white chocolate chunks
100g hazelnuts


Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Lightly butter a 20x20cm square cake tin and line the base and sides with a large sheet of baking parchment.

Put the butter in a medium saucepan and place over a very low heat until only just melted. Remove the butter from the heat and stir in the sugars until well combined. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until smooth and slowly pour the butter and sugar mixture on top, stirring constantly until well combined.

Put the flour and cocoa powder in a sieve and sift on top of the egg and butter mixture. Beat hard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. (This will prevent the chocolate chunks melting too quickly when they are added to the batter.)

Roughly chopped the hazelnuts and stir them with the chocolate pieces into the cake batter. Pour into the prepared tin and spread to all the corners with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon.

Bake the brownie in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes, or until the mixture is crusty on the surface and lightly cooked inside.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5-10 minutes. Take out of the tin and transfer to a board. Cut into squares or rectangles to serve warm or leave to cool completely if serving cold. 

lundi 25 mars 2013

Chocolate-Cherries Cake

Special order this weekend for the new elected chairman of the dutch rowing association. 
Flavor of the day: a 4 layer cake, half chocolate, half vanilla, with mascarpone-whipped cream filling and cherries. Decorated with chocolate shavings. 
One big tasty cake ! 

mardi 19 mars 2013

Savoury “Caprese” mini cupcakes

I finally decided to make some savory cupcakes. To me a cupcake is linked to sweet and the thought of making and eating savory one, never had much appeal.
But the ones I found on Laura’s Bakery looked very tempting, so I went for it. And I was not disappointed. Still found it strange to put sugar in the batter, and you did taste the sweetness, but the melted mozzarella had the upperhand.
Since the urge came rather suddenly, I had to make the pesto for the topping.

Ingredients for 24 mini cupcakes 

100 g flour
3 g baking powder 
25 g sugar
Pinch of salt
1 egg
110 ml milk
40 ml olive oil
50 g mozzarella, cut into small pieces 
25g pine nuts

Ingredients for the topping
100 grams unsalted butter
100 grams of cream cheese
1- 2 tablespoons green pesto
A few leaves of fresh basil
Salt and pepper

Preparation cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 180°. Line your mini-cupcake pan with paper liners.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Wisk and add the sugar and the salt. In another bowl, mix the eggs, the milk and the olive oil. Add the two mixtures together and mix until smooth. 

Add the chopped mozzarella and the pine nuts. Scoop the batter in the paper liners (three quarters full) and bake for approximately 12 minutes until tender and golden brown. 

Preparation topping

While the cupcakes are in the oven you can make the topping. Place the softened butter in a bowl and beat it lightly. When the butter is light add the cream cheese in portions and mix well. Add the pesto and some chopped fresh basil  Season to your liking with salt and pepper. 

You can either pipe or spoon the topping unto your cooled minicupcakes. Garnish with basil leaves and half a little cherry tomato. 

Pes­to ge­n­o­ve­se


2 tbsp pine nuts
25 g Parmesan cheese
1 clove of garlic
around 40 g of basil leaves
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + extra for storage


Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan without oil or butter for 3 minutes until golden. Cool completely on a plate, otherwise the pesto too oily. 
Grind the pine nuts, cheese and garlic in a food fine.
Add the basil and oil and grind briefly to pesto. Add salt and pepper. 
Put the pesto, if not using directly into a lean jar with a thin layer of oil. Unopened it will keep upto two months. Opened, make sure you finish it within a week.

Recipe Allerhande 

dimanche 17 mars 2013

Carrot and ginger cake

Carrot cake is not only one of my favourite cakes; it is also the one cake that seems to please my brother. So when I wanted to bake him a cake for his birthday, there was only one option. To keep things interesting for me as well, I found a carrot cake recipe I hadn’t tried before. Since it is another Hummingbird Bakery recipe, I was confident enough to make it for the big day. This carrot cake has fresh root ginger in it, and you can really taste the difference...
As we had the cake for dessert, I decided not to ice it all over. I spread a cream cheese lemon icing between the layers and some on top of the cake.

