Super Moist Apple Cake

Hello everyone!

January is flying by, I can’t believe we’re already halfway through. In my brain we were still in the first week of January, which is why I’m so delayed posting this recipe! For those of you following me on instagram, you already saw my Apple Cake turning up. (Can’t believe how much love it received!)

I made this cake completely out of the blue in Amsterdam. My dad had gone to the gym and I wanted to surprise him. He is a loyal follower of the blog (thanks Dad!) and told me he wanted me to bake him all that nice stuff when I come home. As he likes my apple pie, I decided to try a new recipe using apple. I basically just threw some ingredients together and I can’t believe how amazing it turned out.

This apple cake is so moist. Partly because of the homemade apple puree that I used, but also because of the mix of butter and vegetable oil I used. I actually did that because I didn’t find enough butter in my mum’s fridge, so I just threw some extra oil in (nothing worse than a dried-out cake). But I ended up being very pleased with it: the oil gives the cake that classic cake-like moisture whereas the butter adds depth in flavour.

So without further ado, let’s get to the recipe!

Super Moist Apple Cake

Ingredients

For the apple puree:

  • 3 apples
  • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp water

For the cake:

  • 40 grams butter (room temperature)
  • 50 ml vegetable oil
  • 100 grams white granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150 grams plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

For the decoration:

  • 2 apples cut in thin slices
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions

Start by preparing the apple puree. Cut the apples into chunks and add them together with the other ingredients to a sauce pan over low heat. Boil 10 minutes or until soft, stirring every now and then. Mash the apple using a potato masher if you want a very fine sauce, or alternatively leave some chunks of apple in there if you prefer. Set the puree aside to cool and preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

In a large bowl, mix the butter, oil and sugar together with a hand-held electric whisk until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one until incorporated and mix another 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and apple puree and mix a bit more.

Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt. Be careful not to overmix. Pour the batter into a round cake tin (I used 21 cm diameter). Top with the thinly sliced apples, sprinkle some sugar on top and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

My dad lent me his camera and it was such a pleasure taking pictures with that instead of my phone!

Thanks for reading guys and be sure to sign up to get email notifications if I post something 🙂

Love,

Tori

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Christmas Cookies Three Ways

It’s almost XMASSSSS! I have finally found some time to write another blog post. December is always the busiest, most hectic time of the year it seems. But also the most exciting time if you ask me. I am so happy to go back to my family in Amsterdam tomorrow, because I haven’t been home for almost 2 months. Thankfully, these 2 months flew by. I can’t believe 2018 is almost over.

For me, December was all about baking cookies. I think I baked a hundred cookies in total, I don’t know what got into me. I got so excited about the endless possibilities when it comes to toppings and stuffings for cookies. Also, I found out that baking the perfect cookie is not nearly as easy as it seems. I experimented a lot with different recipes, I read all about baking cookies online, and finally came up with three different cookie recipes: crunchy dark chocolate & chili cookies, cakey white chocolate, macadamia & cranberry cookies and chewy oatmeal & candied orange peel cookies.

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If I had to choose my favorite amongst these three, I’d say the chocolate ones, ’cause who doesn’t love chocolate? Because I wanted to bake Christmas themed cookies, and I had to bake something in the theme of “spiced bakes” for the baking society of my university, I decided to go for the never disappointing combination of Dark Chocolate & Chili. The chili adds so much depth to the flavour and it really makes the dark chocolate pop even more. It works kind of like adding salt or espresso powder to any dark chocolate bake, it just makes the chocolate flavour so intense.

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Dark Chocolate & Chili Cookies

These cookies are perfectly spicy, bringing out the dark chocolate flavour. They’re super crunchy with a gooey underbaked middle. Just chocolate heaven!

