dutch apple cake

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i just happened to post after a long drawn hiatus and talked about how time had flown that it’d already come to be september and now i can’t help wondering it’s october already. time flies and though most things may become irrelevant with it, some things are timeless. like this recipe i baked a long ago in time but still has its place in my memory that i keep coming back to it – my first dutch apple cake ever, by rachel allen.


ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 175 g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 85 g butter
  • 75 ml milk
  • 125 g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

method

1. preheat the oven to 200C. line the sides and base of a 20 x 20cm square cake tin with parchment paper.

2. using an electric whisk, whisk the eggs, caster sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until the mixture is thick and mousse-like and the whisk leaves a figure of eight pattern (this will take about 5 minutes).

3. melt the butter in a saucepan with the milk, then pour onto the eggs, whisking all the time. sift in the flour, cinnamon and baking powder and fold carefully into the batter so that there are no lumps of flour. pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.

4. arrange the apple slices over the batter. (they will sink to the bottom.) sprinkle over a tablespoon of sugar and bake in the oven for ten minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 180C and bake for a further 20-25 minutes or until well risen and golden brown.

5. remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes in the tin. cut into squares and serve.


this recipe makes a delightfully light and moist sponge cake with the goodness of apple and cinnamon. my cake did not have a browned crust like the one on this site but was delicious nevertheless. there are a ton of apple recipes i want to bake this season and hoping i will get to it before it’s next fall already!

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apple yogurt cake

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september – that time of the year, when you begin to wonder whatever happened to the time gone past. a procrastinator’s nightmare, possibly. when you’re trying so hard to keep up to the umpteen promises you made to yourself. or are possibly making new. or maybe wondering if you could just start all over again, like you always do. serious contemplation apart, fall is the color of hope that all things must die to themselves before self renewal. deep! i know. but for most, fall is associated with climatic changes, harvest and melancholy. from where i come, there are no fall colors, no autumnal foliage; the leaves don’t turn a pale green to an ochre yellow to a burnt sienna and definitely no halloween. but oh yes, there is a fall autumn winter collection in stores. it’s still monsoons until september followed by light showers all through the winter months. down here you don’t really have to wait until fall for apples and pumpkins to make it to your dinner table. but i must admit, there is something about having anything in apple in the winter months. it’s the warmth it lends when paired with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or star anise. a quiet cozy spot with a book in my hands, fuzzy socks on, and a warm slice of apple cinnamon cake on a crisp fall day is all i need to be in all my glory. simple pleasures satisfy. over the years i’ve made many a version of an apple cake, with this being my last one which tells me it’s been a while. i’ve been eyeing this recipe from David Rocco (all things italian, dolce vita; you know what i’m saying) for too long now wondering how would yogurt go into making an apple cake. but the pictures on this food blog of the moistest, prettiest slice of apple cake i’d ever seen with that signature sugar crust had me abandoning all other plans and wanting to bake this so bad. and i’m so glad i did – this by far trumps all other versions of apple cake i’ve made before and has ruined all apple cake recipes for me, forever. it really is amazing what simple humble unassuming pantry ingredients and a trip to your farmer’s market can do in making something so exquisite. this recipe makes for a cake with the perfect blend of textures – moist and mushy from the apple and yogurt inside, crunchy from that classic flaky sugar crust outside (also the only one time i’ve fancied consuming sugar in its raw form). and the flaky crust makes for such a pretty sight with all of those ruffled cascaded layers! it is most comely when baked and taken off the oven, with the sugar crust still sizzling away in the hot pan and eventually pulling away from its sides revealing a pale white primrose hued crust. you just have to bake this one for the experience – it is all worth it.


adapted from kitchenhealssoul

ingredients

  • 1⅓ cups (150 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup (115 grams) granulated sugar
  • ⅞ cup (200 grams) unsalted butter, melted, plus a little extra for buttering the pan
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup (125 ml) yogurt
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup (75 grams) granulated sugar (for the topping)

instructions

  1. preheat the oven to 350°F. butter an 8-inch cake round.
  2. in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and cinnamon.
  3. using either a stand or hand mixer, beat the ½ cup of sugar and the melted butter until it has lightened.
  4. add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.
  5. reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the yogurt, beginning and ending with the flour.
  6. stir in the sliced apples, and pour the batter in the prepared pan.
  7. sprinkle the ⅓ cup sugar evenly over the top of the cake.
  8. bake for about an hour or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. allow to cool completely in the pan before serving.

i think this makes a pretty breakfast cake. that is if you’ll bake it at night and leave it to rest on your kitchen counter until cooled completely. though it would easily keep for about 3-4 days in an airtight container (mine was gone in about two), i suggest you polishing it soon after ‘coz it really is the prettiest then with all of those flaky sugar-crusted layers. also the longer it rests, its flaky layers tend to dissipate into the cake body making it a tad too sweet. or atleast that is what i thought happened. i also happened to use red gala apples (a little past their prime) instead of the tart granny smith ones which probably could’ve added to the overall sweetness. i plan on baking this with granny smith apples the next time around, i reckon the tartness should pair well with the yogurt. whatever you do, you cannot go wrong with this one. highly recommended!

