Little Lemon Cakes

Finally it is warm enough and I can go on bike tours in the countryside again which I was longing for the last couple of winter months. While it was still very cold and the roads were slippery from snow and rain I was longing for spring and  dreaming of riding my bike. It was a very long winter with lots of snow and I could not wait for warm spring days. Finally spring has arrived and last Thursday I went on my first little bike tour (I biked 82,5 km/ 51 miles) in the Bavarian countryside and it was simply breathtaking. It is such an incredible feeling sitting on my bike, cycling through small villages, seeing the mountains - the Alps - in a distance which are still covered with snow, listening to birds chirping, breathing fresh air and enjoying the slow pace of the countryside.

My view from a bench where I was enjoying a little lemon cake. 

On my bike ride I also came across a country bakery where I bought a big bag of different kinds of buns and it turned out that the buns were one of the best buns that I had in years. Discovering this country bakery filled me with so much joy and inspired me at the same time. I will revisit the bakery very soon in order to buy more delicious buns, take photos of this bakery and to have a little chat with the baker who was very kind while I was choosing the buns (but at that time I did not know how delicious the buns were). For sure I will write a separate post about this unique country bakery.

Buns - in Bavaria they are called Semmeln - from the country bakery. The photo is taken with my phone. 
One also needs refreshments for a bike tour.  I usually take a little bit of chocolate, licorice and an apple with me. But for my first bike tour of this year I decided to make my favorite lemon cake in order to celebrate my first bike tour of the season. I usually make my lemon cake in a loaf pan but I thought that mini cakes were easier to take on a bike tour than a slice of lemon cake. I do not why it never crossed my mind making little lemon cakes instead of a loaf cake since I love making everything in miniature version. And the mini lemon cakes taste even better than my lemon loaf cake. It is a moist, fluffy and very lemony cake which I like very much (they are also very quick and easy to make) and I also think it suits the spring season very well.
I hope you will like these lemon cakes as much as I do and maybe the cakes are in the basket for your next picnic or bike tour.

100 g / 7 tablespoons of unsalted soft butter
100 g / 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs (medium)
100 g / 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
75 g / 5 tablespoons of yogurt, full fat
3 organic lemons, zest finely grated
Confectioners' sugar

* The size of the cake tins I use: 7 cm / 2.8 inches diameter and 2.5 cm / 1 inch height. You can also use a muffin tin.

Preheat the oven to 190 C° / 375 °F.
Grease and flour your cake tins.
Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add one egg at a time and beat until all ingredients are well combined.
Mix flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.
Add flour mixture, lemon zests and yogurt to the butter-egg mixture and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not overmix the batter.
Pour batter into the cake tins, almost all the way to the top.
Bake the lemon cakes for 25 to 30 minutes. If the cakes are getting too brown at the end of the baking time, cover the cakes with aluminium foil. If you insert a toothpick and it comes out clear the cakes are done.
Let the cakes cool, unmold and sprinkle the cakes with confectioners' sugar.

Passion Fruit Mousse Cakes

I cannot tell you how much I love making little cakes or petit gâteaux as they are called in French. Pâtisserie, in particular French pâtisserie, brings so much joy to my life and makes me incredible happy. A few days ago I was working on a petit gâteaux creation that involved a matcha mousse and cherry mousse because I was inspired by the cherry blossom season. I had no idea if a matcha and cherry combination was a good match but I can tell you it tastes incredible and the color combination looks beautiful as well. I was a little bit proud of my gâteaux creation and it put me in a great mood for days. I will post the recipe of my matcha and cherry mousse cakes very soon but you can have a sneak peek here. By the way, I started to use instagram more regular and if you like you can follow me there. 