Prep time: 10 mins – Baking & Cooling time: 20 mins – Total: 30 mins – Yield: 12 large cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup dark brown unrefined cane sugar
  • ½ cup golden granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 6 heaped tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes (use only ½ tsp if you want just a hint of spiciness)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 bar Lindt Chili dark chocolate in chunks

Instructions

Start by bringing your butter to room temperature & preheating the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Then cream the butter together with the sugar until fluffy using a hand-held electric whisk. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Combine all the dry ingredients except the chocolate in a large bowl and add to your fluffy butter & egg mixture. Be careful not to overmix as this will make your cookies tough. Add the chocolate chunks even before all the flour is incorporated and fold them into the batter using a spatula. Doing this will incorporate the rest of the flour as well so you definitely don’t overmix! 🙂 Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the outside is crispy and baked but the middle is still soft. You really want to remove these cookies from the oven before they’re baked through all the way, because they will continue to set as you let them cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.


 

Next up are the other cookies. I will just list the ingredients for these, as the method is exactly the same as for the chocolate cookies!

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White Chocolate, Macadamia & Cranberry Cookies

These cookies are more cakey than the crunchy chocolate cookies because of the extra egg. If you don’t like that, just omit the second egg in this recipe! The cranberries make these cookies very festive.

Prep time: 10 mins – Baking & Cooling time: 20 mins – Total: 30 mins – Yield: 12 large cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup golden granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup halved macadamia nuts
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

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Turmeric Spiced Oatmeal & Candied Orange Peel Cookies

Prep time: 10 mins – Baking & Cooling time: 20 mins – Total: 30 mins – Yield: 8 small cookies

These chewy oatmeal cookies are spiced with turmeric, one of my favourite spices. I love the yellow pop it gives to baking. Enjoy these cookies alongside a turmeric latte!

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup golden granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup dark brown unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup + 1 heaped tsp self-raising flour
  • ¾ cup jumbo oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ cup candied orange peel

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Thanks for reading guys and let me know if you bake some of these! ❤

Love, Tori

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Orange & Ricotta Almond Cake

My roommate and I went to Ottolenghi the other day and we had the most amazing cake for dessert. It had orange and chocolate, which is one of my favourite combinations and it was made with almond flour. After trying this cake, I just knew I had to experiment with almond flour a bit myself, because I liked it so much. I started to look up some recipes online, thinking it would be kind of similar to baking with coconut flour, but nothing is less true! You do need to use quite a few eggs, but almond flour is not nearly as absorbent as coconut flour. Recipes for one 8″ cake often call for 2 cups of almond flour at least, making the cakes very calorie dense. My solution: just substitute 1 cup almond flour for 1/4 cup of coconut flour! Because it’s so extremely absorbent, you really don’t need to use much of it, so you’re left with a cake that’s super high in protein but relatively low in calories.

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What’s more, this recipe is perfect for people out there who like coconut flour because of its absorbing qualities, but don’t necessarily enjoy the taste of coconut in every cake they bake. I found this mix of 1 cup almond + 1/4 cup coconut flour did a pretty good job at masking the fact that there was even coconut flour in there. Also, store-bought almond flour/finely ground almonds is pretty expensive (you can make it yourself if you have a decent kitchen processor), so this blend is very economical too. One cup of store-bought almond flour will easily cost 1 pound at the least, whereas 1/4 cup of coconut flour costs around 25 pence. (Of course there is a lot of variation in price depending on the brand and store and your location.)

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Although I am a big fan of the chocolate + orange combination, I didn’t want to bake a chocolate cake. I wanted this cake to be protein-packed and free of refined sugar, to make it suitable as a breakfast cake. So let me give you a heads up: this cake is really not that sweet and I would not recommend it as an afternoon tea / coffee treat. If you want to serve it that way, definitely consider adding at least an extra 1/2 cup of honey or 1/2 cup of white sugar. It really depends on how sweet you want it to be, it’s up to you! It does have the texture of a coffee cake though, because of the creamy ricotta in it. You can use either full-fat or any other ricotta you like (full-fat is probably easiest to find). I chose to use a full-fat ricotta, because I was not adding any extra oil or butter to this cake. If you go with a fat-free ricotta, you might want to consider adding 1/4 cup of butter/vegetable oil.

