Making your own ice cream can be tricky, and often requires very specific equipment. That is why I’m such a big fan of semifreddo: “Semifreddo (pronounced [semiˈfredːo], Italian: half cold) is a class of semi-frozen desserts, typically ice-cream cakes, semi-frozencustards, and certain fruit tarts. It has the texture of frozen mousse because it is usually produced by uniting two equal parts of ice cream and whipped cream” (Wikipedia).
I was looking for inspiration for a dessert incorporating limoncello when I came across my peer Caroline’s Blog. She had posted a recipe for limoncello semifreddo, which to me sounded like a win-win. In fact, the dessert turned out to be just that — even though in the end I made it without the lemon sauce/syrup.
The preparation is pretty straight forward: the semifreddo consists of a cream cheese & lemon curd mixture, layered in a cake tin between lemoncello+lemon juice+sugar-soaked lady fingers. For those of you that don’t master the Dutch language, I translated the ingredients:
– zest and juice of 1 lemon
– 2 tbsp fine sugar
– 80 ml limoncello
– 325 g lemon curd (I happened to have 1 jar of home-made lying around, which was just the right amount)
– 250 g cream cheese
– 250 g mascarpone (italian cream cheese)
– approximately 24-30 lady fingers
For the sauce/syrup – 100 g fine sugar
– 1 lemon, the zest in long thin pieces
– juice of 1 lemon
One week later, I started experimenting, and mixed molten chocolate and sugar with the cream (in stead of lemon curd), and soaked the lady fingers in rum (in stead of limoncello). That is all it took to create another beautiful dessert, and as I’m writing this I start getting even more variation-ideas…
Two great friends of mine had recently given me a very decent coffee maker — for free! There was really only one way to say ‘thank you’, which was to have them over for coffee with a treat. For the occassion, I whipped up these cappuccino cupcakes within the hour. I believe these portrayed my gratitude appropriately!
200 g flour
7 g baking powder (approximately 1 tablespoon, or you could use self-raising flour)
220 g sugar
a pinch of salt
180 ml milk
60 ml vegetable oil (I prefer peanut or sunflower)
vanilla extract, or the contents of 1 ‘fresh’ vanilla bean
some tablespoons of extra extra extra strong coffee, to taste
mascarpone, or another type of delicious heavy cream, about 125 g
powdered sugar, amount to taste
Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt).
In another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (egg, milk, oil, coffee) and vanilla.
Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, pour the mixture in baking cups lined up in a cupcake baking tray and bake for about 25 minutes at 180 degrees celsius.
Mix powdered sugar into the cream until you think the taste is just sweet enough.
When the cupcakes are cooled (preferably on a wire rack), just smear the cream on top, and finish with a some chocolate sprinkles or cocoa powder.
I am starting to get kind of repetitive in my posts, but again, this one is not hard to make: a chocolate mousse torte/pie or whatever you want to call it. I’d like to call it: an awesome dessert!
All it took was a store-bought Oreo pie crust, one layer of cream cheese+vanilla+fine sugar and one layer of chocolate mousse (dark chocolate+whipped cream+gelatin), and a couple of hours of setting in the fridge.
Although the American kitchen is well known for its home baking, the baking tradition is said to have originated from the German/Austrian immigrants. Classics like Scharzwalder Kirschtorte (chocolate and cherry liquor cake), Sachertorte (chocolate cake with apricot jam) and of course apple pastries like Apfelschnitten/Apfelkuchen are famous around the globe. And what about ‘the original’ New York cheesecake? Not to offend anyone, but the Germans already had their Kasekuchen.
As a baking fanatic and foody, of course I feel drawn to trying all these classics, and today I’ll share a great recipe for Apfelschnitten. They’re not difficult to make, and really practical at a party: everyone can just grab a piece and eat it without a plate and fork.
I used a 38,5 by 26 cm square oven pan (1001 cm squared, which resulted in about 18 servings), but you could of course adjust the ingredients to fit your baking pan.
For the crust
74 g raisins, soaked in 74 ml rum
370 g flour
225 g sugar
165 g butter
pinch of salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
74 g raspberry jam
For the pound cake layer
53 g butter
90 g butter
zest of 1/2 lemon
144 g flour
5 g baking powder
30 g almond powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
111 ml milk
For the topping
5 medium-sized, sweet apples
74 g apricot jam
2 tbsp water
For the crust: mix together the flour, sugar, eggs, butter, salt and zest, and knead into a ball. Roll it out on a flour dusted worktop, and cover the (baking paper-covered) bottom of the pan. Poke some holes with a fork, and apply a layer of rasperry jam. Let the crust sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
For the pound cake layer: mix together the butter, sugar, egg and zest. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, almond powder and cinnamon, and add to the butter mixture. Mix in the milk, and spread the cake mixture over the chilled crust.
Sprinkle the raisins onto the cake layer.
Cut the apples into wedges, and lay them onto the cake layer party covering each other, like roof tiles.
Bake the Apfelschnitten (which literary translates as ‘apple wedges’) for about 40 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius.
