As I have mentioned and as you may have noticed… I have a very new and very real love affair with polenta. You can have it with meat or veg or you can put it in a cake… sweet or savory – it goes down a charm. My latest recipe is this gorgeous poached and caramelized pear cake with ground almond and polenta.So rich in flavour! I read about an italian cake called Amor Polenta in one of my mum’s old recipe books and I based this recipe on it. Standardly I had to adapt it so that there is way more almond and caramel as well… Let’s be honest any cake is made better with some caramel.
The pears I bought we pretty unripe, but that worked well because they didn’t fall apart when being poached and caramelized at high temperatures and the heat brought all the juicyness to the surface. Perfecto!
Ohhhhh dulce de leche. How I love you and your ridiculously sweet gooeyness and how I would love to eat you with a spoon from the jar… This post is my ode to dulce de leche – one of my greatest vices in life.
Realising that eating it straight from the jar would probably reduce my life expectancy by more than just a little bit, I decided to pop it in a cake. but NOT just any cake, a deliciously moist and brownie like muffin. If you are really greedy, like me, then you can also spread some on the top once they’re done and eat them like that.If you don’t – you’re missing out. You should have FOMO.
Slight rant: I was woken this morning by builders hammering about 2 metres from my head at 7am on the dot. WHY is it the law that builders can start at 7 – surely 8 would be a much more civilized time! I am extremely disappointed as I was looking forward to going upstairs and ranting to the builders about their illegally early starting times – as I was sure it was 8. But I checked online, and 7 it is. ERGH! SO TIRED.
Last week was ABSOLUTELY manic and all I wanted to do every spare moment I had was watch Game of thrones or SATC. I had a dinner party where I made some nice stuff, and I had planned to share that on the blog – but you know after a glass of wine I just couldn’t have taken any nice photos! I will have to recreate the stuff I made!
This is another nostalgic (and lazy) bake. Back in school we used to have home economics lessons aka cooking and rock cakes were always a recurring theme. They were what our teacher considered easy, but many of us, at the age of 12, were simply at a loss. Too busy gossiping about what we would wear to the school disco and paying no attention to how long they had been in the oven, they came out like actual rocks. Grey and inpenetratably solid. MMmmmm.
Luckily, since the age of 12, I have perfected the art a bit more. I am not a fan of completely scruffy looking rock cakes, so this is my slightly neater … more “uptight” version. They go really well with some thick berry jam – in fact they go pretty well with anything sweet. Slap some nutella / honey / even fruit yoghurt on it and it will be a dream. And MAPLE SYRUP. Add some maple syrup to some jam and whack it on… you will literally hear a choir singing a melody on your tastebuds. LITERALLY (but not really).
Also – I have recently bought a jar of fluff. My friend Mark used to eat the stuff out of the jar with a spoon and I only bought it for some frosting… but I have to say, it gives me the heeby jeebies to think about spreading it on bread. Isn’t too sticky? Anyway, any advice on how to use fluff as a spread with the greatest effect would be much appreciated.
Good day monday dwellers!
Despite some washing machine issues, this weekend was full of fabulousness – my friends Nixon and Dada are visiting at the moment.. which of course meant lots of baked goods, lots of food in general and watching Austin Powers. After so many years of not having seen it, I was laughing my ass off. The best line is – surely – when Dr. Evil talks about his parents and says that his father often “accused chestnuts of being lazy” – pure hilarity.
So I baked this coffee and pistachio cake with mascarpone, yoghurt and honey in the middle and on top. It isn’t an overwhelmingly coffee flavoured cake, but rather a subtle hint of coffee. It doesn’t have any of the bitterness of coffee. For those coffee lovers who don’t think coffee is bitter.. it just is. Not necessarily in a bad way.. but even when its as freshly ground as the day is young, I still get a hint of bitter!
Madeleines are a veritable french delight but I thought I would anglicize them a bit by adding some of the delicious bitter sweet orange marmalade that my mum bought me. I come from a family of marmalade makers & eaters.. although it has never been my personal first choice to spread on a slice of warm toast…it does taste fab in cakes. It gives that caramelized rich sweetness to these madeleines and makes them nice and crispy on the outside.
I am currently lying on my bed thinking about how far away monday still is… wooo… hooooooo! My nails are chipping, my hair is destroyed by over bleaching the ends to create an “ombre” effect and my skin is like an old prune. You know what that means… MAJOR PAMPERING SESSION. I have the face mask at the ready… so enjoy your sunday! And if you have a madeleine pan, give these a go. If you don’t you can just use cupcake cases
I know Lamingtons have been absolutely EVERYWHERE in the blogosphere, but I couldn’t help jumping on the baking bandwagon (*toot toot beep beep*). I had never ever seen or heard of these coconut covered delights until about a month ago… and so I just had to make them. They are so simple to make but so wonderfully effectiv visually for a party… not to mention DELICIOUS!
On Saturday my friends came round for a good old english style tea and cakes session! I made double chocolate lamingtons with berry jam and they went down a treat. My friend Irma said they were “juicy”.
Now, while it is a very easy process – there are many steps to it and so it can take a bit of a while! I have provided a wealth of images to help you understand each step! You can also make vanilla lamingtons by using a vanilla sponge recipe – but I always recommend adding a dollop of plain yoghurt and a quarter tbsp of bicarbonate of soda in addition to a normal vanilla sponge recipe – it makes it more moist and fluffy!
Mmmmmm – this photo really demonstrates how wonderfully moist and flavoursome lamingtons can be with a bit of jam sandwiched in the middle. MMMmmm MMMMmmm MMMMMMmmmmm! This is my plate after approximately 1 second of the lamingtons being ready. Continue reading
Many of you who live in or have visited Berlin may know Barcomi’s. Whether it’s the Deli set in a leafy courtyard in Mitte’s Sophien Strasse or the Coffee Roastary on Kreuzberg’s well frequented Bergmannstrasse that you associate with the name, one thing you will all know – the coffee and the cakes are delightful.
But if you don’t know the back story to it’s conception, I have a little interview with founder Cynthia Barcomi to give you some tips on her success. Originally from the U.S, Barcomi came over to Berlin as a dancer 28 years ago, but found her passion in baking.
You are originally from the US, tell us a bit about your background.
I was born in Seattle, WA and am the youngest of three sisters. My father was a lawyer, my mother a homemaker. I was always very creative, began taking dance lessons at the age of 3 and began baking at this time, as well. I went to an all-girls boarding school in upstate New York, which I credit with making me the person that I am today. I continued on to Columbia University where I studied philosophy and theater and graduated with honors. I moved to Berlin in 1985 as a professional
dancer and have been here ever since!
I read that you used to be a dancer, what made you switch to baking?
I danced professionally in Berlin for 8 years. After my second daughter was born (I have 4 children) I decided I wanted to do something else, so I began to roast coffee beans. I knew I had potential to do other things in my life, I just had to decide what that was! Baking started out as just a thing on the side, which blossomed into…my life, my purpose in life.
What’s your favourite dance piece?
Well, I just love Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Pina Bausch. Netherlands Dans Theater is also so amazing – I can’t decide on just one!
The famous cinnamon rolls and scones