In this post I would like to share a recipe that involves passion fruits. Passion fruits are one of my favorite fruits and every time I cut a passion fruit in half I am amazed by the dark purple color of the pulp, the smell and the sweet sour taste (the wrinklier and uglier the passion fruit looks at the outside the more delicious it is). 
I often serve these passion fruit mousse cakes after a two- or three-course meal because these petite cakes are not overly sweet and they are lighter than for instance a chocolate mousse cake. I also serve the cakes with a dollop of whipped cream.
It takes a little bit of time to prepare the petit gâteaux but they are not difficult to make. Do not be intimidated by my long recipe instructions. I wanted to make sure that every step is clear. 
I adapted the recipe from the book "Törtchen, Törtchen: Himmlische Versuchungen" by Matthias Ludwigs which is one of my favorite pâtisserie books that I own.

Passion fruit purée:
It might be difficult to find passion fruit purée in the grocery store (at least I could not find it and I went to many), I recommend buying it online. I bought 1 kg frozen passion fruit purée online which was a little bit pricey but it lasts for a long time. I use this purée which is 100% passion fruit and there is no sugar added. If you use a purée with added sugar you might reduce the amount of sugar that is stated in my recipe. As for the mango purée: I just purée a fresh and very ripe mango. 
How to use gelatin sheets: 
Soak sheets in very cold water for 7 minutes ( I use a bowl). Wring out the sheet gently in order to remove any excess water. I use for every sheet a separate bowl, so I can make sure that the sheets do not stick together.
Kitchen scale and pan extender: 
Use a good kitchen scale. I am sorry that I did not convert the ingredients into cups this time but it is too difficult and too imprecise. I am sorry. 
You need a pan extender/cake frame for this recipe. 

Makes 9 rectangular cakes (6cm x 4cm)

Almond Marzipan Sponge Cake

35 g marzipan
15 g almond flour
50 g granulated sugar
1 egg yolk (15 g)
1 egg (small)
70 g egg whites  (equals about 2 egg whites)
35 g all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 190 °C.
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix marzipan, almond flour and 25 g sugar until smooth (I use my hands). Add egg yolk and whisk well. Add the whole egg and whisk until creamy and the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow.
Whisk the egg whites until they are almost stiff. Gradually add the remaining granulated sugar (25 g) to the egg whites and whisk until stiff peaks.
Add 1/3 of the egg white mixture to the almond marzipan mixture and stir until all ingredients are well incorporated. Add the rest of the beaten egg whites. Sift flour on top and fold in the flour and the beaten egg white mixture.
Spread the batter onto the baking sheet, about 20cm x 25cm in size.
Bake the sponge cake for 5 to 8 minutes until the cake has a golden color. Be careful, the sponge cake browns very quickly, Keep a close eye on your oven.

Passion Fruit Mirror Glaze

2 - 3 passion fruits (50 g pulp)
30 g passion fruit purée
25 g granulated sugar

Slice passion fruits in half and spoon out the pulp.
Put the pulp into a food processor and pulse for a few seconds, so the seeds and the flesh of the passion fruits seperate. If you do not like the seeds in your glaze, strain the mixture (but I think the passion fruit seeds in the glaze look really beautiful).
Add passion fruit pulp, purée and sugar in a small saucepan and heat the mixture. As soon as the mixture starts simmering, stir constantly for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and pour passion fruit glaze into a bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate. 

Yogurt Mousse

50 g Greek yogurt (10%)
1 sheet of gelatin, soaked
20 g egg whites (equals about 1/2 egg white)
20 g granulated sugar
35 g whipping cream

Heat yogurt in a small saucepan; remove from the heat. Add gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Pour the mixture into a medium sized bowl.
Whisk egg white until almost stiff, add sugar gradually and continue to whisk until completely stiff.
Beat whipping cream until creamy.
Fold in the beaten egg white into the yogurt and then fold in the whipped cream. Set the bowl aside.

Passion Fruit and Mango Mousse

50 g mango purée
3 sheets of gelatin, soaked
75 g passion fruit purée
20 egg whites (equals about 1/2 egg white)
45 g granulated sugar
100 g whipping cream

Heat the mango purée in a small saucepan; remove from the heat. Add gelatin sheets to the mango purée and stir until the gelatin sheets are completely dissolved. Add the passion fruit purée to the mixture and stir. Pour the fruit mixture into a medium sized bowl.
Whisk egg white until almost stiff, gradually add sugar and continue to whisk until the egg white forms peaks.
Beat whipping cream until creamy.
Fold in the egg white to the fruit purée mixture. then fold in the whipped cream.


