Friday, 3 October 2014

Pear & Double Almond Upside Down Cake {One year blogiversary}

Okay, so a year ago today I spontaneously decided to finally listen to my mom's advice  (yes, there's a lot of truth behind that saying suggesting that moms are always right, even when that can be hard to accept sometimes... Just kiddin' - love you mom!) and finally started a food blog. Random site note: I did this a day before an important exam, yep that's right, should have been studying, nevertheless got that really good grade in the end - take time for what you love, happiness is key, lesson learned! Last year's third of october was a moody rainy day in Germany - perfect for this loaf shaped Zebra cake! During the year you might have noticed my love for streusel/crumbs and upside down cakes (an addiction that I just got to through blogging) - if you're a first time visitor then feel free to take a glance at the blog's recipe index and you'll possibly agree with me! I decided to stick to the tradition and the essentials so today there's a cinnamon spiced pear upside down cake with a whole lot of caramellized almonds on top - all those autumn flavours packed into one piece of cake!

But back to the story, because birthdays make me nostalgic - I basically spent the whole day working on that blog design, layout etc. to have it up and running within a couple of hours (screw those characterisations and stuff that should've got in my head..) Going for color or black and white in the design seemed like the most important question to be answered :-P. In the end I settled for a colorful one - which got changed from orange/yellow to blue/grey/yellow during the last 365 days! 

Oh and what an adventure those have been! My personal life got turned complitely upside down: graduating high school, a lot of adventurous travels and now I'm sitting in my bed in the big capital of the UK, ready to fill up the next 365 days of blogging with trumendous stories from my Au pair year and of course: food. All the food - 'cause that's why you are here for! Summary: happy Birthday A Spoonful of Photography - thanks for being my creative outlet and thanks to/for all those amazing people that i was able to meet online through you during this year, the ones who support me and the ones who i would call a friend already! Cheers or moreover happy cake devouring!

Pear & Double Almond Upside Down Cake with caramellized Honey Almonds
-makes one regular loaf sized cake
- For the Pear layer:
- 2 medium sized pears
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon

- For the crumbs:
- 60g butter
- 120g flour
- 35g sugar

- For the cake
- 100g butter
- 80g brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 Tbsp honey (may be substituted with three heaping Tbsp of white sugar)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 200g flour (I used Whole wheat)
- 170g ground almonds
- up to 100 ml milk
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar

For the caramellized honey almond topping:
- 80g whole almonds, blanched if you prefer that
- 30g brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp honey
- optional (even though highly recommended!): 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 175/350.
2. Prepare the pear layer: melt the butter and grease a regular sized loaf tin with it. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and dust the bottom and sides of the pan.
3. Wash and slice two pears as thinly as possible (you should be almost able to look through them) layer the slices upside down in the pan so they'll be right side up again once the cake get's inverted.
4. Prepare the crumbs: work together the butter, sugar and flour until a dough starts to come together, loose it with a fork into fine crumbs and set aside.
5.Prepare the cake batter: In a medium sized bowl beat together the  butter and brown sugar for about 2 minutes until creamy.  Seperate one egg. Add in the remaining egg, plus the egg yolk to the butter-sugar mixture and beat throughoutly.
6. In a seperate bowl mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Divide the butter mixture into three equal parts, briefly lift in the flour mixture into two of the butter parts, do the same with the ground almonds and the remaining butter part. Divide the milk amongst the two batters, you might need a little more until you've got a rather thick consistency which is supposed to ribbon off the spatula. Beat the egg white until stiff peaks form and fold it into the almond dough.
7. Pour half of the flour batter on top of the prepared pears. Press down the middle a bit and fill it with the almond batter, then cover it with the remaining flour batter. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until a skewer or cake tester inserted cones out clean.
8. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then carefully run a knife arount the edges to loosen the cake (use a sharp and thin blade to not destroy the pears). Invert on to a plate and remove the pan. Let cool for a further 15-20 minutes.
9. After the further cooling prepare the honey almond topping: put the whole almonds into a pan and roast them for 2-3 minutes on medium high heat until slightly browned. Then add in the sugar and honey, reduce stirring to a minimum until the sugar has caramellized (this will take about 3 minutes on medium high heat), in the last second stir in the cinnamon. Pour on top of the cake, carefully seperate the almonds with a fork, to allow for easier cake cutting later. Let sit for 5 minutes, then either serve immediately or keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days wrapped in aluminium foil. Enjoy!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Super-crusty Apple pie

My new running track in London goes right around one of the many beautiful green parks here. For most people this would rather be called a forest though, but I think "park" just sounds more british or sophisticated (in a good way!). And at one point I pass a beautiful small apple tree - it's not actually that huge or big old apple tree like, but it's like a miraculous spot right in the middle of an already magic area. I don't think I'll have to start much rambling about how much I love apples or apple trees - but as soon as the green gems start to get some colour going and urge to be picked I won't wait long to take the call!

