Chocolate, Zucchini & Fig Cake

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I love one bowl cakes. Fast, easy and less cleanup at the end. Just keep adding the ingredients until everything is mixed well and it’s done.  I saw huge figs at the market the other day and got some to decorate this cake. They were so nice and sweet.  For the batter, I used dried figs and shredded zucchini which I squeezed until it was dry. This cake is very moist and I love the little crunch that the fig seeds give.

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This recipe is for a 21cm cake mold.

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

1 cup of sugar

¼ cup of cocoa powder

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 egg

1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

1/3 cup of vegetable oil

1 cup of shredded zucchini, squeezed dry

¼ cup of milk

6 dried figs, chopped

For decoration:

1 or 2 fresh figs, thinly sliced

Mint leaves

Honey for brushing over the fig slices

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of the cake mold with parchment paper.  Lightly grease and flour the edges of the mold.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, vanilla and egg. Then add the zucchini and oil. Mix well. Then add all the dry ingredients. Finish by adding the milk and figs. Mix until everything is combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake mold. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Once the cake is baked, allow it to cool down completely. Then remove it from the cake mold. Arrange the fig slices over the top of the cake. Brush some honey over each fig slice and finally decorate with some mint leaves.  Store it, covered in the fridge.

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Blueberry & Greek Yogurt Breakfast Cake

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I’ve been blueberry crazy lately. I made this cake with some beautiful blueberries I got at the market and had it for breakfast. It has fruit, Greek yogurt, nuts and oatmeal. It pretty much has breakfast written all over it, so why not? I really loved it. It is very easy to make. It’s moist and doesn’t feel heavy.

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This recipe is for a 21cm cake mold.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

113gr of butter

2 eggs

1 cup of Greek yogurt

½ cup of granulated sugar

½ cup of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 tablespoon of vanilla essence

Pinch of salt

1 cup of blueberries

For the Oatmeal & nut mixture:

1 cup of blueberries

100gr of cold butter, chopped

¼ cup of oatmeal

¼ cup of almonds

¼ cup of pistachios

¼ cup of sugar

¼ cup of flour

 

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of the cake mold with parchment paper. Lightly grease and flour the edges of the mold.

Cream the butter with the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Add the Greek yogurt, eggs and vanilla.  Then add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well and then fold in the blueberries.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake mold.

Then start making the oatmeal and nut mixture.  Place the oatmeal, almonds and pistachios in the food processor and pulse for a few seconds until it’s coarsely chopped. Then transfer it to a bowl. Add the chopped cold butter, flour and sugar. Mix with your hands trying to make a crumble.  Evenly distribute the mixture over the cake batter.  Sprinkle with the last cup of blueberries.  This mixture will sink to the bottom while baking and that’s ok. It still gives it a nice texture.

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Bake for 50 minutes.  Allow it to cool down before slicing it.  You can serve it with extra blueberries.

Orange Madeleines with Dark Chocolate & Honeycomb Candy

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I am a cake person. Give me pie and I’ll enjoy it, give me cake and I’ll love it. I cannot go too long without a piece and madeleines are such pretty little cakes. They are so simple but yet so beautiful that they can be included at any high tea.  One of the pictures that I took of these madeleines got reposted on social media and one of the comments underneath the picture said: you could be eating these with greasy hair and sweatpants and still feel sophisticated.  I thought it was funny, because that is how we ate them (minus the greasy hair). Even though here it has been a soft winter so far (knock on wood that it stays that way), it is still winter and it is still cold. I cannot think of a better way to spend a Friday night than cuddling with my hubby and my cats on the couch in front of the TV.

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I made the honeycomb candy from scratch without a thermometer. You can also just buy some but it really doesn’t take long to make. It takes 5 minutes. And it doesn’t have to look perfect because it will be smashed anyways.

This recipe makes 12 madeleines.

Ingredients:

For the madeleines:

2 eggs

¼ cup of sugar

1 tablespoon of honey

70gr butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of baking powder

¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

Zest of 1 medium orange, finely chopped

For the honeycomb candy:

½ cup of sugar

¼ cup maple syrup

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon of water

1 teaspoon of baking soda

For the chocolate dipping:

150gr of dark chocolate

 

To make the honeycomb candy:

Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Then grease it with some vegetable oil.

In a medium pan, over medium-high heat, add the sugar, maple syrup, salt and water.

Let it come to a boil and don’t stir until it has reached a dark amber color. This will take 5 minutes.

Then turn off the heat and add the baking soda. Stir fast because it bubbles up.  Then quickly pour the mixture into the prepared tray. Set aside and let it cool down and harden.

 

To make the madeleines:

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Butter and flour the madeleine pan.

Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt.

Add the honey and vanilla extract to the cooled melted butter.

Beat the eggs with the sugar using an electric mixer on high speed until it is pale. This will take around 5 minutes. Then gradually add the flour mixture.  Once the flour is mixed in, slowly add the melted butter mixture. Finally add the orange zest.

Spoon the batter into the molds. Leave a little bit of space for them to rise. Give it a good tap to get rid of air bubbles.

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Bake them for 13 minutes or until lightly golden.  Then carefully remove from the mold and place them on a cooling rack.

Once the madeleines are cold, smash the honeycomb into pieces.