P.S.

i just realized this post comes around eat-an-apple-day of the year; serendipity!

and turns out, David Rocco does have more to him than just good looks, some equally great recipes!

breakfast porridge

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porridge transports me back to my childhood to the days when my mum made a basic, austere, but wholesome version of porridge, mostly with oatmeal, and other times with broken wheat or finger millet. she said it was healthy and fed me, and so did my grandmother in her times.

most people do not fancy waking up to a gloopy gruel when they could easily have fried eggs, crispy bacon and gooey melted cheddar sandwiched between generously buttered slices of toasted brown bread (well ok, wholemeal and multigrain at that!). but the health benefits of the unassuming humble oat are far too many to ignore, such as lowering of high blood pressure, reducing of bad cholesterol, regulating of blood sugar levels, besides being a vital source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. it is little wonder then that oats already happens to be the breakfast choice of champions, athletes and of those on a liberating not restrictive diet. read more on this study conducted at the Harvard University. my grandmother and mother did not need conclusive evidence then, kitchen wisdom never fails. period.

purists insist on porridge being made with oats, water and salt alone. i don’t see that going down well with anyone, leave alone me. now adding of milk surely enhances the taste and texture of what would otherwise be a goopy inedible unpalatable mess. and nobody wants that! my breakfast porridge is apt for those rush workday mornings and works just as good on lazy weekends. simple, wholesome, healthy, and flavorful. now shouldn’t a breakfast be all of that, if not more?


ingredients

  • a cup of quick oats (i use Quaker Oats)
  • a half a cup water
  • a pinch of salt
  • a cup of milk or more depending on how you like your porridge consistency to be (use full fat if you want it creamy, i use skim milk)
  • one heaping tbsp of light muscovado or soft brown sugar
  • a tsp of ground cinnamon powder
  • a handful of roughly chopped walnuts or almonds or a mix of both
  • a scant mix of dried berries (blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, strawberries)

instructions

take a small saucepan, pour the water in it and bring it to a boil. tip in the cup of oats, pinch of salt and stir until all of the water has been absorbed. pour in the cup of milk and stir. toss in the brown sugar and cinnamon and stir until blended. bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and let it simmer for a while. turn off the heat and cover until ready to serve. pour into two bowls and sprinkle a mixture of walnuts and mixed berries on top of each bowlful. i believe toppings are personal. some alternate suggestions;

  • a drizzle of thick dark forest honey
  • a sprinkle of chopped dates and walnuts
  • greek yogurt and honey
  • a sprinkle of demerara sugar
  • any fresh fruit serving of your choice

serve right away!


as always, BBC Good Food and The Guardian have articles on how to cook the ultimate “anything”;

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/nov/10/how-to-cook-perfect-porridge

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-make-porridge-best-breakfast-ever

 

easy breakfast pancakes

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i look forward to saturdays. the promise of good times. starting with a good breakfast. eggs always do figure in my saturday breakfasts, they being the most versatile of foods. and then there are times when i feel like going the extra mile. my earliest memory of breakfast pancakes was watching my mum whip up a simple batter of wheat flour, coconut milk, eggs and sugar in our kitchen and cooking these off a griddle pan. sometimes she would incorporate mashed bananas into the batter adding to character and taste.

“I don’t have to tell you I love you. I fed you pancakes.” ― Kathleen Flinn, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family

pancakes really are the simplest of breakfasts that can be made in no time with modest ingredients from your pantry. nothing fancy. sans culinary genius. simple, yet satisfying!

adapted from Inspired Taste


ingredients
3/4 cups (105 grams) whole wheat flour
3/4 cups (105 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups milk, dairy or non-diary if you please
1 large egg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for your frypan
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

instructions
whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder in a mixing bowl, set aside. whisk milk, melted butter, egg and vanilla together in another bowl until blended. make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the wet milk mixture. or simply break the egg into the flour mixture followed by pouring in the melted butter, milk and vanilla, like i do. whisk until all ingredients have been incorporated. however do not overmix coz that would lead to tough pancakes, which is just really sad. heat a large frypan over medium heat. lightly brush the pan with melted butter. spoon a 1/4 cup of the batter onto the pan and gently pan out into a circle. when the top of the pancake breaks out into bubbles, gently flip over. once flipped, cook 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked in the middle. repeat for the remainder of the batter.


i like my pancakes with a generous drizzle of honey or maple syrup. but what really elevates my experience is a dollop of Nutella on a hot pancake just off the pan. you could also serve them with peanut butter, jam preserves or a fresh fruit coulis. or simply a knob of butter. ‘coz anything is better with butter, so good!