We actually picked a lot of feral apples on a family trip to southern Germany back in August. And what do you do with all the apples? You may have guessed it: BAKE. SOME. CAKE. Sorry for being so direct with my point, but if you've got some buttery crust with juicy sweet apples - what's not to love? You don't aaaalways have to be as fancy and put them in a chocolate cake like here or sprinkle them into muffins like this - sometimes a simple and quick cake is all you need to go with your afternoon cup of coffee or tea. To remind you that simple things own some magic as well and that you can find it if you only let the magic in.

In this way, get your oven going and put those apples out there to a good use - happy baking everyone! :)

Super-crusty Apple Pie
makes one pie, 20 cm in diameter
For the filling:
- 6 apples, I used tart feral ones
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
For the crust:
- 250g butter
- 180g sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 350g whole wheat flour
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp milk
For serving, optional:
- 200g whipping cream, whipped to desired consistency and optionally sweetened

1. Peel the apples and cut them into small cubes, mix with the sugar and cinnamon.
2. Preheat your oven to 175 °C/ 350 °F. In a medium sized bowl beat together the butter and brown sugar for about 2 minutes until creamy. Mix in the eggs, then work in the flour, cinnamon and salt.
3. Grease or line a 20 cm pan with parchment paper. Spread one half of the crust dough onto the bottom and the sides of the pan. Drain the excess liquid from the prepared apple filling and layer the apples onto the prepared dough. Top with rough pieces of the remaining dough and glaze with the milk.
4. Bake your pie for 45-60 minutes until crust is slightly browned and apples are fully cooked.
5. Remove from the oven, let sit for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Best served warm with a generous dollop of whipped cream Enjoy!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Whole Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whole Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies

 Today I'm bringing cookies for you guys (even if you can just watch them on your screen for now and "have" to bake them yourself). To be honest, I stared at a blank page for like two hours, typing, deleting and re-typing sentences for this recipe post. As I took the photos I had a wonderful post in mind about how chocolate-chunky, crispy and chewy these cookies are as well as super handy to take away for lunch boxes, trips or just to be easily enjoyed when the afternoon crisis hits.

Whole Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies

As you may guess, things turned out differently, just having arrived in Great Britain not even two weeks ago I had to travel three countries, two timezones and three different currencies to get to a funeral, all within three days. Yes, things were rushed, so as I sat in yet another plane I finally had the time to type this post, as I was dreaming about having these Cookies instead of the mushy and dry airplane sandwich... Thus I also couldn't reply to numerous of your comments and questions on my last post - yes I'm doing an au-pair year abroad and combining this with food blogging might seem crazy, but hey, I'll happily admit that and keep posting - 'cause you've guessed it: I'll keep blogging, so be sure to stay tuned for heaps of recipes+photos! :D

Whole Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

A crisp crust meets huuuge (seriously, use big chocolate pieces, you won't regret it) chocolate chunks and a chewy centre, all packed up with a wholesome spelt-y touch - heya for all non-wheat and wheat eaters as well, these cookies will make your jaws drop (to insert another one ;-)).

Okay, things are still a little rushed round here, so I won't steal any more of your time and hand you out the recipe instead - happy baking and cookie eating everyone!!

Whole Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Whole Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies
- makes about 20 cookies, depending on size
- 300g Whole Spelt Flour
- 100g Butter
- 100g Almond Butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- 110g sugar
- optional: 1 tsp vanilla
- 220g dark chocolate chunks

1. Cream together the butter, almond butter and sugar - for about 2 minutes. Add in the egg, mix throughoutly then stir in the flour and salt (and optional vanilla). In the end quickly stir in the chocolate. Wrap dough in foil or cover the bowl and set it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 175 °C/350 °F. Get the dough out of the refrigerator, form into a sausage and cut it into slices approximately 5mm thick. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, at least 3cm apart.
3. Bake the cookies for about 8-10 minutes, until slightly browned, yet soft. Take them out of the oven, let cool on a wire rack and enjoy either still slightly warm or at room temperature.

Whole Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies