Sunday, 4 December 2016

Christmas Cake with Caramelized-Apple Cream Cheese Frosting

It is this time of year, when the fragrant spices are very popular in my kitchen. There are certain types of spices that I use only at Christmas time. I feel that I ignore them for the rest of the year, but this is something I am not forcing myself on doing, it just happens...

I reach for the cinnamon from time to time (rarely) in a non-seasonal time, but definitely it is the queen of the spices at Christmas time. The nutmeg is present in my savoury cuisine through the year, but I do not touch the cloves and the cardamom in any other time of the year, but for Christmas. In this cake, all these spices meet together and really bloom the taste. 

It is an easy and fast desert, baked in a bundt cake form and topped with a light cream cheese frosting. The apple caramel sauce makes it extraordinary and certainly delivers the warm and cosy sense of Christmas.

for the cake:

225 g unsalted butter at room temperature
380 g custard sugar

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

60 g cocoa powder
150 ml cold water

250 g plain yogurt 
1/2 tsp baking soda

250 g flour
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
4 g salt
a pinch of nutmeg
a pinch of clover
a pinch of cardamom 
a pinch of four peppers 

prepare the cake:

1. Prepare the cocoa mixture: In a bowl. scale the cocoa and stir in the cold water to a paste consistency.
2. Prepare the yogurt: Scale the yogurt and add the baking soda. Stir well. Leave aside until needed.
3. Prepare the dry ingredients: Scale the flour in a medium bowl. Add all the spices. Stir well.
4. In a bowl of a self-standing mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until mayonnaise consistency is reached.
5. Add eggs one by one, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla.
6. Add the cocoa mixture.
7. Mix in half of the yogurt mixture. Fold in half of the flour mixture, followed by the rest of the yogurt. Gently fold in the rest of the flour. Mix to homogenize well. 
8. Bake in the bundt form at 180°C, until a toothpick check comes out clean (about half an hour).
9. Leave in the pan to cool for 20 min.
10. Turn the cooled cake over a wired rack to cool.

for the frosting:

half a cup of caramelized apple sauce 
200 g cream cheese at room temperature

prepare the frosting:

1. Beat the cream cheese until light.
2. While mixing, incorporate half of the caramel sauce. Add the rest and beat to homogenize.
3. Leave at the refrigerator to cool and prepare for piping.

tailoring the cake:

1. Place the cooled cake in a serving plate.
2. Sift icing sugar on top.
3. Pipe the cream cheese as desired. I used St. Honoré piping tip.
4. Garnish with pomegranate. 

Serve chilled.
Store in a cool place.

Have a sweet day,
♥ IN

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Soft Rolls

These homemade rolls are fast and easy to make. After you prepare the dough, you have one and half hour to work on something that is in your schedule for the day. Then, it is all about baking the rolls, and enjoying the smell of fresh bread in the house. 

I make these regularly, with all kind of flour mixture, because they serve my kids with freshness at school lunches. Sometimes, when I am out of ideas for the lunch bag, it is just a bread roll with some cream cheese. Usually this is in the menu on the day, after I bake them. 

for the dough: 

750 g white unbleached flour
18 g olive oil

7 g dry yeast
140 g lukewarm water

12 g salt
330 g lukewarm water

for the glaze:

1 egg white

prepare the dough:

1. Scale the flour and olive oil in the bowl of a mixer
2. In a glass, scale the yeast and first quantity of water. Stir to dissolve the yeast.
3. Scale the salt in a small coffee cup.
4. Scale the rest of the water.
5. After the yeast is dissolved, add the liquid to the flour mixture. 
6. With a hook on the mixer, start stirring on slow, adding the rest of the water. 
7. Before the last addition of water is added, add the salt, while mixer is working, trying to avoid contact with the yeast. Salt is a strong inhibiter of the yeast. They do not love each other at all.
8. Finish the mixing in about five minutes. 
9. Cover the bowl with clear plastic film and leave to rise in a warm place or sunny spot in the house for an hour and a half.

Now is your time - finish all the things you have in mind before this next step in:

tailoring the rolls:

Have your oven hot at 210°C.

1. Divide the dough in 12 small pieces. Form the rolls. Make sure you add flour when working on these steps, just enough so the rolls do not become dense. 
2. Arrange the rolls on a slightly floured baking pan.
3. Cut a cross on each roll with a serrated knife. 
4. Brush some egg white on each one and place the pan in the oven.
5. Rotate the pan halfway through baking.
6. Bake until very light golden.

Leave the rolls on a wire rack to rest, after baking.


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