October 30, 2012
… and I am back!! (Well, sort of)
Yes. My writings on this blog are a bit random. Maybe I can get into the rhythm again? Perhaps not (my moods to blame!). Yea! Someday.
I am weird.
For now, let´s see what brings me here this time ;)
My daughter´s school is having a Halloween party this week and I committed myself to make something for the bake sale. To be sincere, this is our first Halloween party while living in Finland and I had no clue of what people eat there. The only thing I was sure is that there would be tons of cupcakes and tray bakes (bringing more’d be definitely boring!).
I decided for size-wise mini cheesecakes. No fuzz for cutting slices and just perfect to carry easily to the party.
BUT IT IS HALLOWEEN! Hello?
hmm… the decoration! Oh gosh, cupcakes are so much nicer to decorate with spooky touches! After brainstorming (uh, you certainly don’t want to see me doing that. Hubs says I have lightning clouds on top of my head. Every time) I came to an idea when I thought about the bilberry sauce that goes with the cheesecakes. Hmmm… yummy blood clots (eeeek)… topped with eyeballs. Just enough creepy!
Mini Baked Cheesecakes for Halloween
adapted from a recipe posted already here
Makes 24 individual cheesecakes
For the crust:
- 300 g Digestive biscuits, finely crumbled
- 140 g butter, melted (I used HYLA, low lactose)
For the cheese filling:
- 400 g cream cheese, full fat, softened
- 200 ml cream (I used HYLA, low lactose)
- 100 g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- bilberry jam (I used organic)
- round shaped white candies. I used sugar coated snowballs Toffee bonbons (toffee pallot / lumipallot)
- food decorating pens (edible markers): red, blue and green
- black marzipan
Line 24 holes of two muffin pans with muffin cases.
Finely crush the biscuits in a strong freezer plastic bag. Add the melted butter to the biscuit crumbs and “knead” until well combined. Note that you can use the plastic as a mixing vessel (no dirty dishes yet!). Alternatively, use a food processor to crush the biscuits and mix the butter.
Divide the crust mixture evenly among cases pressing firmly down with your finger or the back of a spoon. Set the pans aside while making the filling.
Beat the cream cheese and sugar in an electric mixer until it gets smooth and creamy. Don´t overdo it otherwise you will incorporate too much air into the mixture and it will “puff” in the oven. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Add lemon juice and cream and mix again.
Pour the filling evenly among cases.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before storing in the fridge.
Cheesecakes are ready to serve when they are completely set and cold.
Making the “eyes”:
Simply draw/paint the white candy balls with the edible pens to depict eyes (green/blue for the iris and red for the arteries/veins) . For the pupil I used a tiny ball made with black marzipan, mostly because my black edible pen ended (*lol*)
Horrific? Eye popping! (yuck)
Before taking the cheesecakes to the school I added about one teaspoon of bilberry jam to each cheesecake and decorated with one toffee “eye”.
March 22, 2012
A couple of months ago my daughters got a cooking book from the book club we belong to. The book is in Finnish and the title translates to ” Hellapoliisi – My first recipes. Learn to cook!”
My girls were very enthusiastic about trying all the recipes, they are very kid-oriented (in other words, easy to follow and execute) and covers pretty much many traditional meals from Finnish households.
While browsing the book with the girls I told I could help to make some of the recipes with them, the first one being a classic tray bake cake called “mokkapalat“.
Yesterday I was woken up by my smaller daughter pushing the book against my head telling “mommy, we were supposed to bake that mocha cake today remember?” . UH, do I pay for my silly promises??
I have tried a different recipe for the same cake before. It is really a classic sweet treat and as you can guess, it is very “sugary”. Here in Finland they are a traditional pairing for coffee but kids happily eat them with a glass of cold milk.