For a nice, shiny finish, heat the apricot jam with some water and cover the top of the Apfelschnitten.
Just a quicky showoff today. My ‘baby’ sister (she turned 21, actually) loves tiramisu, so I was pretty set on baking her a tiramisu-style birthday cake. I can’t really provide you guys with a straightforward recipe: I just combined some recipes off the internet (Pinterest, mainly) and don’t exactly remember the details. It involved regular vanilla cake, layers of buttercream with amaretto, and of course the characteristic cocoa powder on top, and lady fingers (or, as we know them in the Netherlands, lange vingers – which means ‘long fingers’) for the chic finish.
Here in The Netherlands, there’s not an awful lot of variation going when it comes to peanut butter. We have your regular peanut butter sandwich, and we use peanut butter to make an Indonesian peanut (sateh) sauce. That’s about it.
Just thinking about combining peanut butter with sweets like, say, chocolate, makes many shiver — even though they are familiar with Snickers candy bars. But I’m always willing to try new stuff, so when Pinterest inspired me to bake these cookies, I was pretty happy with the result. As you can see in the second picture (in the back), the first batch was thicker than the second, which resulted in a American-style chewy cookie. The second, thinner batch packed more crunch, which I personally prefer.
133 g flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
96 g butter
210 g peanut butter
144 g granulated sugar
85 g light brown sugar
1 tsp milk
vanilla extract/a vanilla pod
75 g chocolate chips (optional)
Bake these babies at 175 degrees Celsius for 10-12 minutes. I baked them in a cupcake/muffin pan so they would get that perfect round shape.
NOTHING beats chocolate! To me, the ultimate treat is sweet and contains chocolate in some shape or form. These days, cupcakes are all the rage. That’s probably got something to do with the easy preparation -anyone can do it-, ingredients – anyone can get it- and ready to eat serving portions -everywhere can these be served, no plates or cutlery neccessary-.
So here’s hoping this recipe for chocolate cupcakes will inspire you to get baking — from scratch! Yesterday I once again checked the package of one of those cupcake mixes offered in every store now: It really is nothing but self-raising flour and sugar. Please don’t waste your money on those, try this recipe instead!
For the cake
140 g flour
50 g cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder (7 g)
220 g sugar
pinch of salt
120 ml coffee (cooled) – I used instant coffee
60 ml (butter)milk – the sourness of buttermilk aids the baking powder
60 ml sunflower oil – but peanutoil or another plain vegetable oil will work just fine
1 vanilla pod’s seeds – I used approximately 2 teaspoons of artificial vanilla flavoring
For the topping
250 g butter (at room temperature)
60 g powdered sugar
250 g custard pudding (in Dutch also known as ‘banketbakkersroom’. You could use instant pudding, custard powder cooked in milk, or make it from scratch)
150 g dark chocolate, melted or nutella, at room temperature, amount to taste
Mix the dry cake ingredients together, mix the wet cake ingredients together, and eventually mix them all together.
Bake the cupcakes in paper liners in a cupcake baking tray – otherwise they will not have the proper shape: 25 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.
Mix together the butter and powdered sugar for at least 10 minutes.
Add the custard gradually, and keep mixing until your chocolate buttercream is nice and smooth.
When my grandmother turned 88 last month, I grasped at yet another fitting opportunity to bake something. Something great. Something new. And by ‘new’ I mean: something I have never made before. Because a mocha cake is all but new. It is a Dutch patisserie-classic as old as, well, my grandmother. Its status is therefore not really hip and happening, but needless to say, my grandmother loved it — although frankly I’m not quite sure what’s left of her tastebuds. Fortunately, the rest of the family enjoyed it as well.
It consisted of two layers of vanilla sponge, with mocha buttercream in between & on the outside. A typical mocha cake has sides decorated with candied hazelnut bits, buttercream rosettes and some kind of chocolate decoration. But that’s really as far as the chocolate goes with this cake: mocha has the leading part.
This variation on a traditional pound cake recipe is really easy to make (really! I’m not just saying that) and easy to get rid off. You can keep the finish basic, with a little powdered sugar, or give it a little extra, like I did: I cooked some coconut cream together with sugar (amount: to taste) until it had a nice cream cheese-like consistency, and smeared this on top.
100 g raisins/sultanas, soaked (15 min. in boiling hot water) and drained
200 g butter
175 g white muscovado sugar
55 g grated dried coconut
2 tbsp syrup
200 g self-raising flour (or flour with a teaspoon of baking powder)
some powdered sugar, or coconut cream + sugar
Melt the butter (on low heat in a small pan, or in the microwave). Mix together all other ingredients, and add the butter last. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes, in a 24 cm diameter cake pan, at 180 degrees celcius. You know it is done when a skewer comes out clean.
Just a quick showoff post today y’all: It’s a sachertorte, a.k.a. a traditional chocolate layer cake that originated in Vienna, Austria. I made this one for my mom’s birthday. I love you mom, you’re the best!