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Orange & Ricotta Almond Cake

Serves: 12 – Preparation time: 30 minutes – Baking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • handful of almond slivers
  • 1 cup full-fat ricotta (room temp)
  • 4 cold eggs, separated
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup honey (+1/2 cup extra when serving as a sweet coffee cake)
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp orange zest (double for a less subtle orange kick)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 150° C / 300° F. Grate the zest of one orange and set aside. Separate the eggs (this is a lot easier if they’re cold!) and beat the egg whites until they are stiff using an electric hand mixer. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks with the ricotta with the hand mixer until smooth. Add the vanilla extract, honey, orange juice and orange zest. Mix for a minute. Hold a sieve over the bowl and sift the coconut and almond flour through it into the wet mixture. Add the baking powder and salt as well. Mix until combined and lump free. Then, fold in the egg whites bit by bit using a spatula. Be careful not to mix too hard, as you want to maintain the airiness of the egg whites to make for a fluffy cake. Transfer the mixture to an 8″ cake pan and sprinkle with some slivered almond. Cover the cake with aluminium foil (be sure to spray it with some baking spray so it won’t stick to the top of the cake once it rises!) and blind-bake the cake for 30 minutes. Then, take off the aluminium foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until the top looks done and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before serving.


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Did I say this cake is almost completely carb-free? And it’s gluten free as well! The perfect thing to serve if you’re sharing with people on a low-carb or gluten free diet.

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Bon appétit!

Gingerbread Spice Courgette Loaf

Good morning everyone!

During my trip back home to Amsterdam, I managed to get my loaf tin back. I missed it so much for my baking here, because I used to make so many banana breads in that tin. But today I won’t be sharing a banana bread recipe (although I’m sure that will come around some time…) but another quick bread/loaf.

This gingerbread-spiced loaf is packed with courgette. I love to use courgette in my baking, because it adds so much moist. Any quick bread will have cake-like structure if you add courgette I think, which is basically amazing, because you trick your mind into thinking you’re eating an oil-packed cake when it’s just super healthy. Grated courgette is also amazing to add to red velvet cake, just so you know. Also, the little green dots look gorgeous in the baking.

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You can experiment with this loaf as much as you want. I am trying to find the healthiest version without compromising on taste and texture. I’ve found that this recipe is the perfect balance! It has just 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, but you might even be fine without any oil at all. It’s also completely up to you how sweet you want this cake to be. If you plan on eating this cake for breakfast, I suggest just using 1/4 cup of agave syrup or honey and leaving out the 1/4 cup of brown sugar. But of course you can add as much sugar as you want, especially if you want to serve this as an afternoon treat/coffee cake.

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I used 4 eggs for this loaf, which sounds like a lot, but I sometimes like to add an extra egg to my breakfast loaf because I am a vegetarian. I try to sneak extra protein into my meals wherever I can, so if I have the chance to add an extra egg to my baking, I just go ahead. I started out with 3 eggs but found the batter a bit too thick, so I added another one. If I were you, I’d just start with 3 eggs and see where that gets you. Especially if you are just using plain flour and no oats & spelt flour like me, I think 3 eggs will be plenty.

To add a gingerbread flavour to this loaf, I added cinnamon, allspice and ground ginger. These spices gave this loaf so much warmth, it made me feel like it’s already Christmas. Perfect for any cold mornings coming up. Feel free to just use 2tsp of cinnamon if you don’t have the other spices in your cabinet; it will still taste amazing.

Gingerbread Spice Courgette Loaf

Yield: ± 10 slices  – Prepping time: 15 mins – Baking time: 55-60

Dry ingredients

  • ½ cup self-raising flour
  • ½ cup wholegrain spelt flour
  • 1 cup wholegrain oats + 1 tbsp for decorating
  • 1 tsp baking soda (=bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice/mixed spice
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt

Wet ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup melted vegetable shortening or vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup agave syrup
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (I used dark brown natural unrefined cane sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (you need the acidity as a reactor otherwise the baking soda doesn’t do anything, you can also use some honey or lemon juice)

Filling

  • 2 cups grated courgette (±2 small to medium-sized courgettes)
  • small handful chopped walnuts
  • small handful chopped pecans + some extra for decorating

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius.

Sieve all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and combine well.