Mokkapalat – Mocha squares
from this book . Yields about 20 squares or one baking tray*
*note: it is quite common that Finnish ovens come with baking trays, one flat and another slightly deeper. I used the deep one and it measures aprox. 35 cm x 32 cm . If you don’t have such, you can use Swiss roll pan or the biggest rectangular baking pan you find. Nevertheless, the cake might become a bit taller if you do so.
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 3 dl caster sugar (1dl = 85g)
- 4 1/2 dl wheat flour (1dl=65g)
- 1/2 dl cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 150 g melted unsalted butter. Save 1/2 dl for the icing
- 1 dl milk
For the icing
- 300 g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 dl melted unsalted butter
- 1/2 dl hot strong coffee
- sprinkles or shredded dry coconut
Line your baking tray with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 225 °C.
Place the eggs and sugar into the bowl of your mixer and whisk until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl mix together the rest of the dry ingredients, using a sieve if necessary.
Remove the bowl from your mixer and start adding the flour mixture. Add the milk and at last, fold carefully the melted butter.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tin and use a spatula to even the surface.
Bake for 13-15 minutes in the middle of your oven, until risen and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
When the tray has come out from the oven, prepare the icing by mixing all the ingredients together. The icing will look like a thick chocolate paste. Spread evenly onto the warm cake and immediately sprinkle your choice of decoration (we used hundreds and thousands ^_^)
Allow to set. Cut into squares and remove from the baking tray.
I also made Hello Kitty mocha mini cakes using a cookie cutter. The perfect small size for little girls ;)!
February went so fast! LV (my oldest daughter) had her Winter break last week so we took the opportunity to visit my sister-in-law on a long delicious weekend. It was really nice to meet my SIL´s family! My girls enjoyed playing with their sweet cousin a lot.
Now it is March and we are back to the routines… this week has been exceptionally busy and I added one more thing to get annoyed with… by falling on the sidewalk when picking the kiddo from pre school. Gosh! The weather is so inconsistent, one day is cold and snowy and the next, temperatures goes over 0°C. I was pulling my daughter´s sled downhill and to avoid her to slide away I might have stepped wrong and slipped on the ice. Yep, a twisted split for the amuse of my daughter :D. Hahaha, a clumsy grand ecárt landing on my right hip. Go figure… my thigh is so sore I walk like a zombie. >_<
Ok! Now back to what this blog is about :D (I´ll do fine, no worries ;)
Because of our trip I somehow missed the Twitter Food Party this month… sort of. It was last Monday and the theme was Oranges! (If you have twitter, check the hashtag #twitterorangeparty) . Gladly I have the timezones on my side and I baked something on Tuesday to contribute for the potluck (cheating…)! I posted some pictures already via instagram and now I share the recipe!
Check also my friends´ Orange dishes on the #twitterfoodparty Flickr pool !!
Mini orange cakes with dark chocolate core
Recipe adapted from the Finnish magazine Glorian Ruoka & Viini n°40 7/2006
Yields 24 mini cakes (plus 5 normal sized)
- 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 dl caster sugar
- 1 dl demerara sugar
- 2 eggs
- 5 dl wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 200g natural yoghurt (6% fat) . I used Bulgarian yogurt.
- 1 orange (juice and zest)
- dark chocolate (about 50g, cut into cubes) – optional
Preheat oven to 200 °C and line a 24-hole mini muffin tin with paper cases. Prepare to get some extra cases if necessary.
Place the butter, sugars and orange zest into the bowl of your mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
Remove the bowl from your mixer and start adding alternately the flour mixture and yogurt, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. At last, fold carefully the orange juice.
Spoon the mixture into the cases, place one piece of dark chocolate into the middle of each cup. Using a teaspoon, move a bit of the mixture to cover totally the chocolate piece.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
If you want to eat your cake with a slightly melted chocolate core, microwave the ready ones for a few seconds before serving. Delicious with a cup of tea!!
