Saturday, June 28, 2014

Apple Hazelnut Cupcakes

Over the last months I stated a lot of negativity towards cupcakes among my friends and other food bloggers. The reason: they are too sweet, overloaded with many different flavours at once and too many artificial ingredients such as food coloring and glitter. I cannot blame them to have that opinion because when you look all over the internet or go to cupcake shops around Europe; it's all there is. Shiny little cakes with multiple layers of all you can imagine.

Is this really what the cupcake is all about? NO! A cupcake actually is the cup-sized version of a cake. The quantity of a whole cake's dough, divided into little bites. To give the little cake a little extra, toppings are added. Whether in the shape of little flowers or spirals, it does not matter at all. Over the last few years though, cupcakes have become what has just been described in the paragraph above. I honestly have the feeling that bakers try to outdo one another without realising that what really is to the cupcake is being completely lost. As a consequence, cupcakes have become little accessories whose taste no one really cares about anymore.

Thankfully we are numerous thinking the same way. Today's little cupcakes are my newest creation. I love the combo apple-cinnamon but it somehow always remains the same flavour whether you put them into cookies, pies, or cakes. To add a little something, I added hazelnuts. I do not exactly remember how the idea came to my mind, but I guess it was because I wanted to prepare apple cinnamon cupcakes on one hand and on the other hand I really wanted something nutty and fruity. Am I now being contradictory to the two previous paragraphs? Wanting too much and then putting it all into one cake? Am I hereby forcing too much out of these little treasures? Again, NO! The flavours are all natural and you will taste a smooth transition between all of them. 

For around 12 cupcakes you need:

120g butter
120g sugar
120g flour
125g applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
50g crushed hazelnuts
80 raisins
1 apple

In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, flour and the eggs until you get a smooth cake batter. Now add the applesauce, cinnamon, the hazelnuts as well as the raisins. 

Pour the dough into the cupcake molds. Cut the apple into small slices and place them on top of each cupcake. 

Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Zucchini Linguine with Dried Tomato Walnut Pesto

Whether you are looking for a low carb dish or just a little veggie experience, you are on the right page!  

Several weeks ago I bought a spiral cutter because I heard and read about these zucchini linguine all over the Internet.  I was curious and wanted to know if the hype around this pasta alternative is really justified. First of all, you have to like zucchini; otherwise the experience will not be a success. 

Today was the big day, and I prepared zucchini pasta. I have to say, I did not expect it to be that fast to prepare. In my mind it was more of an elaborate dish, the reason why the spiral cutter remained in my cupboard all these weeks.

I was wondering what sauce would go best with the zucchinis. The winner was my beloved dried tomatoes walnut pesto. The hearty taste of the pesto goes perfectly well with the discrete flavour of the zucchinis. The combination is definitely a convincing match. It is not really important if you heat the zucchinis up like you would boil real pasta, enjoy it cold as a side dish or salad, or fry it in a frying pan. I would say that if you wish the pesto to be well spread over the veggies, you better heat them up before adding the sauce. 

For 2 portions you need:

4 Zucchinis
50g dried tomatoes
90g walnuts
125 ml walnut oil
1tbsp Cashew Butter 
black pepper

In a frying pan roast the walnuts with 30ml of oil. Then in a food processor combine the dried tomatoes, the roasted walnuts and the Parmesan. Add the oil and pulse until mixed well and smooth. Season with salt and pepper

Now you can start preparing your zucchini linguine with your spiral cutter.

Boil the linguine on maximum heat for 2-3 minutes. Drain the pasta and put it back into the pot.

Add 1 tbsp pesto per serving, which you fold gently in. 


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Orange Soft Cake

You don't want to give up on cake during summer but you think it's too hot for anything chocolaty?
Here is one option you may consider.

Of course there are hundreds of mousses and creams one could prepare, but sometimes all you want for dessert is cake. With the latest heat wave I was not very eager to transform my flat into a sauna, a reason why I delayed the baking for a while. It took two entire days of strategic airing to get the heat out of the flat. Why thus get the it back in by turning the oven to 180°?

This orange cake is definitely a summer cake. The low amount of flour makes it very moist and juicy and you basically feel like devouring a freshly squeezed orange juice in the form of cake. At the beginning I was not sure whether to prepare an orange glaze or not. While baking the dough caramelized on the surface and there is no need to drizzle more syrup on it. 

I really love this cake and I have to restrain myself from eating the whole cake all at once. Should you want to go for the moist variant of a classic, this cake is decidedly for you. 

For 1 cake you need:

120g butter
130g flour
125g sugar
2 eggs
2 oranges
1ts baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180°

Beat the butter until fluffy, then progressively add the sugar and the eggs one at a time.  Now you can add the flour, the baking powder the zest as well as the juice from the two oranges.

Butter a middle-sized springform. I really recommend to take a springform, this is the only one you can get the cake out without breaking it as it is really soft. 

Pour the cake batter into the cake mold and bake for 30 minutes. Then check with a skewer if the cake is done. The cake is done when the skewer comes out clean. 

Let the cake cool down before you take it out.


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