The recipe is for a 4 layer cake. I decided to make 2 cakes. The first one was eaten by the family. And the second will be served at my brother’s work tomorrow. If that doesn’t tell me he liked it…

Carrot and ginger cake

Ingredients cake
450 g peeled and finely grated carrots
2 tbsp peeled and grated root ginger
80 ml buttermilk
3 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
350 ml vegetable oil
420 g caster sugar (I used soft brown sugar)
500 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
 1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
80 g pecans, chopped (I used walnuts)


Preheat the oven to 180° and line the 4 sandwich tins with baking parchment.
Using a handheld electric whisk or a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the carrots, root ginger, buttermilk, vanilla extract, vegetable oil and sugar until all the ingredients are well combined.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and ground spices, then slowly beat this into the egg and carrot mixture, adding the dry ingredients in three batches. Mix well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl to pick to pick up any ingredients that may have got stuck there. Stir in the chopped pecans and mix the cake batter until it is smooth and even.

Divide the batter between the four prepared sandwich tins and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the top of each sponge bounces back when lightly pressed. Allow the cakes to cool completely, on a wire rack while you make the frosting.

Besides the carrot cake, there were some savoury minicupcakes and a leak-goat cheese pie:

mardi 5 mars 2013

Banana Pecan Loaf

Bananas are back with a second recipe. This one is from the new Hummingbird Bakery book “Home Sweet Home. Being a true Hummingbird fan, I have had it in my possession since the day it came out.

I replace the Brazil nuts by pecan nuts. Will definitely redo the original recipe since the loaf was a big hit!

No recipe here for this lovely loaf. You’ll just have to buy the book !

The banana brazil nut loaf is the second recipe from this book I have tried. The first one was the lemon cake which I never tasted since I made it for an order. I have been told it was gorgeous. So go on and buy Home Sweet Home. 

lundi 4 mars 2013

Banana cupcakes – Choco-frosting

Last Thursday I left work with a bagful of frozen bananas. They were a gift from the chefs in canteen. The week before just before the weekend, I had noticed some very ripe bananas on the stand. I made a deal: freeze the bananas for me and I’ll bake you some goodies.

So on the first day of my extended weekend I started by baking some cupcakes. I had a look at Alisa’s recipe for a banana cake (Happy Gâteau, editions Marabout) and decided it could easily be used for cupcakes.

Ingredients cupcakes

2 ripe bananas
40 gr crème fraîche
3 eggs
2 tsp lemon juice
1 ½ ts vanilla extract
240 gr flour
170 gr sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
130 gr soft butter

Preparation cupcakes 

Preheat oven to 180°C.  Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.

Mix the bananas and the crème fraîche, and then add the eggs, lemon juice and vanilla. Set 

In another bowl combine all dry ingredients. On medium speed add the butter one piece at the time and half of the banana mixture. Mix well at medium speed for about 2 minutes until the batter is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining banana mixture.
With the help of an ice cream scoop, divide the batter in the cupcakes liners.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

These cupcakes are very smooth and tasty and the combination with the left over Chocolate cream cheese in the freezer worked to perfection.

2 bananas down, 11 to go… more to come !

dimanche 3 février 2013

Pear & Rosemary Cupcakes

There is a new Hummingbird Bakery cookbook coming. The name is Home Sweet Home and I already pre-ordered it on Amazon.
On this occasion the Hummingbird Bakery is organizing a contest in association with Emerald Street. The goal of the contest is to design and bake a cupcake. My kind of challenge!

Recipes have a funny way of coming together. This one found its root in the rosemary I bought with a foccacia in mind. I never got around to baking it so it sat in my kitchen. And when I saw some nice and ripe pears during my shopping, an idea started to form in my head. I would poach the pears in a sugar-rosemary-lemon syrup before adding them in chunks to my cupcake batter.
To top the cupcakes, I was going for a cream cheese frosting but at the last minute I decided to add some cacao to it.

Whilst the cupcakes where cooling I looked a bit more into detail at the conditions of the Emerald Street-Hummingbird Bakery cupcake challenge. And I was so disappointed to find out that it is only open to UK residents.

So there is no change of winning a Kichenaid for me. No Pear & Rosemary cupcakes as a contestant to be sold in the Hummingbird bakeries. But I do end up with some lovely cupcakes that I enjoyed putting together. Hope you do too!

For the poached pears

120 g of caster sugar
1 branch of rosemary in 3 parts
3 large strips of lemon peel
1 tbs lemon juice
2 ripe but firm pears

You can prepare the pears the day or evening before baking your cupcakes.

Fill a medium saucepan with 375 ml water. Add the sugar, rosemary and the lemon peel and juice. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.