Grate the courgette and drain well from extra liquid, but it’s okay if you leave just a bit because this provides extra moist to the loaf. Stir in the chopped nuts and set aside.

In another bowl, add all of the wet ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir everything together with a spatula. Finally, add the courgette & nuts and fold into the mixture.

Spray a loaf tin with some baking spray (I use coconut oil spray), or alternatively just grease the tin with butter. Line your tin with parchment paper and spray again. Then, pour in your batter. Your batter should be just liquid enough to pour in your tin with some help of a spatula to flatten everything out! Top the loaf with some whole pecan nuts and a sprinkle of oats. Cover the top of your loaf with aluminium foil but be sure to leave enough room for the loaf to rise.

Bake the loaf for 45 minutes. Then take it out of the oven, remove the aluminium foil and check how far along the loaf is. Place back into the oven without the foil so the top of the loaf can become golden brown. My loaf needed another 15 minutes, so it baked for a total of 60 minutes. You can try to reduce your baking time by increasing the heat of your oven to 190 degrees Celsius, but I didn’t want to risk ending up with an uncooked inside but burnt top.

Let the loaf cool in the tin for 10 minutes before easily removing it by pulling on the parchment paper. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack for at least another 10 minutes before cutting into it.

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Have a lovely week everyone and be sure to share picture with me if you do try this recipe! 🙂

Love,

Tori

Date & Walnut Lattice Pie

I really felt like making something pretty this time.

Usually, I like to keep things pretty simple. I just need my kitchen the smell nice & the bake to taste good. But I was feeling crafty and in need of buttery pie crust, so I decided on doing a double-crusted artsy pie.

 

You can use any filling you want when making a pie like this, which is great. Whatever you’re craving, just throw it in there. My inspiration for this was a pecan pie recipe that I’d seen, but then I found out I was out of pecans, so I went with walnuts. Anything works. I’m a big fan of a combination of dates and nuts (any type really), and I have done date & nut bars/tart bases in the past, so I liked the idea of working that into a pie filling this time.

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Making pie crust can appear a bit tricky at first, but practice makes perfect. Trust me, I am still working on mine. I actually did overwork my dough this time which made the crust a bit too tough to my liking. But hey, you know what’s so good about pie? It’s still really amazing even if it’s not perfect. Same goes for this all-butter pie crust recipe: difficult to get perfect, but it will always taste good and be a crowd pleaser! The most important thing to keep in mind is to not overmix your dough. Don’t knead the life out of it. I know it’s tempting, there’s something soothing about just kneading it until everything comes together perfectly and there are no lumps to be found anywhere. But that is where you’ll go wrong. You WANT these buttery lumps (around the size of peas) to be in your dough, because that’s what’s going to make the crust flaky and lovely at the end. With that in mind, let’s get to the recipe!

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Date & Walnut Lattice Pie

Yield: 12 servings – Preparation time: 60 minutes – Baking time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

For the pie crust:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour + a bit extra for rolling the dough
  • 1 cup cubed cold unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup buttermilk + few tbsp. extra if needed
  • ½ tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup butter (room temperature)
  • ½ cup refined brown cane sugar
  • ¾ cup chopped pitted dates
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

Take the butter for the filling out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature while you prepare your pie dough.

For your dough, combine the butter with the flour and salt using a pastry cutter or your hands until the butter is the size of peas. Don’t overmix because this will make your pie crust tough. If you want an extra flaky crust, leave bigger bits of butter in the mixture. Add the buttermilk one tablespoon at a time just until the dough comes together. You don’t want the dough to become sticky. Of course, you can also use ice water instead of buttermilk, but I liked the extra tanginess.

Cut your dough in half, wrap in cling film and leave to refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius.

While your oven is preheating and your dough is refrigerating, start to prepare the filling for this pie. Your butter should be on room temperature now, so you can start by creaming the butter together with the sugar. I used a spatula. Add the salt, agave syrup and eggs and mix to combine. Then add the walnuts and dates. Set your filling aside and return to your dough.

