Baking News: Mini Fruit Cakes

As you know, my boy has recently celebrated his birthday… which means… birthday party! Which means… cake! Or, to be exact, cakes. One big cake for the home and a multitude of fruit cakes to share with his schoolfellows.

Here’s the big one: I used this recipe for the sponge, layered it with whipped cream, glazed with melted chocolate and decorated with hearts ( his idea). It was the first time I decorated a cake (see those shaky lines?) but everyone was happy all the same!

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And here are the fruit cakes! Oh, the taste of them! I’m absolutely making those for my own birthday. And for Christmas. And for all other holidays. And on workdays too. Who cares for cream and pâte feuilletée if they can have a slice of a moist, rich, fruit-filled, orange-scented cake? Certainly not me! I’m a cake girl!

I followed this recipe, using the dried fruit I had in stock (raisins, candied papaya, candied cherries and almond flakes) and making mini cakes in my IKEA mould (the cells are smaller than muffins, 4cm across and straight rather than widening at the top). The only precaution to take while baking this cake(s) is to butter and flour your mould(s) really well – or you’ll curse your head off trying to pull the crumbling b…stards out of their cells (that’s what happened with my first batch: half of the cakes came out broken. Luckily, I still had enough batter and the second batch popped out without any resistance). Except that – they are perfectly perfect. And the crumbs tasted just as good )))

Yummy-yum!

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Baking news

In case you were missing my food pictures, here’s a little treat for you!

amarettini

These are tiny-teeny amarettini (Italian almond meringue cookies) and they are delicious. I made them smaller than the traditional amaretti: each cookie is but a single bite of sweet, nutty puffiness, which makes it a perfect match for that cup of espresso! You can check the recipe and how-to right here. I didn’t use the almond extract and Amaretto the recipe calls for, so technically my cookies can’t be called amarettini but who cares? They taste like your sweetest dream and this is what really counts!

Have a good day, kids!

 

Baking news

This is by far the funniest thing I’ve ever baked…

First take a good look…

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What are they? Muffins on steroids? Mushrooms? Alien life-forms?

If you’re not familiar with them yet, let me introduce you: these are popovers and they fully deserve their name! Technically speaking, this is liquid batter cooked stiff right in the middle of a supernova-like explosion. The broccoli shape is the fault of the muffin pan and gravity: bake them by zero G – and they’ll probably be round…

Now, how about more pictures?

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One just can’t help smiling, right? This is surely going to become my favourite cheer-up recipe (by the way, you can check it here). Make them with kids of any age for an instant mood boost with the bonus of a sugar-free treat. Devour them “as they are” or fill them with cottage cheese, crab salad, jam, dulce de leche or any other mixture that makes your heart go pop for a more substantial, relatively guiltless snack!

The drawback of this recipe? These beauties take a full 40 minutes to bake and they should be eaten hot from the oven, so they’ll probably disappear sooner than you can say “popover” and leave you with nothing but a memory (and a mess in the kitchen). This sort of reminds me of the eternal “housewife’s curse”: you spend your time fighting like crazy against the entropy in your life and all you end up with is more mess… You clean the house – it gets dirty again, you cook the meals – they vanish like they’ve never existed… This is why every housewife needs a camera: to catch those precious moments when the place is clean, the kids happy and the popovers hot, and crisp, and steaming!

That’s all for today, kids! Have a nice week-end and behave yourselves!

Pistachio and almond biscotti

Guess what? I’ve noticed that food posts make my traffic stats explode every time, which is both flattering and funny: apparently, people are more interested in yummy things, than in knitting, parenting or even style cures, to say nothing of pictureless texts. I blame the modern times for this: everyone is in a hurry and pictures can be consumed on the go, while words need more time and mental effort to be properly digested… Also, you can’t really judge the quality of your text “meal” before you read it, while a picture’s immediateness allows for a simultaneous contemplation-evaluation experience. So, pictures be it. At least, for now.

I made this collage last night – just for you! Enjoy!

biscotti-collage

If they make your mouth water, here’s the link to the recipe (it’s in Italian, but there are step-by-step pictures). Advice: make sure to beat the eggs and sugar really well, it’ll make all the difference!

A very good week to all of you!

An apple a day…

As you can guess, it’s all about food again! And yummy pictures! In spite of lousy lighting conditions, I  can’t stop photographing, so bear with me…

Today’s “hero food” (that’s what you call your subject in food photography) is… apples! And not just “some kind of” but the sweet, firm, crunchy, juicy Jonagold apples “Made in Belgium”! Local is cool, especially when it tastes soo good!

As I said, these apples are a treat by themselves but if you want to take them one step further, try “pommes au four” (baked apples). Remove the cores, stuff with raisins and nuts, seal with a chunk of cold butter, sprinkle with cinnamon – and into the oven they go! I baked mine at 180°C for about 40 minutes but time can vary depending on the oven. The rule of the thumb is: when they crack, they’re ready. If you’re not sure, poke one with a toothpick: it must be uniformly soft. Pull out of the oven, wait until they chill a bit (if you can) and devour! No guilt, all pleasure – they are 100% fruit, right? Great for kids, too!

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Hey, what are you waiting for?