Marble Cake


Marble cake is one of those cakes that I liked as a child very much and I dare say that most children enjoy this cake a lot. That is probably one of the reasons why this cake is often served at children's birthday parties.
I still like marble cake but probably not as much as I did when I was little. I would probably never serve this cake for my birthday anymore. A marble cake is a cake for weekdays but not for special celebrations - at least for me.
I know there are many marble cake recipes out there but most recipes contain a lot of eggs  which makes the cake more on the heavier side. I always use only 3 eggs instead of 5 or 6 eggs but I add my secret ingredient which is yogurt. Adding yogurt to the batter makes my marble cake incredible moist.





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Notes: Try to use a good quality cacao powder for baking. In my opinion it makes a big difference which kind of cacao powder one uses. You will taste the difference.
If you have the patience eat the cake the next day. Even on day three or four the marble cake tastes delicious.
My marble cake bakes for 50 to 55 minutes. However, I recommend checking your cake at 40 to 45 minutes. Ovens are individuals, ovens are such divas!

 
Makes one gugelhupf ( 17 cm diameter / height 10 cm / 1 liter volume )

INGREDIENTS

200 g unsalted butter (softened)
200 g granulated sugar
3 eggs (medium size)
240 g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
150 ml milk (full fat), plus 1 tablespoon of milk
100 g plain yogurt (full fat)
2 tablespoons of unsweetened cacao powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
Confectioners' sugar
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DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 175°C.
Generously grease and flour your cake pan.
Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add one egg at a time.
Mix flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture, yogurt and milk to the butter-egg mixture. Mix all ingredients until well combined but do not overmix the batter.
Take one third of the batter and add cacao powder and one tablespoon of milk to the batter.
Add the vanilla paste to the other part of the batter.
Pour one third of the vanilla batter to the cake pan (that is the first layer). Pour half of the chocolate batter as the second layer, then the vanilla batter as the third layer, again chocolate batter and the last layer is the vanilla batter. Take a knife and swirl the batter. Swirl very gently because you do not want  the vanilla batter mixed together with the chocolate batter.
Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes. If you insert a toothpick and it comes out clear the cake is done.
Let the cake cool completely. Unmould the marble cake and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.



Marzipan Orange Butter Cookies

I created these marzipan orange butter cookies in the beginning of this year. Before the year is over I have to share this recipe with you.
I love marzipan and I love combining orange flavor - if you have not already noticed from my recipes - in baking. The orange flavor in these cookies are not overpowering but very subtle. The hint of orange flavor is similar to the bergamot flavor of Early Grey tea - a tea which I like very much. 
These days I love spending rainy fall afternoons bundled up by the fireplace with a big cup of tea accompanied with a few of these marzipan orange butter cookies. I secretly call the cookies "cozy afternoon by the fireplace November fall tea cookies". It is my favorite fall activity besides taking my black Dutch bike on long bike rides. 
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Notes: Try to use the best marzipan that is available to you. The quality of marzipan makes a difference when making these cookies. I made these cookies once with marzipan which was not that great and I could taste the difference. My favorite marzipan for baking is the Danish brand Odense (named after the Danish city Odense, H.C Andersen - the Danish "Fairy-tale" author - was born there, too). 
In baking I often use dried peels of organic oranges (just let the peels dry for a few days on your kitchen counter and then store the orange peels in a glass container). In this recipe I also prefer orange zest of dried orange peels. If you do not  have or do not want to use dried orange peels feel free using fresh orange zest  but I recommend using 2 instead of 3 teaspoons of orange zest.
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Makes 50 cookies

INGREDIENTS

200 g all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons of finely grated orange zest
100 g granulated sugar
125 g unsalted cold butter (cut into cubes)
1 egg (medium)
150 g marzipan

DIRECTIONS

Grate the marzipan coarsely or cut the marzipan into small pieces. 
Mix flour and orange zest in a small bowl. Put the flour orange mixture on a clean surface and add sugar, butter and grated marzipan to it. Form a well in the center and put the egg in the center of the well. 
Knead all ingredients quickly until the dough is smooth. If the dough is too dry add a little bit of cold water. Cover the dough into plastic wrap and let the dough rest in the fridge for at least one hour. 
Roll out the dough on a slightly floured surface or between two pieces of parchment paper until 3 mm thick. 
Cut out cookies with a cookie cutter (I use a 6 cm round cookie cutter).
Place cookies on baking sheets and let the cookies rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. 
Preheat the oven to 180 °C. 
Bake the cookies for 5 to 7 minutes until the edges are slightly golden in color. 
Let the cookies cool on a wire rack. 
Store the cookies in an air-tight container. 