Cut the sponge cake into two 18cm x 12cm rectangles.
Prepare a board with parchment paper and adjust a cake pan extender to the size of 18cm x 12cm.
Place one sponge cake rectangle into the cake pan. Pour the yogurt mousse over the sponge cake and level the surface with a palette knife.
Place the other rectangular sponge cake on top of the yogurt mousse. Pour the passion fruit mousse on top and level the surface with a palette knife.
Freeze the cake for at least 6 hours. You can also leave the cake in the freezer up to two weeks.
Pour the passion fruit glaze over the top of the cake. Carefully remove the pan extender. Cut the cake into 6cm x 4cm rectangles. Let the cakes defrost in the refrigerator.

Swedish Sliced Chocolate Cookies (Skurnar Chokladkakor)

One day I want to have a selection of recipes that includes all my favorite and traditional Swedish baked goods. Whenever I am in Sweden and step a foot into a bakery - in particular in my mom's hometown which has many beautiful bakeries and cafés - I feel I am at home. It is such a cozy and wonderful feeling. The shelves of the bakeries are filled with kanelbullar, prinsessbakelse, budpestbakelse, wienerbröd, mazariner and other delicious treats which I grow up with and I truly love. I love visiting bakeries and pâtisseries around the world - Paris is probably the greatest place and you know how much I admire French pâtisserie - in order to get inspired but I do not have this feeling of home. I only have this feeling in Swedish bakeries which is wonderful and maybe it is the place where I belong. I always find it uncomfortable when people asking me where I am from because I do not feel that I belong to one place.

Skurna chokladkakor which simply means sliced chocolate cookies are one those baked goods that you will always find in a Swedish bakery and it is a classic Swedish cookie that my grandmother enjoyed, my mom likes and I am very fond of this sligthly crispy chocolate cookie, too. 
Traditionally, these chocolate cookies are topped with pearl sugar. The other day I was retesting my cookie recipe and topped half of the cookies with chopped almonds and it was such a brilliant idea. It never crossed my mind using anything else than pearl sugar; I got probably caught up in tradition! 
If you cannot find pearl sugar - an ingredient that is often used in Swedish baking, for instance Swedish cinnamon rolls are always topped with pearl sugar - or if you don't like pearl sugar use roughly chopped almonds or nuts. It is such a great alternative and I think it taste even better with almonds and nuts but shhh, don't tell anyone.

Makes about 50 cookies

200 g  / 7/8 cup unsalted butter, softened
200 g  / 1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg (large)
1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar *
300 g / 3 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
35 g / 1/4 cup of unsweetened raw cacao powder
Pearl sugar, roughly chopped almonds or chopped hazelnuts
1 egg (small), beaten

* You can make your own vanilla sugar (it is very common in Europe) which is very simple: Splitt one vanilla been into two halves and remove the seeds with the help of a knife.  Fill a jar with granulated sugar, add the vanilla seeds and the used vanilla bean. Let the mixture age for two weeks. Voilà, you have your own homemade vanilla sugar.

Preheat the oven to 200 °C / 400 °F.
Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg and vanilla sugar.
Sift flour, cacao and baking powder in a separate bowl and mix well.
Add flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir with a wooden spoon.
As soon as the dough comes together, transfer the dough to a floured surface. Knead the dough until it is smooth (it gets a little bit messy). If the dough is too sticky, add a little bit more flour.
Divide the dough into four parts. Roll each dough into a log (2 cm / 0.8 inch Ø ). 
Place two logs on each baking sheet. Make sure that there is enough space between each log. Flatten each log slighty until it is about 4 cm / 1.5 inches. 
Brush the logs with a beaten egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar, chopped almonds or hazelnuts. 
Bake the logs for 12 to 15 minutes.
Let the cookies cool for one minute. Take a sharp knife and cut diagonally into 2 cm / 0,8 inches slices. The cookies will be soft but will harden when cooled. Let the cookies cool completely on a wire rack. 
Store the cookies in an air-tight container up to two weeks. 