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Cover a cutting board with plastic film, this makes cleaning later easier. Then start melting the chocolate over a water bath. Dip about ¾ of each madeleine in the melted chocolate. Place the chocolate dipped madeleine on the prepared cutting board. Sprinkle some of the smashed honey comb and repeat for the rest.

Allow the chocolate to harden before serving.  They are best when eaten on the same day.

 

Chocolate Soufflé with a Passion Fruit – White Chocolate Ganache center

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Growing up in Peru, I drank liters and liters of fresh passion fruit juice. It is such a delicious treat. In the summer I would blend it with lots of ice. I would also eat it a lot in ice cream form and in other desserts. I love the combination of it with chocolate.

I wanted to make a souffle recipe for Valentine’s Day, since it always has a wow factor when you cut into it and find a melted center. But I wanted to make something different, not overly sweet and not red or pink. So I made a passion fruit and white chocolate ganache filling which would melt in the oven.

Making the soufflé is very easy. The only thing that is a bit delicate is the moment where you have to take the soufflé out of the mold and flip it onto the plate.  This is where you have to be careful, so it doesn’t break in the process. But if you are not feeling adventurous enough, they are individual servings so you can always just plate it without taking it out of the mold. And that is foolproof.

This recipe makes 4 soufflés.

Ingredients:

For the Passion fruit ganache:

5 passion fruits

1 tablespoon of sugar

100gr of white chocolate

50ml of heavy cream

For the chocolate soufflé:

125gr dark chocolate, chopped

123gr butter, melted

4 eggs

7 tablespoons of sugar

2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, sifted

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

To prepare the ramekins:

Butter

Cocoa powder

 

To make the ganache:

Blend the passion fruit pulp to break the seeds.  Pass the pulp through a sieve and discard the seeds.

Pour the passion fruit pulp into a small pan, add the sugar and cook for 4 minutes over medium heat.  Stir constantly to avoid it from sticking to the bottom.  Pour the pulp into a small bowl and set aside.

Place the chopped white chocolate and cream in a bowl. Over a water bath, stir until the chocolate has completely melted. Then add the passion fruit pulp and stir until combined.

Pour into a bowl; allow to cool down a bit before covering it with plastic film and putting it in the fridge overnight to firm up.

To make the soufflé:

Place the chopped chocolate and vanilla extract in a bowl. Pour the melted butter into the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted. If it hasn’t melted completely, pop it in the microwave for 30 second intervals until it has completely melted.

In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with half of the sugar until it turns pale. Add the melted chocolate mixture and stir until combined.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar until you have a merengue with stiff peaks.

Fold the merengue into the chocolate mixture.  Finally fold in the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F

To prepare the ramekins, grease them with butter and then add a small amount of cocoa powder and rotate them to allow the cocoa powder to stick to all the buttered surfaces.

To assemble each soufflé, fill about 2/3 of the prepared ramekin with the soufflé mixture, then place about 1 tablespoon of the ganache in the center. Finally cover the ganache with a bit more of the soufflé mixture. You don’t want to fill the whole ramekin as it needs space to rise. Overall, it should be filled to about ¾. Give it a light tap to get rid of any air. Be gentle, you don’t want the filling to sink to the bottom either.

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Bake for 20 minutes.

Once they are baked, carefully pass a knife through the edges of the ramekin to detach the soufflé. Put a plate over it and then carefully turn it over. Serve right away.

Banana & Candied Ginger Bread

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I love banana bread, the smell of the house when it’s baking and its texture. It’s one of those recipes where I have no self-control over eating it. I have eaten it plain for most of my life. My mom would make it very often when I was a kid and it never lasted very long in the house.  I like it because it’s not overly sweet.  I’ve made a few variations over time, like adding chocolate chips and hazelnuts.  I made this variation with candied ginger yesterday and it turned out pretty good. It had a Christmas feel to it. I made half of the recipe and by the end of the night it was all gone.  You can also make it into cupcakes.

Ingredients:

4 ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup of sugar

2 eggs

125gr butter, melted

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

2 teaspoons of baking powder

5 teaspoons of milk

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

For the candied ginger:

200gr fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced

200gr sugar plus more for coating

For the glaze:

2 ½ cups of icing sugar

¼ cup of ginger syrup

Drops of lime juice

Water

 

To make the candied ginger:

Boil the sliced ginger for 30 minutes.  Then drain it and return it to the saucepan. Add the sugar plus 1 cup of water. Cook on medium heat until most of the water has evaporated and it has become a thick syrup.  Reduce the heat and start stirring constantly until it is almost dry.  Remove from the heat. Spread the pieces of ginger on a parchment paper and allow to cool down.

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Once the ginger is cold, separate 2/3 of it to go inside the bread and chop it. Coat in sugar the remaining 1/3 of the ginger.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and grease a loaf pan.

To make the bread, mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and add the ginger that wasn’t coated with sugar.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  (About 50 minutes for a medium pan).  Set aside and allow cooling down.

Chop the sugar coated ginger.

Once the bread has cooled down, start making the glaze. Whisk the icing sugar with the ginger syrup and a few drops of lime juice. Add a few drops of water until it has become a pourable glaze. Glaze the bread and sprinkle on top the chopped candied ginger.