German Apple Cake







On my 11th birthday I received my first adult baking book and this marked the beginning of making German cakes and torten for my family. One of the first recipes that I made from this book was "Gedeckter Apfelkuchen" It is a "covered" cake with a delicious apple, almond and raisin filling which is very similar to an apple strudel filling. For me this apple cake is a very typical German cake; it's a cake that you find in every German pastry shop. I remember when I was little my family and I visited museums on Sundays and occasionally we went to the pastry shop after our museum visits in order to get some slices of cake for afternoon tea. I always chose a slice of Prinzregententorte but my dad chose almost every time a slice of "Gedeckter Apfelkuchen" and I always managed to sneak a little bit of my dad's apple slice.



This cake is one of my all time favorite apple cakes - besides my beloved Saturday Oatmeal Apple Cake of my mom. Ever since I made the cake for the very first time I make the "Gedeckter Apfelkuchen" every single year. The cake is such a beautiful rich and delicious apple cake which is so comforting for the colder months of the year. 


Makes 1 springform pan (diameter 16 cm)

INGREDIENTS

Dough
  • 50 g hazelnut flour
  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 125 g unsalted cold butter (cut in cubes)
  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
Filling
  • 50 g raisins
  • 1 tablespoon of rum
  • 375 g tart apples
  • 45 g almond slivers (toasted)
  • 25 g granulated sugar
Icing
  • 50 g confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of apple juice or water
  • 2 tablespoons of  almond slivers (toasted)
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DIRECTIONS
  • Knead hazelnut flour, all-purpose flour, butter, granulated sugar, salt and  egg yolk to a dough. Wrap the dough into clingwrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
  • For the apple filling wash the raisins in hot water. In a small bowl let the raisins soak in rum. 
  • Peel and core the apples and cut them into small cubes (about 4 cm). 
  •  Mix apple cubes, rum soaked raisins, almond slivers and sugar in a bowl.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C. 
  • Line the bottom of your springform pan with parchment paper and grease and flour your pan. 
  • On a floured surface roll out 2/3 of the dough into a circle (the circle should be bigger than the springform). Gently lay the dough into the cake pan.
  • Place the apple filling into the pan. 
  • Roll out the remaining dough to a circle and lay the circle on the top of the apple filling, Press the edges together to seal the dough. 
  • Bake the apple cake for 35 to 40 minutes. If the top of the cake gets too brown cover the cake  with aluminium foil. I usually cover the cake with aluminium foil after 30 minutes.
  • Mix confectioners' sugar and apple juice or water. While the cake is still warm brush the top of the cake with icing and sprinkle with toasted almond shivers.




* The recipe is adapted from the book "Kuchen und Torten" by Annette Wolter, GU.*

Peanut Butter Cookies

This summer I bought new book shelves and I took this opportunity to reorganize all my books. I got a little bit overwhelmed by the amount of books that I own and I asked myself more than once how many books a human being really needs. I tried to get rid of a few books but I  failed miserably and kept all my books which I am  happy about. While going through all my books I found a pile of old diaries which I wrote when I was between 8 and 10 years old. I know know that I got new ballet shoes on November 14th, my younger brother had a tick on November 18th, I had Swedish crisp bread knäckebröd with cheese for breakfast on May 10th, the neighbor's cat visited my house on May 25th and other important things that I would have forgotten.
Among my diaries I also found a peanut butter cookie recipe. I remember that I wrote down this recipe but somehow I never came around making these cookies. When I saw this recipe in my diary I was over the moon. Finally,  - years later - I was able to make this cookie recipe. It is a very simple cookie recipe and I love these peanut butter cookies. Ever since I discovered the recipe in my diary I made these cookies several times. So far it is my favorite cookie recipe of this year.
I keep a few cookies in a little tin on my desk which is a little bit dangerous because sometimes it is hard to resist not to eat the cookies at one sitting. The tin which you can see in the photos belonged once my grandparents (and my mom remember this tin as well) and it was filled with Swedish caramel candies. Now it is my "desk cookie tin" which used to be a candy tin more than half a century ago. I like this a lot. 