OH! And I almost forgot!! Days ago my messy blog was nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by the lovely Ana from I love tortilla de Patatas! Thank you Ana!! So sweet of you :)! Check her beautiful blog, she is a darling Spanish girl who, after living in many places, ended up in the Netherlands ^_^. It is recent that I started following her (via twitter first) but I am totally hypnotized by her photography and delicious recipes! And YES, I also love tortilla de patatas!! Who doesn’t?
February 14, 2011
Hyvää Ystävänpäivää! (Happy Friend´s Day!)
As I mentioned before, in Finland we celebrate the “Friend´s Day” on February 14th. It is the day we celebrate the friendship and all the great friends we are lucky to know and have ^_^. ( Including lovers, husbands, boyfriends too… :D)
In this romantic, sweet and sugary spirit, I made doughnuts! Ahahaha, isn´t it just lovely :P ? Chocolate heart shaped and baked ones! Yay! Can´t get better than this :P.
Oh… I must warn those who are expecting a real doughnut feeling… Sorry guys, these are more like doughnut cakes than the yeast fried ones… but still good ;)!
Chocolate baked doughnuts
slightly adapted from here
Yields 12 normal sized doughnuts
- 130 gr all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp dark cocoa powder (I used Dutch-processed)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 75 gr sugar (I used my own vanilla scented one. You can add 1tsp of vanilla extract to the batter instead)
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (I used 1/4 tsp only)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup natural yogurt
- 1 large egg
Heat oven to 175°C. Lightly grease your doughnut pans. If you don´t have a doughnut pan, use a muffin tin or better, a mini-muffin one (they are just cuter ^_^)
In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk in the sugar, nutmeg and salt.
Add the butter by rubbing it into the dry ingredients with your fingers, until it becomes coarse crumbs.
In another bowl or jug, whisk the buttermilk, yogurt and egg. Pour over the flour mixture and mix gently until just combined. The mixture must remain “lumpy” for a fluffy result.
Fill the holes in the pan to 3/4 full using a piping bag for easier and even distribution. Overfilling the pan would result the loss of the “doughnuts holes” as they rise in the oven.
Bake for about 10-12 min (takes less if it is a mini-pan). Test the doughnuts with a skewer or press the surface with your finger, if it springs back, they are ready.
Let cool totally on a wire rack. Decorate if desired (I used white chocolate and sprinkles) or dust with sugar.
P.S. Happy Valentine´s day too ^_^!
January 20, 2011
Ah… yesterday was seriously a nice day (the weather was terrible but that didn’t matter so much this time ^_^), I celebrated my birthday and it was great :).
Thanks everyone for the sweet b-day wishes, I appreciated a lot! Double ♥ back to you all!
Now… let´s talk about the cake… To be honest, I don’t always make my own birthday cake… The rule in this house is to bake a cake on Mother´s and Father´s day only. So, making my own cake was totally optional :D (was it Monday I was complaining to Luonnonvoima that I should have _purchased_ a ready one from the bakery? ehehe)
I decided to try a recipe from a book I got as present from dear hubs many years ago (on Mother´s day :P! Ehehehe. The book is entirely about cakes ^_^).
I made my own adaptations which made me think if it is worth writing everything down here. Let´s consider this cake as my food memo then! :)
Suklaamoussekakku – Chocolate mousse cake
For the cake layers I baked a 4 egg chocolate sponge cake, about ∅24 cm, cut in half and filled with cherry jam. I moistened each layer with syrup made with red berries juice and sugar.
For the mousse: egg yolks, double cream, sugar and dark chocolate. The recipe calls for 250g of dark chocolate so I used my recently purchased Valrhona baking 61% dark chocolate. The whole bar? Yep, the whole bar! After all, it was my birthday right? ^_^
I assembled the cake in a cake pan slightly bigger than the one I used to bake the layers, so the mousse would cover the sides of the cake neatly.
To decorate: cocoa dust, fresh strawberries, chocolate decorations and powdered sugar dust.
Uh Oh. Heavy thing. Delicious with coffee =). By the way, must mention the girls helped me to clean the bowls when assembling the “beast”. Dark chocolate is a hit here!