You will use one clump of dough for the bottom of the crust and the other clump for the top layer. Let’s start by rolling out the bottom. Lightly flour your surface and roll out the dough, making sure to keep moving the dough and flipping it so it doesn’t stick to the counter. Transfer it to a greased tart pan of your choice. It’s probably easiest to use one that is not too high, as this will make decorating easier. I didn’t have on like that though, so I just used a standard quiche pan. Using a fork, make some holes in the dough and just bake it for 5 minutes to give it a head-start to the rest of the pie.

While that’s in the oven, start rolling out the second clump of dough and cut into long strips with which you’re going to cover the pie. You can save some dough to use for other decorations like the braids I made for example. Of course, this is totally up to you!

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Take your crust out of the oven and let it cool for a bit on your kitchen counter before pouring the filling on it. Spread the filling out evenly and then decorate the top with a second layer of pie dough. You can make any pattern you want; I went for a simple lattice pie.

Bake the pie for around 30-40 minutes, just keep an eye on it. If the top is nicely golden, the pie is done. Mine took 35 minutes.

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Let me know if you have a favourite way of decorating a pie!

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Bon appétit!

Tori

3 Ways of Oatmeal for Autumn

As soon as the temperature drops, my breakfast habits change. Whereas in summer, my breakfast mostly consists of yoghurt & fruit bowls, in winter I like to start my day with warm comfort food. A steaming bowl of porridge is my go-to every day. It’s so easy and quick, yet delicious! However, sometimes I want to get a bit more creative with my oatmeal because it can get a bit boring otherwise. So I bring you my 3 favourite ways of preparing an oatmeal breakfast perfect for those cold autumn mornings!

1. Baked Banana Oatmeal

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Ingredients (for 2 portions)

  • 1 cup oats (90 gr)
  • 1 cup boiled water
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla aroma
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Method

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Mix the oats and the water. While you wait for the oats to soak up the liquid, mash up half of the banana and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. Then, add everything together and place in an oven dish. Pour the almond milk on top and spread the banana slices evenly on the oatmeal. Bake for 20-25 minutes and serve while hot!

2. Apple & Jam Oatmeal Cups

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Ingredients (for 4 oatmeal cups)

  • 1 cup oats (90 gr)
  • 1 cup warm almond milk
  • Non-stick baking spray
  • 1 grated apple
  • 4 tsp jam (I used blackberry)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp raisins (optional)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Pour the almond milk on top of the oats and let that sit for a few minutes. While you wait, grate one large apple. Then stir in the apple and cinnamon and optionally add some raisins. Spray 4 cups in your muffin tin with some baking spray and scoop in the oats mixture. Put 1 tsp of jam on top of each cup. Bake the cups in your pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes. If you let them cool off for a while, they will become more solid instead and you can remove them from your tray easily without them falling apart! The hot jam pouring out of these cups when you eat them is to die for. You also don’t need to add any sweetener because the jam is sweet enough of itself!

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3. Overnight Oats with Dates

Warning: this recipe takes a bit more time as you have to soak the oats overnight! This makes for an extra thick and smooth oatmeal.

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Ingredients (for 1 portion)

  • 1/2 cup oats (45 gr)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 medjool dates
  • small handful of hazelnuts

Instructions

Take your breakfast bowl of preference and combine the oats, chia seeds and cinnamon in this bowl. Pour the almond milk on top and mix. Pit the medjool dates and chop them up finely. Stir in the date pieces. Put your bowl in the fridge overnight. If you feel like the mixture will be too thick, you can add an extra splash of milk. The next morning add some hazelnuts and dust the top of the overnight oats with some extra cinnamon. Enjoy this dish cold, but of course have a warm cup of coffee next to it! These overnight oats are also amazing with some fresh fruit on top.

 

So, those are my 3 ways of changing up my morning oatmeal. Of course, you can change up everything in these recipes. If you don’t have almond milk, any other type of milk will do just fine. And all the fruit (banana, apple) can be substituted for any other fruit you like. These are just my preferences. 🙂 And if you have more of a sweet tooth, feel free to add some honey or agave syrup to any of these recipes. Thanks for reading!

Stay warm,

Tori