Makes 32 cookies

INGREDIENTS
  • 125 g unsalted softened butter
  • 175 g brown sugar
  • 175 g all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 125 g crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 egg (medium)
DIRECTIONS
  • Preheat the oven to 175°C. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Beat butter and sugar until creamy. 
  • In a separate bowl mix flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture, peanut butter and egg to the butter-sugar mixture.
  • Form the dough into small balls; for each ball use one teaspoon of dough. 
  • Bake the cookies 12 to 14 minutes. 
  • Let the cookies cool on a wiring rack. 
  • Store cookies in an airtight container or tin. 

Plum Marzipan Tartlet



Plum season is almost over which I am both happy and sad about at the same time. This year has been a wonderful plum season  - there was an overload of  the most juiciest and sweetest plums that you can imagine in my parents' garden  - and I made countless of different plum cakes. I don't think that I ever made so many plum cakes in a year. I had a lot of fun experimenting with plum cakes and improving my plum cake skills. I made several of this plum cake which was my favorite plum cake last year and I made many many plum marzipan tartlets (probably about 50 tartlets) because I am obsessed with making tartlets and the combination of a marzipan almond filling and plums is superb. It is my plum cake of 2014 and before it is too late I have to share this recipe with you. It is my way to say goodbye to the plum season. It is a little bit sad but at the same time  I think it is time to bake something else than plum cakes.
The plum tartlets taste the best on the day they are made (the next day the crust of the tartlet gets soft) and don't forget to eat the plum tartlets with a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream.


Makes 8 to 10 plum tartlets  (Ø 80 mm, I use tart rings)

INGREDIENTS

Dough
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ½ egg
  • 150 g all-purpose flour (sifted)
Almond Sugar
  • 45 g almonds
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Marzipan paste
  • 50 g powdered sugar
  • 50 g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 ½ eggs
  • 50 g marzipan
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 400 g plums (pitted and quartered)



DIRECTIONS

  • Mix butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and salt; then add flour and knead all ingredients to a dough. Do not knead the dough too much and work as quickly as possible.
  • Wrap the pastry dough in clingwrap and let the dough rest for at least one hour or overnight in the fridge.
  • Butter and flour tartlet moulds or tart rings. 
  • On a floured surface roll out the dough until 2 to 3 mm thick. Cut out circles (the circles should be a little bigger than your tartlet moulds. Gently press the circles into the moulds. Trim away any excess dough with a sharp knife. Prick the bottom of each tartlet with a fork. Freeze the tartlets for 30 minutes (or longer). In the meantime prepare the marzipan filling.
  • Toast the almonds in a skilled (ungreased) over medium heat. Stir often, so that the almonds do not get burned. It takes about 5  to 7 minutes until the almonds are toasted. Let the almonds cool on a plate. Grind the toasted almonds in a food processor.
  • Mix the almonds with sugar and cinnamon.
  • Preheat the oven to 175 °C.
  • Mix sugar and softened butter until creamy. Then add eggs, marzipan and flour and mix until it is smooth.
  • Take the tartlet moulds out of the freezer. line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the tartlet moulds onto it . 
  • Sprinkle each tartlet bottom with the almond sugar (about 1 tablespoon for each tartlet). Then spread the marzipan paste on the top of the almond sugar.
  • Arrange the plum slices (skin side down) over the marzipan paste in a circle.
  • Bake plum tartlets for about 25 minutes.