I wanted to add some liqueur to moist the cake and scent the mousse, but I was afraid my little ones wouldn’t enjoy it. Maybe I can make two cakes next time!?!
Needless to say, the fresh berries balanced well the flavors of the strong chocolate and cream. I didn’t have any available on Tuesday. We ran to the market on my birthday just to get some! :)
A piece of cake, anyone?
November 6, 2010
The other day I was reading one of my cooking magazines and there was a recipe of mini madeleines. Oh, those madeleines.. little cute baked cakes made with special pans.. I used to skip those recipes, simply because I didn’t have the shell shaped pan, knowing that it would be terribly difficult to find them here where I live.
Although I found normal sized madeleine pans I wanted mini. They are cuter, they fit better in my mouth (ahaha). I got obsessed about them.. I visited every single baking supply shop on my search for the mini pan. Took me days (and nights browsing the web too) until I finally found it. I felt very happy ^_^.
Instead of using the recipe I saw in that magazine I decided for another one this time. Chocolate madeleines, a perfect match for my coffee :P.
Mini chocolate madeleines
recipe from here , what I used and Finnish ingredients in parentheses
yield about 60 mini madeleines. I got 40 shell shaped and 16 heart shaped mini muffins.
- 15 g dark chocolate, melted (I used Lindt 70%, about 4 pieces from the bar)
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 70 g cake flour (I used erikoisvehnäjauho)
- 15 g cocoa (I used Van Houten)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 70 g unsalted butter, melted (plus a little more for brushing the pans)
- 80 g sugar
Heat oven to 170°C
Prepare the pan, brushing with a little melted butter.
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and sugar into a bowl and whisk to combine.
In another bowl, slightly beat the eggs. Pour into the flour mixture and whisk gently. Add the melted chocolate and finally the melted butter.
Mix until just combine.
Pour the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle (you can use small spoons but I found it easier to pour the batter into the molds with the bag).
Fill the pan with batter and bake for 10-12 mins, until the madeleines are golden and baked all the way through (if in doubt, make the skewer test).
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 2 mins. Tip out of the pan and bake another batch, if you need to.
My notes about the recipe:
I was very happy with the result! I am thinking about adding espresso powder to make mocha madeleines or a tiny pieces of candied orange peel for a “quick” filling next time.
The girls liked them a lot even with the strong chocolate taste. They kept popping them in their little mouths ^_^. Very easy to eat… they disappeared fast :).
September 21, 2010
Continuing my baking saga, this time I had to figure out a way to use some bananas that were turning black. I don’t like fruits going to waste specially when they are very expensive where I live.
I’ve learned from vegan cooking ( no, no! I am not vegan! But I like to go vegetarian sometimes ^_^ ) you can substitute one egg in baking for a half mashed banana… not an option to me, since I had two super ripe ones :P.
The recipe I used calls for exactly two bananas. A match ;).
Chocolate & banana cake
Yield 2 loaf tins ( 450 g capacity ). I used an 1,0 l tin and the cake became a bit “flat” but still very good! :D
From Olive mag, June 2005. What I adapted in parentheses.
- 100 g plain chocolate ( plus extra crumbs or morsels )
- 150 g unsalted butter , softened
- 175 g golden caster sugar ( I used 100 g caster sugar and 50 g demerara sugar )
- 3 eggs , beaten
- 175 g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 25 g cocoa
- 2 large bananas, mashed
Heat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a loaf tin with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate and leave it to cool.
Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs gradually, beating nicely between each addition. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa and fold in using a spatula. Add the mashed banana and chocolate and mix well (at this point I added the extra chocolate crumbs. Chopped nuts work too)
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for about 45 minutes ( or check with a skewer, if it comes out clean when inserted in the middle, cake is done ). Let cool on a rack and wrap in parchment paper .
My notes about the recipe:
The cake was very tasty one day after baking it. Although a bit crumbly the flavors intensified. A good pairing for green tea =).