Mini Raisin Gugelhupfs

My love for gugelhupf - or bundt cake as it is called sometimes, in particular in the States - has been well documented on the blog. I wrote about the possible origins of the gugelhupf (of course this means my perspective of the gugelhupf history because who knows who holds the truth of cake history and the chair of cake history has yet to be invented). I also wrote about the story behind the Franz Joseph Gugelhupf and there are all different kinds of gugelhupf recipes here on the blog. I cannot have enough of gugelhupf recipes in my life and I cannot get enough of eating gugelhupfs.

Today I want to share a raisin gugelhupf recipe which I developed a few weeks ago. I do not know how many times I made these gugelhupf ever since. I love the taste and the texture of this recipe. The gugelhupfs have a crispy outside; the inside of the gugelhupfs are very moist but they are not too dense at the same time. Describing or analyzing cake texture is really difficult and I am struggling to find the right words for it. You have to taste the food with all your senses and it does not matter how hard you try finding words for it, it always scratches the surface. It is the same in music. Have you ever read anything "smart" about Mozart's piano concertos (by the way, is there anything more beautiful than the second movement of the A-major , KV 488, piano concerto)? I have not and I doubt I ever will.

Back to the gugelhupf recipe. I really love these little raisin cakes and all my taste testers were thrilled about the cakes.  One of my taste testers liked my gugelhupfs so much that she kept two cakes in a tin for six days in order to save them for a weekend picnic and I was told that the gugelhupfs were still moist. I could not believe this but if I knew how much she liked the cakes I would have given her a batch of freshly made gugelhupfs for her picnic. Even though the gugelhupfs keep moist for several days I think the cakes taste the very best on the day that they are made since they loose the crispy outside over time.
If you do not own any mini gugelhupf moulds you can also use a muffin tin. I tested them out in a muffin tin and it worked out perfectly - the baking time is the same - but I must admit that the cakes taste a a little bit better when baked in gugelhupf moulds. Maybe it is because of the hole in the middle of the gugelhupfs which adds more of a crispy ouside. I can imagine that a donut tin would work as well but I have not tried it out ( I must confess that I do not even own a donut tin).  If you do not like raisins, dried cranberries are a good alternative.

As you may have noticed I always write my recipes in grams. I think it is the best and most accurate way to measure ingredients (and very common here in Europe) but I am aware that some of you might not own a kitchen scale or you are used to the cup measurement method . In order to make my recipes more accessible and convenient I decided to convert the ingredients from gram to cup and add the conversion to the ingredients list. I hope this addition will be helpful to some of you.

Makes 10 Mini Gugelhupfs* or 10 muffins 

125 g / 1 stick and 1 tablespoon butter (softened)
125 g / 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 eggs (medium)
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
150 g /1 cup and 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
75 g / 1/2 cup raisins
75 g / 1/4 cup of yogurt (full fat)
50 ml / 1/4 cup milk (full fat)
Confectioners' sugar (for decoration)

* The size of my gugelhupf moulds are: 7 cm / 2.8 inches diameter and 4 cm / 1.5 inches height.

Preheat the oven to 200 °C / 400 °F.
Butter and flour your gugelhupf moulds or muffin moulds.  If you use muffin moulds I recommend not using any cupcake liners because the liners prevent that the muffins will be crispy on the outside. Just make sure you grease your tin well. In case you use silicon moulds you do not have to grease your moulds.
Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add one egg at a time and whisk until well mixed.
Mix flour, baking powder and raisins in a separate bowl.
Add the flour mixture along with the milk and yogurt to the egg-butter mixture and stir until all ingredients are well incorporated but do not overmix the batter.
Fill the gugelhupf moulds 3/4 with the batter.
Bake the gugelhupfs or muffins for 15 to 17 minutes (or until a golden brown surface). If you insert a toothpick and it comes out clear the gugelhupfs are done.
Unmold the cakes and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar as soon as they are completely cooled.