Meanwhile, peel the pears, leaving them whole, stem included. Use a spoon or a small Parisian spoon to remove the heart from the base. Place the pears in the pan. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer, taking care to turn the pears occasionally, until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pears from the pan.
Boil the syrup uncovered for 7 to 9 minutes, until reduced and it has thickened (it will continue to thicken as it cools). Poor the liquid through a sieve and let cool completely.

For the cupcakes

135 g flour
2 ts baking powder
25 g ground almonds
150 g sugar
50 g butter at room temperature
125 g of crème fraîche
2 eggs

Preparation of the cupcakes

Preheat oven to 170 ° C. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
Chop the pears into small cubes and set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder and almond powder and add a pinch of salt, the sugar and the butter.

Mixer at slow speed until there is a sandy texture. This may take 5-10 minutes.

Mix the crème fraîche with the first egg and then add the second egg.  Add half of this into the butter mixture. Scrape and add the rest. Mix until the dough is smooth.

Put a spoonful of batter in the prepared cupcake liners. Add the cubes of pear. Be carefull not to overfill the cupcake liners (2/3 max.).

Bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. Right after you take the cupcakes out of the over, use a skewer (or the point of a sharp knife) to prick little holes in the cakes. Gently drip some of the syrup over the cupcakes.  
Take the cupcakes out of the pan and set on a rack to cool completely.

Whilst your cupcakes are cooling down you can prepare the frosting of your choice. I find that cream cheese icing always goes well with fruit cupcakes. To change I added a bit of cacao powder


50 g butter, at room temperature
300 g icing sugar
125 g cream cheese
25 g cacao powder

Mix together the butter, the icing sugar and cacao powder until well blended. Add the cream cheese and mix until light and fluffy.

dimanche 24 juin 2012

Lime pie with strawberries and whipped cream

Ingredients for the pie
200 g of biscuits in crumbs
4 tbsp sugar
6 t tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
400 g of concentrated milk
125 ml of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp. of grated lime zest

Whipped Cream

Mix together the cookie crumbs, half of the sugar and the melted butter. Pour into a 23 cm oiled baking pan with removable bottom and press well. Place in refrigerator while preparing the lime cream.

Whisk the egg yolks until frothy. Add condensed milk, lemon juice and lime zest. Beat until the mixture thickens slightly. In a bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff. Stir in remaining sugar and continue to whip until soft peaks form. Using a metal spatula, gently fold the whites into the lime cream.

Pour the lime cream into the baking pan. Smooth the surface. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven at 160° until the cream feels just firm to the touch and is lightly browned. When cold, place the pie in refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Slice the strawberries and place them on the top of the cake. Decorate with some whipped cream.

Serve the pie cold.

The recipe calls for 400 g of concentrated milk. A can of Nestlé ‘lait concentré’ is just under that. I found it just works fine.
My 3 limes didn’t add up to 125 ml so I used a lemon.
Not really very fond of whipped cream. That’s why I replace the proposed topping from the original recipe (dessert Trop Bon – Marabout) by strawberries that happened to lie around in the house!
Wait to take the pie out of the pan until it has cooled down in the refrigerator. I didn’t as you can see on the pictures.

Orginal garnish

25 ml cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
Vanilla extract
A few slices of lime for garnish
Whip the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla extract. Spread the cream over the tart cool. Decorate with slices of lime.

dimanche 17 juin 2012

European Soccer Championship Cupcakes

As of sunday evening 11.30 pm: For sale:
  • cupcake cases: color: orange
  • sprinkels: color: orange
  • foodcolor: orange
Performant Dutch soccerteam 

All that's left are the memories 

Orange Cake

To be honest, I made this cake for Queens day. April 30 is a national holiday in the Netherland, when we celebrate the birthday of our queen's mother: Juliana.
The royal family's name being Orange, this color is known as our national color.

Today is a big day for 'Oranje', our national soccer team. In order to go to the next round in the European Championship, they must beat Portugal with a 2 goal-difference. And at the same time hope the Germans beat Denmark.

Will tonight bring victory or defeat? Anyhow: there will be cake !

jeudi 14 juin 2012

Black&White Layer Cake

Whenever my baking urge is strong at the beginning of the weekend, and cupcakes are not an option since I always want them to be as fresh as possible when taking them to work, I go for a big layer cake! 

This one has 5 layers and is made of devil' food cake and a white cake. In between some home-made strawberry jam. Strawberry Swiss Meringue Butter Cream to finish it !Very yummy !


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