Favorite Madeleine Recipe

Madeleines are one of my favorite tea cakes. Maybe it is because of Marcel Proust, maybe it is because of the beautiful shell-like shape. I guess it is a combination of both that makes it to one of my favorite little treats. Tradionally madeleines are made out of eggs, sugar, butter, flour, sometimes lemon zest and baking powder are added. And the madeleine batter needs to rest in the fridge, so the cakes get this characteristic hump in the middle. Last year I was experiementing with new recipes but I was not happy with any of my madeleines that I made. In my book the cakes were too airy and too light and I want the madeleines to have a more of a dense texture. I am still on the hunt of the perfect traditional madeleine recipe. But I found my perfect "non-traditional " madeleine recipe. In fact I posted this recipe here on the blog almost two years ago and this recipe is my updated version. I love this recipe a lot. Instead of using whole eggs I used only the egg whites, which I happen to have in the fridge all the time, for the recipe and the texture of the batter is very similar to a financier batter.
The edges of my madeleines are crispy and the middle of the cakes are very moist. It is exactly how I like my madeleines. It is perfect - a word that I rarely use (maybe this is not quite the truth because I talk all the time that I am a perfectionist and everything has to be perfect but I rarely archieve this, at least I think so...).
The madeleines taste the very best on the day that they are made. The next day the madeleines are still very moist in the middle but they loose the crispy exterior. I highly, highly recommend to eat the madeleines on the day you make them. You can easily half the recipe. 
Of course you have to dip the madeleines in tea, do not dare to accompany the madeleines with coffee. Proust would not agree.

In my childhood I used to travel a lot with my parents. We used to go on road trips across Europe and visit cities, museums, churches, little villages and such. When I was 16 years old my parents and I traveled to Illiers-Combray where we visited the La Maison de Tante Leonie. At that time I have not had read Proust (when I cam back from the trip I started to read Proust) but nevertheless I was mesmerized by the beauty and atmosphere of the village and the surroundings. A decade later I still have such fond memories of this place. One of my favorite art books that I own is a book by Francois-Xavier Bouchart ("La Figure des Pays") who took photos (black and white) that are connected to Marcel Proust. It is such a delight too look at Bouchart's photographs and whenever I read Proust and I have a look at  Bourchart's photos. 

The photo above is the Maison de Tante Léonie. I took this photo while my parents and I visited this place. It is such a beautiful house (unfortunately, the quality of the photo is not the best since I had to scan the photo) and to our surprise there were no tourists at all.
In the photo below you can see an empty madeleine bag which is more than a decade old. There is still a pâtisserie around the corner of the Maison de Tante Léonie that sells madeleines. Of course we had to buy a bag of madeleines. The madeleines were not that great (who cares because I have my won recipe) but the bag is very pretty and it is a nice souvenir as well that I keep in one of my Proust books. 

Makes 14 madeleines

100 g unsalted butter
100 g powdered sugar
35 g all-purpose flour
75 g almond flour
100 g egg whites (about 3 egg whites)
Finely grated zest of 1 organic lemon

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Grease ad flour a madeleine pan, in case you use a silicon pan, you can omit this step).*
Sift the powdered sugar and flour into a bowl. Add almond flour and mix well.
Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until the egg whites form a light foam.
Make a well in the flour-almond mixture and dip in the egg whites.
Melt the butter on medium heat until the butter turns into a golden brown color and develops a nutty flavor.
Add the melted hot butter gradually and mix until all ingredients are well combined.
Fill the batter into the madeleine pan all the way to the top since the madeleines rise just a little bit.
Bake the madeleines for 12 to 14 minutes until they are slightly golden at the edges.
Remove the madeleines from the pan and sprinkle the cakes with powdered sugar.
I cannot recommend highly enough to eat the madeleines on the same day you make the cakes. 

* For this recipe I am using a silicone madeleine pan. If you use a metallic nonstick pan the baking time may be a bit shorter since silicone moulds require longer baking time. Just make sure that the edges of the madeleines are golden brown, then you know the cakes are done.